A line-by-line translation

The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Flourish. Enter LUCENTIO and his man TRANIO

LUCENTIO

Tranio, since for the great desire I had To see fair Padua, nursery of arts, I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy, The pleasant garden of great Italy, And by my father’s love and leave am armed With his goodwill and thy good company. My trusty servant, well approved in all, Here let us breathe and haply institute A course of learning and ingenious studies. Pisa, renownèd for grave citizens, Gave me my being and my father first, A merchant of great traffic through the world, Vincentio, come of the Bentivolii. Vincentio’s son, brought up in Florence, It shall become to serve all hopes conceived To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds. And therefore, Tranio, for the time I study Virtue, and that part of philosophy Will I apply that treats of happiness By virtue specially to be achieved. Tell me thy mind, for I have Pisa leftAnd am to Padua come, as he that leaves A shallow plash to plunge him in the deep And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst.

LUCENTIO

Tranio, because I have always longed to see Padua and its famous university, I wanted to stop here on my way to fertile Lombardy, that pleasant garden of great Italy. And now, thanks to my father's love and approval, and your own good company—here I am. So, my trusty, dependable servant, let's rest here a while and begin a course of intellectual studies. I was born in Pisa, famous for its serious citizens, along with my father before me: Vincentio of the Bentivoli family. He was a successful merchant and world traveler, and it now seems fitting that I, Vincentio's son, brought up in Florence, should fulfill all my father's hopes for me and increase his wealth with my own virtuous deeds. And therefore, Tranio, I will study virtue for now, and that area of philosophy that discusses how to achieve happiness through virtue. But tell me what you think of all this, for I have left Pisa and come to Padua, and now I feel like I've left a puddle behind and jumped into an ocean, hoping to quench my thirst.

TRANIO

Mi perdonato, gentle master mine. I am in all affected as yourself, Glad that you thus continue your resolve To suck the sweets of sweet philosophy. Only, good master, while we do admire This virtue and this moral discipline, Let’s be no stoics nor no stocks, I pray, Or so devote to Aristotle’s checks As Ovid be an outcast quite abjured. Balk logic with acquaintance that you have, And practice rhetoric in your common talk; Music and poesy use to quicken you; The mathematics and the metaphysics— Fall to them as you find your stomach serves you. No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en. In brief, sir, study what you most affect.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Gramercies, Tranio, well dost thou advise. If, Biondello, thou wert come ashore, We could at once put us in readiness And take a lodging fit to entertain Such friends as time in Padua shall beget. But stay awhile. What company is this?

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Master, some show to welcome us to town.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO and TRANIO stand by

Enter BAPTISTA, KATHERINE, BIANCA, GREMIO, and HORTENSIO

BAPTISTA

Gentlemen, importune me no farther, For how I firmly am resolved you know— That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter Before I have a husband for the elder. If either of you both love Katherina,Because I know you well and love you wellLeave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.

BAPTISTA

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GREMIO

To cart her, rather. She’s too rough for me.—There, there, Hortensio, will you any wife?

GREMIO

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KATHERINE

[To BAPTISTA] I pray you, sir, is it your willTo make a stale of me amongst these mates?

KATHERINE

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HORTENSIO

“Mates,” maid? how mean you that? No mates for you Unless you were of gentler, milder mold.

HORTENSIO

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KATHERINE

I' faith, sir, you shall never need to fear. I wis it is not halfway to her heart. But if it were, doubt not her care should be To comb your noddle with a three-legged stool And paint your face and use you like a fool.

KATHERINE

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HORTENSIO

From all such devils, good Lord, deliver us!

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

And me too, good Lord!

GREMIO

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TRANIO

[aside to LUCENTIO ] Husht, master, here’s some good pastime toward.That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

[aside to TRANIO ] But in the other’s silence do I seeMaid’s mild behavior and sobriety.Peace, Tranio.

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

[aside to LUCENTIO ] Well said, master. Mum, and gaze your fill.

TRANIO

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BAPTISTA

[To GREMIO and HORTENSIO ] Gentlemen, that I may soon make good What I have said—Bianca, get you in,And let it not displease thee, good Bianca,For I will love thee ne'er the less, my girl.

