Act 3, Scene 1

[The same woods as the previous scene. Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and Starveling to rehearse their play]

Bottom

Are we all met?

Quince

Pat, pat. And here's a marvelous convenient
place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our
stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house, and we
will do it in action as we will do it before the Duke.

Bottom

Peter Quince?

Quince

What sayst thou, bully Bottom?

Bottom

There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus must draw
a sword to kill himself, which the ladies cannot abide.
How answer you that?

Snout

By'r la'kin, a parlous fear.

Starveling

I believe we must leave the killing out, when
all is done.

Bottom

Not a whit. I have a device to make all well. Write
me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to say we will
do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not
killed indeed, and for the more better assurance, tell
them that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but Bottom the
weaver. This will put them out of fear.

Quince

Well, we will have such a prologue, and it shall be
written in eight and six.

Bottom

No, make it two more. Let it be written in eight
and eight.

Snout

Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

Starveling

I fear it, I promise you.

Bottom

Masters, you ought to consider with yourself: to
bring in — God shield us — a lion among ladies is a most
dreadful thing, for there is not a more fearful wild fowl
than your lion living, and we ought to look to't.

Snout

Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a
lion.

Bottom

Nay, you must name his name, and half his face
must be seen through the lion's neck, and he himself
must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect:
“ladies,” or “fair ladies, I would wish you” or “I would
request you” or “I would entreat you not to fear, not to
tremble. My life for yours. If you think I come hither as
a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing.
I am a man as other men are.” And there, indeed, let
him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug
the joiner.

Quince

Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard things:
that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber, for you
know Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.

Snug

Doth the moon shine that night we play our
play?

Bottom

A calendar, a calendar — look in the almanac,
find out moonshine, find out moonshine.
[Enter Robin (Puck), invisible]

Quince

[Consulting an almanac] Yes, it doth shine that
night.

Bottom

Why, then may you leave a casement of the great
chamber window where we play open, and the moon
may shine in at the casement.

Quince

Ay, or else one must come in with a bush of
thorns and a lantern, and say he comes to disfigure or
to present the person of Moonshine. Then there is
another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber,
for Pyramus and Thisbe, says the story, did talk
through the chink of a wall.

Snout

You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
Bottom?

Bottom

Some man or other must present Wall, and let
him have some plaster, or some loam, or some
roughcast about him, to signify “wall,” and let him
hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall
Pyramus and Thisbe whisper.

Quince

If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
every mother's son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus,
you begin. When you have spoken your speech, enter
into that brake. And so every one according to his cue.

Robin (Puck)

[Still invisible, Robin (Puck) speaks an aside which only the audience can hear]
What hempen homespuns have we swagg’ring here
So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?
What, a play toward? I'll be an auditor
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.

Quince

Speak, Pyramus. Thisbe, stand forth.

Bottom (as Pyramus)

Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet.

Quince

Odors, odorous!

Bottom (as Pyramus)

Odors savors sweet.
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.
But hark, a voice. Stay thou but here a while,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
[Exit Bottom behind the hedge]

Robin (Puck)

[Aside] A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.
[Exit Robin (Puck), following Bottom behind the hedge]

Flute

Must I speak now?

Quince

Ay, marry, must you. For you must understand he goes
but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

Flute (as Thisbe)

Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most bristly juvenile, and eke most lovely jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire.
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.

Quince

“Ninus' tomb,” man! Why, you must not speak
that yet — that you answer to Pyramus. You speak all
your part at once, cues and all. — Pyramus, enter. Your
cue is past; it is “never tire.”

Flute

O!
[As Thisbe]
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire.
[Enter Robin (Puck) and Bottom, whose head Robin has been transformed into that of an ass]

Bottom (as Pyramus)

If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine.

Quince

O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted. Pray,
Masters, fly, masters. Help!
[Exit all except Robin (Puck)]

Robin (Puck)

I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier.
Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire,
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
[Exit Robin (Puck). Re-enter Bottom with his ass-head]

Bottom

Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them
to make me afeard.
[Enter Snout]

Snout

O Bottom, thou art changed. What do I see on
thee?

Bottom

What do you see? You see an ass-head of your
own, do you?
[Exit Snout. Enter Quince]

Quince

Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee. Thou art translated.
[Exit Quince]

Bottom

I see their knavery. This is to make an ass of me,
to fright me if they could. But I will not stir from this
place, do what they can. I will walk up and down here,
and I will sing that they shall hear I am not afraid.
[Sings]
The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill;
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill.
[The Fairy Queen Titania has been asleep on the edge of the stage since Oberon placed the love potion on her eyelids in the prior scene. She now wakes up and sees Bottom with the ass-head.]

Titania

[Waking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

Bottom

[Sings]
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plainsong cuckoo grey,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer “Nay”
[Speaks to himself]
For indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
Who would give a bird the lie, though he cry “cuckoo”
never so?

Titania

I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.
Mine ear is much enamored of thy note;
So is mine eye enthrallèd to thy shape.
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

Bottom

Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason and love
keep little company together nowadays; the more
the pity that some honest neighbors will not make them
friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.

Titania

Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.

Bottom

Not so, neither. But if I had wit enough to get out
of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

Titania

Out of this wood do not desire to go.
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate,
The Summer still doth tend upon my state.
And I do love thee; therefore go with me.
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou, on pressèd flowers, dost sleep,
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed!
[Enter Titania's fairy servants: Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed]

Peaseblossom

Ready.

Cobweb

And I.

Mote

And I.

Mustardseed

And I.

All

Where shall we go?

Titania

Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes.
Feed him with apricots and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries.
The honeybags steal from the bumble-bees,
And for night tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worms’ eyes
To have my love to bed, and to arise.
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

Peaseblossom

Hail, mortal.

Cobweb

Hail.

Mote

Hail.

Mustardseed

Hail.

Bottom

I cry your worships mercy, heartily. I beseech
your worship's name.

Cobweb

Cobweb.

Bottom

I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
Master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall
make bold with you. – Your name, honest gentleman?

Peaseblossom

Peaseblossom.

Bottom

I pray you commend me to Mistress Squash, your
mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
acquaintance too – Your name, I beseech you, sir?

Mustardseed

Mustardseed.

Bottom

Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience
well. That same cowardly giantlike ox-beef hath
devoured many a gentleman of your house. I promise
you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I
desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Mustardseed.

Titania

[To the fairies] Come, wait upon him, lead him to my bower.
The moon, methinks, looks with a wat’ry eye,
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforcèd chastity.
Tie up my love's tongue. Bring him silently.
[Exit all.]
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