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A Midsummer Night's Dream and hang a pearl

Libretto di Benjamin Britten e di Peter Pears, da in every cowslip's ear

Musica di Benjamin Britten (Puck appears suddenly.)

Cast: PUCK
OBERN (calling):
TITANIA How now spirits?
PEASEBLOSSOM (The Fairies scatter to the side.)
TESEO Or I mistake your shape
HIPLITA and making quite,
HERMIA or are you not that shrewd
LISANDRO and knavish sprite
DEMETRIO call'd Robin Goodfellow:
ELENA are not you he that frights
BOTTOM the maidens of the villagery,
QUINCE skim milk, and sometimes
FLUTE labour in the quern
SNUG and bootless make
SNOUT the breathless housewife churn;
STARVELING and sometime make
PUCK the drink to bear no barm;
mislead night-wanderers,
laughing at their harm?
ACT I You do their work,
and they shall have good luck:
Those that Hobgoblin
Introduction call you and sweet Puck
(The wood. Deepening twilight.)
(Enter Fairies, first group with Cobweb and But, room, fairy!
Mustardseed, second group with Peaseblossom here comes Oberon.
and Moth.)
FAIRIES And here our mistress.
Over hill, over dale,
trough bush, through brier, COBWEB
over park, over pale, Would that he were gone!
through flood, through fire,
we do wander everywhere, (Enter, slowly Oberon and Tytania, with her train;
swifter than the moon's sphere; from opposite sides)
and we serve the fairy queen,
to dew her orbs upon the green. FAIRIES
Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
FOUR SOLO FAIRIES because that she,
Cowslips tall her pensioners be as her attendant hath a lovely boy,
in their gold coats spots you see; stolen from an Indian king;
those be rubies, fairy favours, and jealous Oberon
in those freckles live their savours. would have the child


We must go seek Ill met by moonlight,
some dewdrops here proud Tytania
Ill met by moonlight, Not for thy fairy kingdom.
jealous Oberon! Fairies, away!
Fairies, skip hence:
I have forsworn (Exit Tytania with her train.)
his bed and company.
(The Fairies hide) Well, go thy way:
thou shalt not from this grove
OBERON, TYTANIA till I torment thee for this injury.
Therefore the winds My gentle Puck, come hither.
have suck'd up (Puck approaches Oberon.)
from the sea contagious fogs. Thou rememberest
Therefore the ox the herb I shew'd thee once;
hath stretch'd the juice of it on sleeping
his yoke in vain, eye-lids laid will make or man
the fold stands empty or woman madly dote upon
in the drowned field, the next live creature that it sees.
the crows are fatted Be it on lion, bear,
with the murrion flock; or wolf, or bull,
the seasons alter: on meddling monkey,
the spring, the summer, or on busy ape.
the childing autumn, Fetch me this herb,
angry winter, and be thou here again,
change their wonted liveries, ere the Leviathan can swim
and the mazed world, a league.
by their increase,
now knows not which is which: PUCK
and this same progeny I'll put a girdle round
of evils comes from our debate, about the earth
from our dissension; in forty minutes.
we are their parents and original,
we are. (He flies off.)

Do you amend it then; Having once this juice,
it lies in you: I'll watch Tytania,
I do but beg when she is asleep,
a little changeling boy, and drop the liquor
to be my henchman. of it in her eyes;
and ere I take this charm
TYTANIA from off ther sight I'll make
Set your heart at rest: her render up her page to me.
The fairy land buys not
the child of me. (Oberon disappears. Enter Lysander and Hermia)
His mother was a votaress
of my order: LYSANDER
But she, being mortal, How now, my love!
of that boy did die; Why is your cheek so pale?
and for her sake How chance the roses
I will not part with him. there do fade so fast?

Give me that boy Belike for want of rain,
and I will go with thee. which I could well beteem them
from the tempest of my eyes. by his best arrow
with the golden head.
for aught that I could ever read, I swear to thee
could ever hear by tale or history, by the simplicity
the course of true love of Venus' doves,
never did run smooth; but, by that which knitteth souls
either it was different in blood. and prospers loves,
and by that fire which burn'd
HERMIA, LYSANDER the Carthage queen,
O cross! when the false Troyan
Too high to be enthrall'd to low. under sail was seen,
Or else misgraffed by all the vows
in respect of years. that ever men have broke,
O spite! in number more
Too old to be engaged to young. than ever women spoke,
Or else it stood upon I swear, I swear...
the choice of friends.
O hell! (They slowly go out. Oberon appears)
To choose love by another's eyes.
If then true lovers OBERON
have been ever cross'd, Be it on lion, bear,
it stands as an edict in destiny. or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape.
HERMIA But who comes here?
Then let us teach I am invisible; and I will overhear
our trial patience. their conference.

LYSANDER (Enter Demetrius. Helena pursuing him)

A good persuasion:
therefore, hear me, Hermia. DEMETRIUS
I have a widow aunt, I love thee not,
a dowager of great revenue, therefore pursue me not.
and she hath no child; Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
from Athens is her house The one I'll slay,
remote seven leagues. the other slayeth me.
And she respects me as her only son. Thou told'st me
There, gentle Hermia, they were stolen unto this wood;
may I marry thee; and here am I,
and to that place the sharp and wode within this wood,
Athenian law, because I cannot meet my Hermia.
compelling thee Hence, get thee gone,
to marry with Demetrius, and follow me no more.
annot pursue us.
If thou lovest me then, HELENA
there will I go with thee. You draw me,
you hard-hearted adamant;
HERMIA leave you your power to draw,
My good Lysander!, and I shall have no power
if thou lov'st me to follow you.
I swear to thee,
by Cupid's strongest bow. DEMETRIUS
Do I entice you?
LYSANDER do I speak you fair?
I swear to thee, Or, rather,
do I not in plainest truth with sweet musk-roses
tell you, I do not, and with eglantine:
nor I cannot love you? there sleeps Tytania
sometime of the night,
HELENA lull'd in these flowers
Even for that do I love you the more. with dances and delight;
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius, and there the snake
the more you beat me, throws her enamell'd skin,
I will fawn on you; weed wide enough to wrap
use me but as your spaniel, a fairy in:
spurn me, strike me, and with the juice
neglect me, lose me; of this I'll streak her eyes,
only give me leave, and make her full
unworthy as I am, of hateful fantasies.
to follow thee. Take thou some of it,
and seek through this grove:
DEMETRIUS a sweet Athenian lady is in love
Tempt not too much with a disdainful youth:
the hatred of my spirit; anoint his eyes;
for I am sick when but do it when
I do look on thee. the next thing he espies
may be the lady:
HELENA thou shalt know the man
And I am sick when by the Athenian garments
I look not on thee. he hath on.

