List iconA Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Act 3, scene 1
List icon

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 3, scene 1


Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 1
With Titania still asleep onstage, enter the Clowns,
Bottom, Quince, Snout, Starveling, Snug, and Flute.

BOTTOM Are we all met?
QUINCE Pat, pat. And here’s a marvels convenient
 place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be
 our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring-house,
5 and we will do it in action as we will do it before
 the Duke.
BOTTOM Peter Quince?
QUINCE What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
BOTTOM There are things in this comedy of Pyramus
10 and Thisbe that will never please. First, Pyramus
 must draw a sword to kill himself, which the ladies
 cannot abide. How answer you that?
SNOUT By ’r lakin, a parlous fear.
STARVELING I believe we must leave the killing out,
15 when all is done.
BOTTOM Not a whit! I have a device to make all well.
 Write me a prologue, and let the prologue seem to
 say we will do no harm with our swords and that
 Pyramus is not killed indeed. And, for the more
20 better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
 Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver. This will put them
 out of fear.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 3. SC. 1

QUINCE Well, we will have such a prologue, and it shall
 be written in eight and six.
BOTTOM 25No, make it two more. Let it be written in
 eight and eight.
SNOUT Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
STARVELING I fear it, I promise you.
BOTTOM Masters, you ought to consider with yourself,
30 to bring in (God shield us!) a lion among ladies is a
 most dreadful thing. For there is not a more fearful
 wildfowl than your lion living, and we ought to look
 to ’t.
SNOUT Therefore another prologue must tell he is not
35 a lion.
BOTTOM Nay, you must name his name, and half his
 face must be seen through the lion’s neck, and he
 himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the
 same defect: “Ladies,” or “Fair ladies, I would
40 wish you,” or “I would request you,” or “I would
 entreat you not to fear, not to tremble! My life for
 yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were
 pity of my life. No, I am no such thing. I am a man as
 other men are.” And there indeed let him name his
45 name and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
QUINCE Well, it shall be so. But there is two hard
 things: that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber,
 for you know Pyramus and Thisbe meet by
SNOUT 50Doth the moon shine that night we play our
BOTTOM A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac.
 Find out moonshine, find out moonshine.
Quince takes out a book.
QUINCE Yes, it doth shine that night.
BOTTOM 55Why, then, may you leave a casement of the
 great chamber window, where we play, open, and
 the moon may shine in at the casement.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 3. SC. 1

QUINCE Ay, or else one must come in with a bush of
 thorns and a lantern and say he comes to disfigure
60 or to present the person of Moonshine. Then there
 is another thing: we must have a wall in the great
 chamber, for Pyramus and Thisbe, says the story,
 did talk through the chink of a wall.
SNOUT You can never bring in a wall. What say you,
65 Bottom?
BOTTOM Some man or other must present Wall. And
 let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some
 roughcast about him to signify wall, or let him
 hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall
70 Pyramus and Thisbe whisper.
QUINCE If that may be, then all is well. Come, sit down,
 every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts. Pyramus,
 you begin. When you have spoken your
 speech, enter into that brake, and so everyone
75 according to his cue.

Enter Robin invisible to those onstage.

ROBIN, aside 
 What hempen homespuns have we swagg’ring here
 So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?
 What, a play toward? I’ll be an auditor—
 An actor too perhaps, if I see cause.
QUINCE 80Speak, Pyramus.—Thisbe, stand forth.
BOTTOM, as Pyramus 
 Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet—
QUINCE Odors, odors!
BOTTOM, as Pyramus 
  …odors savors sweet.
 So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.—
85 But hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile,
 And by and by I will to thee appear.
He exits.
ROBIN, aside 
 A stranger Pyramus than e’er played here.He exits.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 3. SC. 1

FLUTE Must I speak now?
QUINCE Ay, marry, must you, for you must understand
90 he goes but to see a noise that he heard and is to
 come again.
FLUTE, as Thisbe 
 Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
 Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,
 Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
95 As true as truest horse, that yet would never tire.
 I’ll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny’s tomb.

