The Two Noble Kinsmen
William Shakespeare and John Fletcher [Apocrypha]
Part 1 out of 4
Tucker Brooke's 1908 edition of THE SHAKESPEARE APOCRYPHA. Italics
have been silently removed in most places, as for proper names,
and replaced with ALL CAPS or bracketed text where appropriate.
THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN:
Presented at the Blackfriers
by the Kings Maiesties servants,
with great applause:
Written by the memorable Worthies of their time;
Mr. John Fletcher, Gent., and
Mr. William Shakspeare, Gent.
Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, for John Waterson:
and are to be sold at the signe of the Crowne
in Pauls Church-yard. 1634.
(The Persons represented in the Play.
Hippolita, Bride to Theseus
Emelia, Sister to Theseus
Three valiant Knights,
Arcite, The two Noble Kinsmen, in love with fair Emelia
His Daughter, in love with Palamon
[2 Friends of the Jaylor],
[Nel, and other]
Gerrold, A Schoolmaster.)
New Playes, and Maydenheads, are neare a kin,
Much follow'd both, for both much mony g'yn,
If they stand sound, and well: And a good Play
(Whose modest Sceanes blush on his marriage day,
And shake to loose his honour) is like hir
That after holy Tye and first nights stir
Yet still is Modestie, and still retaines
More of the maid to sight, than Husbands paines;
We pray our Play may be so; For I am sure
It has a noble Breeder, and a pure,
A learned, and a Poet never went
More famous yet twixt Po and silver Trent:
Chaucer (of all admir'd) the Story gives,
There constant to Eternity it lives.
If we let fall the Noblenesse of this,
And the first sound this child heare, be a hisse,
How will it shake the bones of that good man,
And make him cry from under ground, 'O fan
From me the witles chaffe of such a wrighter
That blastes my Bayes, and my fam'd workes makes lighter
Then Robin Hood!' This is the feare we bring;
For to say Truth, it were an endlesse thing,
And too ambitious, to aspire to him,
Weake as we are, and almost breathlesse swim
In this deepe water. Do but you hold out
Your helping hands, and we shall take about,
And something doe to save us: You shall heare
Sceanes, though below his Art, may yet appeare
Worth two houres travell. To his bones sweet sleepe:
Content to you. If this play doe not keepe
A little dull time from us, we perceave
Our losses fall so thicke, we must needs leave. [Florish.]
[Scaena 1.] (Athens. Before a temple.)
[Enter Hymen with a Torch burning: a Boy, in a white Robe before
singing, and strewing Flowres: After Hymen, a Nimph, encompast
her Tresses, bearing a wheaten Garland. Then Theseus betweene
two other Nimphs with wheaten Chaplets on their heades. Then
Hipolita the Bride, lead by Pirithous, and another holding a
Garland over her head (her Tresses likewise hanging.) After
her Emilia holding up her Traine. (Artesius and Attendants.)]
The Song, [Musike.]
Roses their sharpe spines being gon,
Not royall in their smels alone,
But in their hew.
Maiden Pinckes, of odour faint,
Dazies smel-lesse, yet most quaint
And sweet Time true.
Prim-rose first borne child of Ver,
Merry Spring times Herbinger,
With her bels dimme.
Oxlips, in their Cradles growing,
Mary-golds, on death beds blowing,
All deere natures children sweete,
Ly fore Bride and Bridegroomes feete, [Strew Flowers.]
Blessing their sence.
Not an angle of the aire,
Bird melodious, or bird faire,
Is absent hence.
The Crow, the slaundrous Cuckoe, nor
The boding Raven, nor Chough hore
Nor chattring Pie,
May on our Bridehouse pearch or sing,
Or with them any discord bring,
But from it fly.
[Enter 3. Queenes in Blacke, with vailes staind, with imperiall
Crownes. The 1. Queene fals downe at the foote of Theseus; The
2. fals downe at the foote of Hypolita. The 3. before Emilia.]
For pitties sake and true gentilities,
Heare, and respect me.
For your Mothers sake,
And as you wish your womb may thrive with faire ones,
Heare and respect me.
Now for the love of him whom Iove hath markd
The honour of your Bed, and for the sake
Of cleere virginity, be Advocate
For us, and our distresses. This good deede
Shall raze you out o'th Booke of Trespasses
All you are set downe there.
Sad Lady, rise.
No knees to me.
What woman I may steed that is distrest,
Does bind me to her.
What's your request? Deliver you for all.
We are 3. Queenes, whose Soveraignes fel before
The wrath of cruell Creon; who endured
The Beakes of Ravens, Tallents of the Kights,
And pecks of Crowes, in the fowle feilds of Thebs.
He will not suffer us to burne their bones,
To urne their ashes, nor to take th' offence
Of mortall loathsomenes from the blest eye
Of holy Phoebus, but infects the windes
With stench of our slaine Lords. O pitty, Duke:
Thou purger of the earth, draw thy feard Sword
That does good turnes to'th world; give us the Bones
Of our dead Kings, that we may Chappell them;
And of thy boundles goodnes take some note
That for our crowned heades we have no roofe,
Save this which is the Lyons, and the Beares,
And vault to every thing.
