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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 5, Scene 1



Athens. The palace of Theseus

Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and PHILOSTRATE with other attendant lords

Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and PHILOSTRATE with other attendant lords

HIPPOLYTA

'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.

 

HIPPOLYTA

'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.

 

THESEUS

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 [they] apprehend

shaping fantasies=fertile imaginations

More than cool reason ever comprehends.

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet

Are of imagination all compact.

compact=in league

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold—

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.

brow of Egypt=face of dark-skinned gypsy

The poet’s eye, in 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 some joy,

It comprehends some bringer of that joy.

comprehends=includes

Or in the night, imagining some fear,

How easy is a bush supposed [to be] a bear!

 

THESEUS

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

Are of imagination all compact.

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold—

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.

The poet’s eye, in 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 some joy,

It comprehends some bringer of that joy.

Or in the night, imagining some fear,

How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

 

HIPPOLYTA

But all the story of the night told over,

And all their minds transfigured so together,

More witnesseth than fancy’s images

more witnesseth=gives evidence of more

And grows to something of great constancy,

constancy=consistency

But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

howsoever=in any event

admirable=to be wondered at

 

HIPPOLYTA

But all the story of the night told over,

And all their minds transfigured so together,

More witnesseth than fancy’s images

And grows to something of great constancy,

But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

 

Enter lovers: LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA

Enter lovers: LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HELENA, and HERMIA

THESEUS

Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.—

Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love

Accompany your hearts!

 

THESEUS

Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.—

Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love

Accompany your hearts!

 

LYSANDER

More than to us

More than=more joy

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

board=dining table

 

LYSANDER

    More than to us

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

 

THESEUS

Come now, what masques, what dances shall we have

To wear away this long age of three hours

Between our after-supper and bedtime?

Where is our usual manager of mirth?

What revels are in hand? Is there no play,

To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

Call Philostrate.

Philostrate=Master of the Revels

 

THESEUS

Come now, what masques, what dances shall we have

To wear away this long age of three hours

Between our after-supper and bedtime?

Where is our usual manager of mirth?

What revels are in hand? Is there no play,

To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

Call Philostrate.

 

PHILOSTRATE

  Here, mighty Theseus.

 

PHILOSTRATE

  Here, mighty Theseus.

 

THESEUS

Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?

abridgement=pastime

What masque, what music? How shall we beguile

The lazy time if not with some delight?

 

THESEUS

Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?

What masque, what music? How shall we beguile

The lazy time if not with some delight?

 

PHILOSTRATE

(giving THESEUS a document)

There is a brief, how many sports are ripe.

sports=presentations

ripe=ready

Make choice of which your highness will see first.

 

PHILOSTRATE

(giving THESEUS a document)

There is a brief, how many sports are ripe.

Make choice of which your highness will see first.

 

THESEUS

(reads)

 “The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung

Centaurs=monsters of Greek myths

 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.”

That is an old device, and it was played

When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.

 

THESEUS

(reads)

 “The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung

 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.”

That is an old device, and it was played

When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.

 

“The thrice three Muses mourning for the death

thrice-three Muses=nine muses of the arts, literature, and science

 Of learning, late deceased in beggary.”

That is some satire, keen and critical,

Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

 “A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus

 And his love Thisbe. Very tragical mirth.”

“Merry” and “tragical”? “Tedious” and “brief”?

That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.

strange – meaning unknown

How shall we find the concord of this discord?

 

“The thrice three Muses mourning for the death

 Of learning, late deceased in beggary.”

That is some satire, keen and critical,

Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

 “A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus

 And his love Thisbe. Very tragical mirth.”

“Merry” and “tragical”? “Tedious” and “brief”?

That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.

How shall we find the concord of this discord?

 

PHILOSTRATE

A play there is, my lord, some 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 saw rehearsed, I must confess,

Made mine eyes water—but more merry tears

The passion of loud laughter never shed.

 

PHILOSTRATE

A play there is, my lord, some 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 saw rehearsed, I must confess,

Made mine eyes water—but more merry tears

The passion of loud laughter never shed.

 

THESEUS

What are they that do play it?

 

THESEUS

What are they that do play it?

