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The Two Noble Kinsmen: Act III, Scene 6

The Two Noble Kinsmen
Act III, Scene 6

Another part of the forest near Athens.

  1. Enter Palamon from the bush.

Palamon

1 - 17
  1. About this hour my cousin gave his faith
  2. To visit me again, and with him bring
  3. Two swords and two good armors. If he fail,
  4. He’s neither man nor soldier. When he left me,
  5. I did not think a week could have restor’d
  6. My lost strength to me, I was grown so low
  7. And crestfall’n with my wants. I thank thee, Arcite,
  8. Thou art yet a fair foe; and I feel myself,
  9. With this refreshing, able once again
  10. To out-dure danger. To delay it longer
  11. Would make the world think, when it comes to hearing,
  12. That I lay fatting like a swine, to fight,
  13. And not a soldier: therefore this blest morning
  14. Shall be the last; and that sword he refuses,
  15. If it but hold, I kill him with. ’Tis justice.
  16. So, love and fortune for me!
  17. Enter Arcite with armors and swords.
  18.                              O, good morrow.

Arcite

18
  1. Good morrow, noble kinsman.

Palamon

19 - 20
  1.                             I have put you
  2. To too much pains, sir.

Arcite

21 - 22
  1.                         That too much, fair cousin,
  2. Is but a debt to honor, and my duty.

Palamon

23 - 26
  1. Would you were so in all, sir! I could wish ye
  2. As kind a kinsman as you force me find
  3. A beneficial foe, that my embraces
  4. Might thank ye, not my blows.

Arcite

27 - 28
  1.                               I shall think either,
  2. Well done, a noble recompense.

Palamon

29
  1.                                Then I shall quit you.

Arcite

30 - 47
  1. Defy me in these fair terms, and you show
  2. More than a mistress to me; no more anger,
  3. As you love any thing that’s honorable.
  4. We were not bred to talk, man. When we are arm’d
  5. And both upon our guards, then let our fury,
  6. Like meeting of two tides, fly strongly from us,
  7. And then to whom the birthright of this beauty
  8. Truly pertains (without obbraidings, scorns,
  9. Despisings of our persons, and such poutings,
  10. Fitter for girls and schoolboys) will be seen,
  11. And quickly, yours or mine. Will’t please you arm, sir?
  12. Or if you feel yourself not fitting yet
  13. And furnish’d with your old strength, I’ll stay, cousin,
  14. And ev’ry day discourse you into health,
  15. As I am spar’d. Your person I am friends with,
  16. And I could wish I had not said I lov’d her,
  17. Though I had died; but loving such a lady
  18. And justifying my love, I must not fly from’t.

Palamon

48 - 50
  1. Arcite, thou art so brave an enemy
  2. That no man but thy cousin’s fit to kill thee.
  3. I am well and lusty, choose your arms.

Arcite

51
  1.                                        Choose you, sir.

Palamon

52 - 53
  1. Wilt thou exceed in all, or dost thou do it
  2. To make me spare thee?

Arcite

54 - 56
  1.                        If you think so, cousin,
  2. You are deceived, for as I am a soldier,
  3. I will not spare you.

Palamon

57
  1.                       That’s well said.

Arcite

58
  1.                   You’ll find it.

Palamon

59 - 61
  1. Then as I am an honest man, and love
  2. With all the justice of affection,
  3. I’ll pay thee soundly. This I’ll take.

Arcite

62 - 63
  1.                                        That’s mine then.
  2. I’ll arm you first.

Palamon

64 - 65
  1.                     Do. Pray thee tell me, cousin,
  2. Where got’st thou this good armor?

Arcite

66 - 67
  1.                                    ’Tis the Duke’s,
  2. And to say true, I stole it. Do I pinch you?

Palamon

68
  1.                                              No.

Arcite

69
  1. Is’t not too heavy?

Palamon

70 - 71
  1.                     I have worn a lighter,
  2. But I shall make it serve.

Arcite

72
  1.                            I’ll buckle’t close.

Palamon

73
  1. By any means.

