The Two Noble Kinsmen


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter Pirithous, Hippolyta, and Emilia


No further.


                         Sir, farewell. Repeat my wishes

To our great lord, of whose success I dare not

Make any timorous question; yet I wish him
timorous (adj.) 1 fearful, apprehensive, doubting

Excess and overflow of power, an't might be,

To dure ill-dealing fortune. Speed to him;
dure (v.) endure, bear, withstand
speed (n.) 1 success, fortune, good luck

Store never hurts good governors.
store (n.) 1 abundance, plenty, surplus, quantity


                         Though I know

His ocean needs not my poor drops, yet they

Must yield their tribute there. (To Emilia) My precious maid,

Those best affections that the heavens infuse
affection (n.) 2 emotion, feeling

In their best-tempered pieces keep enthroned
best-tempered (adj.) most skilfully crafted, of the finest quality [as of metal]
piece (n.) 1 work (of art), creation

In your dear heart.


                         Thanks, sir. Remember me

To our all-royal brother, for whose speed
speed (n.) 1 success, fortune, good luck

The great Bellona I'll solicit; and

Since in our terrene state petitions are not
state (n.) 1 condition, circumstances, situation, state of affairs
terrene (adj.) earthly, human, in this world

Without gifts understood, I'll offer to her

What I shall be advised she likes. Our hearts

Are in his army, in his tent.


                         In's bosom.

We have been soldiers, and we cannot weep

When our friends don their helms, or put to sea,
helm (n.) 1 helmet

Or tell of babes broached on the lance, or women
broach (v.) 4 pierce, impale, spit

That have sod their infants in – and after ate them –
sod (v.) boil, stew [from ‘seethe’]

The brine they wept at killing 'em; then if
brine (n.) 1 salt water [i.e. tears]

You stay to see of us such spinsters, we
spinster (n.) domestic woman, one who stays at home spinning

Should hold you here for ever.


                         Peace be to you

As I pursue this war, which shall be then
pursue (v.) 1 proceed with, take forward, continue

Beyond further requiring.



                         How his longing

Follows his friend! Since his depart, his sports,
depart (n.) 1 departure, departing, leave-taking
sport (n.) 2 exercise, athletic pastime

Though craving seriousness and skill, passed slightly
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require
slightly (adv.) 1 without much attention, neglectfully

His careless execution, where nor gain
careless (adj.) 3 inattentive, preoccupied, distracted
execution (n.) 1 action, performance, doing

Made him regard or loss consider, but

Playing one business in his hand, another

Directing in his head – his mind nurse equal
equal (adj.) 1 fair, equitable, evenhanded

To these so differing twins. Have you observed him

Since our great lord departed?


                         With much labour;

And I did love him for't. They two have cabined
cabin (v.) 3 be confined, be shut up [in a soldier's tent]

In many as dangerous as poor a corner,

Peril and want contending; they have skiffed
skiff (v.) go in a skiff [= small boat]

Torrents whose roaring tyranny and power
power (n.) 4 force, strength, might

I'th' least of these was dreadful; and they have

Fought out together where death's self was lodged;

Yet fate hath brought them off. Their knot of love,
bring off (v.) rescue, save, deliver

Tied, weaved, entangled, with so true, so long,

And with a finger of so deep a cunning,
cunning (n.) 1 skill, ability, expertise
deep (adj.) 6 subtle, intricate, complex

May be outworn, never undone. I think

Theseus cannot be umpire to himself,
umpire (n.) arbitrator, mediator, adjudicator

Cleaving his conscience into twain and doing

Each side like justice, which he loves best.



There is a best, and reason has no manners

To say it is not you. I was acquainted

Once with a time when I enjoyed a playfellow.

You were at wars when she the grave enriched

Who made too proud the bed; took leave o'th' moon –

Which then looked pale at parting – when our count
count (n.) 3 age, tally [of years]

Was each eleven.


                         'Twas Flavina.



You talk of Pirithous' and Theseus' love;

Theirs has more ground, is more maturely seasoned,
ground (n.) 2 foundation, basis, root
season (v.) 1 bring to maturity, ripen

More buckled with strong judgement, and their needs
buckle (v.) 3 hold together, fasten [as with a buckle]

The one of th' other may be said to water

Their intertangled roots of love. But I
intertangled (adj.) intertwined, entwined, interlaced

And she I sigh and spoke of were things innocent,

Loved for we did, and like the elements

That know not what, nor why, yet do effect

Rare issues by their operance, our souls
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count
operance (n.) operation, action, activity
rare (adj.) 2 unusual, striking, exceptional

Did so to one another. What she liked

Was then of me approved, what not, condemned,

No more arraignment; the flower that I would pluck
arraignment (n.) trial, interrogation, examination

And put between my breasts – O, then but beginning

To swell about the blossom – she would long

Till she had such another, and commit it

To the like innocent cradle, where phoenix-like

They died in perfume; on my head no toy
toy (n.) 3 trinket, trifle, trivial ornament

But was her pattern; her affections – pretty,
affection (n.) 1 fancy, inclination, desire

Though happily her careless wear – I followed
careless (adj.) 2 casual, informal, free and easy
happily (adv.) 1 perhaps, by chance, maybe

For my most serious decking; had mine ear
decking (n.) adorning, dressing, attiring
serious (adj.) formal, important, solemn

Stolen some new air, or at adventure hummed one
adventure, at randomly, on the spur of the moment
air (n.) 1 melody, tune, strain

From musical coinage, why, it was a note
coinage (n.) 1 invention, fabrication, concoction

Whereon her spirits would sojourn – rather dwell on –
sojourn (v.) 1 pause, reside, stay for a while

And sing it in her slumbers. This rehearsal –
rehearsal (n.) story, account, recounting

Which every innocent wots well comes in
fury-innocent (n.) [unclear usage] anyone in a calm state of mind; anyone passion-free
innocent (n.) simpleton, dimwit, mental defective
wot (v.) 1 learn, know, be told See Topics: Frequency count

Like old emportment's bastard – has this end,
emportment (n.) fit of passion, state of emotion
importment (n.) 1 [unclear meaning] importance, significance

That the true love 'tween maid and maid may be

More than in sex dividual.
dividual (adj.) different, separate [i.e. between man and woman]


                         You're out of breath,

And this high-speeded pace is but to say

That you shall never – like the maid Flavina –

Love any that's called man.


                         I am sure I shall not.


Now alack, weak sister,

I must no more believe thee in this point,

Though in't I know thou dost believe thyself,

Than I will trust a sickly appetite

That loathes even as it longs. But sure, my sister,

If I were ripe for your persuasion, you
ripe (adj.) 2 ready, inclined, well-disposed

Have said enough to shake me from the arm

Of the all-noble Theseus, for whose fortunes

I will now in and kneel, with great assurance

That we, more than his Pirithous, possess

The high throne in his heart.


                         I am not

Against your faith, yet I continue mine.


  Previous scene     Next scene