Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Two Noble Kinsmen (Quarto, 1634)

Actus Quintus.
Scæna 1.
Enter Thesius, Perithous, Hipolita, attendants.
Thes. Now let 'em enter, and before the gods
Tender their holy prayers: Let the Temples
Burne bright with sacred fires, and the Altars
2630In hallowed clouds commend their swelling Incense
To those above us: Let no due be wanting,
Florish of Cornets.
They have a noble worke in hand, will honour
The very powers that love 'em.
Enter Palamon and Arcite, and their Knights.
Per. Sir they enter.
Thes. You valiant and strong harted Enemies
You royall German foes, that this day come
To blow that nearenesse out that flames betweene ye;
2640Lay by your anger for an houre, and dove-like
Before the holy Altars of your helpers
(The all feard gods) bow downe your stubborne bodies,
Your ire is more than mortall; So your helpe be,
And as the gods regard ye, fight with Iustice,
2645Ile leave you to your prayers, and betwixt ye
I part my wishes.
Per. Honour crowne the worthiest.
Exit Theseus, and his traine.
Pal. The glasse is running now that cannot finish
2650Till one of us expire: Thinke you but thus,
That were there ought in me which strove to show
Mine enemy in this businesse, wer't one eye
Against another: Arme opprest by Arme:
I would destroy th' offender, Coz, I would
2655Though parcell of my selfe: Then from this gather
How I should tender you.
Arc. I am in labour
To push your name, your auncient love, our kindred
Out of my memory; and i'th selfe same place
2660To seate something I would confound: So hoyst we
The sayles, that must these vessells port even where
The heavenly Lymiter pleases.
Pal. You speake well;
Before I turne, Let me embrace thee Cosen
2665This I shall never doe agen.
Arc. One farewell.
Pal. Why let it be so: Farewell Coz.
Exeunt Palamon and his Knights.
Arc. Farewell Sir;
2670Knights, Kinsemen, Lovers, yea my Sacrifices
True worshippers of Mars, whose spirit in you
Expells the seedes of feare, and th' apprehension
Which still is farther off it, Goe with me
Before the god of our profession: There
2675Require of him the hearts of Lyons, and
The breath of Tigers, yea the fearcenesse too,
Yea the speed also, to goe on, I meane:
Else wish we to be Snayles; you know my prize
Must be drag'd out of blood, force and great feate
2680Must put my Garland on, where she stickes
The Queene of Flowers: our intercession then
Must be to him that makes the Campe, a Cestron
Brymd with the blood of men: give me your aide
And bend your spirits towards him.
They kneele.
2685Thou mighty one, that with thy power hast turnd
Greene Nepture into purple.
Comets prewarne, whose havocke in vaste Feild
Vnearthed skulls proclaime, whose breath blowes downe,
The teeming Ceres foyzon, who dost plucke
2690With hand armenypotent from forth blew clowdes,
The masond Turrets, that both mak'st, and break'st
The stony girthes of Citties: me thy puple,
Yongest follower of thy Drom, instruct this day
With military skill, that to thy lawde
2695I may advance my Streamer, and by thee,
Be stil'd the Lord o'th day, give me great Mars
Some token of thy pleasure.
Here they fall on their faces as formerly, and there is heard
clanging of Armor, with a short Thunder as the burst of
2700a Battaile, whereupon they all rise and bow to the Altar.
O Great Corrector of enormous times,
Shaker of ore-rank States, thou grand decider
Of dustie, and old tytles, that healst with blood
The earth when it is sicke, and curst the world
2705O'th pluresie of people; I doe take
Thy signes auspiciously, and in thy name
To my designe; march boldly, let us goe.
Enter Palamon and his Knights, with the former obser-
2710Pal. Our stars must glister with new fire, or be
To daie extinct; our argument is love,
Which if the goddesse of it grant, she gives
Victory too, then blend your spirits with mine,
You, whose free noblenesse doe make my cause
2715Your personall hazard; to the goddesse Venus
Commend we our proceeding, and implore
Her power unto our partie.
Here they kneele as formerly.
