The Two Noble Kinsmen


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter a Schoolmaster, six Countrymen, one dressed as

a bavian, and five wenches, with a Taborer


Fie, fie,
bavian (n.) baboon, ape
taborer (n.) player of a tabor
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

What tediosity and disinsanity
disinsanity (n.) madness, great foolishness
tediosity (n.) tediousness, bother, trouble

Is here among ye! Have my rudiments
rudiment (n.) first principles, basic points

Been laboured so long with ye, milked unto ye,

And, by a figure, even the very plum-broth
figure (n.) 2 figure of speech, device, piece of rhetoric
plum-broth (n.) rich soup made of meat, fruit, and spices, especially eaten at Christmas

And marrow of my understanding laid upon ye?
marrow (n.) 1 rich and nutritious substance derived from bone cavities
understanding (n.) 2 intellect, intelligence, brain

And do you still cry ‘ Where?’ and ‘ How?’ and ‘ Wherefore?’

You most coarse frieze capacities, ye jean judgements,
capacity (n.) intelligence, understanding, capability
coarse (adj.) 2 rough, unrefined
frieze (n.) type of rough woollen cloth
jean (n.) type of twilled cotton cloth [= unsophisticated, unrefined]
judgement (n.) 5 expert, critic, judge

Have I said ‘ Thus let be,’ and ‘ There let be,’

And ‘ Then let be,’ and no man understand me?

Proh deum, medius fidius, ye are all dunces!
proh... O God! Heaven help me! See Topics: Latin

Forwhy, here stand I; here the Duke comes; there are you
for why, forwhy (adv.) 1 why, for what reason

Close in the thicket. The Duke appears; I meet him,
close (adj.) 1 secret, concealed, hidden

And unto him I utter learned things,

And many figures; he hears, and nods, and hums,
figure (n.) 2 figure of speech, device, piece of rhetoric
hum (v.) 1 murmur approval, make encouraging noises

And then cries ‘ Rare!’, and I go forward; at length
forward (adv.) [go] onward, ahead
rare (adj.) 1 marvellous, splendid, excellent

I fling my cap up – mark there! – then do you,
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

As once did Meleager and the boar,

Break comely out before him; like true lovers,
break out (v.) rush out, come out
comely (adv.) gracefully, fittingly, decorously

Cast yourselves in a body decently,
body (n.) 3 group, ensemble, company
cast (v.) 2 arrange, dispose, organize

And sweetly, by a figure, trace and turn, boys.
figure (n.) 2 figure of speech, device, piece of rhetoric
sweetly (adv.) delightfully, charmingly, pleasingly
trace (v.) 4 tread a measure, dance some steps


And sweetly we will do it, Master Gerrold.


Draw up the company. Where's the taborer?
taborer (n.) player of a tabor


Why, Timothy!
have at [someone] [said at the start of a fencing attack or other confrontation] I come at, let me at [a person] See Topics: Discourse markers
mad (adj.) 1 wild, uncontrollable, excitable, high-spirited


                         Here, my mad boys; have at ye!


But, I say, where's their women?


                         Here's Friz and Maudline.


And little Luce with the white legs, and bouncing Barbary.
bouncing (adj.) beefy, hefty, strapping


And freckled Nell, that never failed her master.


Where be your ribands, maids? Swim with your bodies,
riband (n.) ribbon
swim (v.) 2 move gracefully, glide, undulate

And carry it sweetly and deliverly,
deliverly (adv.) nimbly, lightly, sprightly
sweetly (adv.) delightfully, charmingly, pleasingly

And now and then a favour and a frisk.
favour (n.) 7 gesture or token of regard, bow, curtsy
frisk (n.) lively movement, caper, jig


Let us alone, sir.
alone, let [one] 1 leave it to [one], you can rely on [one]
music (n.) 1 musicians, players


                         Where's the rest o'th' music?


Dispersed as you commanded.
couple (v.) 3 pair off, make couples


                         Couple then,

And see what's wanting. Where's the bavian?
bavian (n.) baboon, ape
want (v.) 3 fall short [of], be deficient [in]

My friend, carry your tail without offence

Or scandal to the ladies; and be sure

You tumble with audacity and manhood,
manhood (n.) manliness, courage, valour
tumble (v.) 2 perform acrobatic feats

And when you bark do it with judgement.
judgement (n.) 4 discretion, good sense, tact


                         Yes, sir.


Quousque tandem? Here is a woman wanting!
quousque... how much longer See Topics: Latin


We may go whistle; all the fat's i'th' fire.
whistle, go carry on to no purpose, waste [one's] time


We have,

As learned authors utter, washed a tile;
wash a tile labour in vain, work to no purpose

We have beene fatuus, and laboured vainly.


