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Sickness is catching; O were favour* so!
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
O, teach me how you look; and with what art
Her. I frown upon him, yet he loves me still. Hel. O, that your frowns would teach my smiles · such skill!
Her. I give him curses, yet he gives me love. Hel. O, that my prayers could such affection move!
Her. The more I hate, the more he follows me. Hel. The more I love, the more he hateth me. Her. His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
Hel. None, but your beauty; 'would that fault were mine!
Her. Take comfort; he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.-
Lys. Helen, to you our minds we will unfold: To-morrow night when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the wat'ry glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal), Through Athens' gates have we devis'd to steal.
Her. And in the wood, where often you and I Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie, Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet: There my Lysander and myself shall meet:
And thence, from Athens, turn away our eyes,
Hel. How happy some, o'er other some can be!
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
The same. A room in a Cottage.
Enter Snug, Bottom, Fluté, Snout, Quince, and Starveling.
Quin. Is all our company here?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.
Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding-day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
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 your
Quin. Answer, as I call you.-Nick Bottom, the
Bot. Ready: name what part I am for, and pro
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyra
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 VOL. II.
for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
"The raging rocks,
"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. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
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.
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 Thisby dear! and lady dear!
Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus, and, Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.-Tom Snout, the tinker.
Snout. 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 aggra. vate 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, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, 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 propertiest, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
• As if. + Articles required in performing a play.