The Two Noble Kinsmen/Act 1/Scene 4

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The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare
Act 1/Scene 4

Scaena 4. (A field before Thebes. Dead bodies lying on the
ground.)

[A Battaile strooke within: Then a Retrait: Florish. Then
 Enter Theseus (victor), (Herald and Attendants:) the three
 Queenes meete him, and fall on their faces before him.]

1. QUEEN.

To thee no starre be darke.

2. QUEEN.

Both heaven and earth
Friend thee for ever.

3. QUEEN.

All the good that may
Be wishd upon thy head, I cry Amen too't.

THESEUS.

Th'imparciall Gods, who from the mounted heavens
View us their mortall Heard, behold who erre,
And in their time chastice: goe and finde out
The bones of your dead Lords, and honour them
With treble Ceremonie; rather then a gap
Should be in their deere rights, we would supply't.
But those we will depute, which shall invest
You in your dignities, and even each thing
Our hast does leave imperfect: So, adiew,
And heavens good eyes looke on you. What are those? [Exeunt
Queenes.]

HERALD.

Men of great quality, as may be judgd
By their appointment; Sone of Thebs have told's
They are Sisters children, Nephewes to the King.

THESEUS.

By'th Helme of Mars, I saw them in the war,
Like to a paire of Lions, smeard with prey,
Make lanes in troopes agast. I fixt my note
Constantly on them; for they were a marke
Worth a god's view: what prisoner was't that told me
When I enquired their names?

HERALD.

Wi'leave, they'r called Arcite and Palamon.

THESEUS.

Tis right: those, those. They are not dead?

HERALD.

Nor in a state of life: had they bin taken,
When their last hurts were given, twas possible [3. Hearses
ready.]
They might have bin recovered; Yet they breathe
And haue the name of men.

THESEUS.

Then like men use 'em.
The very lees of such (millions of rates)
Exceede the wine of others: all our Surgions
Convent in their behoofe; our richest balmes
Rather then niggard, waft: their lives concerne us
Much more then Thebs is worth: rather then have 'em
Freed of this plight, and in their morning state
(Sound and at liberty) I would 'em dead;
But forty thousand fold we had rather have 'em
Prisoners to us then death. Beare 'em speedily
From our kinde aire, to them unkinde, and minister
What man to man may doe—for our sake more,
Since I have knowne frights, fury, friends beheastes,
Loves provocations, zeale, a mistris Taske,
Desire of liberty, a feavour, madnes,
Hath set a marke which nature could not reach too
Without some imposition: sicknes in will
Or wrastling strength in reason. For our Love
And great Appollos mercy, all our best
Their best skill tender. Leade into the Citty,
Where having bound things scatterd, we will post [Florish.]
To Athens for(e) our Army [Exeunt. Musicke.]