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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 3, Scene 1



The wood. Titania lying asleep

TITANIA sleeps. Enter the clowns: BOTTOM, QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING

TITANIA sleeps. Enter the clowns: BOTTOM, QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING

BOTTOM

Are we all met?

 

BOTTOM

Are we all met?

 

QUINCE

Pat, pat (exactly). And here’s a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake (thicket) our tiring-house (dressing room), and we will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.

 

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—

 

BOTTOM

Peter Quince—

 

QUINCE

What sayest thou, bully (jolly) Bottom?

 

QUINCE

What sayest 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?

 

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 lakin, a parlous fear.

lakin=Lady-kin (Virgin Mary)

parlous=perilous

 

SNOUT

By 'r lakin, a parlous fear.

 

STARVELING

I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is [said and] done.

 

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.

 

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.

(eight-syllable lines alternating with six-syllable lines)

 

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.

 

BOTTOM

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

 

SNOUT

Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

 

SNOUT

Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?

 

STARVELING

I fear it, I promise you.

 

STARVELING

I fear it, I promise you.

 

BOTTOM

Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves (confer about this). To bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing. For there is not a more fearful (fear inducing) wildfowl (Bottom really means “wild beast”) than your lion living. And we ought to look to ’t.

 

BOTTOM

Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves. To bring in—God shield us!—a lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing. For there is not a more fearful wildfowl than your lion living. And we ought to look to ’t.

 

SNOUT

Therefore, another prologue must tell he is not a lion.

 

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 [it], saying thus—or to the same defect (Bottom really means “effect“)—“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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

SNOUT

Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

 

SNOUT

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!

 

BOTTOM

A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac. Find out moonshine, find out moonshine!

 

QUINCE

(takes out a book) Yes, it doth shine that night.

 

QUINCE

(takes out a book) 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.

casement=window on hinges so that it can be swung open

 

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 (representing the man in the moon) and a lantern and say he comes to disfigure (figure), or to present (represent), 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.

(Quince, as well as Bottom, makes verbal blunders)

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?

 

SNOUT

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

 

BOTTOM

Some man or other must present (represent) Wall. And let him have some plaster or some loam or some roughcast (mortar mixed with pebbles) about him to signify wall. And let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisbe whisper.

 

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 (thicket).—And so everyone according to his cue.

 

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 everyone according to his cue.

 

Enter ROBIN unseen

Enter ROBIN unseen

ROBIN

(aside) What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here,

So near the cradle of the fairy queen?

What, a play toward (about to take place)? I’ll be an auditor.

An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.

hempen homespuns=men wearing homespun clothing woven of hemp

 

ROBIN

(aside) What hempen homespuns have we swaggering 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.

 

QUINCE

Speak, Pyramus.—Thisbe, stand forth.

 

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS) Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet—

odious – Bottom really means odorous

 

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS) Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet—

 

QUINCE

“Odors,” “odors.”

 

QUINCE

“Odors,” “odors.”

 

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS)

    —odors savors sweet,

So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.

And by and by I will to thee appear.

But hark, a voice!

  Stay thou but here awhile.

 

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS)

    —odors savors sweet,

So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.

And by and by I will to thee appear.

But hark, a voice!

  Stay thou but here awhile.

 

Exit BOTTOM

Exit BOTTOM

ROBIN

(aside) A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.

 

ROBIN

(aside) A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.

 

Exit ROBIN

Exit ROBIN

FLUTE

Must I speak now?

 

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.

 

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 brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,

brisky juvenal=lively youth

eke=also

Jew – carries forward the “ju” of juvenal

As true as truest horse that yet would never tire.

(as reliable as the most reliable horse that would never ever tire)

yet=ever

I’ll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny’s tomb.

Ninny’s – blunder for Ninus, mythical founder of Ninevah

 

FLUTE

(as THISBE ) Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue, Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,

Most brisky juvenal 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.”

 

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

Oh. (as Thisbe) As true as truest horse that yet would never tire.

 

FLUTE

Oh. (as thisbe) As true as truest horse that yet would never tire.

 

Enter BOTTOM, sporting an ass’s head, and ROBIN

Enter BOTTOM, with an ass’s head, and ROBIN

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS) If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine.

 

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS) If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine.

 

QUINCE

Oh, monstrous! Oh, strange! We are haunted. Pray, masters! Fly, masters! Help!