Arcite

74
  1.               You care not for a grand-guard?

Palamon

75 - 76
  1. No, no, we’ll use no horses. I perceive
  2. You would fain be at that fight.

Arcite

77
  1.                                  I am indifferent.

Palamon

78 - 79
  1. Faith, so am I. Good cousin, thrust the buckle
  2. Through far enough.

Arcite

80
  1.                     I warrant you.

Palamon

81
  1.                My casque now.

Arcite

82
  1. Will you fight bare-arm’d?

Palamon

83
  1.                            We shall be the nimbler.

Arcite

84 - 85
  1. But use your gauntlets though. Those are o’ th’ least;
  2. Prithee take mine, good cousin.

Palamon

86 - 87
  1.                                 Thank you, Arcite.
  2. How do I look? Am I fall’n much away?

Arcite

88
  1. Faith, very little. Love has us’d you kindly.

Palamon

89
  1. I’ll warrant thee, I’ll strike home.

Arcite

90 - 91
  1.                                      Do, and spare not.
  2. I’ll give you cause, sweet cousin.

Palamon

92 - 94
  1.                                    Now to you, sir.
  2. Methinks this armor’s very like that, Arcite,
  3. Thou wor’st that day the three kings fell, but lighter.

Arcite

95 - 100
  1. That was a very good one, and that day,
  2. I well remember, you outdid me, cousin;
  3. I never saw such valor. When you charg’d
  4. Upon the left wing of the enemy,
  5. I spurr’d hard to come up, and under me
  6. I had a right good horse.

Palamon

101 - 102
  1.                           You had indeed,
  2. A bright bay, I remember.

Arcite

103 - 106
  1.                           Yes, but all
  2. Was vainly labor’d in me; you outwent me,
  3. Nor could my wishes reach you. Yet a little
  4. I did by imitation.

Palamon

107 - 108
  1.                     More by virtue.
  2. You are modest, cousin.

Arcite

109 - 111
  1.                         When I saw you charge first,
  2. Methought I heard a dreadful clap of thunder
  3. Break from the troop.

Palamon

112 - 114
  1.                       But still before that flew
  2. The lightning of your valor. Stay a little;
  3. Is not this piece too strait?

Arcite

115
  1.                               No, no, ’tis well.

Palamon

116 - 117
  1. I would have nothing hurt thee but my sword,
  2. A bruise would be dishonor.

Arcite

118
  1.                             Now I am perfect.

Palamon

119
  1. Stand off then.

Arcite

120
  1.                 Take my sword, I hold it better.

Palamon

121 - 123
  1. I thank ye. No, keep it, your life lies on it.
  2. Here’s one, if it but hold, I ask no more
  3. For all my hopes. My cause and honor guard me!

Arcite

124 - 125
  1. And me my love!
  2. They bow several ways; then advance and stand.
  3.                 Is there aught else to say?

Palamon

126 - 133
  1. This only, and no more: thou art mine aunt’s son,
  2. And that blood we desire to shed is mutual,
  3. In me, thine, and in thee, mine. My sword
  4. Is in my hand, and if thou kill’st me,
  5. The gods and I forgive thee. If there be
  6. A place prepar’d for those that sleep in honor,
  7. I wish his weary soul that falls may win it.
  8. Fight bravely, cousin. Give me thy noble hand.

Arcite

134 - 135
  1. Here, Palamon: this hand shall never more
  2. Come near thee with such friendship.

Palamon

136
  1.                                      I commend thee.

Arcite

137 - 139
  1. If I fall, curse me, and say I was a coward,
  2. For none but such dare die in these just trials.
  3. Once more farewell, my cousin.

Palamon

140
  1.                                Farewell, Arcite.
  1. Fight. Horns within; they stand.

Arcite

141
  1. Lo, cousin, lo, our folly has undone us.

Palamon

142
  1. Why?