BAPTISTA

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KATHERINE

A pretty peat! It is bestPut finger in the eye, an she knew why.

KATHERINE

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BIANCA

Sister, content you in my discontent.— Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe. My books and instruments shall be my company,On them to look and practice by myself.

BIANCA

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LUCENTIO

Hark, Tranio! Thou may’st hear Minerva speak.

LUCENTIO

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HORTENSIO

Signior Baptista, will you be so strange?Sorry am I that our goodwill effectsBianca’s grief.

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

Why will you mew her up,Signior Baptista, for this fiend of hellAnd make her bear the penance of her tongue?

GREMIO

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BAPTISTA

Gentlemen, content ye. I am resolved.—Go in, Bianca.

BAPTISTA

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Exit BIANCA

And for I know she taketh most delight In music, instruments, and poetry, Schoolmasters will I keep within my house, Fit to instruct her youth. If you, Hortensio, Or, Signior Gremio, you know any such, Prefer them hither, for to cunning men I will be very kind, and liberal To mine own children in good bringing up. And so farewell.—Katherina, you may stay,For I have more to commune with Bianca.

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Exit

KATHERINE

Why, and I trust I may go too, may I not? What, shall Ibe appointed hours as though, belike, I knew not what to take and what to leave, ha?

KATHERINE

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Exit

GREMIO

You may go to the devil’s dam! Your gifts are so good here’s none will hold you. —Their love is not so great, Hortensio, but we may blow our nails together and fast it fairly out. Our cake’s dough on both sides. Farewell. Yet for the love I bear my sweet Bianca, if I can by any means light on a fit man to teach her that wherein she delights, I will wish him to her father.

GREMIO

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HORTENSIO

So will I, Signior Gremio. But a word, I pray. Though the nature of our quarrel yet never brooked parle, know now upon advice, it toucheth us both, that we may yet again have access to our fair mistress and be happy rivals in Bianca’s love, to labor and effect one thing specially.

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

What’s that, I pray?

GREMIO

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HORTENSIO

Marry, sir, to get a husband for her sister.

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

A husband? A devil!

GREMIO

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HORTENSIO

I say a husband.

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

I say a devil. Think’st thou, Hortensio, though her father be very rich, any man is so very a fool to be married to hell?

GREMIO

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HORTENSIO

Tush, Gremio. Though it pass your patience and mine to endure her loud alarums, why, man, there be good fellowsin the world, an a man could light on them, would take her with all faults, and money enough.

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

I cannot tell. But I had as lief take her dowry with this condition: to be whipped at the high cross every morning.

GREMIO

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HORTENSIO

Faith, as you say, there’s small choice in rotten apples. But come, since this bar in law makes us friends, it shall be so far forth friendly maintained till by helping Baptista’s eldest daughter to a husband we set his youngest free for a husband, and then have to’t afresh. Sweet Bianca! Happy man be his dole! He thatruns fastest gets the ring. How say you, Signior Gremio?

HORTENSIO

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GREMIO

I am agreed, and would I had given him the best horse in Padua to begin his wooing that would thoroughly woo her, wed her, and bed her, and rid the house of her! Come on.

GREMIO

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Exeunt GREMIO and HORTENSIO

TRANIO

I pray, sir, tell me, is it possibleThat love should of a sudden take such hold?

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

O Tranio, till I found it to be true, I never thought it possible or likely. But see, while idly I stood looking on, I found the effect of love in idleness And now in plainness do confess to thee That art to me as secret and as dear As Anna to the Queen of Carthage was, Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio, If I achieve not this young modest girl. Counsel me, Tranio, for I know thou canst. Assist me, Tranio, for I know thou wilt.

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Master, it is no time to chide you now. Affection is not rated from the heart. If love have touched you, naught remains but so: Redime te captum quam queas minimo.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Gramercies, lad, go forward. This contents.The rest will comfort, for thy counsel’s sound.

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Master, you looked so longly on the maid, Perhaps you marked not what’s the pith of all.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Oh yes, I saw sweet beauty in her face Such as the daughter of Agenor had, That made great Jove to humble him to her hand When with his knees he kissed the Cretan strand.

