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Two Noble Kinsmen: Act 1, Scene 1

Two Noble Kinsmen
Act 1, Scene 1

Athens. Before a temple.

  1. Enter Hymen with a torch burning; a Boy, in a white robe,
  2. before, singing and strewing flow’rs; after Hymen, a Nymph,
  3. encompass’d in her tresses, bearing a wheaten garland; then
  4. Theseus, between two other Nymphs with wheaten chaplets an
  5. their heads; then Hippolyta, the bride, led by Pirithous,
  6. and another holding a garland over her head (her tresses
  7. likewise hanging; after her, Emilia, holding up her train;
  8. Artesius and Attendants.

Boy

9 - 34
  1. Music. The Song by the Boy.
  2. Roses, their sharp spines being gone,
  3. Not royal in their smells alone,
  4. But in their hue;
  5. Maiden pinks, of odor faint,
  6. Daisies smell-less, yet most quaint,
  7. And sweet thyme true;
  8. Primrose, first-born child of Ver,
  9. Merry spring-time’s harbinger,
  10. With her bells dim;
  11. Oxlips in their cradles growing,
  12. Marigolds on death-beds blowing,
  13. Larks’-heels trim;
  14. All dear Nature’s children sweet,
  15. Lie ’fore bride and bridegroom’s feet.
  16. Strew flowers.
  17. Blessing their sense;
  18. Not an angel of the air,
  19. Bird melodious, or bird fair,
  20. Is absent hence.
  21. The crow, the sland’rous cuckoo, nor
  22. The boding raven, nor chough hoar,
  23. Nor chatt’ring pie,
  24. May on our bridehouse perch or sing,
  25. Or with them any discord bring,
  26. But from it fly.
  1. Enter three Queens, in black, with veils stain’d, with
  2. imperial crowns.
  1. The first Queen falls down at the foot of Theseus; the
  2. second falls down at the foot of Hippolyta; the third before
  3. Emilia.

First Queen

40 - 41
  1. For pity’s sake and true gentility’s,
  2. Hear and respect me.

Second Queen

42 - 44
  1.                      For your mother’s sake,
  2. And as you wish your womb may thrive with fair ones,
  3. Hear and respect me.

Third Queen

45 - 50
  1. Now for the love of him whom Jove hath mark’d
  2. The honor of your bed, and for the sake
  3. Of clear virginity, be advocate
  4. For us and our distresses! This good deed
  5. Shall raze you out o’ th’ book of trespasses
  6. All you are set down there.

Theseus

51
  1. Sad lady, rise.

Hippolyta

52
  1.                 Stand up.

Emilia

53 - 55
  1.           No knees to me.
  2. What woman I may stead that is distress’d
  3. Does bind me to her.

Theseus

56
  1. What’s your request? Deliver you for all.

First Queen

57 - 72
  1. We are three queens, whose sovereigns fell before
  2. The wrath of cruel Creon; who endured
  3. The beaks of ravens, talents of the kites,
  4. And pecks of crows in the foul fields of Thebes.
  5. He will not suffer us to bum their bones,
  6. To urn their ashes, nor to take th’ offense
  7. Of mortal loathsomeness from the blest eye
  8. Of holy Phoebus, but infects the winds
  9. With stench of our slain lords. O, pity, Duke,
  10. Thou purger of the earth, draw thy fear’d sword
  11. That does good turns to th’ world; give us the bones
  12. Of our dead kings, that we may chapel them;
  13. And of thy boundless goodness take some note
  14. That for our crowned heads we have no roof,
  15. Save this which is the lion’s, and the bear’s,
  16. And vault to every thing!

Theseus

73 - 89
  1.                           Pray you kneel not;
  2. I was transported with your speech, and suffer’d
  3. Your knees to wrong themselves. I have heard the fortunes
  4. Of your dead lords, which gives me such lamenting
  5. As wakes my vengeance and revenge for ’em.
  6. King Capaneus was your lord. The day
  7. That he should marry you, at such a season
  8. As now it is with me, I met your groom
  9. By Mars’s altar. You were that time fair;
  10. Not Juno’s mantle fairer than your tresses,
  11. Nor in more bounty spread her. Your wheaten wreath
  12. Was then nor thresh’d nor blasted; Fortune at you
  13. Dimpled her cheek with smiles. Hercules our kinsman
  14. (Then weaker than your eyes) laid by his club;
  15. He tumbled down upon his Nemean hide,
  16. And swore his sinews thaw’d. O grief and time,
  17. Fearful consumers, you will all devour!

First Queen

90 - 93
  1. O, I hope some god,
  2. Some god hath put his mercy in your manhood,
  3. Whereto he’ll infuse pow’r, and press you forth
  4. Our undertaker.