Arcite

143 - 152
  1.      This is the Duke, a-hunting as I told you.
  2. If we be found, we are wretched. O, retire
  3. For honor’s sake, and safely presently
  4. Into your bush again, sir. We shall find
  5. Too many hours to die in, gentle cousin.
  6. If you be seen, you perish instantly
  7. For breaking prison, and I, if you reveal me,
  8. For my contempt. Then all the world will scorn us,
  9. And say we had a noble difference,
  10. But base disposers of it.

Palamon

153 - 158
  1.                           No, no, cousin,
  2. I will no more be hidden, nor put off
  3. This great adventure to a second trial.
  4. I know your cunning, and I know your cause.
  5. He that faints now, shame take him! Put thyself
  6. Upon thy present guard

Arcite

159
  1.                         You are not mad?

Palamon

160 - 164
  1. Or I will make th’ advantage of this hour
  2. Mine own; and what to come shall threaten me
  3. I fear less than my fortune. Know, weak cousin,
  4. I love Emilia, and in that I’ll bury
  5. Thee and all crosses else.

Arcite

165 - 169
  1.                            Then come what can come,
  2. Thou shalt know, Palamon, I dare as well
  3. Die as discourse or sleep. Only this fears me,
  4. The law will have the honor of our ends.
  5. Have at thy life!

Palamon

170
  1.                   Look to thine own well, Arcite.
  1. Fight again. Horns.
  1. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Pirithous, and Train.

Theseus

171 - 175
  1. What ignorant and mad malicious traitors
  2. Are you, that ’gainst the tenor of my laws
  3. Are making battle, thus like knights appointed,
  4. Without my leave and officers of arms?
  5. By Castor, both shall die.

Palamon

176 - 196
  1.                            Hold thy word, Theseus.
  2. We are certainly both traitors, both despisers
  3. Of thee and of thy goodness. I am Palamon,
  4. That cannot love thee, he that broke thy prison
  5. Think well what that deserves; and this is Arcite,
  6. A bolder traitor never trod thy ground,
  7. A falser nev’r seem’d friend. This is the man
  8. Was begg’d and banish’d, this is he contemns thee
  9. And what thou dar’st do; and in this disguise,
  10. Against thy own edict, follows thy sister,
  11. That fortunate bright star, the fair Emilia,
  12. Whose servant (if there be a right in seeing,
  13. And first bequeathing of the soul to) justly
  14. I am, and which is more, dares think her his.
  15. This treachery, like a most trusty lover,
  16. I call’d him now to answer. If thou be’st,
  17. As thou art spoken, great and virtuous,
  18. The true decider of all injuries,
  19. Say, Fight again!” and thou shalt see me, Theseus,
  20. Do such a justice thou thyself wilt envy.
  21. Then take my life, I’ll woo thee to’t.

Pirithous

197 - 198
  1.                                        O heaven,
  2. What more than man is this!

Theseus

199
  1.                             I have sworn.

Arcite

200 - 214
  1.               We seek not
  2. Thy breath of mercy, Theseus. ’Tis to me
  3. A thing as soon to die as thee to say it,
  4. And no more mov’d. Where this man calls me traitor,
  5. Let me say thus much: if in love be treason
  6. In service of so excellent a beauty,
  7. As I love most, and in that faith will perish,
  8. As I have brought my life here to confirm it,
  9. As I have serv’d her truest, worthiest,
  10. As I dare kill this cousin that denies it,
  11. So let me be most traitor, and ye please me.
  12. For scorning thy edict, Duke, ask that lady
  13. Why she is fair, and why her eyes command me
  14. Stay here to love her; and if she say traitor,”
  15. I am a villain fit to lie unburied.

Palamon

215 - 222
  1. Thou shalt have pity of us both, O Theseus,
  2. If unto neither thou show mercy. Stop,
  3. As thou art just, thy noble ear against us;
  4. As thou art valiant, for thy cousin’s soul,
  5. Whose twelve strong labors crown his memory,
  6. Let ’s die together, at one instant, Duke.
  7. Only a little let him fall before me,
  8. That I may tell my soul he shall not have her.

