Another part of the forest near Athens.
Arcite brings meat and wine to Palamon’s hiding place, along with a file to remove his chains. Palamon taunts him with dishonesty and suspects that Arcite might poison him, but Arcite sets those concerns aside and suggests that they forget about Emilia for the time of the meal. They have an awkward conversation about the food, and then start to remember their old conquests, but that soon brings their thoughts back to Emilia and they begin to shout at one another. Arcite walks off, promising to return with all the weaponry needed for them to fight it out. (83 lines)
Enter Arcite with meat, wine, and files.
I should be near the place. Ho, cousin Palamon!
The same. I have brought you food and files.
Come forth and fear not, here’s no Theseus.
Nor none so honest, Arcite.
That’s no matter,
We’ll argue that hereafter. Come, take courage,
You shall not die thus beastly. Here, sir, drink—
I know you are faint—then I’ll talk further with you.
Arcite, thou mightst now poison me.
But I must fear you first. Sit down, and good now
No more of these vain parleys; let us not,
Having our ancient reputation with us,
Make talk for fools and cowards. To your health, etc.
Pray sit down then, and let me entreat you
By all the honesty and honor in you,
No mention of this woman. ’Twill disturb us,
We shall have time enough.
Well, sir, I’ll pledge you.
Drink a good hearty draught, it breeds good blood, man.
Do not you feel it thaw you?
Stay, I’ll tell you
After a draught or two more.
Spare it not,
The Duke has more, coz. Eat now.
I am glad
You have so good a stomach.
I am gladder
I have so good meat to’t.
Is’t not mad lodging
Here in the wild woods, cousin?
Yes, for them
That have wild consciences.
How tastes your victuals?
Your hunger needs no sauce, I see.
But if it did, yours is too tart, sweet cousin.
What is this?
’Tis a lusty meat.
Give me more wine. Here, Arcite, to the wenches
We have known in our days! The Lord Steward’s daughter—
Do you remember her?
After you, coz.
She lov’d a black-hair’d man.
She did so; well, sir?
And I have heard some call him Arcite, and—
Out with’t, faith!
She met him in an arbor:
What did she there, coz? Play o’ th’ virginals?
Something she did, sir.
Made her groan a month for’t;
Or two, or three, or ten.
The Marshal’s sister
Had her share too, as I remember, cousin,
Else there be tales abroad. You’ll pledge her?
A pretty brown wench ’tis. There was a time
When young men went a-hunting, and a wood,
And a broad beech; and thereby hangs a tale.
For Emily, upon my life! Fool,
Away with this strain’d mirth! I say again,
That sigh was breath’d for Emily. Base cousin,
Dar’st thou break first?
You are wide.
By heaven and earth,
There’s nothing in thee honest.
Then I’ll leave you;
You are a beast now.
As thou mak’st me, traitor!
There’s all things needful, files and shirts and perfumes.
I’ll come again some two hours hence and bring
That that shall quiet all.
A sword and armor.
Fear me not. You are now too foul; farewell.
Get off your trinkets, you shall want nought.
I’ll hear no more.
If he keep touch, he dies for’t.