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So that if Palamon were wounded fore,
If then the laws of friendship I transgress, Arcite was hurt as much as he, or more: I keep the greater, while I break the less Then from his inmolt foul he ligh’d, and said, And both are madalike,fincc neither can possess. The beauty I behold has Itruck me dead: Both hopeless to be ranfom'd, never more Unknowingly the strikes, and kills by chance; To see the fun, but as he passes o'er. Poison's in her eyes, and death in ev'ry glance. Like Æfop's hounds contending for the bone, O, I must alk; nor ask alone, but move Each pleaded right, and would be lord alone; Her mind to mercy, or must die for love. The fruitless fight continu'd all the day;
Thus Arcite: and thus Palamon replies A cur came by, and snatch'd the prize away. (Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes) As courtiers therefore justic for a grant, (want, Speak’st thou in carnest, or in jefting vein ? And when they break their friendthip plead their Jesțing, said Arcite, suits but ill with pain. So thou, if fortune will thy suit advance, It suits far worse (laid Palamon again,
nor envy me my equal chance : And bent his brows) with men who honor weigh, For I must love, and am resolv'd to try Their faith to break, their friendship to betray; My fate, or, failing in th’adventure, die. But worst with thee, of noble lineage born, Great was their strife, which hourly was renew'd, My kinsman, and in arms my brother sworn. Till each with mortal hate his rival view'd : Have we not plighted each our holy oath, Now friends no more, nor walking hand in hand; That one should be the common good of both; But when they met they made a furly stand, One foul. Thould both inspire, and neither prove And glar'd like angry lions as they pass’d, His fellow's hindrance in pursuit of love? And wish'd that ev'ry look might be their last. To this before the gods we gave our hands, It chanc'd at length, Pirithous came t'attend And nothing but our death can break the bands. This worthy Theseus, his fainiliar friend; This binds thee, then, to further my design Their love in early infancy began, (As I am bound by vow to further thine): And rose as childhood ripen’d into man. Nor can'st, nor dar'li thou, traitor, on the plain Companions of the war, and lov'd so well, Approach my honour, or thine own maintain, That when one dy'd, as ancient stories tell, Since thou art of my council, and the friend His fellow to redeem hiin went to hell. Whose faith I trust, and on whose care depend : But to pursue my tale; to welcome home And would'st thou court iny lady's love, which I His warlike brother is Pirithous come: Much rather than release would choose to die? Arcite of Thebes was known in arms long But thou, false Arcite, never shalt obtain
since, Thy bad pretence; I told thee first my pain : And honour'd by this young Thessalian prince. For firit my love began ere thine was born, Theseus, to gratify his friend and guest, Thou, as my countel, and my brother fivorn, Who made our Arcite's freedom his request, Art bound t'atlitt my eldership of right : Restor'd to liberty the captive knight, Or justly to be deem'd a perjur'd knight. But on there hard conditions I recite:
Thus Palaron: but Arcite with disdain, That if hereafter Arcite should be found In haughty language, thus reply'd again; Within the compass of Athenian ground, Forsworn thyfelf: the traitor's odious name By day or night, or on whate'er pretence, ļ first return, and then disprove thy claim, His head should pay the forfcit of th’offence. If love be passion, and that pallion nurst To this Pirithous for his friend agreed; With strong desires, I lov'd the lady first. And on his promise was the pris'ner freed. Canst thou pretend defire, whom zcal inflam'd Unpleas’d and pensive hence he takes his wayo; To worship, and a pow'r celestial nam'd ? At his own peril; for his life muft pay. Thine was devotion to the bleit above;
Who now but Arcite mourns his bitter fate, I saw the woman, and detir'd her love;
Finds his dear purchase, and repents too late ? First own’d iny passion, and to the commend What have I gain’d, he said, in prison pent, Th’important secrct, as my choten friend. If I but change my bonds for banishment ? Suppose (which yet I grant not) thy desire And banilh'd from her sight, I suffer more A moment elder than my rival fire;