QUINCE “Ninus’ tomb,” man! Why, you must not
 speak that yet. That you answer to Pyramus. You
 speak all your part at once, cues and all.—Pyramus,
100 enter. Your cue is past. It is “never tire.”
 As Thisbe. As true as truest horse, that yet would never

Enter Robin, and Bottom as Pyramus with the

BOTTOM, as Pyramus 
 If I were fair, fair Thisbe, I were only thine.
QUINCE 105O monstrous! O strange! We are haunted. Pray,
 masters, fly, masters! Help!
Quince, Flute, Snout, Snug, and Starveling exit.
 I’ll follow you. I’ll lead you about a round,
  Through bog, through bush, through brake,
  through brier.
110 Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound,
  A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire,
 And neigh and bark and grunt and roar and burn,
 Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.
He exits.
BOTTOM Why do they run away? This is a knavery of
115 them to make me afeard.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 3. SC. 1

Enter Snout.

SNOUT O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on
BOTTOM What do you see? You see an ass-head of your
 own, do you?Snout exits.

Enter Quince.

QUINCE 120Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art
 translated!He exits.
BOTTOM I see their knavery. This is to make an ass of
 me, to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir
 from this place, do what they can. I will walk up
125 and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear
 I am not afraid.
He sings. The ouzel cock, so black of hue,
  With orange-tawny bill,
 The throstle with his note so true,
130  The wren with little quill—

TITANIA, waking up 
 What angel wakes me from my flow’ry bed?
BOTTOM sings 
 The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
  The plainsong cuckoo gray,
 Whose note full many a man doth mark
135  And dares not answer “nay”—

 for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a
 bird? Who would give a bird the lie though he cry
 “cuckoo” never so?
 I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again.
140 Mine ear is much enamored of thy note,
 So is mine eye enthrallèd to thy shape,
 And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
 On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
BOTTOM Methinks, mistress, you should have little

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 3. SC. 1

145 reason for that. And yet, to say the truth, reason
 and love keep little company together nowadays.
 The more the pity that some honest neighbors will
 not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon
150 Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
BOTTOM Not so neither; but if I had wit enough to get
 out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own
 Out of this wood do not desire to go.
155 Thou shalt remain here whether thou wilt or no.
 I am a spirit of no common rate.
 The summer still doth tend upon my state,
 And I do love thee. Therefore go with me.
 I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
160 And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep
 And sing while thou on pressèd flowers dost sleep.
 And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
 That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.—
 Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed!

Enter four Fairies: Peaseblossom, Cobweb,
Mote, and Mustardseed.

ALL Where shall we go?
170 Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.
 Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
 Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
 With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
 The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 3. SC. 1

175 And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
 And light them at the fiery glowworms’ eyes
 To have my love to bed and to arise;
 And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
 To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.
180 Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
PEASEBLOSSOM Hail, mortal!
MOTE Hail!
BOTTOM 185I cry your Worships mercy, heartily.—I beseech
 your Worship’s name.
COBWEB Cobweb.
BOTTOM I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
 Master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall make
190 bold with you.—Your name, honest gentleman?
PEASEBLOSSOM Peaseblossom.
BOTTOM I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash,
 your mother, and to Master Peascod, your father.
 Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of
195 more acquaintance too.—Your name, I beseech
 you, sir?
MUSTARDSEED Mustardseed.
BOTTOM Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience
 well. That same cowardly, giantlike ox-beef
200 hath devoured many a gentleman of your house. I
 promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes
 water ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance,
 good Master Mustardseed.
 Come, wait upon him. Lead him to my bower.
205  The moon, methinks, looks with a wat’ry eye,
 And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
  Lamenting some enforcèd chastity.
 Tie up my lover’s tongue. Bring him silently.
They exit.