The Taming of the Shrew: Act 4, Scene 1



           Enter GRUMIO.

      GRUMIO
1. jades: slacker horses.
  1   Fie, fie on all tired jades, on all mad masters,
2. ways: roads.
  2   and all foul ways! Was ever man so beaten?
3. ray'd: dirtied.
  3   was ever man so rayed? was ever man so
  4   weary? I am sent before to make a fire, and
  5   they are coming after to warm them. Now,
6. little pot and soon hot: proverbial for a small person with a quick temper.
  6   were not I a little pot and soon hot, my very
  7   lips might freeze to my teeth, my tongue to
  8   the roof of my mouth, my heart in my belly,
  9   ere I should come by a fire to thaw me: but
10. blowing the fire: i.e., keeping myself in a rage.
 10   I, with blowing the fire, shall warm myself;
11. taller: —With play on the sense "better, finer."


James Jager, left, as Grumio, and Matthew Ancarrow as Curtis
Image Source: SHAKESPEAREANCES.COM
 11   for, considering the weather, a taller man
 12   than I will take cold. Holla, ho! Curtis.

           Enter CURTIS.

      CURTIS
 13   Who is that calls so coldly?

      GRUMIO
 14   A piece of ice: if thou doubt it, thou mayst
 15   slide from my shoulder to my heel with no
 16   greater a run but my head and my neck.
 17   A fire good Curtis.

      CURTIS
 18   Is my master and his wife coming, Grumio?

      GRUMIO
19-20. fire, fire; cast on no water: —See the folk-song round "Scotland's burning," in which the words "Fire, fire!" are followed by "Cast on more water."
 19   O, ay, Curtis, ay: and therefore fire, fire; cast
 20   on no water.

      CURTIS
 21   Is she so hot a shrew as she's reported?

      GRUMIO
 22   She was, good Curtis, before this frost: but,
 23   thou knowest, winter tames man, woman
 24   and beast; for it hath tamed my old master
25. fellow: i.e., fellow-servant, partner.
 25   and my new mistress and myself, fellow Curtis.

      CURTIS
26. three-inch fool: —This may be a sex joke. I am no beast: i.e., I am not your fellow beast. —Curtis is deliberately misinterpreting Grumio's previous speech. 27. horn: cuckold's horn(?). —This is certainly a sex joke.
 26   Away, you three-inch fool! I am no beast.

      GRUMIO
 27   Am I but three inches? why, thy horn is a foot;
 28   and so long am I at the least. But wilt thou make
 29   a fire, or shall I complain on thee to our mistress,
 30   whose hand, she being now at hand, thou shalt
 31   soon feel, to thy cold comfort, for being slow in
32. hot office: task of building a fire.
 32   thy hot office?

      CURTIS
 33   I prithee, good Grumio, tell me, how goes the
 34   world?

      GRUMIO
 35   A cold world, Curtis, in every office but thine;
36-37. do thy duty, and have thy duty: i.e., if you do your duty, you will be properly rewarded.
 36   and therefore fire: do thy duty, and have thy
 37   duty; for my master and mistress are almost
 38   frozen to death.

      CURTIS
 39   There's fire ready; and therefore, good Grumio,
 40   the news.

      GRUMIO
41. Jack, boy! ho! boy: —These are the first words of another folk-song round.
 41   Why, "Jack, boy! ho! boy!" and as much news
 42   as wilt thou.

      CURTIS
43. cony-catching: cheating, trickery.
 43   Come, you are so full of cony-catching!

      GRUMIO
44. caught: Grumio makes a jest out of Curtis' exclamation about "cony-catching."
 44   Why, therefore fire; for I have caught
 45   extreme cold. Where's the cook? is supper
46. rushes: Used as floor covering.
 46   ready, the house trimmed, rushes strewed,
47. fustian: coarse cloth of cotton and flax.
 47   cobwebs swept; the serving-men in their new fustian,
48. officer: household servant.
 48   their white stockings, and every officer his
49. jacks: (1) servingmen; (2) drinking vessels.
 49   wedding-garment on? Be the jacks fair within, the
50. jills: (1) maidservants; (2) small drinking vessels (gills). carpets: tablecloths.
 50   jills fair without, the carpets laid, and every thing
 51   in order?

