David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s “The Two Noble Kinsmen”: A Retelling in Prose — Act 1, Scene 5

— 1.5 —

The Queens had located the corpses of their husbands and had given orders for them to be placed in coffins. The Queens now sang a dirge:

Urns and odors bring away;

Vapors, sighs, darken the day;

Our dole [sorrow] more deadly looks than dying;

Balms and gums and heavy cheers [sad faces],

Sacred vials filled with tears,

And clamors through the wild air flying.

Come, all sad and solemn shows

That are quick-eyed [keen-eyed] Pleasure’s foes;

We convent [call together] naught [nothing] else but woes.

We convent [call together] naught [nothing] else but woes.

The Third Queen said to the Second Queen, “This funeral path takes you to your household’s grave. May joy be yours again; may peace sleep with him.”

The Second Queen said to the First Queen, “And this path will take you to your household, where you will bury your husband.”

The First Queen said to the Third Queen, “Your path is this way. The Heavens lend a thousand differing ways to one sure end. A thousand paths lead to death and the grave.”

The Third Queen said, “This world’s a city full of wandering streets, and death’s the marketplace where each one meets.”

Many cities had many streets leading to the marketplace.

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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