A Midsummer Nights Dream – Act 4 Scene 2


QUINCE
Have you sent anyone to Bottom’s house? Has he come home yet? STARVELING
No one’s heard from him. I’m sure he’s been kidnapped. FLUTE
If he doesn’t show up, the play is ruined. It won’t go on. Will it? QUINCE
No, it would be impossible He’s the only person in Athens who can play Pyramus. FLUTE
Definitely. He’s quite simply the smartest working-man in Athens. QUINCE
Yes, and the best looking too And his voice is the paramour of sweetness. FLUTE
You mean “paragon.” A “paramour” is something bad. SNUG
The duke’s leaving the temple. Two or three more lords and ladies have been married too. If we’d been able to put on our play, we would have had it made. CRYING FLUTE
Oh that great, funny guy, Bottom! He would have gotten a pension of six pence a day for his whole life. Six pence a day would’ve been forced on him. I’ll be damned if the duke wouldn’t have given him six pence a day for playing Pyramus. And he would have deserved it too. Pyramus is worth six pence a day, or it’s worth nothing! BOTTOM
Where are my guys? Where are my good fellows? QUINCE
Bottom! Oh, how wonderful to see you! Oh, what a relief! BOTTOM
My friends, I’ve got some amazing things to tell you—but don’t ask me to tell you what. I swear by my Athenian citizenship that I won’t tell you anything. I’ll tell you everything exactly as it happened. QUINCE
Tell us, Bottom. BOTTOM
No, you won’t get a word out of me. All I’ll tell you is…. that the duke has had dinner already. Now it’s time to get your costumes together. Find some good strings for tying on your false beards, and grab new ribbons to decorate your shoes. Meet me at the palace as soon as possible. Our play’s going to be performed for the duke! So make sure Thisbe’s wearing clean underwear, and make sure whoever’s playing the lion doesn’t cut his nails, because he needs them long to look like lion’s claws. And no one eat any onions or garlic. If we have sweet-smelling breath, I’m sure they’ll say “it’s a sweet play.” Now no more talking. Get busy, go!

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