The Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 2, scene 1
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Act 2, scene 1
The keeper of a jail in Athens discusses the terms of his daughter’s dowry with her wooer. The daughter enters bringing straw for the cells of the jail’s new prisoners, Palamon and Arcite. She praises their attitude and behavior.Enter Jailer and Wooer.
JAILER 0629 I may depart with little while I live; something I
0630 may cast to you, not much. Alas, the prison I keep,
0631 though it be for great ones, yet they seldom come;
0632 before one salmon you shall take a number of minnows.
0633 5 I am given out to be better lined than it can
0634 appear to me report is a true speaker. I would I
0635 were really that I am delivered to be. Marry, what
0636 I have, be it what it will, I will assure upon my
0637 daughter at the day of my death.
WOOER 0638 10Sir, I demand no more than your own offer,
0639 and I will estate your daughter in what I have
JAILER 0641 Well, we will talk more of this when the solemnity
0642 is past. But have you a full promise of her?
0643 15 When that shall be seen, I tender my consent.
Enter ⌜the Jailer’s⌝ Daughter, ⌜carrying rushes.⌝
WOOER 0644 I have sir. Here she comes.
JAILER, ⌜to Daughter⌝ 0645 Your friend and I have chanced
0646 to name you here, upon the old business. But no
0647 more of that now; so soon as the court hurry is
0648 20 over, we will have an end of it. I’ th’ meantime,
0650 they are princes.
DAUGHTER 0651 These strewings are for their chamber. ’Tis
0652 pity they are in prison, and ’twere pity they should
0653 25 be out. I do think they have patience to make any
0654 adversity ashamed. The prison itself is proud of
0655 ’em, and they have all the world in their chamber.
JAILER 0656 They are famed to be a pair of absolute men.
DAUGHTER 0657 By my troth, I think fame but stammers
0658 30 ’em. They stand a grise above the reach of report.
JAILER 0659 I heard them reported in the battle to be the
0660 only doers.
DAUGHTER 0661 Nay, most likely, for they are noble suff’rers.
0662 I marvel how they would have looked had they
0663 35 been victors, that with such a constant nobility enforce
0664 a freedom out of bondage, making misery
0665 their mirth and affliction a toy to jest at.
JAILER 0666 Do they so?
DAUGHTER 0667 It seems to me they have no more sense
0668 40 of their captivity than I of ruling Athens. They eat
0669 well, look merrily, discourse of many things, but
0670 nothing of their own restraint and disasters. Yet
0671 sometimes a divided sigh, martyred as ’twere i’ th’
0672 deliverance, will break from one of them—when
0673 45 the other presently gives it so sweet a rebuke that
0674 I could wish myself a sigh to be so chid, or at least
0675 a sigher to be comforted.
WOOER 0676 I never saw ’em.
JAILER 0677 The Duke himself came privately in the night,
0678 50 and so did they.
Enter Palamon and Arcite, ⌜in shackles,⌝ above.
0679 What the reason of it is, I know not. Look, yonder
0680 they are; that’s Arcite looks out.
DAUGHTER 0681 No, sir, no, that’s Palamon. Arcite is the
0683 55 him.
JAILER 0684 Go to, leave your pointing; they would not
0685 make us their object. Out of their sight.
DAUGHTER 0686 It is a holiday to look on them. Lord, the
0687 diff’rence of men!
⌜Jailer, Daughter, and Wooer⌝ exit.