Home  »  The Oxford Shakespeare  »  The Taming of the Shrew

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

Act I. Scene II.

The Taming of the Shrew

The Same.Before HORTENSIO’S House.


Pet.Verona, for a while I take my leave,

To see my friends in Padua; but, of all

My best beloved and approved friend,

Hortensio; and I trow this is his house.

Here, sirrah Grumio; knock, I say.

Gru.Knock, sir! whom should I knock? is there any man has rebused your worship?

Pet.Villain, I say, knock me here soundly.

Gru.Knock you here, sir! why, sir, what am I, sir, that I should knock you here, sir?

Pet.Villain, I say, knock me at this gate;

And rap me well, or I’ll knock your knave’s pate.

Gru.My master is grown quarrelsome. I should knock you first,

And then I know after who comes by the worst.

Pet.Will it not be?

Faith, sirrah, an you’ll not knock, I’ll ring it;

I’ll try how you can sol, fa, and sing it.[He wrings GRUMIO by the ears.

Gru.Help, masters, help! my master is mad.

Pet.Now, knock when I bid you, sirrah villain!


Hor.How now! what’s the matter? My old friend Grumio! and my good friend Petruchio! How do you all at Verona?

Pet.Signior Hortensio, come you to part the fray?

Con tutto il cuore ben trovato, may I say.

Hor.Alla nostra casa ben venuto; molto honorato signior mio Petruchio.

Rise, Grumio, rise: we will compound this quarrel.

Gru.Nay, ’tis no matter, sir, what he ’leges in Latin. If this be not a lawful cause for me to leave his service, look you, sir, he bid me knock him and rap him soundly, sir: well, was it fit for a servant to use his master so; being, perhaps, for aught I see, two-and-thirty, a pip out?

Whom would to God, I had well knock’d at first,

Then had not Grumio come by the worst.

Pet.A senseless villain! Good Hortensio,

I bade the rascal knock upon your gate,

And could not get him for my heart to do it.

Gru.Knock at the gate! O heavens! Spake you not these words plain, ‘Sirrah, knock me here, rap me here, knock me well, and knock me soundly?’ And come you now with ‘knocking at the gate?’

Pet.Sirrah, be gone, or talk not, I advise you.

Hor.Petruchio, patience; I am Grumio’s pledge.

Why, this’s a heavy chance ’twixt him and you,

Your ancient, trusty, pleasant servant Grumio.

And tell me now, sweet friend, what happy gale

Blows you to Padua here from old Verona?

Pet.Such wind as scatters young men through the world

To seek their fortunes further than at home,

Where small experience grows. But in a few,

Signior Hortensio, thus it stands with me:

Antonio, my father, is deceas’d,

And I have thrust myself into this maze,

Haply to wive and thrive as best I may.

Crowns in my purse I have and goods at home,

And so am come abroad to see the world.

Hor.Petruchio, shall I then come roundly to thee,

And wish thee to a shrewd ill-favour’d wife?

Thou’dst thank me but a little for my counsel;

And yet I’ll promise thee she shall be rich,

And very rich: but thou’rt too much my friend,

And I’ll not wish thee to her.

Pet.Signior Hortensio, ’twixt such friends as we,

Few words suffice; and therefore, if thou know

One rich enough to be Petruchio’s wife,

As wealth is burden of my wooing dance,

Be she as foul as was Florentius’ love,

As old as Sibyl, and as curst and shrewd

As Socrates’ Xanthippe, or a worse,

She moves me not, or not removes, at least,

Affection’s edge in me, were she as rough

As are the swelling Adriatic seas:

I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;

If wealthily, then happily in Padua.

Gru.Nay, look you, sir, he tells you flatly what his mind is: why, give him gold enough and marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby; or an old trot with ne’er a tooth in her head, though she have as many diseases as two-and-fifty horses: why, nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal.

Hor.Petruchio, since we are stepp’d thus far in,

I will continue that I broach’d in jest.

I can, Petruchio, help thee to a wife

With wealth enough, and young and beauteous,

Brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman:

Her only fault,—and that is faults enough,—

Is, that she is intolerable curst

And shrewd and froward, so beyond all measure,

That, were my state far worser than it is,

I would not wed her for a mine of gold.

