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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act I. Scene I.

The Taming of the Shrew

Padua.A public Place.


Luc.Tranio, since for the great desire I had

To see fair Padua, nursery of arts,

I am arriv’d for fruitful Lombardy,

The pleasant garden of great Italy;

And by my father’s love and leave am arm’d

With his good will and thy good company,

My trusty servant well approv’d in all,

Here let us breathe, and haply institute

A course of learning and ingenious studies.

Pisa, renowned for grave citizens,

Gave me my being and my father first,

A merchant of great traffic through the world,

Vincentio, come of the Bentivolii.

Vincentio’s son, brought up in Florence,

It shall become to serve all hopes conceiv’d,

To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds:

And therefore, Tranio, for the time I study,

Virtue and that part of philosophy

Will I apply that treats of happiness

By virtue specially to be achiev’d.

Tell me thy mind; for I have Pisa left

And am to Padua come, as he that leaves

A shallow plash to plunge him in the deep,

And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst.

Tra.Mi perdonate, gentle master mine,

I am in all affected as yourself,

Glad that you thus continue your resolve

To suck the sweets of sweet philosophy.

Only, good master, while we do admire

This virtue and this moral discipline,

Let’s be no stoics nor no stocks, I pray;

Or so devote to Aristotle’s checks

As Ovid be an outcast quite abjur’d.

Balk logic with acquaintance that you have,

And practise rhetoric in your common talk;

Music and poesy use to quicken you;

The mathematics and the metaphysics,

Fall to them as you find your stomach serves you;

No profit grows where is no pleasure ta’en;

In brief, sir, study what you most affect.

Luc.Gramercies, Tranio, well dost thou advise.

If, Biondello, thou wert come ashore,

We could at once put us in readiness,

And take a lodging fit to entertain

Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.

But stay a while: what company is this?

Tra.Master, some show to welcome us to town.


Bap.Gentlemen, importune me no further,

For how I firmly am resolv’d you know;

That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter

Before I have a husband for the elder.

If either of you both love Katharina,

Because I know you well and love you well,

Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.

Gre.To cart her rather: she’s too rough for me.

There, there, Hortensio, will you any wife?

Kath.[To BAPTISTA.]I pray you, sir, is it your will

To make a stale of me amongst these mates?

Hor.Mates, maid! how mean you that? no mates for you,

Unless you were of gentler, milder mould.

Kath.I’ faith, sir, you shall never need to fear:

I wis it is not half way to her heart;

But if it were, doubt not her care should be

To comb your noddle with a three-legg’d stool,

And paint your face, and use you like a fool.

Hor.From all such devils, good Lord deliver us!

Gre.And me too, good Lord!

Tra.Hush, master! here is some good pastime toward:

That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward.

Luc.But in the other’s silence do I see

Maid’s mild behaviour and sobriety.

Peace, Tranio!

Tra.Well said, master; mum! and gaze your fill.

Bap.Gentlemen, that I may soon make good

What I have said,—Bianca, get you in:

And let it not displease thee, good Bianca,

For I will love thee ne’er the less, my girl.

Kath.A pretty peat! it is best

Put finger in the eye, an she knew why.

Bian.Sister, content you in my discontent.

Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe:

My books and instruments shall be my company,

On them to look and practise by myself.

Luc.Hark, Tranio! thou mayst hear Minerva speak.

Hor.Signior Baptista, will you be so strange?

Sorry am I that our good will effects

Bianca’s grief.

Gre.Why will you mew her up,

Signior Baptista, for this fiend of hell,

And make her bear the penance of her tongue?

Bap.Gentlemen, content ye; I am resolv’d.

Go in, Bianca.[Exit BIANCA.

And for I know she taketh most delight

In music, instruments, and poetry,

Schoolmasters will I keep within my house,

Fit to instruct her youth. If you, Hortensio,

Or Signior Gremio, you, know any such,

Prefer them hither; for to cunning men

I will be very kind, and liberal

To mine own children in good bringing up;

And so, farewell. Katharina, you may stay;

For I have more to commune with Bianca.[Exit.

Kath.Why, and I trust I may go too; may I not?

What! shall I be appointed hours, as though, belike,

I knew not what to take, and what to leave? Ha![Exit.

Gre.You may go to the devil’s dam: your gifts are so good, here’s none will hold you. Their love is not so great, Hortensio, but we may blow our nails together, and fast it fairly out: our cake’s dough on both sides. Farewell: yet, for the love I bear my sweet Bianca, if I can by any means light on a fit man to teach her that wherein she delights, I will wish him to her father.

Hor.So will I, Signior Gremio: but a word, I pray. Though the nature of our quarrel yet never brooked parle, know now, upon advice, it toucheth us both,—that we may yet again have access to our fair mistress and be happy rivals in Bianca’s love,—to labour and effect one thing specially.

Gre.What’s that, I pray?

Hor.Marry, sir, to get a husband for her sister.

Gre.A husband! a devil.

Hor.I say, a husband.

Gre.I say, a devil. Thinkest thou, Hortensio, though her father be very rich, any man is so very a fool to be married to hell?

Hor.Tush, Gremio! though it pass your patience and mine to endure her loud alarums, why, man, there be good fellows in the world, an a man could light on them, would take her with all faults, and money enough.

Gre.I cannot tell; but I had as lief take her dowry with this condition, to be whipped at the high-cross every morning.

