A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 5, Scene 1
Athens. A room in the palace of Theseus.
- Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, and Philostrate, Lords, and
- ’Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
Theseus4 - 24
- More strange than true. I never may believe
- These antic 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 a 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 aery 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 suppos’d a bear!
Hippolyta25 - 29
- But all the story of the night told over,
- And all their minds transfigur’d so together,
- More witnesseth than fancy’s images,
- And grows to something of great constancy;
- But howsoever, strange and admirable.
- Enter lovers, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena.
Theseus31 - 33
- Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
- Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love
- Accompany your hearts!
Lysander34 - 35
- More than to us
- Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
Theseus36 - 42
- Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
- 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?
- Call Philostrate.
- Here, mighty Theseus.
Theseus44 - 46
- Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?
- What masque? What music? How shall we beguile
- The lazy time, if not with some delight?
Philostrate47 - 48
- There is a brief how many sports are ripe.
- Make choice of which your Highness will see first.
- Giving a paper.
Theseus50 - 67
- “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 play’d
- When I from Thebes came last a conqueror.
- “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
- 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?
Philostrate68 - 77
- 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 rehears’d, I must confess,
- Made mine eyes water; but more merry tears
- The passion of loud laughter never shed.
- What are they that do play it?
Philostrate79 - 82
- Hard-handed men that work in Athens here,
- Which never labor’d in their minds till now;
- And now have toiled their unbreathed memories
- With this same play, against your nuptial.
- And we will hear it.
Philostrate84 - 89
- 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,
- To do you service.
Theseus90 - 93
- I will hear that play;
- For never any thing can be amiss,
- When simpleness and duty tender it.
- Go bring them in; and take your places, ladies.
- Exit Philostrate.
Hippolyta95 - 96
- I love not to see wretchedness o’ercharged,
- And duty in his service perishing.
- Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
- He says they can do nothing in this kind.
Theseus99 - 115
- 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 purposed
- To greet me with premeditated welcomes;
- Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
- Make periods in the midst of sentences,
- Throttle their practic’d 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 pick’d 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.
- So please your Grace, the Prologue is address’d.
- Let him approach.
- Flourish trumpet.
- Enter Quince for the Prologue.
Prologue121 - 130
- 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 content 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.
- This fellow doth not stand upon points.
Lysander132 - 134
- 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.
Hippolyta135 - 136
- Indeed he hath play’d on this prologue like a child on a
- recorder—a sound, but not in government.
Theseus137 - 138
- His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impair’d, but
- all disorder’d. Who is next?
- Enter with a Trumpet before them Pyramus and Thisbe and Wall
- and Moonshine and Lion.
Prologue141 - 165
- 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 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.
- This man, with lantern, 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 broach’d 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.
- Exit with Pyramus, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine.
- I wonder if the lion be to speak.
- No wonder, my lord; one lion may, when many asses do.
Wall169 - 178
- In this same enterlude 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 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.
- Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?
Demetrius180 - 181
- It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my
- Enter Pyramus.
- Pyramus draws near the wall. Silence!
Pyramus184 - 196
- O grim-look’d 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 his fingers.
- 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!
- Curs’d be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
- The wall methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
Pyramus198 - 201
- 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.
Thisbe203 - 206
- 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,
- Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
Pyramus207 - 209
- I see a voice! Now will I to the chink,
- To spy and I can hear my Thisbe’s face.
- My love thou art, my love I think.
Pyramus211 - 212
- Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace;
- And, like Limander, am I trusty still.
- And I, like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
- Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
- As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
- O, kiss me through the hole of this vild wall!
- I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.
- Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?
- ’Tide life, ’tide death, I come without delay.
- Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe.
Wall221 - 222
- Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
- And being done, thus Wall away doth go.
- Now is the moon used between the two neighbors.
Demetrius225 - 226
- No remedy, my lord, when walls are so willful to hear
- without warning.
- This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
Theseus228 - 229
- The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no
- worse, if imagination amend them.
- It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
Theseus231 - 233
- 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.
Lion235 - 242
- 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.
- A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
- The very best at a beast, my lord, that e’er I saw.