Theseus

223 - 227
  1. I grant your wish, for to say true, your cousin
  2. Has ten times more offended, for I gave him
  3. More mercy than you found, sir, your offenses
  4. Being no more than his. None here speak for ’em,
  5. For ere the sun set, both shall sleep forever.

Hippolyta

228 - 231
  1. Alas, the pity! Now or never, sister,
  2. Speak, not to be denied. That face of yours
  3. Will bear the curses else of after-ages
  4. For these lost cousins.

Emilia

232 - 239
  1.                         In my face, dear sister,
  2. I find no anger to ’em, nor no ruin:
  3. The misadventure of their own eyes kill ’em;
  4. Yet that I will be woman, and have pity,
  5. My knees shall grow to th’ ground but I’ll get mercy.
  6. Help me, dear sister, in a deed so virtuous
  7. The powers of all women will be with us.
  8. Most royal brother
  1. They kneel.

Hippolyta

240
  1.                     Sir, by our tie of marriage

Emilia

241
  1. By your own spotless honor

Hippolyta

242 - 243
  1.                             By that faith,
  2. That fair hand, and that honest heart you gave me

Emilia

244 - 245
  1. By that you would have pity in another,
  2. By your own virtues infinite

Hippolyta

246 - 247
  1.                               By valor,
  2. By all the chaste nights I have ever pleas’d you

Theseus

248
  1. These are strange conjurings.

Pirithous

249 - 251
  1.                               Nay then I’ll in too.
  2. Kneels.
  3. By all our friendship, sir, by all our dangers,
  4. By all you love mostwars, and this sweet lady

Emilia

252 - 253
  1. By that you would have trembled to deny
  2. A blushing maid

Hippolyta

254 - 256
  1.                  By your own eyes, by strength,
  2. In which you swore I went beyond all women,
  3. Almost all men, and yet I yielded, Theseus

Pirithous

257 - 258
  1. To crown all this, by your most noble soul,
  2. Which cannot want due mercy, I beg first.

Hippolyta

259
  1. Next hear my prayers.

Emilia

260
  1.                       Last let me entreat, sir.

Pirithous

261
  1. For mercy.

Hippolyta

262
  1.            Mercy.

Emilia

263
  1.        Mercy on these princes.

Theseus

264 - 265
  1. Ye make my faith reel. Say I felt
  2. Compassion to ’em both, how would you place it?

Emilia

266
  1. Upon their lives; but with their banishments.

Theseus

267 - 278
  1. You are a right woman, sister, you have pity,
  2. But want the understanding where to use it.
  3. If you desire their lives, invent a way
  4. Safer than banishment. Can these two live,
  5. And have the agony of love about ’em,
  6. And not kill one another? Every day
  7. They’ld fight about you; hourly bring your honor
  8. In public question with their swords. Be wise then
  9. And here forget ’em; it concerns your credit
  10. And my oath equally. I have said they die;
  11. Better they fall by th’ law than one another.
  12. Bow not my honor.

Emilia

279 - 285
  1.                   O my noble brother,
  2. That oath was rashly made, and in your anger,
  3. Your reason will not hold it. If such vows
  4. Stand for express will, all the world must perish.
  5. Beside, I have another oath ’gainst yours,
  6. Of more authority, I am sure more love,
  7. Not made in passion neither, but good heed.

Theseus

286
  1. What is it, sister?

Pirithous

287
  1.                     Urge it home, brave lady.

Emilia

288 - 305
  1. That you would nev’r deny me any thing
  2. Fit for my modest suit and your free granting.
  3. I tie you to your word now; if ye fall in’t,
  4. Think how you maim your honor
  5. (For now I am set a-begging, sir, I am deaf
  6. To all but your compassion), how their lives
  7. Might breed the ruin of my name; opinion,
  8. Shall any thing that loves me perish for me?
  9. That were a cruel wisdom. Do men proin
  10. The straight young boughs that blush with thousand blossoms,
  11. Because they may be rotten? O Duke Theseus,
  12. The goodly mothers that have groan’d for these,
  13. And all the longing maids that ever lov’d,
  14. If your vow stand, shall curse me and my beauty,
  15. And in their funeral songs for these two cousins
  16. Despise my cruelty, and cry woe worth me,
  17. Till I am nothing but the scorn of women.
  18. For heaven’s sake save their lives, and banish ’em.

