The Two Noble Kinsmen


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Enter Gaoler and his Friend


GAOLER

Heard you no more? Was nothing said of me

Concerning the escape of Palamon?

Good sir, remember.


FIRST FRIEND

                         Nothing that I heard,

For I came home before the business

Was fully ended. Yet I might perceive,

Ere I departed, a great likelihood

Of both their pardons; for Hippolyta

And fair-eyed Emily, upon their knees,

Begged with such handsome pity that the Duke
handsome (adj.) 2 proper, fitting, appropriate

Methought stood staggering, whether he should follow
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count
stagger (v.) 1 hesitate, waver, vacillate

His rash oath or the sweet compassion

Of those two ladies; and to second them

That truly noble prince Pirithous,

Half his own heart, set in too, that I hope
set in (v.) put in [his word], join in, intervene

All shall be well; neither heard I one question

Of your name, or his 'scape.
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count


GAOLER

                         Pray heaven it hold so!

Enter Second Friend


SECOND FRIEND

Be of good comfort, man; I bring you news,

Good news.


GAOLER

                         They are welcome.


SECOND FRIEND

                                                         Palamon has cleared you,

And got your pardon, and discovered how
discover (v.) 1 reveal, show, make known See Topics: Frequency count

And by whose means he escaped, which was your daughter's,

Whose pardon is procured too; and the prisoner,

Not to be held ungrateful to her goodness,

Has given a sum of money to her marriage,

A large one, I'll assure you.


GAOLER

                         Ye are a good man

And ever bring good news.


FIRST FRIEND

                         How was it ended?


SECOND FRIEND

Why, as it should be; they that never begged
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

But they prevailed had their suits fairly granted;
fairly (adv.) 5 fully, completely, entirely

The prisoners have their lives.


FIRST FRIEND

                         I knew 'twould be so.


SECOND FRIEND

But there be new conditions, which you'll hear of

At better time.


GAOLER

                         I hope they are good.


SECOND FRIEND

                                                         They are honourable;

How good they'll prove I know not.


FIRST FRIEND

                         'Twill be known.

Enter Wooer


WOOER

Alas, sir, where's your daughter?


GAOLER

                         Why do you ask?


WOOER

O sir, when did you see her?


SECOND FRIEND

                         How he looks!


GAOLER

This morning.


WOOER

                         Was she well? Was she in health, sir?

When did she sleep?


FIRST FRIEND

                         These are strange questions.


GAOLER

I do not think she was very well, for now

You make me mind her, but this very day
mind (v.) 3 think of, call to mind

I asked her questions, and she answered me

So far from what she was, so childishly,

So sillily, as if she were a fool,

An innocent, and I was very angry.
innocent (n.) simpleton, dimwit, mental defective

But what of her, sir?


WOOER

                         Nothing but my pity;

But you must know it, and as good by me

As by another that less loves her –


GAOLER

Well, sir?
right (adj.) 4 in her right mind, sane, rational


FIRST FRIEND

                         Not right?


SECOND FRIEND

                                                         Not well?


WOOER


'Tis too true, she is mad.


FIRST FRIEND

                         It cannot be.


WOOER

Believe you'll find it so.


GAOLER

                         I half suspected

What you have told me; the gods comfort her!

Either this was her love to Palamon,

Or fear of my miscarrying on his 'scape,
miscarry (v.) 1 come to harm, perish, meet death
on (prep.) 3 because of
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count

Or both.


WOOER

                         'Tis likely.


GAOLER

                                                         But why all this haste, sir?


WOOER

I'll tell you quickly. As I late was angling
late (adv.) recently, a little while ago / before

In the great lake that lies behind the palace,

From the far shore, thick-set with reeds and sedges,

As patiently I was attending sport,
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

I heard a voice, a shrill one; and attentive

I gave my ear, when I might well perceive

T' was one that sung, and by the smallness of it
smallness (n.) softness, gentleness, high pitch

A boy or woman. I then left my angle
angle (n.) 1 fishing rod, line, hook

To his own skill, came near, but yet perceived not

Who made the sound, the rushes and the reeds

Had so encompassed it. I laid me down
encompass (v.) 1 surround, encircle, enclose

And listened to the words she sung, for then,

Through a small glade cut by the fishermen,
glade (n.) opening, path, gap

I saw it was your daughter.


GAOLER

                         Pray go on, sir.


WOOER

She sung much, but no sense; only I heard her

Repeat this often: ‘ Palamon is gone,

Is gone to th' wood to gather mulberries;

I'll find him out tomorrow.’


FIRST FRIEND

                         Pretty soul!


WOOER

‘ His shackles will betray him; he'll be taken,

And what shall I do then? I'll bring a bevy,
bevy (n.) 2 company [of maidens], gathering

A hundred black-eyed maids, that love as I do,

With chaplets on their heads of daffadillies,
chaplet (n.) garland, wreath

With cherry lips, and cheeks of damask roses,
damask (adj./n.) light-red, pink [colour of the damask rose]

And all we'll dance an antic 'fore the Duke,
antic, antick(e), antique (n.) 2 bizarre dance, fantastic spectacle, grotesque entertainment

And beg his pardon.’ Then she talked of you, sir;

That you must lose your head tomorrow morning,

And she must gather flowers to bury you,

And see the house made handsome. Then she sung
handsome (adj.) 2 proper, fitting, appropriate

Nothing but ‘ Willow, willow, willow,’ and between

Ever was ‘ Palamon, fair Palamon,’

And ‘ Palamon was a tall young man.’ The place
tall (adj.) 1 brave, valiant, bold

Was knee-deep where she sat; her careless tresses

A wreath of bulrush rounded; about her stuck
round (v.) 1 ring, encircle, surround
stick (v.) 1 be placed, be fixed

Thousand fresh water flowers of several colours,
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

That methought she appeared like the fair nymph
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

That feeds the lake with waters, or as Iris

Newly dropped down from heaven. Rings she made

Of rushes that grew by, and to 'em spoke

The prettiest posies, ‘ Thus our true love's tied,’
posy (n.) short piece of poetry [often inscribed inside a ring]

‘ This you may lose, not me,’ and many a one.