 

QUINCE

Oh, monstrous! Oh, strange! We are haunted. Pray, masters! Fly, masters! Help!

 

Exeunt QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING

Exeunt QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING

ROBIN

I’ll follow you. I’ll lead you about a round

Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier.

Sometimes a horse I’ll be, sometimes a hound,

A hog, a headless bear, sometimes a fire.

fire=will-o’-the-wisp

And neigh and bark and grunt and roar and burn,

Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.

 

ROBIN

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

Exit ROBIN

BOTTOM

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

 

BOTTOM

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

 

Enter SNOUT

Enter SNOUT

SNOUT

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

 

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 (dreamed up inside your own head), do you?

 

BOTTOM

What do you see? You see an ass head of your own, do you?

 

Exit SNOUT

Exit SNOUT

Enter QUINCE

Enter QUINCE

QUINCE

Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee. Thou art translated (transformed).

 

QUINCE

Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee. Thou art translated.

 

Exit QUINCE

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 ouzel cock, so black of hue

ouzel cock=male blackbird

With orange-tawny bill,

The throstle with his note so true,

throstle=song thrush

The wren with little quill

(wren’s voice played through a hollow stalk (quill))

 

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 ouzel cock, so black of hue

With orange-tawny bill,

The throstle with his note so true,

The wren with little quill

 

TITANIA

(waking) What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

 

TITANIA

(waking) What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

 

BOTTOM

(sings)

The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,

The plainsong cuckoo gray,

cuckoo – sounds like cuckold, whose wife is unfaithful

Whose note full many a man doth mark

mark=notice

And dares not answer “Nay”

For indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?

Who would give a bird the lie, though he cry “cuckoo” (cuckold) never so [continually]?

 

BOTTOM

(sings)

The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,

The plainsong cuckoo gray,

Whose note full many a man doth mark

And dares not answer “Nay”

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.

 

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 (jest) upon occasion.

 

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.

 

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 (my purpose).

 

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.

rate=rank

The Summer still doth tend upon my state,

(Summer attends upon me as one of my retinue)

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, Moth, and Mustardseed (names of fairies)!

 

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, Moth, and Mustardseed!

 

Enter four fairies: PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED

Enter four fairies: PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, and MUSTARDSEED

PEASEBLOSSOM

Ready.

 

PEASEBLOSSOM

Ready.

 

COBWEB

 And I.

 

COBWEB

 And I.

 

MOTH

  And I.

 

MOTH

  And I.

 

MUSTARDSEED

    And I.

 

MUSTARDSEED

    And I.

 

ALL

Where shall we go?

 

ALL

Where shall we go?

 

TITANIA

Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.

Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes.

eyes=view

Feed him with apricoks and dewberries,

(apricots and blackberries)

With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries.

The honey bags steal from the bumble-bees,

And for night tapers crop their waxen thighs

tapers=lights

crop=snip off

And light them at the fiery glowworms' 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.

 

TITANIA

Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.

Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes.

Feed him with apricoks and dewberries,

With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries.

The honey bags steal from the humble-bees,

And for night tapers crop their waxen thighs

And light them at the fiery glowworms' 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.

 

PEASEBLOSSOM

Hail, mortal.

 

COBWEB

Hail.

 

COBWEB

  Hail.

 

MOTH

Hail.

 

MOTH

    Hail.

 

MUSTARDSEED

Hail.

 

MUSTARDSEED

      Hail.

 

BOTTOM

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

 

BOTTOM

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

 

COBWEB

Cobweb.

 

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?

(cobwebs were reputed to stop bleeding)

 

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?

 

EASEBLOSSOM

Peaseblossom.

 

EASEBLOSSOM

Peaseblossom.

 

BOTTOM

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

 

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.

 

MUSTARDSEED

Mustardseed.

 

BOTTOM

Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well. That same cowardly, giantlike ox-beef (dish served with mustard) 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.

 

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

Come, wait upon him. Lead him to my bower.

The moon methinks looks with a watery eye,

watery eye=dew

And, when she weeps, weeps every little flower,

Lamenting some enforcèd chastity.

enforced=violated

Tie up my love’s tongue. Bring him silently.

 

TITANIA

Come, wait upon him. Lead him to my bower.

The moon methinks looks with a watery eye.

And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,

Lamenting some enforcèd chastity.

Tie up my love’s tongue. Bring him silently.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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