[Stage] Quince the carpenter, Snug the cabinetmaker; Bottom the weaver, Flute the bellows-repairman, Snout the tinker; and Starveling the tailor all enter.
Is all our company here?
You were best to call them generally, man by man,
according to the scrip.
Here is the scroll of every man’s name which is thought
fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude
before the duke and the duchess, on his wedding day at
First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on,
then read the names of the actors, and so grow to a
Marry, our play i s The most lamentable comedy and most
cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe.
A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.
Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the
scroll. Masters, spread yourselves.
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver?
Ready. Name what part I am for and proceed.
You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
What is Pyramus? A lover or a tyrant?
A lover that kills himself, most gallant, for love.
That will ask some tears in the true performing of it.
If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes. I will
I will condole in some measure.
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
The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates.
And Phoebus’ car
Shall shine from far
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
Francis Flute, the bellows-mender?
Here, Peter Quince.
Flute, you must take Thisbe on you.
What is Thisbe? A wandering knight?
It is the lady that Pyramus must love.
Nay, faith, let me not play a woman. I have a beard
That’s all one. You shall play it in a mask, and you
may speak as small as you will.
An I may hide my face, let me play Thisbe too! I’ll
speak in a monstrous little voice: “Thisne, Thisne!”
“Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear, thy Thisbe dear and lady
No, no. You must play Pyramus. And Flute, you Thisbe.
Robin Starveling, the tailor?
Here, Peter Quince.
Robin Starveling, you must play Thisbe’s mother. Tom
Snout, the tinker?
Here, Peter Quince.
You, Pyramus’ father. Myself, Thisbe’s father. Snug the
joiner, you, the lion’s part. And I hope here is a play
Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be,
give it me, for I am slow of study.
You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
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
An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the
duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek.
were enough to hang us all.
That would hang us, every mother’s son.
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 dove. I will roar
you an ’twere any nightingale.
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 Pyramus.
Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to
play it in?
Why, what you will.
I will discharge it in either your straw-color beard,
your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or
your French crown-color beard, your perfect yellow.
Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and
then you will play barefaced.
But masters, here are your
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 be dogged with company, and our devices known.
the meantime I will draw a bill of properties such as
our play wants. I pray you, fail me not.
We will meet, and there we may rehearse most obscenely
and courageously. Take pains. Be perfect. Adieu.
At the duke’s oak we meet.
[Stage] They all exit.