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THE

BRITISH DRAMA.

THE

TWO NOBLE KINSMEN.

BY

SHAKESPEARE AND FLETCHER.

PROLOGUE.

(Flourish. “ From me the witless chaff of such a writer, New plays and maidenheads are near akin; “ That blasts my bays, and my famed works makes Much'followed both, for both much money gi'n, lighter If they stand sound and well: and a good play “ Than Robin Hood !” This is the fear we bring; (Whose modest scenes blush on his marriage-day, For, to say truth, it were an endless thing, And shake to lose his honour) is like her And too ambitious, to aspire to him. That after holy tie, and first night's stir, Weak as we are, and almost breathless swim Yet still is modesty, and still retains

In this deep water, do but you hold out More of the maid to sight, than husband's pains. Your helping hands, and we shall tack about, We pray our play may be so; for I'm sure And something do to save us ; you shall hear It has a noble breeder, and a pure,

Scenes, though below his art, may yet appear A learned, and a poet never went

Worth two hours travel. To his bones sweet More famous yet 'twixt Po, and silver Trent:

sleep! Chaucer (of all admired) the story gives ; Content to you !-If this play do not keep There constant to eternity it lives!

A little dull time from us, we perceive If we let fall the nobleness of this,

Our losses fall so thick, we must needs leave. And the first sound this child hear be a hiss,

(Flourish. How will it shake the bones of that good man, And make him cry from under-ground, "Oh, fan

MEN.

WOMEN.
THESEUS, Duke of Athens.

HIPPOLITA, Bride to Theseus.
PALAMON, The two Noble Kinsmen, in love EMILIA, her Sister.
ARCITE,
with Emilia.

Three Queens.
PERITHOUS, an Athenian General.

Jailor's Daughter, in love with Palamon.
VALERIUS, a Theban nobleman.

Servant to Emilia.
Three valiant Knights.
Herald.

Nymphs, Wenches, &c.
Jailor.
Tooer.
'GERROLD, a schoolmaster.

A Tuborer, Countrymen, Soldiers, &c.

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THE

TWO NOBLE KINSMEN.

ACT I,

SCENE I.

Enter three Queens, in black, with veils stained,

with imperial crowns. The first Queen falls Enter HYMEN with a torch burning ; a Boy, in a down at the feet of THESEUS; the second falls

white robe, before, singing, and strewing flow down at the foot of HIPPOLITA; the third be ers; after HYMEN, a Nymph, encompassed in

fore Emilia her tresses, bearing a wheaten garland; then THESEUS, between two other Nymphs, with 1 Queen. For pity's sake, and true gentility's, wheaten chaplets on their heads; then HIPPO- Hear and respect me! LITA, led by PERITHOUS, and another holding 2 Queen. For your mother's sake, a garland over her head, her tresses likewise And as you wish your womb may thrive with fair hanging; after her, EMILIA, holding up her

ones, train.

Hear and respect me!

3 Queen. Now for the love of him whom Jove SONG.

hath marked

The honour of your bed, and for the sake
Roses, their sharp spines being gone, Of clear virginity, be advocate
Not royal in their smells alone,

For us, and our distresses ! This good deed
But in their hue;

Shall raze you out o' the book of trespasses Maiden-pinks, of odour faint ;

All you are set down there.
Daisies smell-less, yet more quaint,

Thes. Sad lady, rise.
And sweet thyme true.

Hipp. Stand up.

Emi. No knees to me! What woman I Primrose, first-born child of Ver,

May sted, that is distressed, does bind me to her. Merry spring-time's harbinger,

Thes. What's your request? Deliver you, for all. With her bells dim;

i Queen. We are three Queens, whose soveOxlips in their cradles growing,

reigns fell before Marigolds on death-beds blowing,

The wrath of cruel Creon ; who endured
Lark-heels trim.

The beaks of ravens, talons of the kites,

And pecks of crows, in the foul fields of Thebes. All dear Nature's children sweet,

He will not suffer us to burn their bones, Lye 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet, To urn their ashes, nor to take the offence

Blessing their sense! (Strew flowers. Of mortal loathsomeness from the blest eye Not an angel of the air,

Of holy Phæbus, but infects the winds Bird melodious, or bird fair,

With stench of our slain lords. Oh, pity, duke! Be absent hence !