Theseus

94 - 97
  1.                 O, no knees, none, widow!
  2. Unto the helmeted Bellona use them,
  3. And pray for me your soldier.
  4. Troubled I am.
  1. Turns away.

Second Queen

99 - 123
  1.                Honored Hippolyta,
  2. Most dreaded Amazonian, that hast slain
  3. The scythe-tusk’d boar; that with thy arm, as strong
  4. As it is white, wast near to make the male
  5. To thy sex captive, but that this thy lord,
  6. Born to uphold creation in that honor
  7. First Nature styl’d it in, shrunk thee into
  8. The bound thou wast o’erflowing, at once subduing
  9. Thy force and thy affection; soldieress
  10. That equally canst poise sternness with pity,
  11. Whom now I know hast much more power on him
  12. Than ever he had on thee, who ow’st his strength,
  13. And his love too, who is a servant for
  14. The tenor of thy speech; dear glass of ladies,
  15. Bid him that we, whom flaming war doth scorch,
  16. Under the shadow of his sword may cool us;
  17. Require him he advance it o’er our heads;
  18. Speak’t in a woman’s keylike such a woman
  19. As any of us three; weep ere you fail;
  20. Lend us a knee;
  21. But touch the ground for us no longer time
  22. Than a dove’s motion when the head’s pluck’d off;
  23. Tell him, if he i’ th’ blood-siz’d field lay swoll’n,
  24. Showing the sun his teeth, grinning at the moon,
  25. What you would do.

Hippolyta

124 - 129
  1.                    Poor lady, say no more:
  2. I had as lief trace this good action with you
  3. As that whereto I am going, and never yet
  4. Went I so willing way. My lord is taken
  5. Heart-deep with your distress. Let him consider.
  6. I’ll speak anon.

Third Queen

130 - 134
  1.                  O, my petition was
  2. Kneel to Emilia.
  3. Set down in ice, which by hot grief uncandied
  4. Melts into drops; so sorrow wanting form
  5. Is press’d with deeper matter.

Emilia

135 - 136
  1.                                Pray stand up,
  2. Your grief is written in your cheek.

Third Queen

137 - 146
  1.                                      O, woe,
  2. You cannot read it there. There, through my tears,
  3. Like wrinkled pebbles in a glassy stream,
  4. You may behold ’em. Lady, lady, alack!
  5. He that will all the treasure know o’ th’ earth
  6. Must know the center too; he that will fish
  7. For my least minnow, let him lead his line
  8. To catch one at my heart. O, pardon me,
  9. Extremity, that sharpens sundry wits,
  10. Makes me a fool.

Emilia

147 - 157
  1.                  Pray you say nothing, pray you.
  2. Who cannot feel nor see the rain, being in’t,
  3. Knows neither wet nor dry. If that you were
  4. The ground-piece of some painter, I would buy you
  5. T’ instruct me ’gainst a capital grief indeed
  6. Such heart-pierc’d demonstration! But alas,
  7. Being a natural sister of our sex,
  8. Your sorrow beats so ardently upon me
  9. That it shall make a counter-reflect ’gainst
  10. My brother’s heart, and warm it to some pity,
  11. Though it were made of stone. Pray have good comfort.

Theseus

158 - 159
  1. Forward to th’ temple. Leave not out a jot
  2. O’ th’ sacred ceremony.

First Queen

160 - 169
  1.                         O, this celebration
  2. Will long last and be more costly than
  3. Your suppliants’ war! Remember that your fame
  4. Knolls in the ear o’ th’ world; what you do quickly
  5. Is not done rashly; your first thought is more
  6. Than others’ labored meditance; your premeditating
  7. More than their actions. But, O Jove, your actions,
  8. Soon as they move, as asprays do the fish,
  9. Subdue before they touch. Think, dear Duke, think
  10. What beds our slain kings have!

Second Queen

170 - 171
  1.                                 What griefs our beds
  2. That our dear lords have none!

Third Queen

172 - 176
  1.                                None fit for th’ dead:
  2. Those that with cords, knives, drams, precipitance,
  3. Weary of this world’s light, have to themselves
  4. Been death’s most horrid agents, humane grace
  5. Affords them dust and shadow.

First Queen

177 - 179
  1.                               But our lords
  2. Lie blist’ring ’fore the visitating sun,
  3. And were good kings when living.

Theseus

180 - 182
  1. It is true; and I will give you comfort
  2. To give your dead lords graves; the which to do
  3. Must make some work with Creon.

First Queen

183 - 189
  1. And that work presents itself to th’ doing:
  2. Now ’twill take form, the heats are gone tomorrow.
  3. Then, bootless toil must recompense itself
  4. With its own sweat; now he’s secure,
  5. Not dreams we stand before your puissance
  6. Wrinching our holy begging in our eyes
  7. To make petition clear.

