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The Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 2, scene 3
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Navigate this workThe Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 2, scene 3
Act 2, scene 3
Arcite decides he will not leave Athens and Emilia. Countrymen enter talking about their plans to dance at a May Day celebration and about competitive games to take place before Duke Theseus. Arcite decides to assume a disguise and become a competitor in the games.Enter Arcite.
1046 Banished the kingdom? ’Tis a benefit,
1047 A mercy I must thank ’em for; but banished
1048 The free enjoying of that face I die for,
1049 O, ’twas a studied punishment, a death
1050 5 Beyond imagination—such a vengeance
1051 That, were I old and wicked, all my sins
1052 Could never pluck upon me. Palamon,
1053 Thou hast the start now; thou shalt stay and see
1054 Her bright eyes break each morning ’gainst thy
1055 10 window
1056 And let in life into thee; thou shalt feed
1057 Upon the sweetness of a noble beauty
1058 That nature ne’er exceeded nor ne’er shall.
1059 Good gods, what happiness has Palamon!
1060 15 Twenty to one he’ll come to speak to her,
1061 And if she be as gentle as she’s fair,
1062 I know she’s his. He has a tongue will tame
1063 Tempests and make the wild rocks wanton.
1064 Come what can come,
1065 20 The worst is death. I will not leave the kingdom.
1066 I know mine own is but a heap of ruins,
1067 And no redress there. If I go, he has her.
1068 I am resolved another shape shall make me
1069 Or end my fortunes. Either way I am happy.
1070 25 I’ll see her and be near her, or no more.
Enter four Country people, and one with
a garland before them.
⌜Arcite steps aside.⌝
FIRST COUNTRYMAN 1071 My masters, I’ll be there, that’s
SECOND COUNTRYMAN 1073 And I’ll be there.
p. 83THIRD COUNTRYMAN 1074 And I.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1075 30Why, then, have with you, boys.
1076 ’Tis but a chiding. Let the plough play today; I’ll
1077 tickle ’t out of the jades’ tails tomorrow.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN 1078 I am sure to have my wife as jealous
1079 as a turkey, but that’s all one. I’ll go through;
1080 35 let her mumble.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN 1081 Clap her aboard tomorrow night
1082 and stow her, and all’s made up again.
THIRD COUNTRYMAN 1083 Ay, do but put a fescue in her fist
1084 and you shall see her take a new lesson out and be
1085 40 a good wench. Do we all hold against the Maying?
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1086 Hold? What should ail us?
THIRD COUNTRYMAN 1087 Arcas will be there.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN 1088 And Sennois and Rycas; and
1089 three better lads ne’er danced under green tree.
1090 45 And ⌜you⌝ know what wenches, ha! But will the
1091 dainty domine, the Schoolmaster, keep touch, do
1092 you think? For he does all, you know.
THIRD COUNTRYMAN 1093 He’ll eat a hornbook ere he fail.
1094 Go to, the matter’s too far driven between him and
1095 50 the tanner’s daughter to let slip now; and she must
1096 see the Duke, and she must dance too.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1097 Shall we be lusty?
SECOND COUNTRYMAN 1098 All the boys in Athens blow wind
1099 i’ th’ breech on ’s. And here I’ll be and there I’ll be,
1100 55 for our town, and here again, and there again. Ha,
1101 boys, hey for the weavers!
FIRST COUNTRYMAN 1102 This must be done i’ th’ woods.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1103 O pardon me.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN 1104 By any means; our thing of learning
1105 60 ⌜says⌝ so—where he himself will edify the Duke
1106 most parlously in our behalfs. He’s excellent i’ th’
1107 woods; bring him to th’ plains, his learning makes
1108 no cry.
p. 85THIRD COUNTRYMAN 1109 We’ll see the sports, then every
1110 65 man to ’s tackle. And, sweet companions, let’s rehearse,
1111 by any means, before the ladies see us, and
1112 do sweetly, and God knows what may come on ’t.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1113 Content. The sports once ended,
1114 we’ll perform. Away, boys, and hold.
⌜Arcite comes forward.⌝
ARCITE 1115 70By your leaves, honest friends: pray you,
1116 whither go you?
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1117 Whither?
1118 Why, what a question’s that?
ARCITE 1119 Yes, ’tis a question
1120 75 To me that know not.
THIRD COUNTRYMAN 1121 To the games, my friend.
1122 Where were you bred, you know it not?
ARCITE 1123 Not far, sir.
1124 Are there such games today?
FIRST COUNTRYMAN 1125 80 Yes, marry, are there,
1126 And such as you never saw. The Duke himself
1127 Will be in person there.
ARCITE 1128 What pastimes are they?
1129 Wrestling and running.—’Tis a pretty fellow.
1130 85 Thou wilt not go along?
ARCITE 1131 Not yet, sir.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN 1132 Well, sir,
1133 Take your own time.—Come, boys.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN, ⌜aside to the others⌝ 1134 My mind misgives
1135 90 me. This fellow has a vengeance trick o’ th’
1136 hip. Mark how his body’s made for ’t.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN, ⌜aside to the others⌝ 1137 I’ll be
1138 hanged, though, if he dare venture. Hang him,
1139 plum porridge! He wrestle? He roast eggs! Come,
1140 95 let’s be gone, lads.The four exit.
1141 This is an offered opportunity
1142 I durst not wish for. Well I could have wrestled—
1143 The best men called it excellent—and run
1144 Swifter than wind upon a field of corn,
1145 100 Curling the wealthy ears, never flew. I’ll venture,
1146 And in some poor disguise be there. Who knows
1147 Whether my brows may not be girt with garlands,
1148 And happiness prefer me to a place
1149 Where I may ever dwell in sight of her?