The Two Noble Kinsmen Act III
by William Shakespeare, John Fletcher

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Act III, Scene 1

Actus Tertius.

Scaena 1. (A forest near Athens.)

[Cornets in sundry places. Noise and hallowing as people a
Maying.]

[Enter Arcite alone.]

ARCITE.

The Duke has lost Hypolita; each tooke
A severall land. This is a solemne Right
They owe bloomd May, and the Athenians pay it
To'th heart of Ceremony. O Queene Emilia,
Fresher then May, sweeter
Then hir gold Buttons on the bowes, or all
Th'enamelld knackes o'th Meade or garden: yea,
We challenge too the bancke of any Nymph
That makes the streame seeme flowers; thou, o Iewell
O'th wood, o'th world, hast likewise blest a place
With thy sole presence: in thy rumination
That I, poore man, might eftsoones come betweene
And chop on some cold thought! thrice blessed chance,
To drop on such a Mistris, expectation
Most giltlesse on't! tell me, O Lady Fortune,
(Next after Emely my Soveraigne) how far
I may be prowd. She takes strong note of me,
Hath made me neere her; and this beuteous Morne
(The prim'st of all the yeare) presents me with
A brace of horses: two such Steeds might well
Be by a paire of Kings backt, in a Field
That their crownes titles tride. Alas, alas,
Poore Cosen Palamon, poore prisoner, thou
So little dream'st upon my fortune, that
Thou thinkst thy selfe the happier thing, to be
So neare Emilia; me thou deem'st at Thebs,
And therein wretched, although free. But if
Thou knew'st my Mistris breathd on me, and that
I ear'd her language, livde in her eye, O Coz,
What passion would enclose thee!

[Enter Palamon as out of a Bush, with his Shackles: bends his
fist
at Arcite.]

PALAMON.

Traytor kinesman,
Thou shouldst perceive my passion, if these signes
Of prisonment were off me, and this hand
But owner of a Sword: By all othes in one,
I and the iustice of my love would make thee
A confest Traytor. O thou most perfidious
That ever gently lookd; the voydest of honour,
That eu'r bore gentle Token; falsest Cosen
That ever blood made kin, call'st thou hir thine?
Ile prove it in my Shackles, with these hands,
Void of appointment, that thou ly'st, and art
A very theefe in love, a Chaffy Lord,
Nor worth the name of villaine: had I a Sword
And these house clogges away--

ARCITE.

Deere Cosin Palamon--

PALAMON.

Cosoner Arcite, give me language such
As thou hast shewd me feate.

ARCITE.

Not finding in
The circuit of my breast any grosse stuffe
To forme me like your blazon, holds me to
This gentlenesse of answer; tis your passion
That thus mistakes, the which to you being enemy,
Cannot to me be kind: honor, and honestie
I cherish, and depend on, how so ev'r
You skip them in me, and with them, faire Coz,
Ile maintaine my proceedings; pray, be pleas'd
To shew in generous termes your griefes, since that
Your question's with your equall, who professes
To cleare his owne way with the minde and Sword
Of a true Gentleman.

PALAMON.

That thou durst, Arcite!

ARCITE.

My Coz, my Coz, you have beene well advertis'd
How much I dare, y'ave seene me use my Sword
Against th'advice of feare: sure, of another
You would not heare me doubted, but your silence
Should breake out, though i'th Sanctuary.

PALAMON.

Sir,
I have seene you move in such a place, which well
Might justifie your manhood; you were calld
A good knight and a bold; But the whole weeke's not faire,
If any day it rayne: Their valiant temper
Men loose when they encline to trecherie,
And then they fight like coupelld Beares, would fly
Were they not tyde.

ARCITE.

Kinsman, you might as well
Speake this and act it in your Glasse, as to
His eare which now disdaines you.

PALAMON.

Come up to me,
Quit me of these cold Gyves, give me a Sword,
Though it be rustie, and the charity
Of one meale lend me; Come before me then,
A good Sword in thy hand, and doe but say
That Emily is thine: I will forgive
The trespasse thou hast done me, yea, my life,
If then thou carry't, and brave soules in shades
That have dyde manly, which will seeke of me
Some newes from earth, they shall get none but this,
That thou art brave and noble.

ARCITE.

Be content:
Againe betake you to your hawthorne house;
With counsaile of the night, I will be here
With wholesome viands; these impediments
Will I...

(The entire section is 6,391 words.)