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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Act III, Scene 1

The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.



  • Quince. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous 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.
  • Quince. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
  • Bottom. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and
    Thisby that will never please. First, Pyramus must
    draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies
    cannot abide. How answer you that? 830
  • Snout. By'r lakin, 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 835
    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 840
    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?
  • Bottom. Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves: to 845
    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. 850
  • 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 855
    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. 860
  • 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 Thisby meet by moonlight.
  • Snout. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
  • Bottom. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find 865
    out moonshine, find out moonshine.
  • Quince. 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. 870
  • Quince. Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
    and a lanthorn, 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 Thisby says the story, did 875
    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 rough-cast
    about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his 880
    fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus
    and Thisby 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 885
    speech, enter into that brake: and so every one
    according to his cue.

[Enter PUCK behind]

  • Puck. What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
    So near the cradle of the fairy queen? 890
    What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
    An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
  • Quince. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
  • Bottom. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—
  • Bottom. —odours savours sweet:
    So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
    But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
    And by and by I will to thee appear.


  • Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.


  • 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. 905
  • Flute. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
    Of colour 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. 910
  • 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 true as truest horse, that yet would 915
    never tire.

[Re-enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head]

  • Bottom. If I were fair, Thisby, I were only thine.
  • Quince. O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted. Pray,
    masters! fly, masters! Help! 920


  • 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; 925
    And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
    Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.


  • Bottom. Why do they run away? this is a knavery of them to
    make me afeard. 930

[Re-enter SNOUT]

  • Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
  • Bottom. What do you see? you see an asshead of your own, do

[Exit SNOUT]

[Re-enter QUINCE]

  • Quince. Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art


  • Bottom. I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; 940
    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] 945
    The ousel cock so black of hue,
    With orange-tawny bill,
    The throstle with his note so true,
    The wren with little quill,—
  • Titania. [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed? 950
  • Bottom. [Sings]
    The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
    The plain-song cuckoo gray,
    Whose note full many a man doth mark,
    And dares not answer nay;— 955
    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 enamour'd of thy note; 960
    So is mine eye enthralled 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 965
    love keep little company together now-a-days; the
    more the pity that some honest neighbours 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 970
    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; 975
    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 pressed flowers dost sleep;
    And I will purge thy mortal grossness so 980
    That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
    Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!


  • All. Where shall we go?
  • Titania. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
    Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; 990
    Feed him with apricocks 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 glow-worm's eyes, 995
    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.
  • Bottom. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily: I beseech your
    worship's name. 1005
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Bottom. Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well:
    that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
    devoured many a gentleman of your house: I promise
    you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now. I
    desire your more acquaintance, good Master 1020
  • 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 enforced chastity. 1025
    Tie up my love's tongue bring him silently.