The Two Noble Kinsmen
Act III, Scene 6
Another part of the forest near Athens.
- Enter Palamon from the bush.
Palamon1 - 17
- About this hour my cousin gave his faith
- To visit me again, and with him bring
- Two swords and two good armors. If he fail,
- He’s neither man nor soldier. When he left me,
- I did not think a week could have restor’d
- My lost strength to me, I was grown so low
- And crestfall’n with my wants. I thank thee, Arcite,
- Thou art yet a fair foe; and I feel myself,
- With this refreshing, able once again
- To out-dure danger. To delay it longer
- Would make the world think, when it comes to hearing,
- That I lay fatting like a swine, to fight,
- And not a soldier: therefore this blest morning
- Shall be the last; and that sword he refuses,
- If it but hold, I kill him with. ’Tis justice.
- So, love and fortune for me!
- Enter Arcite with armors and swords.
- O, good morrow.
- Good morrow, noble kinsman.
Palamon19 - 20
- I have put you
- To too much pains, sir.
Arcite21 - 22
- That too much, fair cousin,
- Is but a debt to honor, and my duty.
Palamon23 - 26
- Would you were so in all, sir! I could wish ye
- As kind a kinsman as you force me find
- A beneficial foe, that my embraces
- Might thank ye, not my blows.
Arcite27 - 28
- I shall think either,
- Well done, a noble recompense.
- Then I shall quit you.
Arcite30 - 47
- Defy me in these fair terms, and you show
- More than a mistress to me; no more anger,
- As you love any thing that’s honorable.
- We were not bred to talk, man. When we are arm’d
- And both upon our guards, then let our fury,
- Like meeting of two tides, fly strongly from us,
- And then to whom the birthright of this beauty
- Truly pertains (without obbraidings, scorns,
- Despisings of our persons, and such poutings,
- Fitter for girls and schoolboys) will be seen,
- And quickly, yours or mine. Will’t please you arm, sir?
- Or if you feel yourself not fitting yet
- And furnish’d with your old strength, I’ll stay, cousin,
- And ev’ry day discourse you into health,
- As I am spar’d. Your person I am friends with,
- And I could wish I had not said I lov’d her,
- Though I had died; but loving such a lady
- And justifying my love, I must not fly from’t.
Palamon48 - 50
- Arcite, thou art so brave an enemy
- That no man but thy cousin’s fit to kill thee.
- I am well and lusty, choose your arms.
- Choose you, sir.
Palamon52 - 53
- Wilt thou exceed in all, or dost thou do it
- To make me spare thee?
Arcite54 - 56
- If you think so, cousin,
- You are deceived, for as I am a soldier,
- I will not spare you.
- That’s well said.
- You’ll find it.
Palamon59 - 61
- Then as I am an honest man, and love
- With all the justice of affection,
- I’ll pay thee soundly. This I’ll take.
Arcite62 - 63
- That’s mine then.
- I’ll arm you first.
Palamon64 - 65
- Do. Pray thee tell me, cousin,
- Where got’st thou this good armor?
Arcite66 - 67
- ’Tis the Duke’s,
- And to say true, I stole it. Do I pinch you?
- Is’t not too heavy?
Palamon70 - 71
- I have worn a lighter,
- But I shall make it serve.
- I’ll buckle’t close.
- By any means.
- You care not for a grand-guard?
Palamon75 - 76
- No, no, we’ll use no horses. I perceive
- You would fain be at that fight.
- I am indifferent.
Palamon78 - 79
- Faith, so am I. Good cousin, thrust the buckle
- Through far enough.
- I warrant you.
- My casque now.
- Will you fight bare-arm’d?
- We shall be the nimbler.
Arcite84 - 85
- But use your gauntlets though. Those are o’ th’ least;
- Prithee take mine, good cousin.
Palamon86 - 87
- Thank you, Arcite.
- How do I look? Am I fall’n much away?
- Faith, very little. Love has us’d you kindly.
- I’ll warrant thee, I’ll strike home.
Arcite90 - 91
- Do, and spare not.
- I’ll give you cause, sweet cousin.
Palamon92 - 94
- Now to you, sir.
