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Verges. Nay, that's certain: we have the exhibition ; to examine.

Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be examined ? Let them come before master constable.

Dogberry. Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend ?

Borachio. Borachio.

Dogberry. Pray write down, Borachio. [The Sexton writes.] Yours, sirrah ?

Conrade. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

15 Dogberry. Write down, master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve God ?

Conrade, Borachio. Yea, sir, we hope.

Dogberry. Write down, that they hope they serve God : and write God first; for God defend but God 20 should go before such villains ! Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves ? Conrade. Marry, sir, we say we are none.

25 Dogberry. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you ; but I will go about with him. He turns to Borachio.] Come you hither, sirrah ; a word in your ear, sir : [sinking his voice] I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves. Borachio. Sir, I say to you, we are none.

30 Dogberry. Well, stand aside. [To Verges.] 'Fore God, they are both in a tale. [To the Sexton.] Have you writ down, that they are none ?

Sexton. Master constable, you go not the way to examine : you must call forth the watch that are their 35 accusers.

Dogberry. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch come forth. (The First and Second Watchmen come forward.] Masters, I charge you in the Prince's name, accuse these men.

First Watch [pointing to Borachio). This man said, sir, that Don John, the Prince's brother, was a villain.

Dogberry. Write down, Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother villain. Borachio. Master constable,

45 Dogberry. Pray thee, fellow, peace : I do not like thy look, I promise thee.

40

say

Sexton. What heard

you

him else ? Second Watch. Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrong- 50 fully.

Dogberry. Flat burglary as ever was committed.
Verges. Yea, by the mass, that it is.
Sexton. What else, fellow ?

First Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon 55 his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.

Dogberry. O villain ! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this. Sexton. What else ?

60 Second Watch. This is all.

Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away: Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner refused, and upon the grief of this suddenly died. Master constable, 65 let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's; I will go before, and show him their examination. [Exit. Dogberry. Come, let them be opinioned.

[The Watch seize them. Conrade. Off, coxcomb !

Dogberry. God's my life! where's the sexton ? let 70 him write down, the Prince's officer, coxcomb. Come, bind them. [They are bound.] Thou naughty varlet !

Conrade. Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

Dogberry. Dost thou not suspect my place ? Dost thou not suspect my years ? Oh, that he were here to write 75 me down an ass ! But, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer; and, which 80 is more, a householder ; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Messina ; and one that knows the law, go to ; and a rich fellow enough, go to ; and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns, and everything handsome about him. Bring him 85 away. Oh, that I had been writ down an ass ! [Exeunt.

XVIII. A VERY TRAGICAL

COMEDY

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

SCENE I. THE COMPANY. Peter Quince, a carpenter of Athens, proposes with the aid

of some other workmen to act an interlude at court on the night of Duke Theseus' wedding with Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. He calls his company together in his cottage, to assign the parts ; the other players are Nick Bottom, a weaver, Francis Flute, a bellows-mender, Robin Starveling, a tailor, Tom Snout, a tinker, and Snug, a joiner. Instead of playing something homely and comic which they could do very weil, he chooses (as such people usually do) a sentimental piece with a dash of

tragedy in it. Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.

Quince. Is all our company here ?

Bottom. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

Quince. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude 5 before the Duke and the Duchess on his wedding-day at night.

Bottom. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.

Quince. Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

Bottom. 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 yourselves.

15 [He arranges them in a line. Quince [unrolling the scrip, and ticking off their names as they answer). Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.

Bottom. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

1ο 30

Quince. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. 20 Bottom. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant ?

Quince. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.

Bottom. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will 25 move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest :-yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. (Strikes an attitude and declaims at the top of his voice.

'The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks

Of prison-gates ;
And Phibbus' car
Shall shine from far,

35 And make and mar

The foolish Fates.' This was lofty! [Waving his hand magnificently.] Now, name the rest of the players. [Confidentially, to Quince.] This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein: a lover is 40 more condoling.

Quince. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender. Flute. Here, Peter Quince. Quince. You must take Thisby on you. Flute. What is Thisby? a wandering knight? 45 Quince. It is the lady that Pyramus must love. Flute. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming.

Quince. That's all one : you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will

.

50 Bottom. Ăn 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!'

Quince (irritated]. No, no; you must play Pyramus : 55 and, Flute, you Thisby.

Bottom (with a look of resignation). Well, proceed.
Quince. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Starveling. Here, Peter Quince.

Quince. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's 60 mother. Tom Snout, the tinker.

Snout. Here, Peter Quince.

Quince. You, Pyramus' father: myself, Thisby's father : Snug, the joiner, you the lion's part : and, I hope, here is a play fitted.

65 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 extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

Bottom (excitedly]. Let me play the lion too: I will 70 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.'

[He roars. Quince. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the Duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek ; 75 and that were enough to hang us all.

All. That would hang us, every mother's son.

Bottom. 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 aggravate my voice 80 so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove ; I will roar youan’twereanynightingale. [Bleats like a lamb.

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- 85 like man : therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

Bottom. Well, I will undertake it. [Stroking his chin.] What beard were I best to play it in ?

Quince. Why, what you will.

Bottom. I will discharge it in either your straw-colour 90 beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.

Quince. Masters, here are your parts [giving them papers): and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, 95 to con them by to-morrow 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, and our devices known. In the mean time, I will draw a bill of properties, such as 100 our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.

Bottom. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely and courageously. Take pains ; be perfect; adieu.

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