Pray you, kneele not:
I was transported with your Speech, and suffer'd
Your knees to wrong themselves; I have heard the fortunes
Of your dead Lords, which gives me such lamenting
As wakes my vengeance, and revenge for'em,
King Capaneus was your Lord: the day
That he should marry you, at such a season,
As now it is with me, I met your Groome,
By Marsis Altar; you were that time faire,
Not Iunos Mantle fairer then your Tresses,
Nor in more bounty spread her. Your wheaten wreathe
Was then nor threashd, nor blasted; Fortune at you
Dimpled her Cheeke with smiles: Hercules our kinesman
(Then weaker than your eies) laide by his Club,
He tumbled downe upon his Nemean hide
And swore his sinews thawd: O greife, and time,
Fearefull consumers, you will all devoure.
O, I hope some God,
Some God hath put his mercy in your manhood
Whereto heel infuse powre, and presse you forth
O no knees, none, Widdow,
Vnto the Helmeted Belona use them,
And pray for me your Souldier.
Troubled I am. [turnes away.]
Most dreaded Amazonian, that hast slaine
The Sith-tuskd Bore; that with thy Arme as strong
As it is white, wast neere to make the male
To thy Sex captive, but that this thy Lord,
Borne to uphold Creation in that honour
First nature stilde it in, shrunke thee into
The bownd thou wast ore-flowing, at once subduing
Thy force, and thy affection: Soldiresse
That equally canst poize sternenes with pitty,
Whom now I know hast much more power on him
Then ever he had on thee, who ow'st his strength
And his Love too, who is a Servant for
The Tenour of thy Speech: Deere Glasse of Ladies,
Bid him that we, whom flaming war doth scortch,
Vnder the shaddow of his Sword may coole us:
Require him he advance it ore our heades;
Speak't in a womans key: like such a woman
As any of us three; weepe ere you faile;
Lend us a knee;
But touch the ground for us no longer time
Then a Doves motion, when the head's pluckt off:
Tell him if he i'th blood cizd field lay swolne,
Showing the Sun his Teeth, grinning at the Moone,
What you would doe.
Poore Lady, say no more:
I had as leife trace this good action with you
As that whereto I am going, and never yet
Went I so willing way. My Lord is taken
Hart deepe with your distresse: Let him consider:
Ile speake anon.
O my petition was [kneele to Emilia.]
Set downe in yce, which by hot greefe uncandied
Melts into drops, so sorrow, wanting forme,
Is prest with deeper matter.
Pray stand up,
Your greefe is written in your cheeke.
You cannot reade it there, there through my teares--
Like wrinckled peobles in a glassie streame
You may behold 'em. Lady, Lady, alacke,
He that will all the Treasure know o'th earth
Must know the Center too; he that will fish
For my least minnow, let him lead his line
To catch one at my heart. O pardon me:
Extremity, that sharpens sundry wits,
Makes me a Foole.
Pray you say nothing, pray you:
Who cannot feele nor see the raine, being in't,
Knowes neither wet nor dry: if that you were
The ground-peece of some Painter, I would buy you
T'instruct me gainst a Capitall greefe indeed--
Such heart peirc'd demonstration; but, alas,
Being a naturall Sifter of our Sex
Your sorrow beates so ardently upon me,
That it shall make a counter reflect gainst
My Brothers heart, and warme it to some pitty,
Though it were made of stone: pray, have good comfort.
Forward to'th Temple, leave not out a Iot
O'th sacred Ceremony.
O, This Celebration
Will long last, and be more costly then
Your Suppliants war: Remember that your Fame
Knowles in the eare o'th world: what you doe quickly
Is not done rashly; your first thought is more
Then others laboured meditance: your premeditating
More then their actions: But, oh Iove! your actions,
Soone as they mooves, as Asprayes doe the fish,
Subdue before they touch: thinke, deere Duke, thinke
What beds our slaine Kings have.
What greifes our beds,
That our deere Lords have none.
None fit for 'th dead:
Those that with Cordes, Knives, drams precipitance,
Weary of this worlds light, have to themselves
Beene deathes most horrid Agents, humaine grace
Affords them dust and shaddow.
But our Lords
Ly blistring fore the visitating Sunne,
And were good Kings, when living.
It is true, and I will give you comfort,
To give your dead Lords graves: the which to doe,
Must make some worke with Creon.
And that worke presents it selfe to'th doing:
Now twill take forme, the heates are gone to morrow.
Then, booteles toyle must recompence it selfe
With it's owne sweat; Now he's secure,
Not dreames we stand before your puissance
Wrinching our holy begging in our eyes
To make petition cleere.
Now you may take him, drunke with his victory.
And his Army full of Bread, and sloth.
Artesius, that best knowest
How to draw out fit to this enterprise
The prim'st for this proceeding, and the number
To carry such a businesse, forth and levy
Our worthiest Instruments, whilst we despatch
This grand act of our life, this daring deede
Of Fate in wedlocke.
Dowagers, take hands;
Let us be Widdowes to our woes: delay
Commends us to a famishing hope.
We come unseasonably: But when could greefe
Cull forth, as unpanged judgement can, fit'st time
For best solicitation.
Why, good Ladies,
This is a service, whereto I am going,
Greater then any was; it more imports me
Then all the actions that I have foregone,
Or futurely can cope.
The more proclaiming
Our suit shall be neglected: when her Armes
Able to locke Iove from a Synod, shall
By warranting Moone-light corslet thee, oh, when
Her twyning Cherries shall their sweetnes fall
Vpon thy tastefull lips, what wilt thou thinke
Of rotten Kings or blubberd Queenes, what care
For what thou feelst not? what thou feelst being able
To make Mars spurne his Drom. O, if thou couch
But one night with her, every howre in't will
Take hostage of thee for a hundred, and
Thou shalt remember nothing more then what
That Banket bids thee too.
