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Make choice of which your highness will see
first.
[Giving a paper.

The. [Reads.] The battle with the Centaurs, to

be sung,

By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.
We'll none of that: that have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

The riot of the tipsy Bucchanals,

Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.
That is an old device; and it was play'd
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceas'd in beggary.
That is some satire, keen, and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?
That is, hot ice, and wonderous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?
Philost. A play there is, my lord, some ten
words long;

Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long;
Which makes it tedious: for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And tragical, my noble lord, it is;
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw rehcars'd, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.

The. What are they, that do play it?

Philost. Hard-handed men, that work in
Athens here,

Which never laboured in their minds till now;
And now have toil'd their unbreath'd* memories
With this same play, against your nuptial.
The. And we will hear it.
Philost. No, my noble lord,

It is not for you: I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world;
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel
To do you service.

The. I will hear that play;
For never any thing can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.

[pain,

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Prol. If we offend, it is with our good will,
That you should think, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then, we come but in despite,

We do not come as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. All for your delight, [you,
We are not here. That you should here repent
The actors are at hand; and, by their show,
You shall know all, that you are like to know.

The. This fellow doth not stand upon points, Lys. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt, he knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord: It is not enough to speak, but to speak

true.

Hip. Indeed he hath played on this prologue, like a child on a recorder; a sound, but not in government.

The. His speech was like a tangled_chain; nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is

next?

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Go, bring them in;-and take your places," This grisly beast, which by name lion hight,t ladies. [Exit PHILOSTRATE. "The trusty Thisby, coming first by night, Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'er-"Did scare away, or rather did affright: And duty in his service perishing. [charg'd, And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall; The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no "Which lion vile with bloody mouth did

such thing.

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Hip. He says, they can do nothing in this" kind.

The. The kinder we, to give them thanks for
nothing.

Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake:
And what poor duty cannot do,

stain:

Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall, "And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain: "Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade, [breast;

"He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody "And, Thisby tarrying in mulberry shade, "His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, Let lion, moonshine, wall, and lovers twain, "At large discourse, while here they do remain."

Noble respect takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed"
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practis'd accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome: Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence, yet, I pick'd a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty

I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity,
In least, speak most, to my capacity.

Enter PHILOSTRATE.

[Exeunt PROLOGUE, THISBE, LION, and MOONSHINE.

The. I wonder, if the lion be to speak. Dem. No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.

Wall." In this same interlude, it doth befall, "That I, one Snout by name, present a wall: "And such a wall, as I would have you think, "That had in it a cranny'd hole, or chink, "Through which the lovers, Pyramus and "Did whisper often very secretly. [Thisby,

Philost. So please your grace the prologue is "This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone

addrest.t

Unexercised,

doth show,

*A musical instrument.

+ Cal

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hue so black!

"O night, which ever art, when day is not! "O night, O night, alack, alack, alack,

"I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot!"And thou, O wall, O'sweet, O lovely wall,, "That stand'st between her father's ground and mine;

"Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall, "Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne. [WALL holds up his fingers. "Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee

well for this!

"But what see I? No Thisby do I see. "O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss; "Curst be thy stones for thus deceiving me!" The. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

Pyr. No, in truth, Sir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you :-Yonder she comes.

Enter THISBE.

men. Here come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion.

Enter LION and MOONSHINE.

Lion. "You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear

"The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,

"May now, perchance, both quake and trem ble here,

"Then know, that I, one Snug the joiner, am "When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar. "A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam: "For if I should as lion come in strife "Into this place, 'twere pity on my life." The. A very gentle beast and of a good con

science.

Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour. The. True; and a goose for his discretion. carry his discretion; and the fox carries the Dem. Not so, my lord: for his valour cannot

goose.

his valour; for the goose carries not the fox. The. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry It is well: 'leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

Moon. "This lantern doth the horned moon present:"

Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head.

The. He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference. Moon. "This lantern doth the horned moon present;

This. "O wall, full often hast thou heard"

iny moans,

"For parting my fair Pyramus and me: "My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones; "Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee."

Pyr. "I see a voice: now will I to the chink, "To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. "Thisby!"

This. My love! thou art my love, I think." Pyr. "Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;

"And like Limander am I trusty still." This." And I like Helen, till the fates me

64

kill."

Pyr. "Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true." This. "As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you." Pyr. O, kiss me through the hole of this

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vile wall."

This. "I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips

at all."

Pyr. "Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway ?"

This. "Tide life, tide death, I come without delay."

Wall. "Thus have I, wall, my part discharg

ed so;

'And, being done, thus wall away doth go." [Exeunt WALL, PYRAMUS, and THISBE. The. Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.

Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to hear without warning.

Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard. The. The sest in this kind are but shadows: and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent

Myself the man i'the moon do seem to be." The. This is the greatest error of all the rest: is it else the man i'the moon? the man should be put into the lantern: How

Dem. He dares not come there for the candle: for, you see, it is already in snuff.*

Hip. I am weary of this moon: Would, he would change!

tion, that he is in the wane: but yet, in cour. The. It appears, by his small light of discretesy, in all reason, we must stay the time. Lys. Proceed, moon.

that the lantern is the moon; I, the man in the Moon. All that I have to say, is, to tell you, this dog, my dog. moon; this thorn-bush, my thorn-bush; and

tern; for they are in the moon. But, silence. Dem. Why, all these should be in the lan

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- For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering streams,

"I trust to taste of truest Thisby's sight. "But stay;-0 spite!

"But mark;-Poor knight,

"What dreadful dole is here?
"Eyes, do you see?
"How can it be?

"O dainty duck! O dear!
"Thy mantle good,

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"What, stain'd with blood?
Approach, ye furies fell!

