Athens. Before the prison.
The Jailer’s daughter has freed Palamon and left him in the woods while she returns to fetch food and find a file to saw off his chains. She is worried, though: even though she told him of her love for him, he has not yet thanked her, and she had to work hard to persuade him to flee, as he found it dishonorable. Still, she convinces herself that if she sticks close by him, gratitude will change to love. She runs off to find him. (39 lines)
Enter Jailer’s Daughter alone.
Let all the dukes and all the devils roar,
He is at liberty! I have ventur’d for him,
And out I have brought him to a little wood
A mile hence. I have sent him where a cedar,
Higher than all the rest, spreads like a plane
Fast by a brook, and there he shall keep close
Till I provide him files and food, for yet
His iron bracelets are not off. O Love,
What a stout-hearted child thou art! My father
Durst better have endur’d cold iron than done it.
I love him beyond love and beyond reason,
Or wit, or safety. I have made him know it.
I care not, I am desperate. If the law
Find me, and then condemn me for’t, some wenches,
Some honest-hearted maids, will sing my dirge,
And tell to memory my death was noble,
Dying almost a martyr. That way he takes
I purpose is my way too. Sure he cannot
Be so unmanly as to leave me here.
If he do, maids will not so easily
Trust men again. And yet he has not thank’d me
For what I have done; no, not so much as kiss’d me;
And that, methinks, is not so well; nor scarcely
Could I persuade him to become a freeman,
He made such scruples of the wrong he did
To me and to my father. Yet I hope,
When he considers more, this love of mine
Will take more root within him. Let him do
What he will with me, so he use me kindly,
For use me so he shall, or I’ll proclaim him,
And to his face, no man. I’ll presently
Provide him necessaries, and pack my clothes up,
And where there is a path of ground I’ll venture,
So he be with me. By him, like a shadow,
I’ll ever dwell. Within this hour the whoobub
Will be all o’er the prison. I am then
Kissing the man they look for. Farewell, father;
Get many more such prisoners and such daughters,
And shortly you may keep yourself. Now to him!