Fletcher & Shakespeare's
THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN


Modern Spelling. Transcribed by BF. copyright © 2002
Words discussed in the glossary are underlined.
Run-ons (closing open ends) are indicated by ~~~



ACT II

Scene II. 1
Enter the Jailer and the Wooer.

JAILER: I may depart with little, while I live; something I
may cast to you, not much. Alas, the prison I keep,
though it be for great ones, yet they seldom come;
before one salmon you shall take a number of minnows.
I am given out to be better lined than it can appear to
me report is a true speaker. I would I were really that
I am delivered to be. Marry, what I have -- be it what
it will -- I will assure upon my daughter at the day of
my death.

WOOER: Sir, I demand no more than your own offer, and ... [II.1.10
I will estate your daughter in what I have promised.

JAILER: Well, we will talk more of this when the solemnity
is past. But have you a full promise of her?
[Enter the Jailer's Daughter with rushes.]
When that shall be seen, I tender my consent.

WOOER: I have, sir. Here she comes.

JAILER: [to Daughter.] Your friend and I have chanced to
name you here, upon the old business -- but no more
of that now. So soon as the court hurry is over we will
have an end of it. I'th' mean time, look tenderly to the
two prisoners. I can tell you they are princes. ... [II.1.20]

DAUGHTER: These strewings are for their chamber.
'Tis pity they are in prison, and 'twere pity they should
be out. I do think they have patience to make any
adversity ashamed; the prison itself is proud of 'em,
and they have all the world in their chamber.

JAILER: They are famed to be a pair of absolute men.

DAUGHTER: By my troth, I think fame but stammers
'em -- they stand a grece above the reach of report.

JAILER: I heard them reported in the battle to be the only doers. ... [II.1.30]

DAUGHTER: Nay, most likely, for they are noble
sufferers. I marvel how they would have looked had
they been victors, that with such a constant nobility
enforce a freedom out of bondage, making misery their
mirth, and affliction a toy to jest at.

JAILER: Do they so?

DAUGHTER: It seems to me they have no more
sense of their captivity than I of ruling Athens. They
eat well, look merrily, discourse of many things, but
nothing of their own restraint and disasters. Yet ... [II.1.40]
sometime a divided sigh -- martyred as 'twere i' th'
deliverance -- will break from one of them, when the
other presently gives it so sweet a rebuke that I could
wish myself a sigh to be so chid, or at least a sigher
to be comforted.

WOOER: I never saw 'em.

JAILER: The Duke himself came privately in the night,
[Palamon and Arcite appear at a window above.]
and so did they. What the reason of it is I know not.
Look, yonder they are. That's Arcite looks out.

DAUGHTER: No, sir, no -- that's Palamon. Arcite is ... [II.1.50]
the lower of the twain -- [pointing at Arcite.] you may
perceive a part of him.

JAILER: Go to, leave your pointing. They would not make
us their object. Out of their sight.

DAUGHTER: It is a holiday to look on them. Lord,
the difference of men!

Scene II. 2
Enter Palamon and Arcite in prison, (in shackles), above].

PALAMON: How do you, noble cousin?

ARCITE: ~~~ How do you, sir?

PALAMON: Why, strong enough to laugh at misery
And bear the chance of war. Yet we are prisoners,
I fear, for ever, cousin.

ARCITE: ~~~ I believe it,
And to that destiny have patiently
Laid up my hour to come.

PALAMON: ~~~ 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, ... [II.2.10]
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,
Outstripped 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 -- ... [II.2.20]
Better the red-eyed god of war ne'er wore --
Ravished 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.

ARCITE: ~~~ 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 ... [II.2.30]
Loaden with kisses, armed with thousand Cupids,
Shall never clasp our necks; no issue know us;
No figures of ourselves shall we e'er 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-eyed 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. ... [II.2.40]
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.

PALAMON: 'Tis too true, Arcite. To our Theban hounds
That shook the aged forest with their echoes,
No more now must we holler; no more shake
Our pointed javelins whilst the angry swine
Flies like a Parthian quiver from our rages, ... [II.2.50]
Struck with our well-steeled 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.

ARCITE: ~~~ 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. ... [II.2.60]
Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish
If I think this our prison.