Hor.Faith, as you say, there’s small choice in rotten apples. But, come; since this bar in law makes us friends, it shall be so far forth friendly maintained, till by helping Baptista’s eldest daughter to a husband, we set his youngest free for a husband, and then have to ’t afresh. Sweet Bianca! Happy man be his dole! He that runs fastest gets the ring. How say you, Signior Gremio?

Gre.I am agreed: and would I had given him the best horse in Padua to begin his wooing, that would thoroughly woo her, wed her, and bed her, and rid the house of her. Come on.[Exeunt GREMIO and HORTENSIO.

Tra.I pray, sir, tell me, is it possible

That love should of a sudden take such hold?

Luc.O Tranio! till I found it to be true,

I never thought it possible or likely;

But see, while idly I stood looking on,

I found the effect of love in idleness;

And now in plainness do confess to thee,

That art to me as secret and as dear

As Anna to the Queen of Carthage was,

Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio,

If I achieve not this young modest girl.

Counsel me, Tranio, for I know thou canst:

Assist me, Tranio, for I know thou wilt.

Tra.Master, it is no time to chide you now;

Affection is not rated from the heart:

If love have touch’d you, nought remains but so,

Redime te captum, quam queas minimo.

Luc.Gramercies, lad; go forward: this contents:

The rest will comfort, for thy counsel’s sound.

Tra.Master, you look’d so longly on the maid,

Perhaps you mark’d not what’s the pith of all.

Luc.O yes, I saw sweet beauty in her face,

Such as the daughter of Agenor had,

That made great Jove to humble him to her hand,

When with his knees he kiss’d the Cretan strand.

Tra.Saw you no more? mark’d you not how her sister

Began to scold and raise up such a storm

That mortal ears might hardly endure the din?

Luc.Tranio, I saw her coral lips to move,

And with her breath she did perfume the air;

Sacred and sweet was all I saw in her.

Tra.Nay, then, ’tis time to stir him from his trance.

I pray, awake, sir: if you love the maid,

Bend thoughts and wits to achieve her. Thus it stands:

Her elder sister is so curst and shrewd,

That till the father rid his hands of her,

Master, your love must live a maid at home;

And therefore has he closely mew’d her up,

Because she will not be annoy’d with suitors.

Luc.Ah, Tranio, what a cruel father’s he!

But art thou not advis’d he took some care

To get her cunning schoolmasters to instruct her?

Tra.Ay, marry, am I, sir; and now ’tis plotted.

Luc.I have it, Tranio.

Tra.Master, for my hand,

Both our inventions meet and jump in one.

Luc.Tell me thine first.

Tra.You will be schoolmaster,

And undertake the teaching of the maid:

That’s your device.

Luc.It is: may it be done?

Tra.Not possible; for who shall bear your part,

And be in Padua here Vincentio’s son?

Keep house and ply his book, welcome his friends;

Visit his countrymen, and banquet them?

Luc.Basta; content thee; for I have it full.

We have not yet been seen in any house,

Nor can we be distinguish’d by our faces

For man, or master: then, it follows thus:

Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead,

Keep house, and port, and servants, as I should:

I will some other be; some Florentine,

Some Neapolitan, or meaner man of Pisa.

’Tis hatch’d and shall be so: Tranio, at once

Uncase thee, take my colour’d hat and cloak:

When Biondello comes, he waits on thee;

But I will charm him first to keep his tongue.[They exchange habits.

Tra.So had you need.

In brief then, sir, sith it your pleasure is,

And I am tied to be obedient;

For so your father charg’d me at our parting,

‘Be serviceable to my son,’ quoth he,

Although I think ’twas in another sense:

I am content to be Lucentio,

Because so well I love Lucentio.

Luc.Tranio, be so, because Lucentio loves;

And let me be a slave, to achieve that maid

Whose sudden sight hath thrall’d my wounded eye.

Here comes the rogue.


Sirrah, where have you been?

Bion.Where have I been! Nay, how now! where are you?

Master, has my fellow Tranio stol’n your clothes,

Or you stol’n his? or both? pray, what’s the news?

Luc.Sirrah, come hither: ’tis no time to jest,

And therefore frame your manners to the time.

Your fellow Tranio, here, to save my life,

Puts my apparel and my countenance on,

And I for my escape have put on his;

For in a quarrel since I came ashore

I kill’d a man, and fear I was descried.

Wait you on him, I charge you, as becomes,

While I make way from hence to save my life:

You understand me?

Bion.I, sir! ne’er a whit.

Luc.And not a jot of Tranio in your mouth:

Tranio is changed to Lucentio.

Bion.The better for him: would I were so too!

Tra.So would I, faith, boy, to have the next wish after,

That Lucentio indeed had Baptista’s youngest daughter.

But, sirrah, not for my sake, but your master’s, I advise

You use your manners discreetly in all kind of companies:

When I am alone, why, then I am Tranio;

But in all places else your master, Lucentio.

Luc.Tranio, let’s go. One thing more rests, that thyself execute, to make one among these wooers: if thou ask me why, sufficeth my reasons are both good and weighty.[Exeunt.

The Presenters above speak.

First Serv.My lord, you nod; you do not mind the play.

Sly.Yes, by Saint Anne, I do. A good matter, surely: comes there any more of it?

Page.My lord, ’tis but begun.

Sly.’Tis a very excellent piece of work, madam lady: would ’twere done![They sit and mark.