Two Noble Kinsmen
Act 4, Scene 2
A room in the palace.
- Enter Emilia alone, with two pictures.
Emilia2 - 57
- Yet I may bind those wounds up, that must open
- And bleed to death for my sake else. I’ll choose,
- And end their strife. Two such young handsome men
- Shall never fall for me; their weeping mothers,
- Following the dead-cold ashes of their sons,
- Shall never curse my cruelty. Good heaven,
- What a sweet face has Arcite! If wise Nature,
- With all her best endowments, all those beauties
- She sows into the births of noble bodies,
- Were here a mortal woman, and had in her
- The coy denials of young maids, yet doubtless
- She would run mad for this man. What an eye,
- Of what a fiery sparkle and quick sweetness,
- Has this young prince! Here Love himself sits smiling.
- Just such another wanton Ganymede
- Set Jove afire with, and enforc’d the god
- Snatch up the goodly boy and set him by him,
- A shining constellation. What a brow,
- Of what a spacious majesty, he carries,
- Arch’d like the great-ey’d Juno’s, but far sweeter,
- Smoother than Pelops’ shoulder! Fame and Honor
- Methinks from hence, as from a promontory
- Pointed in heaven, should clap their wings and sing
- To all the under world the loves and fights
- Of gods and such men near ’em. Palamon
- Is but his foil, to him, a mere dull shadow;
- He’s swarth and meager, of an eye as heavy
- As if he had lost his mother; a still temper,
- No stirring in him, no alacrity,
- Of all this sprightly sharpness, not a smile.
- Yet these that we count errors may become him:
- Narcissus was a sad boy, but a heavenly.
- O, who can find the bent of woman’s fancy?
- I am a fool, my reason is lost in me;
- I have no choice, and I have lied so lewdly
- That women ought to beat me. On my knees
- I ask thy pardon: Palamon, thou art alone
- And only beautiful, and these the eyes,
- These the bright lamps of beauty, that command
- And threaten Love, and what young maid dare cross ’em?
- What a bold gravity, and yet inviting,
- Has this brown manly face! O Love, this only
- From this hour is complexion. Lie there, Arcite,
- Thou art a changeling to him, a mere gypsy,
- And this the noble body. I am sotted,
- Utterly lost. My virgin’s faith has fled me;
- For if my brother but even now had ask’d me
- Whether I lov’d, I had run mad for Arcite;
- Now if my sister—more for Palamon.
- Stand both together: now, come ask me, brother—
- Alas, I know not! Ask me now, sweet sister—
- I may go look! What a mere child is fancy,
- That having two fair gauds of equal sweetness,
- Cannot distinguish, but must cry for both!
- Enter Gentleman.
- How now, sir?
Gentleman58 - 59
- From the noble Duke your brother,
- Madam, I bring you news. The knights are come.
- To end the quarrel?
Emilia62 - 69
- Would I might end first!
- What sins have I committed, chaste Diana,
- That my unspotted youth must now be soil’d
- With blood of princes? And my chastity
- Be made the altar where the lives of lovers—
- Two greater and two better never yet
- Made mothers joy—must be the sacrifice
- To my unhappy beauty?
- Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Pirithous, and Attendants.
Theseus71 - 75
- Bring ’em in
- Quickly, by any means, I long to see ’em.—
- Your two contending lovers are return’d,
- And with them their fair knights. Now, my fair sister,
- You must love one of them.
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- I had rather both,
- So neither for my sake should fall untimely.
- Who saw ’em?
- I a while.
- And I.
- Enter First Messenger.
- From whence come you, sir?
- From the knights.
Theseus84 - 85
- Pray speak,
- You that have seen them, what they are.
First Messenger86 - 102
- I will, sir,
- And truly what I think. Six braver spirits
- Than these they have brought (if we judge by the outside)
- I never saw nor read of. He that stands
- In the first place with Arcite, by his seeming
- Should be a stout man, by his face a prince
- (His very looks so say him), his complexion
- Nearer a brown than black; stern, and yet noble,
- Which shows him hardy, fearless, proud of dangers.
