Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit    

Lesson 32: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act III, Scene i

Performer: Librivox - Group

ACT III, SCENE i. The wood. The QUEEN of FAIRIES lying asleep.
ACT III, SCENE i. The wood. TITANIA, QUEEN of the FAIRIES, lies asleep.
Are we all met?
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Is everybody here?
Pat, pat; and here's a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our
stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house; and we
will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
No problems. Here's a great place
for our play rehearsal. The grass shall be our
stage, this hawthorn bush our changing room. Let's have
a dress rehearsal, just like we'll perform for the duke.
Peter Quince,--
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Peter Quince--
What sayest thou, bully Bottom?
QUINCE (Carpenter)
What is it, happy Bottom?
There are things in this comedy of
Pyramus and Thisbe that will never please.
First, Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself;
which the ladies cannot abide. How answer you that?
BOTTOM (Weaver)
There are problems with the comedy
of Pyramus and Thisbe.
Pyramus must draw a sword to kill himself,
which will upset the ladies. What should we do?
By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
SNOUT (Handyman)
He's right to be worried.
I believe we must leave the killing out, when all is done.
We better take the killing out.
Not a whit: I have a device to make all well.
Write me a prologue; and let the prologue seem to say,
we will do no harm with our swords, and that
Pyramus is not killed indeed; and, for the more
better assurance, tell them that I, Pyramus, am not
Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver:
this will put them out of fear.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
No way. I have an idea to fix the problem.
Write me a prologue that says we won't
hurt anyone with the swords and that
Pyramus won't really be killed. And for more
reassurance, I'll tell them I am not really Pyramus,
but Bottom the weaver.
That will reassure them.
Well, we will have such a prologue;
and it shall be written in eight and six.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Okay, we'll write a prologue,
written in eight- and six-syllables.
No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
No, add two more syllables. Write it in eight- and eight-syllables.
Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
SNOUT (Handyman)
Won't the ladies be scared of the lion?
I fear it, I promise you.
I'm honestly worried about that too.
Masters, you ought to consider with yourselves:
to bring in--God shield us!--a lion among ladies,
is a most dreadful thing;
for there is not a more fearful
wild-fowl than your lion living;
and we ought to look to 't.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Gentlemen, you should consider this.
Bringing in a lion among ladies
is a terrible idea.
The lion is the most terrible
beast alive.
We ought to consider that.
Therefore another prologue must tell he is not a lion.
SNOUT (Handyman)
The prologue must also say it is not a real lion.
Nay, you must name his name, and half his
face must be seen through the lion's neck:
and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the
same defect,--'Ladies,'--or 'Fair-ladies--I would wish
You,'--or 'I would request you,'--or
'I would entreat you,--not to fear, not to tremble:
my life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion,
it were pity of my life: no I am no such thing;
I am a man as other men are;' and there indeed
let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Nah, we'll tell them the actor playing the lion
and let his face be seen through the lion costume.
He'll speak something like - "Ladies" or "Fair ladies,"
"I would wish you" or "I would request you"
or "I ask you" "not to be scared, not to shake,
I'd give my life for yours.
If I was really a lion, I'd risk my life coming here.
No, I am simply a man."
Yes, let him tell them his real name,
that he is Snug the carpenter.
Well it shall be so. But there is two hard things;
that is, to bring the moonlight into a chamber;
for, you know, Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Sounds good. There are to more obstacles.
The first is how to shine moonlight in a room. As you know,
Pyramus and Thisbe must meet in the moonlight.
Doth the moon shine that night we play our play?
SNOUT (Handyman)
Will the moon shine the night of the play?
A calendar, a calendar! look in the almanac;
find out moonshine, find out moonshine.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Look at a calendar in the almanac!
Find out if there'll be moonshine or not!
Yes, it doth shine that night.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
[takes out book] Yes, the moon shines that night.
Why, then may you leave a casement of the
great chamber window, where we play, open,
and the moon may shine in at the casement.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Why then, leave a window open
where we're having the play and
let the moon shine through.
Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns
and a lantern, and say he comes to disfigure, or to
present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is
another thing: we must have a wall in the great
chamber; for Pyramus and Thisbe says the story, did
talk through the chink of a wall.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Yes, or else someone could come in with a bunch of branches
and a lantern and say he's
playing the role of Moonshine. There's
another issue. We must have a wall in the
room. For Pyramus and Thisbe
spoke through a hole in the wall.
You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
SNOUT (Handyman)
We can't bring in a wall. What do you think, Bottom?
Some man or other must present Wall:
and let him have some plaster, or some loam,
or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall;
and let him hold his fingers thus,
and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisbe whisper.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Someone can play the role of the wall.
We can cover his costume in plaster or earth
or cement to make him look like a wall.
He can hold his fingers like this
to make a hole through which Pyramus and Thisbe can whisper.
If that may be, then all is well.
Come, sit down, every mother's son,
and rehearse your parts. Pyramus, you begin:
when you have spoken your speech,
enter into that brake:
and so everyone according to his cue.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
That solves all the problems.
Let's sit down everyone and
rehearse your lines--Pyramus, you start.
When you finished saying your lines,
go into that bush.
Everyone else, go there too according to your cue.
Enter PUCK behind
PUCK enters unseen.
What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here,
So near the cradle of the fairy queen?
What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;
An actor too, perhaps, if I see cause.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
Who are these country hicks stumbling around
so close to Queen Titania?
What, they're putting on a play? I'll be there audience
and an actor too, perhaps, if I see fit.
Speak, Pyramus. Thisbe, stand forth.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Speak, Pyramus--Thisbe, come out.
Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet,--
BOTTOM (Weaver)
[as PYRAMUS] Thisbe, the flowers of odious savors sweet—
Odors, odors.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
It's "odors," not "odious!"
--odors savors sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisbe dear.
But hark, a voice! stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
[as PYRAMUS]--odors savors sweet,
So like your breath, my sweet Thisbe dear.
And I will thee to appear.
But wait, I hear a voice! Stay here.
Bottom leaves
A stranger Pyramus than e'er played here.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
(aside) That's the oddest version of Pyramus ever.
Puck leaves
Must I speak now?
FLUTE (Bellows-mender)
Do I need to speak now?
Ay, marry, must you; for you must understand he goes
but to see a noise that he heard, and is to come again.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Yes, you must. Understand, he goes out
to see about a noise he heard and will come back.
Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of color like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
FLUTE (Bellows-mender)
[as THISBE] Radiant Pyramus, you are white as a lily
and red as a rose on a beautiful bush.
You are youthful and active and a lovely Jew.
You are as steadfast as a horse that never tires.
I'll meet you, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
'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 (Carpenter)
It's 'Ninus' tomb', man, not 'Ninny's tomb'.
Plus, don't say all your lines at once
and you missed the cues. Pyramus, enter.
You missed your cue. It's 'never tires.'
O,--As true as truest horse,
that yet would never tire.
FLUTE (Bellows-mender)
Oh. [as THISBE] As steadfast as a horse
that never tires.
Re-enter Puck and BOTTOM, with an ass's head.
BOTTOM, enchanted by PUCK to have a donkey's head, and PUCK re-enter
If I were fair, Thisbe, I were only thine.
If I was beautiful, Thisbe, I would be only yours.
O monstrous! O strange! we are haunted.
Pray, masters! fly, masters! Help!
It's monstrous! How strange! We are being haunted!
Pray, everyone! Run, everyone! Help!
I'll follow you, I'll lead you about a round,
Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier:
Sometime 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.
PUCK (Trickster Fairy)
I'll follow you. I'll lead you in circles,
through bogs, bushes, and brambles.
Sometimes I'll be a horse and sometimes a dog.
A hog, a headless bear, sometimes a fire.
And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn,
Like a horse, hound, hog, bear, and fire, at every turn.
PUCK leaves
Why do they run away?
this is a knavery of them to make me afeard.
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
Why do they run away?
They must be a trick to scare me.
Re-enter SNOUT
SNOUT re-enters
O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?
SNOUT (Handyman)
Oh, Bottom, you are different! What is on your head?
What do you see?
you see an asshead of your own, do you?
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
What do you see on my head?
Well, you have an donkey head of your own, don't you?
Re-enter QUINCE
QUINCE enters
Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee!
thou art translated.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Bless your heart, Bottom. Bless you.
You've been transformed.
QUINCE and SNOUT leave
I see their knavery:
this is to make an ass of me;
to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir from this place,
do what they can:
I will walk up and down here,
and I will sing, that they shall hear
I am not afraid.
The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill,--
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
I know they're trying to trick me.
They're trying to make a fool of me;
to scare me if they can. But I will not leave this place
no matter what they do.
I will walk around and
sing and they will hear
that I am not afraid.
The blackbird, so black of hue
With orange-tawny bill
The thrush with his note so true
The wren with little quill--
What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
TITANIA (Fairy Queen Enchanted to Love Bottom)
[Waking up]
Which angel woke me from my flower bed?
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark,
And dares not answer nay;--
for, indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
who would give a bird the lie,
though he cry 'cuckoo' never so?
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
The plainsong cuckoo gray,
Whose note full many a man doth mark
And dares not answer 'Nay'—
For indeed, who would set his wit to so foolish a bird?
Who would give a bird the lie,
though he cry 'cuckoo' never so?
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen Enchanted to Love Bottom)
Please sing again, gentle man.
I love to hear you sing.
I love the look of your body.
Your greatness moves me to swear I love you,
even though it is the first time I've seen you.
Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that:
and yet, to say the truth,
reason and love keep little company together now-a-days;
the more the pity that some honest neighbors
will not make them friends.
Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
I can't understand your reasoning.
However, to be truthful, love and reason
don't always agree these days.
It's too bad some honest friend
doesn't broker peace between them.
Nah, I'm only kidding.
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen Enchanted to Love Bottom)
You are as wise as you are beautiful.
Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood,
I have enough to serve mine own turn.
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
Not really. But if I was smart enough to get out of this forest,
I'd have enough smarts to make myself happy.
Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!
TITANIA (Fairy Queen Enchanted to Love Bottom)
Don't wish to leave the forest,
for you will remain here whether or not you want to go.
I am not your typical fairy.
The summer listens to me, and I do love you.
Therefore, come with me.
I'll give you some fairies to serve you.
They will fetch you jewels from the sea,
And sing while you sleep on a bed of flowers.
I'll get rid of your gross human body
so you can be a spirit.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed!
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed enter
Ready to go.
And I.
COBWEB (Fairy)
Me too.
And I.
MOTH (Fairy)
And me.
Where shall we go?
Where should we go?
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen Enchanted to Love Bottom)
Be kind and courteous to this man.
Follow him and dance before him.
Feed him apricots, blackberries, grapes,
figs, and mulberries.
Steal honey from the bumblebees,
make candles from their beeswax,
and light the candles with the eyes of glowworms.
Put my love to bed and wake him
by fanning his sleepy eyes with wings
plucked from painted butterflies.
Bow and curtsy to him, fairies.
Hail, mortal!
Hello, human.

