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TAMING OF THE SHREW.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE.
WARBURTON and Farmer have questioned the authenticity of this play; one declaring it to be certainly spuri, ous, and the other supposing that Shakspeare merely adapted it to the stage, with certain additions and cor rections. Malone, however, upon very satisfactory grounds, ranks it among the earliest efforts of Shakspeare's muse; as it abounds with the doggrel measure so common in the old comedies immediately preceding the time at which he commenced writing for the stage; and with a tiresome play upon words, which he took occasion to condemn in one of his subsequent comedies. The year 1549 is the probable date of its production. Yet Steevens discovers the hand of Shakspeare in almost every scene; and Johnson considers the whole play very popular, sprightly, and diverting. "The two plots (says the learned Doctor) are so well united, that they can hardly be called two, without injury to the art with which they are interwoven." That part of the story which suggests the title of the play, is probably a work of invention. The under-plot, which comprises the love-scenes of Lucentio, the pleasing incident of the pedant, with the characters of Vincentio, Tranio, Gremio and Biondello, is taken from a comedy of George Gascoigne's (an author of considerable popularity) called Supposes, translated from Ariosto's I Suppositi, and acted in 1566, by the gentlemen of Grey's Inn. The singular Induction to this piece is taken from Goulart's "Histories admirables de notre temps," in which its leading circumstance is related as a real fact, practised upon a mean artisan at Brussels, by Philip the Good duke of Burgundy. The Taming of the Shrew condensed within the compass of a modern after-piece invariably elicits considerable mirth; for the respective parts of Katharina and Petruchio are exceedingly spirited, ludicrous, and diverting. But, in its present form, many of the scenes are unpardonably tedious, and many of the incidents perplexingly involved. To those who look for "sermons in stones, and good in every thing," we cannot exactly point out the moral of this domestic occurrence; since the successful issue of Petruchio's experiment in one solitary instance, will scarcely warrant its practical repetition in any of the numerous cases which seem to call for a similar remedy.
SCENE, sometimes in Padua ; and sometimes in Petruchio's House in the Country.
CHARACTERS IN THE INDUCTION
To the original Play of The Taming of a Shrew, entered on the Stationers' Books in 1504, and printed in quarto, in 1607.
A LORD, &c.
Page, Players, Huntsmen, &c.
ALPHONSUS, a merchant of Athens.
JEROBEL, Duke of Cestus.
AURELIUS, his Son,
rando and Alphonsus.
Suitors to the Daughters Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants to Fe of Alphonsus.
SCENE, Athens; and sometimes Ferando's Country House.
And say, -Will't please your lordship ceol your hands?
SCENE 1.-Before an Alehouse on a Heath. Some one be ready with a costly suit,
Enter HOSTESS and SLY.
Sly. I'll pheese you, in faith. Host. A pair of stocks, you rogue! Sly. Y'are a baggage; the Slies are no rogues: Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris; † let the world slide: Sessa!‡
Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst? §
Sly. No, not a denier: Go by, says Jeronimy ; -Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
Host. I know my remedy, I must go fetch the thirdborough. T [Exit. Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law; I'll not budge an inch, boy; let him come, and kindly.
[Lies down on the ground and falls asleep. Wind horns. Enter a LORD from hunting, with huntsmen and servants. Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds: Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd,tt And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd
Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
Lord. Thou art a fool; if Echo were as fleet,
1 Hun. I will, my lord.
Lord. What's here? one dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe?
2 Hun. He breathes, my lord: Were he not warm'd with ale,
This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.
A most delicious banquet by his bed,
Aud ask him what apparel he will wear;
1 Hun. My lord, I warraut you, we'll play
As he shall think, by our true diligence,
And each one to his office, when he wakes.—
How now? Who is it?
Lord. 'Tis very true;-thou didst it excellent.
Well, you are come to me in happy time;
Were he the veriest antick in the world.
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery, And give them friendly welcome every one: Let them want nothing that my house affords. [Exeunt SERVANT and PLAYERS. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page, [To a SERVANT. Aud see him dress'd in all suits like a lady: That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber,
And call him-madam, do bim obeisance,-
Wherein your lady, and your humble wife,
And then-with kind embracements, tempting, On purpose trimm'd up for Semiramis.
And with declining head into his bosom,
When they do homage to this simple peasant.
A Bedchamber in the LORD's House. SLY is discovered in a rich night gown, with attendants; some with apparel, others with bason, ewer, and other appurtenances. Iiter LORD, dressed like a Servant. Sly. For God's sake a pot of small ale. 1 Serv. Will't please your lordship driuk a cup of sack ?
2 Serv. Will't please your honour taste of these conserves ?
3 Serv. What raiment will your honour wear to-day?
Say, thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground; Or wilt thou ride? thy horses shall be trapp'd, Their harness studded all with gold and pearl. Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks will
Above the morning lark: Or wilt thou hunt? Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them, And fetch shrill echoes from the bollow earth. 1 Serv. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift
As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.
Adonis, painted by a running brook:
3 Serv. Or Daphne, roaming through a thorny wood; Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds:
And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
1 Serv. And, till the tears that she hath shed for thee, Like envious floods, o'er-ran her lovely face, She was the fairest creature in the world; And yet she is inferior to none.
Sly. Am I a lord? and bave I such a lady! Or do I dream? or have I dream'd till now? I do not sleep I see, I hear, I speak; I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things :Upon my life, I am a lord, indeed; And not a tinker, nor Christophero Sly.Well, bring our lady hither to our sight; And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale. 2 Serv. Will't please your mightiness to wash your bands?
Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not mehonour, nor lordship: I never drank sack in my life; and if you give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef: Ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear; for I have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay, sometimes, more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the over-Oh! leather.
Lord. Heaven cease this idle humour in your
Oh! that a mighty man, of such descent,
[SERVANTS present an ewer, basin, and napkin.
Oh! how we joy to see your wit restor❜d!
that once more you knew but what you
These fifteen years you have been in a dream; Or, when you wak'd, so wak'd as if you slept. Sly. These fifteen years, by my fay, a goodly nap.
But did I never speak of all that time?
And rail upon the hostess of the house;
Sly. What, would you make me mad? Am 1 Serv. O yes, my lord; but very idle words :not I Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton- For though you lay here in this goodly chamber, beath; by birth a pedlar, by education a card-Yet would you say, ye were beaten out of door; maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught:+ Here's--
1 Serv. Oh! this it is, that
makes your lady 2 Serv. Oh! this it is that makes your servants droop.
Lord. Hence comes it that your kindred shun your house,
As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams:
and twenty caged nightingales do sing: Or wilt thou sleep? we'll have thee to a couch, Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket. Sly. Ay, the woman's maid of the house. 3 Serv. Why, Sir, you know no house, nor no such maid; Nor no such men, as you have reckon'd up,As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps of Greece, And Peter Turf, and Henry Pimpernell ; And twenty more such names and men as these, Which never were, nor no man ever saw. Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!