Scaena 1. (Athens. A garden, with a prison in the background.)
[Enter Iailor, and Wooer.]
I may depart with little, while I live; some thing I may cast to
you, not much: Alas, the Prison I keepe, though it be for great
ones, yet they seldome come; Before one Salmon, you shall take a
number of Minnowes. I am given out to be better lyn'd then it
can appeare to me report is a true Speaker: I would I were really
that I am deliverd to be. Marry, what I have (be it what it
I will assure upon my daughter at the day of my death.
Sir, I demaund no more then your owne offer, and I will estate
Daughter in what I have promised.
Wel, we will talke more of this, when the solemnity is past. But
have you a full promise of her? When that shall be seene, I
I have Sir; here shee comes.
Your Friend and I have chanced to name you here, upon the old
busines: But no more of that now; so soone as the Court hurry
is over, we will have an end of it: I'th meane time looke
tenderly to the two Prisoners. I can tell you they are princes.
These strewings are for their Chamber; tis pitty they are in
and twer pitty they should be out: I doe thinke they have
to make any adversity asham'd; the prison it selfe is proud of
and they have all the world in their Chamber.
They are fam'd to be a paire of absolute men.
By my troth, I think Fame but stammers 'em; they stand a greise
above the reach of report.
I heard them reported in the Battaile to be the only doers.
Nay, most likely, for they are noble suffrers; I mervaile how
would have lookd had they beene Victors, that with such a
Nobility enforce a freedome out of Bondage, making misery their
and affliction a toy to jest at.
Doe they so?
It seemes to me they have no more sence of their Captivity, then
of ruling Athens: they eate well, looke merrily, discourse of
things, but nothing of their owne restraint, and disasters: yet
sometime a devided sigh, martyrd as 'twer i'th deliverance, will
breake from one of them; when the other presently gives it so
a rebuke, that I could wish my selfe a Sigh to be so chid, or at
least a Sigher to be comforted.
I never saw 'em.
The Duke himselfe came privately in the night,
[Enter Palamon, and Arcite, above.]
and so did they: what the reason of it is, I know not: Looke,
they are! that's Arcite lookes out.
No, Sir, no, that's Palamon: Arcite is the lower of the twaine;
may perceive a part of him.
Goe too, leave your pointing; they would not make us their
out of their sight.
It is a holliday to looke on them: Lord, the diffrence of men!
Scaena 2. (The prison)
[Enter Palamon, and Arcite in prison.]
How doe you, Noble Cosen?
How doe you, Sir?
Why strong inough to laugh at misery,
And beare the chance of warre, yet we are prisoners,
I feare, for ever, Cosen.
I beleeve it,
And to that destiny have patiently
Laide up my houre to come.
O Cosen Arcite,
Where is Thebs now? where is our noble Country?
Where are our friends, and kindreds? never more
Must we behold those comforts, never see
The hardy youthes strive for the Games of honour
(Hung with the painted favours of their Ladies,
Like tall Ships under saile) then start among'st 'em
And as an Eastwind leave 'en all behinde us,
Like lazy Clowdes, whilst Palamon and Arcite,
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg
Out-stript the peoples praises, won the Garlands,
Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. O never
Shall we two exercise, like Twyns of honour,
Our Armes againe, and feele our fyry horses
Like proud Seas under us: our good Swords now
(Better the red-eyd god of war nev'r wore)
Ravishd our sides, like age must run to rust,
And decke the Temples of those gods that hate us:
These hands shall never draw'em out like lightning,
To blast whole Armies more.
Those hopes are Prisoners with us; here we are
And here the graces of our youthes must wither
Like a too-timely Spring; here age must finde us,
And, which is heaviest, Palamon, unmarried;
The sweete embraces of a loving wife,
Loden with kisses, armd with thousand Cupids
Shall never claspe our neckes, no issue know us,
No figures of our selves shall we ev'r see,
To glad our age, and like young Eagles teach 'em
Boldly to gaze against bright armes, and say:
'Remember what your fathers were, and conquer.'