Though much unlike [Kneeling.]
You should be so transported, as much sorry
I should be such a Suitour; yet I thinke,
Did I not by th'abstayning of my joy,
Which breeds a deeper longing, cure their surfeit
That craves a present medcine, I should plucke
All Ladies scandall on me. Therefore, Sir,
As I shall here make tryall of my prayres,
Either presuming them to have some force,
Or sentencing for ay their vigour dombe:
Prorogue this busines we are going about, and hang
Your Sheild afore your Heart, about that necke
Which is my ffee, and which I freely lend
To doe these poore Queenes service.
Oh helpe now,
Our Cause cries for your knee.
If you grant not [Kneeling.]
My Sister her petition in that force,
With that Celerity and nature, which
Shee makes it in, from henceforth ile not dare
To aske you any thing, nor be so hardy
Ever to take a Husband.
Pray stand up.
I am entreating of my selfe to doe
That which you kneele to have me. Pyrithous,
Leade on the Bride; get you and pray the Gods
For successe, and returne; omit not any thing
In the pretended Celebration. Queenes,
Follow your Soldier. As before, hence you [to Artesius]
And at the banckes of Aulis meete us with
The forces you can raise, where we shall finde
The moytie of a number, for a busines
More bigger look't. Since that our Theame is haste,
I stamp this kisse upon thy currant lippe;
Sweete, keepe it as my Token. Set you forward,
For I will see you gone. [Exeunt towards the Temple.]
Farewell, my beauteous Sister: Pyrithous,
Keepe the feast full, bate not an howre on't.
Ile follow you at heeles; The Feasts solempnity
Shall want till your returne.
Cosen, I charge you
Boudge not from Athens; We shall be returning
Ere you can end this Feast, of which, I pray you,
Make no abatement; once more, farewell all.
Thus do'st thou still make good the tongue o'th world.
And earnst a Deity equal with Mars.
If not above him, for
Thou being but mortall makest affections bend
To Godlike honours; they themselves, some say,
Grone under such a Mastry.
As we are men,
Thus should we doe; being sensually subdude,
We loose our humane tytle. Good cheere, Ladies. [Florish.]
Now turne we towards your Comforts. [Exeunt.]
Scaena 2. (Thebs).
[Enter Palamon, and Arcite.]
Deere Palamon, deerer in love then Blood
And our prime Cosen, yet unhardned in
The Crimes of nature; Let us leave the Citty
Thebs, and the temptings in't, before we further
Sully our glosse of youth:
And here to keepe in abstinence we shame
As in Incontinence; for not to swim
I'th aide o'th Current were almost to sincke,
At least to frustrate striving, and to follow
The common Streame, twold bring us to an Edy
Where we should turne or drowne; if labour through,
Our gaine but life, and weakenes.
Is cride up with example: what strange ruins
Since first we went to Schoole, may we perceive
Walking in Thebs? Skars, and bare weedes
The gaine o'th Martialist, who did propound
To his bold ends honour, and golden Ingots,
Which though he won, he had not, and now flurted
By peace for whom he fought: who then shall offer
To Marsis so scornd Altar? I doe bleede
When such I meete, and wish great Iuno would
Resume her ancient fit of Ielouzie
To get the Soldier worke, that peace might purge
For her repletion, and retaine anew
Her charitable heart now hard, and harsher
Then strife or war could be.
Are you not out?
Meete you no ruine but the Soldier in
The Cranckes and turnes of Thebs? you did begin
As if you met decaies of many kindes:
Perceive you none, that doe arowse your pitty
But th'un-considerd Soldier?
Yes, I pitty
Decaies where ere I finde them, but such most
That, sweating in an honourable Toyle,
Are paide with yce to coole 'em.
Tis not this
I did begin to speake of: This is vertue
Of no respect in Thebs; I spake of Thebs
How dangerous if we will keepe our Honours,
It is for our resyding, where every evill
Hath a good cullor; where eve'ry seeming good's
A certaine evill, where not to be ev'n Iumpe
As they are, here were to be strangers, and
Such things to be, meere Monsters.
Tis in our power,
(Vnlesse we feare that Apes can Tutor's) to
Be Masters of our manners: what neede I
Affect anothers gate, which is not catching
Where there is faith, or to be fond upon
Anothers way of speech, when by mine owne
I may be reasonably conceiv'd; sav'd too,
Speaking it truly? why am I bound
By any generous bond to follow him
Followes his Taylor, haply so long untill
The follow'd make pursuit? or let me know,
Why mine owne Barber is unblest, with him
My poore Chinne too, for tis not Cizard iust
To such a Favorites glasse: What Cannon is there
That does command my Rapier from my hip
To dangle't in my hand, or to go tip toe
Before the streete be foule? Either I am
The fore-horse in the Teame, or I am none
That draw i'th sequent trace: these poore sleight sores
Neede not a plantin; That which rips my bosome
Almost to'th heart's--
Our Vncle Creon.
A most unbounded Tyrant, whose successes
Makes heaven unfeard, and villany assured
Beyond its power there's nothing, almost puts
Faith in a feavour, and deifies alone
Voluble chance; who onely attributes
The faculties of other Instruments
To his owne Nerves and act; Commands men service,
And what they winne in't, boot and glory; on(e)
That feares not to do harm; good, dares not; Let
The blood of mine that's sibbe to him be suckt
From me with Leeches; Let them breake and fall
Off me with that corruption.