- Methinks this armor’s very like that, Arcite,
- Thou wor’st that day the three kings fell, but lighter.
Arcite95 - 100
- That was a very good one, and that day,
- I well remember, you outdid me, cousin;
- I never saw such valor. When you charg’d
- Upon the left wing of the enemy,
- I spurr’d hard to come up, and under me
- I had a right good horse.
Palamon101 - 102
- You had indeed,
- A bright bay, I remember.
Arcite103 - 106
- Yes, but all
- Was vainly labor’d in me; you outwent me,
- Nor could my wishes reach you. Yet a little
- I did by imitation.
Palamon107 - 108
- More by virtue.
- You are modest, cousin.
Arcite109 - 111
- When I saw you charge first,
- Methought I heard a dreadful clap of thunder
- Break from the troop.
Palamon112 - 114
- But still before that flew
- The lightning of your valor. Stay a little;
- Is not this piece too strait?
- No, no, ’tis well.
Palamon116 - 117
- I would have nothing hurt thee but my sword,
- A bruise would be dishonor.
- Now I am perfect.
- Stand off then.
- Take my sword, I hold it better.
Palamon121 - 123
- I thank ye. No, keep it, your life lies on it.
- Here’s one, if it but hold, I ask no more
- For all my hopes. My cause and honor guard me!
Arcite124 - 125
- And me my love!
- They bow several ways; then advance and stand.
- Is there aught else to say?
Palamon126 - 133
- This only, and no more: thou art mine aunt’s son,
- And that blood we desire to shed is mutual,
- In me, thine, and in thee, mine. My sword
- Is in my hand, and if thou kill’st me,
- The gods and I forgive thee. If there be
- A place prepar’d for those that sleep in honor,
- I wish his weary soul that falls may win it.
- Fight bravely, cousin. Give me thy noble hand.
Arcite134 - 135
- Here, Palamon: this hand shall never more
- Come near thee with such friendship.
- I commend thee.
Arcite137 - 139
- If I fall, curse me, and say I was a coward,
- For none but such dare die in these just trials.
- Once more farewell, my cousin.
- Farewell, Arcite.
- Fight. Horns within; they stand.
- Lo, cousin, lo, our folly has undone us.
Arcite143 - 152
- This is the Duke, a-hunting as I told you.
- If we be found, we are wretched. O, retire
- For honor’s sake, and safely presently
- Into your bush again, sir. We shall find
- Too many hours to die in, gentle cousin.
- If you be seen, you perish instantly
- For breaking prison, and I, if you reveal me,
- For my contempt. Then all the world will scorn us,
- And say we had a noble difference,
- But base disposers of it.
Palamon153 - 158
- No, no, cousin,
- I will no more be hidden, nor put off
- This great adventure to a second trial.
- I know your cunning, and I know your cause.
- He that faints now, shame take him! Put thyself
- Upon thy present guard—
- You are not mad?
Palamon160 - 164
- Or I will make th’ advantage of this hour
- Mine own; and what to come shall threaten me
- I fear less than my fortune. Know, weak cousin,
- I love Emilia, and in that I’ll bury
- Thee and all crosses else.
Arcite165 - 169
- Then come what can come,
- Thou shalt know, Palamon, I dare as well
- Die as discourse or sleep. Only this fears me,
- The law will have the honor of our ends.
- Have at thy life!
- Look to thine own well, Arcite.
- Fight again. Horns.
- Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Pirithous, and Train.
Theseus171 - 175
- What ignorant and mad malicious traitors
- Are you, that ’gainst the tenor of my laws
- Are making battle, thus like knights appointed,
- Without my leave and officers of arms?
- By Castor, both shall die.
Palamon176 - 196
- Hold thy word, Theseus.
- We are certainly both traitors, both despisers
- Of thee and of thy goodness. I am Palamon,
- That cannot love thee, he that broke thy prison—
- Think well what that deserves; and this is Arcite,
- A bolder traitor never trod thy ground,
- A falser nev’r seem’d friend. This is the man
- Was begg’d and banish’d, this is he contemns thee
- And what thou dar’st do; and in this disguise,
- Against thy own edict, follows thy sister,
- That fortunate bright star, the fair Emilia,
- Whose servant (if there be a right in seeing,
- And first bequeathing of the soul to) justly
- I am, and which is more, dares think her his.
