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



Athens. Quince's Houfe.

Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.

Quin. Have you fent to Bottom's houfe? is he come home yet?

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

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

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

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

Quin. Yea, and the best person too: and he is a very paramour, for a fweet 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 fweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he loft fix-pence a-day during his life; he could not have 'fcaped fix-pence

a play.

at her death-the death of Thibe.


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 fix-pence a day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd; he would have deferv'd it: fix-pence a-day, in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom.

Bot. Where are these lads? where are these hearts? Quin. Bottom! O moft 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, fweet 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 preferr'd. In any cafe, let Thisby have clean linen; and let not him, that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they fhall hang out. for the lion's claws. And, moft dear actors, eat no onions, nor garlick, for we are to utter fweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them fay, it is a sweet comedy. No more words; away; go, away.



The Palace.

Enter Thefeus, Hippolita, Egeus, Philoftrate, Lords, &c. Hip. 'Tis ftrange, my Thefeus, that these lovers speak of. The. More strange than true. I never may believe

1 beards,]-falfe ones, in which they were to perform their parts. is preferr'd.]-given in, put upon the brief, or lift of the day's fports.



Thefe antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers, and madmen, have such " seething brains,
Such fhaping fantafies, that apprehend
More than cool reafon ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact:

One fees more devils than vaft 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 fome joy,
It comprehends fome bringer of that joy;
Or, in the night, imagining fome fear,
How easy is a bufh 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,

grows to fomething of great conftancy; But, howfoever, strange, and admirable.

Enter Lyfander, 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!

Lyf. More than to us

Wait on your royal walks, your board, your bed!

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feething brains,]-warm ideas, enthusiastic notions.

compact:]-made up.


P conftancy;]-confiftency.



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

Philoft. Here, mighty Thefeus.

The. Say, what abridgment have you for this evening? What mask? what mufick? How fhall we beguile The lazy time, if not with fome delight?

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

[Giving a paper.

The. reads.] The battle of the Centaurs, to be fung
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.

We'll none of that: that I have told my love,
In glory of my kinfman Hercules.

The riot of the tipfy Bacchanals,

Tearing the Thracian finger 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 fome fatire, keen, and critical,
Not forting with a nuptial ceremony.


abridgment]-plays were fo called, from their comprising the events of years in the compafs of a few hours.

The thrice three Mufes]-alluding perhaps to Spenfer's "Tears of "the Mufes," the more than mortal sweetness of whofe paftorals our author is fuppofed to intimate, Act II, S. 2. where the Queen fays of Oberon,

"And, in the fhape of Corin, fate all day" &c.

or this pretended title may contain an oblique fatire upon thofe, who could fuffer Spenser himself to die in distress.

s critical,]-cenforious.

A tedious

A tedious brief fcene of young Pyramus,
And bis love Thibe: very tragical mirth.
Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?
That is, hot ice, and wonderous 'ftrange fnow.
How fhall we find the concord of this difcord?

Philoft. A play there is, my lord, fome 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 faw rehears'd, I must confefs,
Made mine eyes water;
eyes water; but more merry tears
The paffion of loud laughter never shed.

The. 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 fame play, against your nuptial. The. And we will hear it.

Philoft. 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 ftretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain,

To do you service.

The. I will hear that play :

For never any thing can be amifs,

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ftrange black; fcorching.

unbreath'd]-untried, unexperienced.

F 2

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


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