The Two Noble Kinsmen
Act II, Scene 2
- Enter Palamon, and Arcite in prison.
- How do you, noble cousin?
- How do you, sir?
Palamon3 - 5
- Why, strong enough to laugh at misery
- And bear the chance of war yet. We are prisoners
- I fear forever, cousin.
Arcite6 - 8
- I believe it,
- And to that destiny have patiently
- Laid up my hour to come.
Palamon9 - 28
- O cousin Arcite,
- Where is Thebes now? Where is our noble country?
- Where are our friends and kindreds? Never more
- Must we behold those comforts, never see
- The hardy youths strive for the games of honor,
- Hung with the painted favors of their ladies,
- Like tall ships under sail; then start amongst ’em
- And as an east wind leave ’em all behind us,
- Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite,
- Even in the wagging of a wanton leg,
- Outstripp’d the people’s praises, won the garlands,
- Ere they have time to wish ’em ours. O, never
- Shall we two exercise, like twins of honor,
- Our arms again, and feel our fiery horses
- Like proud seas under us. Our good swords now
- (Better the red-ey’d god of war nev’r ware),
- Ravish’d our sides, like age must run to rust,
- And deck the temples of those gods that hate us;
- These hands shall never draw ’em out like lightning
- To blast whole armies more.
Arcite29 - 49
- No, Palamon,
- Those hopes are prisoners with us. Here we are,
- And here the graces of our youths must wither
- Like a too-timely spring. Here age must find us,
- And which is heaviest, Palamon, unmarried.
- The sweet embraces of a loving wife,
- Loaden with kisses, arm’d with thousand Cupids,
- Shall never clasp our necks; no issue know us;
- No figures of ourselves shall we ev’r see
- To glad our age, and like young eagles teach ’em
- Boldly to gaze against bright arms, and say,
- “Remember what your fathers were, and conquer!”
- The fair-ey’d maids shall weep our banishments,
- And in their songs curse ever-blinded Fortune
- Till she 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,
- Hear nothing but the clock that tells our woes;
- The vine shall grow, but we shall never see it;
- Summer shall come, and with her all delights,
- But dead-cold winter must inhabit here still.
Palamon50 - 59
- ’Tis too true, Arcite. To our Theban hounds,
- That shook the aged forest with their echoes,
- No more now must we hallow; no more shake
- Our pointed javelins, whilst the angry swine
- Flies like a Parthian quiver from our rages,
- Struck with our well-steel’d darts. All valiant uses
- (The food and nourishment of noble minds)
- In us two here shall perish; we shall die
- (Which is the curse of honor) lastly
- Children of grief and ignorance.
Arcite60 - 67
- Yet, cousin,
- Even from the bottom of these miseries,
- From all that fortune can inflict upon us,
- I see two comforts rising, two mere blessings,
- If the gods please—to hold here a brave patience,
- And the enjoying of our griefs together.
- Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish
- If I think this our prison.
Palamon68 - 74
- ’Tis a main goodness, cousin, that our fortunes
- Were twin’d together. ’Tis most true, two souls
- Put in two noble bodies, let ’em suffer
- The gall of hazard, so they grow together,
- Will never sink; they must not, say they could;
- A willing man dies sleeping, and all’s done.
Arcite75 - 76
- Shall we make worthy uses of this place
- That all men hate so much?
- How, gentle cousin?
Arcite78 - 102
- Let’s think this prison holy sanctuary
- To keep us from corruption of worse men.
- We are young and yet desire the ways of honor,
- That liberty and common conversation,
- The poison of pure spirits, might, like women,
- Woo us to wander from. What worthy blessing
- Can be, but our imaginations
- May make it ours? And here being thus together,
- We are an endless mine to one another;
- We are one another’s wife, ever begetting
- New births of love; we are father, friends, acquaintance;
- We are, in one another, families:
- I am your heir, and you are mine; this place
- Is our inheritance. No hard oppressor
- Dare take this from us; here with a little patience
- We shall live long, and loving. No surfeits seek 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 business,
- Quarrels consume us, envy of ill men
- Crave our acquaintance; I might sicken, cousin,
- Where you should never know it, and so perish
- Without your noble hand to close mine eyes,
- Or prayers to the gods. A thousand chances,
- Were we from hence, would sever us.
Palamon103 - 119
- You have made me
- (I thank you, cousin Arcite) almost wanton
- With my captivity. What a misery
- It is to live abroad, and every where!