Cleere spirited Cozen,
Lets leave his Court, that we may nothing share
Of his lowd infamy: for our milke
Will relish of the pasture, and we must
Be vile or disobedient, not his kinesmen
In blood, unlesse in quality.
I thinke the Ecchoes of his shames have dea'ft
The eares of heav'nly Iustice: widdows cryes
Descend againe into their throates, and have not
Due audience of the Gods.--Valerius!
The King cals for you; yet be leaden footed,
Till his great rage be off him. Phebus, when
He broke his whipstocke and exclaimd against
The Horses of the Sun, but whisperd too
The lowdenesse of his Fury.
Small windes shake him:
But whats the matter?
Theseus (who where he threates appals,) hath sent
Deadly defyance to him, and pronounces
Ruine to Thebs; who is at hand to seale
The promise of his wrath.
Let him approach;
But that we feare the Gods in him, he brings not
A jot of terrour to us; Yet what man
Thirds his owne worth (the case is each of ours)
When that his actions dregd with minde assurd
Tis bad he goes about?
Leave that unreasond.
Our services stand now for Thebs, not Creon,
Yet to be neutrall to him were dishonour;
Rebellious to oppose: therefore we must
With him stand to the mercy of our Fate,
Who hath bounded our last minute.
So we must.
Ist sed this warres a foote? or it shall be,
On faile of some condition?
Tis in motion
The intelligence of state came in the instant
With the defier.
Lets to the king, who, were he
A quarter carrier of that honour which
His Enemy come in, the blood we venture
Should be as for our health, which were not spent,
Rather laide out for purchase: but, alas,
Our hands advanc'd before our hearts, what will
The fall o'th stroke doe damage?
That never erring Arbitratour, tell us
When we know all our selves, and let us follow
The becking of our chance. [Exeunt.]
Scaena 3. (Before the gates of Athens.)
[Enter Pirithous, Hipolita, Emilia.]
Sir, farewell; repeat my wishes
To our great Lord, of whose succes I dare not
Make any timerous question; yet I wish him
Exces and overflow of power, and't might be,
To dure ill-dealing fortune: speede to him,
Store never hurtes good Gouernours.
Though I know
His Ocean needes not my poore drops, yet they
Must yeild their tribute there. My precious Maide,
Those best affections, that the heavens infuse
In their best temperd peices, keepe enthroand
In your deare heart.
Thanckes, Sir. Remember me
To our all royall Brother, for whose speede
The great Bellona ile sollicite; and
Since in our terrene State petitions are not
Without giftes understood, Ile offer to her
What I shall be advised she likes: our hearts
Are in his Army, in his Tent.
We have bin Soldiers, and wee cannot weepe
When our Friends don their helmes, or put to sea,
Or tell of Babes broachd on the Launce, or women
That have sod their Infants in (and after eate them)
The brine, they wept at killing 'em; Then if
You stay to see of us such Spincsters, we
Should hold you here for ever.
Peace be to you,
As I pursue this war, which shall be then
Beyond further requiring. [Exit Pir.]
How his longing
Followes his Friend! since his depart, his sportes
Though craving seriousnes, and skill, past slightly
His careles execution, where nor gaine
Made him regard, or losse consider; but
Playing one busines in his hand, another
Directing in his head, his minde, nurse equall
To these so diffring Twyns--have you observ'd him,
Since our great Lord departed?
With much labour,
And I did love him fort: they two have Cabind
In many as dangerous, as poore a Corner,
Perill and want contending; they have skift
Torrents whose roring tyranny and power
I'th least of these was dreadfull, and they have
Fought out together, where Deaths-selfe was lodgd,
Yet fate hath brought them off: Their knot of love,
Tide, weau'd, intangled, with so true, so long,
And with a finger of so deepe a cunning,
May be outworne, never undone. I thinke
Theseus cannot be umpire to himselfe,
Cleaving his conscience into twaine and doing
Each side like Iustice, which he loves best.
There is a best, and reason has no manners
To say it is not you: I was acquainted
Once with a time, when I enjoyd a Play-fellow;
You were at wars, when she the grave enrichd,
Who made too proud the Bed, tooke leave o th Moone
(Which then lookt pale at parting) when our count
Was each eleven.
You talke of Pirithous and Theseus love;
Theirs has more ground, is more maturely seasond,
More buckled with strong Iudgement and their needes
The one of th'other may be said to water [2. Hearses ready
with Palamon: and Arcite: the 3. Queenes. Theseus: and his
Their intertangled rootes of love; but I
And shee I sigh and spoke of were things innocent,
Lou'd for we did, and like the Elements
That know not what, nor why, yet doe effect
Rare issues by their operance, our soules
Did so to one another; what she lik'd,
Was then of me approov'd, what not, condemd,
No more arraignment; the flowre that I would plucke
And put betweene my breasts (then but beginning
To swell about the blossome) oh, she would long
Till shee had such another, and commit it
To the like innocent Cradle, where Phenix like
They dide in perfume: on my head no toy
But was her patterne; her affections (pretty,
Though, happely, her careles were) I followed
For my most serious decking; had mine eare
Stolne some new aire, or at adventure humd on
From musicall Coynadge, why it was a note
Whereon her spirits would sojourne (rather dwell on)
And sing it in her slumbers. This rehearsall
(Which ev'ry innocent wots well comes in
Like old importments bastard) has this end,
That the true love tweene Mayde, and mayde, may be
More then in sex idividuall.
