John Fletcher and William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen, [London], 1634 - p.19, D2r.

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Date:1634

Description:Shakespeare writes of Palamon and Arcite in prison.

The story of the Theban princes Palamon and Arcite is that told by the Knight in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. From their prison window the princes see, and both fall in love with Emilia, sister of Queen Hippolyta. King Theseus, Hippolyta and their Grecian court had also been presented by Shakespeare, in 1598 in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Transcript of this page:

JAILER [continuing from previous dialogue]...and so did they. What the reason of it is I know not.
Look, yonder they are. That's Arcite looks out.
DAUGHTER: No, sir, no -- that's Palamon. Arcite is ...
the lower of the twain -- [pointing at Arcite.] you may
perceive a part of him.
JAILER: Go to, leave your pointing. They would not make
us their object. Out of their sight.
DAUGHTER: It is a <u>holiday</u> to look on them. Lord,
the difference of men!

Scene II.2

[Enter Palamon and Arcite in prison, (in shackles), above].
PALAMON: How do you, noble cousin?
ARCITE: ~~~ How do you, sir?
PALAMON: Why, strong enough to laugh at misery
And bear the chance of war. Yet we are prisoners,
I fear, for ever, cousin.
ARCITE: ~~~ I believe it,
And to that destiny have patiently
Laid up my hour to come.
PALAMON: ~~~ O, cousin Arcite,
Where is Thebes now? Where is our noble country?
Where are our friends and kindreds? Never more
Must we behold those comforts, never see
The hardy youths strive for the games of honor, ...
Hung with the painted favors of their ladies,
Like tall ships under sail; then start amongst 'em
And, as an east wind, leave 'em all behind us,
Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite,
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg,
Outstripped the people's praises, won the garlands
Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. O never
Shall we two exercise, like twins of honor,
Our arms again and feel our fiery horses
Like proud seas under us. Our good swords, now -- ...
Better the red-eyed god of war ne'er wore --
Ravished our sides, like age must run to rust
And deck the temples of those gods that hate us.
These hands shall never draw 'em out like lightning
To blast whole armies more.

See:Two Noble Kinsmen, 2,2, lines 1-115.


Full title: John Fletcher and William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen. Presented at the Blackfriers by the Kings Majesties servants, Written by Mr John Fletcher and Mr William Shakespeare gent. London, by Thomas Cotes for John Waterson, 1634.


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Donor ref:SR 51.13 [484] (32/10555)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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