 

PHILOSTRATE

Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,

Which never labored in their minds till now,

And now have toiled their unbreathed memories

(taxed their unexercised memories)

With this same play against your nuptial.

 

PHILOSTRATE

Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,

Which never labored in their minds till now,

And now have toiled their unbreathed memories

With this same play against your nuptial.

 

THESEUS

And we will hear it.

 

THESEUS

And we will hear it.

 

PHILOSTRATE

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 stretched and conned with cruel pain

stretched=strained

conned=learned by heart

To do you service.

 

PHILOSTRATE

  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 stretched and conned with cru 'l pain

To do you service.

 

THESEUS

I will hear that play.

For never anything can be amiss

When simpleness and duty tender it.

tender=offer

Go, bring them in.—And take your places, ladies.

 

THESEUS

  I will hear that play.

For never anything can be amiss

When simpleness and duty tender it.

Go, bring them in.—And take your places, ladies.

 

Exit PHILOSTRATE

Exit PHILOSTRATE

HIPPOLYTA

I love not to see wretchedness o'er charged

wretchedness o’er charged=feebleness overburdened

And duty in his service perishing.

in his service=in its service

 

HIPPOLYTA

I love not to see wretchedness o'er charged

And duty in his service perishing.

 

THESEUS

Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.

 

THESEUS

Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.

 

HIPPOLYTA

He says they can do nothing in this kind.

 

HIPPOLYTA

He says they can do nothing in this kind.

 

THESEUS

The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.

Our sport shall be to take what they mistake.

take what they mistake=accept their mistakes

And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect

Takes it in might, not merit.

in might, not merit=in the good intentions of the performers, not the performance

Where I have come, great clerks have purposed

clerks=scholars

To greet me with premeditated welcomes,

Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,

Make periods in the midst of sentences,

Throttle their practiced accent in their fears,

And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,

Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,

Out of this silence yet I picked a welcome,

silence=absence of words

And in the modesty of fearful duty

I read as much as from the rattling tongue

Of saucy and audacious eloquence.

Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity

In least speak most, to my capacity.

in least=saying least

to my capacity=in my opinion

 

THESEUS

The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.

Our sport shall be to take what they mistake.

And what poor duty cannot do, noble respect

Takes it in might, not merit.

Where I have come, great clerks have purposèd

To greet me with premeditated welcomes,

Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,

Make periods in the midst of sentences,

Throttle their practiced accent in their fears,

And in conclusion dumbly have broke off,

Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,

Out of this silence yet I picked a welcome,

And in the modesty of fearful duty

I read as much as from the rattling tongue

Of saucy and audacious eloquence.

Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity

In least speak most, to my capacity.

 

Enter PHILOSTRATE

Enter PHILOSTRATE

PHILOSTRATE

So please your grace, the Prologue is addressed.

addressed=ready

 

PHILOSTRATE

So please your grace, the Prologue is addressed.

 

THESEUS

Let him approach.

 

THESEUS

Let him approach.

 

Enter QUINCE as the PROLOGUE

Enter QUINCE as the PROLOGUE

PROLOGUE

(delivered by QUINCE) (the bumpy punctuation is intentional)

If we offend, it is with our good will.

That you should think we come not to offend

But with good will. To show our simple skill,

That is the true beginning of our end.

end=aim

Consider then we come but in despite.

despite=ill will

We do not come as minding to contest you,

Our true intent is. All for your delight

We are not here. That you should here repent you,

The actors are at hand, and by their show

You shall know all that you are like to know.

 

PROLOGUE

(delivered by QUINCE)

If we offend, it is with our good will.

That you should think we come not to offend,

But with good will. To show our simple skill,

That is the true beginning of our end.

Consider then we come but in despite.

We do not come as minding to contest you,

Our true intent is. All for your delight

We are not here. That you should here repent you,

The actors are at hand, and by their show

You shall know all that you are like to know.

 

THESEUS

This fellow doth not stand upon points.

stand upon points=heed punctuation

 

THESEUS

This fellow doth not stand upon points.

 

LYSANDER

He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt. He knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not enough to speak but to speak true.