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Saw you no more? Marked you not how her sisterBegan to scold and raise up such a stormThat mortal ears might hardly endure the din?

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Tranio, I saw her coral lips to moveAnd with her breath she did perfume the air. Sacred and sweet was all I saw in her.

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

[aside] Nay, then, ’tis time to stir him from his trance.— I pray, awake, sir! If you love the maid, Bend thoughts and wits to achieve her. Thus it stands: Her eldest sister is so curst and shrewd That till the father rid his hands of her, Master, your love must live a maid at home, And therefore has he closely mewed her up, Because she will not be annoyed with suitors.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Ah, Tranio, what a cruel father’s he! But art thou not advised, he took some careTo get her cunning schoolmasters to instruct her?

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Ay, marry, am I, sir; and now ’tis plotted!

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

I have it, Tranio!

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Master, for my hand,Both our inventions meet and jump in one.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Tell me thine first.

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

You will be schoolmasterAnd undertake the teaching of the maid:That’s your device.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

It is. May it be done?

LUCENTIO

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TRANIO

Not possible. For who shall bear your part And be in Padua here Vincentio’s son, Keep house and ply his book, welcome his friends, Visit his countrymen and banquet them?

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Basta, content thee, for I have it full. We have not yet been seen in any house, Nor can we be distinguished by our faces For man or master. Then it follows thus: Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead, Keep house and port and servants as I should. I will some other be, some Florentine, Some Neapolitan, or meaner man of Pisa. 'Tis hatched, and shall be so. Tranio, at once Uncase thee. Take my colored hat and cloak.

LUCENTIO

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They exchange clothes

When Biondello comes, he waits on thee,But I will charm him first to keep his tongue.

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TRANIO

So had you need. In brief, sir, sith it your pleasure is, And I am tied to be obedient— For so your father charged me at our parting, "Be serviceable to my son," quoth he, Although I think 'twas in another sense— I am content to be Lucentio Because so well I love Lucentio.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Tranio, be so, because Lucentio loves,And let me be a slave t'achieve that maidWhose sudden sight hath thralled my wounded eye.

LUCENTIO

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Enter BIONDELLO

Here comes the rogue. Sirrah, where have you been?

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BIONDELLO

Where have I been? Nay, how now, where are you? Master,has my fellow Tranio stolen your clothes? Or you stolenhis? Or both? Pray, what’s the news?

BIONDELLO

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LUCENTIO

Sirrah, come hither: ’tis no time to jest, And therefore frame your manners to the time. Your fellow Tranio here, to save my life, Puts my apparel and my countenance on, And I for my escape have put on his; For in a quarrel since I came ashore I killed a man and fear I was descried. Wait you on him, I charge you, as becomes, While I make way from hence to save my life. You understand me?

LUCENTIO

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BIONDELLO

Aye, sir. [aside] Ne'er a whit.

BIONDELLO

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LUCENTIO

And not a jot of “Tranio” in your mouth. Tranio is changed into Lucentio.

LUCENTIO

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BIONDELLO

The better for him. Would I were so too.

BIONDELLO

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TRANIO

So could I, faith, boy, to have the next wish after, That Lucentio indeed had Baptista’s youngest daughter. But, sirrah, not for my sake, but your master’s, I advise You use your manners discreetly in all kind of companies. When I am alone, why then I am Tranio; But in all places else, your master Lucentio.

TRANIO

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LUCENTIO

Tranio, let’s go. One thing more rests, that thyself execute, To make one among these wooers. If thou ask me why, Sufficeth my reasons are both good and weighty.

LUCENTIO

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Exeunt

The presenters above speak

FIRST SERVANT

My lord, you nod. You do not mind the play.

FIRST SERVANT

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SLY

Yes, by Saint Anne, do I. A good matter, surely. Comes there any more of it?

SLY

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PAGE

My lord, ’tis but begun.

PAGE

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SLY

'Tis a very excellent piece of work, madam lady. Would’twere done.

SLY

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They sit and mark

The taming of the shrew
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.