DEMETRIUS (They disappear. Six rustics enter cautiously.)

I'll run from thee
and hide me in the brakes, QUINCE
and leave thee to the mercy Is all our company here?
of wild beasts.
(He goes out.) Ay, Ay.

(running out) You were best to call them generally,
I'll follow you man by man, according to the script.
and make a heav'n of hell
to die upon the hand FLUTE
I love so well. First, good Peter Quince,
say what the play treats on.
Fare thee well, nymph: QUINCE
ere he do leave this grove, Marry, our play is,
thou shalt fly him the most lamentable comedy,
and he shall seek thy love. and most cruel death
(Puck flies in.) of Pyramus and Thisby.
Welcome, wanderer!
Hast thou the flower there? ALL
(Puck gives Oberon the flower and lies at his Of Pyramus and Thisby.
I know a bank where the wild BOTTOM
thyme blows, where oxlips A very good piece of work,
and the nodding violet grows, I assure you, and a merry.
quite over-canopied Now, good Peter Quince,
with luscious woodbine, call forth your actors
by the scroll. a wandering knight?
Masters, spread yourselves.
QUINCE It is the lady that Pyramus
Answer as I call you. Nick Bottom, must love.
the weaver.
BOTTOM Nay, faith,
Ready. let me not play a woman;
Name what part I am for, I have a beard coming.
and proceed.
QUINCE That's all one:
You, Nick Bottom, you shall play it in a mask,
are set down for Pyramus. and you may speak
as small as you will.
What is Pyramus? BOTTOM
a lover, or a tyrant? An I may hide my face,
let me play Thisby too,
QUINCE I'll speak
A lover, that kills himself in a monstrous little voice.
most gallant for love. Thisne, thisne:"Ah, Pyramus,
lover dear! thy Thisby dear,
BOTTOM and lady dear!"
My chief humour is for a tyrant:
I could play Ercles rarely, QUINCE
or a part to tear a cat in, No, no; you must play Pyramus;
to make all split and, Flute, you Thisby.
the raging rocks;
and shivering shocks shall break BOTTOM
the locks of prison gates, Well, proceed.
and Phibbus' car shall shine
from far, and make FLUTE
and mar the foolish Fates. (practising to himself)
This was lofty! "Ah Pyramus, my lover dear,
Now name the rest thy Thisby dear, and Lady dear..."
of the players.
QUINCE Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Francis Flute,
the bellows-mender. STARVELING
Here, Peter Quince.
This is Ercle's vein, QUINCE
a tyrant's vein; Robin Starveling,
a lover is more condoling. you must play Thisby's mother.
Tom Snout, the tinker.
Here, Peter Quince. SNOUT
Here, Peter Quince.
Flute, you must take Thisby on you. QUINCE
You, Pyramus' father;
FLUTE myself, Thisby's father;
What is Thisby? Snug, the joiner;
you, the lion's part; (General satisfaction.)
and, I hope,
here is a play fitted. QUINCE
But masters
SNUG here are your parts;
Have you the lion's part written? and I am to entreat you,
pray you, if it be, give it me, request you and desire you,
for I am slow of study. to con them by tonight;
there will we rehearse anon.
You may do it extempore, BOTTOM
for it is nothing but roaring. We will meet;
and there we may rehearse
BOTTOM most obscenely and courageously.
Let me play the lion too: Take pains; be perfect: adieu.
I will roar,
that I will do any man's heart QUINCE
good to hear me; I will roar, At the duke's oak
that I will make the duke say we meet.
"Let him roar again,
let him roar again" ALL
An you should do it too terribly, (Exeunt. Enter Lysander and Hermia.)
you would fright the duchess
and the ladies, LYSANDER:
that they would shriek; Fair love, you faint
and that were enough to hang us all. with wandering in the wood;
and to speak troth,
QUINCE, STARVELING, I have forgot our way;
SNOUT, SNUG we'll rest us, Hermia,
That would hang us, if you think it good,
ev'ry mother's son. and tarry
for the comfort of the day.
Ev'ry mother's son! HERMIA
Be it so, Lysander;
BOTTOM find you out a bed;
But I will aggravate my voice so, for I upon this bank
that I will roar you as gently will rest my head.
as any sucking dove;
I will roar you an 'twere LYSANDER
any nightingale. One turf shall serve
as pillow for us both;
QUINCE One heart, one bed,
You can play no part but Pyramus; two bosoms and one troth.
for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man;
a proper man, HERMIA
as one shall see in a summer's day; Nay, good Lysander;
a most lovely gentleman-like man; my sake, my dear,
therefore you must needs lie further off yet,
play Pyramus. do not lie so near.
So far be distant;
BOTTOM and, good night, sweet friend;
Well, I will undertake it. Thy love ne'er alter
till thy sweet life end!
LYSANDER, HERMIA O, I am out of breath
Amen to that fair prayer, in this fond chase!
say I; The more my prayer,
and then end life the lesser is my grace.
when I end loyalty! Happy is Hermia,
wheresoe'er she lies;
(They go to sleep. Enter Puck.) for she hath blessed
and attractive eyes.
PUCK Alas, I am as ugly as a bear;
Through the forest have I gone. for beasts
But Athenian found I none, that meet me
on whose eyes I might approve run away for fear;
this flower's force (She sees Lysander.)
in stirring love. But who is here?
Night and silence. Lysander! on the ground!
Who is here? Dead? or asleep?
(coming upon the sleeping Lysander) I see no blood, no wound.
Weeds of Athens he doth wear; Lysander if you live,
this is he, good sir, awake.
my master said,
despised the Athenian maid; LYSANDER
(He squeezes the juice on Lysander's eyes.) (Awaking)
