Act IV - Scene II


Enter Quince, [Flute], Snout, and Starveling

Have you sent to Bottom's house? Is he come home
He cannot be heard of. Out of doubt he is
If he come not, then the play is marred; it goes not(5)
forward, doth it?
It is not possible. You have not a man in all Athens
able to discharge Pyramus but he.
No; he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft
man in Athens.(10)
Yea, and the best person too; and he is a very paramour
for a sweet voice.
You must say ‘paragon.’ A paramour is—God bless
us!—A thing of naught.

Enter Snug the Joiner

Masters, the Duke is coming from the temple; and(15)
there is two or three lords and ladies more married. If our
sport had gone forward, we had all been made men.
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(20)
playing Pyramus, I'll be hanged. He would have
deserved it: sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing.

Enter Bottom

Where are these lads? Where are these hearts?
Bottom! O most courageous day! O most happy
Masters, I am to discourse wonders; but ask me
not what; for if I tell you, I am not true Athenian. I will
tell you everything, right as it fell out.
Let us hear, sweet Bottom.
Not a word of me. All that I will tell you is, that(30)
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(35)
that plays the lion pare 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!(40)



  1. “Sport” here refers to putting on their play, and the expression “had all been made men” likely means that they would have become men of status or of a higher position. So, what Snug is saying here is that had the laborers been able to perform, they would have made a lot of money.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. Flute corrects Quince, saying that he must use the word paragon, meaning a model of excellence or perfection, to describe Bottom’s voice. However, he also incorrectly defines paramour, which means a lover. Shakespeare incorporates such linguistic mishaps to provide comedy and better illustrate these laborers ineptitude.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. The men continue to express their despair at Bottom’s disappearance, even claiming that Bottom is the most clever and articulate man out of all the laborers in Athens. This is, of course, ironic considering the amount of buffoonery and self-importance that Bottom has shown and also that they think Bottom can play a role better than an actual actor.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. The verb “to discharge” in this context means to play the role of someone, in this case Bottom playing the part of Pyramus in the play.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. The men worry that without Bottom their play with fail. When Starveling says that he thinks Bottom “is transported,” he is saying that Bottom must have been kidnapped.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor