Cornets in sundry places. Noise and hallowing as of
people a-maying. Enter Arcite alone
The Duke has lost Hippolyta; each took
to take part in May-day festivities
A several laund. This is a solemn rite
clearing [in a wood], glade, grassy space
They owe bloomed May, and the Athenians pay it
To th' heart of ceremony. O queen Emilia,
Fresher than May, sweeter
Than her gold buttons on the boughs, or all
Th' enamelled knacks o'th' mead or garden – yea,
We challenge too the bank of any nymph
That makes the stream seem flowers – thou, O jewel
O'th' wood, o'th' world, hast likewise blessed a place
With thy sole presence. In thy rumination
That I, poor man, might eftsoons come between
And chop on some cold thought! Thrice blessed chance
[various readings possible] pounce upon; seize; exchange
To drop on such a mistress, expectation
Most guiltless on't! Tell me, O Lady Fortune,
Next after Emily my sovereign, how far
I may be proud. She takes strong note of me,
Hath made me near her; and this beauteous morn,
The primest of all the year, presents me with
A brace of horses; two such steeds might well
Be by a pair of kings backed, in a field
That their crowns' titles tried. Alas, alas,
Poor cousin Palamon, poor prisoner, thou
So little dreamest upon my fortune that
Thou thinkest thyself the happier thing, to be
So near Emilia; me thou deemest at Thebes,
And therein wretched, although free. But if
Thou knewest my mistress breathed on me, and that
I eared her language, lived in her eye – O coz,
What passion would enclose thee!
Enter Palamon as out of a bush, with his shackles;
he bends his fist at Arcite
Thou shouldst perceive my passion, if these signs
Of prisonment were off me, and this hand
But owner of a sword. By all oaths in one,
I and the justice of my love would make thee
A confessed traitor, O thou most perfidious
That ever gently looked, the voidest of honour
That e'er bore gentle token, falsest cousin
That ever blood made kin. Callest thou her thine?
I'll prove it in my shackles, with these hands,
Void of appointment, that thou lie'st, and art
A very thief in love, a chaffy lord
Not worth the name of villain. Had I a sword,
And these house-clogs away –
Dear cousin Palamon –
Cozener Arcite, give me language such
As thou hast showed me feat.
Not finding in
The circuit of my breast any gross stuff
To form me like your blazon holds me to
This gentleness of answer: 'tis your passion
That thus mistakes, the which to you being enemy
Cannot to me be kind. Honour and honesty
I cherish and depend on, howsoe'er
You skip them in me, and with them, fair coz,
I'll maintain my proceedings. Pray be pleased
To show in generous terms your griefs, since that
Your question's with your equal, who professes
To clear his own way with the mind and sword
Of a true gentleman.
That thou durst, Arcite!
My coz, my coz, you have been well advertised
How much I dare; you've seen me use my sword
Against th' advice of fear. Sure of another
You would not hear me doubted, but your silence
Should break out, though i'th' sanctuary.
I have seen you move in such a place which well
Might justify your manhood; you were called
A good knight and a bold. But the whole week's not fair
If any day it rain; their valiant temper
Men lose when they incline to treachery,
And then they fight like compelled bears, would fly
Were they not tied.
Kinsman, you might as well
Speak this and act it in your glass as to
His ear which now disdains you.
Come up to me,
Quit me of these cold gyves, give me a sword,
Though it be rusty, and the charity
Of one meal lend me. Come before me then,
A good sword in thy hand, and do but say
That Emily is thine, I will forgive
The trespass thou hast done me – yea, my life,
If then thou carry't; and brave souls in shades
carry it (away)
[from a falconry term ‘to fly away with the game’] win the day, have the advantage, succeed
That have died manly, which will seek of me
Some news from earth, they shall get none but this,
That thou art brave and noble.
Again betake you to your hawthorn house.
With counsel of the night, I will be here
With wholesome viands; these impediments
(usually plural) food, victuals, foodstuff
Will I file off; you shall have garments, and
Perfumes to kill the smell o'th' prison. After,
When you shall stretch yourself, and say but ‘ Arcite,
I am in plight,’ there shall be at your choice
Both sword and armour.
O you heavens, dares any
So noble bear a guilty business? None
But only Arcite; therefore none but Arcite
In this kind is so bold.
I do embrace you and your offer – for
Your offer do't I only, sir; your person
Without hypocrisy I may not wish
More than my sword's edge on't.
They wind horns off; cornets sounded
You hear the horns;
Enter your muset, lest this match between's
Be crossed ere met. Give me your hand; farewell.
I'll bring you every needful thing; I pray you
Take comfort and be strong.
Pray hold your promise;
And do the deed with a bent brow. Most certain
You love me not; be rough with me, and pour
This oil out of your language; by this air,
oil (n.) 2
smoothness, glibness, ingratiating manner
I could for each word give a cuff, my stomach
Not reconciled by reason.
reason (n.) 1
power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]
Yet pardon me hard language; when I spur
My horse, I chide him not; content and anger
In me have but one face.
They wind horns
Hark, sir, they call
The scattered to the banquet; you must guess
I have an office there.
Sir, your attendance
Cannot please heaven, and I know your office
Unjustly is achieved.
I've a good title.
I am persuaded this question, sick between's,
By bleeding must be cured. I am a suitor
That to your sword you will bequeath this plea,
And talk of it no more.
But this one word.
You are going now to gaze upon my mistress –
For note you, mine she is –
Nay, then –
Nay, pray you.
You talk of feeding me to breed me strength;
You are going now to look upon a sun
That strengthens what it looks on; there you have
A vantage o'er me, but enjoy it till
I may enforce my remedy. Farewell.