PALAMON: ~~~ Certainly
'Tis a main goodness, cousin, that our fortunes
Were twined together. 'Tis most true, two souls
Put in 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.

ARCITE: Shall we make worthy uses of this place
That all men hate so much?

PALAMON: ~~~ How, gentle cousin? ... [II.2.70]

ARCITE: 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 ... [II.80
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 ... [II.2.90]
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.

PALAMON: ~~~ You have made me --
I thank you, cousin Arcite -- almost wanton
With my captivity. What a misery
It is to live abroad, and everywhere!
'Tis like a beast, methinks. I find the court here;
I am sure, a more content; and all those pleasures ... [II.2.100]
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. ... [II.2.110]
Shall I say more?

ARCITE: ~~~ I would hear you still.

PALAMON: ~~~ ~~~ Ye shall.
Is there record of any two that loved
Better than we do, Arcite?

ARCITE: ~~~ Sure there cannot.

PALAMON: I do not think it possible our friendship
Should ever leave us.

ARCITE: ~~~ Till our deaths it cannot,
[Enter Emilia and her Woman (below). Palamon sees Emilia and is silent.]
And after death our spirits shall be led
To those that love eternally. Speak on, sir.

EMILIA: [to her Woman.] This garden has a worldÊof pleasure in't.
What flower is this?

WOMAN: ~~~ 'Tis called narcissus, madam.

EMILIA: That was a fair boy, certain, but a fool ... [II.2.120]
To love himself. Were there not maids enough?

ARCITE: [to Palamon.] Pray forward.

PALAMON: ~~~ Yes.

EMILIA: [to her Woman.] ~~~ ~~~ Or were they all hard-hearted?

WOMAN: They could not be to one so fair.

EMILIA: ~~~ Thou wouldst not.

WOMAN: I think I should not, madam.

EMILIA: ~~~ That's a good wench --
But take heed to your kindness, though.

WOMAN: ~~~ Why, madam?

EMILIA: Men are mad things.

ARCITE: [to Palamon.] ~~~ Will ye go forward, cousin?

EMILIA: [to her Woman.] Canst not thou work such flowers in silk, wench?

WOMAN: ~~~ Yes.

EMILIA: 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?

WOMAN: ~~~ Dainty, madam. ... [II.2.130]

ARCITE: [to Palamon.] Cousin, cousin, how do you, sir? Why, Palamon!

PALAMON: Never till now was I in prison, Arcite.

ARCITE: Why, what's the matter, man?

PALAMON: ~~~ Behold and wonder! [Arcite sees Emilia.]
By heaven, she is a goddess!

ARCITE: ~~~ Ha!

PALAMON: ~~~ ~~~ Do reverence.
She is a goddess, Arcite.

EMILIA: [to her Woman.] ~~~ Of all flowers
Methinks a rose is best.

WOMAN: ~~~ Why, gentle madam?

EMILIA: 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, ... [II.2.140]
Rude and impatient, then, like chastity,
She locks her beauties in her bud again,
And leaves him to base briars.

WOMAN: ~~~ 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.

EMILIA: ~~~ Thou art wanton.

ARCITE: [to Palamon.] She is wondrous fair.

PALAMON: ~~~ She is all the beauty extant.

EMILIA: [to her Woman.]
The sun grows high -- let's walk in. Keep these flowers.
We'll see how close art can come near their colors. ... [II.2.150]
I am wondrous merry-hearted -- I could laugh now.

WOMAN: I could lie down, I am sure.

EMILIA: ~~~ And take one with you?

WOMAN: That's as we bargain, madam.

EMILIA: ~~~ Well, agree then. [Exeunt Emilia and her Woman.]

PALAMON: What think you of this beauty?

ARCITE: ~~~ 'Tis a rare one.

PALAMON: Is't but a rare one?

ARCITE: ~~~ Yes, a matchless beauty.

PALAMON: Might not a man well lose himself and love her?

ARCITE: I cannot tell what you have done; I have,
Beshrew mine eyes for't. Now I feel my shackles.

PALAMON: You love her then?

ARCITE: Who would not? ... [II.2.160]

PALAMON: And desire her?

ARCITE: Before my liberty.

PALAMON: I saw her first.

ARCITE: ~~~ That's nothing.

