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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 intolerably 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,
Renowned 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 humor 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 rehearsed,)
That ever Katharina will be wooed ;
Therefore this order bath 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, disguised 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.
Enter GREMIO; with him LUCENTIO, disguised, with books
under his arm. Gru. Here's no knavery! See, to beguile the old folks, now the young folks lay their heads together! 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 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
Seignior Baptista's liberality,
I'll mend it with a largess. Take your papers too,
And let me have them very well perfumed;
For she is sweeter than perfume itself,
To whom they go. 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 assured,)
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, seignior Gremio!
Gre. And you're well met, seignior Hortensio. Trow you
Whither I am going ?- To Baptista Minola.
I promised to inquire carefully
About a schoolmaster for fair Bianca;
And, by good fortune, I have lighted well
On this young man; for learning and behavior,
Fit for her turn; well read in poetry
And other books, - good ones, I warrant you.
Hor. 'Tis well; and I have met a gentleman,
Hath promised 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 beloved of me.
Gre. Beloved of me, - and that
deeds shall prove. Gru. 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! 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 : But, if you have a stomach, to't, o' 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. [Aside. 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, puffed 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 the ear, As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire ? Tush! tush! fear boys with bugs. Gru.
For he fears none. [Aside. Gre. Hortensio, hark ! This gentleman is happily arrived, My mind presumes, for his own good, and yours.
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.
Gru. 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 seignior Baptista Minola?
Bion. He that has the two fair daughters ; – is't [Aside to TRANIO.] 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. Well begun, Tranio.
[Aside. Hor. Sir, a word ere you go. — Are you a suitor to the maid you talk of, yea or no?
Tra. An if I be, sir, is it any offence?
Gre. No; if, without more words, you will get you
Tra. Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free
For me as for you?
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 seignior Gremio.
Hor. That she's the chosen of seignior 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 labor 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;
An 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 do you conceive;
And since you do profess to be a suitor,
You must, as we do, gratify this gentleman,
To whom we all rest generally beholden,
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.
Gre. Bion. O excellent motion! Fellows, let's begone.
Hor. The motion's good indeed, and be it so ;Petruchio, I shall be your ben venuto. [Exeunt.
A Room in Baptista's House.
Enter KATHARINA and BIANCA. Bian. Good sister, wrong me not, nor wrong yourself, To make a bondmaid and a slave of me; That I disdain : but for these other gawds, Unbind my hands, I'll pull them off myself, Yea, all my raiment, to my petticoat; Or, what you will command me, will I do, So well I know my duty to my elders.
Kath. Of all thy suitors, here I charge thee, tell
Whom thou lov'st best. See thou dissemble not.
Bian. Believe me, sister, of all the men alive,
I never yet beheld that special face
Which I could fancy more than any other.