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The Two Noble Kinsmen
Act 3, scene 5



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The Two Noble Kinsmen, derived from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, begins as Athens defeats Thebes in war. Arcite and Palamon, Theban knights…


The audience is welcomed to the play’s opening performance. The speaker apologizes for its inferiority to Chaucer, whose tale provides…

Act 1, scene 1

The wedding procession of Duke Theseus and his Amazonian bride Hippolyta is interrupted by three weeping queens whose dead kings…

Act 1, scene 2

Two noble cousins, Palamon and Arcite, discuss leaving Thebes, where the reign of their despised uncle Creon has corrupted the…

Act 1, scene 3

Pirithous leaves Athens to join Theseus in Thebes. Hippolyta and Emilia praise the strength of the bond between the two…

Act 1, scene 4

A victorious Theseus bids farewell to the three queens just as Palamon and Arcite are brought in wounded on stretchers….

Act 1, scene 5

The three queens take farewell of each other as the bodies of their dead husbands are carried off for separate…

Act 2, scene 1

The keeper of a jail in Athens discusses the terms of his daughter’s dowry with her wooer. The daughter enters…

Act 2, scene 2

Palamon and Arcite, after lamenting their prospect of lifelong imprisonment, rejoice that they are imprisoned together where nothing can ever…

Act 2, scene 3

Arcite decides he will not leave Athens and Emilia. Countrymen enter talking about their plans to dance at a May…

Act 2, scene 4

The jailer’s daughter, having fallen in love with Palamon, decides to find a way to free him from prison in…

Act 2, scene 5

Arcite, having won the competition disguised as a poor gentleman, is made an attendant upon Emilia. He and the other…

Act 2, scene 6

The jailer’s daughter, having set Palamon free and sent him off to await her in the woods, plans to bring…

Act 3, scene 1

Arcite, now Emilia’s attendant, is confronted by a still-shackled Palamon in the woods where the court is celebrating May Day….

Act 3, scene 2

The jailer’s daughter, unable to find Palamon, fearing that he has been eaten by wild animals and that her father…

Act 3, scene 3

Arcite brings Palamon food, wine, and files. He promises to return in two hours bringing swords and armor for their…

Act 3, scene 4

The jailer’s daughter, convinced that Palamon is dead and that her father will be hanged, begins to hallucinate.

Act 3, scene 5

The countrymen and the schoolmaster gather for the morris dance to be performed for Duke Theseus. When the countrywomen arrive,…

Act 3, scene 6

Arcite arrives in the forest with armor and swords. The two cousins dress each other in armor and prepare as…

Act 4, scene 1

The jailer receives the news that he and his daughter have been pardoned for Palamon’s escape, but that his daughter…

Act 4, scene 2

Emilia examines miniature portraits of Palamon and Arcite and is unable to choose between them. Theseus, hearing descriptions of the…

Act 4, scene 3

The jailer’s daughter is diagnosed by the doctor as suffering from love melancholy. He prescribes that the daughter’s wooer, who…

Act 5, scene 1

In preparation for the coming confrontation, Arcite and his companion knights pray for victory at the altar of Mars; Palamon…

Act 5, scene 2

The doctor observes the jailer’s daughter with the wooer pretending to be Palamon, and declares that she will soon be…

Act 5, scene 3

Emilia listens to the sounds of the combat as first one contestant and then the other seems to be winning….

Act 5, scene 4

As Palamon puts his head on the block for his beheading, word comes that Arcite has been crushed by his…


The speaker bids the audience farewell, hoping that the play has pleased them.

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Quill icon
Scene 5
Enter a Schoolmaster and six Countrymen,
one dressed as a Bavian.

