The Two Noble Kinsmen


William Shakespeare

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Presented at the Blackfriers by the Kings Maiesties servants, with great applause:

Written by the memorable Worthies of their time;

Mr. John Fletcher, Gent., and Mr. William Shakspeare, Gent.

Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, for John Waterson: and are to be sold at the signe of the Crowne in Pauls Church-yard. 1634.

(The Persons represented in the Play.

Hippolita, Bride to Theseus
Emelia, Sister to Theseus
[Emelia's Woman],
Three Queens,
Three valiant Knights,
Palamon, and
Arcite, The two Noble Kinsmen, in love with fair Emelia
[A Herald],
[A Gentleman],
[A Messenger],
[A Servant],
His Daughter, in love with Palamon
[His brother],
[A Doctor],
[4] Countreymen,
[2 Friends of the Jaylor],
[3 Knights],
[Nel, and other]
A Taborer,
Gerrold, A Schoolmaster.)



New Playes, and Maydenheads, are neare a kin, Much follow'd both, for both much mony g'yn, If they stand sound, and well: And a good Play (Whose modest Sceanes blush on his marriage day, And shake to loose his honour) is like hir That after holy Tye and first nights stir Yet still is Modestie, and still retaines More of the maid to sight, than Husbands paines; We pray our Play may be so; For I am sure It has a noble Breeder, and a pure, A learned, and a Poet never went More famous yet twixt Po and silver Trent: Chaucer (of all admir'd) the Story gives, There constant to Eternity it lives. If we let fall the Noblenesse of this, And the first sound this child heare, be a hisse, How will it shake the bones of that good man, And make him cry from under ground, 'O fan From me the witles chaffe of such a wrighter That blastes my Bayes, and my fam'd workes makes lighter Then Robin Hood!' This is the feare we bring; For to say Truth, it were an endlesse thing, And too ambitious, to aspire to him, Weake as we are, and almost breathlesse swim In this deepe water. Do but you hold out Your helping hands, and we shall take about, And something doe to save us: You shall heare Sceanes, though below his Art, may yet appeare Worth two houres travell. To his bones sweet sleepe: Content to you. If this play doe not keepe A little dull time from us, we perceave Our losses fall so thicke, we must needs leave. [Florish.]

Actus Primus.

[Scaena 1.] (Athens. Before a temple.)

[Enter Hymen with a Torch burning: a Boy, in a white Robe before singing, and strewing Flowres: After Hymen, a Nimph, encompast in her Tresses, bearing a wheaten Garland. Then Theseus betweene two other Nimphs with wheaten Chaplets on their heades. Then Hipolita the Bride, lead by Pirithous, and another holding a Garland over her head (her Tresses likewise hanging.) After her Emilia holding up her Traine. (Artesius and Attendants.)]

The Song, [Musike.]

Roses their sharpe spines being gon, Not royall in their smels alone, But in their hew. Maiden Pinckes, of odour faint, Dazies smel-lesse, yet most quaint And sweet Time true.

Prim-rose first borne child of Ver, Merry Spring times Herbinger, With her bels dimme. Oxlips, in their Cradles growing, Mary-golds, on death beds blowing, Larkes-heeles trymme.

All deere natures children sweete, Ly fore Bride and Bridegroomes feete, [Strew Flowers.] Blessing their sence. Not an angle of the aire, Bird melodious, or bird faire, Is absent hence.

The Crow, the slaundrous Cuckoe, nor The boding Raven, nor Chough hore Nor chattring Pie, May on our Bridehouse pearch or sing, Or with them any discord bring, But from it fly.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Two Noble Kinsmen
William Shakespeare First Folio