Flourish. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Pirithous,
and some attendants
I'll no step further.
Will you lose this sight?
I had rather see a wren hawk at a fly
Than this decision. Every blow that falls
Threats a brave life; each stroke laments
The place whereon it falls, and sounds more like
A bell than blade. I will stay here.
It is enough my hearing shall be punished
With what shall happen, 'gainst the which there is
No deafing, but to hear; not taint mine eye
With dread sights it may shun.
Sir, my good lord,
Your sister will no further.
O, she must;
She shall see deeds of honour in their kind
Which sometime show well pencilled. Nature now
Shall make and act the story, the belief
Both sealed with eye and ear. (To Emilia) You must be present;
You are the victor's meed, the prize and garland
To crown the question's title.
If I were there, I'd wink.
You must be there;
This trial is as 'twere i'th' night, and you
The only star to shine.
I am extinct.
There is but envy in that light which shows
The one the other; darkness, which ever was
The dam of horror, who does stand accursed
Of many mortal millions, may even now,
By casting her black mantle over both,
That neither could find other, get herself
Some part of a good name, and many a murder
Set off whereto she's guilty.
You must go.
In faith, I will not.
Why, the knights must kindle
Their valour at your eye; know of this war
You are the treasure, and must needs be by
To give the service pay.
Sir, pardon me;
The title of a kingdom may be tried
Out of itself.
Well, well, then, at your pleasure.
Those that remain with you could wish their office
To any of their enemies.
I am like to know your husband 'fore yourself
By some small start of time. He whom the gods
Do of the two know best, I pray them he
Be made your lot.
All go out except Emilia and her attendants
Arcite is gently visaged, yet his eye
Is like an engine bent or a sharp weapon
In a soft sheath; mercy and manly courage
Are bedfellows in his visage. Palamon
Has a most menacing aspect; his brow
brow (n.) 4
forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
Is graved, and seems to bury what it frowns on.
Yet sometime 'tis not so, but alters to
The quality of his thoughts; long time his eye
Will dwell upon his object. Melancholy
Becomes him nobly; so does Arcite's mirth,
But Palamon's sadness is a kind of mirth,
So mingled as if mirth did make him sad,
And sadness merry. Those darker humours that
Stick misbecomingly on others, on him
Live in fair dwelling.
Cornets. Trumpets sound as to a charge
Hark how yon spurs to spirit do incite
The princes to their proof! Arcite may win me,
And yet may Palamon wound Arcite to
The spoiling of his figure. O, what pity
Enough for such a chance? If I were by,
I might do hurt, for they would glance their eyes
Toward my seat, and in that motion might
Omit a ward or forfeit an offence
ward (n.) 1
[fencing] defensive posture, parrying movement
Which craved that very time. It is much better
I am not there – O, better never born,
Than minister to such harm!
particle used in front of a proper name, as a supportive war-cry
Cornets. A great cry and noise within, crying ‘A
Palamon!' Enter a Servant
What is the chance?
The cry's ‘ A Palamon!’
Then he has won. 'Twas ever likely;
He looked all grace and success, and he is
Doubtless the primest of men. I prithee run
And tell me how it goes.
Shout and cornets, crying ‘A Palamon!'
Run and inquire.
Poor servant, thou hast lost!
Upon my right side still I wore thy picture,
Palamon's on the left – why so, I know not,
I had no end in't; else chance would have it so.
On the sinister side the heart lies; Palamon
Had the best-boding chance.
Another cry, and shout within, and cornets
This burst of clamour
Is sure th' end o'th' combat.
They said that Palamon had Arcite's body
Within an inch o'th' pyramid, that the cry
Was general ‘ A Palamon!’ But anon
Th' assistants made a brave redemption, and
The two bold titlers at this instant are
Hand to hand at it.
Were they metamorphosed
Both into one! O, why, there were no woman
Worth so composed a man; their single share,
Their nobleness peculiar to them, gives
The prejudice of disparity, value's shortness,
To any lady breathing –
Cornets. Cry within ‘ Arcite, Arcite!’
‘ Palamon’ still?
Nay, now the sound is ‘ Arcite.’
I prithee lay attention to the cry;
Set both thine ears to th' business.
Cornets. A great shout and cry ‘ Arcite, victory!’
The cry is
‘ Arcite’ and ‘ Victory!’ Hark, ‘ Arcite, victory!’
The combat's consummation is proclaimed
By the wind instruments.
That Arcite was no babe – God's lid, his richness
And costliness of spirit looked through him; it could
No more be hid in him than fire in flax,
Than humble banks can go to law with waters
That drift winds force to raging. I did think
Good Palamon would miscarry, yet I knew not
Why I did think so; our reasons are not prophets
reason (n.) 1
power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]
When oft our fancies are.
They are coming off.
Alas, poor Palamon!
Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Pirithous, Arcite as victor,
Lo, where our sister is in expectation,
Yet quaking and unsettled! – Fairest Emily,
The gods by their divine arbitrament
Have given you this knight; he is a good one
As ever struck at head. Give me your hands.
Receive you her, you him; be plighted with
A love that grows as you decay.
To buy you I have lost what's dearest to me
Save what is bought, and yet I purchase cheaply,
As I do rate your value.
O loved sister,
He speaks now of as brave a knight as e'er
Did spur a noble steed; surely, the gods
Would have him die a bachelor, lest his race
Should show i'th' world too godlike! His behaviour
So charmed me that methought Alcides was
To him a sow of lead. If I could praise
Each part of him to th' all I have spoke, your Arcite
Did not lose by't; for he that was thus good
Encountered yet his better. I have heard
Two emulous Philomels beat the ear o'th' night
With their contentious throats, now one the higher,
Anon the other, then again the first,
And by and by outbreasted, that the sense
Could not be judge between 'em; so it fared
Good space between these kinsmen, till heavens did
Make hardly one the winner. – Wear the garland
With joy that you have won. – For the subdued,
Give them our present justice, since I know
Their lives but pinch 'em; let it here be done.
The scene's not for our seeing; go we hence,
Right joyful, with some sorrow. (To Arcite) Arm your prize;
I know you will not lose her.
Arcite takes Emilia's arm in his. Flourish
I see one eye of yours conceives a tear,
The which it will deliver.
Is this winning?
O all you heavenly powers, where is your mercy?
But that your wills have said it must be so,
And charge me live to comfort this unfriended,
This miserable prince, that cuts away
A life more worthy from him than all women,
I should, and would, die too.
That four such eyes should be so fixed on one
That two must needs be blind for't.
So it is.