ACT IV, Scene 1

Enter the Jailer and his Friend.

JAILER Hear you no more? Was nothing said of me
Concerning the escape of Palamon?
Good sir, remember.
FRIEND Nothing that I heard,
For I came home before the business
Was fully ended. Yet I might perceive,
Ere I departed, a great likelihood
Of both their pardons: for Hippolyta
And fair-eyed Emily upon their knees
Begged with such handsome pity that the Duke,
Methought, stood staggering whether he should follow ... [IV.1.10]
His rash oath or the sweet compassion
Of those two ladies; and to second them
That truly noble prince, Pirithous --
Half his own heart -- set in too, that I hope
All shall be well. Neither heard I one question
Of your name or his scape. [Enter the Second Friend.]
JAILER Pray heaven it hold so.
2 FRIEND Be of good comfort, man. I bring you news,
Good news.
JAILER They are welcome.
2 FRIEND Palamon has cleared you,
And got your pardon, and discovered how
And by whose means he scaped -- which was your daughter's, ... [IV.1.20]
Whose pardon is procured too; and the prisoner,
Not to be held ungrateful to her goodness,
Has given a sum of money to her marriage --
A large one, I'll assure you.
JAILER Ye are a good man,
And ever bring good news.
1 FRIEND How was it ended?
2 FRIEND Why, as it should be: they that ne'er begged,
But they prevailed, had their suits fairly granted --
The prisoners have their lives.
1 FRIEND I knew't would be so.
2 FRIEND But there be new conditions which you'll hear of
At better time.
JAILER I hope they are good.
2 FRIEND They are honorable -- ... [IV.1.30]
How good they'll prove I know not. [Enter the Wooer.]
1 FRIEND 'Twill be known.
WOOER Alas, sir, where's your daughter?
JAILER Why do you ask?
WOOER O, sir, when did you see her?
2 FRIEND How he looks!
JAILER This morning.
WOOER  Was she well? Was she in health?
Sir, when did she sleep?
1 FRIEND These are strange questions.
JAILER  I do not think she was very well: for now
You make me mind her, but this very day
I asked her questions and she answered me
So far from what she was, so childishly,
So sillily, as if she were a fool, ... [IV.1.40]
An innocent -- and I was very angry.
But what of her, sir?
WOOER Nothing but my pity --
But you must know it, and as good by me
As by another that less loves her --
JAILER Well, sir?
1 FRIEND Not right?
WOOER No, sir, not well.
2 FRIEND Not well?
WOOER 'Tis too true -- she is mad.
1 FRIEND It cannot be.
WOOER Believe, you'll find it so.
JAILER I half suspected
What you told me -- the gods comfort her!
Either this was her love to Palamon,
Or fear of my miscarrying on his scape, ... [IV.1.50]
Or both.
WOOER 'Tis likely.
JAILER But why all this haste, sir?
WOOER  I'll tell you quickly. As I late was angling
In the great lake that lies behind the palace,
As patiently I was attending sport,
I heard a voice -- a shrill one -- and attentive
I gave my ear, when I might well perceive
'Twas one that sung, and by the smallness of it
A boy or woman. I then left my angle
To his own skill, came hear, but yet perceived not ... [IV.1.60]
Who made the sound, the rushes and the reeds
Had so encompassed it. I laid me down
And listened to the words she sung, for then,
Through a small glade cut by the fishermen,
I saw it was your daughter.
JAILER Pray go on, sir.
WOOER She sung much, but no sense; only I heard her
Repeat this often -- 'Palamon is gone,
Is gone to th' wood to gather mulberries;
I'll find him out tomorrow.'
1 FRIEND Pretty soul!
WOOER 'His shackles will betray him -- he'll be taken, ... [IV.1.70]
And what shall I do then? I'll bring a bevy,
A hundred black-eyed maids that love as I do,
With chaplets on their heads of daffodillies,
With cherry lips and cheeks of damask roses,
And all we'll dance an antic fore the Duke
And beg his pardon.' Then she talked of you, sir --
That you must lose your head tomorrow morning,
And she must gather flowers to bury you,
And see the house made handsome. Then she sung
Nothing but 'willow, willow, willow', and between... [IV.1.80]
Ever was 'Palamon, fair Palamon',
And 'Palamon was a tall young man'. The place
Was knee-deep where she sat; her careless tresses
A wreath of bull-rush rounded; about her stuck
Thousand freshwater flowers of several colors --
That she appeared, methought, like the fair nymph
