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The Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 3, scene 1
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Navigate this workThe Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 3, scene 1
Act 3, scene 1
Arcite, now Emilia’s attendant, is confronted by a still-shackled Palamon in the woods where the court is celebrating May Day. They challenge each other to a trial by combat to determine who has the right to Emilia. Arcite promises to bring food for Palamon and files to remove his shackles.Cornets in sundry places. Noise and hallowing
as people a-Maying. Enter Arcite alone.
1310 The Duke has lost Hippolyta; each took
1311 A several laund. This is a solemn rite
1312 They owe bloomed May, and the Athenians pay it
1313 To th’ heart of ceremony. O Queen Emilia,
1314 5 Fresher than May, sweeter
1315 Than her gold buttons on the boughs, or all
1316 Th’ enameled knacks o’ th’ mead or garden—yea,
1317 We challenge too the bank of any nymph
1318 That makes the stream seem flowers; thou, O jewel
1319 10 O’ th’ wood, o’ th’ world, hast likewise blessed a pace
1320 With thy sole presence. In thy rumination
1321 That I, poor man, might eftsoons come between
1322 And chop on some cold thought! Thrice blessèd
1324 15 To drop on such a mistress, expectation
1325 Most guiltless on ’t. Tell me, O Lady Fortune,
1326 Next after Emily my sovereign, how far
1327 I may be proud. She takes strong note of me,
1328 Hath made me near her; and this beauteous morn,
1329 20 The prim’st of all the year, presents me with
1330 A brace of horses; two such steeds might well
p. 1031331 Be by a pair of kings backed, in a field
1332 That their crowns’ titles tried. Alas, alas,
1333 Poor cousin Palamon, poor prisoner, thou
1334 25 So little dream’st upon my fortune that
1335 Thou think’st thyself the happier thing, to be
1336 So near Emilia; me thou deem’st at Thebes,
1337 And therein wretched, although free. But if
1338 Thou knew’st my mistress breathed on me, and that
1339 30 I eared her language, lived in her eye—O coz,
1340 What passion would enclose thee!
Enter Palamon as out of a bush, with his shackles;
⌜he⌝ bends his fist at Arcite.
PALAMON 1341 Traitor kinsman,
1342 Thou shouldst perceive my passion if these signs
1343 Of prisonment were off me, and this hand
1344 35 But owner of a sword. By all oaths in one,
1345 I and the justice of my love would make thee
1346 A confessed traitor, O thou most perfidious
1347 That ever gently looked, the ⌜void’st⌝ of honor
1348 That e’er bore gentle token, falsest cousin
1349 40 That ever blood made kin! Call’st thou her thine?
1350 I’ll prove it in my shackles, with these hands,
1351 Void of appointment, that thou liest, and art
1352 A very thief in love, a chaffy lord,
1353 Nor worth the name of villain. Had I a sword,
1354 45 And these house clogs away—
ARCITE 1355 Dear cousin Palamon—
1356 Cozener Arcite, give me language such
1357 As thou hast showed me feat.
ARCITE 1358 Not finding in
1359 50 The circuit of my breast any gross stuff
1360 To form me like your blazon holds me to
1361 This gentleness of answer: ’tis your passion
1362 That thus mistakes, the which, to you being enemy,
p. 1051363 Cannot to me be kind. Honor and honesty
1364 55 I cherish and depend on, howsoe’er
1365 You skip them in me, and with them, fair coz,
1366 I’ll maintain my proceedings. Pray be pleased
1367 To show in generous terms your griefs, since that
1368 Your question’s with your equal, who professes
1369 60 To clear his own way with the mind and sword
1370 Of a true gentleman.
PALAMON 1371 That thou durst, Arcite!
1372 My coz, my coz, you have been well advertised
1373 How much I dare; you’ve seen me use my sword
1374 65 Against th’ advice of fear. Sure, of another
1375 You would not hear me doubted, but your silence
1376 Should break out, though i’ th’ sanctuary.
PALAMON 1377 Sir,
1378 I have seen you move in such a place which well
1379 70 Might justify your manhood; you were called
1380 A good knight and a bold. But the whole week’s not
1382 If any day it rain; their valiant temper
1383 Men lose when they incline to treachery,
1384 75 And then they fight like compelled bears—would fly
1385 Were they not tied.
ARCITE 1386 Kinsman, you might as well
1387 Speak this and act it in your glass as to
1388 His ear which now disdains you.
PALAMON 1389 80 Come up to me;
1390 Quit me of these cold gyves, give me a sword
1391 Though it be rusty, and the charity
1392 Of one meal lend me. Come before me then,
1393 A good sword in thy hand, and do but say
1394 85 That Emily is thine, I will forgive
1395 The trespass thou hast done me—yea, my life,
1396 If then thou carry ’t; and brave souls in shades
1397 That have died manly, which will seek of me
p. 1071398 Some news from Earth, they shall get none but this:
1399 90 That thou art brave and noble.
ARCITE 1400 Be content.
1401 Again betake you to your hawthorn house.
1402 With counsel of the night I will be here
1403 With wholesome viands. These impediments
1404 95 Will I file off. You shall have garments and
1405 Perfumes to kill the smell o’ th’ prison. After,
1406 When you shall stretch yourself and say but “Arcite,
1407 I am in plight,” there shall be at your choice
1408 Both sword and armor.
PALAMON 1409 100 O you heavens, dares any
1410 So noble bear a guilty business? None
1411 But only Arcite. Therefore none but Arcite
1412 In this kind is so bold.
ARCITE 1413 Sweet Palamon.
1414 105 I do embrace you and your offer; for
1415 Your offer do ’t I only. Sir, your person
1416 Without hypocrisy I may not wish
1417 More than my sword’s edge on ’t.
Wind horns off; ⌜sound⌝ cornets.
ARCITE 1418 You hear the horns.
1419 110 Enter your ⌜muset,⌝ lest this match between ’s
1420 Be crossed ere met. Give me your hand; farewell.
1421 I’ll bring you every needful thing. I pray you,
1422 Take comfort and be strong.
PALAMON 1423 Pray hold your promise,
1424 115 And do the deed with a bent brow. Most certain
1425 You love me not; be rough with me, and pour
1426 This oil out of your language. By this air,
1427 I could for each word give a cuff, my stomach
1428 Not reconciled by reason.
ARCITE 1429 120 Plainly spoken,
1430 Yet pardon me hard language. When I spur
1431 My horse, I chide him not; content and anger
p. 1091432 In me have but one face.Wind horns.
1433 Hark, sir, they call
1434 125 The scattered to the banquet; you must guess
1435 I have an office there.
PALAMON 1436 Sir, your attendance
1437 Cannot please heaven, and I know your office
1438 Unjustly is achieved.
ARCITE 1439 130 ⌜’Tis⌝ a good title.
1440 I am persuaded this question, sick between ’s,
1441 By bleeding must be cured. I am a suitor
1442 That to your sword you will bequeath this plea,
1443 And talk of it no more.
PALAMON 1444 135 But this one word:
1445 You are going now to gaze upon my mistress,
1446 For note you, mine she is—
ARCITE 1447 Nay then,—
PALAMON 1448 Nay, pray you,
1449 140 You talk of feeding me to breed me strength.
1450 You are going now to look upon a sun
1451 That strengthens what it looks on; there
1452 You have a vantage o’er me, but enjoy ’t till
1453 I may enforce my remedy. Farewell.