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1. The earliest known published copy of "THE TAMING OF THE SHREW" is in the 1623 Folio, where it stands eleventh in number of the plays. There was a comedy, printed in 1594, bearing the title, "A Pleasant Conceited Historie, called The Taming of a Shrew; " but the writer is unknown. Shakespeare adopted several of the main features of this comedy, and took some particulars, suited to his purpose, from a translation, by George Gascoigne, of Ariosto's “I Suppositi;” blending the borrowed materials together in his felicitous style, and setting them forth with such touches of his own as produced the lively play of "The Taming of the Shrew." The character of Petruchio is conceived and drawn with the poet's true knowledge of what is consistent in human nature: he is coarse, unscrupulous, resolvedly fond of having his own way, and supremely attached to money. There are several curious and less evident indications of this, in addition to the more broad and prominent tokens of his avarice. Moreover, what is naturally coarse and unscrupulous in his disposition, Petruchio carries into his manner; with a dash of humour, as well as for a set object. This was the man fit for Shakespeare's dramatic purpose; this was the man to break a woman's spirit, and the man to overcrow the overbearing Katharine. She is insolent and domineering to those who will -give way to her; but she gives way to the man who will domineer over her. She despises and abuses her weak father for his partiality to his younger daughter; she tyrannises over her sister, in hatred of her demure manners and acted meekness; she violently resents the injustice with which she feels herself to be treated by all those who dislike her while they yield to her; whereas, she submits to the man who, while he thwarts, insults, starves, and hectors over her, gives her reason to imagine that he admires, and even likes her-certainly well enough to undertake the curing of her shrewishness. There is wonderful subtleness in the way whereby Shakespeare has conveyed the impression we have of Petruchio's influence over Katharine. It is not (to our minds, at least) so much in the obvious means of "taming "-the hectoring, the starving, the keeping awake, the contradicting, and the thwarting- -as in the quiet little undertouches of quite another discipline used by Petruchio, which obtains him his ascendancy over his handsome, high-spirited wife. There are certain Shakespearian vestiges-slight, veiledly shown, sparingly introduced hints-which show Katharine's con

sciousness that Petruchio has personal liking for her, and which show that he possesses personal attraction for her; and these are the real causes of her submission, while the hectoring, &c., are the apparent ones. That Shakespeare himself felt and intended this, we think we have manifest proof by the concluding line of the play-"Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tam'd SO." Yes, it would have been a wonder had the superficial means employed been the taming of her. They would merely have wrought superficial submission. But we are inclined

to believe that the influence and the submission lay deeper and more truly founded than such a man as Lucentio can fathom.

2. I'll pheese you. 'I'll tease you.' To "pheese" was used for 'vex,' 'worry,' 'torment,' 'tousle,' 'discompose;' and also for 'beat,' 'whip,' scourge,' 'chastise.' See Note 37, Act i, "Merry Wives."

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3. Richard Conqueror. Sly's blunder for 'William the Conqueror.'

4. Paucas pallabris; let the world slide: sessa! "Paucas pallabris" (a corruption of pocas palabras, 'few words') is one of those Spanish phrases that came into familiar use in England just previously to Shakespeare's time; and "sessa" (cessa, 'cease,' 'be silent,' 'be quiet') is another of them. "Let the world slide" was a proverbial phrase, tantamount to 'let things pass easily,' 'take matters quietly.'

5. Burst. Sometimes, as here, used for 'broken.'

6. Denier. An old French coin; value, the twelfth part of a sou, or halfpenny. It came to be used for expressing the lowest imaginable fraction of money.

7. Go by, Saint Jeronimy. In the Folio "Saint" is printed 'S.' The "by" before "Hieronimo" in the line of the old play, makes the drunken tinker fancy it must be an oath-‘by Saint Jerome ;' and instead of "Go by, Hieronimo," which he has heard, and thinks he is quoting, he jumbles the two together into "Go by, Saint Jeronimy." See Note 40, Act i., "Much Ado."

8. Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee. This seems to have been a proverbial phrase; we find it again in "King Lear," Act ii., sc. 4. 9. Thirdborough.

Printed in the Folio 'headborough ;'

What think you, if he were convey'd to bed, Wrapp'd in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers,

Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law: I'll not budge an inch, boy: 10 let him come, and kindly. [Lies down on the ground, and falls asleep. A most delicious banquet by his bed, And brave attendants 17 near him when he wakes,

Horns winded. Enter a Lord from bunting, with Huntsmen and Servants.

Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds:

Trash Merriman," the poor cur is emboss'd; 12 And couple Clowder with the deep - mouth'd brach.13

Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
At the hedge-corner, in the coldest fault? 14
I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.
First Hun. Why, Belman is as good as he, my

He cried upon it at the merest loss,15
And twice to-day pick'd out the dullest scent:
Trust me, I take him for the better dog.

Lord. Thou art a fool: if Echo were as fleet,
I would esteem him worth a dozen such.
But sup them well, and look unto them all:
To-morrow I intend to hunt again.
First Hun. I will, my lord.

