A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 3, Scene 1
Enter the Clowns [QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM,
FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING].
1Are we all met?
2Pat, pat; and here's a marvailes convenient
3place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall
4. brake: thicket. tiring-house: dressing room, hence back stage.
4be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-
5house; and we will do it in action as we will
6do it before the duke.
8. bully: a friendly term meaning "good fellow, jolly fellow, or fine fellow."
8What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
9There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
10Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must
11draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies
12cannot abide. How answer you that?
13. By'r lakin: by our ladykin, i.e., the Virgin Mary. parlous: perilous.
13By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
14-15. when all is done: after all; i.e., when all is said and done.
14I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is
16Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
17. Write me: i.e., write at my suggestion. (Me is the ethical dative).
17Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to
18say, we will do no harm with our swords, and that
19Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more
20better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
21Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver: this will put them
22out of fear.
23Well, 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.
24written in eight and six.
25No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and
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."
27Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
28I fear it, I promise you.
29Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to
30bring inGod shield us!a lion among ladies, is a
31most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful
32wild-fowl than your lion living; and we ought to
33look to 't.
34Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a
36Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
37must be seen through the lion's neck: and he
38himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the
39. defect: Bottom's blunder for effect.
39same defect,"Ladies,"or "Fair-ladiesI would
40You,"wish or "I would request you,"or "I
41-42. my life for yours: I pledge my life in defense of yours.
41would entreat you,not to fear, not to tremble: my
42life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion,
43. were pity of my life: would endanger my life.
43it were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I
44am a man as other men are;" and there indeed let him
45name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the
47Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things;
48that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber;
49for, you know, Pyramus and Thisby meet by
51Doth the moon shine that night we play our
53A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find
54out moonshine, find out moonshine.
55Yes, it doth shine that night.
56Why, then may you leave a casement of the great
57chamber window, where we play, open, and the moon
58may 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.
59Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
60and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
61present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is
62another thing: we must have a wall in the great
63chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story,
64did talk through the chink of a wall.
65You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
67Some man or other must present Wall: and let him
68. rough-cast: plaster mixed with pebbles for coating the outside of buildings.
68have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast
69about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his
70fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus
71and Thisby whisper.
72If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
73every mother's son, and rehearse your parts.
74Pyramus, you begin: when you have spoken your
75speech, enter into that brake: and so every one
76according 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.
77What hempen home-spuns have we swagg'ring here,
78So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
79What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
80An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
81Speak, 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,
84"odours savours sweet"
85So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
86But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
87And by and by I will to thee appear."
88. here: i.e., here in this theatre or here on earth (?).
88A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.
89Must I speak now?
90Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand
91he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to
93"Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
94Of 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.
95Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
96As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
97I'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
99yet; that you answer to Pyramus: you speak all your
100part at once, cues and all. Pyramus enter: your cue
103. fair: handsome. were: would be.
106. about a round: roundabout.
101is past; it is, "never tire."
102O,"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."
104O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray,
105masters! fly, masters! Help!
[Exeunt QUINCE, SNUG, FLUTE, SNOUT,
106I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
107Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
108Sometime 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.
109A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire;
110And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
111Like 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.
112Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them
113to make me afeard.
114O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on
116What do you see? you see an asshead of your
117own, do you?
118Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art
119. translated: transformed.
120I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me;
121to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
122from this place, do what they can: I will walk up
123and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
124I am not afraid.
125. woosel cock: male ousel or ouzel, blackbird.
The woosel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
127. throstle: song thrush.
The throstle with his note so true,
135. give a bird the lie: call a bird a liar.
136. never so: i.e., ever so much, continually.
The wren with little quill,
129What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay;
134for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish
135a bird? who would give a bird the lie, though he cry
136"cuckoo" never so?
137I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
138Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
139So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
140. thy fair virtue's force: the power of your beauty.
140And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
141On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
142Methinks, 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.
143for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason
144and love keep little company together now-a-days;
145the more the pity that some honest neighbours will
146not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon
148Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
149Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get
150-151. serve mine / own turn: answer my purpose.
150out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine
152Out of this wood do not desire to go:
153Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
154. rate: value, worth.
154I am a spirit of no common rate;
155. still: ever, always. doth tend upon my state: serves me, as part of my royal retinue.
155The summer still doth tend upon my state;
156And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
157I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
158And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
159And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
160. grossness: corporeal nature.
160And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
161That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
162. Moth: Pronounced mote or mot . . . more
162Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!
Enter four Fairies [PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB,
MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED].
163Where shall we go?
164Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
165Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
166. apricocks: apricots.
166Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
167With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
168The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
169And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
170And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
171. have: i.e., attend (with lights).
171To have my love to bed and to arise;
172And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
173To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
174Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
179. cry your worship's mercy: beg pardon of your honors.
179I cry your worship's mercy, heartily: I beseech your
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.
182I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master
183Cobweb: if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with
184you. Your name, honest gentleman?
186. commend me: give my regards. Squash: unripe pea pod. 187. Peascod: mature pea pod.
186I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
187mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
188Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
189acquaintance too. Your name, I beseech you, sir?
191Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience
192. patience: calmness in suffering.
192well: that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
193devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise
194you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now.
195I desire your more acquaintance, good Master
197Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
198The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
199. she weeps: i.e., she causes dew.
199And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
200. enforced: forced, violated; or, possibly, constrained (since Titania at this moment is hardly concerned about chastity).
200Lamenting some enforced chastity.
201Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently.