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

Lesson 35: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act IV, Scene ii

Performer: Librivox - Group

ACT IV, SCENE ii. Athens. A room in QUINCE'S house.
ACT IV, SCENE ii. Athens. A room in the carpenter QUINCE'S house.
Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Have you sent someone to Bottom's house? Is he there yet?
He cannot be heard of.
Out of doubt he is transported.
We haven't heard from him.
Maybe he's been kidnapped.
If he come not, then the play is marred:
it goes not forward, doth it?
FLUTE (Bellows-fixer)
If he's not home, our play is ruined.
Is it cancelled?
It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens
able to discharge Pyramus but he.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
It's not possible to put on the play.
No man in all of Athens can play Pyramus but Bottom.
No, he hath simply the best wit of
any handicraft man in Athens.
FLUTE (Bellows-fixer)
You're right. Bottom has the best wit of all the working men in Athens.
Yea and the best person too;
and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Yes, he's the handsomest too.
He has such a sweet voice.
You must say 'paragon:' a paramour is,
God bless us, a thing of naught.
FLUTE (Bellows-fixer)
You mean 'paragon,' not paramour. A paramour is a negative thing.
Enter SNUG
SNUG enters
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.
SNUG (Joiner)
Sirs, the duke is coming from the temple
and there are two more couples being married.
If only we could put on our play,
we'd have it made.
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.
FLUTE (Bellows-fixer)
Our sweet, happy Bottom!
He's lost a salary of sixpence
a day for life.
He'd have been forced
to accept sixpence a day.
If I'm wrong about this, I'll be hanged.
He'd have deserved at least
sixpence a day for playing Pyramus.
BOTTOM enters
Where are these lads? where are these hearts?
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Where are you guys? Where are my good friends?
Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy hour!
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Oh Bottom! Oh, what a wonderful day! Oh, I'm so happy you're here!
Masters, I am to discourse wonders: but ask me not what;
for if I tell you, I am not a true Athenian.
I will tell you everything, right as it fell out.
BOTTOM (Weaver)
Gentlemen, I have some crazy things to tell you,
but don't ask me what.
If I tell you, I'm not a real Athenian.
I'll tell you everything, exactly what happened.
Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
QUINCE (Carpenter)
Tell us, dear 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!
BOTTOM (Weaver)
I won't say a word. All I'll say is
the duke has had dinner.
Get your costumes,
your false beards, new ribbons for your shoes,
and meet at the palace.
Every man must review his lines.
Our play is going forward.
At any rate, make sure Thisbe wears a clean costume
and the one playing the lion don't trim your nails
for they have to stick out like a lion's claws
Don't eat any onions or garlic, for we need fresh breath.
I'm sure they'll say
our play is a sweet comedy.
No more talking, let's go put on our play!
The PLAYERS all leave.

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

Lesson 35: A Midsummer Night's Dream Act IV, Scene ii

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 IV, Scene ii of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the Players fret over canceling the play when they can't find Nick Bottom. When Bottom appears, they rejoice and prepare to enact their play.


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

Activity 4: Map the Play

  • The comedic play, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' takes place in and around the city of Athens, Greece.
  • Point to the location of Greece on the map of the world.
  • Which continent is south of Greece?

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.