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Duchess

What can the church force more ?
Antonio

That fortune may not know an accident,
Either of joy or sorrow, to divide

Our fixed wishes !
Duchess

How can the church build faster ?
We now are man and wife, and 'tis the church
That must but echo this. Maid, stand apart:

I now am blind.
Antonio

What's your conceit in this?
Duchess -

I would have you lead your fortune by the hand
Unto your marriage bed:
(You speak in me this, for we now are one:)
We'll only lie, and talk together, and plot
To appease my humorous kindred; and if you please,
Like the old tale in Alexander and Lodowick,
Lay a naked sword between us, keep us chaste.
0, let me shroud my blushes in your bosom,
Since 'tis the treasury of all my secrets !

[Exeunt Duchess and ANTONIO. Cariola

Whether the spirit of greatness or of woman
Reign most in her, I know not; but it shows
A fearful madness: I owe her much of pity. [Exit.

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Scene: Athens. An open space before the Temples of Mars,

Venus, and Diana.
Theseus

You valiant and strong-hearted enemies,
You royal germane foes, that this day come
To blow the nearness out that flames between ye,
Lay by your anger for an hour, and dovelike
Before the holy altars of our helpers,

:

The all-feared gods, bow down your stubborn bodies.
Your ire is more than mortal ; so your help be!
And as the gods regard ye, fight with justice !
I'll leave you to your prayers, and betwixt ye

I part my wishes.
Pirithous-

Honor crown the worthiest !

[Exeunt THESEUS and train. Palamon

The glass is running now that cannot finish
Till one of us expire: think you but thus,
That, were there aught in me which strove to show
Mine enemy in this business, were't one eye
Against another, arm oppresst by arm,
I would destroy the offender; coz, I would,

I
Though parcel of myself: then from this gather

How I should tender you.
Arcite -

I am in labor
To push your name, your ancient love, our kindred,
Out of my memory; and i' the selfsame place
To seat something I would confound : so hoist we
The sails that must these vessels port even where

The heavenly Limiter pleases !
Palamon-

You speak well.
Before I turn, let me embrace thee, cousin.

[They embrace. This I shall never do again. Arcite

One farewell! Palamon

Why, let it be so; farewell, coz! Arcite

Farewell, sir!

[Exeunt PALAMON and his Knights.
Knights, kinsmen, lovers, yea, my sacrifices,
True worshipers of Mars, whose spirit in you
Expels the seeds of fear, and the apprehension
Which still is father of it, go with me
Before the god of our profession. There
Require of him the hearts of lions, and
The breath of tigers, yea, the fierceness, too;
Yea, the speed also, - to go on, I mean,

- I
Else wish we to be snails. You know my prize
Must be dragged out of blood; force and great feat
Must put my garland on, where she will stick
The queen of flowers. Our intercession, then,
Must be to him who makes the camp a cestron

Cistern.

Brimmed with the blood of men; give me your aid,

And bend your spirits towards him. — [They advance to the altar of Mars, and fall on their faces;

then kneel.

Thou mighty one, that with thy power hast turned
Green Neptune into purple; whose approach
Comets prewarn; whose havoc in vast field
Unearthèd skulls proclaim; whose breath blows down
The teaming Ceres' foison; who dost pluck
With hand armipotent from forth blue clouds
The masoned turrets; that both makest and breakest
The stony girths of cities; me, thy pupil,
Young'st follower of thy drum, instruct this day
With military skill, that to thy laud
I may advance my streamer, and by thee
Be styled the lord o’ the day. Give me, great Mars,

Some token of thy pleasure. [Here they fall on their faces as before, and there is heard

clanging of armor, with a short thunder, as the burst of a
battle, whereupon they all rise, and how to the altar.

O great corrector of enormous' times,
Shaker of o'errank states, thou grand decider
Of dusty and old titles, that heal'st with blood
The earth when it is sick, and curest the world
O’ the plurisy? of people, I do take
Thy signs auspiciously, and in thy name
To my design march boldly!— Let us go.

[Exeunt.