- This treachery, like a most trusty lover,
- I call’d him now to answer. If thou be’st,
- As thou art spoken, great and virtuous,
- The true decider of all injuries,
- Say, “Fight again!” and thou shalt see me, Theseus,
- Do such a justice thou thyself wilt envy.
- Then take my life, I’ll woo thee to’t.
Pirithous197 - 198
- O heaven,
- What more than man is this!
- I have sworn.
Arcite200 - 214
- We seek not
- Thy breath of mercy, Theseus. ’Tis to me
- A thing as soon to die as thee to say it,
- And no more mov’d. Where this man calls me traitor,
- Let me say thus much: if in love be treason
- In service of so excellent a beauty,
- As I love most, and in that faith will perish,
- As I have brought my life here to confirm it,
- As I have serv’d her truest, worthiest,
- As I dare kill this cousin that denies it,
- So let me be most traitor, and ye please me.
- For scorning thy edict, Duke, ask that lady
- Why she is fair, and why her eyes command me
- Stay here to love her; and if she say “traitor,”
- I am a villain fit to lie unburied.
Palamon215 - 222
- Thou shalt have pity of us both, O Theseus,
- If unto neither thou show mercy. Stop,
- As thou art just, thy noble ear against us;
- As thou art valiant, for thy cousin’s soul,
- Whose twelve strong labors crown his memory,
- Let ’s die together, at one instant, Duke.
- Only a little let him fall before me,
- That I may tell my soul he shall not have her.
Theseus223 - 227
- I grant your wish, for to say true, your cousin
- Has ten times more offended, for I gave him
- More mercy than you found, sir, your offenses
- Being no more than his. None here speak for ’em,
- For ere the sun set, both shall sleep forever.
Hippolyta228 - 231
- Alas, the pity! Now or never, sister,
- Speak, not to be denied. That face of yours
- Will bear the curses else of after-ages
- For these lost cousins.
Emilia232 - 239
- In my face, dear sister,
- I find no anger to ’em, nor no ruin:
- The misadventure of their own eyes kill ’em;
- Yet that I will be woman, and have pity,
- My knees shall grow to th’ ground but I’ll get mercy.
- Help me, dear sister, in a deed so virtuous
- The powers of all women will be with us.
- Most royal brother—
- They kneel.
- Sir, by our tie of marriage—
- By your own spotless honor—
Hippolyta242 - 243
- By that faith,
- That fair hand, and that honest heart you gave me—
Emilia244 - 245
- By that you would have pity in another,
- By your own virtues infinite—
Hippolyta246 - 247
- By valor,
- By all the chaste nights I have ever pleas’d you—
- These are strange conjurings.
Pirithous249 - 251
- Nay then I’ll in too.
- By all our friendship, sir, by all our dangers,
- By all you love most—wars, and this sweet lady—
Emilia252 - 253
- By that you would have trembled to deny
- A blushing maid—
Hippolyta254 - 256
- By your own eyes, by strength,
- In which you swore I went beyond all women,
- Almost all men, and yet I yielded, Theseus—
Pirithous257 - 258
- To crown all this, by your most noble soul,
- Which cannot want due mercy, I beg first.
- Next hear my prayers.
- Last let me entreat, sir.
- For mercy.
- Mercy on these princes.
Theseus264 - 265
- Ye make my faith reel. Say I felt
- Compassion to ’em both, how would you place it?
- Upon their lives; but with their banishments.
Theseus267 - 278
- You are a right woman, sister, you have pity,
- But want the understanding where to use it.
- If you desire their lives, invent a way
- Safer than banishment. Can these two live,
- And have the agony of love about ’em,
- And not kill one another? Every day
- They’ld fight about you; hourly bring your honor
- In public question with their swords. Be wise then
- And here forget ’em; it concerns your credit
- And my oath equally. I have said they die;
- Better they fall by th’ law than one another.
- Bow not my honor.
