Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > A Midsummer Night's Dream > Act I, scene II

Jump to: the first appearance of beard,_your_orange-tawny_beard,_your_purple-in-grain


QUINCE: Is all our company here?

BOTTOM: You were best to call them generally, man by man,
	according to the scrip.

QUINCE: 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 night.

BOTTOM: First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
	on, then read the names of the actors, and so grow
	to a point.

QUINCE: Marry, our play is, The most lamentable comedy, and
	most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

BOTTOM: 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.

QUINCE: Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver.

BOTTOM: Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed.

QUINCE: You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.

BOTTOM: What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?

QUINCE: A lover, that kills himself most gallant for love.

BOTTOM: That will ask some tears in the true performing of
	it: if I do it, let the audience look to their
	eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some
	measure. To the rest: yet my chief humour is for a
	tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to
	tear a cat in, to make all split.
	The raging rocks
	And shivering shocks
	Shall break the locks
	Of prison gates;
	And Phibbus' 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 condoling.

QUINCE: Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.

FLUTE: Here, Peter Quince.

QUINCE: Flute, you must take Thisby on you.

FLUTE: What is Thisby? a wandering knight?

QUINCE: It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

FLUTE: Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.

QUINCE: That's all one: you shall play it in a mask, and
	you may speak as small as you will.

BOTTOM: An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too, I'll
	speak in a monstrous little voice. 'Thisne,
	Thisne;' 'Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisby dear,
	and lady dear!'

QUINCE: No, no; you must play Pyramus: and, Flute, you Thisby.

BOTTOM: Well, proceed.

QUINCE: Robin Starveling, the tailor.

STARVELING: Here, Peter Quince.

QUINCE: Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother.
	Tom Snout, the tinker.

SNOUT: Here, Peter Quince.

QUINCE: You, Pyramus' father: myself, Thisby's father:
	Snug, the joiner; you, the lion's part: and, I
	hope, here is a play fitted.

SNUG: Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it
	be, give it me, for I am slow of study.

QUINCE: You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

BOTTOM: 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 roar again.'

QUINCE: An you should do it too terribly, you would fright
	the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek;
	and that were enough to hang us all.

ALL: That would hang us, every mother's son.

BOTTOM: I grant you, friends, if that 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

QUINCE: 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 gentleman-like man:
	therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

BOTTOM: Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best
	to play it in?

QUINCE: Why, what you will.

BOTTOM: I will discharge it in either your straw-colour
	beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain
	beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your
	perfect yellow.

QUINCE: Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and
	then you will play bare-faced. But, masters, here
	are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request
	you and desire you, to con them by to-morrow 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. In the meantime I
	will draw a bill of properties, such as our play
	wants. I pray you, fail me not.

BOTTOM: We will meet; and there we may rehearse most
	obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect: adieu.

QUINCE: At the duke's oak we meet.

BOTTOM: Enough; hold or cut bow-strings.



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