Haile Soveraigne Queene of secrets, who hast power
To call the feircest Tyrant from his rage;
2720And weepe unto a Girle; that ha'st the might
Even with an ey-glance, to choke Marsis Drom
And turne th'allarme to whispers, that canst make
A Criple florish with his Crutch, and cure him
Before Apollo; that may'st force the King
2725To be his subjects vassaile, and induce
Stale gravitie to daunce, the pould Bachelour
Whose youth like wanton Boyes through Bonfyres
Have skipt thy flame, at seaventy, thou canst catch
And make him to the scorne of his hoarse throate
2730Abuse yong laies of love; what godlike power
Hast thou not power upon? To Phæbus thou
Add'st flames, hotter then his the heavenly fyres
Did scortch his mortall Son, thine him; the huntresse
All moyst and cold, some say began to throw
2735Her Bow away, and sigh: take to thy grace
Me thy vowd Souldier, who doe beare thy yoke
As t'wer a wreath of Roses, yet is heavier
Then Lead it selfe, stings more than Nettles;
I have never beene foule mouthd against thy law,
2740Nev'r reveald secret, for I knew none; would not
Had I kend all that were; I never practised
Vpon mans wife, nor would the Libells reade
Of liberall wits: I never at great feastes
Sought to betray a Beautie, but have blush'd
2745At simpring Sirs that did: I have beene harsh
To large Confessors, and have hotly ask'd them
If they had Mothers, I had one, a woman,
And women t'wer they wrong'd. I knew a man
Of eightie winters, this I told them, who
2750A Lasse of foureteene brided, twas thy power
To put life into dust, the aged Crampe
Had screw'd his square foote round,
The Gout had knit his fingers into knots,
Torturing Convulsions from his globie eyes,
2755Had almost drawne their spheeres, that what was life
In him seem'd torture: this Anatomie
Had by his yong faire pheare a Boy, and I
Beleev'd it was his, for she swore it was,
And who would not beleeve her? briefe I am
2760To those that prate and have done; no Companion
To those that boast and have not; a defyer
To those that would and cannot; a Rejoycer,
Yea him I doe not love, that tells close offices
The fowlest way, nor names concealements in
2765The boldest language, such a one I am,
And vow that lover never yet made sigh
Truer then I. O then most soft sweet goddesse
Give me the victory of this question, which
Is true loves merit, and blesse me with a signe
2770Of thy great pleasure.
Here Musicke is heard, Doves are seene to flutter, they
fall againe upon their faces, then on their knees.
Pal. O thou that from eleven, to ninetie raign'st
In mortall bosomes, whose chase is this world
2775And we in heards thy game; I give thee thankes
For this faire Token, which being layd unto
Mine innocent true heart, armes in assurance
They bow.
My body to this businesse: Let us rise
And bow before the goddesse: Time comes on.
Still Musicke of Records.
Enter Emilia in white, her haire about her shoulders, a whea-
ten wreath: One in white holding up her traine, her haire
stucke with flowers: One before her carrying a silver
Hynde, in whic his conveyd Incense and sweet odours,
2785which being set upon the Altar her maides standing a
loofe, she sets fire to it, then they curtsey and kneele.
Emilia. O sacred, shadowie, cold and constant Queene,
Abandoner of Revells, mate contemplative,
Sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure
2790As windefand Snow, who to thy femall knights
Alow'st no more blood than will make a blush,
Which is their orders robe. I heere thy Priest
Am humbled fore thine Altar, O vouchsafe
With that thy rare greene eye, which never yet
2795Beheld thing maculate, looke on thy virgin,
And sacred silver Mistris, lend thine eare
(Which nev'r heard scurrill terme, into whose port
Ne're entred wanton sound,) to my petition
Seasond with holy feare; This is my last
2800Of vestall office, I am bride habited,
But mayden harted, a husband I have pointed,
But doe not know him out of two, I should
Choose one, and pray for his successe, but I
Am guiltlesse of election of mine eyes,
2805Were I to loose one, they are equall precious,
I could doombe neither, that which perish'd should
Goe too't unsentenc'd: Therefore most modest Queene,
He of the two Pretenders, that best loves me
And has the truest title in't, Let him
2810Take off my wheaten Gerland, or else grant
The fyle and qualitie I hold, I may
Continue in thy Band.
Here the Hynde vanishes under the Altar: and in the
place ascends a Rose Tree, having one Rose upon it.
2815See what our Generall of Ebbs and Flowes
Out from the bowells of her holy Altar
With sacred act advances: But one Rose,
If well inspird, this Battaile shal confound
Both these brave Knights, and I a virgin flowre
2820Must grow alone unpluck'd.
Here is heard a sodaine twang of Instruments, and the
Rose fals from the Tree.
The flowre is falne, the Tree descends: O Mistris
Thou here dischargest me, I shall be gather'd,
2825I thinke so, but I know not thine owne will;
Vnclaspe thy Misterie: I hope she's pleas'd,
Her Signes were gratious.
They curtsey and Exeunt.