Y'are out of breath
And this high speeded pace, is but to say
That you shall never like the Maide Flavina
Love any that's calld Man.
I am sure I shall not.
Now, alacke, weake Sister,
I must no more beleeve thee in this point
(Though in't I know thou dost beleeve thy selfe,)
Then I will trust a sickely appetite,
That loathes even as it longs; but, sure, my Sister,
If I were ripe for your perswasion, you
Have saide enough to shake me from the Arme
Of the all noble Theseus, for whose fortunes
I will now in, and kneele with great assurance,
That we, more then his Pirothous, possesse
The high throne in his heart.
I am not
Against your faith; yet I continew mine. [Exeunt. Cornets.]
Scaena 4. (A field before Thebes. Dead bodies lying on the
[A Battaile strooke within: Then a Retrait: Florish. Then
Enter Theseus (victor), (Herald and Attendants:) the three
Queenes meete him, and fall on their faces before him.]
To thee no starre be darke.
Both heaven and earth
Friend thee for ever.
All the good that may
Be wishd upon thy head, I cry Amen too't.
Th'imparciall Gods, who from the mounted heavens
View us their mortall Heard, behold who erre,
And in their time chastice: goe and finde out
The bones of your dead Lords, and honour them
With treble Ceremonie; rather then a gap
Should be in their deere rights, we would supply't.
But those we will depute, which shall invest
You in your dignities, and even each thing
Our hast does leave imperfect: So, adiew,
And heavens good eyes looke on you. What are those? [Exeunt
Men of great quality, as may be judgd
By their appointment; Sone of Thebs have told's
They are Sisters children, Nephewes to the King.
By'th Helme of Mars, I saw them in the war,
Like to a paire of Lions, smeard with prey,
Make lanes in troopes agast. I fixt my note
Constantly on them; for they were a marke
Worth a god's view: what prisoner was't that told me
When I enquired their names?
Wi'leave, they'r called Arcite and Palamon.
Tis right: those, those. They are not dead?
Nor in a state of life: had they bin taken,
When their last hurts were given, twas possible [3. Hearses
They might have bin recovered; Yet they breathe
And haue the name of men.
Then like men use 'em.
The very lees of such (millions of rates)
Exceede the wine of others: all our Surgions
Convent in their behoofe; our richest balmes
Rather then niggard, waft: their lives concerne us
Much more then Thebs is worth: rather then have 'em
Freed of this plight, and in their morning state
(Sound and at liberty) I would 'em dead;
But forty thousand fold we had rather have 'em
Prisoners to us then death. Beare 'em speedily
From our kinde aire, to them unkinde, and minister
What man to man may doe--for our sake more,
Since I have knowne frights, fury, friends beheastes,
Loves provocations, zeale, a mistris Taske,
Desire of liberty, a feavour, madnes,
Hath set a marke which nature could not reach too
Without some imposition: sicknes in will
Or wrastling strength in reason. For our Love
And great Appollos mercy, all our best
Their best skill tender. Leade into the Citty,
Where having bound things scatterd, we will post [Florish.]
To Athens for(e) our Army [Exeunt. Musicke.]
Scaena 5. (Another part of the same.)
[Enter the Queenes with the Hearses of their Knightes, in a
Funerall Solempnity, &c.]
Vrnes and odours bring away,
Vapours, sighes, darken the day;
Our dole more deadly lookes than dying;
Balmes, and Gummes, and heavy cheeres,
Sacred vials fill'd with teares,
And clamors through the wild ayre flying.
Come all sad and solempne Showes,
That are quick-eyd pleasures foes;
We convent nought else but woes.
We convent, &c.
This funeral path brings to your housholds grave:
Ioy ceaze on you againe: peace sleepe with him.
And this to yours.
Yours this way: Heavens lend
A thousand differing waies to one sure end.
This world's a Citty full of straying Streetes,
And Death's the market place, where each one meetes. [Exeunt
Scaena 1. (Athens. A garden, with a prison in the background.)
[Enter Iailor, and Wooer.]
I may depart with little, while I live; some thing I may cast to
you, not much: Alas, the Prison I keepe, though it be for great
ones, yet they seldome come; Before one Salmon, you shall take a
number of Minnowes. I am given out to be better lyn'd then it
can appeare to me report is a true Speaker: I would I were really
that I am deliverd to be. Marry, what I have (be it what it
I will assure upon my daughter at the day of my death.
Sir, I demaund no more then your owne offer, and I will estate
Daughter in what I have promised.
Wel, we will talke more of this, when the solemnity is past. But
have you a full promise of her? When that shall be seene, I
I have Sir; here shee comes.
Your Friend and I have chanced to name you here, upon the old
busines: But no more of that now; so soone as the Court hurry
is over, we will have an end of it: I'th meane time looke
tenderly to the two Prisoners. I can tell you they are princes.
These strewings are for their Chamber; tis pitty they are in
and twer pitty they should be out: I doe thinke they have
to make any adversity asham'd; the prison it selfe is proud of
and they have all the world in their Chamber.
They are fam'd to be a paire of absolute men.
By my troth, I think Fame but stammers 'em; they stand a greise
above the reach of report.
I heard them reported in the Battaile to be the only doers.
Nay, most likely, for they are noble suffrers; I mervaile how
would have lookd had they beene Victors, that with such a
Nobility enforce a freedome out of Bondage, making misery their
and affliction a toy to jest at.