Thou purger of the earth, draw thy fear'd sword,

That does good turns to the world; give us the The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor

bones The boding raven, nor chough hoar, Of our dead kings, that we may chapel them! Nor chatt'ring pie,

And, of thy boundless goodness, take some note, May on our bridehouse perch or sing, That for our crowned heads we have no roof Or with them any discord bring,

Save this, which is the lion's and the bear's, But from it fly!

And vault to every thing!

Thes. Pray you, kneel not.

3 Queen. Oh, my petition was I was transported with your speech, and suffer'd

(Kneels to EMILIA. Your knees to wrong themselves. I've heard the Set down in ice, which, by hot grief uncandied, fortunes

Melts into drops ; so sorrow, wanting form,
Of your dead lords, which gives me such lamențing Is pressed with deeper matter.
As wakes my vengeance and revenge for them. Emi. Pray stand up ;
King Capanëus was your lord : the day

Your grief is written in your cheek.
That he should marry you, at such a season 3 Queen. Oh, woe!
As now it is with me, I met your groom

You cannot read it there; here through my tears,
By Mars's altar; you were that time fair, Like wrinkled pebbles in a glassy stream,
Not Jano's mantle fairer than your tresses, You may behold them ! Lady, lady, alack,
Nor in more bounty spread; your wheaten wreath He that will all the treasure know o' the earth
Was then nor thresh'd, nor blasted; Fortune at Must know the centre too; he that will fish
you

For my least minnow, let him lead his line Dimpled her cheek with smiles; Hercules our To catch one at my heart. Oh, pardon me: kinsman

Extremity, that sharpens sundry wits, (Then weaker than your eyes) laid by his club, Makes me a fool. He tumbled down upon his Nemean hide, Emi. Pray you, say nothing; pray you ! And swore his sinews thaw'd : Oh! grief and Who cannot feel nor see the rain, being in't, time,

Knows neither wet nor dry. If that you were Fearful consumers, you will all devour ! The ground-piece of some painter, I would buy i Queen. Oh, I hope some god,

you, Some god hath put his mercy in your manhood, To instruct me 'gainst a capital grief indeed ; Whereto he'll infuse power, and press you forth (Such heart-pierced demonstration !) but, alas, Our undertaker!

Being a natural sister of our sex, Thes. Oh, no knees, none, widow !

Your sorrow beats so ardently upon me, Unto the helmeted Bellona use them,

That it shall make a counter-reflect 'gainst And pray for me, your soldier.- Troubled I am. My brother's heart, and warm it to some pity,

(Turns uway. Though it were made of stone: pray have good ? Queer. Honoured Hippolita,

comfort! Most dreaded Amazonian, that has slain

Thes. Forward to the temple: leave not out a The scithe-tusk'd boar ; that, with thy arm as jot strong

O'the sacred ceremony; As it is white, wast near to make the male

1 Queen. Oh, this celebration To thy sex captive; but that this thy lord Will longer last, and be more costly than (Born to uphold creation in that honour Your suppliants' war ! Remember that your fame First Nature styled it in) shrunk thee into Knolls in the ear o' the world: What you do The bound thou wast o'er-flowing, at once sub

quickly duing

Is not done rashly; your first thought is more Thy force, and thy affection ; soldieress, Than others' labour'd meditance ; your premediThat equally canst poise sternness with pity,

tating Who now, I know, hast much more power on More than their actions; but, (oh Jove!) your him

actions, Than e'er he had on thees who owest his strength, Soon as they moye, as osprays do the fish, And his love too, who is a servant to

Subdue before they touch: think, dear duke, The tenor of thy speech ; dear glass of ladies,

think
Bid him that we whom flaming war doth scorch, What beds our slain kings have !
Under the shadow of his sword may cool us! 2 Queen. What griefs our beds,
Require him he advance it o'er our heads; That our dear lords have none !
Speak’t in a woman's key, like such a woman 3 Queen. None fit for the dead:
As any of us three; weep erc you fail;

Those that with cords, knives, drams, precipitance, Lend us a knee;

Weary of this world's light, have to themselves
But touch the ground for us no longer time Been death's most horrid agents, human grace
Than a dove's motion, when the head's pluck'd Affords them dust and shadow.
off!

i Queen. But our lords
Tell him, if he i’the blood-sized field lay swoln, Lie blistering 'fore the visitating sun,
Shewing the sun his teeth, grinning at the moon, And were good kings when living.
What you would do !

Thes. It is true ;
Hip. Poor lady, say no more !

And I will give you comfort, I had as lief trace this.good action with you To give your dead lords graves: As that whereto P'm going, and never yet The which to do must make some work with Went I so willing way. My lord is taken

Creon. Heart deep with your distress : let him consider; 1 Queen. And that work now presents itself to

the doing :

I'll speak anon.

