The Taming of the Shrew eText - Act I

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Act I

Scene 1

[Padua. A public place.]

Flourish. Enter Lucentio, and his man Tranio

Enter Baptista with his two daughters Katherine & Bianca, Gremio, a pantaloon, Hortensio, suitor to Bianca.

Exit

Exit

Exeunt [Gremio and Hortensio]

Manet Tranio and Lucentio.

Exeunt

The Presenters above speak.

They sit and mark.

LUC:
Tranio, since for the great desire I had
To see fair Padua, nursery of arts,
I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy,
The pleasant garden of great Italy;
And by my father's love and leave am arm'd(5)
With his good will and thy good company,
My trusty servant, well approved in all,
Here let us breathe and haply institute
A course of learning and ingenious studies.
Pisa renown'd for grave citizens(10)
Gave me my being and my father first,
A merchant of great traffic through the world,
Vincentio come of Bentivolii.
Vincentio's son, brought up in Florence,
It shall become to serve all hopes conceived,(15)
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 achieved.(20)
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 perdonato, gentle master mine,(25)
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,(30)
Let's be no stoics nor no stocks, I pray;
Or so devote to Aristotle's cheques
As Ovid be an outcast quite abjured:
Balk logic with acquaintance that you have
And practise rhetoric in your common talk;(35)
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.(40)
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.(45)
But stay a while: what company is this?
TRA:
Master, some show to welcome us to town.
BAP:
Gentlemen, importune me no farther,
For how I firmly am resolved you know;
That is, not bestow my youngest daughter(50)
Before I have a husband for the elder:
If either of you both love Katherina,
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.(55)
There, there, Hortensio, will you any wife?

[Aside]

KAT:
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.(60)
KAT:
I'faith, sir, you shall never need to fear:
Iwis 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.(65)
HOR:
From all such devils, good Lord deliver us!
GRE:
And me too, good Lord!
TRA:
Hush, master! here's some good pastime toward:
That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward.
LUC:
But in the other's silence do I see(70)
Maid's mild behavior 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:(75)
And let it not displease thee, good Bianca,
For I will love thee ne'er the less, my girl.
KAT:
A pretty peat! it is best
Put finger in the eye, an she knew why.
BIA:
Sister, content you in my discontent.(80)
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 may'st hear Minerva speak.
HOR:
Signior Baptista, will you be so strange?(85)
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?(90)
BAP:
Gentlemen, content ye; I am resolved:
Go in, Bianca:
And for I know she taketh most delight
In music, instruments and poetry,
Schoolmasters will I keep within my house,(95)
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.(100)
And so farewell. Katherina, you may stay;
For I have more to commune with Bianca.

[Exit]

KAT:
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?(105)
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(110)
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(115)
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.(120)
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 mar-
ried to hell?(125)
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(130)
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(135)
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(140)
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.
TRA:
I pray, sir, tell me, is it possible
That love should of a sudden take such hold?(145)
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,(150)
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;(155)
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.’(160)
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,(165)
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(170)
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.(175)
I pray, awake, sir: if you love the maid,
Bend thoughts and wits to achieve her. Thus it stands:
Her eldest sister is so curst and shrewd
That till the father rid his hands of her,
Master, your love must live a maid at home;(180)
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 advised, he took some care
To get her cunning schoolmasters to instruct her?(185)
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.(190)
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,(195)
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,(200)
Nor can we lie 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,(205)
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.(210)
TRA:
So had you need.
In brief, sir, sith it your pleasure is,
And I am tied to be obedient;
For so your father charged me at our parting,
‘Be serviceable to my son,’ quoth he,(215)
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(220)
Whose sudden sight hath thrall'd my wounded eye.
Here comes the rogue.
Sirrah, where have you been?

Enter Biondello.

