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Act I, Scene 1

Actus Primus.

[Scene 1.] (Athens. Before a temple.)

[Enter Hymen with a Torch burning: a Boy, in a white Robe before
singing, and strewing Flowres: After Hymen, a Nimph, encompast
in
her Tresses, bearing a wheaten Garland. Then Theseus betweene
two other Nimphs with wheaten Chaplets on their heades. Then
Hipolita the Bride, lead by Pirithous, and another holding a
Garland over her head (her Tresses likewise hanging.) After
her Emilia holding up her Traine. (Artesius and Attendants.)]

The Song, [Musike.]

Roses their sharpe spines being gon,
Not royall in their smels alone,
But in their hew.
Maiden Pinckes, of odour faint,
Dazies smel-lesse, yet most quaint
And sweet Time true.

Prim-rose first borne child of Ver,
Merry Spring times Herbinger,
With her bels dimme.
Oxlips, in their Cradles growing,
Mary-golds, on death beds blowing,
Larkes-heeles trymme.

All deere natures children sweete,
Ly fore Bride and Bridegroomes feete, [Strew Flowers.]
Blessing their sence.
Not an angle of the aire,
Bird melodious, or bird faire,
Is absent hence.

The Crow, the slaundrous Cuckoe, nor
The boding Raven, nor Chough hore
Nor chattring Pie,
May on our Bridehouse pearch or sing,
Or with them any discord bring,
But from it fly.

[Enter 3. Queenes in Blacke, with vailes staind, with imperiall
Crownes. The 1. Queene fals downe at the foote of Theseus; The
2. fals downe at the foote of Hypolita. The 3. before Emilia.]

1. QUEEN.

For pitties sake and true gentilities,
Heare, and respect me.

2. QUEEN.

For your Mothers sake,
And as you wish your womb may thrive with faire ones,
Heare and respect me.

3. QUEEN

Now for the love of him whom Iove hath markd
The honour of your Bed, and for the sake
Of cleere virginity, be Advocate
For us, and our distresses. This good deede
Shall raze you out o'th Booke of Trespasses
All you are set downe there.

THESEUS.

Sad Lady, rise.

HIPPOLITA.

Stand up.

EMILIA.

No knees to me.
What woman I may steed that is distrest,
Does bind me to her.

THESEUS.

What's your request? Deliver you for all.

1. QUEEN.

We are 3. Queenes, whose Soveraignes fel before
The wrath of cruell Creon; who endured
The Beakes of Ravens, Tallents of the Kights,
And pecks of Crowes, in the fowle feilds of Thebs.
He will not suffer us to burne their bones,
To urne their ashes, nor to take th' offence
Of mortall loathsomenes from the blest eye
Of holy Phoebus, but infects the windes
With stench of our slaine Lords. O pitty, Duke:
Thou purger of the earth, draw thy feard Sword
That does good turnes to'th world; give us the Bones
Of our dead Kings, that we may Chappell them;
And of thy boundles goodnes take some note
That for our crowned heades we have no roofe,
Save this which is the Lyons, and the Beares,
And vault to every thing.

THESEUS.

Pray you, kneele not:
I was transported with your Speech, and suffer'd
Your knees to wrong themselves; I have heard the fortunes
Of your dead Lords, which gives me such lamenting
As wakes my vengeance, and revenge for'em,
King Capaneus was your Lord: the day
That he should marry you, at such a season,
As now it is with me, I met your Groome,
By Marsis Altar; you were that time faire,
Not Iunos Mantle fairer then your Tresses,
Nor in more bounty spread her. Your wheaten wreathe
Was then nor threashd, nor blasted; Fortune at you
Dimpled her Cheeke with smiles: Hercules our kinesman
(Then weaker than your eies) laide by his Club,
He tumbled downe upon his Nemean hide
And swore his sinews thawd: O greife, and time,
Fearefull consumers, you will all devoure.

1. QUEEN.

O, I hope some God,
Some God hath put his mercy in your manhood
Whereto heel infuse powre, and presse you forth
Our undertaker.

THESEUS.

O no knees, none, Widdow,
Vnto the Helmeted Belona use them,
And pray for me your Souldier.
Troubled I am. [turnes away.]

2. QUEEN.

Honoured Hypolita,
Most dreaded Amazonian, that hast slaine
The Sith-tuskd Bore; that with thy Arme as strong
As it is white, wast neere to make the male
To thy Sex captive, but that this thy Lord,
Borne to uphold Creation in that honour
First nature stilde it in, shrunke thee into
The bownd thou wast ore-flowing,...

(The entire section is 4,355 words.)