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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 4, Scene 2

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Previously on Sketchbook, the Athenian thespians of William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream met in the woods near Athens for a secret rehearsal and found themselves haunted by the knavish sprite Robin Goodfellow. Unbeknownst to Nick Bottom, his head was transformed into the head of an ass, and upon seeing him, his terrified companions scattered. Bottom, believing that the others were trying to play a trick on him, began to defiantly sing to show them he wasn’t afraid.

More strange adventures ensued for Bottom before sunrise, but those we leave in the haunted grove and catch up with the players the next morning.

Athens.

Enter Quince the carpenter, Flute the bellows-mender, Snout the tinker, and Starveling the tailor.

Quince

Have you sent to Bottom’s house? Is he come home yet?

Starveling

He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is transported.

Flute

If he come not, then the play is marred. It goes not forward, doth it?

Quince

It is not possible. You have not a man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he.

Flute

No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraftman in Athens.

Quince

Yea and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice.

Flute

You must say “paragon.” A paramour is, God bless us, a thing of naught.

Enter Snug the joiner.

Snug

Masters, the duke is coming from the temple, and there is two or three lords and ladies more married. If our sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.

Flute

O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life; he could not have ’scaped sixpence a day. An the duke had not given him sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, I’ll be hanged; he would have deserved it. Sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom

Bottom

Where are these lads? Where are these hearts?

Quince

Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy hour!

Bottom

Masters, I am to discourse wonders. But ask me not what; for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian. I will tell you everything, right as it fell out.

Quince

Let us hear, sweet Bottom.

Bottom

Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is that the duke hath dined. Get your apparel together, good strings to your beards, new ribbons to your pumps; meet presently at the palace; every man look o’er his part; for the short and the long is, our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisbe have clean linen; and let not him that plays the lion pair his nails, for they shall hang out for the lion’s claws. And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words. Away! Go, Away!

Next time: in the palace of Theseus.

*sip*

Omigah!

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