A Midsummer Night's Dream Text and Translation - Act V

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Act V

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[Athens. The palace of Theseus]

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Philostrate, and Lords

HIPPOLYTA:
'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak
of.
HIPPOLYTA:
It’s strange, my Theseus, the story 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,(5)
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;(10)
That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth(15)
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,(20)
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear?
THESEUS:
More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables, or these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such busy brains,
Such ability to shape fantasies, that they catch
More than cool reason ever understands.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are all compact in their imagination.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold;
That is the madman. The lover, just as crazy,
Sees Helen of Troy's beauty in an Egyptian.
The poet's eye, rolling in a fine frenzy,
Glances from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination sends out
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives a local place and a name
To airy nothing.
Such tricks have strong imagination,
That, if it would only catch some joy,
It understands some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush thought to be a bear?
HIPPOLYTA:
But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,(25)
More witnesseth than fancy's images,
And grows to something of great constancy,
But howsoever strange and admirable.
HIPPOLYTA:
But the whole story of the night told over,
And all their minds changed all at the same time,
Shows more witnesses than just images of the mind,
And grows to something of great lasting;
But, nevertheless, strange and admirable.

Enter Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena

THESEUS:
Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love(30)
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
Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
LYSANDER:
More than you wish for us
Waits in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
THESEUS:
Come now; what masques, what dances shall
we have,(35)
To wear away this long age of three hours
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?(40)
Call Philostrate.
THESEUS:
Come now; what plays, what dances shall we have,
To pass the three hours
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in store? Is there no play
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
Call Philostrate.
PHILOSTRATE:
Here, mighty Theseus.
PHILOSTRATE:
THESEUS:
Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?(45)
THESEUS:
Say, what entertainment do you have for this evening?
What play? what music? How shall we spend
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
PHILOSTRATE:
There is a brief how many sports are ripe;
Make choice of which your Highness will see first.
PHILOSTRATE:
There is a brief list of how many events there are;
Make choice of which your highness will see first.

[Giving a paper]

THESEUS:
‘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,(50)
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 play'd
When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.(55)
‘The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of Learning, late deceas'd in beggary.’
That is some satire, keen and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.
‘A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus(60)
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?
THESEUS:
'The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.'
We'll none of that. I’ve already told that one to 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 came from Thebes at last a conqueror.
'The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceased in beggary.'
That is some satire, ken and critical,
Not in keeping with a wedding ceremony.
'A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.'
Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
That’s like 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,(65)
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;(70)
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, because, in all the play
There is not one appropriate word, one player a good actor.
And it’s tragical, my noble lord,
Because Pyramus kills himself during the play,
Which when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
Made my eyes water, but more merry tears were never shed
In a fit of loud laughter.
THESEUS:
What are they that do play it?(75)
THESEUS:
Who are they that do play it?
PHILOSTRATE:
Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
Which never labour'd in their minds till now;
And now have toil'd their unbreathed memories
With this same play against your nuptial.
PHILOSTRATE:
Hard working men that work here in Athens,
Who never worked in their minds until now,
And now they have toiled their bad memories
To do this play in honor of your wedding.
THESEUS:
And we will hear it.(80)
THESEUS:
And we’ll 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 stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,(85)
To do you service.
PHILOSTRATE:
No, my noble lord,
It is not for you. I’ve heard,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world,
Unless you can laugh at their intentions,
Extremely stretched and done with cruel pain,
To do you service.
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.(90)
THESEUS:
I will hear that play,
Because nothing can ever be wrong
When simpleness and duty give it freely.
Go, bring them in. and take your places, ladies.

[Exit Philostrate]

HIPPOLYTA:
I love not to see wretchedness o'er-charged,
And duty in his service perishing.
HIPPOLYTA:
I don’t like to see misery over-played,
And duty dying in his service.
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’t do anything like this.
THESEUS:
The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.(95)
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 purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes;(100)
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practised accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,(105)
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(110)
In least speak most to my capacity.
THESEUS:
That makes us kinder, to give them thanks for nothing.
Our fun shall be to pick up on the mistakes they make.
And what poor duty can’t do,
Noble respect takes it in force, not merit.
In places I go to, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with prepared welcomes;
I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make full stops in the middle of sentences,
Mess up their practiced speeches in their fears,
And, in conclusion, stop all together, dumbstruck,
Not paying me a welcome. Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence, I still picked out a welcome;
And in the modesty of fearful duty,
I can understand as much as if it were from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
Speaking the least means most to me.

