The Two Noble Kinsmen/Act 5/Scene 4

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The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare
Act 5/Scene 4

Scaena 4. (The same; a Block prepared.)

[Enter Palamon and his Knightes pyniond: Iaylor, Executioner,
 &c. Gard.]

(PALAMON.)

Ther's many a man alive that hath out liv'd
The love o'th people; yea, i'th selfesame state
Stands many a Father with his childe; some comfort
We have by so considering: we expire
And not without mens pitty. To live still,
Have their good wishes; we prevent
The loathsome misery of age, beguile
The Gowt and Rheume, that in lag howres attend
For grey approachers; we come towards the gods
Yong and unwapper'd, not halting under Crymes
Many and stale: that sure shall please the gods,
Sooner than such, to give us Nectar with 'em,
For we are more cleare Spirits. My deare kinesmen,
Whose lives (for this poore comfort) are laid downe,
You have sould 'em too too cheape.

1. KNIGHT.

What ending could be
Of more content? ore us the victors have
Fortune, whose title is as momentary,
As to us death is certaine: A graine of honour
They not ore'-weigh us.

2. KNIGHT.

Let us bid farewell;
And with our patience anger tottring Fortune,
Who at her certain'st reeles.

3. KNIGHT.

Come; who begins?

PALAMON.

Ev'n he that led you to this Banket shall
Taste to you all.—Ah ha, my Friend, my Friend,
Your gentle daughter gave me freedome once;
You'l see't done now for ever: pray, how do'es she?
I heard she was not well; her kind of ill
Gave me some sorrow.

IAILOR.

Sir, she's well restor'd,
And to be marryed shortly.

PALAMON.

By my short life,
I am most glad on't; Tis the latest thing
I shall be glad of; pre'thee tell her so:
Commend me to her, and to peece her portion,
Tender her this. [Gives purse.]

1. KNIGHT.

Nay lets be offerers all.

2. KNIGHT.

Is it a maide?

PALAMON.

Verily, I thinke so,
A right good creature, more to me deserving
Then I can quight or speake of.

ALL KNIGHTS.

Commend us to her. [They give their purses.]

IAILOR.

The gods requight you all,
And make her thankefull.

PALAMON.

Adiew; and let my life be now as short,
As my leave taking. [Lies on the Blocke.]

1. KNIGHT.

Leade, couragious Cosin.

2. KNIGHT.

Wee'l follow cheerefully. [A great noise within crying, 'run, save,
 hold!']

[Enter in hast a Messenger.]

MESSENGER.

Hold, hold! O hold, hold, hold!

[Enter Pirithous in haste.]

PERITHOUS.

Hold! hoa! It is a cursed hast you made,
If you have done so quickly. Noble Palamon,
The gods will shew their glory in a life,
That thou art yet to leade.

PALAMON.

Can that be,
When Venus, I have said, is false? How doe things fare?

PERITHOUS.

Arise, great Sir, and give the tydings eare
That are most dearly sweet and bitter.

PALAMON.

What
Hath wakt us from our dreame?

PERITHOUS.

List then: your Cosen,
Mounted upon a Steed that Emily
Did first bestow on him, a blacke one, owing
Not a hayre worth of white—which some will say
Weakens his price, and many will not buy
His goodnesse with this note: Which superstition
Heere findes allowance—On this horse is Arcite
Trotting the stones of Athens, which the Calkins
Did rather tell then trample; for the horse
Would make his length a mile, if't pleas'd his Rider
To put pride in him: as he thus went counting
The flinty pavement, dancing, as t'wer, to'th Musicke
His owne hoofes made; (for as they say from iron
Came Musickes origen) what envious Flint,
Cold as old Saturne, and like him possest
With fire malevolent, darted a Sparke,
Or what feirce sulphur else, to this end made,
I comment not;—the hot horse, hot as fire,
Tooke Toy at this, and fell to what disorder
His power could give his will; bounds, comes on end,
Forgets schoole dooing, being therein traind,
And of kind mannadge; pig-like he whines
At the sharpe Rowell, which he freats at rather
Then any jot obaies; seekes all foule meanes
Of boystrous and rough Iadrie, to dis-seate
His Lord, that kept it bravely: when nought serv'd,
When neither Curb would cracke, girth breake nor diffring plunges
Dis-roote his Rider whence he grew, but that
He kept him tweene his legges, on his hind hoofes on end he stands,
That Arcites leggs, being higher then his head,
Seem'd with strange art to hand: His victors wreath
Even then fell off his head: and presently
Backeward the Iade comes ore, and his full poyze
Becomes the Riders loade: yet is he living,
But such a vessell tis, that floates but for
The surge that next approaches: he much desires
To have some speech with you: Loe he appeares.

[Enter Theseus, Hipolita, Emilia, Arcite in a chaire.]

PALAMON.

O miserable end of our alliance!
The gods are mightie, Arcite: if thy heart,
Thy worthie, manly heart, be yet unbroken,
Give me thy last words; I am Palamon,
One that yet loves thee dying.

ARCITE.

Take Emilia
And with her all the worlds joy: Reach thy hand:
Farewell: I have told my last houre. I was false,
Yet never treacherous: Forgive me, Cosen:—
One kisse from faire Emilia: Tis done:
Take her: I die.

PALAMON.

Thy brave soule seeke Elizium.

EMILIA.

Ile close thine eyes, Prince; blessed soules be with thee!
Thou art a right good man, and while I live,
This day I give to teares.

PALAMON.

And I to honour.

THESEUS.

In this place first you fought: ev'n very here
I sundred you: acknowledge to the gods
Our thankes that you are living.
His part is playd, and though it were too short,
He did it well: your day is lengthned, and
The blissefull dew of heaven do's arowze you.
The powerfull Venus well hath grac'd her Altar,
And given you your love: Our Master Mars
Hath vouch'd his Oracle, and to Arcite gave
The grace of the Contention: So the Deities
Have shewd due justice: Beare this hence.

PALAMON.

O Cosen,
That we should things desire, which doe cost us
The losse of our desire! That nought could buy
Deare love, but losse of deare love!

THESEUS.

Never Fortune
Did play a subtler Game: The conquerd triumphes,
The victor has the Losse: yet in the passage
The gods have beene most equall: Palamon,
Your kinseman hath confest the right o'th Lady
Did lye in you, for you first saw her, and
Even then proclaimd your fancie: He restord her
As your stolne Iewell, and desir'd your spirit
To send him hence forgiven; The gods my justice
Take from my hand, and they themselves become
The Executioners: Leade your Lady off;
And call your Lovers from the stage of death,
Whom I adopt my Frinds. A day or two
Let us looke sadly, and give grace unto
The Funerall of Arcite; in whose end
The visages of Bridegroomes weele put on
And smile with Palamon; for whom an houre,
But one houre, since, I was as dearely sorry,
As glad of Arcite: and am now as glad,
As for him sorry. O you heavenly Charmers,
What things you make of us! For what we lacke
We laugh, for what we have, are sorry: still
Are children in some kind. Let us be thankefull
For that which is, and with you leave dispute
That are above our question. Let's goe off,
And beare us like the time. [Florish. Exeunt.]