 

LYSANDER

He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt. He knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not enough to speak, but to speak true.

 

HIPPOLYTA

Indeed, he hath played on his prologue like a child on a recorder—a sound but not in government (control).

recorder=a wind instrument

 

HIPPOLYTA

Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child on a recorder—a sound, but not in government.

 

THESEUS

His speech was like a tangled chain. Nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?

 

THESEUS

His speech was like a tangled chain. Nothing impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?

 

Enter BOTTOM as PYRAMUS and FLUTE as THISBE and SNOUT as WALL and STARVELING as MOONSHINE and SNUG as LION

Enter BOTTOM as PYRAMUS and FLUTE as THISBE and SNOUT as WALL and STARVELING as MOONSHINE and SNUG as LION

PROLOGUE

(delivered by QUINCE)

Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show.

But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.

This man is Pyramus, if you would know.

This beauteous lady Thisbe is certain.

certain=part of the group

This man, with lime and roughcast, doth present

Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder.

And through Wall’s chink, poor souls, they are content

To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.

This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,

lanthorn=lantern

Presenteth Moonshine. For, if you will know,

By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn

To meet at Ninus' tomb—there, there to woo.

This grisly beast, which “Lion” hight by name,

hight=is called

The trusty Thisbe, coming first by night,

Did scare away, or rather did affright.

(Lion did scare Thisbe away)

And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,

fall=let fall

Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.

Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,

And finds his trusty Thisbe’s mantle slain,

Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,

He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast,

broached=pierced

And Thisbe, tarrying in mulberry shade,

His dagger drew and died. For all the rest,

Let [speak] Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain

At large discourse, while here they do remain.

while here they do remain=while they are still here

 

PROLOGUE

(delivered by QUINCE)

Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show.

But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.

This man is Pyramus, if you would know.

This beauteous lady Thisbe is certain.

This man, with lime and roughcast, doth present

Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder.

And through Wall’s chink, poor souls, they are content

To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.

This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,

Presenteth Moonshine. For, if you will know,

By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn

To meet at Ninus' tomb—there, there to woo.

This grisly beast, which “Lion” hight by name,

The trusty Thisbe, coming first by night,

Did scare away, or rather did affright.

And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,

Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.

Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,

And finds his trusty Thisbe’s mantle slain.

Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,

He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast.

And Thisbe, tarrying in mulberry shade,

His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,

Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain

At large discourse, while here they do remain.

 

THESEUS

I wonder if the lion be to speak.

 

THESEUS

I wonder if the lion be to speak.

 

DEMETRIUS

No wonder, my lord. One lion may when many asses do.

(a lion may speak when many asses also speak)

DEMETRIUS

No wonder, my lord. One lion may when many asses do.

 

Exeunt PROLOGUE, PYRAMUS, THISBE, LION, and MOONSHINE

Exeunt PROLOGUE, PYRAMUS, THISBE, LION, and MOONSHINE

WALL

(played by SNOUT) In this same interlude it doth befall

That I, one Snout by name, present a wall

And such a wall, as I would have you think,

That had in it a crannied hole, or chink,

Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe,

Did whisper often very secretly.

This loam, this roughcast, and this stone doth show

loam=clayey earth

roughcast=lime and pebbles mixed together

That I am that same wall. The truth is so.

And this the cranny is, right and sinister,

Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.

 

WALL

(played by SNOUT) In this same interlude it doth befall

That I, one Snout by name, present a wall.

And such a wall, as I would have you think,

That had in it a crannied hole, or chink,

Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe,

Did whisper often very secretly.

This loam, this roughcast, and this stone doth show

That I am that same wall. The truth is so.

And this the cranny is, right and sinister,

Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.

 

THESEUS

Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

 

THESEUS

Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

 

DEMETRIUS

It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.

 

DEMETRIUS

It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.

 

Enter PYRAMUS

Enter PYRAMUS

THESEUS

Pyramus draws near the wall. Silence!

 

THESEUS

Pyramus draws near the wall. Silence!

 

PYRAMUS

(played by BOTTOM)

O grim-looked night! O night with hue so black!

O night, which ever art when day is not!