[Re-enter Philostrate]

PHILOSTRATE:
So please your Grace, the Prologue is
address'd.
PHILOSTRATE:
So please your grace, the prologue is next.
THESEUS:
Let him approach.
THESEUS:
Let him approach.

Flourish trumpets

Enter [Quince as] the Prologue

PROLOGUE:
If we offend, it is with our good will.(115)
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 content you,(120)
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:
'If we offend you, it is with our good will.
But you should think that we don’t come to offend,
But with good will. To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then that we come but in scorn.
We don’t come, as we mean to content you,
Is our true intent. All for your delight
We are not here. That you should here repent,
The actors are here and, by their show,
You shall know all that you are like to know,'
THESEUS:
This fellow doth not stand upon points.(125)
THESEUS:
This fellow does 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 has ridden his prologue like a rough colt. He doesn’t know
where the stops are. A good moral, my lord. It is not enough to speak,
except to speak true.
HIPPOLYTA:
Indeed he hath play'd on this prologue like a
child on a recorder,—a sound, but not in government.(130)
HIPPOLYTA:
Indeed he has played on this prologue like a child
on a recorder, a sound, but not in order.
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’s next?

Enter, with a trumpet before them, [as in dumb show,] [Bottom as] Pyramus and [Flute as] Thisbe, [Snout as] Wall, [Starveling as] Moonshine, and [Snug as] Lion

PROLOGUE:
Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;(135)
This beauteous lady Thisbe is certain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, 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.(140)
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,(145)
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,(150)
And finds his trusty Thisbe's mantle slain;
Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast;
And Thisbe, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,(155)
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain,
At large discourse while here they do remain.
PROLOGUE:
Gentles, perhaps you wonder at this show;
But wonder on until the truth makes all things clear.
This man is Pyramus, if you want to know;
This beauteous lady is certainly Thisbe.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, represents
Wall, that vile Wall which kept these lovers apart;
And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper, at the which, let no man wonder.
This man, with lantern, dog, and thorn bush,
Represents Moonshine, because, if you want to know,
These lovers think it’s no shame to meet at Ninus' tomb
By moonshine, there, there to court each other.
This grisly beast, which known by name Lion,
Scared away or rather frightened the trusty Thisbe,
Coming first to the place by night;
And as she fled, she dropped her shawl,
Which vile Lion stained with his bloody mouth.
Soon Pyramus comes, sweet youth, and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisbe's blood-stained shawl.
He bravely stabs his boiling bloody breast
With a sword when he sees this, a bloody blameful blade;
And Thisbe, waiting in the shade of the mulberry tree,
Drew his dagger, and kills herself. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and the two lovers,
Tell you while they stay here.

Exeunt all but Wall

THESEUS:
I wonder if the lion be to speak.
THESEUS:
I wonder if the lion is going to speak.
DEMETRIUS:
No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many
asses do.(160)
DEMETRIUS:
No wonder, my lord. One lion may speak when many asses do.
WALL:
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,(165)
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast, 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.(170)
WALL:
In this same play, it happens
That I, one Snout by name, represent a wall.
And such a wall, as I would have you think I am,
Had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe,
Often whispered very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone, show
That I am that same wall; that’s the truth.
And this is the cranny, right and left,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
THESEUS:
Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
THESEUS:
Do you need 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
speak, my lord.

Enter {Bottom as] Pyramus

THESEUS:
Pyramus draws near the wall; silence.
THESEUS:
Pyramus draws near the wall; silence.
PYRAMUS:
O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so black!(175)
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;(180)
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne.

[Wall shows his 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,(185)
Curs'd he thy stones for thus deceiving me!
PYRAMUS:
Oh grim-looked night! Oh night with hue so black!
Oh night, which ever is when day is not!
Oh night, Oh night, alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Thisbe's forgot her promise!—
And you, Oh wall, Oh sweet, Oh lovely wall,
That stand between her father's house and mine;
You wall, Oh wall, Oh sweet and lovely wall,
Show me your chink, to blink through with mine eye.