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw And run through fire
all the power this charm doth owe. I will for thy sweet sake.
So awake when I am gone; Transparent Helena!
for I must now to Oberon. Nature shows art,
that through thy bosom
(Exit Puck.) makes me see thy heart.
Where is Demetrius?
HERMIA O, how fit a word
(in her sleep) is that vile name
Amen, amen to perish on my sword!
to that fair prayer, say I.
(Enter Helena and Demetriud, running) Do not say so, Lysander;
say not so
HELENA what though he love your Hermia?
Stay, though thou kill me, Lord, what though?
sweet Demetrius. Yet Hermia still loves you;
then be content
I charge thee, hence, LYSANDER
and do not haunt me thus. Content with Hermia! No;
I do repent the tedious minutes
HELENA I with her have spent.
O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Not Hermia but Helena I love;
do not so. who will not change a raven
for a dove?
Stay, on thy peril: HELENA
I alone will go. Wherefore was I to this keen
mockery born?
(Running out) When at your hands did I deserve
this scorn?
HELENA Good troth, you do me wrong,
good sooth, you do, the clamorous owl that nightly
in such disdainful hoots and wonders
manner me to woo but fare you well; at our quaint spirits.
perforce I must confess Sing me now asleep;
(running out) then to your offices
I thought you lord of more and let me rest.
true gentleness.
LYSANDER You spotted snakes
She sees not Hermia. with double tongue,
Hermia, sleep thou there; thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
and never mayst thou come newts and blind-worms,
Lysander near! do no wrong,
Sleep thou there; come not near our fairy queen.
and, all my powers, Philomel, with melody
address your love and might sing in our sweet lullaby;
To honour Helen
and to be her knight! ALL FAIRIES
(running out) never harm, nor spell nor charm,
come our lovely lady nigh;
HERMIA so, good night, with lullaby.
(wakes up, calling)
Lysander, help me, SOLO FAIRIES
what a dream was here! Weaving spiders, come not here
Lysander, look how I do quake hence, you long-legg'd spinners,
with fear; hence!
methought a serpent Beetles black, approach not near;
eat my heart away, worm nor snail, do no offence.
and you sat smiling Philomel, with melody...
at his cruel prey.
Lysander! what, removed? COBWEB
Lysander! lord! (whispered)
What, out of hearing? gone? Hence, away! now all is well;
no sound, no word? one aloof stand sentinel.
Alack, where are you? speak,
an if you hear; (Tytania sleeps. The Fairies, except one standing
speak, of all loves! sentry, slip out. Oberon appears.)
I swoon almost with fear.
(running out) OBERON
Lysander, Lord... (squeezing the juice from the
flower onto Tytania's eyelids.)
(Enter Tytania, with Cobweb, Peaseblossom, What thou seest
Mustardseed, Moth and Fairies.) when thou dost wake,
do it for thy true-love take,
TYTANIA love and languish for his sake;
Come, now a roundel be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
and a fairy song; pard, or boar with bristled hair,
then, for the third part in thine eye that shall appear
of a minute, hence; when thou wakest, it is thy dear;
some to kill cankers wake when some vile thing is near.
in the musk-rose buds,
some war with rere-mice (He slowly disappears and the ligjhts fade on the
for their leathern wings, sleeping Tytania.)
to make my small elves coats,
and some keep back
I fear it, I promise you.
Therefore another Prologue
Introduction must tell them plainly
he is not a Lion
(The wood. Tytania lying asleep. Enter the six but Snug the joiner.
BOTTOM But there is two hard things;
Are we all met? that is, to bring the moonlight
into a chamber; for, you know,
THE OTHERS Pyramus and Thisby meet by moonlight.
Pat, pat, pat
QUINCE Doth the moon shine that night
And here's a marvellous convenient we play our play?
place for our rehearsal.
BOTTOM A calendar,
Peter Quince? look in the almanac;
find out moonshine.
What sayest thou, bully Bottom? THE OTHERS
Moonshine, moonshine.
There are things in this comedy QUINCE
that will never please. Then, there is another thing:
First, Pyramus must draw we must have a wall
a sword to kill himself; in the great chamber.
which the ladies cannot abide.
THE OTHERS You can never bring in a wall.
By'r lakin, a parlous fear.
FLUTE What say you, Bottom?
I believe we must leave the
killing out, when all is done. BOTTOM
Some man or other must present Wall,
BOTTOM and let him hold his fingers thus,
Not a whit: and through that cranny shall
I have a device to make all well. Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
Write me a prologue;
tell them, that I, THE OTHERS
Pyramus, am not Pyramus, Then all is well.
but Bottom the weaver:
this will put them out of fear. QUINCE
Come, sit down,
SNUG every mother's son,
Will not the ladies be afeard and rehearse your parts,
of the Lion? every one according to his cue.
Pyramus, you begin.
The Lion. (Puck flies in.)
PUCK that you answer to Pyramo:
What hempen home-spuns you speak all your part at once,
have we swaggering here, cues and all.
so near the cradle Pyramus enter:
the fairy queen? your cue is past;
it is, 'never tire'.
Speak, Pyramus. FLUTE
Thisby, stand forth. O, as true as truest horse,
that yet would never tire.
Thisby, the flowers (Enter Puck and Bottom with an ass's head upon
of odious savours sweet... his shoulders.)