      CURTIS
 52   All ready; and therefore, I pray thee,
 53   news.

      GRUMIO
 54   First, know, my horse is tired; my master
 55   and mistress fallen out.

      CURTIS
 56   How?

      GRUMIO
 57   Out of their saddles into the dirt; and
58. thereby hangs a tale: there is a story connected with that.
 58   thereby hangs a tale.

      CURTIS
59. Let's ha't: Let's have it; i.e., go on, tell the tale.
 59   Let's ha't, good Grumio.

      GRUMIO
 60   Lend thine ear.

      CURTIS
 61   Here.

      GRUMIO
 62   There.

           [Strikes him.]

      CURTIS
 63   This is to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.

      GRUMIO
64. sensible: (1) showing good sense, reasonable; (2) capable of being felt.
 64   And therefore 'tis called a sensible tale: and
 65   this cuff was but to knock at your ear, and
66. beseech listening: i.e., make an earnest request that you listen to what I have to say.   Inprimis: In the first place. 67. foul: muddy.
 66   beseech listening. Now I begin: Inprimis,
 67   we came down a foul hill, my master riding
 68   behind my mistress—

      CURTIS
69. of: on.
 69   Both of one horse?

      GRUMIO
 70   What's that to thee?

      CURTIS
 71   Why, a horse.

      GRUMIO
 72   Tell thou the tale: but hadst thou not
73. cross'd: thwarted, interrupted.
 73   cross'd me, thou shouldst have heard how her horse
 74   fell and she under her horse; thou shouldst
 75   have heard in how miry a place, how she was
76. bemoil'd: befouled with mire, covered with mud.
 76   bemoil'd, how he left her with the horse upon
 77   her, how he beat me because her horse stumbled,
 78   how she waded through the dirt to pluck him
79. prayed: i.e., asked for something by saying "please."
 79   off me, how he swore, how she prayed, that never
 80   prayed before, how I cried, how the horses ran
 81   away, how her bridle was burst, how I lost my
82. crupper: A strap buckled to the back of the saddle and passing under the horse's tail, to prevent the saddle from slipping forward.
 82   crupper, with many things of worthy memory,
 83   which now shall die in oblivion and thou return
 84   unexperienced to thy grave.

      CURTIS
 85   By this reckoning he is more shrew than
 86   she.

      GRUMIO
 87   Ay; and that thou and the proudest of you all shall
88. what: why.
 88   find when he comes home. But what talk I of this?
 89   Call forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip,
 90   Walter, Sugarsop and the rest: let their heads be
91. blue coats: The regular dress for menservants.
 91   sleekly combed their blue coats brushed and their
92. garters: bands used to keep stockings in place.  of an indifferent knit: i.e., made of whatever you have on hand.
 92   garters of an indifferent knit: let them curtsy
 93   with their left legs and not presume to touch a hair
 94   of my master's horse-tail till they kiss their
 95   hands. Are they all ready?

      CURTIS
 96   They are.

      GRUMIO
 97   Call them forth.

      CURTIS
 98   Do you hear, ho? you must meet my master to
99. countenance: pay your respects to. —But Grumio makes a joke by taking the word to mean "put a face on," which it can mean, in other contexts.
 99   countenance my mistress.

      GRUMIO
100   Why, she hath a face of her own.

      CURTIS
101   Who knows not that?

      GRUMIO
102   Thou, it seems, that calls for company to
103   countenance her.

      CURTIS
104. credit: to pay respects to, to honor. —Grumio makes another joke by taking "credit" to mean "extending financial credit."
104   I call them forth to credit her.

