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Enter Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.
The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
Joy, gentle friends, joy, and fresh days of love,
Accompany your hearts !
Lyf. More than to us,
Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed !
The. Come now, what masks, what dances shall we have,
To wear away this long age of three hours,
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth ?
What revels are in hand ? is there no play
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
. Here, mighty Theseus, here.
The. Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?
What mask? what musick? how shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
Phil. There is a brief, how many sports are ripe :
Make choice of which your highness will see first.
The. The battel with the Centaurs, to be sung [Reads.
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.
We'll none of that. That have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian finger in their rage.
That is an old device, and it was play'd
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
The thrice three muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceas'd in beggary.
That is some satyr keen and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,
[Reads. And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical ? tedious and brief?
That is, hot ice, and wond'rous scorching snow;
How shall we find the concord of this discord ?
Phil. A play it is, my lord, some ten words long,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious: for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And tragical, my noble lord, it is :
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw't rehears’d, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water ; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.
The. What are they that do play it?
Phil. Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
Which never labour'd in their minds ’till now;
And now have toild their unbreath'd memories
With this fame play against your nuptials.
The. And we will hear it.
Phil. No, my noble lord,
It is not for you. I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world,
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain,
The. I will hear that play:
For never any thing can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in; and take your places, ladies.
Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd,
And duty in his service perishing,
The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
Hip. He says, they can do nothing in this kind.
Tbe. The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake;
And what poor willing duty cannot do,
Noble respect takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great elerks have purpofed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
When I have feen them fhiver, and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this filence yet I pick'd a welcome:
And in the modesty of fearful duty
I read as much, as from the ratling tongue
Of sawcy and audacious eloquence.
Love therefore and tongue-ty'd fimplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.
. So please your grace, the prologue is addrest. The. Let him approach.
Enter Quince for tbe prologue.
Pro. If we offend, it is with our good will.
should think we come not to offend, But with good will. To show our simple skill,
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 play'd on his prologue, like a child on the recorder ; a found, but not in government.
The. His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impair’d, but all disorder'd. Who is the next? Enter Pyramus, and Thisbe, Wall, Moon-shine, and Lion,
in dumb show. Pro. 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-caft, doth prefent
Wall, the vile wall, which did these lovers sunder:
And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper. At the which, let no man wonder. This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn, Presenteth moon-shine: for, if
will know, By moon-fhine did these lovers think no fcorn
To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
This grizly beast, which Lion hight by name,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright:
And, as she fled, her mantle she let fall;
Which Lion'vile' with bloody mouth did stain.
Anon comes Pyramus, fweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle flain;
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast.
And Thisby, tarrying in the mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moon-fbine, Wall, and lovers twain,
At large discourse,while here they do remain. [Exeunt all but Wall.
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 befal,
That I, one Snowt by name, present a wall.:.
And such a wall, as I would have you think,
That had in it a cranny'd hole, or chink;
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly:
This lome, this rough-cast, and this stone doth show,
That I am that same wall; the truth is fo.
And this the cranny is, right and finister,
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,
The. Pyramus draws near the wall: filence !
Pyr. O grim-look'd night! o night with hue so black !
O night, which ever art when day is not !
O night, o night, alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot.
And thou, o wall, o sweet and lovely wall,
That stands 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.
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, fir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's. cue; she is to enter, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.
This. O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me.
My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones;
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.