E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Palamon and Arcite (2 syl.).
Two young Theban knights who fell into the hands of Duke Theseus, and were shut up in a donjon at Athens. Both fell in love with Emily, the dukes sister-in-law. In time they obtained their liberty, and the duke appointed a tournament, promising Emily to the vietor. Arcite prayed to Mars to grant him victory, Palamon prayed to Venus to grant him Emily, and both obtained their petition. Arcite won the victory, but, being thrown from his horse, died, Palamon, therefore, though not the winner, won the prize for which he fought. The story is borrowed from Le Teseide of Boccaccio. The Black Horse, a drama by John Fletcher, is the same tale; so called because it was a black horse from which Arcite was thrown. (Chaucer: The Knights Tale.)