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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, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove, I will roar you an 4 '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 strawcoloured beard, your orang awny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, 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.
4 As if.
3 Articles required in performing a play.
Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough; Hold, or cut bow-strings.
SCENE I.- A Wood near Athens.
Enter a Fairy at one door, and Puck at another
Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you?
Fai. Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moones sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs 7 upon the green:
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see ;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours :
I must go seek some drew drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob8 of spirits, I'll be gone;
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-
Take heed, the queen come not within his sight.
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A lovely boy, stol’n from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling:
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train to trace the forest wild:
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled star-light sheen 9,
But they do square !; that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there.
Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Calld Robin Good-fellow : are you not he,
That fright the maidens of the villagery:
Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern?,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm3;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin, call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck:
Are not you
Thou speak'st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat, and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal :
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab 4 ;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slipt I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe;
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.-
But room, Faery, here comes Oberon.
Fai. And here my mistress :-'Would that he
Enter OBERON at one door, with his train, and
TITANIA, at another with hers.
Obe. Ill met by moon-light, proud Titania.
Tita. What jealous Oberon ? Fairy, skip hence; I have forsworn his bed and company.
Obe. Tarry, rash wanton; Am not I thy Lord ? Tit. Then I must be thy lady: But I know When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land. And in the shape of Corin sat all day, Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here, Come from the farthest steep of India ? But that forsooth, the bouncing Amazon, Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love, To Theseus must be wedded; and you come To give their bed joy and prosperity.
Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering
From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair Æglé break his faith,
With Ariadné, and Antiopa ?
Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land,
Have every pelting4 river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents : 5
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat; and the green corn
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard:
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock;
The nine men's morris 6 is fill'd up with mud;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable:
The human mortals want their winter here;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatick diseases do abound :
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;
And an old Hyems chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: The spring, the summer,
The childing? autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
5 Banks which contain them.
O A game played by boys. 7 Autumn producing flowers unseasonably. 8. Produce.