Obrázky stránek

fing it in the latter end of 'the play, before the duke : Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall fing it after death,



Athens. Quince's House.

Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling, Quin. Have you sent to Bottom's house ? is he come home yet?

Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.

Flu. If he come not, then the play is marrid; It goes not forward, doth it?

Quin. It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens, able to discharge Pyramus, but he.

Flu. No; he hath simply the best wit of any handycraft man in Athens.

Quin. Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour, for a sweet voice.

Flu. You must say, 'paragon : a paramour is, God blefs us! a thing of nought.

Enter Snug. Snug. Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married : if our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost fix-pence a-day during his life; he could not have 'scaped six-pence

[ocr errors]

a play.

at her death-the death of Thisbe. paragon :)-pattern of excellence. made men.]-well provided for, our fortunes had been made. • There would this monster make a man.Tempest, A& II, S. 2. Trin.

a day :

a day: an the duke had not given him six-pence a day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang’d; he would have deserv'd it : six-pence a-day, in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom.
Bot. Where are these lads ? where are these hearts ?

Quin. Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy hour!

Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not what ; for, if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.

Quin. Let us hear, sweet Bottom.

Bot. Not a word of me. All that I will tell you, is, that the duke hath dined : Get your apparel together ; good ftrings to your 'beards, new ribbons to your pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look o'er his part; for, the short and the long is, our play " is preferr'd. In any case, let Thisby have clean linen ; and let not him, that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions, nor garlick, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words; away ; go, away.




The Palace.

Enter Theseus, Hippolita, Egeus, Philostrate, Lords, &c.

Hip. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
The. More strange than true. I never may believe
I beards,]-false ones, in which they were to perform their parts.
*** is preferr'd.]-given in, put upon the brief, or list of the day's sports.


These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers, and madmen, have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all o compact :
One fees more devils than vast hell can hold;
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantick,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt :
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation, and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination ;
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or, in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush suppos’d a bear ?

Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigur'd fo together,
More witneffeth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy,
But, howsoever, strange, and admirable.

Enter Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.
Tbe. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
Joy, gentle friends! joy, and fresh days of love,
Accompany your hearts !

Lys. More than to us
Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed!

seething brains, ]-warm ideas, enthusiastic notions.
compact : )-made up.

P constancy; ]-confiftency.



The. Come now; what masks, what dances shall we have, To wear away this long age of three hours, Between our after-supper, and bed-time? Where is our usual manager of mirth? What revels are in hand? Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing hour ? Call Philostrate.

Philoft. Here, mighty Theseus.

The. Say, what 9 abridgment have you for this evening? What mask? what musick? How shall we beguile The lazy time, if not with some delight?

Philost. There is a brief, how many sports are ripe ; Make choice of which your highness will see first.

[Giving a paper. Tbe. reads.] The battle of the Centaurs, to be fung

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

The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,

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 Mufes mourning for the death

Of learning, late deceas’d in beggary. That is some satire, keen, and critical, Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

9 abridgment]-plays were so called, from their comprising the events of years in the compass of a few hours.

The thrice three Muses)—alluding perhaps to Spenser's “ Tears of “ the Muses,” the more than mortal sweetness of whose pastorals our author is supposed to intimate, Act II, S. 2. where the Queen says of Oberon,

“ And, in the shape of Corin, fate all day” &c. or this pretended title may contain an oblique fatire upon those, who could suffer Spenser himself to die in distress. s critical,]-cenforious.

A tedious

[ocr errors]

A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,

And bis love Thisbe : very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical ? Tedious and brief ?
That is, hot ice, and wonderous 'Itrange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord ?

Pbiloft. 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 rehears'd, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water ; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.

Tbe. What are they, that do play it ?

Philoft. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens here, Which never labour'd 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.

Pbilost. 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 w intents,
Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain,
To do

Tbe. I will hear that play :
For never any thing can be amiss,

strange black; fcorching.

unbreatb’d]-untried, unexperienced. intents, &c.]-entertainment, which in compliment to you, they have rack'd their brains to devise.

[blocks in formation]
« PředchozíPokračovat »