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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.
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 lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
I To prevent them from falling off during the representation
Are of imagination all compact : 1
easy is a bush supposed a bear!
Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA.
The. 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 in your royal walks, your
1 Are made of mere imagination.
The. Come now; what masks, what dances shall
Phi. Here, mighty Theseus.
evening? What mask? what music? How shall we beguile The lazy time, if not with some delight?
Phi. There is a brief,2 how many sports are ripe. Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[giving a paper. The. [reads.] The battle with the Centaurs, to
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 Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.'
The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceased in beggary.' That is some satire, keen and critical,
2 Short account.
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony. • A tedious brief scene of young
The. What are they, that do play it ?
The. And we will hear it.
No, my noble lord,
Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain,
I will hear that play: For never any thing can be amiss, When simpleness and duty tender it. Go, bring them in ;--and take your places, ladies.
[Erit Philostrate. Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharged, And duty in his service perishing. The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such
thing. Hip. He says, they can do nothing in this kind. The. The kinder we, to give them thanks for