COBWEB (Fairy)
MOTH (Fairy)
I cry your worship's mercy, heartily:
I beseech your worship's name.
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
Please forgive me,
but what is your name?
COBWEB (Fairy)
I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb:
if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you.
Your name, honest gentleman?
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
I'd like to spend more time with you, Mr. Cobweb.
If I cut my finger, I'll use you as a bandage.
You--your name, honest gentleman?
I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother,
and to Master Peascod, your father.
Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more acquaintance too.
Your name, I beseech you, sir?
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
Please, give my respects to your mother
and father, Mr. and Mrs. Squash.
Good Mr. Peaseblossom, I'd like to spend
more time with you too.
You--your name, I beg of you, sir?
Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well:
that same cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath
devoured many a gentleman of your house:
I promise you your kindred had made my eyes water ere now.
I desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Mustardseed.
BOTTOM (with enchanted horse's head)
Good Mr. Mustardseed, I know you well.
The cowardly have eaten many of your kind
as condiments on beef.
I swear your kin has made my eyes water.
I'd like to get to know you better, too,
kind Mr. Mustardseed.
Come, wait upon him; lead him to my bower.
The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity.
Tie up my lover's tongue bring him silently.
TITANIA (Fairy Queen Enchanted to Love Bottom)
Come fairies and serve him.
Bring him to where I sleep.
The moon looks teary-eyed, and when she weeps,
every little flower cries due to forced chastity.
Keep my lover silent as you bring him to me.
ALL leave

    Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit Stories from Shakespeare II by Edith Nesbit    

Lesson 32: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act III, Scene i

Performer: Librivox - Group


Study the assigned Shakespeare scene over the week.

Over the week:

  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read along while listening to the lesson audio recording.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


In Act III, Scene i of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the Players meet in the forest to practice their play. As they rehearse, Puck sneaks in to watch. While Nick Bottom waits out of sight for his next cue, Puck enchants him, giving him a donkey head. When Bottom returns to say his next line, the other Players flee the monstrous donkey-man. Loving the chaos, Puck happily chases after them. Left all alone, Bottom stumbles across Titania, and she awakens. Under the spell of the flower juice, Titania falls in love with Bottom. Titania tasks her fairies to serve Bottom and leads him to her home in the woods.


Activity 1: Recite the Play Information

  • Recite aloud the play title, the numbers of the act and scene, and the author of the play.

Activity 2: Narrate the Scene

  • After reading or listening to the scene, narrate the events aloud in your own words.

Activity 3: Read Aloud the Dramatis Personae of the Scene

Referred to as the Players, Clowns, or Mechanicals:

  • PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Revels to Theseus
  • QUINCE, the Carpenter
  • SNUG, the Joiner
  • BOTTOM, the Weaver
  • FLUTE, the Bellows-mender
  • SNOUT, the Tinker
  • STARVELING, the Tailor
  • PYRAMUS, THISBE, WALL, MOONSHINE, LION; Characters in the Interlude performed by the Players

The Fairies:

  • TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies
  • COBWEB, Fairy
  • MOTH, Fairy
  • Other Fairies attending their King and Queen

Activity 4: Map the Play

  • The comedic play, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' takes place in and around the city of Athens, Greece.
  • Study the map featuring Greece.
  • What is the name of the large country east of Greece? Recite its name aloud.

Activity 5: Read the Modern Translation Aloud

  • With family or friends, choose roles and read the modern translation of the scene aloud.

Activity 6: Read the Original Text Aloud

  • With family or friends, choose roles and read the original text of the scene aloud.


  1. 'Shakespeare's Comedy of A Midsummer-Night's Dream,' by William Shakespeare and William Heath {1914, PD-US}. n.p.
  2. Illustrations from 'A Midsummer-Night's Dream for Young People,' by Lucy Fitch Perkins {1907, PD-US}. n.p.