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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 scroll : Masters, spread yourselves.
Quin. Answer, as I call you.—Nick Bottom, the weaver.
Bot. Ready : Name what part I am for, and proceed.
Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant ?
Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
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,
“ Of prison-gates :
" The foolish fates," 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.
Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman : I have a beard coming.
Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will 3.
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice ;-Thisne, Thisne,- Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisly dear! and lady dear !
Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus, and, Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother 14 ;--Tom Snout, the tinker.
Şnout. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father ;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part :-and, I hope, here is a play fitted.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written ? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow 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. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess 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 that 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 so, 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-faced man: a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in ?
Quin. Why, what you will.
Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard's, your orange-tawny beard, your purplein-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French-crowns have no hair at all 16, and then you will play bare-faced.-But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moon-light; there will we 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.
Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck at another.
Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
Swifter than the moones sphere;
In those freckles live their savours:
Farewel, thou lob of spirits, I'll be gone;
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to night;
quite, Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite, Call’d Robin Good-fellow 23 : are you not he, That fright the maidens of the villag’ry; Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern 24, And bootless make the breathless housewife churn; And sometimes make the drink to bear no barmas; Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm? Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, You do their work, and they shall have good luck: Are not you he? Puck.
Thou speak'st aright; I am that merry wanderer of the night,