SCHOOLMASTER Fie, fie, what tediosity and disinsanity
 is here among you! Have my rudiments been labored
 so long with you, milked unto you, and, by a
 figure, even the very plum broth and marrow of
5 my understanding laid upon you, and do you still
 cry “Where?” and “How?” and “Wherefore?” You
 most coarse-frieze capacities, you jean judgments,
 have I said “Thus let be” and “There let be”
 and “Then let be” and no man understand me? Proh
10 deum, medius fidius
, you are all dunces! Forwhy,
 here stand I; here the Duke comes; there are you,
 close in the thicket; the Duke appears; I meet him
 and unto him I utter learnèd things and many figures;
 he hears, and nods, and hums, and then cries
15 “Rare!” and I go forward. At length I fling my cap
 up—mark there! Then do you as once did Meleager

The Two Noble Kinsmen
ACT 3. SC. 5

 and the boar—break comely out before him;
 like true lovers, cast yourselves in a body decently,
 and sweetly, by a figure, trace and turn, boys.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN 20And sweetly we will do it, Master
SECOND COUNTRYMAN Draw up the company. Where’s
 the taborer?

Enter the Taborer.

TABORER 25Here, my mad boys. Have at you!
SCHOOLMASTER But I say, where’s their women?

Enter five Wenches.

FOURTH COUNTRYMAN Here’s Fritz and Maudlin.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN And little Luce with the white
 legs, and bouncing Barbary.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN 30And freckled Nell, that never failed
 her master.
SCHOOLMASTER Where be your ribbons, maids? Swim
 with your bodies, and carry it sweetly and deliverly,
 and now and then a favor and a frisk.
NELL 35Let us alone, sir.
SCHOOLMASTER Where’s the rest o’ th’ music?
THIRD COUNTRYMAN Dispersed, as you commanded.
SCHOOLMASTER Couple, then, and see what’s wanting.
 Where’s the Bavian?—My friend, carry your tail
40 without offense or scandal to the ladies; and be
 sure you tumble with audacity and manhood, and
 when you bark, do it with judgment.
BAVIAN Yes, sir.
SCHOOLMASTER Quo usque tandem? Here is a woman
45 wanting.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN We may go whistle; all the fat’s i’
 th’ fire.
SCHOOLMASTER We have, as learnèd authors utter,

The Two Noble Kinsmen
ACT 3. SC. 5

 washed a tile; we have been fatuus and labored
50 vainly.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN This is that scornful piece, that
 scurvy hilding that gave her promise faithfully she
 would be here—Cicely, the sempster’s daughter.
 The next gloves that I give her shall be dogskin;
55 nay, an she fail me once—you can tell, Arcas, she
 swore by wine and bread she would not break.
SCHOOLMASTER An eel and woman, a learnèd poet
 says, unless by th’ tail and with thy teeth thou hold,
 will either fail. In manners, this was false
60 position.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN A fire ill take her! Does she flinch
THIRD COUNTRYMAN What shall we determine, sir?
SCHOOLMASTER Nothing. Our business is become a
65 nullity, yea, and a woeful and a piteous nullity.
FOURTH COUNTRYMAN Now, when the credit of our town
 lay on it, now to be frampold, now to piss o’ th’
 nettle! Go thy ways; I’ll remember thee. I’ll fit

Enter Jailer’s Daughter.

DAUGHTER, sings 
70 The George Alow came from the south,
 From the coast of Barbary-a,
 And there he met with brave gallants of war,
 By one, by two, by three-a.
 “Well hailed, well hailed, you jolly gallants,
75 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—
Sings  The one he said it was an owl,
80  The other he said nay,

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ACT 3. SC. 5

 The third he said it was a hawk,
  And her bells were cut away.

