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Dem. These things seem small and undistinguish

able, Like far-off mountains turned into clouds.

Her. Methinks, I see these things with parted eye, When every thing seems double. Hel.

So methinks : And I have found Demetrius like a jewel, Mine own, and not mine own 15. Dem.

Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me,
That yet we sleep, we dream.—Do not you think,
The duke was here, and bid us follow him ?

Her. Yea; and my father.

And Hippolyta.
Lys. And he did bid us follow to the temple.

Dem. Why then, we are awake: let's follow him ; And, by the way, let us recount our dreams.

[Exeunt. As they go out, BOTTOM awakes. Bot. When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer :-my next is, Most fair Pyramus.--Hey, ho!-Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God's my life! stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream,-past the wit of man to say what dream it was: Man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had,- But man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had.

15 Helena, perhaps, means to say, that having found Deme trius unexpectedly, she considered her property in him as insecure as that which a person has in a jewel that he has found by accident, which he knows not whether he shall retain, and which therefore may properly enough be called his own and not his own. Warburton proposed to read gemell, i. e. double; and it has also been proposed to read gimmal, which signifies a double ring.


his tongue

The eye

of hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen; man's hand is not able to taste, to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my

dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: Peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death 16.


SCENE II. Athens. A Room in Quince's House. Enter QUINCE, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVE

LING. 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 marred; 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 handicraft man in Athens.

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

Flu. You must say, paragon: a paramour is, God bless 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 mar

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16 Theobald conjectured, happily enough, that we should read after death. As Pyramus is killed upon the scene, he might promise to rise again and give the duke his dream by way of song. The corruption, he supposes, may have arisen from the vulgar pronunciation of the word, a'ter. Bottom may, however, mean the death of Thisbe, which his head was then full of.

ried: if our sport had gone forward, we had all been

made men.

Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a-day during his life; he could not have 'scaped sixpence a-day: an the duke had not given him sixpence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd; he would have deserved it: sixpence a-day, in Pyramus, or nothing?

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

Quin. Bottom!-0 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 strings 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 preferred. 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.


· Steevens says that Preston the actor and author of Cambyses was meant to be ridiculed here. The queen having bestowed a pension on him of twenty pounds a year for the pleasure she received from his acting in the play of Dido, at Cambridge, in


SCENE I. The same.

An Apartment in the Palace of Theseus. Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE,

Lords, and Attendants.
Hip. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers

speak of.
The. More strange than true. I never may believe
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 lunatick, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compacto:
One sees 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 1 So in the Tempest :

thy brains, Now useless, boild within thy skull.' And in The Winter's Tale: "Would any but these boild brains of three and twenty hunt this weather ? Drayton, in his Epistle to Reynolds on poets and poetry, seems to have had this in his mind, when, speaking of Marlowe, he says:

• That fine madness still he did retain,

Which rightly should possess a poet's brain.' 2 i. e, are made of mere imagination.

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 so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy3;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and

Joy, gentle friends! joy, and fresh days of love,
Accompany your hearts !

More than to us
Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed!
The. Come now; what masks, what dances shall

we have, To wear away

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.

Philost. Here, mighty Theseus.
The. Say, what abridgment* have you for this

evening ?
3 i.e. consistency, stability, certainty.

4 Steevens thought, that by abridgment was meant a dramatic performance which crowds the events of years into a few hours. Surely the context seems to require a different explanation; an abridgment appears to mean some pastime to shorten the tedious evening.

this long age

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