The Two Noble Kinsmen


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Flourish. Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Pirithous,
lose (v.) 4 miss, lose out on, be deprived of

and some attendants
hawk at (v.) pursue, attack, chase


I'll no step further.


                         Will you lose this sight?


I had rather see a wren hawk at a fly

Than this decision. Every blow that falls
decision (n.) way of deciding, resolution, trial [by combat]

Threats a brave life; each stroke laments
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
threat (v.) threaten

The place whereon it falls, and sounds more like

A bell than blade. I will stay here.
bell (n.) death-knell
stay (v.) 1 wait (for), await

It is enough my hearing shall be punished

With what shall happen, 'gainst the which there is

No deafing, but to hear; not taint mine eye
deafing (n.) drowning out, blocking out [of sound]
taint (v.) 1 sully, infect, stain

With dread sights it may shun.


                         Sir, my good lord,

Your sister will no further.


                         O, she must;

She shall see deeds of honour in their kind
kind (n.) 1 nature, reality, character, disposition

Which sometime show well pencilled. Nature now
pencilled (adj.) painted, shown in a painting

Shall make and act the story, the belief
act (v.) 1 act out, perform, enact
make (v.) 3 create, bring about, produce

Both sealed with eye and ear. (To Emilia) You must be present;

You are the victor's meed, the prize and garland
meed (n.) 1 reward, prize, recompense

To crown the question's title.
question (n.) 1 argument, contention, dispute
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement


                         Pardon me;

If I were there, I'd wink.
wink (v.) 1 shut one's eyes


                         You must be there;

This trial is as 'twere i'th' night, and you

The only star to shine.
extinct (adj.) extinguished, put out, quenched


                         I am extinct.

There is but envy in that light which shows
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

The one the other; darkness, which ever was

The dam of horror, who does stand accursed
dam (n.) mother See Topics: Family

Of many mortal millions, may even now,

By casting her black mantle over both,

That neither could find other, get herself

Some part of a good name, and many a murder
name (n.) 1 reputation, fame, renown

Set off whereto she's guilty.
set off (v.) 1 enhance, show to advantage, display by contrast


                         You must go.


In faith, I will not.


                         Why, the knights must kindle

Their valour at your eye; know of this war

You are the treasure, and must needs be by

To give the service pay.
pay (n.) reward, payment
service (n.) 1 action, performance


                         Sir, pardon me;

The title of a kingdom may be tried
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

Out of itself.


                         Well, well, then, at your pleasure.

Those that remain with you could wish their office
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

To any of their enemies.


                         Farewell, sister;

I am like to know your husband 'fore yourself
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

By some small start of time. He whom the gods

Do of the two know best, I pray them he

Be made your lot.

All go out except Emilia and her attendants


Arcite is gently visaged, yet his eye
visaged (adj.) featured, looking

Is like an engine bent or a sharp weapon
bent (adj.) 3 ready for firing, tensioned for action
engine (n.) 2 weapon, instrument of warfare

In a soft sheath; mercy and manly courage

Are bedfellows in his visage. Palamon
bedfellow (n.) intimate companion
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Has a most menacing aspect; his brow
aspect (n.) 1 [of a human face] look, appearance, expression
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

Is graved, and seems to bury what it frowns on.
graved (adj.) 2 furrowed, engraved [with lines]

Yet sometime 'tis not so, but alters to
to (prep.) 1 according to

The quality of his thoughts; long time his eye
quality (n.) 1 nature, disposition, character

Will dwell upon his object. Melancholy

Becomes him nobly; so does Arcite's mirth,
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

But Palamon's sadness is a kind of mirth,

So mingled as if mirth did make him sad,
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

And sadness merry. Those darker humours that
dark (adj.) 1 sad, melancholic, gloomy
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count

Stick misbecomingly on others, on him
misbecomingly (adv.) unbecomingly, unattractively, unfittingly
stick (v.) 1 be placed, be fixed

Live in fair dwelling.

Cornets. Trumpets sound as to a charge
spirit (n.) 6 courage, resolution, valour

Hark how yon spurs to spirit do incite

The princes to their proof! Arcite may win me,
proof (n.) 3 test, trial

And yet may Palamon wound Arcite to

The spoiling of his figure. O, what pity
figure (n.) 4 face; or: body
spoiling (n.) mutilation, disfiguring, marring

Enough for such a chance? If I were by,
chance (n.) 1 event, occurrence, situation [especially, bad]

I might do hurt, for they would glance their eyes

Toward my seat, and in that motion might

Omit a ward or forfeit an offence
offence (n.) 4 [in fencing] attacking stroke, offensive action
ward (n.) 1 [fencing] defensive posture, parrying movement

Which craved that very time. It is much better
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require

I am not there – O, better never born,

Than minister to such harm!
a (part.) particle used in front of a proper name, as a supportive war-cry
chance (n.) 2 outcome, situation

Cornets. A great cry and noise within, crying ‘A

Palamon!' Enter a Servant

                         What is the chance?


The cry's ‘ A Palamon!’


Then he has won. 'Twas ever likely;

He looked all grace and success, and he is
grace (n.) 4 gracefulness, charm, elegance

Doubtless the primest of men. I prithee run
primest (n./adj.) best, finest, most supreme

And tell me how it goes.

Shout and cornets, crying ‘A Palamon!'


                         Still Palamon.


Run and inquire.

Exit Servant
servant (n.) 1 devotee, one who gives dedicated service, lover

                         Poor servant, thou hast lost!

