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For this the Wise are ever on their Guard,
For, Unforeseen, they say, is unprepar'd.
. Uncautious Arcite thought himself alone, And less than all suspected Palamon,
[Grove, Who listning heard him, while he search'd the And loudly sung his Roundelay of Love. But on the sudden stopp’d, and filent stood, (As Lovers often muse, and change their Mood ;) Now high as Heav'n, and then as low as Hell; Now up, now down, as Buckets in a Well: For Venus, like her Day, will change her Cheer, And seldom shall we see a Friday clear. Thus Arçite having sung, with alter'd Hue Sunk on the Ground, and from his Bosom drew A defp'rate Sigh, accusing Heav'n and Fate, And
angry Juno's unrelenting Hate. Curs'd be the Day when first I did appear; Let it be blotted from the Calendar, Lestit pollute the Month and poison all the Year. Still will the jealous Queen pursue our Race? Cadmus is dead, the Theban City was: Yet ceases not her Hate: For all who come From Cadmus are involv'd in Cadmus' Doom.
I suffer for my Blood: Unjust Decree!
That punishes another's Crime on me.
In mean Estate I serve my mortal Foe,
The Man who caus’d my Country's Overthow.
This is not all; for Juno, to my shame,
Has forc'd me to forsake my former Name;
Arcite I was, Philoftratus I am.
That Side of Heav'n is all my Enemy:
Mars ruin'd Thebes; his Mother ruin'd me.
Of all the Royal Race remains but one
my felf, th' unhappy Palamon,
Whom Theseus holds in Bonds, and will not free;
Without a Crime, except his Kin to me.
Yet thefe, and all the rest I cou'd endure;
But Love's a Malady without a Cure:
Fierce Love has pierc'd me with his fiery Dart,
He fires within, and hisses at my Heart.
Your Eyes, fair Emily, my Fate pursue ; ;
I suffer for the rest, I die for you.
Of such a Goddess no Time leaves Record,
Who burn'd the Temple where she was ador'd:
And let it burn, I never will complain,
Pleas'd with my Suff'rings, if
Suff'rings, if you knew my Pain,
At this a fickly Qualm his Heart assail'd,
His Ears ring inward, and his Senses faild.
No Word miss’d Palamon of all he spoke,
But soon to deadly Pale he chang'd his Look:
He trembled ev'ry Limb, and felt a Smart,
As if cold Steel had glided through his Heart ;
Nor longer staid, but starting from his Place,
Discover'd ftood, and shew'd his hostile Face:
False Traitor Arcite, Traitor to thy Blood,
Bound by thy facred Oath to seek my Good,
Now art thou found forsworn, for Emily;
And dar'st attempt her Love, for whom I die.
So hast thou cheated Theseus with a Wile,
Against thy Vow, returning to beguile
Under a borrow'd Name: As false to me,
So false thou art to him who set thee free:
But rest assur'd, that either thou fhalt die,
Or else renounce thy Claim in Emily:
For though unarm'd I am, and (freed by Chance)
Am here without my Sword, or pointed Lance;
Hope not, base Man, unquestion’d hence to go,
For Iam Palamon thy mortal Foe.
Arcite, who heard his Tale, and knew the Man, His Sword unsheath'd, and fiercely thus began: Now by the Gods, who govern Heav'n above, Wert thou not weak with Hunger, mad with Love, That Word had been thy last, or in this Grove This Hand should force thee to renounce thy Love. The Surety which I gave thee, I defie; Fool, not to know that Love endures no Tie, And Jove but laughs at Lovers Perjury, Know I will serve the Fair in thy despight; But since thou art my Kinsman, and a Knight, Here, have my Faith, to morrow in this Grove Our Arms shall plead the Titles of our Love: And Heav'n so help my Right, as I alone
[known; Will come and keep the Cause and Quarrel both unWith Arms of Proof both for my self and thee; Chuse thou the best, and leave the worst to me. And, that at better Ease thou may'st abide, Bedding and Cloaths I will this Night provide, And needful Sustenance, that thou may'st be A Conquest better won, and worthy me. His Promise Palamon accepts; but pray’d, To keep it better than the first he made.
Thus fair they parted till the Morrow's Dawn,
For each had laid his plighted Faith to pawn.
Oh Love! Thou sternly dost thy Pow'r maintain,
And wilt not bear a Rival in thy Reign,
Tyrants and thou all Fellowship disdain.
This was in Arcite prov’d, and Palamon,
Both in Despair, yet each would love alone.
Arcite return'd, and, as in Honour ty'd,
His Foe.with Bedding, and with Food supply’d;
Then, ere the Day, two Suits of Armour sought,
Which born before him on his Steed he brought:
Both were of shining Steel, and wrought so pure,
As might the Strokes of two such Arms endure.
Now, at the Time, and in th' appointed Place,
The Challenger, and Challeng'd, Face to Face,
Approach; each other from afar they knew,
And from afar their Hatred chang’d their Hue.
So stands the Thracian Heardsman with his Spear,
Full in the Gap, and hopes the hunted Bear,
And hears him ruftling in the Wood, and fees
His Course at Distance by the bending Trees;
And thinks, Here comes my mortal Enemy,
And either he must fall in Fight, or I: