Act V - Act V, Scene 1

Actus Quintus

Scaena 1. (Before the Temples of Mars, Venus, and Diana.)

[Enter Thesius, Perithous, Hipolita, attendants.]


Now let'em enter, and before the gods
Tender their holy prayers: Let the Temples
Burne bright with sacred fires, and the Altars
In 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.]


Sir, they enter.


You valiant and strong harted Enemies,
You royall German foes, that this day come
To blow that furnesse out that flames betweene ye:
Lay 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;
Ile leave you to your prayers, and betwixt ye
I part my wishes.


Honour crowne the worthiest. [Exit Theseus, and his traine.]


The glasse is running now that cannot finish
Till 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,
Though parcell of my selfe: Then from this gather
How I should tender you.


I am in labour
To push your name, your auncient love, our kindred
Out of my memory; and i'th selfe same place
To seate something I would confound: So hoyst we
The sayles, that must these vessells port even where
The heavenly Lymiter pleases.


You speake well;
Before I turne, Let me embrace thee, Cosen:
This I shall never doe agen.


One farewell.


Why, let it be so: Farewell, Coz. [Exeunt Palamon and his


Farewell, Sir.--
Knights, 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
Require 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
Must 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.]
Thou mighty one, that with thy power hast turnd
Greene Neptune into purple, (whose Approach)
Comets prewarne, whose havocke in vaste Feild
Vnearthed skulls proclaime, whose breath blowes downe,
The teeming Ceres foyzon, who doth plucke
With hand armypotent 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
I 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 a
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
O'th pluresie of people; I doe take
Thy signes auspiciously, and in thy name
To my designe march boldly. Let us goe. [Exeunt.]

[Enter Palamon and his Knights, with the former observance.]


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
Your 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,
And 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
To be his subjects vassaile, and induce
Stale gravitie to daunce; the pould Bachelour--
Whose youth, like wonton Boyes through Bonfyres,
Have skipt thy flame--at seaventy thou canst catch
And make him, to the scorne of his hoarse throate,
Abuse yong laies of love: what godlike power
Hast thou not power upon? To Phoebus 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
Her 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,
Nev'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
At 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
A 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,
Had 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 him, for she swore it was,
And who would not beleeve her? briefe, I am
To 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
The 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
Of thy great pleasure.

[Here Musicke is heard, Doves are seene to flutter; they fall
againe upon their faces, then on their knees.]


O thou, that from eleven to ninetie raign'st
In mortall bosomes, whose chase is this world,
And 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. [Exeunt.]

[Still Musicke of Records.]

[Enter Emilia in white, her haire about her shoulders, (wearing) a
wheaten wreath: One in white holding up her traine, her haire stucke
with flowers: One before her carrying a silver Hynde, in which is
conveyd Incense and sweet odours, which being set upon the Altar
(of Diana) her maides standing a loofe, she sets fire to it; then
they curtsey and kneele.]


O sacred, shadowie, cold and constant Queene,
Abandoner of Revells, mute, contemplative,
Sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure
As 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
Beheld 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 found,) to my petition
Seasond with holy feare: This is my last
Of 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,
Were 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
Take 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.]

See 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
Must grow alone unpluck'd.

[Here is heard a sodaine twang of Instruments, and the Rose fals\
from the Tree (which vanishes under the altar.)]

The flowre is falne, the Tree descends: O, Mistris,
Thou here dischargest me; I shall be gather'd:
I 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.]