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

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Act IV, Scene 1

Actus Quartus.

Scaena 1. (Athens. A room in the prison.)

[Enter Iailor and his friend.]

IAILOR.

Heare you no more? was nothing saide of me
Concerning the escape of Palamon?
Good Sir, remember.

1. FRIEND.

Nothing that I heard,
For I came home before the busines
Was fully ended: Yet I might perceive,
Ere I departed, a great likelihood
Of both their pardons: For Hipolita,
And faire-eyd Emilie, upon their knees
Begd with such hansom pitty, that the Duke
Me thought stood staggering, whether he should follow
His rash oth, or the sweet compassion
Of those two Ladies; and to second them,
That truely noble Prince Perithous,
Halfe his owne heart, set in too, that I hope
All shall be well: Neither heard I one question
Of your name or his scape.

[Enter 2. Friend.]

IAILOR.

Pray heaven it hold so.

2. FRIEND.

Be of good comfort, man; I bring you newes,
Good newes.

IAILOR.

They are welcome,

2. FRIEND.

Palamon has cleerd you,
And got your pardon, and discoverd how
And by whose meanes he escapt, which was your Daughters,
Whose pardon is procurd too; and the Prisoner,
Not to be held ungratefull to her goodnes,
Has given a summe of money to her Marriage,
A large one, ile assure you.

IAILOR.

Ye are a good man
And ever bring good newes.

1. FRIEND.

How was it ended?

2. FRIEND.

Why, as it should be; they that nev'r begd
But they prevaild, had their suites fairely granted,
The prisoners have their lives.

1. FRIEND.

I knew t'would be so.

2. FRIEND.

But there be new conditions, which you'l heare of
At better time.

IAILOR.

I hope they are good.

2. FRIEND.

They are honourable,
How good they'l prove, I know not.

[Enter Wooer.]

1. FRIEND.

T'will be knowne.

WOOER.

Alas, Sir, wher's your Daughter?

IAILOR.

Why doe you aske?

WOOER.

O, Sir, when did you see her?

2. FRIEND.

How he lookes?

IAILOR.

This morning.

WOOER.

Was she well? was she in health, Sir?
When did she sleepe?

1. FRIEND.

These are strange Questions.

IAILOR.

I doe not thinke she was very well, for now
You make me minde her, but this very day
I ask'd her questions, and she answered me
So farre from what she was, so childishly,
So sillily, as if she were a foole,
An Inocent, and I was very angry.
But what of her, Sir?

WOOER.

Nothing but my pitty;
But you must know it, and as good by me
As by an other that lesse loves her--

IAILOR.

Well, Sir.

1. FRIEND.

Not right?

2. FRIEND.

Not well?

WOOER.

No, Sir, not well.
Tis too true, she is mad.

1. FRIEND.

It cannot be.

WOOER.

Beleeve, you'l finde it so.

IAILOR.

I halfe suspected
What you (have) told me: the gods comfort her:
Either this was her love to Palamon,
Or feare of my miscarrying on his scape,
Or both.

WOOER.

Tis likely.

IAILOR.

But why all this haste, Sir?

WOOER.

Ile tell you quickly. As I late was angling
In the great Lake that lies behind the Pallace,
From the far shore, thicke set with reedes and Sedges,
As patiently I was attending sport,
I heard a voyce, a shrill one, and attentive
I gave my eare, when I might well perceive
T'was one that sung, and by the smallnesse of it
A boy or woman. I then left my angle
To his owne skill, came neere, but yet perceivd not
Who made the sound, the rushes and the Reeds
Had so encompast it: I laide me downe
And listned to the words she sung, for then,
Through a small glade cut by the Fisher men,
I saw it was your Daughter.

IAILOR.

Pray, goe on, Sir?

WOOER.

She sung much, but no sence; onely I heard her
Repeat this often: 'Palamon is gone,
Is gone to'th wood to gather Mulberies;
Ile finde him out to morrow.'

1. FRIEND.

Pretty soule.

WOOER.

'His shackles will betray him, hee'l be taken,
And what shall I doe then? Ile bring a beavy,
A hundred blacke eyd Maides, that love as I doe,
With Chaplets on their heads of Daffadillies,
With cherry-lips, and cheekes of Damaske Roses,
And all wee'l daunce an Antique fore the Duke,
And beg his pardon.' Then she talk'd of you, Sir;
That you must loose your head to morrow morning,
And she must gather flowers to bury you,
And see the house made handsome: then she sung
Nothing but 'Willow, willow, willow,' and betweene
Ever was, 'Palamon, faire Palamon,'
And 'Palamon was a tall yong man.' The place
Was knee deepe where she sat;...

(The entire section is 3,730 words.)