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Lys. [Awaking] And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.

Transparent Helena! Nature shows art,
That through thy bosom makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius? O, how fit a word

Is that vile name to perish on my sword!

Hel. Do not say so, Lysander; say not so. What though he love your Hermia? Lord, what though?

Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content.
Lys. Content with Hermia! No; I do repent
The tedious minutes I with her have spent.
Not Hermia but Helena I love:
Who will not change a raven for a dove?
The will of man is by his reason sway'd;
And reason says you are the worthier maid.
Things growing are not ripe until their season:
So I, being young, till now ripe not to reason;
And touching now the point of human skill,
Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.

Hel. Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?
When at your hands did I deserve this scorn?
Is 't not enough, is 't not enough, young man,
That I did never, no, nor never can,
Deserve a sweet look from Demetrius' eye,
But you must flout my insufficiency?

Good troth, you do me wrong, good sooth, you do,
In such disdainful manner me to woo.

But fare you well: perforce I must confess

I thought you lord of more true gentleness.
O, that a lady, of one man refused,

Should of another therefore be abused! [Exit.

118 ripe, ripen.


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119. point, culmination, acme. 119. skill, understanding.




Lys. She sees not Hermia. Hermia, sleep thou
there :

And never mayst thou come Lysander near!
For as a surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings,
Or as the heresies that men do leave

Are hated most of those they did deceive,
So thou, my surfeit and my heresy,

Of all be hated, but the most of me!

And, all my powers, address your love and might
To honour Helen and to be her knight! [Exit.
Her. [Awaking] Help me, Lysander, help me!
do thy best

To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord!
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?
Alack, where are you? speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
No? then I well perceive you are not nigh:
Either death or you I'll find immediately. [Exit.


SCENE I. The wood. Titania lying asleep. Enter QUINCE, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout, and STARVELING.

Bot. Are we all met?

Quin. Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous con

150. prey, (act of) preying.
154. of all loves, in the name of all loves.



venient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiringhouse; and we will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.

Bot. Peter Quince,

Quin. What sayest thou, bully Bottom?

Bot. There are things in this comedy of Pyramus and Thisby that will never please. 10 First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself; which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?

Snout. By 'r lakin, a parlous fear.

Star. I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.

Bot. 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 Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for so the more better assurance, tell them that I Pyramus am not Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver this will put them out of fear.

Quin. Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.

Bot. No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

Snout. Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion? Star. I fear it, I promise you.

Bot. Masters, you ought to consider with 30 yourselves to 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.

oath, by the Virgin.

14. parlous (perilous), alarm. ing, serious.

16. when all is done, after all

8. bully; a familiar (and in Shakespeare always a friendly) address to a comrade or boon companion.

14. By'r lakin; a common

Snout. Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.

Bot. 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 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.

Quin. 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 so meet by moonlight.

Snout. Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?

Bot. A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine.

Quin. Yes, it doth shine that night.

Bot. 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.


Quin. Ay; or else one must come in with a 60 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 talk through the chink of a wall.

Snout. You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?

Bot. Some man or other must present Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or 70

some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.

Quin. 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 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?

What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.

Quin. Speak, Pyramus. Thisby, stand forth.
Bot. Thisby, the flowers of odious savours


Quin. Odours, odours.


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. [Exit. Puck. A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here. [Exit. 90

Flu. Must I speak now?

Quin. Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.

Flu. Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of


81. toward, in preparation. 85. Odours, odours. So Ff Qq, odours, odorous.

86. savours is doubtless meant for a verb; Bottom blunders again in the next line (excus


ably) in saying hath for doth.

90. here, i.e. at Athens. Steevens supposed it to mean in the theatre where the play was acting, but this is un-Shakespearean.

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