And then she wept, and sung again, and sighed,

And with the same breath smiled and kissed her hand.


SECOND FRIEND

Alas, what pity it is!
make in (v.) go in, make [one's] way through


WOOER

                         I made in to her;

She saw me, and straight sought the flood. I saved her,
flood (n.) 2 river, stream, rushing water
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

And set her safe to land; when presently

She slipped away, and to the city made
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

With such a cry and swiftness that, believe me,

She left me far behind her. Three or four

I saw from far off cross her – one of 'em
cross (v.) 4 cross the path of, intercept, encounter

I knew to be your brother – where she stayed,
stay (v.) 9 stop, halt, come to a standstill

And fell, scarce to be got away. I left them with her,

And hither came to tell you.

Enter Gaoler's Brother, Gaoler's Daughter, and others

                         Here they are.


DAUGHTER

(sings)

May you never more enjoy the light, etc.

Is not this a fine song?


BROTHER

                         O, a very fine one.


DAUGHTER

I can sing twenty more.


BROTHER

                         I think you can.


DAUGHTER

Yes, truly can I; I can sing ‘ The Broom,’

And ‘ Bonny Robin.’ Are not you a tailor?


BROTHER

Yes.


DAUGHTER

                         Where's my wedding gown?


BROTHER

                                                         I'll bring it tomorrow.


DAUGHTER

Do, very early; I must be abroad else
abroad (adv.) 3 away from home, out of the house
else (adv.) 1 otherwise See Topics: Discourse markers

To call the maids, and pay the minstrels.

For I must lose my maidenhead by cocklight;
cocklight (n.) morning cock-crow, dawn
maidenhead (n.) 1 virginity

'Twill never thrive else.

(She sings)

O fair, O sweet, etc.


BROTHER

You must e'en take it patiently.


GAOLER

                         'Tis true.


DAUGHTER

Good e'en, good men. Pray did you ever hear

Of one young Palamon?
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count


GAOLER

                         Yes, wench, we know him.


DAUGHTER

Is't not a fine young gentleman?


GAOLER

                         'Tis, love.


BROTHER

By no mean cross her; she is then distempered
cross (v.) 2 contradict, challenge, go against
distempered (adj.) 2 vexed, troubled, ill-humoured

Far worse than now she shows.


FIRST FRIEND

                         Yes, he's a fine man.


DAUGHTER

O, is he so? You have a sister.


FIRST FRIEND

                         Yes.


DAUGHTER

But she shall never have him, tell her so,

For a trick that I know. You'd best look to her;
trick (n.) 2 way, knack, skill

For if she see him once, she's gone, she's done,
go (v.) 8 be pregnant, be with child

And undone in an hour. All the young maids

Of our town are in love with him, but I laugh at 'em,

And let 'em all alone; is't not a wise course?
alone, let [one] 2 pay no attention to [one], have nothing to do with [one]
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count


FIRST FRIEND

                         Yes.


DAUGHTER

There is at least two hundred now with child by him –

There must be four; yet I keep close for all this,
close (adj.) 1 secret, concealed, hidden

Close as a cockle; and all these must be boys –
cockle (n.) 2 cockleshell, mussel-shell

He has the trick on't – and at ten years old
trick (n.) 2 way, knack, skill

They must be all gelt for musicians,

And sing the wars of Theseus.


SECOND FRIEND

                         This is strange.


DAUGHTER

As ever you heard; but say nothing.


FIRST FRIEND

                         No.


DAUGHTER

They come from all parts of the dukedom to him.

I'll warrant ye, he had not so few last night
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

As twenty to dispatch; he'll tickle it up
tickle up (v.) gratify, give pleasure, arouse

In two hours, if his hand be in.
hand (n.) 1 ability, skill [with the hand]


GAOLER

                         She's lost

Past all cure.


BROTHER

                         Heaven forbid, man!


DAUGHTER

(to Gaoler)
know (v.) 2 recognize

Come hither; you are a wise man.


FIRST FRIEND

                         Does she know him?


SECOND FRIEND

No, would she did.


DAUGHTER

                         You are master of a ship?


GAOLER

Yes.


DAUGHTER

                         Where's your compass?


GAOLER

                                                         Here.


DAUGHTER


And now direct your course to th' wood, where Palamon

Lies longing for me. For the tackling
tackling (n.) rigging [of a ship], tackle See Topics: Ships

Let me alone. Come, weigh, my hearts, cheerily!
alone, let [one] 1 leave it to [one], you can rely on [one]
weigh (v.) 4 weigh anchor, heave up the anchor


ALL THE OTHERS

O, O, O!


DAUGHTER

'Tis up. The wind's fair; top the bowling;
bowling, bowline (n.) [nautical] rope which keeps the edge of a sail steady See Topics: Ships
top (v.) 3 tighten, pull tight on

Out with the mainsail! Where's your whistle, master?


BROTHER

Let's get her in.
top (n.) 3 platform at the top of a mast See Topics: Ships


GAOLER

                         Up to the top, boy.


BROTHER

                                                         Where's

The pilot?
ken (v.) 1 see, make out, espy


FIRST FRIEND

                         Here.


DAUGHTER

                         What kennest thou?


SECOND FRIEND

                                                         A fair wood.


DAUGHTER

Bear for it, master; tack about!

(She sings)

When Cynthia with her borrowed light, etc.

Exeunt

 
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