Doe they so?
It seemes to me they have no more sence of their Captivity, then
of ruling Athens: they eate well, looke merrily, discourse of
things, but nothing of their owne restraint, and disasters: yet
sometime a devided sigh, martyrd as 'twer i'th deliverance, will
breake from one of them; when the other presently gives it so
a rebuke, that I could wish my selfe a Sigh to be so chid, or at
least a Sigher to be comforted.
I never saw 'em.
The Duke himselfe came privately in the night,
[Enter Palamon, and Arcite, above.]
and so did they: what the reason of it is, I know not: Looke,
they are! that's Arcite lookes out.
No, Sir, no, that's Palamon: Arcite is the lower of the twaine;
may perceive a part of him.
Goe too, leave your pointing; they would not make us their
out of their sight.
It is a holliday to looke on them: Lord, the diffrence of men!
Scaena 2. (The prison)
[Enter Palamon, and Arcite in prison.]
How doe you, Noble Cosen?
How doe you, Sir?
Why strong inough to laugh at misery,
And beare the chance of warre, yet we are prisoners,
I feare, for ever, Cosen.
I beleeve it,
And to that destiny have patiently
Laide up my houre to come.
O Cosen Arcite,
Where is Thebs now? where is our noble Country?
Where are our friends, and kindreds? never more
Must we behold those comforts, never see
The hardy youthes strive for the Games of honour
(Hung with the painted favours of their Ladies,
Like tall Ships under saile) then start among'st 'em
And as an Eastwind leave 'en all behinde us,
Like lazy Clowdes, whilst Palamon and Arcite,
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg
Out-stript the peoples praises, won the Garlands,
Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. O never
Shall we two exercise, like Twyns of honour,
Our Armes againe, and feele our fyry horses
Like proud Seas under us: our good Swords now
(Better the red-eyd god of war nev'r wore)
Ravishd our sides, like age must run to rust,
And decke the Temples of those gods that hate us:
These hands shall never draw'em out like lightning,
To blast whole Armies more.
Those hopes are Prisoners with us; here we are
And here the graces of our youthes must wither
Like a too-timely Spring; here age must finde us,
And, which is heaviest, Palamon, unmarried;
The sweete embraces of a loving wife,
Loden with kisses, armd with thousand Cupids
Shall never claspe our neckes, no issue know us,
No figures of our selves shall we ev'r see,
To glad our age, and like young Eagles teach 'em
Boldly to gaze against bright armes, and say:
'Remember what your fathers were, and conquer.'
The faire-eyd Maides, shall weepe our Banishments,
And in their Songs, curse ever-blinded fortune,
Till shee for shame see what a wrong she has done
To youth and nature. This is all our world;
We shall know nothing here but one another,
Heare nothing but the Clocke that tels our woes.
The Vine shall grow, but we shall never see it:
Sommer shall come, and with her all delights;
But dead-cold winter must inhabite here still.
Tis too true, Arcite. To our Theban houndes,
That shooke the aged Forrest with their ecchoes,
No more now must we halloa, no more shake
Our pointed Iavelyns, whilst the angry Swine
Flyes like a parthian quiver from our rages,
Strucke with our well-steeld Darts: All valiant uses
(The foode, and nourishment of noble mindes,)
In us two here shall perish; we shall die
(Which is the curse of honour) lastly
Children of greife, and Ignorance.
Even from the bottom of these miseries,
From all that fortune can inflict upon us,
I see two comforts rysing, two meere blessings,
If the gods please: to hold here a brave patience,
And the enjoying of our greefes together.
Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish
If I thinke this our prison.
Tis a maine goodnes, Cosen, that our fortunes
Were twyn'd together; tis most true, two soules
Put in two noble Bodies--let 'em suffer
The gaule of hazard, so they grow together--
Will never sincke; they must not, say they could:
A willing man dies sleeping, and all's done.
Shall we make worthy uses of this place
That all men hate so much?
How, gentle Cosen?
Let's thinke this prison holy sanctuary,
To keepe us from corruption of worse men.
We are young and yet desire the waies of honour,
That liberty and common Conversation,
The poyson of pure spirits, might like women
Wooe us to wander from. What worthy blessing
Can be but our Imaginations
May make it ours? And heere being thus together,
We are an endles mine to one another;
We are one anothers wife, ever begetting
New birthes of love; we are father, friends, acquaintance;
We are, in one another, Families,
I am your heire, and you are mine: This place
Is our Inheritance, no hard Oppressour
Dare take this from us; here, with a little patience,
We shall live long, and loving: No surfeits seeke us:
The hand of war hurts none here, nor the Seas
Swallow their youth: were we at liberty,
A wife might part us lawfully, or busines;
Quarrels consume us, Envy of ill men
Grave our acquaintance; I might sicken, Cosen,
Where you should never know it, and so perish
Without your noble hand to close mine eies,
Or praiers to the gods: a thousand chaunces,
Were we from hence, would seaver us.
You have made me
(I thanke you, Cosen Arcite) almost wanton
With my Captivity: what a misery
It is to live abroade, and every where!
Tis like a Beast, me thinkes: I finde the Court here--
I am sure, a more content; and all those pleasures
That wooe the wils of men to vanity,
I see through now, and am sufficient
To tell the world, tis but a gaudy shaddow,
That old Time, as he passes by, takes with him.
