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

Act III. Scene II.

The Taming of the Shrew

The Same.Before BAPTISTA’S House.


Bap.[To TRANIO.]Signior Lucentio, this is the ’pointed day

That Katharine and Petruchio should be married,

And yet we hear not of our son-in-law.

What will be said? what mockery will it be

To want the bridegroom when the priest attends

To speak the ceremonial rites of marriage!

What says Lucentio to this shame of ours?

Kath.No shame but mine: I must, forsooth, be forc’d

To give my hand oppos’d against my heart

Unto a mad-brain rudesby, full of spleen;

Who woo’d in haste and means to wed at leisure.

I told you, I, he was a frantic fool,

Hiding his bitter jests in blunt behaviour;

And to be noted for a merry man,

He’ll woo a thousand, ’point the day of marriage,

Make friends invite, and proclaim the banns;

Yet never means to wed where he hath woo’d.

Now must the world point at poor Katharine,

And say, ‘Lo! there is mad Petruchio’s wife,

If it would please him come and marry her.’

Tra.Patience, good Katharine, and Baptista too.

Upon my life, Petruchio means but well,

Whatever fortune stays him from his word:

Though he be blunt, I know him passing wise;

Though he be merry, yet withal he’s honest.

Kath.Would Katharine had never seen him though![Exit weeping, followed by BIANCA and others.

Bap.Go, girl: I cannot blame thee now to weep,

For such an injury would vex a very saint,

Much more a shrew of thy impatient humour.


Bion.Master, master! news! old news, and such news as you never heard of!

Bap.Is it new and old too? how may that be?

Bion.Why, is it not news to hear of Petruchio’s coming?

Bap.Is he come?

Bion.Why, no, sir.

Bap.What then?

Bion.He is coming.

Bap.When will he be here?

Bion.When he stands where I am and sees you there.

Tra.But, say, what to thine old news?

Bion.Why, Petruchio is coming, in a new hat and an old jerkin; a pair of old breeches thrice turned; a pair of boots that have been candle-cases, one buckled, another laced; an old rusty sword ta’en out of the town-armoury, with a broken hilt, and chapeless; with two broken points: his horse hipped with an old mothy saddle and stirrups of no kindred; besides, possessed with the glanders and like to mose in the chine; troubled with the lampass, infected with the fashions, full of windgalls, sped with spavins, rayed with the yellows, past cure of the fives, stark spoiled with the staggers, begnawn with the bots, swayed in the back, and shoulder-shotten; near-legged before, and with a half-checked bit, and a head-stall of sheep’s leather, which, being restrained to keep him from stumbling, hath been often burst and now repaired with knots; one girth six times pieced, and a woman’s crupper of velure, which hath two letters for her name fairly set down in studs, and here and there pieced with packthread.

Bap.Who comes with him?

Bion.O, sir! his lackey, for all the world caparisoned like the horse; with a linen stock on one leg and a kersey boot-hose on the other, gartered with a red and blue list; an old hat, and the ‘humour of forty fancies’ pricked in ’t for a feather: a monster, a very monster in apparel, and not like a Christian footboy or a gentleman’s lackey.

Tra.’Tis some odd humour pricks him to this fashion;

Yet oftentimes he goes but mean-apparell’d.

Bap.I am glad he is come, howsoe’er he comes.

Bion.Why, sir, he comes not.

Bap.Didst thou not say he comes?

Bion.Who? that Petruchio came?

Bap.Ay, that Petruchio came.

Bion.No, sir; I say his horse comes, with him on his back.

Bap.Why, that’s all one.

Bion.Nay, by Saint Jamy,

I hold you a penny,

A horse and a man

Is more than one,

And yet not many.


Pet.Come, where be these gallants? who is at home?

Bap.You are welcome, sir.

Pet.And yet I come not well.

Bap.And yet you halt not.

Tra.Not so well apparell’d

As I wish you were.

Pet.Were it better, I should rush in thus.

But where is Kate? where is my lovely bride?

How does my father? Gentles, methinks you frown:

And wherefore gaze this goodly company,

As if they saw some wondrous monument,

Some comet, or unusual prodigy?

Bap.Why, sir, you know this is your wedding-day:

First were we sad, fearing you would not come;

Now sadder, that you come so unprovided.

Fie! doff this habit, shame to your estate,

An eye-sore to our solemn festival.

Tra.And tell us what occasion of import

Hath all so long detain’d you from your wife,

And sent you hither so unlike yourself?

Pet.Tedious it were to tell, and harsh to hear:

Sufficeth, I am come to keep my word,

Though in some part enforced to digress;

Which, at more leisure, I will so excuse

As you shall well be satisfied withal.

But where is Kate? I stay too long from her:

The morning wears, ’tis time we were at church.

Tra.See not your bride in these unreverent robes:

Go to my chamber; put on clothes of mine.

Pet.Not I, believe me: thus I’ll visit her.

Bap.But thus, I trust, you will not marry her.

Pet.Good sooth, even thus; therefore ha’ done with words:

To me she’s married, not unto my clothes.

Could I repair what she will wear in me

As I can change these poor accoutrements,

’Twere well for Kate and better for myself.

But what a fool am I to chat with you

When I should bid good morrow to my bride,

And seal the title with a lovely kiss![Exeunt PETRUCHIO, GRUMIO, and BIONDELLO.

Tra.He hath some meaning in his mad attire.

We will persuade him, be it possible,

To put on better ere he go to church.

Bap.I’ll after him, and see the event of this.[Exeunt BAPTISTA, GREMIO, and Attendants.