Thanks, courteous wall. Jove protect you well for this!
But what see what see I? I don’t see Thisbe.
Oh wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss,
Cursed be your stones for deceiving me like this!

THESEUS:
The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse
again.
THESEUS:
The wall, I think, being sensible, should curse again.
PYRAMUS:
No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceiving me is
Thisbe's cue. She is to enter now, and I am to spy her(190)
through the wall. You shall see it will fall pat as I told
you; yonder she comes.
PYRAMUS:
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 right just as I told you.—she comes
From over there.

Enter [Flute as] Thisbe

THISBE:
O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones,(195)
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
THISBE:
Oh wall, you have heard my moans very often,
For separating my fair Pyramus and me.
My cherry lips have often kissed your stones.
Your stones are knit up in you with lime and hair.
PYRAMUS:
I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisbe's face.
Thisbe!
PYRAMUS:
I see a voice; now I’ll go to the chink,
To spy if I can hear my Thisbe's face.
Thisbe!
THISBE:
My love! thou art my love, I think.(200)
THISBE:
My love! you are my love, I think.
PYRAMUS:
Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
And like Limander am I trusty still.
PYRAMUS:
Think what you will, I am your lover's grace;
And like Limander, I am still trusty.
THISBE:
And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
THISBE:
And I’m like Helena, until the fates kill me.
PYRAMUS:
Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
PYRAMUS:
Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
THISBE:
As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.(205)
THISBE:
As Shafalus to Procrus, I am to you.
PYRAMUS:
O, 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:
Will you meet me straightway at Ninny's tomb?
THISBE:
'Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.
THISBE:
Fighting life, fighting death, I come without delay.
WALL:
Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so;(210)
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.
WALL:
So I, wall, have discharged my part;
And, being done, Wall goes away like this.

[Exeunt]

THESEUS:
Now is the mural down between the two neighbors.
THESEUS:
Now is the wall down between the two neighbors.
DEMETRIUS:
No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful to
hear without warning.
DEMETRIUS:
No remedy, my lord, when walls are so willful to hear
without warning.
HIPPOLYTA:
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.(215)
HIPPOLYTA:
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
THESEUS:
The best in this kind are but shadows; and the
worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
THESEUS:
The best plays are only shadows, and the worst
are no worse, if imagination can fill in the gaps.
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(220)
noble beasts in, a man and a lion.
THESEUS:
If we imagine no worse of them than they imagine of
themselves, they may pass for excellent men.
Here come two noble beasts, a moon and a lion.

Enter Lion and Moonshine

LION:
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.(225)
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.
LION:
You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now, perhaps, both quake and tremble here,
When a rough lion roars in wildest rage.
Then know that I am one Snug the joiner,
A savage lion, or else no lion's wife.
For, if I should come in as lion
Into this place, shame on me.
THESEUS:
A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.(230)
THESEUS:
A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
DEMETRIUS:
The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.
DEMETRIUS:
The very best at a beast, my lord, that ever I saw.
LYSANDER:
This lion is a very fox for his valour.
LYSANDER:
This lion is a very fox for his courage.
THESEUS:
True; and a goose for his discretion.
THESEUS:
True and a goose for his secret-keeping.
DEMETRIUS:
Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry his
discretion, and the fox carries the goose.(235)
DEMETRIUS:
Not so, my lord, because his courage cannot carry his
secret-keeping, but the fox carries the goose.
THESEUS:
His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour;
for the goose carries not the fox. It is well. Leave it to his
discretion, and let us listen to the moon.
THESEUS:
His secret-keeping, I am sure, cannot carry his courage,
because the goose cannot carry the fox. It’s OK; leave it to his
secret-keeping, and let’s listen to the moon.
MOONSHINE:
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present—
MOONSHINE:
This lantern represents the horned moon.
DEMETRIUS:
He should have worn the horns on his head.(240)
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 circle.
MOONSHINE:
This lanthorn doth the horned moon present;
Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.
MOONSHINE:
This lantern represents the horned moon;
I myself seem to be the man in the moon.
THESEUS:
This is the greatest error of all the rest; the man(245)
should be put into the lantern. How is it else the man i'
the moon?
THESEUS:
This is the greatest error of them all. The man should be
put into the lantern. How else is it the man in the moon?
DEMETRIUS:
He dares not come there for the candle; for,
you see, it is already in snuff.
DEMETRIUS:
He doesn’t dare come there for the candle, because you
see, it’s already out.
HIPPOLYTA:
I am aweary of this moon. Would he would(250)
change!
HIPPOLYTA:
I am weary of this moon. I wish 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.
THESEUS:
It appears, by his small light of discretion, that he
is growing dark, but still, politely, in all reason, we must
pass the time.
LYSANDER:
Proceed, Moon.(255)
LYSANDER:
Proceed, moon.
MOON:
All that I have to say is to tell you that the lanthorn
is the moon; I, the man i' the moon; this thorn-bush, my
thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
MOON:
All that I have to say, is to tell you that the lantern
is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thorn-bush, my
thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
DEMETRIUS:
Why, all these should be in the lantern; for all
these are in the moon. But silence; here comes Thisbe.(260)
DEMETRIUS:
Why, all these should be in the lantern; for all
these are in the moon. But silence; here comes Thisbe.