In freedom than I felt in bonds before; Can chance of fecing first thy title provc? Forc'd from her presence, and condemn'd to live :: And know'st thou not, no law is made for love; Unwelcome freedom, and untbank'd reprieve: Law is to things which to free choice relate; Heav'n is not but where Emily abides ; Love is not in our choice, but in our fate; And where she's abfent-all is hell besides, Laws are but positive; love's pow'r, we foc,- Next to my day of birth was that accurst, Is Nature's sanction, and her first decree. Which bound my friendship to Pirithous first Each day we break the bồnd of human laws Had I not known that prince, I still had been For lovc, and vindicate the common caute. In bondage, and had itill Emilia feen : Laws for defence of civil rights are plac'd; For tho' I never can her grace deserve, Love throws the fences down, and makes a 'Tis recompence enough to see and serve. gen’ral waste:
O Palamon, my kinlinan and my friend, Maids, widows, wives, without distinction fall; How much more happy fates thy love attendi! The sweeping deluge, Lovc, comnes on, and Thine is th’adventure; thine the victory : covers all. Well has thy fortune turn'd the dice for thee:
hou on that angel's face may'ft feed thine eyes, prio; but blifsful paradife! hou daily feeft that fun of beauty fhine,
and lovit at least in love's extremeft line. mourn in abfence, love's cternal night; And who can tell but since thou haft her sight, and art a comely, young, and valiant knight, ortune (a various pow'r)may ceafe to frown, And, by fome ways unknown, thy withes crown? But I, the moft forlorn of human kind, Nor help can hope, nor remedy can find; But, doom'd to drag my loathfome life in care, for my reward, muft end it in despair. Fire, water, air, and carth, and force of fates That governs all, and Heav'n that all creates, Nor art, nor nature's hand can eafe my grief; Nothing but death, the wretch's last relief: Then farewell youth, and all the joys that dwell With youth and life, and life itself farewell.
But why, alas! do mortal men in vain Of fortune, fate, or providence complain? God gives us what he knows our wants require, And better things than those which we defire: Some pray for riches; riches they obtain; But, watch'd by robbers, for their wealth are flain: Some pray from prifon to be freed; and come, When guilty of their vows, to fall at home; Murder'd by thofe they trufted with their life, A favour'd fervant, or a bofom wife. Such dear-bought bleffings happen ev'ry day, Because we know not for what things to pray. Like drunken fots, about the street we roam: Well knows the fot he has a certain home; Yet knows not how to find th'uncertain place, And blunders on, and staggers ev'ry pace. Thus all feek happinefs, but few can find; For far the greater part of men are blind. This is my cafe, who thought our utmost good Was in one word of freedom understood : The fatal bleffing came; from prifon free, I ftarve abroad, and lofe the fight of Emily. Thus Arcite but if Arcite thus deplore His fuff'rings, Palamon yet fuffers more. For when he knew his rival freed and gone, Hefwells with wrath; he makes outrageous moan: He frets, he fumes, he stares, he ftamps the ground; The hollow tow'r with clamours rings around: With briny tears he bath'd his fetter'd feet, And drept all o'er with agony of fweat, Alas! he cry'd, I, wretch, in prifon pine. Too happy rival, while the fruit is thine, Thou liv'ft at large, thou draw'ft thy native air, Pleas'd with thy freedom, proud of my despair! Thou may't, fince thou haft youth and courage A fweet behaviour and a folid mind, Affemble ours, and all the Theban race, To vindicate on Athens thy difgrace; And after, by fome treaty made, poffefs Fair Emily, the pledge of lafting peace. So thine fhall be the beauteous prize, while I Muft languish in defpair, in prifon die. Thus all th'advantage of the ftrife is thine; Thy portion double joys, and double forrows mine. The rage of jealousy then fir'd his foul, And his face kindl'd like a burning coal:
Now cold Defpair, fucceeding in her ftead,
Let Palamon, opprefs'd in bondage, mourn,
Judge as you pleafe, for I will hafte to tell
That pale turns yellow, and his face receives
And fee, unknown, my miftrefs day by day.