           Enter four or five SERVINGMEN.

      GRUMIO
105   Why, she comes to borrow nothing of them.

      NATHANIEL
106   Welcome home, Grumio!

      PHILIP
107   How now, Grumio!

      JOSEPH
108   What, Grumio!

      NICHOLAS
109   Fellow Grumio!

      NATHANIEL
110   How now, old lad?

      GRUMIO
111   Welcome, you;—how now, you;—what,
112   you;—fellow, you;—and thus much
113   for greeting. Now, my spruce companions,
114   is all ready, and all things neat?

      NATHANIEL
115   All things is ready. How near is our
116   master?

      GRUMIO
117   E'en at hand, alighted by this; and therefore
118. Cock's passion: —This casual oath originally meant "by God's (Christ's) suffering," but here it has no more religious meaning than "OMG" does now (2016).
118   be not—Cock's passion, silence! I hear my
119   master.

           Enter PETRUCHIO and KATE.

      PETRUCHIO
120   Where be these knaves? What, no man at door
121   To hold my stirrup nor to take my horse!
122   Where is Nathaniel, Gregory, Philip?

      ALL SERVANTS
123   Here, here, sir; here, sir.

      PETRUCHIO
124   Here, sir! here, sir! here, sir! here, sir!
125. logger-headed: blockheaded.
125   You logger-headed and unpolish'd grooms!
126   What, no attendance? no regard? no duty?
127   Where is the foolish knave I sent before?

      GRUMIO
128   Here, sir; as foolish as I was before.

      PETRUCHIO
129. peasant swain: rascally rustic, lout. malt-horse: a slow, heavy horse. ...more.
129   You peasant swain! you whoreson malt-horse drudge!
130   Did I not bid thee meet me in the park,
131   And bring along these rascal knaves with thee?

      GRUMIO
132   Nathaniel's coat, sir, was not fully made,
133. pumps: low-cut shoes. unpink'd: without ornamental cutouts in the leather. 134. link: torch. —Burnt-out torches were used for blacking. 135. sheathing: having a sheath made. 136. fine: well dressed.
133   And Gabriel's pumps were all unpink'd i' the heel;
134   There was no link to colour Peter's hat,
135   And Walter's dagger was not come from sheathing:
136   There were none fine but Adam, Ralph, and Gregory;
137   The rest were ragged, old, and beggarly;
138   Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you.

      PETRUCHIO
139   Go, rascals, go, and fetch my supper in.

           Exeunt Servants.

           [Sings.]

140-141. Where is the life ... those: —This is probably the opening of a popular song about a drastic change in someone's way of life. ...more. 142. Soud: an expression of impatience (?). Some editors change the word to "food."
140        "Where is the life that late I led—
141        Where are those"—
142   Sit down, Kate, and welcome. Soud, soud, soud, soud!

           Enter SERVANTS with supper.

143   Why, when, I say? Nay, good sweet Kate, be merry.
144   Off with my boots, you rogues! you villains, when?

           [Sings.]

145-146. "It was the friar ... way": —This is probably the opening of a bawdy ballad. ...more.
147. Out: Exclamation of anger or reproach.
148.  mend the plucking of the other: i.e., be sure you do a better job on the other boot.
145        "It was the friar of orders grey,
146        As he forth walked on his way"—
147   Out, you rogue! you pluck my foot awry:
148   Take that, and mend the plucking of the other.

           [Strikes him.]

149   Be merry, Kate. Some water, here; what, ho!
150   Where's my spaniel Troilus? Sirrah, get you hence,
151   And bid my cousin Ferdinand come hither:
152   One, Kate, that you must kiss, and be acquainted with.
153   Where are my slippers? Shall I have some water?

           Enter one with water.

154   Come, Kate, and wash, and welcome heartily.
155   You whoreson villain! will you let it fall?

           [Strikes him.]

      KATHARINA
156   Patience, I pray you; 'twas a fault unwilling.