- The circles of his eyes show fire within him,
- And as a heated lion, so he looks;
- His hair hangs long behind him, black and shining
- Like ravens’ wings; his shoulders broad and strong,
- Arm’d long and round, and on his thigh a sword
- Hung by a curious baldrick, when he frowns
- To seal his will with. Better, o’ my conscience,
- Was never soldier’s friend.
- Thou hast well describ’d him.
Pirithous104 - 105
- Yet a great deal short,
- Methinks, of him that’s first with Palamon.
- Pray speak him, friend.
Pirithous107 - 127
- I guess he is a prince too,
- And if it may be, greater; for his show
- Has all the ornament of honor in’t.
- He’s somewhat bigger than the knight he spoke of,
- But of a face far sweeter; his complexion
- Is, as a ripe grape, ruddy. He has felt
- Without doubt what he fights for, and so apter
- To make this cause his own. In ’s face appears
- All the fair hopes of what he undertakes,
- And when he’s angry, then a settled valor
- (Not tainted with extremes) runs through his body,
- And guides his arm to brave things. Fear he cannot,
- He shows no such soft temper. His head’s yellow,
- Hard-hair’d, and curl’d, thick twin’d like ivy-tods,
- Not to undo with thunder. In his face
- The livery of the warlike maid appears,
- Pure red and white, for yet no beard has blest him;
- And in his rolling eyes sits victory,
- As if she ever meant to crown his valor.
- His nose stands high, a character of honor;
- His red lips, after fights, are fit for ladies.
- Must these men die too?
Pirithous129 - 133
- When he speaks, his tongue
- Sounds like a trumpet. All his lineaments
- Are as a man would wish ’em, strong and clean.
- He wears a well-steel’d axe, the staff of gold.
- His age some five and twenty.
First Messenger134 - 137
- There’s another,
- A little man, but of a tough soul, seeming
- As great as any. Fairer promises
- In such a body yet I never look’d on.
- O, he that’s freckle-fac’d?
First Messenger139 - 140
- The same, my lord.
- Are they not sweet ones?
- Yes, they are well.
First Messenger142 - 161
- Being so few and well dispos’d, they show
- Great and fine art in nature. He’s white-hair’d,
- Not wanton white, but such a manly color
- Next to an auburn; tough and nimble set,
- Which shows an active soul; his arms are brawny,
- Lin’d with strong sinews; to the shoulder-piece
- Gently they swell, like women new conceiv’d,
- Which speaks him prone to labor, never fainting
- Under the weight of arms; stout-hearted, still,
- But when he stirs, a tiger. He’s grey-ey’d,
- Which yields compassion where he conquers; sharp
- To spy advantages, and where he finds ’em,
- He’s swift to make ’em his. He does no wrongs,
- Nor takes none. He’s round-fac’d, and when he smiles
- He shows a lover, when he frowns, a soldier.
- About his head he wears the winner’s oak,
- And in it stuck the favor of his lady.
- His age some six and thirty. In his hand
- He bears a charging-staff emboss’d with silver.
- Are they all thus?
- They are all the sons of honor.
Theseus164 - 165
- Now as I have a soul I long to see ’em.
- Lady, you shall see men fight now.
Hippolyta166 - 171
- I wish it,
- But not the cause, my lord. They would show
- Bravely about the titles of two kingdoms.
- ’Tis pity love should be so tyrannous.
- O my soft-hearted sister, what think you?
- Weep not, till they weep blood. Wench, it must be.
Theseus172 - 174
- You have steel’d ’em with your beauty.—Honor’d friend,
- To you I give the field; pray order it,
- Fitting the persons that must use it.
- Yes, sir.
Theseus176 - 178
- Come, I’ll go visit ’em. I cannot stay—
- Their fame has fir’d me so—till they appear.
- Good friend, be royal.
- There shall want no bravery.
Emilia180 - 181
- Poor wench, go weep, for whosoever wins
- Loses a noble cousin for thy sins.