The faire-eyd Maides, shall weepe our Banishments,
And in their Songs, curse ever-blinded fortune,
Till shee 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,
Heare nothing but the Clocke that tels our woes.
The Vine shall grow, but we shall never see it:
Sommer shall come, and with her all delights;
But dead-cold winter must inhabite here still.
Tis too true, Arcite. To our Theban houndes,
That shooke the aged Forrest with their ecchoes,
No more now must we halloa, no more shake
Our pointed Iavelyns, whilst the angry Swine
Flyes like a parthian quiver from our rages,
Strucke with our well-steeld Darts: All valiant uses
(The foode, and nourishment of noble mindes,)
In us two here shall perish; we shall die
(Which is the curse of honour) lastly
Children of greife, and Ignorance.
Even from the bottom of these miseries,
From all that fortune can inflict upon us,
I see two comforts rysing, two meere blessings,
If the gods please: to hold here a brave patience,
And the enjoying of our greefes together.
Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish
If I thinke this our prison.
Tis a maine goodnes, Cosen, that our fortunes
Were twyn'd together; tis most true, two soules
Put in two noble Bodies--let 'em suffer
The gaule of hazard, so they grow together--
Will never sincke; they must not, say they could:
A willing man dies sleeping, and all's done.
Shall we make worthy uses of this place
That all men hate so much?
How, gentle Cosen?
Let's thinke this prison holy sanctuary,
To keepe us from corruption of worse men.
We are young and yet desire the waies of honour,
That liberty and common Conversation,
The poyson of pure spirits, might like women
Wooe us to wander from. What worthy blessing
Can be but our Imaginations
May make it ours? And heere being thus together,
We are an endles mine to one another;
We are one anothers wife, ever begetting
New birthes of love; we are father, friends, acquaintance;
We are, in one another, Families,
I am your heire, and you are mine: This place
Is our Inheritance, no hard Oppressour
Dare take this from us; here, with a little patience,
We shall live long, and loving: No surfeits seeke 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 busines;
Quarrels consume us, Envy of ill men
Grave our acquaintance; I might sicken, Cosen,
Where you should never know it, and so perish
Without your noble hand to close mine eies,
Or praiers to the gods: a thousand chaunces,
Were we from hence, would seaver us.
You have made me
(I thanke you, Cosen Arcite) almost wanton
With my Captivity: what a misery
It is to live abroade, and every where!
Tis like a Beast, me thinkes: I finde the Court here--
I am sure, a more content; and all those pleasures
That wooe the wils of men to vanity,
I see through now, and am sufficient
To tell the world, tis but a gaudy shaddow,
That old Time, as he passes by, takes with him.
What had we bin, old in the Court of Creon,
Where sin is Iustice, lust and ignorance
The vertues of the great ones! Cosen Arcite,
Had not the loving gods found this place for us,
We had died as they doe, ill old men, unwept,
And had their Epitaphes, the peoples Curses:
Shall I say more?
I would heare you still.
Is there record of any two that lov'd
Better then we doe, Arcite?
Sure, there cannot.
I doe not thinke it possible our friendship
Should ever leave us.
Till our deathes it cannot;
[Enter Emilia and her woman (below).]
And after death our spirits shall be led
To those that love eternally. Speake on, Sir.
This garden has a world of pleasures in't.
What Flowre is this?
Tis calld Narcissus, Madam.
That was a faire Boy, certaine, but a foole,
To love himselfe; were there not maides enough?
Or were they all hard hearted?
They could not be to one so faire.
Thou wouldst not.
I thinke I should not, Madam.
That's a good wench:
But take heede to your kindnes though.
Men are mad things.
Will ye goe forward, Cosen?
Canst not thou worke such flowers in silke, wench?
Ile have a gowne full of 'em, and of these;
This is a pretty colour, wilt not doe
Rarely upon a Skirt, wench?
Cosen, Cosen, how doe you, Sir? Why, Palamon?
Never till now I was in prison, Arcite.
