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The Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 5, scene 3
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Navigate this workThe Two Noble Kinsmen - Act 5, scene 3
Act 5, scene 3
Emilia listens to the sounds of the combat as first one contestant and then the other seems to be winning. When Arcite is finally declared the victor, she is told that he will be her husband and that Palamon and his knights will immediately be executed.Flourish. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta,
Emilia, Pirithous, and some Attendants.
3030 I’ll no step further.
PIRITHOUS 3031 Will you lose this sight?
3032 I had rather see a wren hawk at a fly
3033 Than this decision; ev’ry blow that falls
3034 5 Threats a brave life; each stroke laments
3035 The place whereon it falls, and sounds more like
3036 A bell than blade. I will stay here.
3037 It is enough my hearing shall be punished
3038 With what shall happen, ’gainst the which there is
3039 10 No deafing but to hear; not taint mine eye
3040 With dread sights it may shun.
PIRITHOUS, ⌜to Theseus⌝ 3041 Sir, my good lord,
3042 Your sister will no further.
THESEUS 3043 O, she must.
3044 15 She shall see deeds of honor in their kind,
3045 Which sometime show well, penciled. Nature now
3046 Shall make and act the story, the belief
3047 Both sealed with eye and ear.—You must be present;
3048 You are the victor’s meed, the price and garland
3049 20 To crown the question’s title.
EMILIA 3050 Pardon me.
3051 If I were there, I’d wink.
THESEUS 3052 You must be there;
3053 This trial is as ’twere i’ th’ night, and you
3054 25 The only star to shine.
EMILIA 3055 I am extinct;
3056 There is but envy in that light which shows
3057 The one the other. Darkness, which ever was
3058 The dam of horror, who does stand accursed
3059 30 Of many mortal millions, may even now,
p. 2273060 By casting her black mantle over both,
3061 That neither could find other, get herself
3062 Some part of a good name, and many a murder
3063 Set off whereto she’s guilty.
HIPPOLYTA 3064 35 You must go.
3065 In faith, I will not.
THESEUS 3066 Why, the knights must kindle
3067 Their valor at your eye. Know, of this war
3068 You are the treasure, and must needs be by
3069 40 To give the service pay.
EMILIA 3070 Sir, pardon me.
3071 The title of a kingdom may be tried
3072 Out of itself.
THESEUS 3073 Well, well, then; at your pleasure.
3074 45 Those that remain with you could wish their office
3075 To any of their enemies.
HIPPOLYTA 3076 Farewell, sister.
3077 I am like to know your husband ’fore yourself
3078 By some small start of time. He whom the gods
3079 50 Do of the two know best, I pray them he
3080 Be made your lot.
Theseus, Hippolyta, Pirithous, ⌜and others,⌝
exit. ⌜Emilia remains, comparing again
the pictures of Arcite and Palamon.⌝
3081 Arcite is gently visaged, yet his eye
3082 Is like an engine bent, or a sharp weapon
3083 In a soft sheath; mercy and manly courage
3084 55 Are bedfellows in his visage. Palamon
3085 Has a most menacing aspect; his brow
3086 Is graved, and seems to bury what it frowns on;
3087 Yet sometimes ’tis not so, but alters to
3088 The quality of his thoughts. Long time his eye
3089 60 Will dwell upon his object. Melancholy
3090 Becomes him nobly; so does Arcite’s mirth;
p. 2293091 But Palamon’s sadness is a kind of mirth,
3092 So mingled, as if mirth did make him sad
3093 And sadness merry. Those darker humors that
3094 65 Stick misbecomingly on others, on them
3095 Live in fair dwelling.
Cornets. Trumpets sound as to a charge.
3096 Hark how yon spurs to spirit do incite
3097 The princes to their proof! Arcite may win me,
3098 And yet may Palamon wound Arcite to
3099 70 The spoiling of his figure. O, what pity
3100 Enough for such a chance? If I were by,
3101 I might do hurt, for they would glance their eyes
3102 Towards my seat, and in that motion might
3103 Omit a ward or forfeit an offense
3104 75 Which craved that very time.
Cornets. A great cry and noise
within crying “À Palamon!”
3105 It is much better
3106 I am not there. O, better never born
3107 Than minister to such harm!
3108 What is the chance?
SERVANT 3109 80The cry’s “À Palamon.”
EMILIA 3110 Then he has won. ’Twas ever likely.
3111 He looked all grace and success, and he is
3112 Doubtless the prim’st of men. I prithee run
3113 And tell me how it goes.
Shout and cornets, crying “À Palamon!”
