The Taming of the Shrew: Induction, Scene 2

           Enter aloft the drunkard [SLY] with
           ATTENDANTS; some with apparel,
           basin and ewer, and other appurtenances;
           and LORD.

1. small: weak (and therefore cheap).
  1   For God's sake, a pot of small ale.

      First Servant
2. sack: sweet Spanish white wine (suited for a gentleman to drink).
  2   Will't please your lordship drink a cup of sack?

      Second Servant
3. conserves: preserves, such as jellies.
  3   Will't please your honor taste of these conserves?

      Third Servant
  4   What raiment will your honor wear today?

  5   I am Christophero Sly; call not me "honor" nor
  6   "lordship." I ne'er drank sack in my life; and if
7-8. conserves of beef: salted beef (a commoner's food).
  7   you give me any conserves, give me conserves of
  8   beef: ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear; for I
9. doublets: men's jackets.
  9   have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings
 10   than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay,
 11   sometimes more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my
12. overleather: upper leather.
 12   toes look through the over-leather.

13. idle humor: foolish, absurd fancy.
 13   Heaven cease this idle humor in your honor!
 14   O, that a mighty man of such descent,
 15   Of such possessions and so high esteem,
 16   Should be infused with so foul a spirit!

 17   What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher
18. Burtonheath: perhaps Barton-on-the-Heath. ...more
19. cardmaker: maker of wool cards, which are wire brushes used for combing wool to prepare it for spinning. 20. bear-herd: exhibitor of a tame bear. tinker: pot-mender.
 18   Sly, old Sly's son of Burtonheath, by birth a
 19   pedlar, by education a cardmaker, by transmutation a
 20   bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker?
 21   Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if
22. Wincot: a small village near Stratford. ...more  23. on the score: in debt sheer ale: i.e., ale alone. score me up for: reckon me to be.
 22   she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence
 23   on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the
 24   lyingest knave in Christendom. What! I am not
25. bestraught: distracted, mad.
 25   bestraught: here's—

      Third Servant
 26   O, this it is that makes your lady mourn!

      Second Servant
 27   O, this is it that makes your servants droop!

 28   Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house,
 29   As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
 30   O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth,
31. ancient thoughts: i.e., former understanding of yourself.
 31   Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment
 32   And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.
 33   Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
 34   Each in his office ready at thy beck.
35. Apollo: god of music.
 35   Wilt thou have music? hark! Apollo plays,


 36   And twenty caged nightingales do sing:
 37   Or wilt thou sleep? we'll have thee to a couch
 38   Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
39. Semiramis: legendary queen of Assyria. ...more 40. bestrew the ground: i.e., roll out the red carpet. ...more 41. trapp'd: adorned.
 39   On purpose trimm'd up for Semiramis.
 40   Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
 41   Or wilt thou ride? thy horses shall be trapp'd,
 42   Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
 43   Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks will soar
 44   Above the morning lark or wilt thou hunt?
45. welkin: sky, heavens.
 45   Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them
 46   And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.

      First Servant
47. course: hunt hares.
 47   Say thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift
48. breathed: in full breath, in good wind. roe: a kind of small, swift deer.
 48   As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.

      Second Servant
 49   Dost thou love pictures? we will fetch thee straight
50. Adonis: the handsome hunter beloved of Venus. ...more 51. Cytherea: i.e., Venus. ...more 52. wanton: play amorously.
 50   Adonis painted by a running brook,
 51   And Cytherea all in sedges hid,
 52   Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,
 53   Even as the waving sedges play with wind.

54. Io: a Greek maiden loved by Jupiter, who visited her in a dark cloud. ...more
56. lively: realistically.
 54   We'll show thee Io as she was a maid,
 55   And how she was beguiled and surprised,
 56   As lively painted as the deed was done.

      Third Servant
57. Daphne: a nymph changed by Diana into a laurel tree to preserve her from rape. ...more
 57   Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood,
 58   Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds,
 59   And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
 60   So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.

 61   Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord:
 62   Thou hast a lady far more beautiful
63. waning: degenerate.
 63   Than any woman in this waning age.

      First Servant
 64   And till the tears that she hath shed for thee
65. envious: spiteful.
 65   Like envious floods o'er-run her lovely face,
 66   She was the fairest creature in the world;
67. yet: still, even now.
 67   And yet she is inferior to none.