2

Reënter PALAMON and his Knights.
Palamon

Our stars must glister with new fires, or be
To-day extinct; our argument is love,
Which if the goddess of it grant, she gives
Victory too: then blend your spirits with mine,
You whose free nobleness do make my cause
Your personal hazard. To the goddess Venus
Commend we our proceeding, and implore

Her power unto our party !. [Here they advance to the altar of Venus, and fall on their faces ; then kneel.

Hail, sovereign queen of secrets ! who hast power
To call the fiercest tyrant from his rage,
And weep unto a girl; that hast the might

1 Monstrous.

2 Plethora.

Even with an eyeglance to choke Mars's drum,
And turn the alarm to whispers; that canst make
A cripple flourish with his crutch, and cure him
Before Apollo; that mayst force the king
To be his subject's vassal, and induce
Stale gravity to dance; the polled bachelor,
Whose youth, like wanton boys through bonfires,
Have skipt thy flame, at seventy thou canst catch,
And make him, to the scorn of his hoarse throat,
Abuse young lays of love. What godlike power
Hast thou not power upon ? To Phæbus thou
Add'st flames, hotter than his; the heavenly fires
Did scorch his mortal son, thine him; the huntress,
All moist and cold, some say, began to throw
Her bow away and sigh. Take to thy grace
Me thy vowed soldier, who do bear thy yoke
As 'twere a wreath of roses, yet is heavier
Than lead itself, stings more than nettles. I
Have never been foul-mouthed against thy law,
Ne'er revealed secret, for I knew none, - would not,
Had I kenned all that were; I never practiced
Upon man's wife, nor would the libels read
Of liberal wits; I never at great feasts
Sought to betray a beauty, but have blushed
At simpering sirs that did; I have been harsh
To large confessors,' and have hotly asked them
If they had mothers.

I had one, a woman,
And women 'twere they wronged. I knew a man
Of eighty winters this I told them — who
A lass of fourteen brided. 'Twas thy power
To put life into dust; the aged cramp
Had screwed his square foot round,
The gout had knit his fingers into knots,
Torturing convulsions from his globy eyes
Had almost drawn their spheres, that what was life
In him seemed torture. This anatomy
Had by his young fair fere a boy, and I
Believed it was his, for she swore it was,
And who would not believe her ? Brief, I am
To those that prate, and have done, no companion;
To those that boast, and have not, a defier;
To those that would, and cannot, a rejoicer;
Yea, him I do not love that tells close offices
The foulest way, nor names concealments in
1 Licentious boasters.

2 Bulging.

1

2

The boldest language: such a one I am,
And vow that lover never yet made sigh
Truer than I. O, then, most soft sweet goddess,
Give me the victory of this question, which
Is true love's merit, and bless me with a sign

Of thy great pleasure ! [Here music is heard, doves are seen to flutter; they fall again upon their faces, then on their knees.

O thou that from eleven to ninety reignest
In mortal bosoms, whose chase is this world,
And we in herds thy game, I give thee thanks
For this fair token, which, being laid unto
Mine innocent true heart, arins in assurance
My body to this business ! — Let us rise
And bow before the goddess; time comes on.

[They bow, then exeunt.

Still music of records. Enter Emilia in white, her hair about her

shoulders, and wearing a wheaten wreath; one in white holding up her train, her hair stuck with flowers; one before her carrying a silver hind, in which is conveyed incense and sweet odors, which being set upon the altar of Diana, her Maids standing aloof, she sets fire to it; then they courtesy and kneel.

Emilia

O sacred, shadowy, cold, and constant queen,
Abandoner of revels, mute, contemplative,
Sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure
As wind-fanned snow, who to thy female knights
Allow'st no more blood than will make a blush,
Which is their order's robe, I here, thy priest,
Am humbled 'fore thine altar! O, vouchsafe,
With that thy rare green eye

which never yet
Beheld thing maculate - look on thy virgin!
And, sacred silver mistress, lend thine ear-
Which ne'er heard scurril term, into whose port
Ne'er entered wanton sound to my petition,
Seasoned with holy fear! This is my last
Of vestal office; I'm bride habited,
But maiden-hearted; a husband I have pointed,
But do not know him; out of two I should
Choose one, and pray for his success, but I
Am guiltless of election; of mine eyes,
Were I to lose one — thev are equal precious –
1 Hunting ground.

2 Appointed.

2

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