SERVANT 3114 85 Still “Palamon.”
3115 Run and inquire.⌜Servant exits.⌝
⌜Addressing Arcite’s picture.⌝ 3116 Poor servant, thou hast
3118 Upon my right side still I wore thy picture,
3119 90 Palamon’s on the left—why so, I know not.
p. 2313120 I had no end in ’t else; chance would have it so.
3121 On the sinister side the heart lies; Palamon
3122 Had the best-boding chance.
Another cry, and shout within, and cornets.
3123 This burst of clamor
3124 95 Is sure th’ end o’ th’ combat.
3125 They said that Palamon had Arcite’s body
3126 Within an inch o’ th’ pyramid, that the cry
3127 Was general “À Palamon.” But anon,
3128 Th’ assistants made a brave redemption, and
3129 100 The two bold titlers at this instant are
3130 Hand to hand at it.
EMILIA 3131 Were they metamorphosed
3132 Both into one—O, why, there were no woman
3133 Worth so composed a man! Their single share,
3134 105 Their nobleness peculiar to them, gives
3135 The prejudice of disparity, value’s shortness,
3136 To any lady breathing.
Cornets. Cry within, “Arcite, Arcite.”
3137 More exulting?
3138 “Palamon” still?
SERVANT 3139 110 Nay, now the sound is “Arcite.”
3140 I prithee lay attention to the cry;
3141 Set both thine ears to th’ business.
Cornets. A great shout, and cry “Arcite, victory!”
SERVANT 3142 The cry is “Arcite”
3143 And “Victory! Hark, Arcite, victory!”
3144 115 The combat’s consummation is proclaimed
3145 By the wind instruments.
EMILIA 3146 Half-sights saw
3147 That Arcite was no babe. God’s lid, his richness
3148 And costliness of spirit looked through him; it could
p. 2333149 120 No more be hid in him than fire in flax,
3150 Than humble banks can go to law with waters
3151 That drift-winds force to raging. I did think
3152 Good Palamon would miscarry, yet I knew not
3153 Why I did think so. Our reasons are not prophets
3154 125 When oft our fancies are. They are coming off.
3155 Alas, poor Palamon!
Cornets. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Pirithous,
Arcite as victor, and Attendants ⌜and others.⌝
3156 Lo, where our sister is in expectation,
3157 Yet quaking and unsettled.—Fairest Emily,
3158 The gods by their divine arbitrament
3159 130 Have given you this knight; he is a good one
3160 As ever struck at head.—Give me your hands.
3161 Receive you her, you him. Be plighted with
3162 A love that grows as you decay.
ARCITE 3163 Emily,
3164 135 To buy you I have lost what’s dearest to me
3165 Save what is bought, and yet I purchase cheaply,
3166 As I do rate your value.
THESEUS 3167 O loved sister,
3168 He speaks now of as brave a knight as e’er
3169 140 Did spur a noble steed. Surely the gods
3170 Would have him die a bachelor, lest his race
3171 Should show i’ th’ world too godlike. His behavior
3172 So charmed me that methought Alcides was
3173 To him a sow of lead. If I could praise
3174 145 Each part of him to th’ all I have spoke, your Arcite
3175 Did not lose by ’t, for he that was thus good
3176 Encountered yet his better. I have heard
3177 Two emulous Philomels beat the ear o’ th’ night
3178 With their contentious throats, now one the higher,
3179 150 Anon the other, then again the first,
3180 And by-and-by out-breasted, that the sense
p. 2353181 Could not be judge between ’em. So it fared
3182 Good space between these kinsmen, till heavens did
3183 Make hardly one the winner.—Wear the garland
3184 155 With joy that you have won.—For the subdued,
3185 Give them our present justice, since I know
3186 Their lives but pinch ’em. Let it here be done.
3187 The scene’s not for our seeing. Go we hence
3188 Right joyful, with some sorrow.—Arm your prize;
3189 160 I know you will not lose her.—Hippolyta,
3190 I see one eye of yours conceives a tear,
3191 The which it will deliver.
EMILIA 3192 Is this winning?
3193 O all you heavenly powers, where is your mercy?
3194 165 But that your wills have said it must be so,
3195 And charge me live to comfort this unfriended,
3196 This miserable prince, that cuts away
3197 A life more worthy from him than all women,
3198 I should and would die too.
HIPPOLYTA 3199 170 Infinite pity
3200 That four such eyes should be so fixed on one
3201 That two must needs be blind for ’t.
THESEUS 3202 So it is.
Flourish. They exit.