Act III

Scene I

The wood. Titania lying asleep

Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling

Bottom

Are we all met?

Quince

Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.

Bottom

Peter Quince,—

Quince

What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

Bottom

There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?

Snout

By'r lakin, a parlous fear.

Starveling

I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

Bottom

Not a whit: I have a device to make all well. Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them out of fear.

Quince

Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.

Bottom

No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

Snout

Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

Starveling

I fear it, I promise you.

Bottom

Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to look to 't.

Snout

Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.

Bottom

Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion's neck: and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect,—'Ladies,'—or 'Fair-ladies—I would wish You,'—or 'I would request you,'—or 'I would entreat you,—not to fear, not to tremble: my life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are;' and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.

Quince

Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things; that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber; for, you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight.

Snout

Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

Bottom

A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.

Quince

Yes, it doth shine that night.

Bottom

Why, then may you leave a casement of the great chamber window, where we play, open, and the moon may shine in at the casement.

Quince

Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.

Snout

You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?

Bottom

Some man or other must present Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

Quince

If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your speech, enter into that brake: and so every one according to his cue.

Enter Puck behind

Puck

What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.

Quince

Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.

Bottom

Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—

Quince

Odours, odours.

Bottom

—odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.

Exit

Puck

A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.

Exit

Flute

Must I speak now?

Quince

Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

Flute

Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.

Quince

'Ninus' tomb,' man: why, you must not speak that yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your part at once, cues and all Pyramus enter: your cue is past; it is, 'never tire.'

Flute

O,—As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.

Re-enter Puck, and Bottom with an ass's head

Bottom

If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.

Quince

O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help!

Exeunt Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, and Starveling

Puck

I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.

Exit

Bottom

Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to make me afeard.

Re-enter Snout

Snout

O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?

Bottom

What do you see? you see an asshead of your own, do you?

Exit Snout

Re-enter Quince

Quince

Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.

Exit

Bottom

I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir from this place, do what they can: I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.

Sings

The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,—

Titania

Awaking

What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

Bottom

Sings

The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay;—

for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry 'cuckoo' never so?

Titania

I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

Bottom

Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days; the more the pity that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.

Titania

Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

Bottom

Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

Titania

Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!

Enter Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed

Peaseblossom

Ready.

Cobweb

And I.

Moth

And I.

Mustardseed

And I.

All

Where shall we go?

Titania

Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

Peaseblossom

Hail, mortal!

Cobweb

Hail!

Moth

Hail!

Mustardseed

Hail!

Bottom

I cry your worship's mercy, heartily: I beseech your worship's name.

Cobweb

Cobweb.

Bottom

I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, honest gentleman?

Peaseblossom

Peaseblossom.

Bottom

I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?

Mustardseed

Mustardseed.

Bottom

Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well: that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now. I desire your more acquaintance, good Master Mustardseed.

Titania

Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my love's tongue bring him silently.

Exeunt