Athens. A room in the prison.
The Jailer’s Daughter considers her love for Palamon and its hopelessness. She is aware of how ludicrous it is for her to be in love with him, and cannot explain it, but can only acknowledge its truth. So powerful are her feelings that in despite of the law and of her father’s job, she resolves to help him escape his prison. (33 lines)
Enter Jailer’s Daughter alone.
Why should I love this gentleman? ’Tis odds
He never will affect me. I am base,
My father the mean keeper of his prison,
And he a prince. To marry him is hopeless;
To be his whore is witless. Out upon’t!
What pushes are we wenches driven to
When fifteen once has found us! First, I saw him:
I, seeing, thought he was a goodly man;
He has as much to please a woman in him
(If he please to bestow it so) as ever
These eyes yet look’d on. Next, I pitied him;
And so would any young wench o’ my conscience
That ever dream’d, or vow’d her maidenhead
To a young handsome man. Then, I lov’d him,
Extremely lov’d him, infinitely lov’d him;
And yet he had a cousin, fair as he too;
But in my heart was Palamon, and there,
Lord, what a coil he keeps! To hear him
Sing in an evening, what a heaven it is!
And yet his songs are sad ones. Fairer spoken
Was never gentleman. When I come in
To bring him water in a morning, first
He bows his noble body, then salutes me thus:
“Fair gentle maid, good morrow. May thy goodness
Get thee a happy husband!” Once he kiss’d me—
I lov’d my lips the better ten days after.
Would he would do so ev’ry day! He grieves much,
And me as much to see his misery.
What should I do to make him know I love him,
For I would fain enjoy him? Say I ventur’d
To set him free? What says the law then?
Thus much for law or kindred! I will do it,
And this night, or tomorrow, he shall love me.