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Hip. Indeed, he hath played on this prologue like a child on a recorder; a sound, but not in government.i
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 show.
Prol. "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, certáin. "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 moon-shine: 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: '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;
on a recorder ;] It should seem that the flute and the recorder were different instruments, and that the latter in propriety of speech was no other than the flagelet.-REED.
but not in government,] That is, not according to tune.
1 He bravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast ;] The affected alliteration here ridiculed attained its height in the reign of Henry the Eighth. The following stanza is quoted from a poem, on the fall and evil success of Rebellion, written in 1587, by Wilfride Holme:
Loe, leprous lurdeins, lubricke in loquacitie,
Vah, vaporous villeines, with venim vulnerate,
"Proh, prating parenticides, plexious to pinnosities,
Fie, frantike fabulators, furibund & fatuate,
"Out oblatrand, oblict, obstacle & obsecrate,
"Ah addict algoes, in acerbitie acclamant,
Magnall in mischief, malicious to mugilate,
Repriving your Roy so renowned & radiant."-RITSON.
And, Thisby tarrying in mulberry shade, "His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest, "Let lion, moon-shine, wall, and lovers twain, "At large discourse, while here they do remain." [Exeunt Prologue, 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 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!
"O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so "O night, which ever art, when day is not! [black! "O night, O night, alack, alack, alack,
"I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot!— "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,
"Shew 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.
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.
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, 66 To I spy an can hear my Thisbe's face. Thisby !"
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."
This. "As Shafalus to Proclus, I to you."
Pyr. "O, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall."
This. "Tide life, tide death, I come without delay."
[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 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.
m And like Limander, &c.] For Leander and Hero. Shafalus and Procrus, for Cephalus and Procris.
no remedy, my lord, &c.] Alluding to the old proverb of "walls have ears."-There was no other remedy for the two neighbours, but the pulling down a wall which, without previous warning exercised the faculty of hearing. -FARMER.
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.
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 present:" Dem. He should have worn the horns on his head. The. He is no crescent, and his horns are invisible within the circumference.
Moon. This lantern doth the horned moon present; "Myself the man i'th'moon do seem to be."
The. This is the greatest error of all the rest: the man should be put into the lantern: 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 aweary of this moon: Would, he would
-] This is the reading of the folio-the modern editors have altered it to moon which cannot be right. Theseus merely saw a man with a lantern and could not possibly conceive that he was intended to "disfigure moonshine."
Pin snuff.] An equivocation. Snuff signifies both the cinder of a candle, and hasty anger.-JOHNSON.
The. It appears, by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane: but yet, in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time.
Lys. Proceed, moon.
Moon. All that I have to say, is, to tell you, that the lantern is the moon; I, the man in the moon; this thornbush, my thorn-bush; and this dog, my dog.
Dem. Why, all these should be in the lantern; for they are in the moon. But, silence; here comes Thisbe.
This. "This is old Ninny's tomb: Where is my love?" Lion. "Oh-." [The Lion roars.-THISBE runs off. Dem. Well roared, lion.
The. Well run, Thisbe.
Hip. Well shone, moon.-Truly, the moon shines with a good grace.
The. Well mouz'da lion.
[The Lion tears THISBE's mantle. [Exit LION.
Dem. And then came Pyramus.
Pyr. "Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams; "I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright: "For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering streams, "I trust to taste of truest Thisby's sight.
"But stay;-O spite!
mouz'd-] To mouze is to mammock, or tear in pieces.-MALONE. r And then came Pyramus
Lys. And so the lion vanish.] I have here restored the text of the folio; Dr. Farmer's alteration on the last line and so the moon vanishes cannot be right, for the very first lines of Pyramus on entering, eulogise its beams, and his last words are addressed to it as present.