Lord. [Sees SLY.] What's here? one dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe ?

Sec. Hun. He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,

This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly. Lord. Oh, monstrous beast! how like a swine he lies!

Grim Death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!—

Sirs, I will practise 16 on this drunken man.

which Sly's rejoinder shows to be a mistake for "thirdborough," an under-constable. See Note 26, Act i., "Love's Labour's Lost."

10. I'll not budge an inch, boy. This word "boy" is probably a drunken reminiscence, on the part of Sly, of the tapster, who makes his appearance, instead of the hostess, in the old play of "The Taming of a Shrew." There is one touch of humour here in the old version worth preserving. Sly, when he flings himself on the ground to have his tipsy sleep out, calls to the tapster-"Fill's a fresh cushion here!" This mixing up of the two ideas inspired by thirst and drowsiness is capitally characteristic.

11. Trash Merriman. This is misprinted in the Folio 'Brach Merriman;' the word "brach" at the end of the second line having probably caught the printer's eye. "Brach" was used in Shakespeare's time for a bitch-hound, while the words "Merriman" and "cur" show it to be a male dog in question. "And" at the commencement of the second line seems to demand a verb at the beginning of the first line; and various verbs were proposed-" Leech," by Sir Thomas Han"Breathe," by the Rev. J. Mitford; and "Bathe," by Johnson; but "Trash" (suggested by Mr. Dyce, adopted by Mr. Singer, and subsequently by Mr. Dyce himself, in his later edition) seems to be the word nearest to the original misprint, as well as being the most appropriate term; since Shakespeare "trash" elsewhere to signify check,' or 'stop' (see Note



Would not the beggar then forget himself? First Hun. Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose.

Sec. Hun. It would seem strange unto him when he wak'd.

Lord. Even as a flattering dream or worthless fancy.

Then take him up, and manage well the jest :-
Carry him gently to my fairest chamber,
And hang it round with all my wanton pictures:
Balm his foul head in warm distilled waters,
And burn sweet wood to make the lodging


Procure me music ready when he wakes,
To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound:
And if he chance to speak, be ready straight,
And, with a low submissive reverence,
Say,-What is it your honour will command?
Let one attend him with a silver bason
Full of rose-water, and bestrew'd with flowers;
Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,
And say,-Will't please your lordship cool your

Some one be ready with a costly suit,

And ask him what apparel he will wear;
Another tell him of his hounds and horse,
And that his lady mourns at his disease:
Persuade him that he hath been lunatic;
And, when he says he is," say that he dreams,
For he is nothing but a mighty lord.

20, Act i., "Tempest "), and here the object is to prevent the dog from over-fatiguing itself, as it is "emboss'd."

12. Emboss'd. A hunting term; applied to animals foaming at the mouth, panting for breath, and wearied out. Used in this sense, the word is probably derived from the Italian ambascia, ambastia, or ambagia; which Florio interprets "noie, grief, torment, vexation, a loathsomeness, a dismaie, a swouning or qualm ouer the stomacke: an extasie or passion of the minde, a shortnes of one's breath."

13. Brach. A name for a dog used in the chase; almost always for a bitch-hound.

14. In the coldest fault? When the scent was at the coldest, and the dogs were most at fault."

15. At the merest loss. When utterly or absolutely lost.' Shakespeare elsewhere uses "mere " and " merely " in this sense. See Note 48, Act iii., "Merchant of Venice."

16. Practise. Used for play tricks,' 'contrive devices.' 'Attendants dressed showily or 17. Brave attendants. handsomely. See Note 76, Act ii., "As You Like It." 18. And, when he says he is. This is printed in most modern editions with a dash after "is," to represent the break which the lord is supposed to make in his speech, when at a loss to supply the name of Sly, which he is not likely to know. In the Folio the passage stands thus-" And when he sayes he is," which we think is very likely to be a misprint for And when he says he's this;' meaning, this beggarly fellow here, lying sprawling at

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This do, and do it kindly,19 gentle sirs:
It will be pastime passing excellent,
If it be husbanded with modesty.20

First Hun. My lord, I warrant you, we will

play our part,

As he shall think, by our true diligence,

He is no less than what we say he is.

Lord. Take him up gently, and to bed with him;

And each one to his office when he wakes.

[SLY is borne out. A trumpet sounds. Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds:[Exit Servant. Belike, some noble gentleman," that means, Travelling some journey, to repose him here.—

Re-enter Servant.

How now! who is it?


An it please your honour,
Players that offer service to your lordship.22
Lord. Bid them come near,
Enter Players.

Now, fellows, you are welcome.
Players. We thank your honour.
Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to-

Sec. Play. So please your lordship to accept our duty.23

Lord, With all my heart,-This fellow I remember,

Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son :-
'Twas where you woo'd the gentlewoman so
well: 1

I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part
Was aptly fitted and naturally perform'd,

my feet,' whom the speaker has before called "this drunken man," and whom he afterwards calls "this simple peasant."

