Page images

As Socrates' Xantippe, or a worse,

She moves me not, or not removes, at least,
Affection's edge in me; were she as rough1
As are the swelling Adriatick seas:

I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua.

Gru. Nay, look you, sir, he tells you flatly what his mind is: Why, give him gold enough and marry him to a puppet, or an aglet-baby;2 or an old trot with ne'er a tooth in her head, though she have as many diseases as two and fifty horses: 3 why, nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal.

Hor. Petruchio, since we have stepp'd thus far in, I will continue that I broach'd in jest.

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,

1 ·were she as rough-] The old copy reads-were she is as rough. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone. aglet-baby;] i. e. a diminutive being, not exceeding in size the tag of a point.


So, in Feronimo, 1605:

"And all those stars that gaze upon her face,

"Are aglets on her sleeve-pins and her train." Steevens. An aglet-baby was a small image or head cut on the tag of a point, or lace. That such figures were sometimes appended to them, Dr. Warburton has proved, by a passage in Mezeray, the French historian:. :-"portant meme sur les aiguillettes [points] des petites tetes de mort." Malone.

3 as many diseases as two and fifty horses:] I suspect this passage to be corrupt, though I know not how to rectify it.-The fifty diseases of a horse seem to have been proverbial. So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608: "O stumbling jade! the spavin o'ertake thee! the fifty diseases stop thee!" Malone.

4 (and that is faults enough)] And that one is itself a host of faults. The editor of the second folio, who has been copied by all the subsequent editors, unnecessarily reads—and that is fault enough. Malone.


shrewd,] Here means, having the qualities of a shrew. The adjective is now used only in the sense of acute, intelligent.


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,

Renown'd 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 humour 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 him7

I believe shrewd only signifies bitter, severe. So, in As you Like it, sc. ult:

"That have endur'd shrewd days and nights with us."


-an he begin once, he'll rail in his rope-tricks.] This is obscure. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-he'll rail in his rhetorick; I'll tell you, &c. Rhetorick agrees very well with figure in the succeeding part of the speech, yet I am inclined to believe that rope-tricks is the true word. Johnson.

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakspeare uses ropery for roguery, and therefore certainly wrote rope-tricks.

Rope-tricks we may suppose to mean tricks of which the contriver would deserve the rope. Steevens.

Rope-tricks is certainly right.-Ropery or rope-tricks originally signified abusive language, without any determinate idea; such language as parrots are taught to speak. So, in Hudibras: "Could tell what subt'lest parrots mean, "That speak, and think contrary clean; "What member 'tis of whom they talk,

"When they cry rope, and walk, knave walk."

The following passage in Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique, 1553, shews that this was the meaning of the term: "Another good

[blocks in formation]

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 keep9 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: 1
Supposing it a thing impossible,

(For those defects I have before rehears'd)
That ever Katharina will be woo'd,

Therefore this order hath Baptista taʼen ;2-
That none shall have access unto Bianca,

fellow in the countrey, being an officer and maiour of a toune, and desirous to speak like a fine learned man, having just occasion to rebuke a runnegate fellow, said after this wise in great heate: Thou yngram and vacation knave, if I take thee any more within the circumcision of my damnacion, I will so corrupte thee that all vacation knaves shall take ill sample by thee." So, in May-day, a comedy, by Chapman, 1611: "Lord! how you roll in your rope-ripe terms." Malone.



· stand him—] i. e. withstand, resist him. Steevens.

that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat: The humour of this passage I do not understand. This animal is remarkable for the keenness of its sight. In The Castell of Laboure, however, printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 1506, is the following line: "That was as blereyed as a cat."

There are two proverbs which, any reader who can, may apply to this allusion of Grumio:

"Well might the cat wink when both her eyes were out." "A muffled cat was never a good hunter."

The first is in Ray's Collection, the second in Kelly's. Steevens. It may mean, that he shall swell up her eyes with blows, till she shall seem to peep with a contracted pupil, like a cat in the light. Johnson.


in Baptista's keep-] Keep is custody. The strongest part of an ancient castle was called the keep. Steevens.

1 And her withholds &c.] It stood thus:

And her withholds from me,

Other more suitors to her, and rivals in my love, &c. The regulation which I have given to the text, was dictated to me by the ingenious Dr. Thirlby.



2 Therefore this order hath Baptista taʼen;] To take order is to take measures. So, in Othello:

"Honest Iago hath ta'en order for it." Steevens.

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, disguis'd in sober robes,

To old Baptista as a schoolmaster

Well seen in musick,3 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, how 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! [They retire.
Gre. O, very well; I have perus'd the note.
Hark you, sir; I'll have them very fairly bound:
All books of love, see that at any hand;4

And see you read no other lectures to her:
You understand me:-Over and beside

Signior Baptista's liberality,

[ocr errors]

I'll mend it with a largess:-Take your papers too,
And let me have them very well perfum'd;

For she is sweeter than perfume itself,

To whom they go. What will you read to her?

3 Well seen in musick,] Seen is versed, practised. So, in a very ancient comedy called The longer thou livest the more Fool thou art:

"Sum would have you seen in stories,

"Sum to feates of arms will you allure, &c.
"Sum will move you to reade Scripture.

"Marry, I would have you seene in cardes and dise."

Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. ii:

Again, in Chapman's version of the 19th Iliad:

[ocr errors]

"Well scene in every science that mote bee."

"Seven ladies excellently seen in all Minerva's skill.”


- at any hand;] i. e. at all events. So, in All's well that ends well:

let him fetch off his drum, in any hand." Steevens.

Luc. Whate'er I read to her, I'll plead for you
As for my patron, (stand you so assur'd)
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, signior Gremio! Gre. And you're well met, signior Hortensio. Trow


Whither I am going?-To Baptista Minola.

I promis'd to inquire carefully

About a schoolmaster for fair Bianca:6

And, by good fortune, I have lighted well
On this young man; for learning, and behaviour,
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 promis'd 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 belov'd of me.

Gre. Belov'd of me,-and that my deeds shall prove. Gru. And that his bags shall prove.

[Aside. 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.

5 To whom they go.] The old copy reads-To whom they go to.



-for fair Bianca:] The old copy redundantly reads-" for

the fair Bianca."


7 help me - The old copy reads-help one. Steevens. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.

« PreviousContinue »