A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 1, Scene 2
Athens. A room in Quince’s house.
- Enter Quince the carpenter and Snug the joiner and Bottom
- the weaver and Flute the bellows-mender and Snout the tinker
- and Starveling the tailor.
- Is all our company here?
Bottom5 - 6
- You were best to call them generally, man by man, according
- to the scrip.
Quince7 - 9
- Here is the scroll of every man’s name, which is thought
- fit, through all Athens, to play in our enterlude before the
- Duke and the Duchess, on his wedding-day at night.
Bottom10 - 11
- First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then
- read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.
Quince12 - 13
- Marry, our play is The most lamentable comedy and most cruel
- death of Pyramus and Thisbe.
Bottom14 - 16
- A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now,
- good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll.
- Masters, spread yourselves.
- Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom the weaver.
- Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.
- You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
- What is Pyramus? A lover, or a tyrant?
- A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.
Bottom22 - 36
- That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I
- do it, let the audience look to their eyes. I will move
- storms; I will condole in some measure. To the rest—yet my
- chief humor is for a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or
- a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
- “The raging rocks
- And shivering shocks
- Shall break the locks
- Of prison gates;
- And Phibbus’ car
- Shall shine from far,
- And make and mar
- The foolish Fates.”
- This was lofty! Now name the rest of the players. This is
- Ercles’ vein, a tyrant’s vein; a lover is more condoling.
- Francis Flute the bellows-mender.
- Here, Peter Quince.
- Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.
- What is Thisbe? A wand’ring knight?
- It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
- Nay, faith; let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming.
Quince43 - 44
- That’s all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may
- speak as small as you will.
Bottom45 - 47
- And I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too. I’ll speak
- in a monstrous little voice, “Thisne! Thisne! Ah, Pyramus,
- my lover dear! Thy Thisbe dear, and lady dear!”
- No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute, you Thisbe.
- Well, proceed.
- Robin Starveling the tailor.
- Here, Peter Quince.
Quince52 - 53
- Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe’s mother. Tom Snout
- the tinker.
- Here, Peter Quince.
Quince55 - 57
- You, Pyramus’ father; myself, Thisbe’s father; Snug the
- joiner, you the lion’s part. And I hope here is a play
Snug58 - 59
- Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be, give
- it me, for I am slow of study.
- You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Bottom61 - 63
- Let me play the lion too. I will roar, that I will do any
- man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar, that I will make
- the Duke say, “Let him roar again; let him roar again.”
Quince64 - 66
- And you should do it too terribly, you would fright the
- Duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that
- were enough to hang us all.
- That would hang us, every mother’s son.
Bottom68 - 72
- I grant you, friends, if you should fright the ladies out of
- their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang
- us; but I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as
- gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you and ’twere any
Quince73 - 76
- You can play no part but Pyramus; for Pyramus is a
- sweet-fac’d man; a proper man as one shall see in a summer’s
- day; a most lovely gentleman-like man: therefore you must
- needs play Pyramus.
Bottom77 - 78
- Well; I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it
- Why, what you will.
Bottom80 - 82
- I will discharge it in either your straw-color beard, your
- orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your
- French-crown-color beard, your perfit yellow.
Quince83 - 90
- Some of your French crowns have no hair at all; and then you
- will play barefac’d. But, masters, here are your parts, and
- I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con
- them by tomorrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a
- mile without the town, by moonlight; there will we rehearse;
- for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg’d with company,
- and our devices known. In the meantime I will draw a bill of
- properties, such as our play wants. I pray you fail me not.
Bottom91 - 92
- We will meet, and there we may rehearse most obscenely and
- courageously. Take pains, be perfit; adieu.
- At the Duke’s oak we meet.
- Enough; hold, or cut bow-strings.