Why whats the matter, Man?
Behold, and wonder.
By heaven, shee is a Goddesse.
Doe reverence. She is a Goddesse, Arcite.
Of all Flowres, me thinkes a Rose is best.
Why, gentle Madam?
It is the very Embleme of a Maide.
For when the west wind courts her gently,
How modestly she blowes, and paints the Sun,
With her chaste blushes! When the North comes neere her,
Rude and impatient, then, like Chastity,
Shee lockes her beauties in her bud againe,
And leaves him to base briers.
Yet, good Madam,
Sometimes her modesty will blow so far
She fals for't: a Mayde,
If shee have any honour, would be loth
To take example by her.
Thou art wanton.
She is wondrous faire.
She is beauty extant.
The Sun grows high, lets walk in: keep these flowers;
Weele see how neere Art can come neere their colours.
I am wondrous merry hearted, I could laugh now.
I could lie downe, I am sure.
And take one with you?
That's as we bargaine, Madam.
Well, agree then. [Exeunt Emilia and woman.]
What thinke you of this beauty?
Tis a rare one.
Is't but a rare one?
Yes, a matchles beauty.
Might not a man well lose himselfe and love her?
I cannot tell what you have done, I have;
Beshrew mine eyes for't: now I feele my Shackles.
You love her, then?
Who would not?
And desire her?
Before my liberty.
I saw her first.
But it shall be.
I saw her too.
Yes, but you must not love her.
I will not as you doe, to worship her,
As she is heavenly, and a blessed Goddes;
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?
I, that first saw her; I, that tooke possession
First with mine eyes of all those beauties
In her reveald to mankinde: if thou lou'st her,
Or entertain'st a hope to blast my wishes,
Thou art a Traytour, Arcite, and a fellow
False as thy Title to her: friendship, blood,
And all the tyes betweene us I disclaime,
If thou once thinke upon her.
Yes, I love her,
And if the lives of all my name lay on it,
I must doe so; I love her with my soule:
If that will lose ye, farewell, Palamon;
I say againe, I love, and in loving her maintaine
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 mans Sonne.
Have I cald thee friend?
Yes, and have found me so; why are you mov'd thus?
Let me deale coldly with you: am not I
Part of your blood, part of your soule? you have told me
That I was Palamon, and you were Arcite.
Am not I liable to those affections,
Those joyes, greifes, angers, feares, my friend shall suffer?
Ye may be.
Why, then, would you deale so cunningly,
So strangely, so vnlike a noble kinesman,
To love alone? speake truely: doe you thinke me
Vnworthy of her sight?
No; but unjust,
If thou pursue that sight.
Because an other
First sees the Enemy, shall I stand still
And let mine honour downe, and never charge?
Yes, if he be but one.
But say that one
Had rather combat me?
Let that one say so,
And use thy freedome; els if thou pursuest her,
Be as that cursed man that hates his Country,
A branded villaine.
You are mad.
I must be,
Till thou art worthy, Arcite; it concernes me,
And in this madnes, if I hazard thee
And take thy life, I deale but truely.
You play the Childe extreamely: I will love her,
I must, I ought to doe so, and I dare;
And all this justly.
O that now, that now
Thy false-selfe and thy friend had but this fortune,
To be one howre at liberty, and graspe
Our good Swords in our hands! I would quickly teach thee
What 'twer to filch affection from another:
Thou art baser in it then a Cutpurse;
Put but thy head out of this window more,
And as I have a soule, Ile naile thy life too't.
Thou dar'st not, foole, thou canst not, thou art feeble.
Put my head out? Ile throw my Body out,
And leape the garden, when I see her next
And pitch between her armes to anger thee.
No more; the keeper's comming; I shall live
To knocke thy braines out with my Shackles.
By your leave, Gentlemen--
Now, honest keeper?
Lord Arcite, you must presently to'th Duke;
The cause I know not yet.
I am ready, keeper.
Prince Palamon, I must awhile bereave you
Of your faire Cosens Company. [Exeunt Arcite, and Keeper.]
