The Taming of the Shrew
Act Induction, Scene 2
A bedchamber in the Lord’s house.
- Enter aloft the drunkard Sly with Attendants, some with
- apparel, basin and ewer, and other appurtenances, and Lord.
- For God’s sake, a pot of small ale.
- Will’t please your lordship drink a cup of sack?
- Will’t please your honor taste of these conserves?
- What raiment will your honor wear today?
Christopher Sly5 - 11
- I am Christophero Sly, call not me honor 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.
Lord12 - 15
- Heaven cease this idle humor in your honor!
- O that a mighty man of such descent,
- Of such possessions, and so high esteem,
- Should be infused with so foul a spirit!
Christopher Sly16 - 23
- What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old
- Sly’s son of Burton-heath, by birth a pedlar, by education a
- card-maker, 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
- lying’st knave in Christendom. What! I am not bestraught.
- O, this it is that makes your lady mourn!
- O, this is it that makes your servants droop!
Lord26 - 44
- Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house,
- As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
- O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth,
- Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment,
- And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.
- Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
- Each in his office ready at thy beck.
- Wilt thou have music? Hark, Apollo plays,
- And twenty caged nightingales do sing.
- Or wilt thou sleep? We’ll have thee to a couch,
- Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
- On purpose trimm’d up for Semiramis.
- Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrow the ground.
- Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapp’d,
- Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
- Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar
- Above the morning lark. Or wilt thou hunt?
- Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them
- And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.
First Servingman45 - 46
- Say thou wilt course, thy greyhounds are as swift
- As breathed stags; ay, fleeter than the roe.
Second Servingman47 - 51
- Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight
- Adonis painted by a running brook,
- And Cytherea all in sedges hid,
- Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,
- Even as the waving sedges play with wind.
Lord52 - 54
- We’ll show thee Io as she was a maid,
- And how she was beguiled and surpris’d,
- As lively painted as the deed was done.
Third Servingman55 - 58
- Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood,
- Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds,
- And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
- So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.
Lord59 - 61
- Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord.
- Thou hast a lady far more beautiful
- Than any woman in this waning age.
First Servingman62 - 65
- And till the tears that she hath shed for thee
- Like envious floods o’errun her lovely face,
- She was the fairest creature in the world,
- And yet she is inferior to none.
Christopher Sly66 - 73
- Am I a lord, and have I such a lady?
- Or do I dream? Or have I dream’d till now?
- I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak;
- I smell sweet savors, and I feel soft things.
- Upon my life, I am a lord indeed,
- And not a tinker, nor Christopher Sly.
- Well, bring our lady hither to our sight,
- And once again a pot o’ th’ smallest ale.
Second Servingman74 - 78
- Will’t please your mightiness to wash your hands?
- O how we joy to see your wit restor’d!
- O that once more you knew but what you are!
- These fifteen years you have been in a dream,
- Or when you wak’d, so wak’d as if you slept.
Christopher Sly79 - 80
- These fifteen years! By my fay, a goodly nap,
- But did I never speak of all that time?
First Servingman81 - 87
- O yes, my lord, but very idle words,
- For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
- Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door,
- And rail upon the hostess of the house,
- And say you would present her at the leet,
- Because she brought stone jugs and no seal’d quarts.
- Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
- Ay, the woman’s maid of the house.
Third Servingman89 - 94
- Why, sir, you know no house nor no such maid,
- Nor no such men as you have reckon’d up,
- As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps of Greece,
- And Peter Turph, and Henry Pimpernell,
- And twenty more such names and men as these,
- Which never were, nor no man ever saw.
- Now Lord be thanked for my good amends!
All Servants and Lord96
- Enter the Page as a lady, with Attendants.
- I thank thee, thou shalt not lose by it.
- How fares my noble lord?
Christopher Sly99 - 100
- Marry, I fare well, for here is cheer enough.
- Where is my wife?
- Here, noble lord, what is thy will with her?
Christopher Sly102 - 103
- Are you my wife and will not call me husband?
- My men should call me “lord”; I am your goodman.
Page104 - 105
- My husband and my lord, my lord and husband,
- I am your wife in all obedience.
- I know it well. What must I call her?
- Al’ce madam, or Joan madam?
- Madam, and nothing else, so lords call ladies.
Christopher Sly110 - 111
- Madam wife, they say that I have dream’d,
- And slept above some fifteen year or more.
Page112 - 113
- Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me,
- Being all this time abandon’d from your bed.
Christopher Sly114 - 115
- ’Tis much. Servants, leave me and her alone.
- Madam, undress you, and come now to bed.
Page116 - 122
- Thrice-noble lord, let me entreat of you
- To pardon me yet for a night or two;
- Or if not so, until the sun be set.
- For your physicians have expressly charg’d,
- In peril to incur your former malady,
- That I should yet absent me from your bed.
- I hope this reason stands for my excuse.
Christopher Sly123 - 125
- Ay, it stands so that I may hardly tarry so long. But I
- would be loath to fall into my dreams again. I will
- therefore tarry in despite of the flesh and the blood.
- Enter a Messenger.
Messenger126 - 133
- Your honor’s players, hearing your amendment,
- Are come to play a pleasant comedy,
- For so your doctors hold it very meet,
- Seeing too much sadness hath congeal’d your blood,
- And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy.
- Therefore they thought it good you hear a play,
- And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
- Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.
Christopher Sly134 - 135
- Marry, I will, let them play it. Is not a comonty a
- Christmas gambold, or a tumbling-trick?
- No, my good lord, it is more pleasing stuff.
- What, household stuff?
- It is a kind of history.
Christopher Sly139 - 140
- Well, we’ll see’t. Come, madam wife, sit by my side, and let
- the world slip, we shall ne’er be younger.
- They all sit. Flourish.