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Snout. Here, Peter Quince.
Quince. You, Pyramus' 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. Quince. You may do it without, for it is nothing but roaring. Bottom. 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." Quince. If 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. AU. That would hang us, every mother's son. Bottom. I will roar as gently as any sucking dove; I will

roar as if it were a nightingale. Quince. 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: there

fore you must play Pyramus. Bottom. Well, I will undertake it. Quince. Masters, here are your parts; and I entreat you,

request you, and desire you to learn them by tomorrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight. There will we rehearse, for if we

meet in the city, we shall be dogged with company.
Bottom. We will meet. — Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
Quince. At the Duke's oak we meet.
Bottom. Enough; hold or cut bow-strings.

[Exeunt R.]

1 All: not in unison, but Flute and Snug dividing the speech between them, and the others nodding their heads or giving other signs of agreement.

proper: well-built, handsome.

2

Scene 2. A wood near Athens. Puck meets a fairy.

[Enter, from opposite sides, a Fairy L. and Puck R.)
Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you?
Fairy. Over hill, over dale,

Through bush, through brier,
I do wander every where;
And I serve the fairy Queen.

I must go seek some dewdrops here. She skips away, and Puck follows, chasing her as she flits up and down. He catches her by the hand and jerks her toward him as if to kiss her.

Our Queen and all her elves are near.
Puck. The King' doth keep his revels here to-night.
Fairy. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,

Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
And misleads night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that call you Hobgoblin and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they have luck.

Are not you he?
Puck.

Thou speakest aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile -

Here the fairy slips away from him, and Puck follows her (L.).

He reënters a minute later, skipping, and playing all around the stage. He darts behind a shrub just as

Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling enter (R.).

Puck watches them, with lively enjoyment, dodging here and there, behind the shrubbery. Bottom. Are we all met?

1 The King: Oberon (o'bēr-on), king of the fairies.

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The quarrel between Titania and Oberon. (See Supplementary Readings, page 122.)

Quince. Pat, pat;1 and here's a marvellously convenient

place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage,

and we will do it in action as we will do it before the Duke. Bottom Peter Quince Quince. What sayest thou, bully? Bottom? Bottom. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and

Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself, which the ladies cannot abide.

How answer you that? Snout. A parilous: fear. Starveling. I believe we must leave the killing out, when

all is done. Bottom. Not a whit! I have a device to make all well.

Write me a prolog; and let the prolog seem to say that we will do no harm with our swords and that Pyramus is not killed indeed, and that I Pyramus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver.

[Puck giggles.] Quince. Well, we shall have such a prolog. Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion? Starveling. I fear it, I promise you. Bottom. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves.

To bring in — God shield us! — a lion among ladies, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful wildfowl than a lion living; and we ought to look to it.

[Puck sits down and laughs.] Snout. Therefore another prolog must tell he is not a lion. Bottom. Nay, you must name his name, and half his face

must be seen through the lion's neck; and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect,

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1 pat: exactly. 2 bully: a term of rough endearment. 3 parilous: perilous. 4 defect. Of course Bottom means "effect."

“Ladies," or "Fair ladies, I would wish you," or "I would request you," or "I would entreat you,' not to fear, not to tremble:

my
life for yours.

If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are”; and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.

Puck stands on his head and kicks his legs for joy. Quince. Well, it shall be so. If that may be, then all is

well. Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. — Pyramus, you begin. When you have spoken your speech, enter into that bush. And so every one according to his cue. Speak, Pyramus. - Thisby,

stand forth.
Bottom. “Thisby, the flowers of odious savors sweet,”
Quince. Odors, odors.
Bottom.

-“odors savors sweet;
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile,

And by and by I will to thee appear.'
He makes his exit (R.) through the shrubbery where Puck is hiding,
and Puck darts after him.
Flute. Must I speak now?
Quince. Ay; for you must understand he goes but to see a

noise that he heard, and is to come again. Flute. "Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,

As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,

I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb." Quince. “Ninus'a tomb," man. Why, you must not speak

that yet; that you answer to Pyramus. You speak all • your part at once, cues and all. — Pyramus, enter. Your cue is past; it is, "never tire."

request you,” or I would entreat you: Bottom is not hesitating; but in his fever of excitement and pleasure, he suggests every good idea that comes to him.

2 Ninus' (ni'nŭs').

1

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