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 faire,
Let honest men ne're love againe. Once more
I would but see this faire One. Blessed Garden,
And fruite, and flowers more blessed, that still blossom
As her bright eies shine on ye! would I were,
For all the fortune of my life hereafter,
Yon little Tree, yon blooming Apricocke;
How I would spread, and fling my wanton armes
In at her window; I would bring her fruite
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 neere the Gods in nature, they should feare her,
And then I am sure she would love me. How now, keeper.
Banishd: Prince Pirithous
Obtained his liberty; but never more
Vpon his oth and life must he set foote
Vpon this Kingdome.
Hees a blessed man!
He shall see Thebs againe, and call to Armes
The bold yong men, that, when he bids 'em charge,
Fall on like fire: Arcite shall have a Fortune,
If he dare make himselfe a worthy Lover,
Yet in the Feild to strike a battle for her;
And if he lose her then, he's a cold Coward;
How bravely may he beare himselfe to win her
If he be noble Arcite--thousand waies.
Were I at liberty, I would doe things
Of such a vertuous greatnes, that this Lady,
This blushing virgine, should take manhood to her
And seeke to ravish me.
My Lord for you
I have this charge too--
To discharge my life?
No, but from this place to remoove your Lordship:
The windowes are too open.
Devils take 'em,
That are so envious to me! pre'thee kill me.
And hang for't afterward.
By this good light,
Had I a sword I would kill thee.
Why, my Lord?
Thou bringst such pelting scuruy news continually
Thou art not worthy life. I will not goe.
Indeede, you must, my Lord.
May I see the garden?
Then I am resolud, I will not goe.
I must constraine you then: and for you are dangerous,
Ile clap more yrons on you.
Doe, good keeper.
Ile shake 'em so, ye shall not sleepe;
Ile make ye a new Morrisse: must I goe?
There is no remedy.
Farewell, kinde window.
May rude winde never hurt thee. O, my Lady,
If ever thou hast felt what sorrow was,
Dreame how I suffer. Come; now bury me. [Exeunt Palamon, and
Scaena 3. (The country near Athens.)
Banishd the kingdome? tis a benefit,
A mercy I must thanke 'em for, but banishd
The free enjoying of that face I die for,
Oh twas a studdied punishment, a death
Beyond Imagination: Such a vengeance
That, were I old and wicked, all my sins
Could never plucke upon me. Palamon,
Thou ha'st the Start now, thou shalt stay and see
Her bright eyes breake each morning gainst thy window,
And let in life into thee; thou shalt feede
Vpon the sweetenes of a noble beauty,
That nature nev'r exceeded, nor nev'r shall:
Good gods! what happines has Palamon!
Twenty to one, hee'le come to speake to her,
And if she be as gentle as she's faire,
I know she's his; he has a Tongue will tame
Tempests, and make the wild Rockes wanton.
Come what can come,
The worst is death; I will not leave the Kingdome.
I know mine owne is but a heape of ruins,
And no redresse there; if I goe, he has her.
I am resolu'd an other shape shall make me,
Or end my fortunes. Either way, I am happy:
Ile see her, and be neere her, or no more.
[Enter 4. Country people, & one with a garlond before them.]
My Masters, ile be there, that's certaine
And Ile be there.
Why, then, have with ye, Boyes; Tis but a chiding.
Let the plough play to day, ile tick'lt out
Of the Iades tailes to morrow.
I am sure
To have my wife as jealous as a Turkey:
But that's all one; ile goe through, let her mumble.
Clap her aboard to morrow night, and stoa her,
And all's made up againe.
I, doe but put a feskue in her fist, and you shall see her
Take a new lesson out, and be a good wench.
Doe we all hold against the Maying?
Hold? what should aile us?
Arcas will be there.
And Rycas, and 3. better lads nev'r dancd
Under green Tree. And yee know what wenches: ha?
But will the dainty Domine, the Schoolemaster,
Keep touch, doe you thinke? for he do's all, ye know.