      PETRUCHIO
157. beetle-headed: blockheaded (beetle = a heavy tool for ramming and pounding). 158. stomach: (1) appetite; (2) temper. 159. give thanks: say grace.
157   A whoreson beetle-headed, flap-ear'd knave!
158   Come, Kate, sit down; I know you have a stomach.
159   Will you give thanks, sweet Kate; or else shall I?
160   What's this? mutton?

      First Servant
160                                    Ay.

      PETRUCHIO
160                                          Who brought it?

      PETER
160                                                                        I.

      PETRUCHIO
161   'Tis burnt; and so is all the meat.
162   What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook?
163. dresser: sideboard.
163   How durst you, villains, bring it from the dresser,
164   And serve it thus to me that love it not?
165. trenchers: wooden dishes or plates.
165   There, take it to you, trenchers, cups, and all;

           [Throws the trenchers, etc. at them.]

166. joltheads: blockheads.
166   You heedless joltheads and unmanner'd slaves!
167. with you straight: after you straightway (to punish you).
167   What, do you grumble? I'll be with you straight.

      KATHARINA
168   I pray you, husband, be not so disquiet:
169   The meat was well, if you were so contented.

      PETRUCHIO
170   I tell thee, Kate, 'twas burnt and dried away;
171   And I expressly am forbid to touch it,
172. choler: the humor, or bodily fluid, hot and dry in character, that was thought to make one short-tempered and was thought to be aggravated by the eating of roast meat. 174. of ourselves: by our nature.
172   For it engenders choler, planteth anger;
173   And better 'twere that both of us did fast,
174   Since, of ourselves, ourselves are choleric,
175   Than feed it with such over-roasted flesh.
176   Be patient; tomorrow 't shall be mended,
177   And, for this night, we'll fast for company:
178   Come, I will bring thee to thy bridal chamber.

           Exeunt.

           Enter SERVANTS severally.

      NATHANIEL
179   Peter, didst ever see the like?

      PETER
180. kills in her own humor: i.e., masters her ill temper with a worse temper.
180   He kills her in her own humor.

           Enter CURTIS, a servant.

      GRUMIO
181   Where is he?

      CURTIS
182. continency: self-control. —Katharina is not going to get any sex, either. 183. rates: scolds.
182   In her chamber, making a sermon of continency to her;
183   And rails, and swears, and rates, that she, poor soul,
184   Knows not which way to stand, to look, to speak,
185   And sits as one new-risen from a dream.
186   Away, away! for he is coming hither.

           [Exeunt.]

           Enter PETRUCHIO.

      PETRUCHIO
187. politicly: shrewdly.
187   Thus have I politicly begun my reign,
188   And 'tis my hope to end successfully.
189. sharp: hungry.
189   My falcon now is sharp and passing empty;
190. stoop: fly down to the lure (a baited device used to recall a falcon in training).
190   And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged,
191   For then she never looks upon her lure.
192. man: tame. haggard: wild female hawk.
192   Another way I have to man my haggard,
193   To make her come and know her keeper's call,
194. watch her: keep her watching; i.e., keep her from sleeping. kites: falcons. 195. bate and beat: flap and flutter the wings impatiently. 196. She eat: she ate. —Rhymes with bet.
194   That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
195   That bate and beat and will not be obedient.
196   She eat no meat today, nor none shall eat;
197   Last night she slept not, nor tonight she shall not;
198   As with the meat, some undeserved fault
199   I'll find about the making of the bed;
200   And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
201   This way the coverlet, another way the sheets:
202. intend: pretend.
202   Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
203   That all is done in reverend care of her;
204   And in conclusion she shall watch all night:
205   And if she chance to nod I'll rail and brawl
206. still: always.
206   And with the clamour keep her still awake.
207   This is a way to kill a wife with kindness;
208   And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humor.
209   He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
210. shew: show; i.e., reveal his method.
210   Now let him speak: 'tis charity to shew.

           Exit.