PALAMON: ~~~ ~~~ But it shall be.

ARCITE: I saw her too.

PALAMON: ~~~ Yes, but you must not love her

ARCITE: 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.

PALAMON: ~~~ You shall not love at all.

ARCITE: Not love at all -- who shall deny me?

PALAMON: I that first saw her, I that took possession ... [II.2.170]
First with mine eye of all those beauties
In her revealed 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.

ARCITE: ~~~ 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! ... [II.2.180]
I say again,
I love her, 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.

PALAMON: ~~~ Have I called thee friend?

ARCITE: Yes, and have found me so. Why are you moved 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.

PALAMON: ~~~ Yes. ... [II.2.190]

ARCITE: Am I not liable to those affections,
Those joys, griefs, angers, fears, my friend shall suffer?

PALAMON: Ye may be.

ARCITE: ~~~ 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?

PALAMON: ~~~ No, but unjust
If thou pursue that sight.

ARCITE: ~~~ Because another
First sees the enemy, shall I stand still,
And let mine honor down, and never charge?

PALAMON: Yes, if he be but one.

ARCITE: ~~~ But say that one ... [II.2.200]
Had rather combat me?

PALAMON: ~~~ 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.

ARCITE: ~~~ You are mad.

PALAMON: ~~~ ~~~ 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.

ARCITE: ~~~ 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.

PALAMON: ~~~ O, that now, that now ... [II.2.210]
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 t'were to filch affection from another.
Thou art baser in it than a cut-purse.
Put but thy head out of this window more
And, as I have a soul, I'll nail thy life to't.

ARCITE: 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, [Enter the Jailer, above.] ... [II.2.220]
And pitch between her arms to anger thee.

PALAMON: No more -- the keeper's coming. I shall live
To knock thy brains out with my shackles.

ARCITE: ~~~ Do.

JAILER: By your leave, gentlemen.

PALAMON: ~~~ Now, honest keeper?

JAILER: Lord Arcite, you must presently to th' Duke.
The cause I know not yet.

ARCITE: ~~~ I am ready, keeper.

JAILER: Prince Palamon, I must a while bereave you
Of your fair cousin's company. [Exeunt Arcite and the Jailer.]

PALAMON: ~~~ And me, too,
Even when you please, of life. Why is he sent for?
It may be he shall marry her -- he's goodly, ... [II.2.230]
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 -- ... [II.2.240]
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 --
[Enter the Jailer, above.]
And then I am sure she would love me. How now, keeper,
Where's Arcite?
JAILER: ~~~ Banished -- Prince Pirithous
Obtained his liberty; but never more,
Upon his oath and life, must he set foot
Upon this kingdom. ... [II.2.250]

PALAMON: [aside] ~~~ 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 ... [II.2.260]
Of such virtuous greatness that this lady,
This blushing virgin, should take manhood to her
And seek to ravish me.

JAILER: ~~~ My lord, for you
I have this charge to --

PALAMON: ~~~ to discharge my life.

JAILER: No, but from this place to remove your lordship --
The windows are too open.

PALAMON: ~~~ Devils take 'em
That are so envious to me -- prithee kill me.

JAILER: And hang for't afterward?

PALAMON: ~~~ By this good light,
Had I a sword I would kill thee.

JAILER: ~~~ Why, my lord?

PALAMON: Thou bring'st such pelting scurvy news continually, ... [II.2.270]
Thou art not worthy life. I will not go.

JAILER: Indeed you must, my lord.

PALAMON: ~~~ May I see the garden?

JAILER: No.

PALAMON: Then I am resolved -- I will not go.

JAILER: I must constrain you, then; and for you are dangerous,
I'll clap more irons on you.

PALAMON: ~~~ Do, good keeper.
I'll shake 'em so ye shall not sleep:
I'll make ye a new morris. Must I go?

JAILER: There is no remedy.

PALAMON: ~~~ Farewell, kind window.
May rude wind never hurt thee, O, my lady,
If ever thou hast felt what sorrow was, ... [II.2.280]
Dream how I suffer. Come, now bury me.

Scene II. 3
Enter Arcite.

