Act I - Act I, Scene 2
Scaena 2. (Thebs).
[Enter Palamon, and Arcite.]
Deere Palamon, deerer in love then Blood
And our prime Cosen, yet unhardned in
The Crimes of nature; Let us leave the Citty
Thebs, and the temptings in't, before we further
Sully our glosse of youth:
And here to keepe in abstinence we shame
As in Incontinence; for not to swim
I'th aide o'th Current were almost to sincke,
At least to frustrate striving, and to follow
The common Streame, twold bring us to an Edy
Where we should turne or drowne; if labour through,
Our gaine but life, and weakenes.
Is cride up with example: what strange ruins
Since first we went to Schoole, may we perceive
Walking in Thebs? Skars, and bare weedes
The gaine o'th Martialist, who did propound
To his bold ends honour, and golden Ingots,
Which though he won, he had not, and now flurted
By peace for whom he fought: who then shall offer
To Marsis so scornd Altar? I doe bleede
When such I meete, and wish great Iuno would
Resume her ancient fit of Ielouzie
To get the Soldier worke, that peace might purge
For her repletion, and retaine anew
Her charitable heart now hard, and harsher
Then strife or war could be.
Are you not out?
Meete you no ruine but the Soldier in
The Cranckes and turnes of Thebs? you did begin
As if you met decaies of many kindes:
Perceive you none, that doe arowse your pitty
But th'un-considerd Soldier?
Yes, I pitty
Decaies where ere I finde them, but such most
That, sweating in an honourable Toyle,
Are paide with yce to coole 'em.
Tis not this
I did begin to speake of: This is vertue
Of no respect in Thebs; I spake of Thebs
How dangerous if we will keepe our Honours,
It is for our resyding, where every evill
Hath a good cullor; where eve'ry seeming good's
A certaine evill, where not to be ev'n Iumpe
As they are, here were to be strangers, and
Such things to be, meere Monsters.
Tis in our power,
(Vnlesse we feare that Apes can Tutor's) to
Be Masters of our manners: what neede I
Affect anothers gate, which is not catching
Where there is faith, or to be fond upon
Anothers way of speech, when by mine owne
I may be reasonably conceiv'd; sav'd too,
Speaking it truly? why am I bound
By any generous bond to follow him
Followes his Taylor, haply so long untill
The follow'd make pursuit? or let me know,
Why mine owne Barber is unblest, with him
My poore Chinne too, for tis not Cizard iust
To such a Favorites glasse: What Cannon is there
That does command my Rapier from my hip
To dangle't in my hand, or to go tip toe
Before the streete be foule? Either I am
The fore-horse in the Teame, or I am none
That draw i'th sequent trace: these poore sleight sores
Neede not a plantin; That which rips my bosome
Almost to'th heart's--
Our Vncle Creon.
A most unbounded Tyrant, whose successes
Makes heaven unfeard, and villany assured
Beyond its power there's nothing, almost puts
Faith in a feavour, and deifies alone
Voluble chance; who onely attributes
The faculties of other Instruments
To his owne Nerves and act; Commands men service,
And what they winne in't, boot and glory; on(e)
That feares not to do harm; good, dares not; Let
The blood of mine that's sibbe to him be suckt
From me with Leeches; Let them breake and fall
Off me with that corruption.
Cleere spirited Cozen,
Lets leave his Court, that we may nothing share
Of his lowd infamy: for our milke
Will relish of the pasture, and we must
Be vile or disobedient, not his kinesmen
In blood, unlesse in quality.
I thinke the Ecchoes of his shames have dea'ft
The eares of heav'nly Iustice: widdows cryes
Descend againe into their throates, and have not
Due audience of the Gods.--Valerius!
The King cals for you; yet be leaden footed,
Till his great rage be off him. Phebus, when
He broke his whipstocke and exclaimd against
The Horses of the Sun, but whisperd too
The lowdenesse of his Fury.
Small windes shake him:
But whats the matter?
Theseus (who where he threates appals,) hath sent
Deadly defyance to him, and pronounces
Ruine to Thebs; who is at hand to seale
The promise of his wrath.
Let him approach;
But that we feare the Gods in him, he brings not
A jot of terrour to us; Yet what man
Thirds his owne worth (the case is each of ours)
When that his actions dregd with minde assurd
Tis bad he goes about?
Leave that unreasond.
Our services stand now for Thebs, not Creon,
Yet to be neutrall to him were dishonour;
Rebellious to oppose: therefore we must
With him stand to the mercy of our Fate,
Who hath bounded our last minute.
So we must.
Ist sed this warres a foote? or it shall be,
On faile of some condition?
Tis in motion
The intelligence of state came in the instant
With the defier.
Lets to the king, who, were he
A quarter carrier of that honour which
His Enemy come in, the blood we venture
Should be as for our health, which were not spent,
Rather laide out for purchase: but, alas,
Our hands advanc'd before our hearts, what will
The fall o'th stroke doe damage?
That never erring Arbitratour, tell us
When we know all our selves, and let us follow
The becking of our chance. [Exeunt.]