Two Noble Kinsmen
Act 5, Scene 4
A place near the Lists. A block prepared.
- A block ready. Enter Palamon and his Knights pinion’d,
- Jailer, Executioner, etc., Guard.
Palamon3 - 17
- There’s many a man alive that hath outliv’d
- The love o’ th’ people, yea, i’ th’ self-same state
- Stands many a father with his child. Some comfort
- We have by so considering: we expire,
- And not without men’s pity; to live still,
- Have their good wishes; we prevent
- The loathsome misery of age, beguile
- The gout and rheum, that in lag hours attend
- For grey approachers; we come towards the gods
- Young and unwapper’d, not halting under crimes
- Many and stale. That sure shall please the gods
- Sooner than such, to give us nectar with ’em,
- For we are more clear spirits. My dear kinsmen,
- Whose lives (for this poor comfort) are laid down,
- You have sold ’em too too cheap.
First Knight18 - 22
- What ending could be
- Of more content? O’er us the victors have
- Fortune, whose title is as momentary
- As to us death is certain. A grain of honor
- They not o’erweigh us.
Second Knight23 - 25
- Let us bid farewell;
- And with our patience anger tott’ring Fortune,
- Who at her certain’st reels.
- Come! Who begins?
Palamon27 - 34
- Ev’n he that led you to this banquet shall
- Taste to you all.
- To the Jailer.
- Ah ha, my friend, my friend,
- Your gentle daughter gave me freedom once;
- You’ll see’t done now forever. Pray how does she?
- I heard she was not well; her kind of ill
- Gave me some sorrow.
Jailer35 - 36
- Sir, she’s well restor’d,
- And to be married shortly.
Palamon37 - 41
- By my short life,
- I am most glad on’t. ’Tis the latest thing
- I shall be glad of, prithee tell her so.
- Commend me to her, and to piece her portion
- Tender her this.
- Gives purse.
- Nay, let’s be offerers all.
- Is it a maid?
Palamon45 - 47
- Verily I think so,
- A right good creature, more to me deserving
- Than I can quite or speak of.
All Three Knights48
- Commend us to her.
- They give their purses.
- The gods requite you all, and make her thankful!
Palamon51 - 52
- Adieu; and let my life be now as short
- As my leave-taking.
- Lies on the block.
- Lead, courageous cousin.
Both First and Second Knights55
- We’ll follow cheerfully.
- A great noise within crying “Run! Save! Hold!”
- Enter in haste a Messenger.
- Hold, hold! O, hold, hold, hold!
- Enter Pirithous in haste.
Pirithous60 - 63
- Hold ho! It is a cursed haste you made
- If you have done so quickly. Noble Palamon,
- The gods will show their glory in a life
- That thou art yet to lead.
Palamon64 - 65
- Can that be, when
- Venus I have said is false? How do things fare?
Pirithous66 - 68
- Arise, great sir, and give the tidings ear
- Palamon rises.
- That are most dearly sweet and bitter.
Palamon69 - 70
- Hath wak’d us from our dream?
Pirithous71 - 108
- List then: your cousin,
- Mounted upon a steed that Emily
- Did first bestow on him—a black one, owing
- Not a hair-worth of white, which some will say
- Weakens his price, and many will not buy
- His goodness with this note; which superstition
- Here finds allowance—on this horse is Arcite
- Trotting the stones of Athens, which the calkins
- Did rather tell than trample; for the horse
- Would make his length a mile, if’t pleas’d his rider
- To put pride in him. As he thus went counting
- The flinty pavement, dancing as ’twere to th’ music
- His own hoofs made (for as they say from iron
- Came music’s origin), what envious flint,
- Cold as old Saturn, and like him possess’d
- With fire malevolent, darted a spark,
- Or what fierce sulphur else, to this end made,
- I comment not—the hot horse, hot as fire,
- Took toy at this, and fell to what disorder
- His power could give his will, bounds, comes on end,
- Forgets school-doing, being therein train’d,
- And of kind manage; pig-like he whines
- At the sharp rowel, which he frets at rather
- Than any jot obeys; seeks all foul means
- Of boist’rous and rough jad’ry, to disseat
- His lord that kept it bravely. When nought serv’d,
- When neither curb would crack, girth break, nor diff’ring plunges
- Disroot his rider whence he grew, but that
- He kept him ’tween his legs, on his hind hoofs
- On end he stands,
- That Arcite’s legs, being higher than his head,
- Seem’d with strange art to hang. His victor’s wreath
- Even then fell off his head; and presently
- Backward the jade comes o’er, and his full poise
- Becomes the rider’s load. Yet is he living,
- But such a vessel ’tis that floats but for
- The surge that next approaches. He much desires
- To have some speech with you. Lo he appears.
- Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Arcite in a chair.
Palamon110 - 114
- O miserable end of our alliance!
- The gods are mighty, Arcite. If thy heart,
- Thy worthy, manly heart, be yet unbroken,
- Give me thy last words; I am Palamon,
- One that yet loves thee dying.
Arcite115 - 120
- Take Emilia,
- And with her all the world’s joy. Reach thy hand;
- Farewell. I have told my last hour; I was false,
- Yet never treacherous. Forgive me, cousin.
- One kiss from fair Emilia.—’Tis done.
- Take her. I die.
- Thy brave soul seek Elysium!
Emilia123 - 125
- I’ll close thine eyes, prince; blessed souls be with thee!
- Thou art a right good man, and while I live,
- This day I give to tears.
- And I to honor.
Theseus127 - 137
- In this place first you fought; ev’n very here
- I sund’red you. Acknowledge to the gods
- Our thanks that you are living.
- His part is play’d, and though it were too short,
- He did it well; your day is length’ned, and
- The blissful dew of heaven does arrouse you.
- The powerful Venus well hath grac’d her altar,
- And given you your love. Our master Mars
- Hath vouch’d his oracle, and to Arcite gave
- The grace of the contention So the deities
- Have show’d due justice.—Bear this hence.
- Arcite is carried out.
Palamon139 - 142
- O cousin,
- That we should things desire which do cost us
- The loss of our desire! That nought could buy
- Dear love but loss of dear love!
Theseus143 - 168
- Never fortune
- Did play a subtler game. The conquer’d triumphs,
- The victor has the loss; yet in the passage
- The gods have been most equal. Palamon,
- Your kinsman hath confess’d the right o’ th’ lady
- Did lie in you, for you first saw her, and
- Even then proclaim’d your fancy. He restor’d her
- As your stol’n jewel, and desir’d your spirit
- To send him hence forgiven. The gods my justice
- Take from my hand, and they themselves become
- The executioners. Lead your lady off;
- And call your lovers from the stage of death,
- Whom I adopt my friends. A day or two
- Let us look sadly, and give grace unto
- The funeral of Arcite, in whose end
- The visages of bridegrooms we’ll put on
- And smile with Palamon; for whom an hour,
- But one hour since, I was as dearly sorry
- As glad of Arcite; and am now as glad
- As for him sorry. O you heavenly charmers,
- What things you make of us! For what we lack
- We laugh, for what we have are sorry, still
- Are children in some kind. Let us be thankful
- For that which is, and with you leave dispute
- That are above our question. Let’s go off,
- And bear us like the time.
- Flourish. Exeunt.