Tra.But to her love concerneth us to add

Her father’s liking: which to bring to pass,

As I before imparted to your worship,

I am to get a man,—whate’er he be

It skills not much, we’ll fit him to our turn,—

And he shall be Vincentio of Pisa,

And make assurance here in Padua,

Of greater sums than I have promised.

So shall you quietly enjoy your hope,

And marry sweet Bianca with consent.

Luc.Were it not that my fellow school-master

Doth watch Bianca’s steps so narrowly,

’Twere good, methinks, to steal our marriage;

Which once perform’d, let all the world say no,

I’ll keep mine own, despite of all the world.

Tra.That by degrees we mean to look into,

And watch our vantage in this business.

We’ll over-reach the greybeard, Gremio,

The narrow-prying father, Minola,

The quaint musician, amorous Licio;

All for my master’s sake, Lucentio.

Re-enter GREMIO.

Signior Gremio, came you from the church?

Gre.As willingly as e’er I came from school.

Tra.And is the bride and bridegroom coming home?

Gre.A bridegroom say you? ’Tis a groom indeed,

A grumbling groom, and that the girl shall find.

Tra.Curster than she? why, ’tis impossible.

Gre.Why, he’s a devil, a devil, a very fiend.

Tra.Why, she’s a devil, a devil, the devil’s dam.

Gre.Tut! she’s a lamb, a dove, a fool to him.

I’ll tell you, Sir Lucentio: when the priest

Should ask, if Katharine should be his wife,

‘Ay, by gogs-wouns!’ quoth he; and swore so loud,

That, all amaz’d, the priest let fall the book;

And, as he stoop’d again to take it up,

The mad-brain’d bridegroom took him such a cuff

That down fell priest and book and book and priest:

‘Now take them up,’ quoth he, ‘if any list.’

Tra.What said the wench when he arose again?

Gre.Trembled and shook; for why he stampt and swore,

As if the vicar meant to cozen him.

But after many ceremonies done,

He calls for wine: ‘A health!’ quoth he; as if

He had been aboard, carousing to his mates

After a storm; quaff’d off the muscadel,

And threw the sops all in the sexton’s face;

Having no other reason

But that his beard grew thin and hungerly,

And seem’d to ask him sops as he was drinking.

This done, he took the bride about the neck,

And kiss’d her lips with such a clamorous smack

That at the parting all the church did echo:

And I, seeing this, came thence for very shame;

And after me, I know, the rout is coming.

Such a mad marriage never was before.

Hark, hark! I hear the minstrels play.[Music.


Pet.Gentlemen and friends, I thank you for your pains:

I know you think to dine with me to-day,

And have prepar’d great store of wedding cheer;

But so it is, my haste doth call me hence,

And therefore here I mean to take my leave.

Bap.Is ’t possible you will away to-night?

Pet.I must away to-day, before night come.

Make it no wonder: if you knew my business,

You would entreat me rather go than stay.

And, honest company, I thank you all,

That have beheld me give away myself

To this most patient, sweet, and virtuous wife.

Dine with my father, drink a health to me,

For I must hence; and farewell to you all.

Tra.Let us entreat you stay till after dinner.

Pet.It may not be.

Gre.Let me entreat you.

Pet.It cannot be.

Kath.Let me entreat you.

Pet.I am content.

Kath.Are you content to stay?

Pet.I am content you shall entreat me stay,

But yet not stay, entreat me how you can.

Kath.Now, if you love me, stay.

Pet.Grumio, my horse!

Gru.Ay, sir, they be ready: the oats have eaten the horses.

Kath.Nay, then,

Do what thou canst, I will not go to-day;

No, nor to-morrow, nor till I please myself.

The door is open, sir, there lies your way;

You may be jogging whiles your boots are green;

For me, I’ll not be gone till I please myself.

’Tis like you’ll prove a jolly surly groom,

That take it on you at the first so roundly.

Pet.O Kate! content thee: prithee, be not angry.

Kath.I will be angry: what hast thou to do?

Father, be quiet; he shall stay my leisure.

Gre.Ay, marry, sir, now it begins to work.

Kath.Gentlemen, forward to the bridal dinner:

I see a woman may be made a fool,

If she had not a spirit to resist.

Pet.They shall go forward, Kate, at thy command.

Obey the bride, you that attend on her;

Go to the feast, revel and domineer,

Carouse full measure to her maidenhead,

Be mad and merry, or go hang yourselves:

But for my bonny Kate, she must with me.

Nay, look not big, nor stamp, nor stare, nor fret;

I will be master of what is mine own.

She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,

My household stuff, my field, my barn,

My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything;

And here she stands, touch her whoever dare;

I’ll bring mine action on the proudest he

That stops my way in Padua. Grumio,

Draw forth thy weapon, we’re beset with thieves;

Rescue thy mistress, if thou be a man.

Fear not, sweet wench; they shall not touch thee, Kate:

I’ll buckler thee against a million.[Exeunt PETRUCHIO, KATHARINA, and GRUMIO.

Bap.Nay, let them go, a couple of quiet ones.

Gre.Went they not quickly I should die with laughing.

Tra.Of all mad matches never was the like.

Luc.Mistress, what’s your opinion of your sister?

Bian.That, being mad herself, she’s madly mated.

Gre.I warrant him, Petruchio is Kated.

Bap.Neighbours and friends, though bride and bridegroom wants

For to supply the places at the table,

You know there wants no junkets at the feast.

Lucentio, you shall supply the bridegroom’s place,

And let Bianca take her sister’s room.

Tra.Shall sweet Bianca practise how to bride it?

Bap.She shall, Lucentio. Come, gentlemen, let’s go.[Exeunt.