Theseus

306
  1. On what conditions?

Emilia

307 - 311
  1.                     Swear ’em never more
  2. To make me their contention, or to know me,
  3. To tread upon thy dukedom, and to be,
  4. Where ever they shall travel, ever strangers
  5. To one another.

Palamon

312 - 319
  1.                 I’ll be cut a-pieces
  2. Before I take this oath. Forget I love her?
  3. O all ye gods, despise me then. Thy banishment
  4. I not mislike, so we may fairly carry
  5. Our swords and cause along; else, never trifle,
  6. But take our lives, Duke. I must love, and will,
  7. And for that love must and dare kill this cousin,
  8. On any piece the earth has.

Theseus

320 - 321
  1.                             Will you, Arcite,
  2. Take these conditions?

Palamon

322
  1.                        He’s a villain then.

Pirithous

323
  1. These are men!

Arcite

324 - 328
  1. No, never. Duke. ’Tis worse to me than begging
  2. To take my life so basely. Though I think
  3. I never shall enjoy her, yet I’ll preserve
  4. The honor of affection, and die for her,
  5. Make death a devil.

Theseus

329
  1. What may be done? For now I feel compassion.

Pirithous

330
  1. Let it not fall again, sir.

Theseus

331 - 338
  1.                             Say, Emilia,
  2. If one of them were dead, as one must, are you
  3. Content to take th’ other to your husband?
  4. They cannot both enjoy you. They are princes
  5. As goodly as your own eyes, and as noble
  6. As ever fame yet spoke of. Look upon ’em
  7. And if you can love, end this difference.
  8. I give consent.—Are you content too, princes?

Both Arcite and Palamon

339
  1. With all our souls.

Theseus

340 - 341
  1.                     He that she refuses
  2. Must die then.

Both Arcite and Palamon

342
  1.                Any death thou canst invent, Duke.

Palamon

343 - 344
  1. If I fall from that mouth, I fall with favor,
  2. And lovers yet unborn shall bless my ashes.

Arcite

345 - 346
  1. If she refuse me, yet my grave will wed me,
  2. And soldiers sing my epitaph.

Theseus

347
  1.                               Make choice then.

Emilia

348 - 349
  1. I cannot, sir, they are both too excellent:
  2. For me, a hair shall never fall of these men.

Hippolyta

350
  1. What will become of ’em?

Theseus

351 - 362
  1.                          Thus I ordain it,
  2. And by mine honor, once again it stands,
  3. Or both shall die: you shall both to your country,
  4. And each within this month, accompanied
  5. With three fair knights, appear again in this place,
  6. In which I’ll plant a pyramid; and whether,
  7. Before us that are here, can force his cousin
  8. By fair and knightly strength to touch the pillar,
  9. He shall enjoy her; the other lose his head,
  10. And all his friends; nor shall he grudge to fall,
  11. Nor think he dies with interest in this lady.
  12. Will this content ye?

Palamon

363 - 364
  1.                       Yes. Here, cousin Arcite,
  2. I am friends again till that hour.

Arcite

365
  1.                                    I embrace ye.

Theseus

366
  1. Are you content, sister?

Emilia

367 - 368
  1.                          Yes, I must, sir,
  2. Else both miscarry.

Theseus

369 - 371
  1.                     Come shake hands again then,
  2. And take heed, as you are gentlemen, this quarrel
  3. Sleep till the hour prefix’d, and hold your course.

Palamon

372
  1. We dare not fail thee, Theseus.

Theseus

373 - 376
  1.                                 Come, I’ll give ye
  2. Now usage like to princes and to friends.
  3. When ye return, who wins I’ll settle here;
  4. Who loses, yet I’ll weep upon his bier.
  1. Exeunt.
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