Odours, odours. If I were fair, Thisby,
I were only thine.
Odours savours sweet: (Puck flies off.)
So hath thy breath,
my dearest Thisby dear. THE OTHERS
But Hark, a voice! O monstrous! O strange!
stay thou but here awhile, we are haunted.
And by and by I will to thee appear. Pray, masters! fly, masters!
(Exit Bottom)
(Exeunt Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout, and
PUCK Starveling.)
I'll follow you,
I'll lead you about a round. BOTTOM
Why do they run away?
(He follows Bottom) this is a knavery
to make me afeard.
Must I speak now? (Flute reappears.)

Ay, marry, must you; O Bottom, Bottom,
for you must understand thou art changed!
he goes but to see a noise what do I see on thee?
he heard and is to come again.
(Exit Flute.)
Most radiant Pyramus, BOTTOM:
most lily-white of hue, What do you see?
of colour like the red rose you see an asshead of your own,
on triumphant brier, do you?
most brisky juvenal
and eke most lovely Jew, (The rustics reappear from behind the trees.)
as true as truest horse
that yet would never tire, ALL
I'll meet thee, Pyramus, Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee!
at Ninny's tomb. thou art translated.

QUINCE: (They desappear.)

Why, you must not speak that yet;
I see their knavery: (enters.)
this is to make an ass of me; And I.
to fright me, if they could.
But I will not stir from this place, TYTANIA
and I will sing, that they shall hear Moth!
I am not afraid.
(Singing) MOTH
The woosell cock, so black of hue, (enters.)
with orange-tawny bill, And I.
the throstle with his note so true,
the wren with little quill,... TYTANIA
What angel wakes me (enters.)
from my flowery bed? And I.


The finch, the sparrow and the lark, Whre shall we go?
the plain-song cuckoo gray,
whose note full many a man doth mark, TYTANIA
and dares not answer nay. Be kind and courteous
to this gentleman; hop in his walks
TYTANIA and gambol in his eyes;
I pray thee, gentle mortal, feed him with apricocks
sing again: and dewberries,
Mine ear is much enamour'd with purple grapes, green figs,
of thy note; so is mine eye and mulberries; the honey-bags
enthralled to thy shape; steal from the humble-bees,
thou art as wise as and for night-tapers crop
thou art beautiful. their waxen thighs
and light them at the fiery
BOTTOM glow-worm's eyes,
Not so, neither: to have my love to bed and to arise;
but if I had wit enough to get out nod to him, elves,
of this wood... and do him courtesies.


Out of this wood do not desire to go: (bow deeply to Bottom)
Thou shalt remain here, Hail, mortal, hail!
whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate; BOTTOM:
the summer still doth tend I cry your worship's mercy,
upon my state; your mercy, heartily.
I'll give thee Fairies
to attend on thee; FOUR SOLO FAIRIES
Peaseblossom! Hail, mortal, hail!

(enters.) I cry your worship's mercy.
Ready I beseech your worship's name.

Cobweb! Cobweb.
Hail, mortal, hail!
I shall desire you Scratch my head Peaseblossom.
of more acquaintance, (Peaseblossom scratches Bottom's head.)
good Master Cobweb. Where's Monsieur Cobweb?
Your name, honest gentleman?
Hail, mortal, hail! (He goes to Bottom.)

I pray you, commend me Monsieur Cobweb,
to Mistress Squash, get you your weapons in your hand,
your mother, and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee,
and to Master Peascod, your father. and good Monsieur,
Your name, bring me the honey-bag.
I beseech you, sir? (Cobweb finds a bee, catches it and takes the
honey to Bottom.)
MUSTARDSEED Where's Monsieur Mustard-seed?
Hail, mortal, hail! MUSTARDSEED
Hail, mortal, hail! BOTTOM
Give me your neaf,
BOTTOM Monsieur Mustardseed.
Your kindred hath made (Mustardseed shakes his hand violently.)
my eyes water ere now, Pray you, leave your courtesy,
good master Mustardseed. good Monsieur.
I desire you more acquaintance.
Your name, sir? MUSTARDSEED
What's your will?
(comes forward) BOTTOM
Mo... Nothing, good monsieur,
but to help Cavalery Cobweb
TYTANIA to scratch.
(interrupting) (Mustardseed helps Cobweb to
Come, sit thee down upon scratch Bottom's head.)
this flowery bed, I am such a tender ass,
while I thy amiable cheeks do coy, if my hair do but tickle me,
and stick musk-roses I must scratch.
in thy sleek smooth head, Where's Monsieur Moth?
and kiss thy fair large ears,
my gentle joy. MOTH
I'm he...
(Tytania and Bottom settle down on the bank.)
BOTTOM What, wilt thou hear some music,
Where's Peaseblossom? my sweet love?

Ready. I have a reas'nable
good ear in music.
(He goes to Bottom.) La la la la...
Let's have the tongs and the bones. DEMETRIUS
(The Fairies take their instruments and start to O, why rebuke you him
play.) that loves you so?
Ah! Ah! I have a reas'nable
good ear in music. HERMIA
(Bottom gets up and begins to dance.) If thou hast slain Lysander
La la la la! in his sleep,
(He yawns.) plunge in the deep,
But, I pray you, and kill me too.
let none of your people stir me: Ah, good Demetrius,
I have an exposition wilt thou give him me?
of sleep come upon me.
TYTANIA I had rather give
Sleep thou, and I will his carcass to my hounds.
wind thee in my arms.
Fairies, begone, HERMIA
and be all ways away. Out, dog, out, cur,
(The Fairies disappear.) oh hast thou slain him, then?
So doth the woodbine
the sweet honeysuckle DEMETRIUS
gently entwist; I am not guilty
the female ivy so enrings of Lysander's blood.
the barky fingers of the elm.
How I love thee! HERMIA
how I dote on thee! I pray thee,
tell me then that he is well.
(They sleep, and it grows dark. Enter Oberon and
An if I could,
OBERON what should I get therefore?
How now, mad spirit!
What night-rule now HERMIA
about this haunted grove? A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part
PUCK I so. See me no more,
See, see, my mistress whether he be dead or no.
with a monster is in love.
This falls out better than DEMETRIUS
I could devise. There is no following her
But hast thou yet latch'd in this fierce vein:
the Athenian's eyes Here therefore for a while
with the love-juice, I will remain.
as I did bid thee do? So sorrow's heaviness
(Enter Hermia and Demetrius.) doth heavier grow
Stand close:
this is the same Athenian. (He lies down.)

This is the woman, What hast thou done?
but not this the man. thou hast mistaken quite
and laid the love-juice
(Oberon and Puck listen.) on some true-love's sight:
About the wood go swifter
than the wind, O Helena, goddess, nymph,
and Helena of Athens look thou find. perfect, divine!
To what, my love,
PUCK shall I compare thine eyne?
I go, I go; look how I go, Crystal is muddy.
swifter than arrow O, how ripe in show thy lips,
from the Tartar's bow. those kissing cherries,
tempting grow!
(He flies off.) That pure congealed white,
high Taurus' snow,
OBERON fann'd with the eastern wind,
Flower of this purple dye, turns to a crow when thou hold'st up
hit with Cupid's archery, thy hand: O, let me kiss
sink in apple of his eye. this princess of pure white,
When his love he doth espy, this seal of bliss!
let her shine as gloriously O Helen!
as the Venus of the sky.
When thou wakest, if she be by, HELENA
beg of her for remedy. O spite!