That thro' the court his courtesy was blown:
All think him worthy of a greater place,
WHILE Arcite lives in blifs, the story turn
But when the fixth revolving year was run,
At ease he seemd, and, prancing o'er the plains, | Fierce Love has pierc'd me with his fiery dart;
fate pursue; A woodbine garland fought to crown his hair ;
I suffer for the rest, I die for you. Then turn’d his face against the rising day, Of such a Goddess no time leaves record, And rais'd his voice to welcome in the May. Who burn'd the temple where she was ador'd :
For thee, sweet month, the groves green live- And let it burn, I never will complain, If not the first, the fairest of the year: (ries wear: Pleas'd with my suff'rings, if you knew my pain, For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours, At this a fickly qualm his heart assaild, And Nature's ready pencil paints the flow'ss : His ears ring inward, and his fenfes failid. When thy short reign is past, the fev'rish sun I do word mifs’d Palamon of all he spoke, The sultry tropic fears and moves more fowly on. But soon to deadly pale he chang'd his look: So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight, He trembl'd ev'ry limb, and felt a limart, Nor goats with venom'd teeth thy tendrils bite, As if cold steel had glided through his heart ; As thou shalt guide my wand'ring feet to find No longer staid, but, starting from his place, The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind. Discover'd stood, and thew'd his hostile face. His vows address’d, within the grove hestray'd, Falle traitor Arcite, traitor to thy blood, Till fate, or fortune, near the place convey'd Bound by thy sacred oath to feek my good, His steps where secret Palamon was laid. Now art thou found forefuorn, for Émily ; Full little thought of him the gentle knight, And dar'st attempt her love, for whom I die. Who flying death had there conceal'd his flight, So haft thou cheated Thereus with a wile, In brakes and brambles hid, and thunning mor- Against thy vow, returning to beguile tal sight :
Under a borrow'd name : as false to me, And less he knew him for his hated foe, So false thou art to him who set thee free! But fear'd him as a man he did not know, But rest allur'd, that either thou Thalt die, But as it has been said of ancient years,
Or else renounce thy claim in Emily: That fields are full of eyes, and woods have ears; Forthough unarm’d'I am, and (free'd by chance) For this the wife are ever on their guard ; Am here without my fiord, or pointed lancc, For, unforeseen, they say, is unprepar’d. Hope not, base man, unquestion d hence to go; Uncautious Arcite thought himself alone, For I am Palamon, thy mortal foe. And less than all suspected Palamon;
Arcite, who heard histale, and knew the man, Who list’ning heard him, while he search'd the His Tword unshcath’d, and fiercely thus began : And loudly lung his roundelay of love : [grove, Now, by the Gods who govern heav'n above, But on the sudden stopp'd, and silent stood, Wert thou not weak with hunger, mad with love, As lovers often muse, and change their mood; That word had been thy laft, or in this grove Now high as heav'n, and then as low as hell, This hand should force thce to renounce thy love. Now up, now down, as buckets in a well; The surety which I gave thee, I defy : For Venus, like her day, will change her cheer, Fool, not to know that love endures no tie, And seldom shall we see a Friday clear. And Jove but laughs at lovers perjury. Thus Arcite, having fung, with alter'd hue. Know, I will serve the fair in thy despight; Sunk on the ground, and from his bofom drew But since thou art my kinsman, and a knight, A desp'rate figh, accusing Heav'n and fate, Here, have my faith, to-morrow in this grove And angry Juno's unrelenting hate.
Durs arms fhall plead the titles of our love : Curs'd be the day when first I did appear ; And Heav'n so help my right, as I alone Let it be blotted from the calendar, [year. Will come, and keep the cause and quarrel both Left it pollute the month, and poison all the
unknown ; Still will the jealous Qucen pursue our race ? With arms of proof both for myself and thee ; Cadmus is dead, the Theban city was :
Chuse thou the best, and leave the worst to me. Yet ceases not her hate : for all who come. And, that a better ease thou may'st abide, From Cadmus are involv'd in Cadmus' doom. Bedding and clothes I will this night provide, I suffer for my blood : unjust decree !
And needful sustenance, that thou mavst be That punishes another's crime on me.