Upon my right side still I wore thy picture,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Palamon's on the left – why so, I know not,

I had no end in't; else chance would have it so.
end (n.) 1 purpose, aim, design

On the sinister side the heart lies; Palamon

Had the best-boding chance.

Another cry, and shout within, and cornets
best-boding (adj.) most favourable, most promising

                         This burst of clamour

Is sure th' end o'th' combat.

Enter Servant


They said that Palamon had Arcite's body

Within an inch o'th' pyramid, that the cry
pyramid (n.) obelisk, pillar

Was general ‘ A Palamon!’ But anon
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

Th' assistants made a brave redemption, and
brave (adj.) 3 audacious, daring, bold
redemption (n.) 1 rescue, recovery

The two bold titlers at this instant are
titler (n.) person asserting a right, claimant

Hand to hand at it.


                         Were they metamorphosed

Both into one! O, why, there were no woman

Worth so composed a man; their single share,
single (adj.) 1 individual, particular

Their nobleness peculiar to them, gives
peculiar (adj.) particular, private, personal

The prejudice of disparity, value's shortness,
disparity (n.) inequality, dissimilarity, lack of quality
prejudice (n.) detriment, damage, misfortune

To any lady breathing –

Cornets. Cry within ‘ Arcite, Arcite!’

                         More exulting?

‘ Palamon’ still?


                         Nay, now the sound is ‘ Arcite.’


I prithee lay attention to the cry;

Set both thine ears to th' business.

Cornets. A great shout and cry ‘ Arcite, victory!’


                         The cry is

‘ Arcite’ and ‘ Victory!’ Hark, ‘ Arcite, victory!’

The combat's consummation is proclaimed
consummation (n.) 2 end, conclusion, completion

By the wind instruments.
half-sight (n.) someone half-blind


                         Half-sights saw

That Arcite was no babe – God's lid, his richness

And costliness of spirit looked through him; it could
costliness (n.) splendidness, rarity, preciousness
look through (v.) become visible, show clearly

No more be hid in him than fire in flax,

Than humble banks can go to law with waters
bank (n.) 2 river bank
humble (adj.) 3 low-lying
law, go to sue, fight against, argue with

That drift winds force to raging. I did think
drift (adj.) driving, strong

Good Palamon would miscarry, yet I knew not
miscarry (v.) 1 come to harm, perish, meet death

Why I did think so; our reasons are not prophets
reason (n.) 1 power of reason, judgement, common-sense [often opposed to ‘passion’]

When oft our fancies are.

come off (v.) 3 leave the field of combat, disengage
fancy (n.) 3 imagination, creativity, inventiveness
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

                         They are coming off.

Alas, poor Palamon!

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Pirithous, Arcite as victor,

and attendants


Lo, where our sister is in expectation,

Yet quaking and unsettled! – Fairest Emily,
unsettled (adj.) 1 disturbed, troubled; also: unresolved, unfixed

The gods by their divine arbitrament
arbitrament, arbitrement (n.) 2 decision, judgement, verdict

Have given you this knight; he is a good one

As ever struck at head. Give me your hands.

Receive you her, you him; be plighted with
plight (v.) betroth, engage

A love that grows as you decay.



To buy you I have lost what's dearest to me

Save what is bought, and yet I purchase cheaply,

As I do rate your value.
rate (v.) 2 reckon, estimate, appraise


                         O loved sister,

He speaks now of as brave a knight as e'er
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

Did spur a noble steed; surely, the gods

Would have him die a bachelor, lest his race
race (n.) 3 descendants, children, posterity

Should show i'th' world too godlike! His behaviour

So charmed me that methought Alcides was
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

To him a sow of lead. If I could praise
sow (n.) ingot, block, bar

Each part of him to th' all I have spoke, your Arcite

Did not lose by't; for he that was thus good

Encountered yet his better. I have heard

Two emulous Philomels beat the ear o'th' night
emulous (adj.) 2 rivalling, competing, emulating

With their contentious throats, now one the higher,

Anon the other, then again the first,
anon (adv.) 2 [after ‘now’] at another time, presently

And by and by outbreasted, that the sense
outbreast (v.) outsing, surpass in voice
sense (n.) 1 senses, sensation, organs of sense

Could not be judge between 'em; so it fared
fare (v.) 2 go, happen, turn out

Good space between these kinsmen, till heavens did
space (n.) 1 space of time, while

Make hardly one the winner. – Wear the garland
hardly (adv.) 1 with great difficulty, only with difficulty

With joy that you have won. – For the subdued,

Give them our present justice, since I know

Their lives but pinch 'em; let it here be done.
pinch (v.) 1 torment, pain, torture

The scene's not for our seeing; go we hence,

Right joyful, with some sorrow. (To Arcite) Arm your prize;

I know you will not lose her.

Arcite takes Emilia's arm in his. Flourish
lose (v.) 1 part with, let go of, give up


I see one eye of yours conceives a tear,

The which it will deliver.


                         Is this winning?

O all you heavenly powers, where is your mercy?
power (n.) 9 (usually plural) gods, deities, divinities

But that your wills have said it must be so,

And charge me live to comfort this unfriended,
unfriended (adj.) deprived of a friend, friendless

This miserable prince, that cuts away

A life more worthy from him than all women,

I should, and would, die too.


                         Infinite pity

That four such eyes should be so fixed on one

That two must needs be blind for't.


                         So it is.

blind (v.) make blind, deprive of sight

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