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And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running. Hel. Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius. Dem. I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus. Hel. O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so. Dem. Stay, on thy peril; I alone will go.
[Exit DEMETRIUS. Hel. O, I am out of breath in this fond chase! The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. Happy is Hermia, wheresoe'er she lies; For she hath blessed and attractive eyes. How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears; If so, my eyes are oftener washed than hers No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me, run away for fear.
Lys. And run through fire I will, for thy sweet sake. [Waking. Transparent Helena! Nature shows her art, That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
2 The quartos have only-" Nature shows art." The first folio-"Nature her shows art." The second folio changes her to here. Malone thought we should read, "Nature shows her art."
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word
Lys. Content with Hermia? No. I do repent
Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
But fare you well. Perforce I must confess,
Lys. She sees not Hermia!-Hermia, sleep thou there,
And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
1 i. e. do not ripen to it.
And all my powers, address your love and might,
Her. [Starting.] Help me, Lysander, help me!
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
SCENE I. The same.
The Queen of Fairies lying asleep.
Enter QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING.
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,—
Quin. What say'st thou, bully Bottom?
Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby, that will never please. First, Pyramus
1 By all that is dear.
must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer 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
Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.2
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-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 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 things; that is, to bring the moon-light into a chamber;
1 Perilous; used for alarming, amazing.
2 That is, in alternate verses of eight and six syllables.
for you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by moon
light. Snug. our play?
Doth the moon shine that night we play
Bot. A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac; 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 chink 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 loam, 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 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
Quin. Speak, Pyramus.-Thisby, stand forth.