BIO:
Where have I been! Nay, how now! where are you?
Master, has my fellow Tranio stolen your clothes? Or you(225)
stolen 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,(230)
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:(235)
You understand me?
BIO:
I, sir! ne'er a whit.
LUC:
And not a jot of Tranio in your mouth:
Tranio is changed into Lucentio.
BIO:
The better for him: would I were so too!(240)
TRA:
So could 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:(245)
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 exe-
cute, to make one among these wooers: if thou ask me
why sufficeth my reasons are both good and weighty.(250)
1ST SER:
My lord, you nod; you do not mind the play.
SLY:
Yes, by Saint Anne, do I. A good matter, surely: comes
there any more of it?
PAG:
My lord, 'tis but begun.
SLY:
'Tis a very excellent piece of work, madam lady: would(255)
'twere done!

Scene 2

[Padua. Before Hortensio's house.]

Enter Petruchio and his man Grumio.

He wrings him by the ears.

Enter Hortensio.

Enter Tranio brave, and Biondello.

Exeunt.

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.(5)
GRU:
Knock, sir! whom should I knock? is there 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?(10)
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?(15)
Faith, sirrah, an you'll not knock, I'll ring it;
I'll try how you can Sol, Fa, and sing it.
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(20)
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 signor(25)
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 case for me to leave his service, look
you, sir, he bid me knock him and rap him soundly, sir:(30)
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,(35)
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(40)
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.(45)
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 farther than at home
Where small experience grows. But in a few,(50)
Signior Hortensio, thus it stands with me:
Antonio, my father, is deceased;
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,(55)
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'ldst thank me but a little for my counsel:
And yet I'll promise thee she shall be rich(60)
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,(65)
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,(70)
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:(75)
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.(80)
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:(85)
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.(90)
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,(95)
An affable and courteous gentleman:
Her name is Katherina 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.(100)
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'(105)
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(110)
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:(115)
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,(120)
For those defects I have before rehearsed,
That ever Katherina will be woo'd;
Therefore this order hath Baptista ta'en,
That none shall have access unto Bianca
Till Katherine the curst have got a husband.(125)
GRU:
Katherine the curst!
A title for a maid of all titles the worst.
HOR:
Now shall my friend Petruchio do me grace,
And offer me disguised in sober robes
To old Baptista as a schoolmaster(130)
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(135)
the young folks lay their heads together!
Master, master, look about you: who goes there, ha?

Enter Gremio and Lucentio, disguised [as Cambio]

HOR:
Peace, Grumio! it is the rival of my love.
Petruchio, stand by a while.
GRU:
A proper stripling and an amorous!(140)
GRE:
O, very well; I have perused 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(145)
Signior Baptista's liberality,
I'll mend it with a largess. Take your paper too,
And let me have them very well perfumed
For she is sweeter than perfume itself
To whom they go to. What will you read to her?(150)
LUC:
Whate'er I read to her, I'll plead for you
As for my patron, stand you so assured,
As firmly as yourself were still in place:
Yea, and perhaps with more successful words
Than you, unless you were a scholar, sir.(155)
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 are well met, Signior Hortensio.(160)
Trow you whither I am going? To Baptista Minola.
I promised 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 behavior(165)
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 promised me to help me to another,
A fine musician to instruct our mistress;(170)
So shall I no whit be behind in duty
To fair Bianca, so beloved of me.
GRE:
Beloved of me; and that my deeds shall prove.
GRU:
And that his bags shall prove.
HOR:
Gremio, 'tis now no time to vent our love:(175)
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 Katherina,(180)
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.(185)
GRE:
No, say'st 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!(190)
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.(195)
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?(200)
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,(205)
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:
For he fears none.
GRE:
Hortensio, hark:(210)
This gentleman is happily arrived,
My mind presumes, for his own good and ours.
HOR:
I promised we would be contributors
And bear his charge of wooing, whatsoe'er.
GRE:
And so we will, provided that he win her.(215)
GRU:
I would I were as sure of a good dinner.
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?
BIO:
He that has the two fair daughters: is't he you mean?(220)
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.(225)
LUC:
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.(230)
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,(235)
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,(240)
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:(245)
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?(250)
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.(255)
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(260)
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(265)
Must stead us all and me amongst 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.(270)
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,(275)
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, BIO:
O excellent motion! Fellows, let's be gone.(280)
HOR:
The motion's good indeed and be it so,
Petruchio, I shall be your ben venuto.