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Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Bot. What is Pyramus ? a lover, or a tyrant ?
Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
Bot. 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 humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
“ The raging rocks,
« Of prison-gates;
“ 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
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.
Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will,
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice ;-- Thisne, Thisne,Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!
Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus, and, Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you inust play Thisby's mother.-Tom Snout, the tinker.
Snout. Here, Peter Quince,
Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part:-and, I hope, here is a play fitted.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring
Bot. 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 Toar again.
Quin. An 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.
All. That would hang us every mother's son.
Bot. I grant you, friends, if that 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, ihat I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus: for Pyramus is a sweet-faced 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.
Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in? Quin. Why, what you
will. Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grainbeard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.---But, masters, here are your parts; and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moon-light; there will we rehearse: for if we meet in the city, we shall be dog’d with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely, and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
SCENE I.-A Wood near Athens.
Enter a Fairy, at one door, and Puck at another.
Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Puck. Thou speak’st aright;