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Star. He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt, he is transported.
Flu. If he come not, then the play is marred. It goes not forward, doth it ?
Quin. It is not possible. You have not a man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.
Flu. No; he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in Athens.
Quin. Yea, and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice. Flu. You must say, paragon.
A paramour is, God bless us, a thing of nought.
Flu. O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a-day during his life. He could not have 'scaped sixpence a-day; an the duke had not given him sixpence a-day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged; he would have deserved it. Sixpence a-day, in Pyramus, or nothing
Quin. Bottom !-O most courageous day! O most happy hour!
Bot. Masters, I am to discourse wonders; but ask me not what; for, if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you every thing, right as it fell out.
Quin. Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
Bot. Not a word of me. All that I will tell you, is, that the duke hath dined. Get your apparel together; good strings to your beards, new ribands to your pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look o'er his part; for the short and the long is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean linen; and let not him, that plays the lion, pare his nails, for they
shall hang out for the lion's claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions, nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, It is a sweet comedy. No more words; away; go, away.
SCENE I. The same. An Apartment in the Palace
Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, · PhilosTRATE, Lords,
and Attendants. Hip. 'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers
speak of. The. 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. 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
The forins of things unknown, the poet's pen
1 i. e. composed.
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Hip. But all the story of the night told over,
Enter LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA.
The. Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth.Joy, gentle friends! joy, and fresh days of love, Accompany your hearts ! Lys.
More, than to us,
Philost. Here, mighty Theseus.
ripe; Make choice of which your highness will see first.
[Giving a paper. The. [Reads.] 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,
1 An abridgment appears to mean some pastime to shorten the tedious evening.
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 from Thebes came last a conqueror.
The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of learning, late deceased 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.
The. What are they that do play it ?
The. And we will hear it.
No, my noble lord,
I have heard it over,
1 i. e. unexercised, unpractised.
I will hear that play;
The sense of this passage appears to be:-“What dutifulness tries to perform without ability, regardful generosity receives with complacency; estimating it, not by the actual merit, but according to the power or might of the huinble but zealous performers."