The Two Noble Kinsmen


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Flourish


PROLOGUE


New plays and maidenheads are near akin,

Much followed both, for both much money gi'en,
follow (v.) 1 seek after, pursue, strive for, court

If they stand sound and well. And a good play –

Whose modest scenes blush on his marriage day,

And shake to lose his honour – is like her
shake (v.) 2 tremble, quake, shiver

That after holy tie and first night's stir
holy tie marriage

Yet still is modesty, and still retains

More of the maid to sight than husband's pains.
pain (n.) effort, endeavour, exertion, labour

We pray our play may be so; for I am sure

It has a noble breeder, and a pure,
breeder (n.) 1 father, source, originator, author

A learned, and a poet never went
go (v.) 4 live, exist, breathe

More famous yet 'twixt Po and silver Trent.

Chaucer, of all admired, the story gives;

There constant to eternity it lives.

If we let fall the nobleness of this,
let fall (v.) lower, debase, fail to live up to

And the first sound this child hear be a hiss,

How will it shake the bones of that good man,

And make him cry from under ground, ‘ O, fan

From me the witless chaff of such a writer

That blasts my bays and my famed works makes lighter
bay (n.) 4 fame, renown [i.e. laurel wreath]
blast (v.) 1 blight, wither, destroy

Than Robin Hood!’ This is the fear we bring;

For, to say truth, it were an endless thing,
endless (adj.) 2 never-ending, impossible, unattainable

And too ambitious, to aspire to him.

Weak as we are, and almost breathless swim

In this deep water, do but you hold out

Your helping hands, and we shall tack about,

And something do to save us; you shall hear

Scenes, though below his art, may yet appear

Worth two hours' travail. To his bones sweet sleep;
travail, travel (n.) 2 journeying, travel [often overlapping with sense 1]

Content to you. If this play do not keep
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

A little dull time from us, we perceive

Our losses fall so thick we must needs leave.
leave (v.) 1 cease, stop, give up

Flourish. Exit

 
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