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But stay, O spite ! (Seeing the torn mantle.

But mark, poor knight,
What dreadful dole is here !

215 Eyes, do you see?

How can it be ?
O dainty duck! O dear!

Thy mantle good,

What, stained with blood ?
Approach, ye Furies fell !

O Fates, come, come,

Cut thread and thrum; Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!' Theseus. This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near to make a man look sad.

226 Hippolyta. Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man. Pyramus. 'Oh, wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions

frame ? Since lion vile hath here devoured my dear : Which is-no, no—which was the fairest dame 230 That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked with cheer.

Come, tears, confound ;

Out, sword, and wound.
The pap of Pyramus :
Aye, that left pap,

235 Where heart doth hop: [He stabs himself three

times, and falls with the sword under him. Thus die I, thus, thus, thus !

Now am I dead,

Now am I fled ;
My soul is in the sky:

240 Tongue, lose thy light!

Moon, take thy flight ! [Exit Moonshine. Now die, die, die, die, die.'

[Dies. Theseus. With the help of a surgeon, he might yet recover,

and
prove

245 Hippolyta. How chance Moonshine is gone, before Thisbe comes back and finds her lover ?

Theseus. She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and her passion ends the play.

Re-enter Thisbe. Hippolyta. Methinks she should not use a long one for such a Pyramus : I hope she will be brief.

251

an ass.

Demetrius. A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe, is the better.

Lysander. She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.

255 Demetrius. And thus she moans, videlicet :Thisbe. ' Asleep, my love ? (She starts wildly.

What, dead, my dove ?
O Pyramus, arise !
Speak, speak. Quite dumb ?

260
Dead, dead ? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.

These lily lips,

This cherry nose, :
These yellow cowslip cheeks,

265 Are gone, are gone :

Lovers, make moan :
His eyes were green as leeks.

O, Sisters Three,
Come, come to me,

370 With hands as pale as milk :

Lay them in gore,

Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.
Tongue, not a word :

275 Come, trusty sword : [She looks about for the Come, blade, my breast imbrue :

And farewell, friends :

Thus Thisby ends :
Adieu, adieu, adieu.'

280 [She kills herself with the scabbard. Theseus. Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.

Demetrius. Aye, and Wall too.

Bottom [starting up, and going to the Duke). No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers. 285 Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company ?

Theseus. No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no excuse. Never excuse ; for when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed. Marry, if he that 290 writ it, had played Pyramus, and hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and

sword.

so it is, truly; and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your epilogue alone.

[A dance. The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve : 295 Lovers, to bed ; 'tis almost fairy time. I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn, As much as we this night have overwatched. This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed. 300 A fortnight hold we this solemnity, In nightly revels, and new jollity.

[Exeunt.

XIX. SIR JOHN

FALSTAFF

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Falstaff, a very fat old knight, is one of the worthless com

panions of Prince Hal, afterwards King Henry V, in his young wild days. Others of the set are Poins, Gadshill, Peto, and Bardolph. Gadshill has found out that some rich people are travelling from Rochester to London early in the morning, and will pass by Gadshill, a place noted for highway robberies (so that he is himself very suitably named after it). Falstaff asks the Prince to join in the proposed robbery; he refuses, but Poins promises to bring him, saying he will privately give him good reasons for coming.

SCENE I. THE START. The scene is an inn-yard at Rochester, the time about four

o'clock on a very dark morning. Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand. He looks at

the position of the stars, and yawns. First Carrier. Heigh-ho! An't be not four by the day, I'll be hanged : Charles's wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not packed. What, ostler !

[He bangs at the stable-door. Ostler [drowsily, within). Anon, anon.

First Carrier. I pr’ythee, Tom, beat Cut's saddle, put a few flocks in the point; poor jade, is wrung in the withers out of all cess.

4

Enter another Carrier with a lantern, dragging in the saddle.

Second Carrier. Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades the bots : this house is turned upside down since Robin 10 Ostler died.

First Carrier. Poor fellow, never joyed since the price of oats rose ; it was the death of him.

Second Carrier (scratching himself]. I think this be the most villainous house in all London road for fleas : I am 15 stung like a tench.

First Carrier. Like a tench! by the mass, there is ne'er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock. [Banging at the door again.) What, ostler ! come away and be hanged ! come away.

Second Carrier. I have a gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger, to be delivered as far as Charing Cross.

[Puts down the lantern and begins to beat the saddle. First Carrier [looking over his goods]. The turkeys in my pannier are quite starved. What, ostler ! A plague on thee! hast thou never an eye in thy head ? canst 25 not hear ? An 'twere not as good a deed as drink, to break the pate on thee, I am a very villain. Come and be hanged hast no faith in thee ?

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Enter Gadshill.
Gadshill. Good morrow, carriers. What's o'clock ?

First Carrier [looking at him suspiciously and telling him the wrong time]. I think it be two o'clock.

30 Gadshill. I pr'ythee, lend me thy lantern, to see my gelding in the stable.

[Takes hold of the lantern. First Carrier (pulling it away]. Nay, soft, I pray ye: I know a trick worth two of that, i' faith. Gadshill. I pr'ythee, lend me thine.

35 Second Carrier (picking up his lantern). Aye, when ? canst tell ? Lend me the lantern, quoth he ? Marry, I'll see thee hanged first.

Gadshill. Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London ?

Second Carrier. Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee. Come, neighbour Mugs, we'll call up the gentlemen : they will along with company, for they have great charge. [Exeunt Carriers.

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Gadshill. What, ho! chamberlain.

45 Chamberlain (within). At hand, quoth pick-purse.

Gadshill. That's even as fair as—at hand, quoth the chamberlain ; for thou variest no more from picking of purses, than giving direction doth from labouring; thou layest the plot how.

50 Enter Chamberlain Chamberlain. Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current, that I told you yesternight : there's a franklin in the wild of Kent hath brought three hundred marks with him in gold : I heard him tell it to one of his company, last night at supper ; a kind of auditor ; one 55 that hath abundance of charge too, God knows what. They are up already, and call for eggs and butter : they will away presently.

Gadshill. Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas' clerks, I'll give thee this neck.

60 Chamberlain. No, I'll none of it: I pray thee, keep that for the hangman; for I know thou worship’st Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of falsehood may.

Gadshill. What talkest thou to me of the hangman ? If I hang, I'll make a fat pair of gallows; for if I hang, 65 old Sir John hangs with me, and thou knowest he's no starveling. Tut! there are other Trojans that thou dreamest not of, the which, for sport sake, are content to do the profession some grace ; that would, if matters should be looked into, for their own credit sake make all 70 whole. I am joined with no foot-land-rakers, no longstaff sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio purple-hued malt-worms; but with nobility and tranquillity, burgomasters and great-oneyers, such as can hold in, such as will strike sooner than speak, and speak 75 sooner than drink, and drink sooner than pray. We steal as in a castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.

Chamberlain. Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking 80 invisible.

Gadshill. Give my thy hand : thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as I am a true man.

Chamberlain. Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false thief.

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