A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 3, Scene 1

2. marvailes: marvellous.
           Enter the Clowns [QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM,
           FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING].

  1   Are we all met?

  2   Pat, pat; and here's a marvailes convenient
  3   place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall
4. brake: thicket. tiring-house: dressing room, hence back stage.
  4   be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-
  5   house; and we will do it in action as we will
  6   do it before the duke.

  7   Peter Quince,—

8. bully: a friendly term meaning "good fellow, jolly fellow, or fine fellow."
  8   What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

  9   There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
 10   Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must
 11   draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies
 12   cannot abide. How answer you that?

13. By'r lakin: by our ladykin, i.e., the Virgin Mary. parlous: perilous.
 13   By'r lakin, a parlous fear.

14-15. when all is done: after all; i.e., when all is said and done.
 14   I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is
 15   done.

 16   Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
17. Write me: i.e., write at my suggestion. (Me is the ethical dative).
 17   Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to
 18   say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that
 19   Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more
 20   better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
 21   Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them
 22   out of fear.

 23   Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be
24. eight and six: the common ballad measure of alternating eight-syllable and six-syllable lines.
 24   written in eight and six.

 25   No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and
 26   eight.

30. lion among ladies: It has been suggested . . . more 32. fearful: (1) dreadful, fear-inspiring (as referring to a lion); (2) full of fear (as referring to a bird). your: The indefinite use, meaning "that everyone is familiar with."
 27   Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

 28   I fear it, I promise you.

 29   Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to
 30   bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies, is a
 31   most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful
 32   wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to
 33   look to 't.

 34   Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a
 35   lion.

 36   Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
 37   must be seen through the lion's neck: and he
 38   himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the
39. defect: Bottom's blunder for effect.
 39   same defect,—"Ladies,"—or "Fair-ladies—I would
 40   You,"—wish or "I would request you,"—or "I
41-42. my life for yours: I pledge my life in defense of yours.
 41   would entreat you,—not to fear, not to tremble: my
 42   life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion,
43. were pity of my life: would endanger my life.
 43   it were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I
 44   am a man as other men are;" and there indeed let him
 45   name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the
 46   joiner.

Pyramus and Thisbe —A. Nesselthaler, 1795
 47   Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things;
 48   that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber;
 49   for, you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by
 50   moonlight.

 51   Doth the moon shine that night we play our
 52   play?

 53   A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find
 54   out moonshine, find out moonshine.

 55   Yes, it doth shine that night.

 56   Why, then may you leave a casement of the great
 57   chamber window, where we play, open, and the moon
 58   may shine in at the casement.

59. bush of thorns: Peasants saw "the man in the moon" as bearing a bundle of sticks. lanthorn: lantern. 60. disfigure: Quince's blunder for prefigure. 61. present: represent.
 59   Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
 60   and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
 61   present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is
 62   another thing: we must have a wall in the great
 63   chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story,
 64   did talk through the chink of a wall.

 65   You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
 66   Bottom?

 67   Some man or other must present Wall: and let him
68. rough-cast: plaster mixed with pebbles for coating the outside of buildings.
 68   have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast
 69   about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his
 70   fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus
 71   and Thisby whisper.

 72   If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
 73   every mother's son, and rehearse your parts.
 74   Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your
 75   speech, enter into that brake: and so every one
 76   according to his cue.

           Enter ROBIN [PUCK, behind].

77. hempen home-spuns: uncouth rustics (literally, persons wearing home-spun cloth made of hemp). swagg'ring: blustering about. 79. toward: about to take place.
 77   What hempen home-spuns have we swagg'ring here,
 78   So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
 79   What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
 80   An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.

 81   Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.

82. odious: blunder for odorous. Dogberry makes the reverse error in Much Ado, III.v.16: "Comparisons are odorous."
 82   "Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—

 83   Odours, odours.

 84   —"odours savours sweet"—
 85   So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
 86   But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
 87   And by and by I will to thee appear."


88. here: i.e., here in this theatre or here on earth (?).
 88   A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.


 89   Must I speak now?

 90   Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand
 91   he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to
 92   come again.

 93   "Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
 94   Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,
95. brisky juvenal: lively youth. eke: also. Jew: Probably suggested by the first syllable of juvenal and used to provide a rhyme.
 95   Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
 96   As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
 97   I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb."

98. Ninus: mythical founder of Nineveh; his wife, Semiramis. reputedly erected Babylon, the location of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe.
 98   "Ninus' tomb," man: why, you must not speak that
 99   yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your
100   part at once, cues and all. Pyramus enter: your cue
Bottom with an ass-head
by Arthur Rackham 1867 - 1939

103. fair: handsome. were: would be.

