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Bian. The more fool you, for laying on my duty. Pet. Katharine, I charge thee, tell these head
strong women What duty they do owe their lords and husbands. Wid. Come, come, you're mocking; we will
have no telling Pet. Come on, I say ; and first begin with her. Wid. She shall not. Pet. I say, she shall;~and first begin with her. Kath. Fye, fye! unknit that threat'ning unkind
brow; And dart not scornful glances from those eyes, To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor : It blots thy beauty, as frosts do bite the meads : ; Confounds thy fame, as whirlwinds shake fair buds; And in no sense is meet, or amiable. A woman mov'd, is like a fountain troubled, Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty; And, while it is so, none so dry or thirsty Will deign to sip, or touch one drop of it. Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance : commits his body To painful labour, both by sea and land; To watch the night in storms, the day in cold, While thou liest warm at home, secure and safe ; And craves no other tribute at thy hands, But love, fair looks, and true obedience ;Too little payment for so great a debt. Such duty as the subject owes the prince, Even such, a woman oweth to her husband : And, when she's froward, peevish, sullen, sour, And not obedient to his honest will, What is she, but a foul contending rebel, And graceless traitor to her loving lord ?
- as frosts do bite the meads :) Thus the old copy. The second folio, and the modern editors, omit the word do. Boswell.
I am asham'd, that women are so simple
I see our lances are but straws;
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot;
kiss me, Kate.
ha't. Vin. 'Tis a good hearing, when children are to
ward. Luc. But a harsh hearing, when women are fro
4 -- our soft CONDITIONS,] The gentle qualities of our minds.
MALONE. So, in King Henry V.: “my tongue is rough, coz, and my condition is not smooth.” STEEVENS.
5 - which we least are.] The old copy erroneously prolongs this line by reading—which we indeed least are. STEEVENS.
6 Then vail your stomachs,] i. e. abate your pride, your spirit. So, in King Henry IV. P. I. :
“'Gan vail his stomach, and did grace the shame
Per. Come, Kate, we'll to bed : We three are married, but you two are sped ?. 'Twas I won the wager, though you hit the white®;
[TO LUCENTIO. And, being a winner, God give you good night!
[Exeunt Perruchio and Kath. Hor. Now go thy ways, thou hast tam'd a curst
shrew Luc. 'Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tam'd so.
you two ARE SPED.] i. e. the fate of you both is decided; for you have wives who exhibit early proofs of disobedience.
Steevens. though you hit the white;] To “hit the white ” is a phrase borrowed from archery: the mark was commonly white. Here it alludes to the name, Bianca, or white. Johnson.
So, in Feltham's Answer to Ben Jonson's Ode at the end of his New Inn :
“ As oft you've wanted brains
have levellid right."
“ And as an expert archer hits the white." Malone.
- shrew.) I suppose our author design'd this word to be sounded as if it had been written-shrow. Thus, in Mr. Lodge's Illustrations of English History, vol. ii. p. 164, Burghley calls Lord Shrewsbury-Shrowsbury. See, also, the same work, vol. ii. p. 168–9. STEEVENS.
Exeunt.] At the conclusion of this piece, Mr. Pope continued his insertions from the old play, as follows: “ Enter two Servants, bearing Sly in his own apparel, and leav
ing him on the stage. Then enter a Tapster. Sly. [awaking,] Sim, give's some more wine. What, all the players gone? Am I not a lord ? “Tap. A lord, with a murrain ?-Come, art thou drunk still ?
Sly. Who's this ? Tapster !-Oh, I have had the bravest dream that ever thou heard'st in all thy life.
· Tap. Yea, marry, but thou hadst best get thee home, for your wife will curse you for dreaming here all night.
Sly. Will she?' I know how to tame a shrew. I dreamt upon it all this night, and thou hast wak'd me out of the best dream
that ever I had, But I'll to my wife, and tame her too, if she
These passages, which have hitherto been printed as part of the work of Shakspeare, I have sunk into the notes, that they may be preserved, as they seem to be necessary to the integrity of the piece, though they really compose no part of it, being not published in the folio 1623. Mr. Pope, however, has quoted them with a degree of inaccuracy which would have deserved censure, had they been of greater consequence than they are. The players delivered down this comedy, among the rest, as one of Shakspeare's own; and its intrinsic merit bears sufficient evidence to the propriety of their decision.
