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Her. [Starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me!
do thy best, To pluck this scrawling serpent from my breast ! Ah for pity! -- what a dream was here? Lysander, look, how I do quake with fear : Methought a serpent eat my heart away, And you sat smiling at his cruel prey : Lysander ! what, removod ? Lysander !' lord ! What, out of hearing ? gone? no sound, no word? Alack, where are you? speak, an if you hear ; Speak, of all loves * ; I swoon almost with fear. No ? — then I well perceive you are not nigh: Either death, or you, I'll find immediately. [E.cit.
ACT THE THIRD.
The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
Enter Quince, SNUG, Bottom, FLUTE, SNOUT,
Bot. Are we all met?
Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal : This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tyring-house ; and we will do it in action, as we will do it before the duke.
Bot. Peter Quince,
What say'st thou, bully Bottom ? Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisbe, that will never please. First, Pyramus
1 By all that is dear.
must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. Howʻanswer you that?
Snout. By’rlakin?, a parlous fear.
Star. I believe, we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
Bot. 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.
Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.
Bot. No, make it two more ; let it be written in eight and eight. Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion ? Star. I fear it, I promise you. Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves : to bring in a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wildfowl than your lion, living; and we ought to look to it.
Snout. Therefore, another prologue must tell, he is not a lion.
Bot. 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.
Quin. Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard
2 By our ladykin.
things; that is, to bring the moon-light into a chamber: for you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moon-light.
Snug. Doth the moon shine, that night we play our play?
Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanack; find out moon-shine, find out moon-shine.
Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.
Bot. Why, then you may leave a casement of the great chamber window, where we play, open; and the moon may shine in at the casement.
Quin. 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 moon-shine. 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 chinks of a wall.
Snug. You never can bring in a wall. – What say you, Bottom?
Bot. Some man or other must present wall: and let him have some plaster, or some lome, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; or let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
Quin. 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 brakes and so every one according to his cue.
Enter Puck behind.
Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swag.
Quin. Spcak, Pyramus :- Thisby, stand forth.
So doth thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear. -
[Exit. Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er play'd here!
[ Aside. — Exit. This. Must I speak now? Quin. Ay, marry, must you:
you must understand, he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
This. Most radiant Pyramus, mostlilly-white of hue, Of colour, like the red rose on triumphant brier, Most brisky juvenalt, and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse, that'yet would never tire. TU meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
Quin. - 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.
Re-enter Puck, and Bottom with an Ass's head. This. 0,- As true as truest horse, that yet would
never tire. Pyr. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine :
Quin. O monstrous ! O strange! we are haunted. Pray, masters ! fly, masters! help!
[Exeunt Clowns. Puck. I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round, Through bog, through bush, through brake,
4 Young man.
5. The last words of the preceding speech, which serve as a hint to him who is to speak next.
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. Bot. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them, to make me afeard.
Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed ! what do I see on thee?
[Exit, Bot. What do you see? you see an ass's head of your own; Do
Re-enter QUINCE. Quin. Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.
[Exit. Bot. I see their knavery: this is to
nake 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-tawney bill,
The wren with little quill ;
[Waking Bot. The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
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 ?