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- 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?
Call Philostrate.'

Philoft. Here, mighty Theseus.

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?

Philoft. There is a brief, how many sports are ripe; Make choice of which your highness will see first.

[Giving a paper. Tbe. reads.] The battle of the Centaurs, to be fung

By an Athenian eunuch to the barp. We'll none of that : that I have told my love, In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,

Tearing the Thracian singer 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 facire, keen, and critical, Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

9 abridgment]-plays were so called, from their comprising the events of years in the compass of a few hours.

The thrice three Mufes ]-alluding perhaps to Spenser's “ Tears of the Muses,” the more than mortal sweetness of whose pastorals our author is supposed to intimate, Act II, S. 2. where the Queen says of


“ And, in the shape of Corin, fate all day” &c. or this pretended title may contain an oblique satire upon those, who could suffer Spenfer himself to die in distress. s critical,] censorious.

A tedious A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,

And his love Thisbe : very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical ? Tedious and brief ?
That is, hot ice, and wonderous ' strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord ?

Pbiloft. A play there 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 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 ?

Philoft. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens here, Which never labour'd in their minds 'till now; And now have coil'd their " unbreath'd memories With this same play, against your nupcial.

The. And we will hear it.

Philoft. 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,
To do you service.

Tbe. I will hear that play :
For never any thing can be amiss,

. ney

- Arange black; fcorching.
2 unbreath'd]-untried, unexperienced.

* intents, &c.]-entertaininent, which in compliment to you, they have rack'd their brains to devise.

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When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in ;--and take your places, ladies.

[Exit Philoft. 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 duty cannot do, Noble relpect takes * it in might, not merit. Where I have come, great clerks have purposed To greet me with premeditated welcomes ; Where I have seen them shiver, 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 silence, yet, I pick'd a welcome ; And in the modesty of fearful duty I read as much, as from the rattling tongue Of sawcy and audacious eloquence. Love, therefore, and tongue-ty'd fimplicity, In leaft, speak most, to my capacity.

Enter Philoftrate. Philoft. So please your grace, the prologue is ? addrest. Tbe. Let him approach.

[Flour. Trum. Enter the prologue. Prol. If we offend, it is with our good will. That you should think, we come not to offend,

* it in might, not merit.]-the best in its might to do, for the best that might be done the will for the deed.

y periods ]-full stops. 2 addrejt.)-prepared to enter.

But But with good-will. TO Shew 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 pould bere repent you,
The actors are at band; and, by their show,
You shall know all, that you are like to know.

The. This fellow doth not stand upon points.

Lyf. 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 this prologue, like a child on a * recorder ; a sound, but not in government.

Tbe. His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impair’d, but all disordered. Who is next? Enter Pyramus and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, and Lion, as

in dumb pow. Prol. “ 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 present

“ Wall, that 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 you will know, “ By moon-shine did these lovers think no scorn

“ To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo. " This grisly beast, which by name lion hight, “ The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,

recorder ;]-a Aute.

o government.)-tune.

F 3


“ Did scare away, or rather did affright:
“ And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall;

“ Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain : “ Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall,

" And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle anain: “Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,

“He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast; “ And (Thisby carrying in mulberry shade,) · « His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, “ Let lion, moon-shine, 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 befall, " That I, one Snout 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 shew “ That I am that same wall; the truth is so : " And this the cranny is, right and finister,

[Holding up one hand, with a finger separated. “ 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, my lord. The, Pyramus draws near the wall: silence !

Enter Pyramus. Pyr. “O grim-look'd night! O night with hue fo black ! “O night, which ever art, when day is not ! o let fall.

Jain :)-torn.


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