[Re-]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:
O— The Lion roars [Flute as] Thisbe runs off
LION:
Oh!
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(265)
a good grace.
HIPPOLYTA:
Well shone, moon.—Truly, the moon shines with a good grace.

[The Lion tears Thisbe's mantle, and exits]

THESEUS:
Well moused, Lion.
THESEUS:
Well moused, lion.
DEMETRIUS:
And then came Pyramus.
DEMETRIUS:
And here comes Pyramus.
LYSANDER:
And so the lion vanished.
LYSANDER:
And then the lion vanishes.

[Re-]enter [Bottom as] Pyramus

PYRAMUS:
Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;(270)
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,(275)
What dreadful dole is here!
Eyes, do you see?
How can it he?
O dainty duck! O dear!
Thy mantle good,(280)
What! stain'd with blood?
Approach, ye Furies fell.
O Fates! come, come;
Cut thread and thrum;
Quail, crush, conclude, and quell.(285)
PYRAMUS:
Sweet moon, I thank you for your sunny beams;
I thank you, moon, for shining now so bright.
For, by your gracious golden, glittering streams,
I trust to take sight of truest Thisbe.
But stay;—Oh spite!
But mark,—poor knight,
What dreadful sorrow is here!
Eyes, do you see?
How can it be?
Oh dainty duck! Oh dear!
Your shawl good,
What! stained with blood?
Approach, you vicious fates!
Oh fates! come, come;
Cut thread and thrum;
Quail, rush, conclude, and quell!
THESEUS:
This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
go near to make a man look sad.
THESEUS:
This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go far
In making a man look sad.
HIPPOLYTA:
Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
HIPPOLYTA:
Curse my heart, but I pity the man.
PYRAMUS:
O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
Since lion vile hath here deflower'd my dear;(290)
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;(295)
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop.
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.

[Stabs himself]

Now am I dead,
Now am I fled;(300)
My soul is in the sky.
Tongue, lose thy light;
Moon, take thy flight.

[Exit Moonshine]

Now die, die, die, die, die.
PYRAMUS:
Oh why, nature, did you make lions?
Since the vile lion vile has here taken 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 (heart) of Pyramus.
Ay, that left pap,
Where the heart beats.—
Thus die I, thus, thus, thus.
Now am I dead,
Now am I fled;
My soul is in the sky.
Tongue, lose your light!
Moon, take your flight!
Now die, die, die, die, die.

[Dies]

DEMETRIUS:
No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.(305)
DEMETRIUS:
No die, but an ace, for him, because he is only 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 yet prove an ass.
THESEUS:
With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover and prove a donkey.
HIPPOLYTA:
How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe(310)
comes back and finds her lover?
HIPPOLYTA:
How is it that 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.

[Re-]enter [Flute as] Thisbe]

