O then, what graces in my Loue do dwell,
That he hath turn’d a heauen into hell.
Helen, to you our mindes we will vnfold,
To morrow night, when Phœbe doth behold
Her ſiluer viſage, in the watry glaſſe,
Decking with liquid pearle, the bladed graſſe
(A time that Louers flights doth ſtill conceale)
Through Athens gates, haue we deuis’d to ſteale.
And in the wood, where often you and I,
Vpon faint Primroſe beds, were wont to lye,
Emptying our boſomes, of their counſell ſweld:
There my Lyſander, and my ſelfe ſhall meete,
And thence from Athens turne away our eyes
To ſeeke new friends and ſtrange companions,
Farwell ſweet play-fellow, pray thou for vs,
And good lucke grant thee thy Demetrius.
Keepe word Lyſander we muſt ſtarue our ſight,
From louers foode, till morrow deepe midnight.
I will my Hermia. Helena adieu,
As you on him, Demetrius dotes on you.
To haue his sight thither, and backe againe.
How happy ſome, ore otherſome can be?
Through Athens I am thought as faire as ſhe.
But what of that? Demetrius thinkes not ſo:
He will not know, what all, but he doth know,
And as hee erres, doting on Hermias eyes;
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things baſe and vilde, holding no quantity,
Loue can tranſpoſe to forme and dignity,
Loue lookes not with the eyes, but with the minde,
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blinde.
Nor hath loues minde of any iudgement taſte:
Wings and no eyes, figure, vnheedy haſte.
And therefore is Loue ſaid to be a childe,
Becauſe in choiſe he is often beguil’d,
As waggiſh boyes in game themſelues forſweare;
So the boy Loue is periur’d euery where.
For ere Demetrius lookt on Hermias eyne,
He hail’d downe oathes that he was onely mine.
And when this Haile ſome heat from Hermia felt,
So he diſſolu’d, and ſhowres of oathes did melt,
I will goe tell him of faire Hermias flight:
Then to the wood will he, to morrow night
Purſue her; and for his intelligence,
If I haue thankes, it is a deere expence:
But heerein meane I to enrich my paine,
Enter Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Ioyner, Bottome the Weauer, Flute the bellowes-mender, Snout the Tinker, and Starueling the Taylor.
Is all our company heere?
You were beſt to call them generally, man by
man, according to the ſcrip.
Here is the ſcrowle of euery mans name, which
is thought fit through all Athens, to play in our Enterlude
before the Duke and the Dutches, on his wedding
day at night.
Firſt, good Peter Quince, ſay what the play treats
on: then read the names of the Actors: and ſo grow on
to a point.
Marry our play is the moſt lamentable Comedy,
and moſt cruell death of Pyramus and Thisbie.
A very good peece of worke I aſſure you, and a
merry. Now good Peter Quince, call forth your Actors
by the ſcrowle. Maſters ſpread your ſelues.
Anſwere as I call you. Nick Bottome the
Ready; name what part I am for, and
You Nicke Bottome are ſet downe for Pyramus.
What is Pyramus, a louer, or a tyrant?
A Louer that kills himſelfe most gallantly for
That will aske ſome teares in the true performing
of it: if I do it, let the audience looke to their eies:
I will mooue ſtormes; I will condole in ſome meaſure.
To the reſt yet, my chiefe humour is for a tyrant. I could
play Ercles rarely, or a part to teare a Cat in, to make all
ſplit the raging Rocks; and ſhiuering ſhocks ſhall break
the locks of priſon gates, and Phibbus carre ſhall ſhine
from farre, and make and marre the fooliſh Fates. This
was lofty. Now name the reſt of the Players. This
is Ercles vaine, a tyrants vaine: a louer is more condoling.
Francis Flute the Bellowes-mender.
Heere Peter Quince.
You muſt take Thisbie on you.
What is Thisbie, a wandring Knight?
It is the Lady that Pyramus muſt loue.
Nay faith, let not mee play a woman, I haue a
That’s all one, you ſhall play it in a Maske, and
you may ſpeake as ſmall as you will.
And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbie too:
Ile ſpeake in a monſtrous little voyce; Thiſne, Thiſne, ah
Pyramus my louer deare, thy Thisbie deare, and Lady
No no, you muſt play Pyramus, and Flute, you
Robin Starueling the Taylor.
Heere Peter Quince.
Robin Starueling, you muſt play Thisbies
Tom Snowt, the Tinker.
Heere Peter Quince.
You, Pyramus father; my ſelf, Thisbies father;
Snugge the Ioyner, you the Lyons part: and I hope there
is a play fitted.
Haue you the Lions part written? pray you if
be, giue it me, for I am ſlow of ſtudie.
You may doe it extemporie, for it is nothing
Let mee play the Lyon too, I will roare that I
will doe any mans heart good to heare me. I will roare,
that I will make the Duke ſay, Let him roare againe, let
him roare againe.
If you ſhould doe it too terribly, you would
fright the Dutcheſſe and the Ladies, that they would
ſhrike, and that were enough to hang vs all.
That would hang vs euery mothers ſonne.
I graunt you friends, if that you ſhould
fright the Ladies out of their Wittes, they would
haue no more diſcretion but to hang vs: but I will aggrauate
my voyce ſo, that I will roare you as gently as
any ſucking Doue; I will roare and ’twere any Nightingale.
You can play no part but Piramus, for Pira-