 68   Am I a lord? and have I such a lady?
 69   Or do I dream? or have I dream'd till now?
 70   I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak;
 71   I smell sweet savours and I feel soft things:
 72   Upon my life, I am a lord indeed
 73   And not a tinker nor Christophero Sly.
 74   Well, bring our lady hither to our sight;
 75   And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale.

      Second Servant
 76   Will't please your mightiness to wash your hands?
 77   O, how we joy to see your wit restored!
 78   O, that once more you knew but what you are!
 79   These fifteen years you have been in a dream;
 80   Or when you waked, so waked as if you slept.

81. fay: faith.
 81   These fifteen years! by my fay, a goodly nap.
82. of: during.
 82   But did I never speak of all that time?

      First Servant
 83   O, yes, my lord, but very idle words:
 84   For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
 85   Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door;
86. house: tavern.
 86   And rail upon the hostess of the house;
87. present: bring a charge against. leet: a court where complaints about short measures and other such matters would be heard. 88. seal'd quarts: quart containers officially stamped as a guarantee of full measure.
 87   And say you would present her at the leet,
 88   Because she brought stone jugs and no seal'd quarts:
 89   Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.

 90   Ay, the woman's maid of the house.

      Third Servant
 91   Why, sir, you know no house nor no such maid,
 92   Nor no such men as you have reckon'd up,
93. Stephen Sly: There was a Stratford citizen of this name. Greece: Maybe an error for Greet, the name of a village twenty miles from Stratford.
 93   As Stephen Sly and old John Naps of Greece
 94   And Peter Turph and Henry Pimpernell
 95   And twenty more such names and men as these
 96   Which never were nor no man ever saw.

97. amends: Sly's error for amendment; i.e., recovery (as in line 129).
 97   Now Lord be thanked for my good amends!

 98   Amen.

 99   I thank thee: thou shalt not lose by it.

           Enter [the PAGE as a] lady,
           with ATTENDANTS.

100   How fares my noble lord?

101. Marry: why, indeed. cheer: hospitable entertainment.
101   Marry, I fare well for here is cheer enough.
102   Where is my wife?

103   Here, noble lord: what is thy will with her?

104   Are you my wife and will not call me husband?
105. goodman: husband (a word in use among the lower classes).
105   My men should call me "lord." I am your goodman.

106   My husband and my lord, my lord and husband;
107   I am your wife in all obedience.

108   I know it well. What must I call her?

109   Madam.

110   Al'ce madam, or Joan madam?

111   Madam, and nothing else: so lords call ladies.

112   Madam wife, they say that I have dream'd
113   And slept above some fifteen year or more.

114   Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me,
115. abandon'd: banished.
115   Being all this time abandon'd from your bed.

116   'Tis much. Servants, leave me and her alone.
117   Madam, undress you and come now to bed.

118   Thrice noble lord, let me entreat of you
119   To pardon me yet for a night or two,
120   Or, if not so, until the sun be set:
121   For your physicians have expressly charged,
122. In peril to incur: on peril of incurring.
122   In peril to incur your former malady,
123   That I should yet absent me from your bed:
124. I hope this reason stands for my excuse: i.e., I hope this reason strongly supports my request to be excused from having sex with you.
124   I hope this reason stands for my excuse.

124. it stands: —Sly is speaking of a boy part.
125   Ay, it stands so that I may hardly
126   tarry so long. But I would be loath to fall into
127   my dreams again: I will therefore tarry in
128   despite of the flesh and the blood.

           Enter a Messenger.

129   Your honor's players, hearing your amendment,
130. pleasant: merry.
130   Are come to play a pleasant comedy;
131. meet: suitable.
131   For so your doctors hold it very meet,
132. sadness hath congeal'd your blood: —Melancholy was thought to thicken the blood. 133. frenzy: madness.
132   Seeing too much sadness hath congeal'd your blood,
133   And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy:
134   Therefore they thought it good you hear a play
135   And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
136   Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.

137   Marry, I will, let them play it. Is not a
138. comonty, gambold: —Malapropisms for "comedy" and "gambol."
138   comonty a Christmas gambold or a tumbling-trick?

139   No, my good lord; it is more pleasing stuff.

140. household stuff: —The ordinary meaning is "house furnishings," but Sly may mean "domestic goings-on."
140   What, household stuff?

141. history: story.
141   It is a kind of history.

142   Well, well see't. Come, madam wife, sit by
143   my side and let the world slip: we shall ne'er
144   be younger.

Flourish: trumpet fanfare. This is the traditional prelude to the beginning of a play. ...more