Act I. Scene I.
Scene a Room in Quince’s House.
Enter Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snowt, and Starveling.
Is all our company here?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.
Quin. Here is the scrowl of every man’s name, which is thought fit through all Athens to play in our interlude before the Duke and Dutchess, on his wedding day at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow on to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is the most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scrowl. Masters, spread yourselves.
Quin. Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom the weaver!
Bot. Ready: Name what part I am for, and proceed.
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus.
Bot. What is Pyramus, a lover, or a tyrant?
Quin. A lover that kills himself most gallantly for love.
Bot. 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 carr 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.
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. Flute, you must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby, a wand’ring knight?
Quin. It is the Lady that Pyramus must love.
Flu. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman, I have a beard coming.
Quin. That’s all one, you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak small as you will.
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too; I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice; Thisne, Thisne, ah Pyramus my lover dear, thy Thisby dear, and lady dear.
Quin. No, no, you must play Pyramus; and Flute, you Thisby.
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the Taylor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby’s mother:
Tom Snowt, the tinker.
Snowt. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus’s father; myself, Thisby’s father; Snug the joiner, you the Lion’s part; I hope there 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.