ARCITE: Banished the kingdom? 'Tis a benefit,
A mercy I must thank 'em for; but banished
The free enjoying of that face I die for --
O, 'twas a studied punishment, a death
Beyond imagination; such a vengeance
That, were I old and wicked, all my sins
Could never pluck upon me. Palamon,
Thou has the start now -- thou shalt stay and see
Her bright eyes break each morning 'gainst thy window,
And let in life into thee. Thou shalt feed ... [II.3.10]
Upon the sweetness of a noble beauty
That nature ne'er exceeded, nor ne'er shall.
Good gods! What happiness has Palamon!
Twenty to one he'll come to speak to her,
And if she be as gentle as she's fair,
I know she's his -- he has a tongue will tame
Tempests and make the wild rocks wanton.
Come what can come,
The worst is death. I will not leave the kingdom.
I know mine own is but a heap of ruins, ... [II.3.20]
And no redress there. If I go he has her.
I am resolved another shape shall make me,
Or end my fortunes. Either way I am happy --
I'll see her and be near her, or no more.
[Enter four Country People, one of whom carries a garland before them. Arcite stands apart.]

1st COUNTRYMAN: My masters, I'll be there -- that's certain.

2d COUNTRYMAN: And I'll be there.

3d COUNTRYMAN: And I.

4th COUNTRYMAN: Why then, have with ye, boys!
~~~'Tis but a chiding --
Let the plow play today, I'll tickle't out
Of the jades' tails tomorrow.

1st COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ I am sure ... [II.3.30]
To have my wife as jealous as a turkey --
But that's all one. I'll go through, let her mumble.

2d COUNTRYMAN: Clap her aboard tomorrow night and stow her,
And all's made up again.

3d COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ Ay, do but put
A fescue in her fist and you shall see her
Take a new lesson out and be a good wench.
Do we all hold against the maying?

4th COUNTRYMAN: Hold? What should ail us?

3d COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ Arcas will be there.

2d COUNTRYMAN: And Sennois, and Rycas, and three
better lads ne'er danced under green tree; and ye know ... [II.3.40]
what wenches, ha? But will the dainty dominie, the
schoolmaster, keep touch, do you think? For he does
all, ye know.

3d COUNTRYMAN: He'll eat a hornbook ere he fail. Go
to, the matter's too far driven between him and the
tanner's daughter to let slip now, and she must see the
Duke, and she must dance too.

4th COUNTRYMAN: Shall we be lusty?

2d COUNTRYMAN: All the boys in Athens blow wind
i' th' breech on's! And here I'll be and there I'll be, for ... [II.3.50]
our town, and here again and there again -- ha, boys,
hey for the weavers!

1st COUNTRYMAN: This must be done i' th' woods.

4th COUNTRYMAN: O, pardon me.

2d COUNTRYMAN: By any means, our thing of learning
said so; where he himself will edify the Duke most
parlously in our behalfs -- he's excellent i' th' woods,
bring him to th' plains, his learning makes no cry.

3d COUNTRYMAN: We'll see the sports, then every man
to's tackle -- and, sweet companions, let's rehearse, by ... [II.3.60]
any means, before the ladies see us, and do sweetly,
and God know what may come on't.

4th COUNTRYMAN: Content -- the sports once ended,
we'll perform. Away boys, and hold.

ARCITE: [coming forward.]
By your leaves, honest friends, pray you whither go you?

4th COUNTRYMAN: Whither? Why, what a question's that?

ARCITE: Yet 'tis a question
To me that know not.

3d COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ To the games, my friend.

2d COUNTRYMAN: Where were you bred, you know it not?

ARCITE: ~~~ Not far, sir --
Are there such games today?

1st COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ Yes, marry, are there, ... [II.3.70]
And such as you never saw. The Duke himself
Will be in person there.

ARCITE: ~~~ What pastimes are they?

2d COUNTRYMAN: Wrestling and running.
~~~[to the others.] 'Tis a pretty fellow.

3d COUNTRYMAN: [to Arcite.] Thou wilt not go along?

ARCITE: ~~~ Not yet, sir.

4th COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ Well, sir,
Take your own time. [to the others.] Come, boys.

1st COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ My mind misgives me --
This fellow has a vengeance trick o'th' hip:
Mark how his body's made for't.