Second Queen

190 - 191
  1.                         Now you may take him
  2. Drunk with his victory.

Third Queen

192 - 193
  1.                         And his army full
  2. Of bread and sloth.

Theseus

194 - 200
  1.                     Artesius, that best knowest
  2. How to draw out, fit to this enterprise,
  3. The prim’st for this proceeding, and the number
  4. To carry such a business, forth and levy
  5. Our worthiest instruments, whilst we dispatch
  6. This grand act of our life, this daring deed
  7. Of fate in wedlock.

First Queen

201 - 203
  1.                     Dowagers, take hands,
  2. Let us be widows to our woes; delay
  3. Commends us to a famishing hope.

All Queens

204
  1.                                  Farewell.

Second Queen

205 - 207
  1. We come unseasonably; but when could grief
  2. Cull forth, as unpang’d judgment can, fitt’st time
  3. For best solicitation?

Theseus

208 - 212
  1.                        Why, good ladies,
  2. This is a service, whereto I am going,
  3. Greater than any war; it more imports me
  4. Than all the actions that I have foregone,
  5. Or futurely can cope.

First Queen

213 - 225
  1.                       The more proclaiming
  2. Our suit shall be neglected. When her arms,
  3. Able to lock Jove from a synod, shall
  4. By warranting moonlight corslet theeO, when
  5. Her twinning cherries shall their sweetness fall
  6. Upon thy tasteful lips, what wilt thou think
  7. Of rotten kings or blubber’d queens? What care
  8. For what thou feel’st not? What thou feel’st being able
  9. To make Mars spurn his drum. O, if thou couch
  10. But one night with her, every hour in’t will
  11. Take hostage of thee for a hundred, and
  12. Thou shalt remember nothing more than what
  13. That banquet bids thee to!

Hippolyta

226 - 240
  1.                            Though much unlike
  2. You should be so transported, as much sorry
  3. I should be such a suitor; yet I think
  4. Did I not by th’ abstaining of my joy,
  5. Which breeds a deeper longing, cure their surfeit
  6. That craves a present med’cine, I should pluck
  7. All ladies’ scandal on me. Therefore, sir,
  8. Kneels.
  9. As I shall here make trial of my pray’rs,
  10. Either presuming them to have some force,
  11. Or sentencing for aye their vigor dumb,
  12. Prorogue this business we are going about, and hang
  13. Your shield afore your heart, about that neck
  14. Which is my fee, and which I freely lend
  15. To do these poor queens service.

All Queens

241 - 243
  1. To Emilia.
  2.                                  O, help now!
  3. Our cause cries for your knee.

Emilia

244 - 250
  1. Kneels.
  2.                                If you grant not
  3. My sister her petition, in that force,
  4. With that celerity and nature, which
  5. She makes it in, from henceforth I’ll not dare
  6. To ask you any thing, nor be so hardy
  7. Ever to take a husband.

Theseus

251 - 273
  1.                         Pray stand up.
  2. They rise.
  3. I am entreating of myself to do
  4. That which you kneel to have me. Pirithous,
  5. Lead on the bride; get you and pray the gods
  6. For success and return; omit not any thing
  7. In the pretended celebration. Queens,
  8. Follow your soldier.
  9. To Artesius.
  10.                      As before, hence you,
  11. And at the banks of Aulis meet us with
  12. The forces you can raise, where we shall find
  13. The moi’ty of a number for a business
  14. More bigger-look’d.
  15. Exit Artesius.
  16. To Hippolyta.
  17.                     Since that our theme is haste,
  18. I stamp this kiss upon thy currant lip.
  19. Sweet, keep it as my token. Set you forward,
  20. For I will see you gone.
  21. Exeunt slowly towards the temple.
  22. Farewell, my beauteous sister. Pirithous,
  23. Keep the feast full, bate not an hour on’t.

Pirithous

274 - 276
  1.                                             Sir,
  2. I’ll follow you at heels; the feast’s solemnity
  3. Shall want till your return.

Theseus

277 - 280
  1.                              Cousin, I charge you
  2. Budge not from Athens. We shall be returning
  3. Ere you can end this feast, of which I pray you
  4. Make no abatement. Once more, farewell all.

First Queen

281 - 282
  1. Thus dost thou still make good
  2. The tongue o’ th’ world.

Second Queen

283 - 284
  1.                          And earn’st a deity
  2. Equal with Mars.

Third Queen

285 - 288
  1.                  If not above him, for
  2. Thou being but mortal makest affections bend
  3. To godlike honors; they themselves, some say,
  4. Groan under such a mast’ry.

Theseus

289 - 292
  1.                             As we are men
  2. Thus should we do, being sensually subdu’d
  3. We lose our human title. Good cheer, ladies.
  4. Now turn we towards your comforts.
  1. Flourish. Exeunt.
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