THIRD COUNTRYMAN There’s a dainty madwoman, master,
 comes i’ th’ nick, as mad as a March hare. If we
85 can get her dance, we are made again. I warrant
 her, she’ll do the rarest gambols.
FIRST COUNTRYMAN A madwoman? We are made, boys.
SCHOOLMASTER, to Jailer’s Daughter And are you mad,
 good woman?
DAUGHTER 90I would be sorry else. Give me your hand.
DAUGHTER I can tell your fortune. She looks at his
You are a fool. Tell ten.—I have posed him.
 Buzz!—Friend, you must eat no white bread; if
95 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.
SCHOOLMASTER Dii boni! A tinker, damsel?
DAUGHTER Or a conjurer. Raise me a devil now, and let
100 him play Chi passa o’ th’ bells and bones.
SCHOOLMASTER Go, take her, and fluently persuade her
 to a peace. Et opus exegi, quod nec Iovis ira, nec
 Strike up, and lead her in.
SECOND COUNTRYMAN Come, lass, let’s trip it.
DAUGHTER 105I’ll lead.
SCHOOLMASTER Persuasively, and cunningly.
Wind horns.
 Away, boys! I hear the horns. Give me some
 meditation, and mark your cue.
All but Schoolmaster exit.
110 Pallas, inspire me!

Enter Theseus, Pirithous, Hippolyta, Emilia, and train.

THESEUS This way the stag took.
SCHOOLMASTER Stay, and edify!

The Two Noble Kinsmen
ACT 3. SC. 5

THESEUS What have we here?
PIRITHOUS Some country sport, upon my life, sir.
THESEUS, to Schoolmaster 115Well, sir, go forward. We
 will “edify.”Chairs and stools brought out.
 Ladies, sit down. We’ll stay it.
Theseus, Hippolyta, and Emilia sit.
 Thou doughty duke, all hail!—All hail, sweet ladies!
THESEUS, aside This is a cold beginning.
120 If you but favor, our country pastime made is.
 We are a few of those collected here
 That ruder tongues distinguish “villager.”
 And to say verity, and not to fable,
 We are a merry rout, or else a rabble,
125 Or company, or by a figure, chorus,
 That ’fore thy dignity will dance a morris.
 And I that am the rectifier of all,
 By title pedagogus, that let fall
 The birch upon the breeches of the small ones,
130 And humble with a ferula the tall ones,
 Do here present this machine, or this frame.
 And, dainty duke, whose doughty dismal fame
 From Dis to Daedalus, from post to pillar,
 Is blown abroad, help me, thy poor well-willer,
135 And with thy twinkling eyes look right and straight
 Upon this mighty “Morr,” of mickle weight—
 “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,
140 I first appear, though rude, and raw, and muddy,
 To speak before thy noble grace this tenner,
 At whose great feet I offer up my penner.
 The next, the Lord of May and Lady bright,
 The Chambermaid and Servingman by night
145 That seek out silent hanging; then mine Host

The Two Noble Kinsmen
ACT 3. SC. 5

 And his fat Spouse, that welcomes to their cost
 The gallèd traveler, and with a beck’ning
 Informs the tapster to inflame the reck’ning;
 Then the beest-eating Clown; and next the Fool,
150 The Bavian with long tail and eke long tool,
 Cum multis aliis that make a dance;
 Say “ay,” and all shall presently advance.
 Ay, ay, by any means, dear Domine.
155 Intrate, filii. Come forth and foot it.

Music. Enter the Countrymen, Countrywomen, and
Jailer’s Daughter; they perform a morris 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.—
160 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,
165 We’ll make thee laugh, and all this rout.

 Take twenty, Domine.—How does my sweetheart?
 Never so pleased, sir.
EMILIA  ’Twas an excellent dance,
 And, for a preface, I never heard a better.
170 Schoolmaster, I thank you.—One see ’em all
 rewarded.An Attendant gives money.

The Two Noble Kinsmen
ACT 3. SC. 6

 And here’s something to paint your pole withal.
He gives money.
THESEUS Now to our sports again.
 May the stag thou hunt’st stand long,
175 And thy dogs be swift and strong;
 May they kill him without lets,
 And the ladies eat his dowsets.

Wind horns within. Theseus, Hippolyta,
Emilia, Pirithous, and Train exit.

 Come, we are all made. Dii deaeque omnes,
 You have danced rarely, wenches.
They exit.