2d COUNTRYMAN: ~~~ I'll be hanged though
If he dare venture; hang him, plum porridge!
He wrestle? He roast eggs! Come, let's be gone, lads.
[Exeunt the four Countrymen.]

ARCITE: This is an offered opportunity ... [II.3.80]
I durst not wish for. Well I could have wrestled --
The best men called it excellent -- and run
Swifter than wind upon a field of corn,
Curling the wealthy ears, never flew. I'll venture,
And in some poor disguise be there. Who knows
Whether my brows may not be girt with garlands,
And happiness prefer me to a place
Where I may ever dwell in sight of her? [Exit.]

Scene II. 4
Enter the Jailer's Daughter.

DAUGHTER: Why should I love this gentleman? 'Tis odds
He will never affect me. I am base,
My father the mean keeper of his prison,
And he a prince. To marry him is hopeless,
To be his whore is witless. Out upon't,
What pushes are we wenches driven to
When fifteen has once found us? First, I saw him;
I, seeing, thought he was a goodly man;
He has as much to please a woman in him --
If he please to bestow it so -- as ever ... [II.4.10]
These eyes yet looked on. Next, I pitied him,
And so would any young wench, o'my conscience,
That ever dreamed or vowed her maidenhead
To a young handsome man. Then, I loved him,
Extremely loved him, infinitely loved him --
And yet he had a cousin fair as he, too.
But in my heart was Palamon, and there,
Lord, what a coil he keeps! To hear him
Sing in an evening, what a heaven it is!
And yet his songs are sad ones. Fairer spoken ... [II.4.20]
Was never gentleman. When I come in
To bring him water in a morning, first
He bows his noble body, then salutes me, thus:
'Fair, gentle maid, good morrow. May thy goodness
Get thee a happy husband.' Once he kissed me --
I loved my lips the better ten days after.
Would he would do so every day! He grieves much,
And me as much to see his misery.
What should I do to make him know I love him?
For I would fain enjoy him. Say I ventured ... [II.4.430]
To set him free? What says the law then? Thus much
For law or kindred! I will do it,
And this night; ere tomorrow he shall love me. [Exit.]

Scene II. 5
Short flourish of cornets and shouts within. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Pirithous, Emilia, Arcite disguised, with a garland, and attendants.

THESEUS: You have done worthily. I have not seen
Since Hercules a man of tougher sinews.
Whate'er you are, you run the best and wrestle
That these times can allow.

ARCITE: ~~~ I am proud to please you.

THESEUS: What country bred you?

ARCITE: ~~~ This -- but far off, prince.

THESEUS: Are you a gentleman?

ARCITE: ~~~ My father said so,
And to those gentle uses gave me life.

THESEUS: Are you his heir?

ARCITE: ~~~ His youngest, sir.

THESEUS: ~~~ ~~~ Your father
Sure is a happy sire, then. What proves you?

ARCITE: A little of all noble qualities. ... [II.5.10]
I could have kept a hawk and well have hollered
To a deep cry of dogs; I dare not praise
My feat in horsemanship, yet they that knew me
Would say it was my best piece; last and greatest,
I would be thought a soldier.

THESEUS: ~~~ You are perfect.

PIRITHOUS: Upon my soul, a proper man.

EMILIA: ~~~ He is so.

PIRITHOUS: [to Hippolyta.] How do you like him, lady?

HIPPOLYTA ~~~ I admire him.
I have not seen so young a man so noble --
If he say true -- of his sort.

EMILIA: ~~~ Believe
His mother was a wondrous handsome woman -- ... [II.5.20]
His face methinks goes that way.

HIPPOLYTA: ~~~ But his body
And fiery mind illustrate a brave father.

PIRITHOUS: Mark how his virtue, like a hidden sun,
Breaks through his baser garments.

HIPPOLYTA: ~~~ He's well got, sure.

THESEUS: [to Arcite.] What made you seek this place, sir?

ARCITE: ~~~ Noble Theseus,
To purchase name and do my ablest service
To such a well-found wonder as thy worth,
For only in thy court of all the world
Dwells fair-eyed honor.

PIRITHOUS: ~~~ All his words are worthy.