O night, O night! Alack, alack, alack,

I fear my Thisbe’s promise is forgot!—

And thou, O Wall, O sweet, O lovely Wall,

That stand’st between her father’s ground and mine.

Thou Wall, O Wall, O sweet and lovely Wall,

Show me thy chink to blink through with mine eyne!

eyne=eyes

 

PYRAMUS

(played by BOTTOM)

O grim-looked night! O night with hue so black!

O night, which ever art when day is not!

O night, O night! Alack, alack, alack,

I fear my Thisbe’s promise is forgot!—

And thou, O Wall, O sweet, O lovely Wall,

That stand’st between her father’s ground and mine.

Thou Wall, O Wall, O sweet and lovely Wall,

Show me thy chink to blink through with mine eyne!

 

WALL holds up fingers as chink

WALL holds up fingers as chink

Thanks, courteous Wall. Jove shield thee well for this!

But what see I? No Thisbe do I see.

O wicked Wall through whom I see no bliss!

Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

 

Thanks, courteous Wall. Jove shield thee well for this!

But what see I? No Thisbe do I see.

O wicked Wall through whom I see no bliss!

Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!

 

THESEUS

The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

 

THESEUS

The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

 

BOTTOM

(out of character) No, in truth, sir, he should not. “Deceiving me” is Thisbe’s cue. She is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat, as I told you. Yonder she comes.

 

BOTTOM

(out of character) No, in truth, sir, he should not. “Deceiving me” is Thisbe’s cue. She is to enter now and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.

 

Enter THISBE

Enter THISBE

THISBE

(played by FLUTE)

O Wall, full often hast thou heard my moans

For parting my fair Pyramus and me!

My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones,

Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.

 

THISBE

(played by FLUTE)

O Wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,

For parting my fair Pyramus and me!

My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones,

Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.

 

PYRAMUS

I see a voice. Now will I to the chink,

To spy an (if) I can hear my Thisbe’s face. Thisbe?

(Pyramus confuses see/hear -  “see a voice” and “hear my Thisbe’s face”)

 

PYRAMUS

I see a voice. Now will I to the chink,

To spy an I can hear my Thisbe’s face. Thisbe?

 

THISBE

My love, thou art my love, I think.

 

THISBE

My love thou art, my love, I think.

 

PYRAMUS

Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace.

And like Limander am I trusty still.

Limander=blunder for Leander, who swam the Hellespont to be with his lover, Hero

 

PYRAMUS

Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace.

And like Limander am I trusty still.

 

THISBE

And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.

Helen=a blunder for Hero

 

THISBE

And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.

 

PYRAMUS

Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.

(blunders for Cephalus and Procris)

PYRAMUS

Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.

 

THISBE

As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.

 

THISBE

As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.

 

PYRAMUS

Oh, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!

 

PYRAMUS

Oh, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!

 

THISBE

I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.

 

THISBE

I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.

 

PYRAMUS

Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?

 

PYRAMUS

Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?

 

THISBE

Tide life, tide death, I come without delay.

(come life, come death)

THISBE

Tide life, tide death, I come without delay.

 

Exeunt PYRAMUS and THISBE

Exeunt PYRAMUS and THISBE

WALL

Thus have I, Wall, my part dischargèd so.

And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.

 

WALL

Thus have I, Wall, my part dischargèd so.

And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.

 

Exit WALL

Exit WALL

THESEUS

Now is the mural down between the two neighbors.

mural=wall

THESEUS

Now is the mural down between the two neighbors.

 

DEMETRIUS

No remedy, my lord, when walls are so willful [as] to hear without warning.

no remedy=nothing gained

(referring to the proverb “walls have ears”)

 

DEMETRIUS

No remedy, my lord, when walls are so willful to hear without warning.

 

HIPPOLYTA

This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

 

HIPPOLYTA

This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.

 

THESEUS

The best in this kind (i.e., actors) are but shadows (shallow), and the worst are no worse if imagination amend them.

 

THESEUS

The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse if imagination amend them.

 

HIPPOLYTA

It must be your imagination then and not theirs.

 

HIPPOLYTA

It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

 

THESEUS

If we imagine no worse of them than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.

