ACT III, Scene 1

A bush in place. Cornets in sundry places. Noise and hollering as of people a-Maying. Enter Arcite.


ARCITE The Duke has lost Hippolyta -- each took
A several laund. This is a solemn rite
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'enameled 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, has likewise blessed a pace ... [III.1.10]
With thy sole presence in thy
[~~~ ] rumination
That I, poor man, might eftsoons come between
And chop on some cold thought. Thrice blessed chance
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 prim'st of all the year, presents me with ... [III.1.20]
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 dream'st upon my fortune that
Thou think'st thyself the happier thing to be
So near Emilia. Me thou deem'st at Thebes,
And therein wretched, although free. But if
Thou knew'st my mistress breathed on me, and that
I eared her language, lived in her eye -- O, coz, ... [III.1.30]
hat passion would enclose thee!
[Enter Palamon as out of a bush with his shackles. He bends his fist at Arcite.
PALAMON Traitor kinsman,
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 void'st of honor
That e'er bore gentle token, falsest cousin
That ever blood made kin -- call'st thou her thine?
I'll prove it in my shackles, with these hands, ... [III.1.40]
Void of appointment, that thou liest 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 --
ARCITE Dear cousin Palamon --
PALAMON Cozener Arcite, give me language such
As thou has showed me feat.
ARCITE 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, [III.1.50]
Cannot to me be kind. Honor 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.
PALAMON That thou durst, Arcite!
ARCITE My coz, my coz, you have been well advertised
How much I dare; you've seen me use my sword ... [III.1.60]
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.
ARCITE Kinsman, you might as well ... [III.1.70]
Speak this and act it in your glass as to
His ear which now disdains you.
PALAMON 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
That have died manly, which will seek of me ... [III.1.80]
Some news from earth, they shall get none but this --
That thou art brave and noble.
ARCITE Be content,
Again betake you to your hawthorn house.
With counsel of the night I will be here
With wholesome viands. These impediments
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 armor.
PALAMON O, you heavens, dares any ... [III.1.90]
So noble bear a guilty business! None
But only Arcite, therefore none but Arcite
In this kind is so bold.
ARCITE Sweet Palamon.
PALAMON I do embrace you and your offer -- for
Your offer do't I only, sir; your person,
Without hypocrisy, I may not wish [Wind horns within]
More than my sword's edge on't.
ARCITE You hear the horns --
Enter your musit lest this match between's
Be crossed ere met. Give me your hand, farewell.
I'll bring you every needful thing -- I pray you, ... [III.1.100]
Take comfort and be strong.
PALAMON 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,
I could for each word give a cuff, my stomach
Not reconciled by reason.
ARCITE Plainly spoken,
Yet -- pardon me -- hard language: when I spur [Wind horns within.]
My horse I chide him not. Content and anger
In me have but one face. Hark, sir, they call
The scattered to the banquet. You must guess ... [III.1.110]
I have an office there.
PALAMON Sir, your attendance
Cannot please heaven, and I know your office
Unjustly is achieved.
ARCITE 'Tis 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.
PALAMON But this one word:
You are going now to gaze upon my mistress --
For note you, mine she is --
ARCITE Nay then --
PALAMON Nay, pray you --
You talk of feeding me to breed me strength -- [III.1.120]
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.
[Exeunt severally, Palamon as into the bush.]


Act III, Scene 2

Enter the Jailer's Daughter, with a file.


DAUGHTER He has mistook the brake I meant, is gone
After his fancy. 'Tis now well nigh morning.
No matter -- would it were perpetual night,
And darkness lord o'th' world. Hark, 'tis a wolf!
In me hath grief slain fear, and, but for one thing,
I care for nothing -- and that's Palamon.
I reck not if the wolves would jaw me, so
He had this file. What if I hollered for him?
I cannot holler. If I whooped, what then?
If he not answered, I should call a wolf [III.2.10]
And do him but that service. I have heard
Strange howls this live-long night -- why may't not be
They have made prey of him? He has no weapons;
He cannot run; the jangling of his gyves
Might call fell things to listen, who have in them
A sense to know a man unarmed, and can
Smell where resistance is. I'll set it down
He's torn to pieces: they howled many together
And then they fed on him. So much for that.
Be bold to ring the bell. How stand I then? ... [III.2.20]
All's chared when he is gone. No, no, I lie:
My father's to be hanged for his escape,
Myself to beg, if I prized life so much
As to deny my act -- but that I would not,
Should I try death by dozens. I am moped --
Food took I none these two days,
Sipped some water. I have not closed mine eyes
Save when my lids scoured off their brine. Alas,
Dissolve, my life; let not my sense unsettle,
Lest I should drown or stab or hang myself. [III.2.30]
O state of nature, fail together in me,
Since thy best props are warped. So which way now?
The best way is the next way to a grave,
Each errant step beside is torment. Lo,
The moon is down, the crickets chirp, the screech-owl
Calls in the dawn. All offices are done
Save what I fail in; but the point is this,
An end, and that is all. [Exit.]


To see other scenes from the show: 

Full Text Act III, Scene 3/Act III, Scene 4
Act I, Scene 1 Act III, Scene 5
Act I, Scene 2 Act III, Scene 6
Act I, Scene 3 Act IV, Scene 1
Act I, Scene 4/Act I, Scene 5 Act IV, Scene 2
Act II, Scene 1 Act IV, Scene 3
Act II, Scene 2 Act V, Scene 1
Act II, Scene 3/Act II, Scene 4 Act V, Scene 2/Act V, Scene 3
Act II, Scene 5/Act II, Scene 6 Act V, Scene 4
Act III, Scene 1/Act III, Scene 2 Act V, Scene 5/Act V, Scene 6


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