This is that scornful piece, that scurvy hilding,
hilding (n.) good-for-nothing, worthless individual
piece (n.) 5 creature, individual, person, woman
scurvy (adj.) 1 contemptible, despicable, wretched

That gave her promise faithfully she would

Be here – Cicely, the sempster's daughter;
sempster (n.) one who sews [as a profession], tailor

The next gloves that I give her shall be dogskin!

Nay, an she fail me once – you can tell, Arcas,

She swore by wine and bread she would not break.
break (v.) 6 break one's promise, not keep one's word


An eel and woman,

A learned poet says, unless by th' tail

And with thy teeth thou hold, will either fail.

In manners this was false position.
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken
manner (n.) 1 (plural) proper behaviour, good conduct, forms of politeness
position (n.) 1 [in logic] affirmation, assertion, hypothesis


A fire-ill take her; does she flinch now?
fire-ill (n.) burning disease [possibly: pox]



Shall we determine, sir?
determine (v.) 2 resolve, decide, settle [on]



Our business is become a nullity,
nullity (n.) non-event, mere nothing, blank

Yea, and a woeful and a piteous nullity.


Now, when the credit of our town lay on it,

Now to be frampold, now to piss o'th' nettle!
frampold (adj.) disagreeable, bad-tempered, moody
piss o'th' nettle be in a bad temper, show irritation

Go thy ways, I'll remember thee; I'll fit thee.
fit (v.) 8 find a fitting punishment, be revenged upon

Enter Gaoler's Daughter



The George Alow came from the south,

From the coast of Barbary-a;

And there he met with brave gallants of war,
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count
gallant of war (n.) man-of-war, warship

By one, by two, by three-a.
-a (suffix) syllable often used to make up the rhythm in a song See Topics: Singing

Well hailed, well hailed, you jolly gallants,
gallant (n.) 2 man-of-war, warship

And whither now are you bound-a?

O, let me have your company

Till I come to the sound-a.

There was three fools fell out about an owlet;
owlet, howlet (n.) young owl, owl

(she sings)

The one said it was an owl,

The other he said nay;

The third he said it was a hawk,

And her bells were cut away.


There's a dainty madwoman, master,
dainty (adj.) 1 splendid, fine, excellent

Comes i'th' nick, as mad as a March hare.
nick (n.) 1 nick of time, critical moment

If we can get her dance, we are made again;
made (adj.) 2 with success assured, with fortune made

I warrant her, she'll do the rarest gambols.
gambol (n.) leap, caper, antic
rare (adj.) 1 marvellous, splendid, excellent
warrant (v.) 3 act as a pledge for, give an assurance about


A madwoman? We are made, boys!
made (adj.) 2 with success assured, with fortune made


And are you mad, good woman?


                         I would be sorry else.

Give me your hand.




                                                         I can tell your fortune.

You are a fool. Tell ten; I have posed him. Buzz!
pose (v.) baffle, confuse, confound
tell (v.) 1 count out, number, itemize

Friend, you must eat no white bread; if you do,

Your teeth will bleed extremely. Shall we dance, ho?

I know you, you're a tinker; sirrah tinker,

Stop no more holes but what you should.


                         Dii boni,
dii... good gods See Topics: Latin

A tinker, damsel?
conjuror, conjurer (n.) exorcist, sorcerer, raiser of spirits


                         Or a conjurer;

Raise me a devil now, and let him play

Chi passa o' th' bells and bones.
bone (n.) 4 (plural) pieces of bone [used as a musical instrument]


                         Go take her,

And fluently persuade her to a peace.
peace (n.) state of calm, amenable condition

Et opus exegi, quod nec Iovis ira nec ignis
et... and I have completed a work that neither the anger of Jove nor fire See Topics: Latin

Strike up, and lead her in.


                         Come, lass, lets trip it.


I'll lead.


                         Do, do.


Persuasively and cunningly! Away, boys.
cunningly (adv.) 1 skilfully, cleverly, competently

Horns sound within
meditation (n.) 1 thought, thinking

I hear the horns; give me some meditation,

And mark your cue.

Exeunt all but Schoolmaster
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

                         Pallas inspire me!

Enter Theseus, Pirithous, Hippolyta, Emilia, Arcite,
edify (v.) 2 profit, gain instruction

and train


This way the stag took.


                         Stay, and edify!


What have we here?
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count


                         Some country sport, upon my life, sir.


Well, sir, go forward, we will edify.
edify (v.) 2 profit, gain instruction
forward (adv.) [go] onward, ahead

Ladies, sit down; we'll stay it.

A chair and stools are brought out; the ladies sit


Thou doughty Duke, all hail; all hail, sweet ladies!