- This lion is a very fox for his valor.
- True; and a goose for his discretion.
Demetrius247 - 248
- Not so, my lord; for his valor cannot carry his discretion,
- and the fox carries the goose.
Theseus249 - 251
- 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.
- This lantern doth the horned moon present—
- He should have worn the horns on his head.
Theseus254 - 255
- He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the
Moonshine256 - 257
- This lantern doth the horned moon present;
- Myself the man i’ th’ moon do seem to be.
Theseus258 - 259
- This is the greatest error of all the rest. The man should
- be put into the lantern. How is it else the man i’ th’ moon?
Demetrius260 - 261
- He dares not come there for the candle; for, you see, it is
- already in snuff.
- I am a-weary of this moon. Would he would change!
Theseus263 - 265
- 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.
- Proceed, Moon.
Moonshine267 - 269
- All that I have to say is to tell you that the lantern is
- the moon, I the man i’ th’ moon, this thorn-bush my
- thorn-bush, and this dog my dog.
Demetrius270 - 271
- Why, all these should be in the lantern; for all these are
- in the moon. But silence! Here comes Thisbe.
- Enter Thisbe.
- This is old Ninny’s tomb. Where is my love?
- The Lion roars. Thisbe runs off.
- Well roar’d, Lion.
- Well run, Thisbe.
- Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a good grace.
- The Lion shakes Thisbe’s mantle.
- Well mous’d, Lion.
- Enter Pyramus.
- And then came Pyramus.
- Exit Lion.
- And so the lion vanish’d.
Pyramus285 - 300
- 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, stain’d with blood?
- Approach, ye Furies fell!
- O Fates, come, come,
- Cut thread and thrum,
- Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!
Theseus301 - 302
- This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near
- to make a man look sad.
- Beshrew my heart, but I pity the man.
Pyramus304 - 321
- O, wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
- Since lion vild hath here deflow’r’d my dear;
- Which is—no, no—which was the fairest dame
- That liv’d, that lov’d, that lik’d, that look’d 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.
- Now die, die, die, die, die.
- No die, but an ace, for him; for he is but one.
- Less than an ace, man; for he is dead, he is nothing.
Theseus325 - 326
- With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and yet
- prove an ass.
Hippolyta327 - 328
- How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes back and
- finds her lover?
- Enter Thisbe.
Theseus330 - 331
- She will find him by starlight. Here she comes, and her
- passion ends the play.
Hippolyta332 - 333
- Methinks she should not use a long one for such a Pyramus. I
- hope she will be brief.
Demetrius334 - 336
- A mote will turn the balance, which Pyramus, which Thisbe,
- is the better: he for a man. God warr’nt us; she for a
- woman. God bless us.
- She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
- And thus she means, videlicet—
Thisbe339 - 363
- 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.
- Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.
- Ay, and Wall too.
Bottom367 - 370
- Starting up.
- 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?
Theseus371 - 386
- 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 blam’d. Marry, if he that writ it had play’d
- Pyramus, and hang’d himself in Thisbe’s garter, it would
- have been a fine tragedy; and so it is, truly, and very
- notably discharg’d. 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 outsleep the coming morn
- As much as we this night have overwatch’d.
- This palpable-gross play hath well beguil’d
- The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
- A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
- In nightly revels and new jollity.
- Enter Puck.
Robin389 - 408
- Now the hungry lion roars,
- And the wolf behowls the moon;
- Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
- All with weary task foredone.
- 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 church-way paths to glide.
- And we fairies, that do run
- By the triple Hecat’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 King and Queen of Fairies, Oberon and Titania, with
- all their Train.
Oberon411 - 416
- 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.
Titania417 - 420
- 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.
- Song and dance.
Oberon422 - 443
- 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,
- 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, hare-lip, nor scar,
- Nor mark prodigious, such as are
- Despised 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 blest
- Ever shall in safety rest.
- Trip away; make no stay;
- Meet me all by break of day.
- Exeunt Oberon, Titania, and Train.
Robin445 - 460
- If we shadows have offended,
- Think but this, and all is mended,
- That you have but slumb’red 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 unearned 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.