 

THESEUS

If we imagine no worse of them than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.

 

Enter LION and MOONSHINE

Enter LION and MOONSHINE

LION

(played by SNUG)

You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear

The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,

May now perchance both quake and tremble here,

When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.

Then know that I, as Snug the joiner, am

[just playing] A lion fell, nor else no lion’s dam.

(a cruel lion or else a lioness)

For if I should as [a real] lion come in strife

Into this place, ’twere pity [take pity]  on my life.

 

LION

(played by SNUG)

You, ladies, you whose gentle hearts do fear

The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,

May now perchance both quake and tremble here,

When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.

Then know that I, as Snug the joiner, am

A lion fell, nor else no lion’s dam.

For if I should as lion come in strife

Into this place, ’twere pity on my life.

 

THESEUS

A very gentle beast, of [with] a good conscience.

gentle=polite

 

THESEUS

A very gentle beast, of a good conscience.

 

DEMETRIUS

A very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

 

DEMETRIUS

A very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

 

LYSANDER

This lion is a very fox, for his valor.

(more crafty than courageous)

LYSANDER

This lion is a very fox, for his valor.

 

THESEUS

True. And a goose for his discretion.

(more foolish than crafty)

THESEUS

True. And a goose for his discretion.

 

DEMETRIUS

Not so, my lord. For his valor cannot carry his discretion, and the fox carries the goose.

carry his discretion=add discretion to his attributes

DEMETRIUS

Not so, my lord. For his valor cannot carry his discretion, and the fox carries the goose.

 

THESEUS

His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valor, for the goose carries not the fox. It is well. Leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

 

THESEUS

His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valor, for the goose carries not the fox. It is well. Leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon.

 

MOONSHINE

(played by STARVELING)

This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present—

lanthorn=lantern

horned moon=crescent moon

MOONSHINE

(played by STARVELING)

This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present—

 

DEMETRIUS

He should have worn the horns on his head.

(cuckolds were said to have horns)

DEMETRIUS

He should have worn the horns on his head.

 

THESEUS

He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference.

 

THESEUS

He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference.

 

MOONSHINE

This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present.

Myself the man i' th' moon do seem to be—

 

MOONSHINE

This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present.

Myself the man i' th' moon do seem to be—

 

THESEUS

This is the greatest error of all the rest. The man should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the “man i' th' moon”?

 

THESEUS

This is the greatest error of all the rest. The man should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the “man i' th' moon”?

 

DEMETRIUS

He dares not come there for  (on account of) the candle. For you see, it is already in snuff (in need of being snuffed out).

 

DEMETRIUS

He dares not come there for the candle. For you see, it is already in snuff.

 

HIPPOLYTA

I am aweary of this moon. Would he would change!

 

HIPPOLYTA

I am aweary of this moon. Would he would change!

 

THESEUS

It appears, by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane. But yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time (stay on).

 

THESEUS

It appears by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane. But yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time.

 

LYSANDER

Proceed, Moon.

 

LYSANDER

Proceed, Moon.

 

MOONSHINE

All that I have to say is to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thornbush, my thornbush; and this dog, my dog.

 

MOONSHINE

All that I have to say is to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thornbush, my thornbush; and this dog, my dog.

 

DEMETRIUS

Why, all these should be in the lanthorn, for all these are in the moon.—But silence! Here comes Thisbe.

 

DEMETRIUS

Why, all these should be in the lanthorn, for all these are in the moon.—But silence! Here comes Thisbe.

 

Enter THISBE

Enter THISBE

THISBE

This is old Ninny’s tomb. Where is my love?

 

THISBE

This is old Ninny’s tomb. Where is my love?

 

LION

(roaring) Oh!

 

LION

(roaring) Oh!

 

THISBE runs off, dropping her mantle

THISBE runs off, dropping her mantle

DEMETRIUS

Well roared, Lion!

 

DEMETRIUS

Well roared, Lion!

 

THESEUS

Well run, Thisbe!

 

THESEUS

Well run, Thisbe!

 

HIPPOLYTA

Well shone, Moon!—Truly, the moon shines with a good grace.

