Bottom’s famous speech in Act 4 of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ bares the startling resemblance of a passage in the rare 1557 Geneva Bible, and no other translation. Observe:
“I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream.
“Methought I was–there is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had.
“The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.
“I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream, because it hath no bottom;
“and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Act 4 Scene 1 (Shakespeare)
1 Corinthians 2 (1-10)
1557 Geneva Bible
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of words, or of wisdom, For I esteemed not to know anything among you. And I was among you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
“Neither stood my word, and my preaching in the
enticing speech of man’s wisdom, but in plain evidence of the Spirit and of power, That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
“And we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; not the wisdom of this world, neither of the princes of this world, which come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hid wisdom, which God had determined before the world, unto our glory. Which none of the princes of this world hath known; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
“But as it is written,
“The things which eye hath not seen, neither ear hath heard, neither came into man’s heart, are, which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the bottom of God’s secrets.”