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I will hear that play ;
[Exit PhiloSTRATE. Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharged, And duty in his service perishing.
The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such
Hip. He says they can do nothing in this kind.
Enter PHILOSTRATE. Philost. So please your grace, the prologue is
addrest. The. Let him approach. [Flourish of trumpets.
1 The sense of this passage appears to be:“ What dutifulness tries to perform without ability, regardful generosity receives with complacency; estimating it, not by the actual merit, but according to the power or might of the humble but zealous performers."
That you should think we come not to offend,
That is the true beginning of our end. Consider, then, we come but in despite.
We do not come as minding to content you, Our true intent is. All for your delight,
We are not here. That you should here repent you, The actors are at hand; and, by their show, You shall know all, that you are like to know.
The. This fellow doth not stand upon points.
Lys. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt; he knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord. It is not enough to speak, but to speak true.
Hip. Indeed he hath played on this prologue like a child on a recorder ;l a sound but not in government.?
The. His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
Enter PYRAMUS and THISBE, Wall, Moon-shine, and
Lion, as in dumb show. Prol. 6 Gentles, perchance you wonder at this
show; “But wonder on, till truth make all things plain. “ This man is Pyramus, if you would know ;
- This beauteous lady Thisby is, certain. “ This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
“Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder; “ And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are con
tent “ To whisper; at the which let no man wonder. “This man, with lantern, dog, and bush of thorn,
“ Presenteth moon-shine; for, if you will know, “By moon-shine did these lovers think no scorn
"To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
1 A kind of flageolet.
2 i. e. not regularly, according to the time.
eunt Pre; while he and loverall the rest.
“ This grisly beast, which by name lion hight,
- Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain. "Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall,
« And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain. “Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
“ He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast; “ And, Thisby tarrying in mulberry shade,
" His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, " Let lion, moon-shine, wall, and lovers twain, " At large discourse, while here they do remain."
[Exeunt Prol., ThisBE, Lion, and Moon-shine. The." I wonder if the lion be to speak.
Dem. No wonder, my lord. One lion may, when many asses do.
Wall. “In this same interlude, it doth befall, - That I, one Snout by name, present a wall : “ And such a wall, as I would have you think, “ That had in it a crannied hole, or chink, “ Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, “ Did whisper often very secretly. “ This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone, doth show 6. That I am that same wall. The truth is so: 66 And this the cranny is, right and siníster, 6. Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.” The. Would you desire lime and hair to speak
better? Dem. It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.
The. Pyramus draws near the wall. Silence !
Enter PYRAMUS. Pyr. “O grim-looked night! O night with hue
so black ! “O night, which ever art, when day is not ! “O night, О night, alack, alack, alack,
“I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot! 66 And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
“That stand’st between her father's ground and
mine; “ Thou wall, O wall, O sweet, and lovely wall, “ Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.
[Wall holds up his fingers. “ Thanks, courteous wall. Jove shield thee well for
this! “ But what see I? No Thisby do I see. “O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss.
Curst be thy stones for thus deceiving me !" The. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
Pyr. No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's cue. She is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you.—Yonder she comes.
Enter THISBE. This. “wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
"For parting my fair Pyramus and me. “My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones;
« Thy stones, with lime and hair knit up in thee."
Pyr. "I see a voice: now will I to the chink, “ To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. 66. Thisby!"
This. "My love! Thou art my love, I think."
Pyr. “ Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace; " And like Limander am I trusty still.)
This. 5 And I like Helen, till the fates me kill."
1 Limander and Helen, blunderingly for Leander and Hero, as Shafalus and Procrus for Cephalus and Procris.
Wall. « Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so; “ And, being done, thus wall away doth go."
[Exeunt Wall, PYRAMUS, and ThisBE. The. Now is the mural down between the two neighbors.
Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning:
Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
The. The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a man? and a lion.
Enter Lion and Moon-shine.
- The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, “ May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,
" When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar. " Then know, that I, one Snug the joiner, am “No lion fell, nor else no lion's dam: “For if I should as lion come in strife “ Into this place, 'twere pity on my life.”
The. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e’er I saw.
Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valor.
Dem. Not so, my lord; for his valor cannot carry his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.
The. His diseretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valor ; for the goose carries not the fox. It is well. Leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.
1 This alludes to the proverb, “ Walls have ears." A wall between almost any two neighbors, says Johnson, would soon be down, were it to exercise this faculty without previous warning.
2 Theobald altered this word to moon, without apparent reason.