One more passage strikes my eye from B. and F.'s "Palamon and Arcite."
The Complaint of Annilida to false Arcite.
Two young Theban nobleman, Palamon and Arcite, sworn friends, are prisoners of war at Athens.
Arcite is finally pardoned on condition that he will leave Athens and never return, on penalty of death; but his love for Emily lures him back to the forbidden land.
Finally, Palamon escapes from prison, and by chance encounters Arcite.
and in the hour or moment of death, 'tis their sole comfort to remember their dear mistress, as Zerbino slain in France, and Brandimart in Barbary; as Arcite did his Emily. when he felt death, Dusked been his eyes, and faded is his breath
Arcite was victor, but being thrown from his horse was killed, and Emily became the bride of Palamon.
Richard Edwards in 1566 produced a drama entitled Palamon and Arcite.
What a fine chivalrous spirit breathes in "Palamon and Arcite!"
To her Grace the Duchess of Ormond Palamon and Arcite; or, the Knight's Tale
Boccace's Decameron was first published; and from thence our Englishman has borrowed many of his Canterbury tales; yet that of Palamon and Arcite was written in all probability by some Italian wit, in a former age; as I shall prove hereafter.
Chaucer makes Arcite violent in his love, and unjust in the pursuit of it; yet when he came to die, he made him think more reasonably: he repents not of his love, for that had altered his character; but acknowledges the injustice of his proceedings, and resigns Emilia to Palamon.
He would certainly have made Arcite witty on his deathbed.
In the story of Palamon and Arcite, where the temple of Diana is described, you find these verses in all the editions of our author: "There saw I Danè turned into a tree, I mean not the goddess Diane, But Venus' daughter, which that hight Danè:" Which, after a little consideration, I knew was to be reformed into this sense, that Daphne, the daughter of Peneus, was turned into a tree.
I prefer in our countryman, far above all his other stories, the noble poem of Palamon and Arcite, which is of the Epic kind, and perhaps not much inferior to the Ilias, or the Æneis.
* TO HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF ORMOND, WITH THE FOLLOWING POEM OF PALAMON AND ARCITE.
* PALAMON AND ARCITE: OR, THE KNIGHT'S TALE.
"But thou, false Arcite, never shall obtain," &c. Dryden, Fables.
Thus, the quarrel between Arcite and Palamon is wrought up with greater energy by Dryden than Chaucer, particularly by the addition of the following lines, describing the enmity of the captives against each other: "Now friends no more, nor walking hand in hand, But when they met, they made a surly stand, And glared like angry lions as they passed, And wished that every look might be their last.
But the modern must yield the palm, despite the beauty of his versification, to the description of Emily by Chaucer; and may be justly accused of loading the dying speech of Arcite with conceits for which his original gave no authority.
And this merciless quibble, where Arcite complains of the flames he endures for Emily: "Of such a goddess no time leaves record, Who burnt the temple where she was adored."Vol.
I read 'Palemon and Arcite', William writing out his alterations of Chaucer's 'Cuckoo and Nightingale'.
The plays, as at Cambridge, were of various character, but the one that gave especial pleasure was an English piece having the same subject as the Knighte's Tale of Chaucer, and called Palamon and Arcite.
When, in 1556, in Christ Church Hall, Palamon and Arcite was finished, outspoken Queen Bess, with her frank eyes full of pleasure, declared "that Palamon must have been in love indeed.
Arcite was a right martial knight, having a swart and manly countenance, yet like a Venus clad in armour."