A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

QUINCE

“Ninus' tomb,” man. Why, you must not speak that yet. That you answer to Pyramus. You speak all your part at once, cues and all.—Pyramus, enter. Your cue is past. It is “never tire.”

QUINCE

That’s “Ninus’s grave,” man. And don’t say all of that yet. You’re supposed to say some of it as a reply to Pyramus. You just said all your lines at once, cues and all.—Pyramus, enter. You missed your cue. It’s “never get tired.”

FLUTE

45Oh. (as thisbe) As true as truest horse that yet would never tire.

FLUTE

Oh! (as THISBE) As reliable as a horse that never gets tired.
Enter BOTTOM, with an ass’s head, and ROBIN
ROBIN enters with BOTTOM, with a donkey’s head instead of a human head.

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS) If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine.

BOTTOM

(as PYRAMUS) If I were handsome, my lovely Thisbe, I would still want only you.

QUINCE

Oh, monstrous! Oh, strange! We are haunted. Pray, masters! Fly, masters! Help!

QUINCE

Help! It’s a monster! We’re being haunted. Run, everyone, run!
Exeunt QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING
QUINCE, FLUTE, SNUG, SNOUT, and STARVELING exit.

ROBIN

I’ll follow you. I’ll lead you about a round
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier.
50Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound,
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire.
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn.

ROBIN

I’ll follow you. I’ll run you around in circles, through bogs and bushes and woods and thorns. Sometimes I’ll take the shape of a horse, sometimes I’ll take the shape of a hound or a pig or a headless bear. Sometimes I’ll turn into fire! And I’ll neigh like a horse and bark like a hound and grunt like a pig and roar like a bear and burn like a fire at every turn.
Exit ROBIN
ROBIN exits.

BOTTOM

Why do they run away? This is a knavery of them to make me afeard.

BOTTOM

Why are they running away? This is some joke of theirs to scare me.
Enter SNOUT
SNOUT enters.