A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

BOTTOM

(out of character) No, assure you. The wall is down that parted their fathers. Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company?

BOTTOM

(out of character) No, I assure you. The wall that kept their fathers apart has been taken down. Would you like to see the epilogue or hear a country dance between two of us?

THESEUS

No epilogue, I pray you, for your play needs no excuse. Never excuse—for when the players are all dead, there needs none to be blamed. Marry, if he that writ it had played Pyramus and hanged himself in Thisbe’s garter, it would have been a fine tragedy. And so it is, truly, and very notably discharged. But come, your Bergomask. Let your epilogue alone.

THESEUS

No epilogue, please. Your play doesn’t need to be excused afterward with an epilogue. Never apologize—when the actors are all dead, no one can be blamed. As a matter of fact, if the playwright had played Pyramus and hanged himself with Thisbe’s belt, it would have been a very good tragedy. It’s a good tragedy, very well done. But come on, let’s see you do your dance. Forget your epilogue.
Bergomask dance    Exeunt BOTTOM and FLUTE
The actors dance, and BOTTOM and FLUTE exit.
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed. 'Tis almost fairy time.
345I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn
As much as we this night have overwatched.
This palpable-gross play hath well beguiled
The heavy gait of night. Sweet friends, to bed.
A fortnight hold we this solemnity,
350In nightly revels and new jollity.
The clock has chimed midnight. Lovers, it’s time to go to bed. It’s almost fairy time. I’m afraid we’re going to oversleep in the morning as late as we’ve stayed up tonight.This blatantly stupid play helped us kill the time until bed. Dear friends, let’s go to bed. We’ll continue this celebration for two weeks, with nightly parties and new fun.
Exeunt
They all exit.
Enter ROBIN
ROBIN enters.

ROBIN

 Now the hungry lion roars
 And the wolf behowls the moon,
 Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
 All with weary task fordone.
 Now the wasted brands do glow,
 Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
 Puts the wretch that lies in woe
 In remembrance of a shroud.
 Now it is the time of night
 That the graves all gaping wide,
 Every one lets forth his sprite,
 In the churchway paths to glide.

ROBIN

Now the hungry lion roars and the wolf howls at the moon. The farmer snores, exhausted from his work. The charred logs glow in the fireplace, and the owl’s hoot makes the sick man think about his own death. Now is the time of night when graves open wide and release spirits to glide over the graveyard paths.