(Puck flies in.) DEMETRIUS

Captain of our fairy band, HELENA
Helena is here at hand; O Hell!
and the youth,
mistook by me, DEMETRIUS
shall we their fond pageant see? Nymph, perfect, divine!
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
(Enter Helena, Lysander following. Oberon and I see you all are bent
Puck stand aside.) To set against me
for your merriment.
Why should you think that DEMETRIUS
I should woo in scorn? (To Lysander)
Look, where thy love comes;
HELENA yonder is thy dear.
These vows are Hermia's.
Will you give her o'er? HERMIA
LYSANDER Ah, Lysander,
I had no judgment when to her why unkindly didst
I swore. thou leave me so?

Nor none, in my mind, Injurious Hermia!
now you give her o'er. most ungrateful maid!
Have you conspired,
LYSANDER have you with these contrived
Demetrius loves her, to bait me with this foul derision?
and he loves not you. Is all the counsel that
we two have shared,
(Demetrius awakes.) the sisters' vows,
the hours that we have spent,
DEMETRIUS when we have chid
the hasty-footed time I can compel.
for parting us, O, is it all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, LYSANDER
childhood innocence? Thou canst compel no more
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, than she entreat:
have with our needles created
both one flower, DEMETRIUS
both on one sampler, I say I love thee more
sitting on one cushion, than he can do.
both warbling of one song,
both in one key; LYSANDER
two lovely berries moulded If thou say so, withdraw,
on one stem; and prove it too.
so, with two seeming bodies,
but one heart; DEMETRIUS
and will you rent Quick, come!
our ancient love asunder,
to join with men HERMIA
in scorning your poor friend? (holds Lysander)
It is not friendly, Lysander,
'tis not maidenly: whereto tends all this?

I am amazed Away, you Ethiope!
at your passionate words.
I scorn you not: DEMETRIUS
it seems that you scorn me. No, no; sir, seem to break loose;
You are a tame man, go!
Ay, do, persever, LYSANDER
counterfeit sad looks, Hang off, thou cat, thou burr!
make mouths upon me when vile thing, let loose,
I turn my back; or I will shake thee
wink each at other; from me like a serpent!
hold the sweet jest up:
(as if going) HERMIA
But fare ye well: Why are you grown so rude?
'tis partly my own fault; what change is this? Sweet love?
which death or absence
soon shall remedy. DEMETRIUS
Seems to break loose;
LYSANDER take on as you would follow.
Stay, gentle Helena;
hear my excuse: LYSANDER
My love, my life my soul, Thy love!
fair Helena! out, tawny Tartar, out!

O excellent! Sweet love.

(to Lysander) You are a tame man, go!
Sweet, do not scorn her so.
DEMETRIUS Out, loathed medicine!
If she cannot entreat, hated potion, hence!
between our statures;
HERMIA she hath urged her height;
Do you not jest? and with her personage,
her tall personage,
HELENA her height, forsooth,
Yes, sooth; and so do you. she hath prevail'd with him.
And are you grown so high
LYSANDER in his esteem;
Demetrius, I will keep because I am so dwarfish and so low?
my word with thee. How low am I,
thou painted Maypole? speak;
DEMETRIUS How low am I? I am not yet so low
I would I had your bond; but that my nails can reach
I'll not trust your word. unto thine eyes.

What, should I hurt her, I pray you, though you mock me,
strike her, kill her dead? gentlemen, let her not hurt me;
Although I hate her, you may perhaps think,
I'll not harm her so. because she is something lower
than myself,
HERMIA that I can match her.
What, can you do me
greater harm than hate? HERMIA
Am not I Hermia? Lower? Lower?
are not you Lysander? Hark, again!
(To Helena)
O me! you juggler! HELENA
you canker-blossom! O, when she's angry,
You thief of love! she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when
DEMETRIUS she went to school;
Lysander, keep thy Hermia; and though she be but little,
I will none: she is fierce...
If e'er I loved her,
all that love is gone. HERMIA
Little again!
Ay, by my life; HELENA
be certain 'tis no jest, ...she is fierce.
That I do hate thee and love Helena.
HELENA Nothing but low and little?
You both are rivals,
and love Hermia; HELENA
And now both rivals, Get you gone, you dwarf.
to mock
(furious to Hermia) HERMIA
Fie, fie! you counterfeit, Hark again!
you puppet, you!
HERMIA You minimus,
Puppet? why so? of hindering knot-grass made.
ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that HERMIA
she hath made compare (to Lysander)
Why will you suffer her
to flout me thus? HERMIA
Nay, go not back.
You bead! HELENA
I will not trust you, I...
Hark again! HELENA, HERMIA
...Nor longer stay
HELENA in your curst company.
You acorn!
HERMIA Nay, go not back.
Let me come to her!
HELENA Your hands than mine are quicker
You bead! for a fray,
my legs are longer though,
HERMIA to run away.
Why will you suffer her to flout me?
(Helena goes out, followed by Hermia. Oberon
HELENA comes forward in a rage, dragging Puck.)
Get you gone, you dwarf.
Be not afraid;
she shall not harm thee, Helena. OBERON
This is thy negligence:
DEMETRIUS still thou mistakest,
No, sir, she shall not, or else committ'st
though you take her part. thy knaveries wilfully.

You are too officious Believe me, king of shadows,
in her behalf that scorns I mistook...
your services. (Oberon shakes him.)
I mistook... Ah!
Let her alone: speak not of Helena. OBERON
Thou see'st these lovers seek
LYSANDER a place to fight:
Now follow, if thou darest. hie therefore, Robin,
overcast the night;
DEMETRIUS and lead these testy rivals so astray
Nay, I'll go with thee, as one come not within
cheek by jowl... another's way.
Till o'er their brows
LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS death-counterfeiting sleep
...to try whose right, with leaden legs
or thine or mine is most in Helena. and batty wings doth creep:
then crush this herb
(Exeunt Lysander and Demetrius.) into Lysander's eye;
when they next wake,
HELENA, HERMIA all this derision
You, mistress, shall seem a dream
all this coil is 'long of you. and fruitless vision,
haste, Robin, haste; LYSANDER
make no delay: When I come where he calls,
we may effect this business then he is gone.
yet ere day. And I am I fall'n
in dark uneven way,
(Oberon goes out) and here will rest me.
Come, thou gentle day!
PUCK (He lies down.)
Up and down, up and down, For if but once thou show me
I will lead them up and down: thy grey light,
I am fear'd in field and town: I'll find Demetrius
Goblin, lead them up and down. and revenge this spite.
Up and down, up and down,
Here comes one. (He sleeps. Enter Puck.)