- ’Tis like a beast, methinks. I find the court here,
- I am sure, a more content, and all those pleasures
- That woo the wills of men to vanity
- I see through now, and am sufficient
- To tell the world ’tis but a gaudy shadow
- That old Time, as he passes by, takes with him.
- What had we been, old in the court of Creon,
- Where sin is justice, lust and ignorance
- The virtues of the great ones? Cousin Arcite,
- Had not the loving gods found this place for us,
- We had died as they do, ill old men, unwept,
- And had their epitaphs, the people’s curses.
- Shall I say more?
- I would hear you still.
Palamon121 - 123
- Ye shall.
- Is there record of any two that lov’d
- Better than we do, Arcite?
- Sure there cannot.
Palamon125 - 126
- I do not think it possible our friendship
- Should ever leave us.
Arcite127 - 129
- Till our deaths it cannot,
- Enter Emilia and her Woman below.
- And after death our spirits shall be led
- To those that love eternally. Speak on, sir.
Emilia130 - 131
- This garden has a world of pleasures in’t.
- What flow’r is this?
- ’Tis call’d narcissus, madam.
Emilia133 - 134
- That was a fair boy certain, but a fool
- To love himself. Were there not maids enough?
- Pray forward.
- Or were they all hard-hearted?
- They could not be to one so fair.
- Thou wouldst not.
- I think I should not, madam.
Emilia141 - 142
- That’s a good wench!
- But take heed to your kindness though.
- Why, madam?
- Men are mad things.
- Will ye go forward, cousin?
- Canst not thou work such flowers in silk, wench?
Emilia148 - 150
- I’ll have a gown full of ’em, and of these:
- This is a pretty color, will’t not do
- Rarely upon a skirt, wench?
- Dainty, madam.
- Cousin, cousin, how do you, sir? Why, Palamon!
- Never till now I was in prison, Arcite.
- Why, what’s the matter, man?
Palamon155 - 156
- Behold, and wonder!
- By heaven, she is a goddess.
Palamon158 - 159
- Do reverence;
- She is a goddess, Arcite.
Emilia160 - 161
- Of all flow’rs
- Methinks a rose is best.
- Why, gentle madam?
Emilia163 - 169
- It is the very emblem of a maid;
- For when the west wind courts her gently,
- How modestly she blows, and paints the sun
- With her chaste blushes! When the north comes near her,
- Rude and impatient, then, like chastity,
- She locks her beauties in her bud again,
- And leaves him to base briers.
Waiting-Woman170 - 173
- Yet, good madam,
- Sometimes her modesty will blow so far she falls for’t.
- A maid, if she have any honor, would be loath
- To take example by her.
- Thou art wanton.
- She is wondrous fair.
- She is all the beauty extant.
Emilia177 - 179
- The sun grows high, let’s walk in. Keep these flowers,
- We’ll see how near art can come near their colors.
- I am wondrous merry-hearted, I could laugh now.
- I could lie down, I am sure.
- And take one with you?
- That’s as we bargain, madam.
- Well, agree then.
- Exeunt Emilia and Woman.
- What think you of this beauty?
- ’Tis a rare one.
- Is’t but a rare one?
- Yes, a matchless beauty.
- Might not a man well lose himself and love her?
Arcite189 - 190
- I cannot tell what you have done; I have,
- Beshrew mine eyes for’t! Now I feel my shackles.
- You love her then?
- Who would not?
- And desire her?
- Before my liberty.
- I saw her first.
- That’s nothing.
- But it shall be.
- I saw her too.
- Yes, but you must not love her.
Arcite200 - 203
- I will not, as you do—to worship her
- As she is heavenly and a blessed goddess;
- 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?
Palamon206 - 213
- I, that first saw her; I, that took possession
- First with mine eye of all those beauties in her
- Reveal’d to mankind. If thou lov’st her,
- Or entertain’st a hope to blast my wishes,
- Thou art a traitor, Arcite, and a fellow
- False as thy title to her. Friendship, blood,
- And all the ties between us, I disclaim
- If thou once think upon her.
Arcite214 - 222
- Yes, I love her,
- And if the lives of all my name lay on it,
- I must do so; I love her with my soul;
- If that will lose ye, farewell, Palamon.
- I say again, I love, and in loving her maintain
- 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 man’s son.
- Have I call’d thee friend?
Arcite224 - 227
- Yes, and have found me so. Why are you mov’d thus?
- Let me deal coldly with you: am not I
- Part of your blood, part of your soul? You have told me
- That I was Palamon, and you were Arcite.
Arcite229 - 230
- Am not I liable to those affections,
- Those joys, griefs, angers, fears, my friend shall suffer?