HIPPOLYTA:
Methinks she should not use a long one for
such a Pyramus; I hope she will be brief.(315)
HIPPOLYTA:
I think she shouldn’t use a long one speech for such a
Pyramus. I hope she will be brief.
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!
DEMETRIUS:
A particle of dust will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which
Thisbe, is the better.
LYSANDER:
She hath spied him already with those sweet
eyes.(320)
LYSANDER:
She has already seen him with those sweet eyes.
DEMETRIUS:
And thus she moans, videlicet:—
DEMETRIUS:
And thus she moans, that is to say.—
THISBE:
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Pyramus, arise,
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?(325)
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These lily lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,(330)
Are gone, are gone;
Lovers, make moan;
His eyes were green as leeks.
O Sisters Three,
Come, come to me,(335)
With hands as pale as milk;
Lay them in gore,
Since you have shore
With shears his thread of silk.
Tongue, not a word.(340)
Come, trusty sword;
Come, blade, my breast imbrue. [Stabs herself]
And farewell, friends;
Thus Thisbe ends;
Adieu, adieu, adieu. [Dies](345)
THISBE:
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
Oh Pyramus, arise,
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover your sweet eyes.
These lily lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,
Are gone, are gone.
Lovers, make moan!
His eyes were as green as leeks.
Oh 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, pierce my breast;
And farewell, friends.—
Thus Thisbe ends;
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
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:
No, I 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?(350)
BOTTOM:
No, I assure you; the wall is down that parted their fathers.
Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear an Italian country
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 need 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(355)
very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask; let
your epilogue alone.

[A dance]

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn,(360)
As much as we this night have overwatch'd.
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.(365)
THESEUS:
No epilogue, I beg you, because your play needs no
excuse. Never excuse, for when the players are all dead, there’s
no one to be blamed. God, if he who wrote the play 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
acted. But come, your Italian country dance; forget your epilogue.

The clock has struck midnight, twelve.—
Lovers, to bed; it’s almost fairy time.
I’m afraid we shall oversleep in the morning,
As much as we stayed up late this night.
This very gross play has attracted
The heavy yawns and tiredness of this night.—Sweet friends, to bed.—
We will hold this partying for two weeks,
In nightly revels and new joy.

Exeunt

Enter Puck [with a broom]

PUCK:
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,(370)
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,(375)
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide.
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team
From the presence of the sun,(380)
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic. Not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house.
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.(385)
PUCK:
Now the lion is roaring as he hunts for food,
And the wolf howls at the moon;
While the heavy farmer snores in his sleep,
Exhausted from all the work he has done.
Now the fires that burned all day just glow,
While the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Reminds the sad poor man
That death awaits.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves, all opening up wide,
Each let out a ghost,
To walk along the paths around the church:
And we fairies, that run
With the chief witch’s team
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness as if it were a dream,
Are happy now; not a mouse
Shall disturb this holy house:
I am sent before you all
To sweep the dust behind the door.

Enter [Oberon and Titania], 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,(390)
Sing and dance it trippingly.
OBERON:
As you go through the house, use the dead and drowsy fire to give glimmering light,
Every elf and fairy spirit
Hop as lightly as bird hops from a thorn:
And sing this little song, following me,
And dance it as you sing it.
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.(395)
TITANIA:
First, practice your song until you have it memorized, each word to a vibrating note.
We will sing, with fairy grace,
Holding hands, and bless this place.

The Song

OBERON:
Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue there create(400)
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;(405)
Never mole, hare-lip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be.
With this field-dew consecrate,(410)
Every fairy take his gait,
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.(415)
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.
OBERON:
Now, until dawn,
Each fairy wander through this house.
We will go to the best marriage-bed,
Which shall be blessed by us;
And the children created there
Shall forever be lucky and prosperous.
So all three couples
Shall forever be true in loving,
And birth defects
Shall not appear in their children:
Never mole, cleft palate, or scar,
Or other noticeable marks, such as are
Despised in the newborn,
Shall ever be on their children.--
Every fairy take a door
And bless each and every bedroom
With this holy dew from the fields.
Go through this palace with sweet peace;
It shall forever rest in safety,
And the owner of it shall be blessed.
Dance away:
Don’t delay:
All of you meet me by dawn.

Exeunt [all but Puck]

PUCK:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here(420)
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.(425)
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call.(430)
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
PUCK:
If we actors have offended you,
Think about this,--and everything will be all right,--you have only dozed off here
While these visions appeared.
And this weak and idle play about love,
Doesn’t mean any more than a dream.
Ladies and gentlemen, do not criticize us;
If you forgive us, we will make it up to you.
And, as I am an truthful Puck,
If we are very lucky
Now to escape sharp criticisms,
We will soon make it up to you;
If not, then you can call me a liar.
So, good night to you all.
Let’s have your applause, if we are friends,
And Robin shall make good on his promise.

[Exit]

THE END