 

HIPPOLYTA

Well shone, Moon!—Truly, the moon shines with a good grace.

 

LION shakes THISBE’s mantle and bloodies it

LION bloodies THISBE’s mantle

THESEUS

Well moused, Lion!

(like a mouse shaken in the jaws of a cat)

THESEUS

Well moused, Lion!

 

Enter PYRAMUS

Enter PYRAMUS

DEMETRIUS

And then came Pyramus.

 

DEMETRIUS

And then came Pyramus.

 

Exit LION

Exit LION

LYSANDER

And so the lion vanished.

 

LYSANDER

And so the lion vanished.

 

PYRAMUS

Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams.

I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright.

For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,

I trust to take of truest Thisbe sight.—

(see Thisbe)

But stay, O spite (bad luck)!

But mark, poor knight,

What dreadful dole (sad event) is here!

Eyes, do you see?

How can it be?

O dainty duck! O dear!

Thy mantle good,

What, stained with blood?

Approach, ye Furies fell (the three female spirits with snaky hair – they avenge unavenged crimes)!

O Fates, come, come,

Fates=goddesses of Greek myth – they spin, draw, and cut the thread of human life

Cut thread and thrum (uneven end of a thread).

Quail, crush, conclude, and quell (kill)!

 

PYRAMUS

Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams.

I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright.

For by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,

I trust to take of truest Thisbe sight.—

But stay, O spite!

But mark, poor knight,

What dreadful dole is here!

Eyes, do you see?

How can it be?

O dainty duck! O dear!

Thy mantle good,

What, stained with blood?

Approach, ye Furies fell!

O Fates, come, come,

Cut thread and thrum.

Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!

 

THESEUS

This passion and the death of a dear friend would go near to make a man look sad.

(you’d have to have a dear friend die to make you look sad, not just Pyramus’ passion)

 

THESEUS

This passion and the death of a dear friend would go near to make a man look sad.

 

HIPPOLYTA

Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.

beshrew=curse (mildly)

 

HIPPOLYTA

Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.

 

PYRAMUS

O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?

wherefore=why

Since lion vile hath here deflowered my dear,

deflowered – Bottom really means devoured

Which is—no, no—which was the fairest dame

That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked with cheer.

Come, tears, confound (destroy)!

Out, sword, and wound!

The pap (breast) of Pyramus

Ay, that left pap

Where heart doth hop. (stabs himself)

Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.

Now am I dead.

Now am I fled.

My soul is in the sky.

Tongue, lose thy light.

(actually, moon, lose thy light)

Moon, take thy flight.

(actually, tongue, take thy flight)

 

PYRAMUS

O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?

Since lion vile hath here deflowered my dear,

Which is—no, no—which was the fairest dame

That lived, that loved, that liked, that looked with cheer.

Come, tears, confound!

Out, sword, and wound!

The pap of Pyramus

Ay, that left pap

Where heart doth hop. (stabs himself)

Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.

Now am I dead.

Now am I fled.

My soul is in the sky.

Tongue, lose thy light.

Moon, take thy flight.

 

Exit MOONSHINE

Exit MOONSHINE

Now die, die, die, die, die.

Now die, die, die, die, die.

(dies)

(dies)

DEMETRIUS

No die but an ace (single spot on a die) for him, for he is but one.

(die – singular of dice)

DEMETRIUS

No die, but an ace for him, for he is but one.

 

LYSANDER

Less than an ace, man. For he is dead. He is nothing.

 

LYSANDER

Less than an ace, man. For he is dead. He is nothing.

 

THESEUS

With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover and prove an ass (ace).

 

THESEUS

With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover and prove an ass.

 

HIPPOLYTA

How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes back and finds her lover?

 

HIPPOLYTA

How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes back and finds her lover?

 

THESEUS

She will find him by starlight. Here she comes, and her passion ends the play.

 

THESEUS

She will find him by starlight. Here she comes, and her passion ends the play.

 

Enter THISBE

Enter THISBE

HIPPOLYTA

Methinks she should not use a long one for such a Pyramus. I hope she will be brief.

HIPPOLYTA

Methinks she should not use a long one for such a Pyramus. I hope she will be brief.