- Ye may be.
Arcite232 - 235
- Why then would you deal so cunningly,
- So strangely, so unlike a noble kinsman,
- To love alone? Speak truly: do you think me
- Unworthy of her sight?
Palamon236 - 237
- No; but unjust
- If thou pursue that sight.
Arcite238 - 240
- Because another
- First sees the enemy, shall I stand still,
- And let mine honor down, and never charge?
- Yes, if he be but one.
Arcite242 - 243
- But say that one
- Had rather combat me?
Palamon244 - 247
- Let that one say so,
- And use thy freedom; else, if thou pursuest her,
- Be as that cursed man that hates his country,
- A branded villain.
- You are mad.
Palamon249 - 252
- I must be—
- Till thou art worthy, Arcite, it concerns me,
- And in this madness if I hazard thee
- And take thy life, I deal but truly.
Arcite253 - 256
- Fie, sir!
- You play the child extremely. I will love her,
- I must, I ought to do so, and I dare—
- And all this justly.
Palamon257 - 264
- O that now, that now
- Thy false-self and thy friend had but this fortune
- To be one hour at liberty, and grasp
- Our good swords in our hands, I would quickly teach thee
- What ’twere to filch affection from another!
- Thou art baser in it than a cutpurse.
- Put but thy head out of this window more,
- And as I have a soul, I’ll nail thy life to’t!
Arcite265 - 268
- Thou dar’st not, fool, thou canst not, thou art feeble.
- Put my head out? I’ll throw my body out,
- And leap the garden, when I see her next,
- And pitch between her arms to anger thee.
- Enter Jailer above.
Palamon269 - 270
- No more; the keeper’s coming. I shall live
- To knock thy brains out with my shackles.
- By your leave, gentlemen.
- Now, honest keeper?
Jailer274 - 275
- Lord Arcite, you must presently to th’ Duke;
- The cause I know not yet.
- I am ready, keeper.
Jailer277 - 278
- Prince Palamon, I must awhile bereave you
- Of your fair cousin’s company.
- Exeunt Arcite and Jailer.
Palamon279 - 300
- 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 fair,
- Let honest men ne’er love again. Once more
- I would but see this fair one. Blessed garden,
- And fruit and flowers more blessed, that still blossom
- As her bright eyes shine on ye, would I were,
- For all the fortune of my life hereafter,
- Yon little tree, yon blooming apricot!
- How I would spread, and fling my wanton arms
- In at her window! I would bring her fruit
- 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 near the gods in nature, they should fear her;
- And then I am sure she would love me.
- Enter Jailer above.
- How now, keeper,
- Where’s Arcite?
Jailer301 - 304
- Banish’d. Prince Pirithous
- Obtained his liberty; but never more,
- Upon his oath and life, must he set foot
- Upon this kingdom.
Palamon305 - 317
- He’s a blessed man!
- He shall see Thebes again, and call to arms
- The bold young men that when he bids ’em charge,
- Fall on like fire. Arcite shall have a fortune,
- If he dare make himself a worthy lover,
- Yet in the field to strike a battle for her;
- And if he lose her then, he’s a cold coward.
- How bravely may he bear himself to win her,
- If he be noble Arcite—thousand ways!
- Were I at liberty, I would do things
- Of such a virtuous greatness that this lady,
- This blushing virgin, should take manhood to her
- And seek to ravish me.
Jailer318 - 319
- My lord, for you
- I have this charge too—
- To discharge my life?
Jailer321 - 322
- No, but from this place to remove your lordship;
- The windows are too open.
Palamon323 - 324
- Devils take ’em
- That are so envious to me! Prithee kill me.
- And hang for’t afterward!
Palamon326 - 327
- By this good light,
- Had I a sword, I would kill thee.
- Why, my lord?
Palamon329 - 330
- Thou bring’st such pelting scurvy news continually,
- Thou art not worthy life. I will not go.
- Indeed you must, my lord.
- May I see the garden?
- Then I am resolv’d, I will not go.
Jailer335 - 337
- I must
- Constrain you then; and for you are dangerous
- I’ll clap more irons on you.
Palamon338 - 340
- Do, good keeper.
- I’ll shake ’em so, ye shall not sleep,
- I’ll make ye a new morris. Must I go?
- There is no remedy.
Palamon342 - 345
- Farewell, kind window.
- May rude wind never hurt thee! O my lady,
- If ever thou hast felt what sorrow was,
- Dream how I suffer!—Come; now bury me.
- Exeunt Palamon and Jailer.