(Enters, calling) Ho, ho!
Where art thou, proud Demetrius? Coward, why comest thou not?
speak thou now.
PUCK (calling in off)
(imitating Demetrius) Abide me, if thou darest.
Here, villain; Where art thou now?
drawn and ready.
Where art thou? PUCK
Follow me, Come hither: I am here.
then to plainer ground.
(Enter Demetrius)
(calling) DEMETRIUS
Lysander! speak again: Nay, then, thou mock'st me.
Thou runaway, thou coward, Thou shalt buy this dear,
art thou fled? if ever I thy face by daylight see:
now, go thy way.
PUCK Faintness constraineth me
(imitating Lysander) to measure out my length
Art bragging to the stars on this cold bed.
and wilt not come? (He lies down.)
By day's approach look
DEMETRIUS to be visited.
Yea, art thou there?
(He sleeps. Enter Helena.)
Follow my voice: HELENA
we'll try no manhood here. O weary night,
o long and tedious night,
(Exeunt. Enter Lysander.) abate thy hours! Shine comforts
from the east, and sleep,
LYSANDER that sometimes
He goes before me shuts up sorrow's eye,
and still dares me on: steal me awhile
from mine own company.
(distant) (She sleeps.)
Yet but three? Come one more; see'st thou this sweet sight?
two of both kinds make up four. Her dotage now I do begin to pity.
(Enter Hermia.) And now I have the boy,
Here she comes, I will undo
curst and sad: this hateful imperfection
Cupid is a knavish lad, of her eyes:
thus to make poor females mad. Be as thou wast wont to be;
see as thou wast wont to see:
HERMIA Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower
Never so weary, hath such force and blessed power.
never so in woe, Be as thou wast wont to be;
Bedabbled with the dew now, my Tytania; wake you,
and torn with briers, my sweet queen.
I can no further crawl,
no further go; (Tytania wakes.)
My legs can keep no pace
with my desires. TYTANIA
Here will I rest me till My Oberon!
the break of day. what visions have I seen!
Heavens shield Lysander, Methought I was enamour'd
if they mean a fray! of an ass.

(She sleeps. The Fairies come in very stealthily.) OBERON

There lies your love.
On the ground, sleep sound: TYTANIA
he'll apply to your eye, How came these things to pass?
gentle lover, remedy. O, how mine eyes do loathe
When thou wakest, thou takest his visage now!
true delight in the sight
of thy former lady's eye: OBERON
and the country proverb known, Silence awhile.
in your waking shall be shown: Robin, take off this head.
Jack shall have Jill; Tytania, music call;
nought shall go ill; and strike more dead than common
the man shall have his mare again, sleep of all these five the sense.
and all shall be well.
(Puck removes the ass's head.)
(Exeunt Fairies. Puck squeezes the juice on
Lysander's eyes and goes out.) TYTANIA
Music, ho! music,
such as charmeth sleep!

(Enter some Fairies.)

Sound, music! Come, my queen,
Introduction take hands with me,
and rock the ground whereon
(The wood, early next morning. Tytania with these sleepers be.
Bottom, and the four lovers lie asleep. Puck and (They dance.)
Oberon appear.) Now thou and I are new in amity
and will to-morrow midnight
OBERON solemnly dance in Duke Theseus'
(observing Tytania) house triumphantly,
My gentle Robin; And bless it to all fair prosperity.
There shall the pairs
of faithful lovers be wedded, BOTTOM
with Theseus, all in jollity. (slowly waking)
When my cue comes,
PUCK call me, and I will answer:
Fairy king, attend, and mark: my next is, 'Most fair Pyramus.'
I do hear the morning lark. Heigh-ho! Peter Quince! Flute,
the bellows-mender?
(He disappears. Oberon, Tytania and the Fairies Snout, the tinker? Starveling?
disappear, still dancing. Distant horns.) God's my life, stolen hence,
and left me asleep!
DEMETRIUS I have had a dream, past the wit
(waking) of man to say what dream it was.
Helena! Methought I was,
there is no man can tell what.
LYSANDER Methought I was,
(waking) and methought I had.
Hermia! But man is but a patched fool,
if he will offer to say
HELENA what methought I had.
(waking) The eye of man hath not heard,
Demetrius! the ear of man hath not seen,
man's hand is not able to taste,
HERMIA his tongue to conceive,
(waking) nor his heart to report,
Lysander! what my dream was. My dream!
I will get Peter Quince
ALL FOUR the carpenter to write
We are awake! a ballad of this dream,
and it shall be called
HELENA Bottom's Dream,
And I have found Demetrius because it hath no Bottom;
like a jewel, mine own, and I will sing it
and not mine own. in the latter end of a play,
before the duke.
DEMETRIUS Peradventure,
And I have found fair Helen to make it the more gracious,
like a jewel, mine own, I shall sing it at her death.
and not mine own.
(Exit. Enter Quince, Flute, Snout and Starveling,
HERMIA gloomily.)
And I have found Lysander
like a jewel, QUINCE
mine own, and not mine own. Have you sent to Bottom's house?
is he come home yet?
And I have found sweet Hermia STARVELING
like a jewel, He cannot be heard of.
mine own, and not mine own. Out of doubt he is transported.


Why then we are awake; let's go If he come not,
And by the way let us recount then the play is marred:
our dreams. it goes not forward, doth it?

(The lovers go out.) STARVELING

It is not possible: Where are these hearts?
you have not a man in all
Athens able to discharge THE OTHERS
Pyramus but he. most courageous day! Bottom!

