Two Noble Kinsmen
Act 1, Scene 4
A field before Thebes.
- Cornets. A battle struck within; then a retreat; flourish.
- Then enter Theseus, victor, with his Lords.
- The three Queens meet him and fall on their faces before
- To thee no star be dark.
Second Queen6 - 7
- Both heaven and earth
- Friend thee forever.
Third Queen8 - 9
- All the good that may
- Be wish’d upon thy head, I cry amen to’t.
Theseus10 - 23
- Th’ impartial gods, who from the mounted heavens
- View us their mortal herd, behold who err,
- And in their time chastise. Go and find out
- The bones of your dead lords, and honor them
- With treble ceremony; rather than a gap
- Should be in their dear rites, we would supply’t.
- But those we will depute which shall invest
- You in your dignities, and even each thing
- Our haste does leave imperfect. So adieu,
- And heaven’s good eyes look on you!
- Exeunt Queens.
- Enter Herald with Attendants bearing Palamon and Arcite on
- two hearses.
- What are those?
Herald24 - 26
- Men of great quality, as may be judg’d
- By their appointment. Some of Thebes have told’s
- They are sisters’ children, nephews to the King.
Theseus27 - 32
- By th’ helm of Mars, I saw them in the war,
- Like to a pair of lions smear’d with prey,
- Make lanes in troops aghast. I fix’d my note
- Constantly on them; for they were a mark
- Worth a god’s view. What was’t that prisoner told me
- When I inquired their names?
Herald33 - 34
- Wi’ leave, they’re called
- Arcite and Palamon.
Theseus35 - 36
- ’Tis right—those, those.
- They are not dead?
Herald37 - 40
- Nor in a state of life; had they been taken
- When their last hurts were given, ’twas possible
- They might have been recovered. Yet they breathe
- And have the name of men.
Theseus41 - 62
- Then like men use ’em.
- The very lees of such (millions of rates)
- Exceed the wine of others. All our surgeons
- Convent in their behoof, our richest balms,
- Rather than niggard, waste; their lives concern us
- Much more than Thebes is worth. Rather than 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 than death. Bear ’em speedily
- From our kind air, to them unkind, and minister
- What man to man may do; for our sake more,
- Since I have known frights, fury, friends’ behests,
- Love’s provocations, zeal, a mistress’ task,
- Desire of liberty, a fever, madness,
- Hath set a mark which nature could not reach to
- Without some imposition, sickness in will
- O’er-wrestling strength in reason. For our love,
- And great Apollo’s mercy, all our best
- Their best skill tender.—Lead into the city,
- Where having bound things scatter’d, we will post
- To Athens ’fore our army.
- Flourish. Exeunt, Attendants bearing Palamon and Arcite.