 

DEMETRIUS

A mote (tiny spec) will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe is the better. He for a man, God warrant (defend) us, she for a woman, God bless us.

 

DEMETRIUS

A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe, is the better. He for a man, God warrant us, she for a woman, God bless us.

 

LYSANDER

She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.

 

LYSANDER

She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.

 

DEMETRIUS

And thus she means, videlicet—

videlicet=namely

DEMETRIUS

And thus she means, videlicet—

 

THISBE

Asleep, my love?

What, dead, my dove?

O Pyramus, arise!

Speak, speak. Quite dumb?

Dead, dead? A tomb

Must cover thy sweet eyes.

These lily lips,

This cherry nose,

These yellow cowslip cheeks

Are gone, are gone.

Lovers, make moan.

His eyes were green as leeks.

O Sisters three,

(the Fates)

Come, come to me

With hands as pale as milk.

Lay them in gore,

Since you have shore (shorn)

With shears his thread of silk.

Tongue, not a word.

Come, trusty sword.

Come, blade, my breast imbrue (stain with blood). (stabs herself)

And, farewell, friends.

Thus Thisbe ends.

Adieu, adieu, adieu.

(dies)

 

THISBE

Asleep, my love?

What, dead, my dove?

O Pyramus, arise!

Speak, speak. Quite dumb?

Dead, dead? A tomb

Must cover thy sweet eyes.

These lily lips,

This cherry nose,

These yellow cowslip cheeks

Are gone, are gone.

Lovers, make moan.

His eyes were green as leeks.

O Sisters three,

Come, come to me

With hands as pale as milk.

Lay them in gore,

Since you have shore

With shears his thread of silk.

Tongue, not a word.

Come, trusty sword.

Come, blade, my breast imbrue.(stabs herself)

And, farewell, friends.

Thus Thisbe ends.

Adieu, adieu, adieu.

(dies)

 

THESEUS

Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.

 

THESEUS

Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.

 

DEMETRIUS

Ay, and Wall, too.

 

DEMETRIUS

Ay, and Wall too.

 

BOTTOM

(out of character) No, assure you. The wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see (actually, hear) the epilogue or to hear (actually, see) a Bergomask dance between two of our company?

 

BOTTOM

(out of character) No, assure you. The wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company?

 

THESEUS

No epilogue, I pray you, for your play needs no excuse. Never excuse—for when the players are all dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine tragedy. And so it is, truly, and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask. Let your epilogue alone.

 

THESEUS

No epilogue, I pray you, for your play needs no excuse. Never excuse—for when the players are all dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine tragedy. And so it is, truly, and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask. Let your epilogue alone.

 

Bergomask dance   

Bergomask dance   

Exeunt BOTTOM and FLUTE

Exeunt BOTTOM and FLUTE

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.

iron tongue=clapper of a bell

Lovers, to bed. 'Tis almost fairy time.

fairy time=between midnight and dawn

I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn

As much as we this night have overwatched.

This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled

palpable-gross=obviously dull

beguiled=charmed

The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.

heavy gait=dull proceedings

A fortnight [hence] hold we this solemnity

In nightly revels and new jollity.

 

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.

Lovers, to bed. 'Tis almost fairy time.

I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn

As much as we this night have overwatched.

This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled

The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.

A fortnight hold we this solemnity,

In nightly revels and new jollity.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

Enter ROBIN

Enter ROBIN

ROBIN

 Now the hungry lion roars

 And the wolf behowls the moon,

 Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,

 All with weary task fordone.

fordone=exhausted

 Now the wasted brands do glow,

wasted brands=embers of the fire

 Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,

 Puts the wretch that lies in woe

 In remembrance of a shroud.

 Now it is the time of night

 That the graves all gaping wide,

 Every one lets forth his sprite,

sprite=spirit

 In the churchway paths to glide.

 And we fairies that do run

 By the triple Hecate’s team

(queen of the night’s chariot is drawn by a team of dragons)

 From the presence of the sun,

 Following darkness like a dream,

 Now are frolic. Not a mouse

 Shall disturb this hallowed house.