No, he hath simply the best Masters,
wit of any handicraft man in Athens. I am to discourse wonders:
but ask me not what.
Yes, and the best person too. THE OTHERS
Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
(Enter Snug.)
SNUG Not a word of me.
Masters, the duke is coming All that I will tell you is,
from the temple. that the duke hath dined
If our sport had gone forward, and our play is preferred.
we had all been made men.
FLUTE Our play is preferred.
sweet bully Bottom! Most dear actors get
Thus hath he lost your apparel together,
sixpence a day during his life; good strings to your beards,
he could not have new ribbons to your pumps;
'scaped sixpence a day: and every man look o'er his part.
an the duke had not given him Let Thisby have clean linen;
sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, let not the lion
I'll be hanged; pare his nails;
he would have deserved it: eat no onions no garlic,
sixpence a day in Pyramus, no onions,
or nothing. that all may say:
It is a sweet comedy.
He could not have scaped it. BOTTOM:
No more words,
QUINCE no more words.
STARVELING It is a sweet comedy
He could not have scaped it.
QUINCE, SNOUT, STARVELING (pushes them out)
Sixpence or nothing a day. To the Palace, go, away.


He could not have scaped it. It is a sweet comedy.

(entering) Go, go away, go!
Where are these lads?
(They all leave excitedly. The lights go down on
THE OTHERS the wood and up again in Theseus' palace. Enter
Bottom! Theseus and Hippolyta with their court.)

BOTTOM: Orchestral March

My lord, fair Helen told me
THESEUS of their stealth,
Now, fair Hippolyta, of this their purpose hither
our nuptial hour draws on apace; to this wood;
this happy day bring in and I in fury hither follow'd them,
Another moon: Fair Helena in fancy following me.
but, O, methinks, how slow But, my good lord...
this old moon wanes!
she lingers my desires, THESEUS
like to a step-dame or a dowager Fair lovers,
long withering out of this discourse
a young man's revennew. we more will hear anon.
Hermia, I will overbear
HIPPOLYTA your father's will;
This day will quickly steep for in the temple by and by with us
itself in night; These couples shall eternally
This night will quickly dream be knit.
away the time;
And then the moon, THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA
like to a silver bow Joy, gentle friends!
New-bent in heaven, Joy and fresh days of love
shall behold the night accompany your hearts!
Of our solemnities.
(The lovers embrace.)
Hippolyta, THESEUS
I woo'd thee with my sword, Come now; what masques,
and won thy love, what dances shall we have,
doing thee injuries; To wear away this long age
but I will wed thee in another key, of three hours
with pomp, with triumph between our after-supper,
and with revelling. and bed-time?

(Enter Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and Hermia. (Enter Quince with play bill. He hands it to
They kneel to Theseus) Hippolyta and bows.)


Pardon, my Lord. (reading)
A tedious brief scene
THESEUS of young Pyramus
I pray you all stand up. and his love Thisby;
(They rise.) very tragical mirth.
I know you two
are rival enemies: DEMETRIUS
How comes this gentle concord Merry and tragical?
in the world? tedious and brief?

My lord, I shall reply amazedly, That is, hot ice
I went with Hermia hither: and wondrous strange snow.
our intent was to be gone
from Athens, where we might, THESEUS
without the peril What are they that do play it?
of the Athenian law.
DEMETRIUS Hard-handed men
that work in Athens here, A sound, but not in government.
which never labour'd
in their minds till now. HERMIA
It is not enough to speak,
THESEUS but to speak true.
I will hear that play.
(Exit Quince.) PROLOGUE (Quince)
For never anything can be amiss, Gentles... Gentles...
when simpleness
and duty tender it. THESEUS
Take your places, ladies. Who is next?

(Enter the rustics.) PROLOGUE

Gentles, perchance you wonder
RUSTICS at this show; but wonder on,
If we offend, till truth make all things plain.
it is with our good will. This man is Pyramus,
That you should think, if you would know;
we come not to offend, this beauteous lady
but with good will. Thisby is certain.
To show our simple skill, This man, with lime and rough-cast,
that is the true beginning doth present Wall,
of our end. that vile Wall which did
Consider then we come these lovers sunder;
but in despite. this man, with lanthorn, dog,
We do not come and bush of thorn,
as minding to content you, presenteth Moonshine;
our true intent is. this grisly beast,
All for your delight is Lion hight by name.
we are not here. For all the rest,
That you should here repent you, let Lion, Moonshine, Wall,
the actors are at hand and lovers twain at large discourse,
and by their show you shall know while here they do remain.
all that you are like to know.
(Exeunt all but Wall.)
This fellow doth not stand HELENA
upon points. I wonder if the lion be to speak.

Their speech was like No wonder, my lord:
a tangled chain, one lion may,
nothing impaired, when many asses do.
but all disordered.
WALL (Snout)
LYSANDER In this same interlude
They hath rid his prologue it doth befall that I,
like a rough colt; one Snout by name, present a wall;
they knows not the stop. and such a wall,
as I would have you think,
DEMETRIUS that had in it
Indeed they hath played a crannied hole or chink,
on his prologue like (He holds up two fingers.)
a child on a recorder. And this the cranny is,
right and sinister,
HELENA through which
the fearful lovers are to whisper. Wall, full often hast
thou heard my moans,
HERMIA for parting my fair Pyramus and me!
Would you desire lime My cherry lips have often
and hair to sing better? kiss'd thy stones,
thy stones with lime
LYSANDER and hair knit up in thee.
It is the wittiest partition
that ever I heard discourse. PYRAMUS
I see a voice:
THESEUS now will I to the chink,
Pyramus draws near the wall: to spy an I can hear
silence! my Thisby's face. Thisby!

(Enter Pyramus.) THISBY

My love thou art, my love I think.
(Bottom) PYRAMUS
Grim-look'd night! Think what thou wilt,
O night with hue so black! night, I am thy lover's grace.
which ever art when day is not!
night, O night! THISBY
alack, alack, alack, My love thou art, my love I think.
I fear my Thisby's
promise is forgot! PYRAMUS
And thou, o wall, o sweet, Think what thou wilt:
o lovely wall, O, kiss me through the hole
that stand'st between her father's of this vile wall!
ground and mine! kiss me.
Thou wall, o wall,
o sweet and lovely wall, (They kiss.)
show me thy chink,
to blink through with mine eye! THISBY
Thanks, courteous wall: I kiss the wall's hole,
Jove shield thee well for this! not your lips at all.
But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
Wicked wall, through whom PYRAMUS
I see no bliss! Oh, wilt thou at Ninny's tomb
Cursed be thy stones meet me straightway?
for thus deceiving me!
The wall, methinks, THISBY
being sensible, 'Tide life, tide death,
should curse again. I come without delay.