Emilia279 - 285
- O my noble brother,
- That oath was rashly made, and in your anger,
- Your reason will not hold it. If such vows
- Stand for express will, all the world must perish.
- Beside, I have another oath ’gainst yours,
- Of more authority, I am sure more love,
- Not made in passion neither, but good heed.
- What is it, sister?
- Urge it home, brave lady.
Emilia288 - 305
- That you would nev’r deny me any thing
- Fit for my modest suit and your free granting.
- I tie you to your word now; if ye fall in’t,
- Think how you maim your honor
- (For now I am set a-begging, sir, I am deaf
- To all but your compassion), how their lives
- Might breed the ruin of my name; opinion,
- Shall any thing that loves me perish for me?
- That were a cruel wisdom. Do men proin
- The straight young boughs that blush with thousand blossoms,
- Because they may be rotten? O Duke Theseus,
- The goodly mothers that have groan’d for these,
- And all the longing maids that ever lov’d,
- If your vow stand, shall curse me and my beauty,
- And in their funeral songs for these two cousins
- Despise my cruelty, and cry woe worth me,
- Till I am nothing but the scorn of women.
- For heaven’s sake save their lives, and banish ’em.
- On what conditions?
Emilia307 - 311
- Swear ’em never more
- To make me their contention, or to know me,
- To tread upon thy dukedom, and to be,
- Where ever they shall travel, ever strangers
- To one another.
Palamon312 - 319
- I’ll be cut a-pieces
- Before I take this oath. Forget I love her?
- O all ye gods, despise me then. Thy banishment
- I not mislike, so we may fairly carry
- Our swords and cause along; else, never trifle,
- But take our lives, Duke. I must love, and will,
- And for that love must and dare kill this cousin,
- On any piece the earth has.
Theseus320 - 321
- Will you, Arcite,
- Take these conditions?
- He’s a villain then.
- These are men!
Arcite324 - 328
- No, never. Duke. ’Tis worse to me than begging
- To take my life so basely. Though I think
- I never shall enjoy her, yet I’ll preserve
- The honor of affection, and die for her,
- Make death a devil.
- What may be done? For now I feel compassion.
- Let it not fall again, sir.
Theseus331 - 338
- Say, Emilia,
- If one of them were dead, as one must, are you
- Content to take th’ other to your husband?
- They cannot both enjoy you. They are princes
- As goodly as your own eyes, and as noble
- As ever fame yet spoke of. Look upon ’em
- And if you can love, end this difference.
- I give consent.—Are you content too, princes?
Both Arcite and Palamon339
- With all our souls.
Theseus340 - 341
- He that she refuses
- Must die then.
Both Arcite and Palamon342
- Any death thou canst invent, Duke.
Palamon343 - 344
- If I fall from that mouth, I fall with favor,
- And lovers yet unborn shall bless my ashes.
Arcite345 - 346
- If she refuse me, yet my grave will wed me,
- And soldiers sing my epitaph.
- Make choice then.
Emilia348 - 349
- I cannot, sir, they are both too excellent:
- For me, a hair shall never fall of these men.
- What will become of ’em?
Theseus351 - 362
- Thus I ordain it,
- And by mine honor, once again it stands,
- Or both shall die: you shall both to your country,
- And each within this month, accompanied
- With three fair knights, appear again in this place,
- In which I’ll plant a pyramid; and whether,
- Before us that are here, can force his cousin
- By fair and knightly strength to touch the pillar,
- He shall enjoy her; the other lose his head,
- And all his friends; nor shall he grudge to fall,
- Nor think he dies with interest in this lady.
- Will this content ye?
Palamon363 - 364
- Yes. Here, cousin Arcite,
- I am friends again till that hour.
- I embrace ye.
- Are you content, sister?
Emilia367 - 368
- Yes, I must, sir,
- Else both miscarry.
Theseus369 - 371
- Come shake hands again then,
- And take heed, as you are gentlemen, this quarrel
- Sleep till the hour prefix’d, and hold your course.
- We dare not fail thee, Theseus.
Theseus373 - 376
- Come, I’ll give ye
- Now usage like to princes and to friends.
- When ye return, who wins I’ll settle here;
- Who loses, yet I’ll weep upon his bier.