If he come not, then the play is mar’d. It goes
not forward, doth it?
It is not possible: you haue not a man in all
Athens, able to discharge Piramus but he.
No, hee hath simply the best wit of any handycraft
man in Athens.
Yea, and the best person too, and hee is a very
Paramour, for a sweet voyce.
You must say, Paragon. A Paramour is (God
blesse vs) a thing of nought.
Enter Snug the Ioyner.
Masters, the Duke is comming from the Temple,
and there is two or three Lords & Ladies more married.
If our sport had gone forward, we had all bin made
O sweet bully Bottome: thus hath he lost sixepence
a day, during his life; he could not haue scaped sixpence
a day. And the Duke had not giuen him sixpence
a day for playing Piramus, Ile be hang’d. He would haue
deserued it. Sixpence a day in Piramus, or nothing.
sweet Comedy. No more words: away, go away.
Where are these Lads? Where are these hearts?
Bottome, o most couragious day! O most happie
Masters, I am to discourse wonders; but ask me
not what. For if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I
will tell you euery thing as it fell out.
Let vs heare, sweet Bottome.
Not a word of me: all that I will tell you, is, that
the Duke hath dined. Get your apparell together, good
strings to your beards, new ribbands to your pumps,
meete presently at the Palace, euery man looke ore his
part: for the short and the long is, our play is preferred:
In any case let Thisby haue cleane linnen: and let not him
that playes the Lion, paire his nailes, for they shall hang
out for the Lions clawes. And most deare Actors, eate
no Onions, nor Garlicke; for wee are to vtter sweete
breath, and I doe not doubt but to heare them say, it is a
Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Egeus and his Lords.
’Tis strange my Theseus, y these louers speake of.
More strange then true. I neuer may beleeue
These anticke fables, nor these Fairy toyes,
Louers and mad men haue such seething braines,
Such shaping phantasies, that apprehend more
Then coole reason euer comprehends.
The Lunaticke, the Louer, and the Poet,
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more diuels then vaste hell can hold;
That is the mad man. The Louer, all as franticke,
Sees Helens beauty in a brow of Egipt.
The Poets eye in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance
From heauen to earth, from earth to heauen.
And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things
Vnknowne; the Poets pen turnes them to shapes,
And giues to aire nothing, a locall habitation,
And a name. Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some ioy,
It comprehends some bringer of that ioy.
Or in the night, imagining some feare,
Howe easie is a bush suppos’d a Beare?
But all the storie of the night told ouer,
And all their minds transfigur’d so together,
More witnesseth than fancies images,
And growes to something of great constancie;
But howsœuer, strange, and admirable.
Enter louers, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.
Heere come the louers, full of ioy and mirth:
Ioy, gentle friends, ioy and fresh dayes
Of loue accompany your hearts.
More then to vs, waite in your royall walkes,
your boord, your bed.
Come now, what maskes, what dances shall
To weare away this long age of three houres,
Between our after supper, and bed-time?
Where is our vsuall manager of mirth?
What Reuels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing houre?
Heere mighty Theseus.
Say, what abridgement haue you for this euening?
What maske? What musicke? How shall we beguile
The lazie time, if not with some delight?
There is a breefe how many sports are rife:
Make choise of which your Highnesse will see first.
The battell with the Centaurs to be sung
By an Athenian Eunuch, to the Harpe.
Wee’l none of that. That haue I told my Loue
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.
The riot of the tipsie Bachanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer, in their rage?
That is an old deuice, and it was plaid
When I from Thebes came last a Conqueror
The thrice three Muses, mourning for the death
of learning, late deceast in beggerie.
That is some Satire keene and criticall,
Not sorting with a nuptiall ceremonie.
A tedious breefe Scene of yong Piramus,
And his loue Thisby; very tragicall mirth.
Merry and tragicall? Tedious, and briefe? That
is, hot ice, and wondrous strange snow. How shall wee
finde the concord of this discord?
A play there is, my Lord, some ten words long,
Which is as breefe, as I haue knowne 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 tragicall my noble Lord it is: for Piramus
Therein doth kill himselfe. Which when I saw
Rehearst, I must confesse, made mine eyes water:
But more merrie teares, the passion of loud laughter
What are they that do play it?
Hard handed men, that worke in Athens heere,
Which neuer labour’d in their mindes till now;
And now haue toyled their vnbreathed memories
With this same play, against your nuptiall.
And we will heare it