19. Kindly, Naturally,' 'with truth to nature,' Shakespeare often uses 'kind' and 'kindly' in this sense. See Note 8, Act iv., "Much Ado," and Note 77, Act ii., "As You Like It.” 20. Modesty. Used here for 'discretion.'

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21. Belike, some noble gentleman. It will be remembered that Bassanio's return to Belmont is preceded by sound of trumpet. See Note 25, Act v., Merchant of Venice." And not only were gentlemen, when travelling, thus announced on arrival, but it was the custom for companies of actors to make known their advent by a flourish of trumpets.

22. Offer service to your lordship. Companies of strolling players, or travelling troops, used to present themselves at the country mansions of noblemen or rich persons, and enact plays in their spacious halls or great barns.

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25. First Play. This speech has the prefix of "Sincklo" in the Folio-the name of an actor in Shakespeare's company; and probably Heminge and Condell, the editors of the 1623 Folio, preserved it here in connection with the compliment paid by

Shakespeare to their fellow-actor's skill. "Soto" is a character in Beaumont and Fletcher's play of "Women Pleased." He is a farmer's eldest son," and figures in two incidents which might give occasion to the words, "where you woo'd the gentlewoman so well." One is, where Soto appears bearing a ladder, with which his master intends scaling the window of a lady whom he admires; the other is, where Soto presents himself before the duchess to plead a knight's claim to her approval. But it is perhaps more probable that the "Soto" in the text was a character in a play anterior to Beaumont and Fletcher's "Women Pleased," which furnished them with their idea, and which anterior play is now lost.

26. Cunning. Used for skill,' 'artistic knowledge,' or 'proficiency.' From Saxon, connan, to know. 27. Modesties. 'Powers of discretion.'

28. Passion. Sometimes used for 'fit,' 'mood,' or 'emotion :' either grave or gay,

29. Contain ourselves. 'Retain our laughter;' restrain the betrayal of our mirth.' See Note 36, Act v., "Merchant of Venice."

30. Buttery. The room where eatables were kept; something like what is now called a larder or a pantry; only that there was a portion of the room called the buttery-bar, or the butteryhatch; where cold meat, &c., was dispensed for immediate eating.

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31. This seven years. It was proposed by Theobald to change "this" to twice' here, in order that the passage might more nearly accord with the "fifteen years" mentioned in the next scene; but the servant's exaggeration of the lord's com.mands is characteristically humorous, and, moreover, Shakespeare not unfrequently gives these variations, as perfectly in accordance with nature. See Note 29, Act i., Measure for Measure." 32. Hath esteemed him no better than a, &c. Here "him" is used for himself,' a form of construction occasionally employed by Shakespeare and writers of his time.

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33. Close convey'd. "Close" is here used for closely :' in the sense of hiddenly,'' secretly,'' stealthily,' and in the sense of 'near.'

34. Usurp. Shakespeare here uses this verb without its sense of violence and oppression; merely unrightfully, as having no real claim to womanhood; for 'assume.'

35. Spleen. Sometimes, as here, used to express a fit of mirth or laughter. See Note 71, Act v., "Love's Labour's Lost."

36. Sly is discovered. The stage direction in the Folio here (Enter aloft the Drunkard with attendants, &c.) exhibits the plan then pursued in the theatre, when a play within a play was represented. Those who were the spectators were on a raised platform or balcony at the back of the stage; while those performing the enacted play occupied the front, on the stage itself.

Sec. Serv. Will't please your honour taste of these conserves?

Third Serv. What raiment will your honour

wear to-day?

Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not me honour nor lordship: I ne'er 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, sometime more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the overleather.

Lord. Heaven cease this idle humour in your


Oh, that a mighty man, of such descent, Of such possessions, and so high esteem, Should be infused with so foul a spirit!


Sly. What! would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton Heath; by birth a pedler, by education a cardmaker, 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: 42 here's-43

First Serv. Oh, this it is that makes your lady mourn!

Sec. 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.
Oh, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth!
Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment,
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.

Thus, the ancient plan was the exact reverse of the present one; as, in performing "Hamlet," the court occupy the front of the stage, while the actors in the enacted play appear on a raised platform at the back.

37. Sack. See Note 42, Act iii., "Merry Wives.

38. Burton Heath. Probably an abbreviated form of Bartonon-the-Heath (formerly spelt Bertone), a village in Shakespeare's native county, Warwickshire.

39. Bear-herd. Like "bear-ward," a keeper of bears. See Note ii., Act ii., "Much Ado."

40. Wincot. An abbreviated form of Wilmecote, a village near Stratford-upon-Avon. It is probable that "Marian Hacket" had a no less real prototype, known to the poet, than these villages here named.

41. Sheer ale. This and sheer wine were terms then in use for pure or unmixed ale or wine; just as there is now the term "entire beer." Moreover, with punning effect, Master Sly uses the words "sheer ale," meaning merely ale-ale and nothing else.

42. Bestraught. A form of distraught,' 'distracted,' 'demented,' 'mad.'

43. Here's. We take this to be an indication that Sly breaks off his speech with a nod of the head, and a half-uttered 'here's to your health,' as he drinks off the proffered wine.

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