BOTTOM (Exit.)
(to theseus)
No, in truth, sir, he should not. WALL
"Deceiving me" is Thisby's cue; Thus have I, Wall,
yonder she comes. my part discharged so;
and, being done,
(Enter Thisby.) thus Wall away doth go,
away, away, away doth go.
(Flute) (Exit.)
HIPPOLYTA He dares not come there
This is the silliest stuff for the candle.
that ever I heard.
THESEUS Proceed Moon.
The best in this kind are
but shadows; MOONSHINE
and the worst are no worse, All I have o tell you
if imagination amend them. that this lanthorn is the moon;
Here come two noble beasts in, I, the man i'th' Moon;
a man and a lion. this thorn-bush,
my thorn-bush;
(Enter Lion and Moonshine.) and this dog, my dog.


You, ladies, you, I am weary of this moon:
whose gentle hearts do fear, would he would change!
the smallest monstrous mouse
that creeps on floor, ALL
should know that I, But silence; here comes Thisby.
one Snug the joiner, am a lion-fell,
nor else no lion's dam. (Enter Thisby.)

A very gentle beast, This is old Ninny's tomb.
and of a good conscience. Where is my love?

The very best at a beast Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
that e'er I saw.
(Lion chases Thisby out. She drops her mantle.)
But let us listen to the Moon. DEMETRIUS
Well roared, Lion.
(Starveling) THESEUS
This lanthorn doth Well run, Thisby.
the horned moon present.
LYSANDER Well moused, Lion.
He should have worn
the horns on his head. HIPPOLYTA
Well run, Thisby.
I, myself the man i' th' HELENA
Moon do seem to be. Well shone, Moon.

THESEUS (Enter Pyramus.)

The man should be put
into the lanthorn. PYRAMUS
How is it else the man i'th' Moon? Sweet Moon,
I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
MOONSHINE I thank thee, Moon,
This lanthorn doth the horn... for shining now so bright;
but stay, O spite!
But mark, poor knight, Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
what dreadful dole is here? Dead, dead? A tomb
Eyes, do you see? must cover thy sweet eyes.
How can it be! These lily lips, this cherry nose,
dainty duck! O dear! these yellow cowslip cheeks,
Thy mantle good, are gone, are gone:
what, stain'd with blood! Lovers, make moan:
Approach, ye Furies fell! His eyes were green as leeks.
Fates, come, come, Tongue, not a word:
cut thread and thrum; Come, trusty sword;
quail, crush, conclude, and quell! come, blade, my breast imbrue:
And, farewell, friends;
HIPPOLYTA thus Thisby ends:
Beshrew my heart, (She stabs herself.)
but I pity the man. Adieu, adieu, adieu.

wherefore, Nature, Moonshine and Lion are left
didst thou lions frame? to bury the dead.
Since lion vile hath here
deflower'd my dear which is: LYSANDER
no, no, which was the fairest dame Ay, and Wall too.
that lived, that loved, that liked,
that look'd with cheer. BOTTOM
Come, tears, confound; (raising himself)
out, sword, and wound No, I assure you;
the pap of Pyramus; the wall is down that
thus die I, thus, thus, thus. parted their fathers.
Now am I dead, (Bottom and Flute get up.)
now am I fled; Will it please you
my soul is in the sky: to see the epilogue,
tongue, lose thy light; or to hear a Bergomask dance?
Moon take thy flight:
(Exit Moonshine.) THESEUS
Now die, die, die, die, die. No epilogue,
I pray you;
(He dies.) for your play needs no excuse.
Come, your Bergomask:
With the help of a surgeon (The other Rustics come in and arrange
he might yet recover, themselves for the dance. They dance. Midnight
and prove an ass. sounds. The rustics stop dancing, bow deeply to
the Duke. Hippolyta and the court, and leave. The
(Enter Thisby.) others rise.)

Here Thisby comes, The iron tongue
and her passion ends the play. of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed;
HIPPOLYTA 'tis almost fairy time.
I hope she will be brief. I fear we shall out-sleep
the coming morn as much as
THISBY we this night have overwatch'd.
Asleep, my love? Sweet friends, to bed.
What, dead, my dove?
Pyramus, arise! ALL
Sweet friends, to bed. a warbling note.

(Enter Cobweb, Mustarseed, Peaseblossom, and BOTH

Moth.) Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
Now the hungry lion roars, OBERON, TYTANIA, FAIRIES
and the wolf behowls the moon; Now, until the break of day,
whilst the heavy ploughman snores, through this house each fairy stray.
all with weary task fordone. To the best bride-bed will we,
Now the wasted brands do glow, which by us shall blessed be;
whilst the screech-owl, and the issue there create
screeching loud, ever shall be fortunate.
puts the wretch So shall all the couples three
that lies in woe ever true in loving be.
in remembrance of a shroud. With this field-dew consecrate,
Now it is the time of night every fairy take his gait;
that the graves all gaping wide, and each several chamber bless,
every one lets forth his sprite, through this palace,
in the church-way paths to glide: with sweet peace;
And we fairies, that do run ever shall in safety rest,
by the triple Hecate's team, and the owner of it blest.
from the presence of the sun,
following darkness like a dream, OBERON
now are frolic: Trip away; make no stay;
not a mouse shall disturb meet me all by break of day.
this hallow'd house.
(Exeunt all but Puck.)
(Puck arrives with a broom and chases the
Fairies.) PUCK
If we shadows have offended,
PUCK think but this,
I am sent with broom before, and all is mended,
to sweep the dust that you have but slumber'd here
behind the door. while these visions did appear.
Gentles, do not reprehend:
(Oberon and Tytania and the other Fairies If you pardon,
appear.) we will mend:
Else the Puck a liar call;
OBERON so, good night unto you all.
Through the house give Give me your hands,
glimmering light, if we be friends,
every elf and fairy sprite and Robin shall restore amends.
sing this ditty, after me,
sing, and dance it trippingly. (He claps his hands.)

First, rehearse your song by rote THE E ND
to each word