The Two Noble Kinsmen


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Enter Arcite


ARCITE

Banished the kingdom? 'Tis a benefit,

A mercy I must thank 'em for; but banished

The free enjoying of that face I die for,

O, 'twas a studied punishment, a death
studied (adj.) 1 deliberate, carefully planned, intentional

Beyond imagination; such a vengeance

That, were I old and wicked, all my sins

Could never pluck upon me. Palamon,
pluck (v.) 1 draw down, bring down

Thou hast the start now; thou shalt stay and see
start (n.) 3 advantage, edge, upper hand

Her bright eyes break each morning 'gainst thy window

And let in life into thee; thou shalt feed

Upon the sweetness of a noble beauty

That Nature ne'er exceeded, nor ne'er shall.

Good gods, what happiness has Palamon!

Twenty to one, he'll come to speak to her,

And if she be as gentle as she's fair,
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

I know she's his; he has a tongue will tame

Tempests, and make the wild rocks wanton. Come what can come,
wanton (adj.) 2 casual, gentle

The worst is death; I will not leave the kingdom.

I know mine own is but a heap of ruins,

And no redress there. If I go, he has her.
redress (n.) 1 relief, assistance, help, comfort

I am resolved another shape shall make me,
make (v.) 5 bring success [to], prosper
shape (n.) 4 disguise, appearance, identity

Or end my fortunes. Either way, I am happy;

I'll see her and be near her, or no more.

Enter four Country-people and one with a garland

before them


FIRST COUNTRYMAN

My masters, I'll be there, that's certain.


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

And I'll be there.


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

And I.


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

Why, then, have with ye, boys; 'tis but a chiding.
chiding (n.) 1 telling-off, scolding, rebuke
have with you I'll join you, I'll be with you See Topics: Farewells

Let the plough play today; I'll tickle't out
play (v.) 4 stay idle, take a holiday
tickle (v.) 2 beat, flog, rain blows on

Of the jades' tails tomorrow.
jade (n.) 1 worn-out horse, hack, worthless nag


FIRST COUNTRYMAN

                         I am sure

To have my wife as jealous as a turkey;

But that's all one, I'll go through, let her mumble.
all is one; that's / it's all one it makes no difference, it's one and the same, it doesn't matter See Topics: Discourse markers
go through (v.) 1 do what is undertaken, keep one's word
mumble (v.) grumble [beneath the breath], complain, mutter


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

Clap her aboard tomorrow night and stow her,
clap her aboard [as of a ship] board her, jump on board
stow (v.) 2 [as of a ship] fill up with cargo

And all's made up again.
make up (v.) 4 reconcile, settle, arrange


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

                         Ay, do but put

A fescue in her fist, and you shall see her
fescue (n.) [device for indicating letters to young readers] pointer, rod, stick

Take a new lesson out, and be a good wench.
take out (v.) 2 study, learn; also: draw forth
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

Do we all hold against the maying?
against, 'gainst (prep.) 7 with respect to
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on
maying (n.) May-day festivities


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

                         Hold?

What should ail us?
ail (v.) prevent, obstruct, stop


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

                         Arcas will be there.


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

                                                         And Sennois

And Rycas, and three better lads ne'er danced

Under green tree; and ye know what wenches, ha!
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

But will the dainty dominie, the schoolmaster,
dainty (adj.) 3 fastidious, scrupulous, refined, particular
dominie (n.) schoolmaster, teacher

Keep touch, do you think? For he does all, ye know.
do (v.) 3 organize, arrange, manage
keep touch (v.) keep [one's] promise, prove reliable


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

He'll eat a hornbook ere he fail. Go to,
hornbook, horn-book (n.) [teaching device] leaf of paper, protected by a piece of thin horn, showing the letters of the alphabet and other information

The matter's too far driven between him
drive (v.) 1 carry on, move along
matter (n.) 4 affair(s), business, real issue

And the tanner's daughter to let slip now;
slip (v.) 1 fail to hold, be broken off

And she must see the Duke, and she must dance too.


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

Shall we be lusty?
lusty (adj.) 2 merry, cheerful, lively


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

                         All the boys in Athens

Blow wind i'th' breech on's!

(He dances)
blow wind in the breech feel the wind [we leave behind], run to keep up [with us]
breech (n.) 2 buttocks, behind

                         And here I'll be

And there I'll be, for our town, and here again

And there again! Ha, boys, hey for the weavers!


FIRST COUNTRYMAN

This must be done i'th' woods.


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

                         O, pardon me.


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

By any means, our thing of learning says so;
by any means certainly, indeed
thing (n.) [contemptuous] being, creature, base thing

Where he himself will edify the Duke
edify (v.) 1 enlighten, instruct, inform

Most parlously in our behalfs. He's excellent i'th' woods;
parlously (adv.) astoundingly, amazingly, exceedingly

Bring him to th' plains, his learning makes no cry.
cry (n.) 2 [of hounds] noise, call, yelp
plain (n.) open country


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

We'll see the sports, then every man to's tackle;
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count
tackle (n.) 2 things, equipment, gear

And, sweet companions, let's rehearse by any means

Before the ladies see us, and do sweetly,
do (v.) 5 perform, play one's part, act
sweetly (adv.) delightfully, charmingly, pleasingly

And God knows what may come on't.


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

Content; the sports once ended, we'll perform.
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count

Away, boys, and hold!
hold (v.) 3 stand firm, continue, carry on


ARCITE

                         By your leaves, honest friends;

Pray you, whither go you?


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

                         Whither?

Why, what a question's that!


ARCITE

                         Yes, 'tis a question

To me that know not.


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

                         To the games, my friend.


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

Where were you bred you know it not?


ARCITE

                         Not far, sir.

Are there such games today?


FIRST COUNTRYMAN

                         Yes, marry are there,

And such as you never saw. The Duke himself

Will be in person there.


ARCITE

                         What pastimes are they?


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

Wrestling and running. (Aside) 'Tis a pretty fellow.


THIRD COUNTRYMAN

Thou wilt not go along?


ARCITE

                         Not yet, sir.


FOURTH COUNTRYMAN

                                                         Well, sir,

Take your own time. – Come, boys.
misgive (v.) 1 make one feel uneasy, cause one to be apprehensive


FIRST COUNTRYMAN

                         My mind misgives me.

This fellow has a vengeance trick o'th' hip;
hip, of the with the hips, using his hip
trick (n.) 2 way, knack, skill
vengeance (adj.) formidable, tremendous, terrific

Mark how his body's made for't.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


SECOND COUNTRYMAN

                         I'll be hanged, though,

If he dare venture; hang him, plum porridge!
plum porridge [contemptuous, for the type of person who would eat] rich, fruity porridge [= heavy, lumbering individual]

He wrestle? He roast eggs! Come, let's be gone, lads.

Exeunt four Countrymen and garland-bearer


ARCITE

This is an offered opportunity

I durst not wish for. Well I could have wrestled,

The best men called it excellent; and run

Swifter than wind upon a field of corn,

Curling the wealthy ears, never flew. I'll venture,

And in some poor disguise be there; who knows

Whether my brows may not be girt with garlands,
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
gird (v.) 1 encircle, surround, ring

And happiness prefer me to a place
happiness (n.) 1 good luck, success, good fortune
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count
prefer (v.) 1 promote, advance, recommend

Where I may ever dwell in sight of her?

Exit

 
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