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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 4, scene 2

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Scene 2
Enter Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling.

QUINCE Have you sent to Bottom’s house? Is he come
 home yet?
STARVELING He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he
 is transported.
FLUTE 5If he come not, then the play is marred. It goes
 not forward, doth it?
QUINCE It is not possible. You have not a man in all
 Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.
FLUTE No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraftman
10 in Athens.
QUINCE Yea, and the best person too, and he is a very
 paramour for a sweet voice.
FLUTE You must say “paragon.” A “paramour” is (God
 bless us) a thing of naught.

Enter Snug the joiner.

SNUG 15Masters, the Duke is coming from the temple,
 and there is two or three lords and ladies more
 married. If our sport had gone forward, we had all
 been made men.
FLUTE O, sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence
20 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!

Enter Bottom.


139
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
ACT 4. SC. 2

BOTTOM 25Where are these lads? Where are these
 hearts?
QUINCE Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy
 hour!
BOTTOM Masters, I am to discourse wonders. But ask
30 me not what; for, if I tell you, I am not true
 Athenian. I will tell you everything right as it fell
 out.
QUINCE Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
BOTTOM Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is that
35 the Duke hath dined. Get your apparel together,
 good strings to your beards, new ribbons 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 Thisbe have clean
40 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
45 words. Away! Go, away!
They exit.