The Two Noble Kinsmen


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Cornets in sundry places. Noise and hallowing as of

people a-maying. Enter Arcite alone


The Duke has lost Hippolyta; each took
hallowing, hallooing, halloing, holloaing (n.) shouting, hallooing, crying out
may (v.) to take part in May-day festivities

A several laund. This is a solemn rite
laund (n.) clearing [in a wood], glade, grassy space
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

They owe bloomed May, and the Athenians pay it
bloomed (adj.) covered with blossom, in bloom

To th' heart of ceremony. O queen Emilia,
heart (n.) 3 utmost, maximum

Fresher than May, sweeter

Than her gold buttons on the boughs, or all

Th' enamelled knacks o'th' mead or garden – yea,
enamelled (adj.) brightly coloured, multi-coloured, kaleidoscopic
knack (n.) trifle, knick-knack, ornament
mead (n.) meadow

We challenge too the bank of any nymph
bank (n.) 2 river bank

That makes the stream seem flowers – thou, O jewel

O'th' wood, o'th' world, hast likewise blessed a place

With thy sole presence. In thy rumination

That I, poor man, might eftsoons come between
eftsoons (adv.) 2 occasionally, from time to time

And chop on some cold thought! Thrice blessed chance
chop (v.) [various readings possible] pounce upon; seize; exchange
cold (adj.) 1 chaste, modest, lacking sensual passion

To drop on such a mistress, expectation
expectation (n.) 1 anticipation, hopefulness

Most guiltless on't! Tell me, O Lady Fortune,

Next after Emily my sovereign, how far

I may be proud. She takes strong note of me,
note (n.) 1 attention, notice, regard
strong (adj.) 1 great, serious

Hath made me near her; and this beauteous morn,
near (prep.) 1 in attendance on

The primest of all the year, presents me with
morn (n.) morning, dawn See Topics: Frequency count
primest (n./adj.) best, finest, most supreme

A brace of horses; two such steeds might well

Be by a pair of kings backed, in a field
back (v.) 2 ride, mount, sit on
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

That their crowns' titles tried. Alas, alas,
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement
try (v.) 3 contest, decide, fight out

Poor cousin Palamon, poor prisoner, thou

So little dreamest upon my fortune that

Thou thinkest thyself the happier thing, to be

So near Emilia; me thou deemest at Thebes,

And therein wretched, although free. But if

Thou knewest my mistress breathed on me, and that

I eared her language, lived in her eye – O coz,
ear (v.) 1 listen to, hear, give ear to

What passion would enclose thee!
enclose (v.) seize, grip, imprison
passion (n.) 4 fit of anger, feeling of rage

Enter Palamon as out of a bush, with his shackles;

he bends his fist at Arcite


                         Traitor kinsman,

Thou shouldst perceive my passion, if these signs
bend (v.) 1 aim, direct, level, turn
passion (n.) 4 fit of anger, feeling of rage

Of prisonment were off me, and this hand
prisonment (n.) imprisonment, detention, captivity

But owner of a sword. By all oaths in one,

I and the justice of my love would make thee

A confessed traitor, O thou most perfidious

That ever gently looked, the voidest of honour
gently (adv.) 1 like a gentleman, honourably, with dignity
void (adj.) 1 empty, lacking, devoid

That e'er bore gentle token, falsest cousin
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count
token (n.) 4 emblem, badge, coat-of-arms

That ever blood made kin. Callest thou her thine?

I'll prove it in my shackles, with these hands,

Void of appointment, that thou lie'st, and art
appointment (n.) 1 equipment, effects, weaponry
void (adj.) 1 empty, lacking, devoid

A very thief in love, a chaffy lord
chaffy (adj.) [as of chaff] worthless, useless, trashy

Not worth the name of villain. Had I a sword,

And these house-clogs away –
house-clog (n.) prison-restraint, shackle, fetter


                         Dear cousin Palamon –


Cozener Arcite, give me language such
cozener (n.) cheat, deceiver, fraud

As thou hast showed me feat.
feat (n.) 2 action, deed, conduct


                         Not finding in

The circuit of my breast any gross stuff
circuit (n.) 1 enclosed space, ambit, compass
gross (adj.) 8 vile, abhorrent, wicked

To form me like your blazon holds me to
blazon (n.) 2 description, representation, delineation

This gentleness of answer: 'tis your passion
passion (n.) 3 suffering, torment, deep grief

That thus mistakes, the which to you being enemy

Cannot to me be kind. Honour and honesty

I cherish and depend on, howsoe'er
depend on / upon (v.) 2 serve, support, rely on

You skip them in me, and with them, fair coz,
skip (v.) 1 pass over, fail to see, ignore

I'll maintain my proceedings. Pray be pleased
maintain (v.) 1 defend, justify, support
proceeding (n.) 3 (plural) conduct, behaviour, actions

To show in generous terms your griefs, since that
generous (adj.) well-bred, mannerly, noble-minded
grief (n.) 1 grievance, complaint, hurt, injury
term (n.) 1 word, expression, utterance

Your question's with your equal, who professes
question (n.) 1 argument, contention, dispute

To clear his own way with the mind and sword
clear his own way make his own way; or: prove himself innocent

Of a true gentleman.
durst, that thou you wouldn't dare!, if you dare! See Topics: Past tenses


                         That thou durst, Arcite!


