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Hip. He says they can do nothing in this kind.
The. The kinder we, to give them thanks for

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 practis'd 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 of fearful duty
I read as much, as from the rattling tongue
Of saucy and audacious eloquence.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity,
In least speak most, to my capacity.

Enter PHILOSTRATE. Philost. So please your grace, the prologue is

addrest? The. Let him approach. [Flourish of trumpets'.

Enter the 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 show 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,

7 — addrest.] i. e. ready, prepared.

8 Flourish of trumpets.] This is the stage-direction of the folio, 1623 : the quartos say nothing about it ; but it was usual on our old stage for the actor who spoke the Prologue to enter upon the stage when the trumpet or trumpets had sounded thrice. Hist. Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, iii. 440.

Our true intent is. All for your delight,

We are not here. That you should here repent you, The actors are at hand; and, by their show, 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.

Hip. Indeed, he hath played on this prologue, like a child on a recordero; a sound, but not in government.

The. His speech was like a tangled chain,
Nothing impair’d, but all disordered.
Who is next?

Enter PYRAMUS' and THISBE, Wall, Moonshine, and

Lion, as in dumb show.

Prol. “Gentles, perchance, you wonder at this show;

But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus,


would know;
This beauteous lady Thisby is, certain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present

Wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder; And through wall's chink, poor souls, they are content

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 lion hight by name,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright:
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,

Which lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.

9 — like a child on a RECORDER ;] It is generally understood that the “ recorder" was what we now call the flageolet.

| Enter Pyramus] In the folio, 1623, this stage-direction is preceded by another in these words, “ Tawyer with a trumpet before them.” Possibly Tawyer was the name of the trumpeter.

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 befal,
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 lime, this rough-cast?, and this stone, doth show
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 !

Enter PYRAMUS. Pyr. “O, grim-look'd night! O, night with hue so

black ! O night, which ever art, when day is not ! O night! O night! alack, alack, alack!

I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot.2 And finds his TRUSTY Thisby's mantle slain :) Both the quartos have “ trusty ;" a necessary epithet, as far as relates to the measure, but omitted in the folio.

3 This Lime, this rough-cast,] We have had "lime and rough-cast ” just before ; and Theseus asks, afterwards, “ Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?” The 4tos, and folio in this place have love, merely the mistake of a letter. with lime and hair knit Up in THEE.] This is the preferable reading of the folio : the quartos have “knit now again,” which does not preserve the intended rhyme.

And thou, O wall! O sweet, O lovely wall * !

That stand'st between her father's ground and mine; Thou wall, O wall! O sweet, and lovely wall! Show me thy chink to blink through with mine eyne.

[Wall holds up his fingers. Thanks, courteous wall : Jove shield thee well for this!

But what see I ? No Thisby do I see. () 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.

Enter THISBE. This. “O wall, full often bast 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 6."
Pyr. “ I see a voice: now will I to the chink,

To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.

This. “ 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 Shafalus 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.”


* O sweet, O lovely wall !) Fisher's and Roberts's 4to. read “ ( sweet, o lovely wall.” The folio has “thou sweet and lovely wall.”

she is to enter now.] The folio omits “ now.”

Pyr. “Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straight


This. “ "Tide life, 'tide death, I come without delay.”

Wall. “ Thus have I, wall, my part discharged so; And, being done, thus wall away doth go.”

[Exeunt 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 e'er 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 pass for excellent men. Here come two noble beasts in, a man and a lion.

Enter Lion and Moonshine. Lion. “ You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear

The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor, 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. True; and a goose for his discretion. ? Now is the MURAL Down between the two neighbours.] For“ mural,” (which is Theobald's word,) the folio misreads moral ; while the quartos seem still farther from the meaning, when they have it, “ Now is the moon used," &c.

– ONE Snug, the joiner,] So the folio : the two quartos have “ as Snug the joiner.”

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