This is a cold beginning.


If you but favour, our country pastime made is.
make (v.) 5 bring success [to], prosper

We are a few of those collected here

That ruder tongues distinguish villager;
distinguish (v.) 1 call, describe as, dub
rude (adj.) 4 uncivilized, uncultivated, unrefined

And to say verity, and not to fable,
fable (v.) speak falsely, lie, fabricate See Topics: Discourse markers
verity (n.) 1 truth, truthfulness, veracity

We are a merry rout, or else a rabble,
rout (n.) 1 band, company, crowd

Or company, or, by a figure, chorus,

That 'fore thy dignity will dance a morris.
morris (n.) morris dance

And I that am the rectifier of all,
rectifier (n.) one who puts things right, director

By title pedagogus, that let fall

The birch upon the breeches of the small ones,

And humble with a ferula the tall ones,
ferula (n.) cane, rod, stick [for punishment]

Do here present this machine, or this frame;
frame (n.) 1 framework, structure, construction
machine (n.) 2 show, entertainment; or: device

And, dainty Duke, whose doughty dismal fame
dainty (adj.) 1 splendid, fine, excellent
dismal (adj.) 1 disastrous, calamitous, devastating

From Dis to Daedalus, from post to pillar,
post (n.) 3 door-post

Is blown abroad, help me, thy poor well-willer,
well-willer (n.) well-wisher, one who offers good will

And with thy twinkling eyes look right and straight

Upon this mighty ‘ Morr,’ of mickle weight;
mickle (adj.) great, much, large

‘ Is ’ now comes in, which being glued together

Makes ‘ Morris,’ and the cause that we came hither,

The body of our sport, of no small study.
body (n.) 4 main part, chief element
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count
study (n.) 5 preparation, learning, memorizing [of a part]

I first appear, though rude, and raw, and muddy,
muddy (adj.) 4 at a loss, confused, all at sea
rude (adj.) 7 amateurish, inexpert, lacking polish

To speak before thy noble grace this tenor,
tenor, tenour (n.) 3 synopsis, digest, summary [of a performance]

At whose great feet I offer up my penner;
penner (n.) pen-case, pen-holder

The next, the Lord of May and Lady bright;

The chambermaid and servingman, by night

That seek out silent hanging; then mine host
hanging (n.) wall-covering, tapestry, curtain

And his fat spouse, that welcomes to their cost

The galled traveller, and with a beckoning
beckoning (n.) signal, significant gesture, meaningful sign
galled (adj.) 1 sore, swollen, inflamed

Informs the tapster to inflame the reckoning;
inflame (v.) increase, raise, charge extra
reckoning (n.) 2 bill [at an inn], settling of account

Then the beest-eating clown, and next the fool,
beest-eating (adj.) eating the milk produced after the birth of a calf [considered undrinkable, except by rustics]

The bavian, with long tail and eke long tool,
bavian (n.) baboon, ape
eke (adv.) [archaism] also, moreover, too See Topics: Archaisms

Cum multis aliis that make a dance;
cum... with many others See Topics: Latin

Say ‘ ay,’ and all shall presently advance.
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count


Ay, ay, by any means, dear dominie.
dominie (n.) schoolmaster, teacher


produce (v.) lead them forth, bring them out


Intrate, filii! Come forth and foot it.
intrate... come in, boys See Topics: Latin

Schoolmaster knocks; enter the dancers. Music is

played; they dance

Ladies, if we have been merry,

And have pleased ye with a derry,

And a derry, and a down,

Say the schoolmaster's no clown;

Duke, if we have pleased thee too,

And have done as good boys should do,

Give us but a tree or twain

For a maypole, and again,

Ere another year run out,

We'll make thee laugh, and all this rout.
rout (n.) 1 band, company, crowd


Take twenty, dominie. (To Hippolyta) How does my sweetheart?


Never so pleased, sir.


                         'Twas an excellent dance,

And for a preface I never heard a better.


Schoolmaster, I thank you. – One see 'em all rewarded.


And here's something to paint your pole withal.


Now to our sports again.
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count


May the stag thou huntest stand long,

And thy dogs be swift and strong;

May they kill him without lets,
let (n.) hindrance, obstacle, snag

And the ladies eate his dowsets.
dowset (n.) testicles of a deer [considered a culinary delicacy]

Horns sound. Exeunt Theseus, Pirithous,

Hippolyta, Emilia, Arcite, and train

Come, we are all made. Dii deaeque omnes,
dii... all you gods and goddesses See Topics: Latin
made (adj.) 2 with success assured, with fortune made

Ye have danced rarely, wenches.
rarely (adv.) 1 splendidly, beautifully, excellently
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count


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