The Taming of the Shrew - Induction, scene 1
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Induction, scene 1
Christopher Sly, a drunken beggar, is driven out of an alehouse by its hostess. A great lord, returning from the hunt, finds Sly in a drunken sleep and decides to play an elaborate trick on him. The lord orders his servants to place Sly in a luxurious bedroom and, when the beggar awakes, to tell him he is a great lord who has long been out of his mind. A troupe of traveling actors present themselves to the lord, who, by way of further elaborating his trick, instructs them to stage a play for Sly.Enter Beggar (Christopher Sly) and Hostess.
SLY 0001 I’ll feeze you, in faith.
HOSTESS 0002 A pair of stocks, you rogue!
SLY 0003 You’re a baggage! The Slys are no rogues. Look
0004 in the chronicles. We came in with Richard Conqueror.
0005 5 Therefore, paucas pallabris, let the world
0006 slide. Sessa!
HOSTESS 0007 You will not pay for the glasses you have
SLY 0009 No, not a denier. Go, by ⌜Saint⌝ Jeronimy! Go to
0010 10 thy cold bed and warm thee.⌜He lies down.⌝
HOSTESS 0011 I know my remedy. I must go fetch the
0012 headborough.⌜She exits.⌝
SLY 0013 Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I’ll answer him
0014 by law. I’ll not budge an inch, boy. Let him come,
0015 15 and kindly.Falls asleep.
Wind horns ⌜within.⌝ Enter a Lord from hunting, with
0016 Huntsman, I charge thee tender well my hounds.
0017 ⌜Breathe⌝ Merriman (the poor cur is embossed)
0018 And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach.
0019 Saw’st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
0020 20 At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault?
0021 I would not lose the dog for twenty pound!
0022 Why, Bellman is as good as he, my lord.
0023 He cried upon it at the merest loss,
0024 And twice today picked out the dullest scent.
0025 25 Trust me, I take him for the better dog.
0026 Thou art a fool. If Echo were as fleet,
0027 I would esteem him worth a dozen such.
0028 But sup them well, and look unto them all.
0029 Tomorrow I intend to hunt again.
FIRST HUNTSMAN 0030 30I will, my lord.
⌜First Huntsman exits.⌝
LORD, ⌜noticing Sly⌝
0031 What’s here? One dead, or drunk? See doth he
0033 He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,
0034 This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.
0035 35 O monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies!
0036 Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!
0037 Sirs, I will practice on this drunken man.
0038 What think you, if he were conveyed to bed,
0039 Wrapped in sweet clothes, rings put upon his
0040 40 fingers,
0041 A most delicious banquet by his bed,
0042 And brave attendants near him when he wakes,
0043 Would not the beggar then forget himself?
0044 Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose.
0045 45 It would seem strange unto him when he waked.
0046 Even as a flatt’ring dream or worthless fancy.
0047 Then take him up, and manage well the jest.
0049 And hang it round with all my wanton pictures;
0050 50 Balm his foul head in warm distillèd waters,
0051 And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet;
0052 Procure me music ready when he wakes
0053 To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound.
0054 And if he chance to speak, be ready straight
0055 55 And, with a low, submissive reverence,
0056 Say “What is it your Honor will command?”
0057 Let one attend him with a silver basin
0058 Full of rosewater and bestrewed with flowers,
0059 Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,
0060 60 And say “Will ’t please your Lordship cool your
0062 Someone be ready with a costly suit,
0063 And ask him what apparel he will wear.
0064 Another tell him of his hounds and horse,
0065 65 And that his lady mourns at his disease.
0066 Persuade him that he hath been lunatic,
0067 And when he says he is, say that he dreams,
0068 For he is nothing but a mighty lord.
0069 This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs.
0070 70 It will be pastime passing excellent
0071 If it be husbanded with modesty.
0072 My lord, I warrant you we will play our part
0073 As he shall think by our true diligence
0074 He is no less than what we say he is.
0075 75 Take him up gently, and to bed with him,
0076 And each one to his office when he wakes.
⌜Sly is carried out.⌝
Sound trumpets ⌜within.⌝
0077 Sirrah, go see what trumpet ’tis that sounds.
0079 (Traveling some journey) to repose him here.
0080 80 How now? Who is it?
SERVINGMAN 0081 An ’t please your Honor, players
0082 That offer service to your Lordship.
0083 Bid them come near.
0084 Now, fellows, you are welcome.
PLAYERS 0085 85We thank your Honor.
0086 Do you intend to stay with me tonight?
0087 So please your Lordship to accept our duty.
0088 With all my heart. This fellow I remember
0089 Since once he played a farmer’s eldest son.—
0090 90 ’Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well.
0091 I have forgot your name, but sure that part
0092 Was aptly fitted and naturally performed.
0093 I think ’twas Soto that your Honor means.
0094 ’Tis very true. Thou didst it excellent.
0095 95 Well, you are come to me in happy time,
0096 The rather for I have some sport in hand
0097 Wherein your cunning can assist me much.
0098 There is a lord will hear you play tonight;
0099 But I am doubtful of your modesties,
0100 100 Lest, over-eying of his odd behavior
0101 (For yet his Honor never heard a play),
0102 You break into some merry passion,
0103 And so offend him. For I tell you, sirs,
0104 If you should smile, he grows impatient.
0105 105 Fear not, my lord, we can contain ourselves
0106 Were he the veriest antic in the world.
LORD, ⌜to a Servingman⌝
0107 Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery
0108 And give them friendly welcome every one.
0109 Let them want nothing that my house affords.
One exits with the Players.
0110 110 Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew, my page,
0111 And see him dressed in all suits like a lady.
0112 That done, conduct him to the drunkard’s chamber,
0113 And call him “Madam,” do him obeisance.
0114 Tell him from me, as he will win my love,
0115 115 He bear himself with honorable action,
0116 Such as he hath observed in noble ladies
0117 Unto their lords, by them accomplishèd.
0118 Such duty to the drunkard let him do
0119 With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy,
0120 120 And say “What is ’t your Honor will command,
0121 Wherein your lady and your humble wife
0122 May show her duty and make known her love?”
0123 And then with kind embracements, tempting kisses,
0124 And with declining head into his bosom,
0125 125 Bid him shed tears, as being overjoyed
0126 To see her noble lord restored to health,
0127 Who, for this seven years, hath esteemed him
0128 No better than a poor and loathsome beggar.
0129 And if the boy have not a woman’s gift
0130 130 To rain a shower of commanded tears,
0131 An onion will do well for such a shift,
0132 Which (in a napkin being close conveyed)
0133 Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
0134 See this dispatched with all the haste thou canst.
0135 135 Anon I’ll give thee more instructions.
A Servingman exits.
0136 I know the boy will well usurp the grace,
0138 I long to hear him call the drunkard “husband”!
0139 And how my men will stay themselves from
0140 140 laughter
0141 When they do homage to this simple peasant,
0142 I’ll in to counsel them. Haply my presence
0143 May well abate the over-merry spleen
0144 Which otherwise would grow into extremes.