Pet.Hortensio, peace! thou know’st not gold’s effect:

Tell me her father’s name, and ’tis enough;

For I will board her, though she chide as loud

As thunder when the clouds in autumn crack.

Hor.Her father is Baptista Minola,

An affable and courteous gentleman;

Her name is Katharina Minola,

Renown’d in Padua for her scolding tongue.

Pet.I know her father, though I know not her;

And he knew my deceased father well.

I will not sleep, Hortensio, till I see her;

And therefore let me be thus bold with you,

To give you over at this first encounter,

Unless you will accompany me thither.

Gru.I pray you, sir, let him go while the humour lasts. O’my word, an she knew him as well as I do, she would think scolding would do little good upon him. She may, perhaps, call him half a score knaves or so: why, that’s nothing: an he begin once, he’ll rail in his rope-tricks. I’ll tell you what, sir, an she stand him but a little, he will throw a figure in her face, and so disfigure her with it that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat. You know him not, sir.

Hor.Tarry, Petruchio, I must go with thee,

For in Baptista’s keep my treasure is:

He hath the jewel of my life in hold,

His youngest daughter, beautiful Bianca,

And her withholds from me and other more,

Suitors to her and rivals in my love;

Supposing it a thing impossible,

For those defects I have before rehears’d,

That ever Katharina will be woo’d:

Therefore this order hath Baptista ta’en,

That none shall have access unto Bianca,

Till Katharine the curst have got a husband.

Gru.Katharine the curst!

A title for a maid of all titles the worst.

Hor.Now shall my friend Petruchio do me grace,

And offer me, disguis’d in sober robes,

To old Baptista as a schoolmaster

Well seen in music, to instruct Bianca;

That so I may, by this device, at least

Have leave and leisure to make love to her,

And unsuspected court her by herself.

Gru.Here’s no knavery! See, to beguile the old folks, how the young folks lay their heads together!

Enter GREMIO, and LUCENTIO disguised, with books under his arm.

Master, master, look about you: who goes there, ha?

Hor.Peace, Grumio! ’tis the rival of my love.

Petruchio, stand by a while.

Gru.A proper stripling, and an amorous!

Gre.O! very well; I have perus’d the note.

Hark you, sir; I’ll have them very fairly bound:

All books of love, see that at any hand,

And see you read no other lectures to her.

You understand me. Over and beside

Signior Baptista’s liberality,

I’ll mend it with a largess. Take your papers too,

And let me have them very well perfum’d;

For she is sweeter than perfume itself

To whom they go to. What will you read to her?

Luc.Whate’er I read to her, I’ll plead for you,

As for my patron, stand you so assur’d,

As firmly as yourself were still in place;

Yea, and perhaps with more successful words

Than you, unless you were a scholar, sir.

Gre.O! this learning, what a thing it is.

Gru.O! this woodcock, what an ass it is.

Pet.Peace, sirrah!

Hor.Grumio, mum! God save you, Signior Gremio!

Gre.And you’re well met, Signior Hortensio.

Trow you whither I am going? To Baptista Minola.

I promis’d to inquire carefully

About a schoolmaster for the fair Bianca;

And, by good fortune, I have lighted well

On this young man; for learning and behaviour

Fit for her turn; well read in poetry

And other books, good ones, I warrant ye.

Hor.’Tis well: and I have met a gentleman

Hath promis’d me to help me to another,

A fine musician to instruct our mistress:

So shall I no whit be behind in duty

To fair Bianca, so belov’d of me.

Gre.Belov’d of me, and that my deeds shall prove.

Gru.[Aside.]And that his bags shall prove.

Hor.Gremio, ’tis now no time to vent our love:

Listen to me, and if you speak me fair,

I’ll tell you news indifferent good for either.

Here is a gentleman whom by chance I met,

Upon agreement from us to his liking,

Will undertake to woo curst Katharine;

Yea, and to marry her, if her dowry please.

Gre.So said, so done, is well.

Hortensio, have you told him all her faults?

Pet.I know she is an irksome, brawling scold:

If that be all, masters, I hear no harm.