Hee'l eate a hornebooke ere he faile: goe too, the matter's too
farre driven betweene him and the Tanners daughter, to let slip
now, and she must see the Duke, and she must daunce too.
Shall we be lusty?
All the Boyes in Athens blow wind i'th breech on's, and heere ile
be and there ile be, for our Towne, and here againe, and there
ha, Boyes, heigh for the weavers.
This must be done i'th woods.
O, pardon me.
By any meanes, our thing of learning saies so:
Where he himselfe will edifie the Duke
Most parlously in our behalfes: hees excellent i'th woods;
Bring him to'th plaines, his learning makes no cry.
Weele see the sports, then; every man to's Tackle:
And, Sweete Companions, lets rehearse by any meanes,
Before the Ladies see us, and doe sweetly,
And God knows what May come on't.
Content; the sports once ended, wee'l performe.
Away, Boyes and hold.
By your leaves, honest friends: pray you, whither goe you?
Whither? why, what a question's that?
Yes, tis a question, to me that know not.
To the Games, my Friend.
Where were you bred, you know it not?
Not farre, Sir,
Are there such Games to day?
Yes, marry, are there:
And such as you neuer saw; The Duke himselfe
Will be in person there.
What pastimes are they?
Wrastling, and Running.--Tis a pretty Fellow.
Thou wilt not goe along?
Not yet, Sir.
Take your owne time: come, Boyes.
My minde misgives me;
This fellow has a veng'ance tricke o'th hip:
Marke how his Bodi's made for't
Ile be hangd, though,
If he dare venture; hang him, plumb porredge,
He wrastle? he rost eggs! Come, lets be gon, Lads. [Exeunt.]
This is an offerd oportunity
I durst not wish for. Well I could have wrestled,
The best men calld it excellent, and run--
Swifter the winde upon a feild of Corne
(Curling the wealthy eares) never flew: Ile venture,
And in some poore disguize be there; who knowes
Whether my browes may not be girt with garlands?
And happines preferre me to a place,
Where I may ever dwell in sight of her. [Exit Arcite.]
Scaena 4. (Athens. A room in the prison.)
[Enter Iailors Daughter alone.]
Why should I love this Gentleman? Tis odds
He never will affect me; I am base,
My Father the meane Keeper of his Prison,
And he a prince: To marry him is hopelesse;
To be his whore is witles. Out upon't,
What pushes are we wenches driven to,
When fifteene once has 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
These eyes yet lookt on. Next, I pittied him,
And so would any young wench, o' my Conscience,
That ever dream'd, or vow'd her Maydenhead
To a yong hansom Man; Then I lov'd him,
Extreamely lov'd him, infinitely lov'd him;
And yet he had a Cosen, faire as he too.
But in my heart was Palamon, and there,
Lord, what a coyle he keepes! To heare him
Sing in an evening, what a heaven it is!
And yet his Songs are sad ones. Fairer spoken
Was never Gentleman. When I come in
To bring him water in a morning, first
He bowes his noble body, then salutes me, thus:
'Faire, gentle Mayde, good morrow; may thy goodnes
Get thee a happy husband.' Once he kist me.
I lov'd my lips the better ten daies after.
Would he would doe so ev'ry day! He greives much,
And me as much to see his misery.
What should I doe, to make him know I love him?
For I would faine enjoy him. Say I ventur'd
To set him free? what saies the law then? Thus much
For Law, or kindred! I will doe it,
And this night, or to morrow, he shall love me. [Exit.]
Scaena 5. (An open place in Athens.)
[Enter Theseus, Hipolita, Pirithous, Emilia: Arcite with a
[This short florish of Cornets and Showtes within.]
You have done worthily; I have not seene,
Since Hercules, a man of tougher synewes;
What ere you are, you run the best, and wrastle,
That these times can allow.
I am proud to please you.
What Countrie bred you?
This; but far off, Prince.
Are you a Gentleman?
My father said so;
And to those gentle uses gave me life.