O fates! come, come;
"Cut thread and thrum ;*

Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!"
The. This passion, and the death of a dear
friend, would go near to make a man look sad.
Hip. Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
Pyr. "O, wherefore, nature, didst thou lions

frame?

"Since lion vile hath here deflour'd my dear: "Which is no, no-which was the fairest dame,

"That liv'd, that lov'd, that lik'd, that look'd with cheer.+

66 Come, tears, confound;
"Out, sword, and wound
"The pap of Pyramus:

Ay, that left pap,
"Where heart doth hop:
"Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
"Now am I dead,
"Now am I fled;

"My soul is in the sky:

" Tongue, lose thy light! "Moon, take thy flight! "Now die, die, die, die, die.

[Dies.-Exit Moonshine. Dem. No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.

Lys. Less than an ace, man; for he is dead; he is nothing.

The. With the help of a surgeon, he might yet recover, and prove an ass.

Hip. How chance moonshine is gone, before Thisbe comes back and finds her lover?

The. She will find him by star-light.-Here she comes; and her passion ends the play.

Enter THISBE.

Hip. Methinks, she should not use a long one, for such a Pyramus: I hope, she will be brief.

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

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

Dem. And thus she moans, videlicet.
This." Asleep, my love?
"What, dead, my dove?

"O Pyramus, arise,

"Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
"Dead, dead? A tomb

< Must cover thy sweet eyes.
"These lily brows,
"This cherry nose,

These yellow cowslip cheeks,
"Are gone, are gone:
"Lovers, make moan!

"His eyes were green as leeks.
"Osisters three,
"Come, come, to me,
"With hands as pale as milk;
"Lay them in gore,

• Coarse yarn, + Destroy.

"Since you have shore "With shears his thread of silk. "Tongue, not a word :-"Come, trusty sword;

"Come, blade, my breast imbrue : "And farewell, friends ;~~~ "Thus Thisby ends:

"Adieu, adieu, adieu."

[Dies.

The. Moonshiné, and lion are left to bury the dead.

Dem. Ay, and wall too.

Bot. No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance, between two of our company?

The. 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 writ it, had play'd Pyramus, and hanged himself in Thisbe's garter, it would have been a fine tragedy: and so it is, truly; and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask: let your epilogue

alone. [Here a dance of Clowns. The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time. I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn, As much as we this night have overwatch'd. This palpable-gross play hath well beguil'd The heavy gait of night.-Sweet friends, to bed.

A fortnight hold we this solemnity,

In nightly revels, and new jollity. [Exeunt

SCENE II.-Enter PUCK.

Puck. Now the hungry lion roars,

And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.t
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the scritch-owl, scritching loud,
Puts the wretch, that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night,

That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run

By the triple Hecat's team,
From the presence of the sun,,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic; not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent, with broom, before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.

Enter OBERON and TITANIA, with their Train.
Obe. Through this house give glimmering
By the dead and drowsy fire:

Every elf, and fairy sprite,

Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,

Sing and dance it trippingly.

[light,

Tita. First, rehearse this song by rote; To each word a warbling note, Hand in hand, with fairy grace, Will we sing, and bless this place.

SONG, and DANCE.

Obe. Now, until the break of day, Through this house each fairy stray. To the best bride-bed will we, Which by us shall blessed be;

Countenance,

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Meet me all by break of day. [Exeunt OBERON, TITANIA, and Train. Puck. If we shadows have offended, Think but this, (and all is mended,) That you have but slumber'd here, While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend; If you pardon, we will mend. And, as I'm an honest Puck, If we have unearned luck Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue, We will make amends ere long: Else the Puck a liar call.

So, good night unto you all.

[Exit.

Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends,

+ Way.

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ACT I. in it.

But there are other strict observances:

SCENE I.-Navarre.—A Park, with a Palace As, not to see a woman in that term;

Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, und
DUMAIN.

King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,

Live register'd upon our brazen tombs,
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring time,
The endeavour of this present breath may buy
That honour, which shall bate his scythe's
keen edge,

And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors!-for so you are,
That war against your own affections,

And the huge army of the world's desires,-
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Birón, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with

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names;

That his own hand may strike his honour down,
That violates the smallest branch herein;
If you are arm'd to do, as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oath, and keep it too.
Long. I am resolv'd: 'tis but a three years'
fast;
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bank'rout quite the
wits.

Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortified; The grosser manner of these world's delights He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves: To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die; With all these living in philosophy.

Biron. 1 can but say their protestation over, So much, dear liege, I have already sworn, That is, To live and study here three years.

Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there
And, one day in a week to touch no food;
And but one meal on every day beside;
The which, I hope, is not enrolled there:
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day;
(When I was wont to think no harm all night,
And make a dark night too of half the day ;)
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there;
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep;
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep.

King. Your oath is pass'd to pass away. from these.

Biron. Let me say no, my liege, an if you I only swore, to study with your grace, [please; And stay here in your court for three years'

space.

Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the

rest.

Biron. By yea and nay, Sir, then I swore in jest.

What is the end of study? let me know. King. Why, that to know, which else wẹ should not know.

Biron. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense?

King. Ay, that is study's god-like recom

pense,

Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study To know the thing I am forbid to know: [so As thus-To study where I well may dine,

When I to feast expressly am forbid; Or, study where to meet some mistress fine,

When mistresses from common sense are hid: Or, having sworn too hard-a-keeping oath, Study to break it, and not break my troth. If study's gain be thus, and this be so, Study knows that, which yet it doth not know: Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no. King. These be the stops that hinder study

quite,

And train our intellects to vain delight.
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that
most vain,
Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain:

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