Another part of the forest near Athens.
The Jailer’s Daughter is searching for Palamon, but he has left the place where he was, and she is lost in the dark forest. Scared, hearing strange animal calls, cold, hungry, tried and frightened, she worries that Palamon is dead and that her father will be hanged for letting him flee. (38 lines)
Enter Jailer’s Daughter alone.
He has mistook the brake I meant, is gone
After his fancy. ’Tis now well-nigh morning;
No matter, would it were perpetual night,
And darkness lord o’ th’ world! Hark, ’tis a wolf!
In me hath grief slain fear, and but for one thing,
I care for nothing, and that’s Palamon.
I reck not if the wolves would jaw me, so
He had this file. What if I hallow’d for him?
I cannot hallow. If I whoop’d, what then?
If he not answer’d, I should call a wolf,
And do him but that service. I have heard
Strange howls this livelong night; why may’t not be
They have made prey of him? He has no weapons,
He cannot run, the jingling of his gyves
Might call fell things to listen, who have in them
A sense to know a man unarm’d, and can
Smell where resistance is. I’ll set it down
He’s torn to pieces. They howl’d many together,
And then they fed on him. So much for that,
Be bold to ring the bell. How stand I then?
All’s char’d when he is gone. No, no, I lie:
My father’s to be hang’d for his escape,
Myself to beg, if I priz’d life so much
As to deny my act, but that I would not,
Should I try death by dozens. I am mop’d:
Food took I none these two days—
Sipp’d some water. I have not clos’d mine eyes
Save when my lids scour’d off their brine. Alas,
Dissolve, my life, let not my sense unsettle
Lest I should drown, or stab, or hang myself.
O state of nature, fail together in me,
Since thy best props are warp’d! So which way now?
The best way is, the next way to a grave;
Each errant step beside is torment. Lo
The moon is down, the crickets chirp, the screech owl
Calls in the dawn! All offices are done
Save what I fail in. But the point is this—
An end, and that is all.