Are you his heire?
His yongest, Sir.
Sure is a happy Sire then: what prooves you?
A little of all noble Quallities:
I could have kept a Hawke, and well have holloa'd
To a deepe crie of Dogges; I dare not praise
My feat in horsemanship, yet they that knew me
Would say it was my best peece: last, and greatest,
I would be thought a Souldier.
You are perfect.
Vpon my soule, a proper man.
He is so.
How doe you like him, Ladie?
I admire him;
I have not seene so yong a man so noble
(If he say true,) of his sort.
His mother was a wondrous handsome woman;
His face, me thinkes, goes that way.
But his Body
And firie minde illustrate a brave Father.
Marke how his vertue, like a hidden Sun,
Breakes through his baser garments.
Hee's well got, sure.
What made you seeke this place, Sir?
To purchase name, and doe my ablest service
To such a well-found wonder as thy worth,
For onely in thy Court, of all the world,
Dwells faire-eyd honor.
All his words are worthy.
Sir, we are much endebted to your travell,
Nor shall you loose your wish: Perithous,
Dispose of this faire Gentleman.
What ere you are y'ar mine, and I shall give you
To a most noble service, to this Lady,
This bright yong Virgin; pray, observe her goodnesse;
You have honourd hir faire birth-day with your vertues,
And as your due y'ar hirs: kisse her faire hand, Sir.
Sir, y'ar a noble Giver: dearest Bewtie,
Thus let me seale my vowd faith: when your Servant
(Your most unworthie Creature) but offends you,
Command him die, he shall.
That were too cruell.
If you deserve well, Sir, I shall soone see't:
Y'ar mine, and somewhat better than your rancke
Ile use you.
Ile see you furnish'd, and because you say
You are a horseman, I must needs intreat you
This after noone to ride, but tis a rough one.
I like him better, Prince, I shall not then
Freeze in my Saddle.
Sweet, you must be readie,
And you, Emilia, and you, Friend, and all,
To morrow by the Sun, to doe observance
To flowry May, in Dians wood: waite well, Sir,
Vpon your Mistris. Emely, I hope
He shall not goe a foote.
That were a shame, Sir,
While I have horses: take your choice, and what
You want at any time, let me but know it;
If you serve faithfully, I dare assure you
You'l finde a loving Mistris.
If I doe not,
Let me finde that my Father ever hated,
Disgrace and blowes.
Go, leade the way; you have won it:
It shall be so; you shall receave all dues
Fit for the honour you have won; Twer wrong else.
Sister, beshrew my heart, you have a Servant,
That, if I were a woman, would be Master,
But you are wise. [Florish.]
I hope too wise for that, Sir. [Exeunt omnes.]
Scaena 6. (Before the prison.)
[Enter Iaylors Daughter alone.]
Let all the Dukes, and all the divells rore,
He is at liberty: I have venturd 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 Brooke, and there he shall keepe close,
Till I provide him Fyles and foode, for yet
His yron bracelets are not off. O Love,
What a stout hearted child thou art! My Father
Durst better have indur'd cold yron, than done it:
I love him beyond love and beyond reason,
Or wit, or safetie: I have made him know it.
I care not, I am desperate; If the law
Finde me, and then condemne me for't, some wenches,
Some honest harted Maides, 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 doe, Maides will not so easily
Trust men againe: And yet he has not thank'd me
For what I have done: no not so much as kist me,
And that (me thinkes) is not so well; nor scarcely
Could I perswade him to become a Freeman,
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 doe
What he will with me, so he use me kindly;
For use me so he shall, or ile proclaime him,
And to his face, no man. Ile presently
Provide him necessaries, and packe my cloathes up,
And where there is a patch of ground Ile venture,
So hee be with me; By him, like a shadow,
Ile ever dwell; within this houre the whoobub
Will be all ore the prison: I am then
Kissing the man they looke for: farewell, Father;
Get many more such prisoners and such daughters,
And shortly you may keepe your selfe. Now to him!