||A Midsummer Night's Dream
|| Act V,
Athens. The palace of
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, PHILOSTRATE, Lords and
'Tis strange my Theseus, that these lovers speak of.
More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique 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:
But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images
And grows to something of great constancy;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.
Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.
Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS,
HERMIA, and HELENA
Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love
Accompany your hearts!
More than to us
Wait in your royal walks, your board, your bed!
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?
Here, mighty Theseus.
Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?
There is a brief how many sports are ripe:
Make choice of which your highness will see first.
Giving a paper
[Reads] '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?
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 rehearsed, 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?
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.
And we will hear it.
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.
I will hear that play;
Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.
Exit PHILOSTRATE; re-enter with WALL
In this 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,
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.
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!
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.
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.
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.
I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisbe's face. Thisbe!
My love thou art, my love I think.
O kiss me through the hole of this vile 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
Thus have I, Wall, my part dischargèd so;
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.
This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.
Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.
Enter Lion and Moonshine
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, one 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.
This lanthorn doth the hornèd moon present;--
Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be.
This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man
should be put into the lanthorn. How is it else the
man i' the moon?
I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!
All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the lanthorn is the
moon; I the man i'th'moon; this thorn-bush, my thorn-bush.
This is old Ninny's tomb. Where is my love?
Thisbe runs off (dropping her mantle)
Well roared, Lion.
Well run, Thisbe.
Well shone, Moon. Truly, the moon shines with a
The Lion shakes Thisbe's mantle, and exit
And so the lion vanished.
And then came Pyramus.
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!
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.
O wherefore, Nature, didst thou lions frame?
Since lion vile hath here deflower'd my dear:
Which is--no, no--which was the fairest dame
That lived, that loved, that liked, that look'd
Come, tears, confound;
Out, sword, and wound
The pap of Pyramus;
Ay, that left pap,
Where heart doth hop:
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:
Now die, die, die, die, die.
With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and
prove an ass.
How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes
back and finds her lover?
She will find him by starlight. Here she comes; and
her passion ends the play.
Methinks she should not use a long one for such a
Pyramus: I hope she will be brief.
She hath spied him already with those sweet eyes.
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Pyramus, arise!
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead, dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These My 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:
And, farewell, friends;
Thus Thisbe ends:
Adieu, adieu, adieu.
Moonshine and Lion are left to bury the dead.
Ay, and Wall too.
[Starting up] No 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?
No epilogue, I pray you; for your play needs no
excuse. Never excuse; for when the players are all
dead, there needs none to be blamed.
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
I fear we shall out-sleep the coming morn
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.
Exeunt Enter OBERON and TITANIA with
Through the house give gathering 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.
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
Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessèd 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
Despisèd 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
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd 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 unearnèd 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.
otherwise noted, all original content © 1994-1998 Amy
Ulen. All rights reserved.