Page images

Philost. A play there is, my lord, some ten words


[ocr errors]

Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it tedious: for in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And tragical, my noble lord, it is;
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself.
Which, when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water ; but more merry tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.

The. What are they that do play it?
Philost. Hard-handed men, that work in Athens

Which never labour'd in their minds till now;
And now have toil'd their unbreathed memories
With this same play, against your nuptial.

The. Aud we will hear it.

No, my noble lord,
It is not for you : I have heard it over,
And it is nothing, nothing in the world;
Unless you can find sport in their intents,
Extremely stretch'd and conn'd with cruel pain,
To do you service.

I will hear that play:
For never any thing can be amiss,
When simpleness and duły tender it.
Go, bring them in: and take your places, ladies.

(Exit Philostrale. Hip. I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharged, And duty in his service perishing.

The. Why, gentle sweet, you shall see no such thing.
Hip. He says, they can do nothing in this kind.

The. The kinder we, to give then thanks for nothing.
Our sport shall be, to take what they mistake :
And what poor duty cannot do,
Noble respect takes it in might, not merit.
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed
To greet me with premeditated welcomes ;
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,
Throttle their practised accent in their fears,
And, in conclusion, dumbly have broke off,
Not paying me a welcome : Trust me, sweet,
Out of this silence, yet, I pick'd a welcome ;
And in the modesty or fearful duty
I read as much, as from the rattling tongue



[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity,
In least, speak most, to my capacity.

Philost. So please your grace, the prologue is addrest.
The. Let him approach. (Flourish of trumpets.)

Enter Prologue.
Prol. If we offend, it is with our good will.

That you should think, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To shew our simple skill,

That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then, we come but in despite.

We do not come as minding to content you,
Our true intent is. Au for your delight,

We are not here. That you should here repent you,
The actors are at hand; and, by their shoro,
You shall know all, that you are like to know.

The. This fellow doth not stand upon points.

Lys. He hath rid his prologue, like a rough colt; he knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord : It is not enough to speak, but to speak true.

lip. Indeed he hath played on this prologue, like a
child on a recorder, - a sound, but not in government.

The. His speech was like a tangled chain,-nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?
Enter PYRAMUS and THISBE, Wall, Moonshine,

and Lion, as in dumb shot.

Gentles, perchance, you wonder at this show :
"But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
“This man is Pyramus, if you would know ;

" This beauteous lady Thisby is, certain.
" This man, with dime and rough-cast, doth present

“Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder:
"And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are contest

"To whisper ; at the which let no man wonder.
“This man, with lantern, dog, and bush of thorn,

Presenteth moonshine: for, if you will know,
"By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
* To meet at Ninus tomb, there, there to woo.

This grisly beast, which by name lion hight,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright:

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

" And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall;

" Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain. "Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth, and tall,

"And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain : " Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,

" He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast; “And Thisby tarrying in mulberry shade,

"His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, " Let lion, moonshine, wall, and lovers twain, "At large discourse, while here they do remain."

(Exeunt Prol. Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine. The. I wonder if the lion be to speak.

Dem. No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.

Wall.In this same interlude, it doth befall, " That I, one Snout by name, present a wall: "And such a wall as I would have you think, " That had in it a cranny'd hole, or chink, " Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, "Did whisper often very secretly. " This loam, this rough-cast, and this stone, doth shew " That I am that same wall; the truth is so: “And this the cranny is, right and sinister, “Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper."

The. Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?

Dem. It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.

The. Pyramus draws near the wall : silence !

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Pyr. "O grim-look'd night! 0 night with hue to


! " O night, which ever art, when day is not ! “O night, О night, alack, alack, alack,

" I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot! " And thou, wall,' o sweet, O lovely wall, " That stand'st between her father's ground and

mine; “ Thou wall, wall, O sweet and lovely wall, "Shew me thy chink, to blink through with mine esne.

(Wall holds up his fingers.) " Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield'thee well for

this! " But what see I ? No Thisby do I see. " O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss

“Curst be thy stones for thus deceiving me !"



The. The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.

Pyr. No, in truth, sir, he should not. Deceiving me, is Thisby's cue: she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will fall pat as I told you :-Yonder she comes.

He did Gall; mouth did stain. outh, and tall smantle slain: bly blameful blade, ng bloody breast; Try shade, For all the rest lorers twain, they do remain Cion, and Moonstone speak one lion was, the e, it doth bell, resept a wall: se sou think,

or chink, amus and Thisby,


this stone, dotkr truth is so: ad sinister, rs are to whisper. fair to speak better? u that ever I heard

Enter THISBE. This. "O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans, "For parting my fair Pyramus and me: "My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones ; " Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee." Pyr." I see a voice: now will I to the chink, "To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. "Thisby!”

" My love! thou art my love, I think." Pyr." Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace; "And like Limander am I trusty still."

This." And I like Helen, till the fates me kill."
Pyr, "Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true."
This." As Shalalus to Procrus, I to you."
Pyr: "O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall."
This. " I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all."
Pyr. "Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straight-
This, "ride life, tide death, I come without delay."

Wall. Thus have I, wall, my part dischargéd so ; " And, being done, thus wall away doth go."

[Breunt Wall, Pyramus, and Thisbe. The. Now is the mural down between the two neighbours.

Dem. No remedy, my lord, when walls are so wilful, to hear without warning. Hip. This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard..

The. The best in this kind are but shadows: and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

Hip. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.

The. If we imagine no worse of them, than they of themselves, they may pags for excellent men. come two noble beasts in, a moon and a lion.


all: silence!


night with bue

dar is not ! Jack, orgot !ely wall, ther's ground and orely wall, wh with mine esde ds up his fingera) ield thee Tell for


I see. e no bliss;

Enter Lion and Moonshine. Lion." You, ladies, you, whose gentle bearts do fear "The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,

ring me"

May now, perchance, both quake and tremble here,

" When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar. " Then know, that I, one Snug, the joiner, am

A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam: « For if I should as lion come in strife " Into this place, 'twere pity on my life."

The. A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.

Dem. The very best at a beast, my lord, that e'er I saw.

Lys. This lion is a very fox for his valour.
The. Trus; and a goose for his discretion.
Dem. Not so, my lord; for his valour cannot carry
his discretion; and the fox carries the goose.

The. His discretion, I am sure, cannot carry his valour; for the goose carries not the fox. It is well : leave it to his discretion, and let us listen to the moon. Moon." This lantern doth the horned moon pre

sent :"
Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head.

The. He is no crescent, and his hornis are invisible within the circumference.

Moon." This lantern doth the horned moon pre"Myself the man i' the moon do seem to be."

[sent; The. This is the greatest error of all the rest : the man should be put into the lautern : How is it else the man i' the moon

Dem. He dares not come there for the candle: for you see, it is already in snuff.

Hip. I am weary of this moon: Would he would change!

The. It appears by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane: but yet, in courtesy, in all reasod, we must stay the time.

Moon. * All that I have to say, is, to tell you that the

Lys. Proceed, moon. lantern is the moon; 1, the man in the moon; this thorn-bush, ny thorn-bush ; and this dog, ny dog."

Dem. Why, all these should be in the lantern ; for they are in the moon. But silence ; here comes Thisbe.

Enter Thisbe.
This." This is old Ninny's tomb : Where is my

love ?"
Lion. "on_." (The Lion roars. Thisbe runs of.)
Dem. Well roared, lion.
The. Well run, Thisbe.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »