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A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Act 1, scene 2
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Navigate this workA Midsummer Night’s Dream - Act 1, scene 2
Act 1, scene 2
Six Athenian tradesmen decide to put on a play, called “Pyramus and Thisbe,” for Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. Pyramus will be played by Bottom the weaver and Thisbe by Francis Flute the bellows-mender. The men are given their parts to study, and they agree to meet for a rehearsal in the woods outside Athens.Enter Quince the carpenter, and Snug the joiner, and
Bottom the weaver, and Flute the bellows-mender, and
Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor.
QUINCE 0258 Is all our company here?
BOTTOM 0259 You were best to call them generally, man by
0260 man, according to the scrip.
QUINCE 0261 Here is the scroll of every man’s name which
0262 5 is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our
0263 interlude before the Duke and the Duchess on his
0264 wedding day at night.
BOTTOM 0265 First, good Peter Quince, say what the play
0266 treats on, then read the names of the actors, and so
0267 10 grow to a point.
QUINCE 0268 Marry, our play is “The most lamentable
0269 comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and
BOTTOM 0271 A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a
0272 15 merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your
0273 actors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
QUINCE 0274 Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
BOTTOM 0275 Ready. Name what part I am for, and
QUINCE 0277 20You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
BOTTOM 0278 What is Pyramus—a lover or a tyrant?
QUINCE 0279 A lover that kills himself most gallant for love.
BOTTOM 0280 That will ask some tears in the true performing
0281 of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their
0282 25 eyes. I will move storms; I will condole in some
0283 measure. To the rest.—Yet my chief humor is for a
0284 tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a
0285 cat in, to make all split:
0286 The raging rocks
0287 30 And shivering shocks
0288 Shall break the locks
p. 270289 Of prison gates.
0290 And Phibbus’ car
0291 Shall shine from far
0292 35 And make and mar
0293 The foolish Fates.
0294 This was lofty. Now name the rest of the players.
0295 This is Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein. A lover is more
QUINCE 0297 40Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
FLUTE 0298 Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE 0299 Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.
FLUTE 0300 What is Thisbe—a wand’ring knight?
QUINCE 0301 It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
FLUTE 0302 45Nay, faith, let not me play a woman. I have a
0303 beard coming.
QUINCE 0304 That’s all one. You shall play it in a mask, and
0305 you may speak as small as you will.
BOTTOM 0306 An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too.
0307 50 I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice: “Thisne,
0308 Thisne!”—“Ah Pyramus, my lover dear! Thy Thisbe
0309 dear and lady dear!”
QUINCE 0310 No, no, you must play Pyramus—and, Flute,
0311 you Thisbe.
BOTTOM 0312 55Well, proceed.
QUINCE 0313 Robin Starveling, the tailor.
STARVELING 0314 Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE 0315 Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe’s
0316 mother.—Tom Snout, the tinker.
SNOUT 0317 60Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE 0318 You, Pyramus’ father.—Myself, Thisbe’s
0319 father.—Snug the joiner, you the lion’s part.—
0320 And I hope here is a play fitted.
SNUG 0321 Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it
0322 65 be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
QUINCE 0323 You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but
p. 29BOTTOM 0325 Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will
0326 do any man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar that
0327 70 I will make the Duke say “Let him roar again. Let
0328 him roar again!”
QUINCE 0329 An you should do it too terribly, you would
0330 fright the Duchess and the ladies that they would
0331 shriek, and that were enough to hang us all.
ALL 0332 75That would hang us, every mother’s son.
BOTTOM 0333 I grant you, friends, if you should fright the
0334 ladies out of their wits, they would have no more
0335 discretion but to hang us. But I will aggravate my
0336 voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking
0337 80 dove. I will roar you an ’twere any nightingale.
QUINCE 0338 You can play no part but Pyramus, for Pyramus
0339 is a sweet-faced man, a proper man as one
0340 shall see in a summer’s day, a most lovely gentlemanlike
0341 man. Therefore you must needs play
0342 85 Pyramus.
BOTTOM 0343 Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I
0344 best to play it in?
QUINCE 0345 Why, what you will.
BOTTOM 0346 I will discharge it in either your straw-color
0347 90 beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
0348 beard, or your French-crown-color beard,
0349 your perfit yellow.
QUINCE 0350 Some of your French crowns have no hair at
0351 all, and then you will play barefaced. But, masters,
0352 95 here are your parts, ⌜giving out the parts,⌝ and I am
0353 to entreat you, request you, and desire you to con
0354 them by tomorrow night and meet me in the palace
0355 wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight. There
0356 will we rehearse, for if we meet in the city, we shall
0357 100 be dogged with company and our devices known. In
0358 the meantime I will draw a bill of properties such as
0359 our play wants. I pray you fail me not.
BOTTOM 0360 We will meet, and there we may rehearse
p. 310361 most obscenely and courageously. Take pains. Be
0362 105 perfit. Adieu.
QUINCE 0363 At the Duke’s Oak we meet.
BOTTOM 0364 Enough. Hold or cut bowstrings.