Gre.No, sayst me so, friend? What countryman?

Pet.Born in Verona, old Antonio’s son:

My father dead, my fortune lives for me;

And I do hope good days and long to see.

Gre.O, sir, such a life, with such a wife, were strange!

But if you have a stomach, to ’t i’ God’s name:

You shall have me assisting you in all.

But will you woo this wild-cat?

Pet.Will I live?

Gru.Will he woo her? ay, or I’ll hang her.

Pet.Why came I hither but to that intent?

Think you a little din can daunt mine ears?

Have I not in my time heard lions roar?

Have I not heard the sea, puff’d up with winds,

Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?

Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,

And heaven’s artillery thunder in the skies?

Have I not in a pitched battle heard

Loud ’larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets’ clang?

And do you tell me of a woman’s tongue,

That gives not half so great a blow to hear

As will a chestnut in a farmer’s fire?

Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs.

Gru.[Aside.]For he fears none.

Gre.Hortensio, hark:

This gentleman is happily arriv’d,

My mind presumes, for his own good and ours.

Hor.I promis’d we would be contributors,

And bear his charge of wooing, whatsoe’er.

Gre.And so we will, provided that he win her.

Gru.[Aside.]I would I were as sure of a good dinner.

Enter TRANIO, bravely apparelled; and BIONDELLO.

Tra.Gentlemen, God save you! If I may be bold,

Tell me, I beseech you, which is the readiest way

To the house of Signior Baptista Minola?

Bion.He that has the two fair daughters: is ’t he you mean?

Tra.Even he, Biondello!

Gre.Hark you, sir; you mean not her to—

Tra.Perhaps, him and her, sir: what have you to do?

Pet.Not her that chides, sir, at any hand, I pray.

Tra.I love no chiders, sir. Biondello, let’s away.

Luc.[Aside.]Well begun, Tranio.

Hor.Sir, a word ere you go:

Are you a suitor to the maid you talk of, yea or no?

Tra.And if I be, sir, is it any offence?

Gre.No; if without more words you will get you hence.

Tra.Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free

For me as for you?

Gre.But so is not she.

Tra.For what reason, I beseech you?

Gre.For this reason, if you’ll know,

That she’s the choice love of Signior Gremio.

Hor.That she’s the chosen of Signior Hortensio.

Tra.Softly, my masters! if you be gentlemen,

Do me this right; hear me with patience.

Baptista is a noble gentleman,

To whom my father is not all unknown;

And were his daughter fairer than she is,

She may more suitors have, and me for one.

Fair Leda’s daughter had a thousand wooers;

Then well one more may fair Bianca have,

And so she shall; Lucentio shall make one,

Though Paris came in hope to speed alone.

Gre.What! this gentleman will out-talk us all.

Luc.Sir, give him head: I know he’ll prove a jade.

Pet.Hortensio, to what end are all these words?

Hor.Sir, let me be so bold as ask you,

Did you yet ever see Baptista’s daughter?

Tra.No, sir; but hear I do that he hath two,

The one as famous for a scolding tongue

As is the other for beauteous modesty.

Pet.Sir, sir, the first’s for me; let her go by.

Gre.Yea, leave that labour to great Hercules,

And let it be more than Alcides’ twelve.

Pet.Sir, understand you this of me in sooth:

The youngest daughter, whom you hearken for,

Her father keeps from all access of suitors,

And will not promise her to any man

Until the elder sister first be wed;

The younger then is free, and not before.

Tra.If it be so, sir, that you are the man

Must stead us all, and me among the rest;

And if you break the ice, and do this feat,

Achieve the elder, set the younger free

For our access, whose hap shall be to have her

Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.

Hor.Sir, you say well, and well you do conceive;

And since you do profess to be a suitor,

You must, as we do, gratify this gentleman,

To whom we all rest generally beholding.

Tra.Sir, I shall not be slack: in sign whereof,

Please ye we may contrive this afternoon,

And quaff carouses to our mistress’ health,

And do as adversaries do in law,

Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.

Gru., Bion.O excellent motion! Fellows, let’s be gone.

Hor.The motion’s good indeed, and be it so:—

Petruchio, I shall be your ben venuto.[Exeunt.