A conquest better won, and worthy me. In mean estate I serve my mortal fot,
His promise Palamon accepts; but pray'd, The man who caus'd my country's overthrow, To keep it better than the first he made. This is not all; for Juno, to my lhame, Thus fair they parted till the morrow's dain; Has forc'd me to forsake my former name ; For each had laid his plighted faith to pawn. Arcite I was, Philostratus I am.
Oh Love' thou sternly dost thy pow'r maintain, That fide of heav'n is all my cnciny :
And wilt not bear a rival in thy reign, Mars ruin'd Thebes: his mother ruin'd me. Tyrants and thou all fellowship didain. Of all the royal race remains but one
This was in Arcite prov'd, and Palamon ; Besides myself, th'unhappy Palamon,
Both in despair, yet cach would love alone. Whom Theseus holds in bonds, and will not free; Arcite return'd, and, as in honor ty’d, Without a crime, except his kin to me. His foe with bedding and with food supply'd; Yet there, and all the rest, I could endure; Then, ere the day, two luits of arınour toughe, But Love's a malady without a cure ;
Which borne before him on his stecd he brought :
Both were of shining steel, and wrought so pure, And, thence dislodg'd, was wont to leave the wood
With goring rowels to provoke his ipeed.
So foon he was betwixt them on the lace ;
Thus pale they mect; their eyes with fury burn; Commands both combatants to cease their strife : None greets;
for none the greeting will return; Then with imperious tone pursues his threat; But in dumb furliness, each arm'd with care What are you? why in arms together met? His foe profest, as brother of the war :
How dares your pride prelume against my laws, Then both, no moment loft, at once advance As in a listed field to fight your caute ? Against each other, arm’d with sword and lance : Unask'd the royal grant ; no marshal by, They lallı, they foin, they pafs, they strive to bore As knightly rites require, nor judge to try? Their corslers, and the thinnest parts explore. Then Palamon, with scarce recover'd breath, Thus tivo long hours in equal arms they stood, Thus hasty spoke: We both deserve the death, And wounded, wound, till both were båth'd in And both would die; for look the world around, And not a foot of ground had either got, [blood; A pair to wretched is not to be found : As if the world depended on the spot.
Our life's a load; encumber'd with the charge, Fell Arcite like an angry tyger far'd;
We long to fet th’imprison's soul at large. And like a lion Palamon appcard:
Now as thou art a lov’reign judge, decree Or as two boars whom love to battle draws, The rightful doom of death to him and me, With rising bristles, and with frothy jaws, Let neither find thy grace; for grace is cruelty. Their adverse breasts with tusks oblique they Me first, o kill me first, and cure my woe'; wound;
Then sheath the fivord of justice on my foe :
Now callid Philostratus : retain'd by thee,
My part remains; from Thebes my birth I own, And by forefight neceffitate the will.
And call mylelf th’unhappy. Palamon. In Thefcus this appears ; whofe youthful joy Think me not like that man; fince no disgrace Was beasts of chace in forests to deltrov; Can force me to renounce the honor of my race. This gentle knight; inspir’d by jolly May, Know me for what I am : I broke my chain, Forsook his eatv couch at carly dav,
Nor promis'd I thy pris'ner to remain : And to the wood and wilds pursu'd his way. The love of liberty with life is giv'n; Beside him rode Hip-polita tlie quecit,
And life irtelf th'inferior gift of Heav'n. And Emily, attir'd in lively green;
Thus without crime I Acd; but farther know, With horns, and hounds, and all the tuncful cry, I with this Arcite am thy mortal foe : To hunt a róval hart within he covert nigh Then give me death, since I thy life pursue; And as he follow'd Mars before, so now For safeguard of thyself, death is my due. He ferves the goddess of the silver bow. More wouldst thou know. I love bright Emily, The way that Thetcus took was to the wood And for her inhe and in her fight will die : Where the two knights in cruel battle stood : But kill my rival too; for he no less The lawn on which they fought,th’appointed place Deserves; and I thy righteous doom will bless, In which th’uncoup!'d hounds began the chace. Afiur'd that what I loote he never shall poffefs. Thither forth-right he rode to reuse the prey, To this reply'd the fiern Athenian prince, That, Ahaded by the fern, in harbour lay; And fourly Imild,In owning your offence,