THESEUS: [to Arcite.] Sir, we are much indebted to your travel, ... [II.5.30]
Nor shall you lose your wish. -- Pirithous,
Dispose of this fair gentleman.

PIRITHOUS: ~~~ Thanks, Theseus.
[to Arcite.] Whate'er you are, you're mine, and I shall give you
To a most noble service, to this lady,
This bright young virgin; pray observe her goodness.
You have honored her fair birthday with your virtues,
And as your due you're hers. Kiss her fair hand, sir.

ARCITE: Sir, you're a noble giver. [to Emilia.] Dearest beauty,
Thus let me seal my vowed faith. [He kisses her hand.]
~~~ When your servant,
Your most unworthy creature, but offends you, ... [II.5.40]
Command him die, he shall.

EMILIA: ~~~ That were too cruel.
If you deserve well, sir, I shall soon see't.
You're mine, and somewhat better than your rank I'll use you.

PIRITHOUS: [to Arcite.] I'll see you furnished, and, because you say
You are a horseman, I must needs entreat you
This afternoon to ride -- but 'tis a rough one.

ARCITE: I like him better, prince -- I shall not then
Freeze in my saddle.

THESEUS: [to Hippolyta.] ~~~ Sweet, you must be ready --
And you, Emilia, [to Pirithous.] and you, friend -- and all,
Tomorrow by the sun, to do observance ... [II.5.50]
To flow'ry May in Dian's wood. [to Arcite.] Wait well, sir,
Upon your mistress. -- Emily, I hope
He shall not go afoot.

EMILIA: ~~~ That were a shame, sir,
While I have horses. [to Arcite.] Take your choice, and what
You want, at any time, let me but know it.
If you serve faithfully, I dare assure you,
You'll find a loving mistress.

ARCITE: ~~~ If I do not,
Let me find that my father ever hated --
Disgrace and blows.

THESEUS: ~~~ Go, lead the way -- you have won it.
It shall be so: you shall receive all dues ... [II.5.60]
Fit for the honor you have won. 'Twere wrong else.
[to Emilia.] Sister, beshrew my heart, you have a servant
That, if I were a woman, would be master.
But you are wise.

EMILIA: ~~~ I hope too wise for that, sir. [Flourish. Exeunt.]

Scene II. 6
Enter the Jailer's Daughter.

DAUGHTER: Let all the dukes and all the devils roar --
He is at liberty! I have ventured for him,
And out I have brought him. To a little wood
A mile hence I have sent him, where a cedar
Higher than all the rest spreads like a plane,
Fast by a brook -- and there he shall keep close
'Till I provide him files and food, for yet
His iron bracelets are not off. O Love,
What a stout-hearted child thou art! My father
Durst better have endured cold iron than done it. ... [II.6.10]
I love him beyond love and beyond reason
Or wit or safety. I have made him know it --
I care not, I am desperate. If the law
Find me and then condemn me for't, some wenches,
Some honest-hearted maids, will sing my dirge
And tell to memory my death was noble,
Dying almost a martyr. That way he takes,
I purpose, is my way too. Sure, he cannot
Be so unmanly as to leave me here.
If he do, maids will not so easily ... [II.6.20]
Trust men again. And yet, he has not thanked me
For what I have done -- no, not so much as kissed me --
And that, methinks, is not so well. Nor scarcely
Could I persuade him to become a free man,
He made such scruples of the wrong he did
To me and to my father. Yet, I hope
When he considers more, this love of mine
Will take more root within him. Let him do
What he will with me -- so he use me kindly.
For use me, so he shall, or I'll proclaim him, ... [II.6.30]
And to his face, no man. I'll presently
Provide him with necessaries and pack my clothes up,
And where there is a patch of ground I'll venture,
So he be with me. By him, like a shadow,
I'll ever dwell. Within this hour the hubbub
Will be all o'er the prison -- I am then
Kissing the man they look for. Farewell, father;
Get many more such prisoners and such daughters,
And shortly you may keep yourself. Now to him. [Exit.]


Go to Two Noble Kinsmen Act 3

Go to Two Noble Kinsmen Act 4

Go to Two Noble Kinsmen Act 5

Go to Two Noble Kinsmen GLOSSARY

Go Back to Two Noble Kinsmen Act 1

Back to Elizabethan Authors HOME PAGE