Now 'twill take form; the heats are gone to With that celerity and nature, which morrow;

She makes it in, from henceforth I'll not dare Then bootless toil must recompence itself, To ask you any thing, nor be so hardy With its own sweat; now he's secure,

Ever to take a husband. Not dreains we stand before your puissance, Thes. Pray stand up; Rinsing your holy begging in our eyes,

I am entreating of myself to do To make petition clear.

That which you kneel to have me. Perithous, 2 Queen. Now you may take him,

Lead on the bride! Get you, and pray the gods Drunk with his victory.

For success and return; omit not any thing 3 Queen. And his army full

In the pretended celebration. Queens, Of bread and sloth.

Follow your soldier (as before;) hence you, Thes. Artesius, that best knowest

And at the banks of Aulis meet us with How to draw out, fit to this enterprise

The forces you can raise, where we shall find The primest for this proceeding, and the number The moiety of a number, for a business To carry such a business ; forth and levy More bigger look’d-Since that our theme is Our worthiest instruments; whilst we dispatch

haste, This grand act of our life, this daring deed I stamp this kiss upon thy currant lip; Of fate and wedlock !

Sweet, keep it as my token. Set you forward ; i Queen. Dowagers, take hands!

For I will see you gone. Let us be widows to our woes ! Delay

(Ereunt towards the Temple. Commends us to a famishing hope.

Farewell, my beauteous sister! Perithous, All. Farewell!

Keep the feast full; bate not an hour on't ! 2 Queen. We come unseasonably; but when Per. Sir, could Grief

I'll follow you at heels: the feast's solemnity Cull forth, as unpang'd Judgment can, fit'st time Shall want till your return. For best solicitation?

Thes. Cousin, I charge you Thes. Why, good ladies,

Budge not from Athens; we shall be returning This is a service, whereto I am going,

Ere you can end this feast, of which I pray you Greater than any war; it more imports me Make no abatement. Once more, farewell all! Than all the actions that I have foregone,

1 Queen. Thus dost thou still make good the Or futurely can cope.

tongue o' the world. i Queen. The more proclaiming

2 Queen. And earn'st a deity equal with Mars Our suit shall be neglected : When her arms, 3 Queen. If not above him ; for Able to lock Jove from a synod, shall

Thou being but mortal, mak'st affections bend By warranting moon-light corslet thee, oh, when To godlike honours; they themselves, some say, Her twinning cherries shall their sweetness fall Groan under such a mastery. Upon thy tasteful lips, what wilt thou think

Thes. As we are men, Of rotten kings, or blubber'd queens? what care Thus should we do; being sensually subdued, For what thou feel'st not, what thou feel'st being We lose our humane title. Good cheer, ladies ! able

(Fiourish. To make Mars spurn his drum? Oh, if thou couch Now turn we towards your comforts. [Exeunt. But one night with her, every hour in't will Take hostage of thee for a hundred, and

SCENE II.
Thou shalt remember nothing more than what

Enter PALAMON and ARCITE.
That banquet bids thee to.
Hip. Though much unlike

Arc Dear Palamon, dearer in love than blood,
You should be so transported, as much sorry And our prime cousin, yet unharden'd in
I should be such a suitor; yet I think,

The crimes of nature; let us leave the city Did I not, by th' abstaining of my joy,

Thebes, and the temptings in't, before we further Which breeds a deeper longing, cure their surfeit, Sully our gloss of youth. That craves a present med'cine, I should pluck And here to keep in abstinence we shame All ladies' scandal on me : Therefore, sir, As in incontinence: for not to swim As I shall here make trial of my prayers, l' the head o' the current, were almost to sink, Either presuming them to have some force, At least to frustrate striving: and to follow Or sentencing for ay their vigour dumb, The common stream, 'twould bring us to an eddy Prorogue this business we are going about, and where we should turn or drown; if labour hang

through, Your shield afore your heart, about that neck Our gain but life, and weakness. Which is my fee, and which I freely lend

Pal. Your advice To do these poor queens service.

Is cried up with example: what strange ruins, All Queens. Oh, help now !

Since first we went to school, may we perceive Our cause cries for your knee.

Walking in Thebes ! Scars, and bare weeds, Emi. If you grant not

The gain o' the martialist, who did propound My sister her petition, in that force,

To his bold ends, honour, and golden ingots,

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