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is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our enterlude before the Duke and the Dutchess, on his wedding, day at night. Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
then read the names of the actors, and so grow on to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good piece of work I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your Actors by the scrowl. Masters, spread your selves.
Quin. Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom the weaver.
Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it; if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms; I will condole in some measure. To the rest:— yet my chief humour is for a tyrant; I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in. To make all split the raging rocks, and Mivering socks shall break the locks of prison-gates
and Phibbus carr shall shine from far, and make and mar
the foolish fates a - This was lofty. Now name the rest of the players. This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein ; a lover is more condoling.
Quin. Francis Flute the bellows-mender.
Quin. That's all one, you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will. Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too;
l'u (a) This was probably a piece of nonsenfical bombafi saken out of Some foolis play known at that time. ... Theobald.
I'll speak in a monstrous little voice, 9 'Thisby, Thisby; ah,
Quin. No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute,
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother. Tom Snowt the tinker.
Snowt. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus's father; my self, Thisby's father; Snug the joiner, you, the lion's part ; I hope there is a play fitted.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am Now of study.
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring
Bot. Let me play the lion too, I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me. I will roar, that I will make the Duke say, let him roar again, let him roar again.
Quin. If you should do it too terribly, you would fright the Dutchess and the ladies, that they would shriek, and that were enough to hang us all.
All. That would hang us every mother's son.
Bot. I grant you, friends, if you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us; but I will aggravate my voice fo, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus, for Pyramus is a sweet-fac'd man, a proper man as one shall see in a fummer's day; a most lovely gentleman-like man: therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
Bót. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in? Quin. Why, what
Bor. 9 Thifne, Tbifre ;
Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-colour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour'd beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French-crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-fac'd. But, masters, here are your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and defire you to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace-wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight, there we will rehearse; for if we meet in the city, we shall be dog'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
Bot. We will meet, and there we may rehearse more obscenely and courageously. Take pains, be perfect, adieu. Quin.
At the Duke's oak we meet. Bot. Enough, hold or cut bowstrings. a [Exeunt.
A C T II. SCENE I.
Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck (or Robin-goodfellow)
Fai. Over hill, over dale,
Through bush, through briar,
And (a) A proverbial phrase signifying, without fail, or, in all events.
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
Puck. The King doth keep his revels here to-night,
Fai. Or I mistake your shape and making quite,
Puck.'s 'The fame, thou speak' t aright';'
I jest > dew-drops here, 2 Thou speak' t aright;
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile
Fair. And here my mistress: would that he were gone!
Enter Oberon King of Fairies at one door with his Train,
and the Queen at another with hers. Ob. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania.
Queen. What, jealous Oberon? fairies, skip hence, I have forsworn his bed and company.
Ob. Tarry, rash wanton, am not I thy lord?
Queen. Then I must be thy lady; but I know
Ob. How can ft thou thus for shame, Titania,
Knowing (a) Crab apple,
3 And tailor cries,