 I am sent with broom before

 To sweep the dust behind the door.

 

ROBIN

 Now the hungry lion roars

 And the wolf behowls the moon,

 Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,

 All with weary task fordone.

 Now the wasted brands do glow,

 Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,

 Puts the wretch that lies in woe

 In remembrance of a shroud.

 Now it is the time of night

 That the graves all gaping wide,

 Every one lets forth his sprite,

 In the churchway paths to glide.

 And we fairies, that do run

 By the triple Hecate’s team

 From the presence of the sun,

 Following darkness like a dream,

 Now are frolic. Not a mouse

 Shall disturb this hallowed house.

 I am sent with broom before

 To sweep the dust behind the door.

 

Enter OBERON and TITANIA, King and Queen of Fairies, with all their train

Enter OBERON and TITANIA, King and Queen of Fairies, with all their train

OBERON

Through the house give glimmering light

By the dead and drowsy fire.

Every elf and fairy sprite

Hop as light as bird from brier,

And this ditty, after me,

Sing and dance it trippingly.

 

OBERON

Through the house give glimmering light,

By the dead and drowsy fire.

Every elf and fairy sprite

Hop as light as bird from brier.

And this ditty, after me,

Sing and dance it trippingly.

 

TITANIA

First, rehearse your song by rote,

To each word a warbling note.

Hand in hand with fairy grace

Will we sing and bless this place.

 

TITANIA

First, rehearse your song by rote,

To each word a warbling note.

Hand in hand with fairy grace

Will we sing and bless this place.

 

OBERON, TITANIA, and the FAIRIES sing and dance

OBERON, TITANIA, and the FAIRIES sing and dance

OBERON

(sings)

Now until the break of day,

Through this house each fairy stray.

To the best bride bed will we,

Which by us shall blessèd be.

And the issue there create

issue=descendents

Ever shall be fortunate.

So shall all the couples three

Ever true in loving be.

And the blots of Nature’s hand

Shall not in their issue stand.

   Never mole, harelip, nor scar,

Nor mark prodigious, such as are

Despisèd in nativity,

Shall upon their children be.

With this field dew consecrate,

Every fairy take his gait.

take his gait=go his way

And each several chamber bless

Through this palace with sweet peace.

And the owner of it blessed

Ever shall in safety rest.

Trip away. Make no stay.

Meet me all by break of day.

 

OBERON

(sings)

Now until the break of day,

Through this house each fairy stray.

To the best bride bed will we,

Which by us shall blessèd be.

And the issue there create

Ever shall be fortunate.

So shall all the couples three

Ever true in loving be.

And the blots of Nature’s hand

Shall not in their issue stand.

   Never mole, harelip, nor scar,

Nor mark prodigious, such as are

Despisèd in nativity,

Shall upon their children be.

With this field dew consecrate,

Every fairy take his gait.

And each several chamber bless

Through this palace with sweet peace.

And the owner of it blessed

Ever shall in safety rest.

Trip away. Make no stay.

Meet me all by break of day.

 

Exeunt all but ROBIN

Exeunt all but ROBIN

ROBIN

 If we shadows have offended,

 Think but this, and all is mended—

 That you have but slumbered here

 While these visions did appear.

 And this weak and idle theme,

 No more yielding but [than] a dream,

 Gentles, do not reprehend.

 If you pardon, we will mend.

 And, as I am an honest Puck,

 If we have unearnèd luck

 Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,

(to escape hisses from the audience)

 We will make amends ere long.

 Else the Puck a liar call.

 So good night unto you all.

 Give me your hands if we be friends,

 And Robin shall restore amends.

restore amends=give you something good in return

 

ROBIN

 If we shadows have offended,

 Think but this, and all is mended—

 That you have but slumbered here

 While these visions did appear.

 And this weak and idle theme,

 No more yielding but a dream,

 Gentles, do not reprehend.

 If you pardon, we will mend.

 And, as I am an honest Puck,

 If we have unearnèd luck

 Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,

 We will make amends ere long.

 Else the Puck a liar call.

 So good night unto you all.

 Give me your hands if we be friends,

 And Robin shall restore amends.

 

THE END

THE END