May I add a few reasons why I neither believe the former comedy of The Taming of the Shrew, 1607, nor the old play of King John, in two Parts, to have been the work of Shakspeare ? He generally followed every novel or history from whence he took his plots, as closely as he could ; and is so often indebted to these originals for his very thoughts and expressions, that we may fairly pronounce him not to have been above borrowing, to spare himself the labour of invention. It is therefore probable, that both these plays, (like that of King Henry V. in which Oldcastle is introduced,) were the unsuccessful performances of contemporary players. Shakspeare saw they were meanly written, and yet that their plans were such as would furnish incidents for a better dramatist. He therefore might lazily adopt the order of their scenes, still writing the dialogue anew, and inserting little more from either piece, than a few lines which he might think worth preserving, or was too much in haste to alter. It is no uncommon thing in the literary world, to see the track of others followed by those who would never have given themselves the trouble to mark out one of their own. STEEVENS.
It is almost unnecessary to vindicate Shakspeare from being the author of the old Taming of a Shrew. Mr. Pope, in consequence of his being very superficially acquainted with the phraseology of our early writers, first ascribed it to him, and on his authority this strange opinion obtained credit for half a century. He might, with just as much propriety, have supposed that our author wrote the old King Henry IV. and V. and The History of King Lier and his Three Daughters, as that he wrote two plays on the subject of Taming a Shrew, and two others on the story of King John.-The error prevailed for such a length of time, from the difficulty of meeting with the piece, which is so extremely scarce, that one of our author's editors [Mr. Capell] searched for it for thirty years in vain. Four copies, however, are now known to exist. My own, and that which was in Mr. Steevens's collection, were printed in 1607; but the first edition of 1596 was in the library of the Duke of Roxburghe, and another, of the same date, is in the possession of the Marquis of Stafford. Mr. Pope's copy is supposed to be irrecoverably lost.
I suspect that the anonymous Taming of a Shrew was written about the year 1590, either by George Peele or Robert Greene.
The following are the observations of Dr. Hurd on the Induction to this comedy. They are taken from his Notes on the Epistle to Augustus : “ The Induction, as Shakspeare calls it, to The Taming of the Shrew, deserves, for the excellence of its moral design and beauty of execution, throughout, to be set in a just light.
“ This Prologue sets before us the picture of a poor drunken beggar, advanced, for a short season, into the proud rank of nobility. And the humour of the scene is taken to consist in the surprize and aukward deportment of Sly, in this his strange and unwonted situation. But the poet had a further design, and more worthy his genius, than this farcical pleasantry. He would expose, under cover of this mimic fiction, the truly ridiculous figure of men of rank and quality, when they employ their great advantages of place and fortune, to no better purposes, than the soft and selfish gratification of their own intemperate passions : Of those, who take the mighty privilege of descent and wealth to live in the freer indulgence of those pleasures, which the beggar as fully enjoys, and with infinitely more propriety and consistency of character, than their lordships.
“ To give a poignancy to his satire, the poet makes a man of quality himself
, just returned from the chace, with all his mind intent upon his pleasures, contrive this metamorphosis of the beggar, in the way of sport and derision only; not considering, how severely the jest was going to turn upon himself. His first reflections, on seeing this brutal drunkard, are excellent :
0! monstrous beast! how like a swine he lies !
• Grim death ! how foul and loathsome is thy image!' “ The offence is taken at human nature, degraded into bestiality; and at the state of stupid insensibility, the image of death. Nothing can be juster than this representation. For these lordly sensualists have a very nice and fastidious abhorrence of such ignoble brutality. And what alarms their fears with the prospect of death, cannot choose but present a foul and loathsome image. It is, also, said in perfect consistency with the true Epicurean character, as given by these, who understood it best, and which is here sustained by this noble disciple. For, though these great masters of wisdom made pleasure the supreme good, yet they were among
the first, as we are told, to cry out against the Asotos ; meaning such gross sensualists : qui in mensam vomunt et qui de conviviis auferuntur, crudique postridie se rursus ingurgitant.'