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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 1, scene 2

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Scene 2
Enter Quince the carpenter, and Snug the joiner, and
Bottom the weaver, and Flute the bellows-mender, and
Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor.


QUINCE Is all our company here?
BOTTOM You were best to call them generally, man by
 man, according to the scrip.
QUINCE Here is the scroll of every man’s name which
5 is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our
 interlude before the Duke and the Duchess on his
 wedding day at night.
BOTTOM First, good Peter Quince, say what the play
 treats on, then read the names of the actors, and so
10 grow to a point.
QUINCE Marry, our play is The most lamentable
 comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and
 Thisbe.
BOTTOM A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a
15 merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your
 actors by the scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
QUINCE Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.
BOTTOM Ready. Name what part I am for, and
 proceed.
QUINCE 20You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
BOTTOM What is Pyramus—a lover or a tyrant?
QUINCE A lover that kills himself most gallant for love.
BOTTOM That will ask some tears in the true performing
 of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their
25 eyes. I will move storms; I will condole in some
 measure. To the rest.—Yet my chief humor is for a
 tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a
 cat in, to make all split:

 The raging rocks
30 And shivering shocks
 Shall break the locks

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 1. SC. 2

  Of prison gates.
 And Phibbus’ car
 Shall shine from far
35 And make and mar
  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.
QUINCE 40Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
FLUTE Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.
FLUTE What is Thisbe—a wand’ring knight?
QUINCE It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
FLUTE 45Nay, faith, let not me play a woman. I have a
 beard coming.
QUINCE That’s all one. You shall play it in a mask, and
 you may speak as small as you will.
BOTTOM An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too.
50 I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice: “Thisne,
 Thisne!”—“Ah Pyramus, my lover dear! Thy Thisbe
 dear and lady dear!”
QUINCE No, no, you must play Pyramus—and, Flute,
 you Thisbe.
BOTTOM 55Well, proceed.
QUINCE Robin Starveling, the tailor.
STARVELING Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe’s
 mother.—Tom Snout, the tinker.
SNOUT 60Here, Peter Quince.
QUINCE You, Pyramus’ father.—Myself, Thisbe’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
65 be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
QUINCE You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but
 roaring.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 1. SC. 2

BOTTOM 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
70 I will make the Duke say “Let him roar again. Let
 him roar again!”
QUINCE 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 75That would hang us, every mother’s son.
BOTTOM I grant you, friends, if 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
80 dove. I will roar you an ’twere any nightingale.
QUINCE 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 gentlemanlike
 man. Therefore you must needs play
85 Pyramus.
BOTTOM Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I
 best to play it in?
QUINCE Why, what you will.
BOTTOM I will discharge it in either your straw-color
90 beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
 beard, or your French-crown-color beard,
 your perfit yellow.
QUINCE Some of your French crowns have no hair at
 all, and then you will play barefaced. But, masters,
95 here are your parts, giving out the parts, and I am
 to entreat you, request you, and desire you to con
 them by tomorrow night and meet me in the palace
 wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight. There
 will we rehearse, for if we meet in the city, we shall
100 be dogged with company and our devices known. In
 the meantime I will draw a bill of properties such as
 our play wants. I pray you fail me not.
BOTTOM We will meet, and there we may rehearse

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 1. SC. 2

 most obscenely and courageously. Take pains. Be
105 perfit. Adieu.
QUINCE At the Duke’s Oak we meet.
BOTTOM Enough. Hold or cut bowstrings.
They exit.