What had we bin, old in the Court of Creon,
Where sin is Iustice, lust and ignorance
The vertues of the great ones! Cosen Arcite,
Had not the loving gods found this place for us,
We had died as they doe, ill old men, unwept,
And had their Epitaphes, the peoples Curses:
Shall I say more?
I would heare you still.
Is there record of any two that lov'd
Better then we doe, Arcite?
Sure, there cannot.
I doe not thinke it possible our friendship
Should ever leave us.
Till our deathes it cannot;
[Enter Emilia and her woman (below).]
And after death our spirits shall be led
To those that love eternally. Speake on, Sir.
This garden has a world of pleasures in't.
What Flowre is this?
Tis calld Narcissus, Madam.
That was a faire Boy, certaine, but a foole,
To love himselfe; were there not maides enough?
Or were they all hard hearted?
They could not be to one so faire.
Thou wouldst not.
I thinke I should not, Madam.
That's a good wench:
But take heede to your kindnes though.
Men are mad things.
Will ye goe forward, Cosen?
Canst not thou worke such flowers in silke, wench?
Ile have a gowne full of 'em, and of these;
This is a pretty colour, wilt not doe
Rarely upon a Skirt, wench?
Cosen, Cosen, how doe you, Sir? Why, Palamon?
Never till now I was in prison, Arcite.
Why whats the matter, Man?
Behold, and wonder.
By heaven, shee is a Goddesse.
Doe reverence. She is a Goddesse, Arcite.
Of all Flowres, me thinkes a Rose is best.
Why, gentle Madam?
It is the very Embleme of a Maide.
For when the west wind courts her gently,
How modestly she blowes, and paints the Sun,
With her chaste blushes! When the North comes neere her,
Rude and impatient, then, like Chastity,
Shee lockes her beauties in her bud againe,
And leaves him to base briers.
Yet, good Madam,
Sometimes her modesty will blow so far
She fals for't: a Mayde,
If shee have any honour, would be loth
To take example by her.
Thou art wanton.
She is wondrous faire.
She is beauty extant.
The Sun grows high, lets walk in: keep these flowers;
Weele see how neere Art can come neere their colours.
I am wondrous merry hearted, I could laugh now.
I could lie downe, I am sure.
And take one with you?
That's as we bargaine, Madam.
Well, agree then. [Exeunt Emilia and woman.]
What thinke you of this beauty?
Tis a rare one.
Is't but a rare one?
Yes, a matchles beauty.
Might not a man well lose himselfe and love her?
I cannot tell what you have done, I have;
Beshrew mine eyes for't: now I feele my Shackles.
You love her, then?
Who would not?
And desire her?
Before my liberty.
I saw her first.
But it shall be.
I saw her too.
Yes, but you must not love her.
I will not as you doe, to worship her,
As she is heavenly, and a blessed Goddes;
I love her as a woman, to enjoy her:
So both may love.
You shall not love at all.
Not love at all!
Who shall deny me?
I, that first saw her; I, that tooke possession
First with mine eyes of all those beauties
In her reveald to mankinde: if thou lou'st her,
Or entertain'st a hope to blast my wishes,
Thou art a Traytour, Arcite, and a fellow
False as thy Title to her: friendship, blood,
And all the tyes betweene us I disclaime,
If thou once thinke upon her.
Yes, I love her,
And if the lives of all my name lay on it,
I must doe so; I love her with my soule:
If that will lose ye, farewell, Palamon;
I say againe, I love, and in loving her maintaine
I am as worthy and as free a lover,
And have as just a title to her beauty
As any Palamon or any living
That is a mans Sonne.
Have I cald thee friend?
Yes, and have found me so; why are you mov'd thus?
Let me deale coldly with you: am not I
Part of your blood, part of your soule? you have told me
That I was Palamon, and you were Arcite.
Am not I liable to those affections,
Those joyes, greifes, angers, feares, my friend shall suffer?
Ye may be.
Why, then, would you deale so cunningly,
So strangely, so vnlike a noble kinesman,
To love alone? speake truely: doe you thinke me
Vnworthy of her sight?
No; but unjust,
If thou pursue that sight.
Because an other
First sees the Enemy, shall I stand still
And let mine honour downe, and never charge?
Yes, if he be but one.
But say that one
Had rather combat me?
Let that one say so,
And use thy freedome; els if thou pursuest her,
Be as that cursed man that hates his Country,
A branded villaine.
You are mad.
I must be,
Till thou art worthy, Arcite; it concernes me,
And in this madnes, if I hazard thee
And take thy life, I deale but truely.
You play the Childe extreamely: I will love her,
I must, I ought to doe so, and I dare;
And all this justly.
O that now, that now
Thy false-selfe and thy friend had but this fortune,
To be one howre at liberty, and graspe
Our good Swords in our hands! I would quickly teach thee
What 'twer to filch affection from another:
Thou art baser in it then a Cutpurse;
Put but thy head out of this window more,
And as I have a soule, Ile naile thy life too't.
Thou dar'st not, foole, thou canst not, thou art feeble.
Put my head out? Ile throw my Body out,
And leape the garden, when I see her next
And pitch between her armes to anger thee.
No more; the keeper's comming; I shall live
To knocke thy braines out with my Shackles.
By your leave, Gentlemen--
Now, honest keeper?
Lord Arcite, you must presently to'th Duke;
The cause I know not yet.
I am ready, keeper.
Prince Palamon, I must awhile bereave you
Of your faire Cosens Company. [Exeunt Arcite, and Keeper.]