That feeds the lake with waters, or as Iris
Newly dropped down from heaven. Rings she made
Of rushes that grew by, and to 'em spoke
The prettiest posies -- 'Thus our true love's tied', ... [IV.1.90]
'This you may lose, not me', and many a one.
And then she wept, and sung again, and sighed --
And with the same breath smiled and kissed her hand.
2 FRIEND Alas, what pity it is!
WOOER  I made in to her;
She saw me and straight sought the flood -- I saved her,
And set her safe to land, when presently
She slipped away and to the city made,
With such a cry and swiftness that, believe me,
She left me far behind her. Three or four
I saw from far off cross her -- one of 'em ... [IV.1.100]
I knew to be your brother, where she stayed
And fell, scarce to be got away. I left them with her,
[Enter the Jailer's Brother, the Jailer's Daughter, and others.]
And hither came to tell you -- here they are.
DAUGHTER [sings.] 'May you never more enjoy the light ...' --
Is not this a fine song?
BROTHER O, a very fine one.
DAUGHTER I can sing twenty more.
BROTHER I think you can
DAUGHTER Yes, truly can I -- I can sing 'The Broom'
And 'Bonny Robin' -- are not you a tailor?
DAUGHTER Where's my wedding gown?
BROTHER I'll bring it tomorrow.
DAUGHTER Do, very rarely -- I must be abroad else, ... [IV.1.110]
To call the maids and pay the minstrels,
For I must lose my maidenhead by cock light,
'Twill never thrive else. [Sings.] 'O fair, O sweet . . .'
BROTHER [to the Jailer.] You must e'en take it patiently.
JAILER ÔTis true.
DAUGHTER Good ev'n, good men. Pray, did you ever hear
Of one young Palamon?
JAILER Yes, wench, we know him.
DAUGHTER Is't not a fine young gentleman?
JAILER 'Tis, love.
BROTHER By no mean cross her, she is then distempered
Far worse than now she shows.
1 FRIEND  [to the Jailer's Daughter.] ~~~ Yes, he's a fine man.
DAUGHTER O, is he so? You have a sister.
DAUGHTER But she shall never have him, tell her so,
For a trick that I know. You'd best look to her,
For if she see him once, she's gone -- she's done
And undone in an hour. All the young maids
Of our town are in love with him, but I laugh at 'em
And let 'em all alone. Is't not a wise course?
DAUGHTER There is at least two hundred now with child by him,
There must be four; yet I keep close for all this,
Close as a cockle; and all these must be boys --
He has the trick on't -- and at ten years old ... [IV.1.130]
They must be all gelt for musicians
And sing the wars of Theseus.
2 FRIEND This is strange.
JAILER'S BROTHER As ever you heard, but say nothing.
DAUGHTER They come from all parts of the dukedom to him.
I'll warrant ye, he had not so few last night
As twenty to dispatch. He'll tickle't up
In two hours, if his hand be in.
JAILER She's lost.
Past all cure.
BROTHER Heaven forbid, man!
DAUGHTER [to the Jailer.] Come hither -- you are a wise man.
1 FRIEND Does she know him?
2 FRIEND: No -- would she did.
DAUGHTER You are master of a ship?
DAUGHTER Where's your compass?
DAUGHTER Set it to th' north.
And now direct your course to th' wood where Palamon
Lies longing for me. For the tackling,
Let me alone. Come, weigh, my hearts, cheerly all.
Uff, uff, uff! 'Tis up. The wind's fair. Top the bowline.
Out with the mainsail. Where's your whistle, master?
BROTHER Let's get her in.
JAILER Up to the top, boy!
BROTHER Where's the pilot?
1 FRIEND Here.
DAUGHTER What kenn'st thou?
2 FRIEND A fair wood.
DAUGHTER Bear for it, master.

Tack about!
[Sings] 'When Cynthia with her borrowed light' . . . [Exeunt.]



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 IV, Scene 4
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


To view other The Two Noble Kinsman sections:

Main Play Page      Play Text     Scene by Scene Synopsis     Character Directory     Commentary  


To view the other Plays click below:

By  Comedies    Histories    Romances    Tragedies

All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale


To view other Shakespeare Library sections:

Biography     Plays     Poems     Sonnets     Theaters     Shake Links 

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
[Home]  [Upcoming Shows]  [HSC Venues]  [Past Productions]  [Articles] [HSC Programs]
 [Shakespeare Library] [Actor Resources]   [Contact Us]  [Links]  [Site Map]