My coz, my coz, you have been well advertised
advertise, advertize (v.) 1 make aware, inform, notify; warn

How much I dare; you've seen me use my sword

Against th' advice of fear. Sure of another
advice (n.) 2 judgement, opinion, warning

You would not hear me doubted, but your silence

Should break out, though i'th' sanctuary.
sanctuary (n.) holy place, church, religious place of safety



I have seen you move in such a place which well

Might justify your manhood; you were called
justify (v.) 2 prove, confirm, demonstrate
manhood (n.) manliness, courage, valour

A good knight and a bold. But the whole week's not fair

If any day it rain; their valiant temper
temper (n.) 1 frame of mind, temperament, disposition

Men lose when they incline to treachery,

And then they fight like compelled bears, would fly

Were they not tied.


                         Kinsman, you might as well

Speak this and act it in your glass as to
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

His ear which now disdains you.


                         Come up to me,

Quit me of these cold gyves, give me a sword,
gyve (n.) 1 (plural) fetters, shackles
quit (v.) 1 rid, free, relieve

Though it be rusty, and the charity

Of one meal lend me. Come before me then,

A good sword in thy hand, and do but say

That Emily is thine, I will forgive

The trespass thou hast done me – yea, my life,
trespass (n.) wrong, offence, injustice, crime

If then thou carry't; and brave souls in shades
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
carry it (away) [from a falconry term ‘to fly away with the game’] win the day, have the advantage, succeed
shade (n.) 3 (plural) the underworld, Hades

That have died manly, which will seek of me
manly (adv.) heroically, bravely, gallantly

Some news from earth, they shall get none but this,

That thou art brave and noble.
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
content (adj.) 3 satisfied, calm, easy in mind


                         Be content;

Again betake you to your hawthorn house.
betake (v.) 1 go, take oneself off, make one's way

With counsel of the night, I will be here
counsel (n.) 5 secrecy, confidence, privacy

With wholesome viands; these impediments
viand (n.) (usually plural) food, victuals, foodstuff

Will I file off; you shall have garments, and

Perfumes to kill the smell o'th' prison. After,

When you shall stretch yourself, and say but ‘ Arcite,

I am in plight,’ there shall be at your choice
plight (n.) 1 good shape, health, fit condition

Both sword and armour.


                         O you heavens, dares any

So noble bear a guilty business? None
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 2 carry on, manage, conduct [an affair]
business (n.) 1 deed, action, affair, task
guilty (adj.) 1 shameful, culpable, reprehensible

But only Arcite; therefore none but Arcite

In this kind is so bold.


                         Sweet Palamon!


I do embrace you and your offer – for

Your offer do't I only, sir; your person

Without hypocrisy I may not wish

More than my sword's edge on't.

They wind horns off; cornets sounded
off (adv.) 2 off-stage See Topics: Stage directions
wind (v.) 2 sound, blow


                         You hear the horns;

Enter your muset, lest this match between's
muset, musit (n.) [of a hare] hiding place, lair

Be crossed ere met. Give me your hand; farewell.
cross (v.) 1 prevent, thwart, forestall
meet (v.) 3 begin, start, keep

I'll bring you every needful thing; I pray you

Take comfort and be strong.


                         Pray hold your promise;

And do the deed with a bent brow. Most certain
bent (adj.) 4 frowning, angry, glowering
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow

You love me not; be rough with me, and pour

This oil out of your language; by this air,
oil (n.) 2 smoothness, glibness, ingratiating manner

I could for each word give a cuff, my stomach
stomach (n.) 5 anger, resentment, vexation

Not reconciled by reason.
reason (n.) 1 power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]


                         Plainly spoken.

Yet pardon me hard language; when I spur
hard (adj.) 4 unpleasant, harsh, cruel

My horse, I chide him not; content and anger
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

In me have but one face.

They wind horns
face (n.) 1 appearance, outward show, look

                         Hark, sir, they call

The scattered to the banquet; you must guess
banquet, banket (n.) 1 refreshments, light meal, dessert
guess (v.) 1 assume, surmise, suppose

I have an office there.
attendance (n.) 1 diligent service, dutiful ministration, assiduous attention
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count


                         Sir, your attendance

Cannot please heaven, and I know your office
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

Unjustly is achieved.
achieve (v.) 1 gain, obtain, procure
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement


                         I've a good title.

I am persuaded this question, sick between's,
persuade (v.) 3 convince, be sure, satisfy
question (n.) 1 argument, contention, dispute

By bleeding must be cured. I am a suitor
bleeding (n.) bloodshed; blood-letting [in medicine]
suitor (n.) petitioner, supplicant, entreater

That to your sword you will bequeath this plea,
plea (n.) 2 quarrel, argument, strife

And talk of it no more.


                         But this one word.

You are going now to gaze upon my mistress –

For note you, mine she is –


                         Nay, then –


                                                         Nay, pray you.

You talk of feeding me to breed me strength;

You are going now to look upon a sun

That strengthens what it looks on; there you have

A vantage o'er me, but enjoy it till
vantage (n.) 2 advantageous position, place of vantage, superiority

I may enforce my remedy. Farewell.


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