106. about a round: roundabout.
101   is past; it is, "never tire."

102   O,—"As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire."

           [Enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.]

103   "If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine."

104   O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray,
105   masters! fly, masters! Help!

           [Exeunt QUINCE, SNUG, FLUTE, SNOUT,
           and STARVELING.]

106   I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
107   Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
108   Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
109. fire: will-o'-the-wisp —atmospheric ghost light fig. a thing (rarely a person) that deludes or misleads by means of fugitive appearances.
109   A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
110   And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
111   Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.


116-117. an ass-head of your own: i.e., something dreamed up inside your own asinine head.
112   Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them
113   to make me afeard.

           Enter SNOUT.

114   O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on
115   thee?

116   What do you see? you see an asshead of your
117   own, do you?

           [Exit SNOUT.]

           Enter QUINCE.

118   Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art
119. translated: transformed.
119   translated.


120   I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me;
121   to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
122   from this place, do what they can: I will walk up
123   and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
124   I am not afraid.


125. woosel cock: male ousel or ouzel, blackbird.
125       The woosel cock so black of hue,
126         With orange-tawny bill,
127. throstle: song thrush.
127       The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill
Hear the piping voice at Audubon.org
128. quill: piping voice (literally, pipe made of a hollow stalk; hence, the birds piping song). 131. plain-song: melody without variations. 132-133. Whose note full many a mon doth mark, / And dares not answer nay: The similarity between the sound of the words cuckoo and cuckold (the husband of an unfaithful wife) gave rise to a common jest.
135. give a bird the lie: call a bird a liar.
136. never so: i.e., ever so much, continually.
128         The wren with little quill,—

      TITANIA  [Awaking.]
129   What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

      BOTTOM  [Sings.]
130       The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
131         The plain-song cuckoo gray,
132       Whose note full many a man doth mark,
133         And dares not answer nay;—
134   for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish
135   a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry
136   "cuckoo" never so?

137   I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
138   Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
139   So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
140. thy fair virtue's force: the power of your beauty.
140   And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
141   On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

142   Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
143-144. to say the truth, reason / and love keep little company together now-a-days: Once again Shakespeare's clown cuts staight to the truth of the matter. 145. the more the pity: expresses regret about a fact just stated. 146. gleek: scoff, gibe, jest.
143   for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason
144   and love keep little company together now-a-days;
145   the more the pity that some honest neighbours will
146   not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon
147   occasion.

148   Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

149   Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get
150-151. serve mine / own turn: answer my purpose.
150   out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine
151   own turn.

152   Out of this wood do not desire to go:
153   Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
154. rate: value, worth.
154   I am a spirit of no common rate;
155. still: ever, always. doth tend upon my state: serves me, as part of my royal retinue.
155   The summer still doth tend upon my state;
156   And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
157   I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
158   And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
159   And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
160. grossness: corporeal nature.
160   And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
161   That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
162. Moth: Pronounced mote or mot . . . more
162   Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!

Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed
Image Source
           Enter four Fairies [PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB,
           MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED].

163   Ready.

163                 And I.

163                           And I.

163                                      And I.

163                                                     Where shall we go?

164   Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
165   Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
166. apricocks: apricots.
166   Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
167   With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
168   The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
169   And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
170   And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
171. have: i.e., attend (with lights).
171   To have my love to bed and to arise;
172   And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
173   To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
174   Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

175   Hail, mortal!

176   Hail!

177   Hail!

178   Hail!

179. cry your worship's mercy: beg pardon of your honors.
179   I cry your worship's mercy, heartily: I beseech your
180   worship's name.

181   Cobweb.

182. of more acquaintance: to be better acquainted with me. 183-184. If I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you: Cobwebs were applied to cuts to inhibit bleeding.
182   I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
183   Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with
184   you. Your name, honest gentleman?

185   Peaseblossom.

186. commend me: give my regards. Squash: unripe pea pod. 187. Peascod: mature pea pod.
186   I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
187   mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
188   Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
189   acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?

190   Mustardseed.

191   Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience
192. patience: calmness in suffering.
192   well: that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
193   devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise
194   you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now.
195   I desire your more acquaintance, good Master
196   Mustardseed.

197   Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
198   The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
199. she weeps: i.e., she causes dew.
199   And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
200. enforced: forced, violated; or, possibly, constrained (since Titania at this moment is hardly concerned about chastity).
200   Lamenting some enforced chastity.
201   Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.