And me too,
Even when you please, of life. Why is he sent for?
It may be he shall marry her; he's goodly,
And like enough the Duke hath taken notice
Both of his blood and body: But his falsehood!
Why should a friend be treacherous? If that
Get him a wife so noble, and so faire,
Let honest men ne're love againe. Once more
I would but see this faire One. Blessed Garden,
And fruite, and flowers more blessed, that still blossom
As her bright eies shine on ye! would I were,
For all the fortune of my life hereafter,
Yon little Tree, yon blooming Apricocke;
How I would spread, and fling my wanton armes
In at her window; I would bring her fruite
Fit for the Gods to feed on: youth and pleasure
Still as she tasted should be doubled on her,
And if she be not heavenly, I would make her
So neere the Gods in nature, they should feare her,
And then I am sure she would love me. How now, keeper.
Banishd: Prince Pirithous
Obtained his liberty; but never more
Vpon his oth and life must he set foote
Vpon this Kingdome.
Hees a blessed man!
He shall see Thebs againe, and call to Armes
The bold yong men, that, when he bids 'em charge,
Fall on like fire: Arcite shall have a Fortune,
If he dare make himselfe a worthy Lover,
Yet in the Feild to strike a battle for her;
And if he lose her then, he's a cold Coward;
How bravely may he beare himselfe to win her
If he be noble Arcite--thousand waies.
Were I at liberty, I would doe things
Of such a vertuous greatnes, that this Lady,
This blushing virgine, should take manhood to her
And seeke to ravish me.
My Lord for you
I have this charge too--
To discharge my life?
No, but from this place to remoove your Lordship:
The windowes are too open.
Devils take 'em,
That are so envious to me! pre'thee kill me.
And hang for't afterward.
By this good light,
Had I a sword I would kill thee.
Why, my Lord?
Thou bringst such pelting scuruy news continually
Thou art not worthy life. I will not goe.
Indeede, you must, my Lord.
May I see the garden?
Then I am resolud, I will not goe.
I must constraine you then: and for you are dangerous,
Ile clap more yrons on you.
Doe, good keeper.
Ile shake 'em so, ye shall not sleepe;
Ile make ye a new Morrisse: must I goe?
There is no remedy.
Farewell, kinde window.
May rude winde never hurt thee. O, my Lady,
If ever thou hast felt what sorrow was,
Dreame how I suffer. Come; now bury me. [Exeunt Palamon, and
Scaena 3. (The country near Athens.)
Banishd the kingdome? tis a benefit,
A mercy I must thanke 'em for, but banishd
The free enjoying of that face I die for,
Oh twas a studdied punishment, a death
Beyond Imagination: Such a vengeance
That, were I old and wicked, all my sins
Could never plucke upon me. Palamon,
Thou ha'st the Start now, thou shalt stay and see
Her bright eyes breake each morning gainst thy window,
And let in life into thee; thou shalt feede
Vpon the sweetenes of a noble beauty,
That nature nev'r exceeded, nor nev'r shall:
Good gods! what happines has Palamon!
Twenty to one, hee'le come to speake to her,
And if she be as gentle as she's faire,
I know she's his; he has a Tongue will tame
Tempests, and make the wild Rockes wanton.
Come what can come,
The worst is death; I will not leave the Kingdome.
I know mine owne is but a heape of ruins,
And no redresse there; if I goe, he has her.
I am resolu'd an other shape shall make me,
Or end my fortunes. Either way, I am happy:
Ile see her, and be neere her, or no more.
[Enter 4. Country people, & one with a garlond before them.]
My Masters, ile be there, that's certaine
And Ile be there.
Why, then, have with ye, Boyes; Tis but a chiding.
Let the plough play to day, ile tick'lt out
Of the Iades tailes to morrow.
I am sure
To have my wife as jealous as a Turkey:
But that's all one; ile goe through, let her mumble.
Clap her aboard to morrow night, and stoa her,
And all's made up againe.
I, doe but put a feskue in her fist, and you shall see her
Take a new lesson out, and be a good wench.
Doe we all hold against the Maying?
Hold? what should aile us?
Arcas will be there.
And Rycas, and 3. better lads nev'r dancd
Under green Tree. And yee know what wenches: ha?
But will the dainty Domine, the Schoolemaster,
Keep touch, doe you thinke? for he do's all, ye know.
Hee'l eate a hornebooke ere he faile: goe too, the matter's too
farre driven betweene him and the Tanners daughter, to let slip
now, and she must see the Duke, and she must daunce too.
Shall we be lusty?
All the Boyes in Athens blow wind i'th breech on's, and heere ile
be and there ile be, for our Towne, and here againe, and there
ha, Boyes, heigh for the weavers.
This must be done i'th woods.
O, pardon me.
By any meanes, our thing of learning saies so:
Where he himselfe will edifie the Duke
Most parlously in our behalfes: hees excellent i'th woods;
Bring him to'th plaines, his learning makes no cry.
Weele see the sports, then; every man to's Tackle:
And, Sweete Companions, lets rehearse by any meanes,
Before the Ladies see us, and doe sweetly,
And God knows what May come on't.
Content; the sports once ended, wee'l performe.
Away, Boyes and hold.
By your leaves, honest friends: pray you, whither goe you?
Whither? why, what a question's that?
Yes, tis a question, to me that know not.
To the Games, my Friend.
Where were you bred, you know it not?
Not farre, Sir,
Are there such Games to day?
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