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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

Pardon me, my gentle master. I agree with everything you've said, and I'm glad that you've followed through with your decision to enjoy all the pleasures of sweet philosophy. Only, good master, while we're studying all this admirable virtue and moral discipline, let's not become stoics or stocks, and let's not focus on Aristotle's restraints so much that we forget to read Ovid. Practice your logic with the friends you have, and use rhetoric in everyday talk. Stimulate yourself with music and poetry. And as for mathematics and metaphysics—follow your appetite, and only study what you can stomach. You'll gain no profit from something you take no pleasure in. In short, sir, study what you enjoy.

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

Many thanks, Tranio, for the good advice. If Biondello would come ashore, we could get ready at once and find a place to stay. Then we would have a place to entertain the friends we'll make here in Padua. But wait a minute. Who are all these people?

TRANIO

Master, some show to welcome us to town.

TRANIO

Master, maybe it's a gathering to welcome us to town.

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

Gentlemen, stop pestering me about this. You know that my mind is made up. I won't let my younger daughter marry until I've found a husband for the elder one. I know and like both of you, so if either of you loves Katherine, then you have my permission to court her as you please.

GREMIO

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

GREMIO

To cart her, is more likely.

KATHERINE

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

KATHERINE

[To BAPTISTA] Please, sir, is it your intention to make a laughingstock of me in front of these mates?

HORTENSIO

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

HORTENSIO

"Mates," girl? What do you mean by that? You won't have any mates until you improve your temper.

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

Don't worry, sir, you don't need to worry about being my husband. Indeed, marriage doesn't appeal to my heart. But even if it did, the only thing I'd want to do with you is knock you on the head with a three-legged stool, scratch up your face, and make you my fool.

HORTENSIO

From all such devils, good Lord, deliver us!

HORTENSIO

May God preserve us from all devils like her!

GREMIO

And me too, good Lord!

GREMIO

And me too, good Lord!

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

[So only LUCENTIO can hear] Keep quiet master, here's some entertainment for us. That girl is either insane or incredibly disobedient.

LUCENTIO

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

LUCENTIO

[So only TRANIO can hear] But her sister is silent, and seems to have a proper girl's mildness and obedience. Quiet, Tranio.

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

[So only LUCENTIO can hear] You're right, master. Let's keep quiet and enjoy the sight.

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

[To GREMIO and HORTENSIO] Gentlemen, I want to make good on what I've said—so Bianca, go inside. And don't let this make you unhappy, good Bianca, for I'll never love you any less, my girl.

KATHERINE

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

KATHERINE

What a spoiled pet! If she knew what she was doing, she would have put on a show of weeping.

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

Sister, let yourself be happy in my unhappiness. Sir, I will humbly obey your will. My books and musical instruments will be my companions. I will read and practice by myself.

LUCENTIO

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

LUCENTIO

Listen, Tranio! It sounds like Minerva speaking .

HORTENSIO

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

HORTENSIO

Sir Baptista, will you really act so unnaturally? I'm sorry that our good will towards Bianca should cause her grief.

GREMIO

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

GREMIO

Why would you cage her up in place of this fiend from hell, Sir Baptista, and punish her for her sister's tongue?

BAPTISTA

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

BAPTISTA

Gentleman, calm down. I've made my decision, and I can't be swayed.—Go inside, Bianca.

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.

And I know that she loves music, playing her instruments, and poetry, so I'll keep tutors in my house to instruct her. If either of you, Hortensio and Sir Gremio, know of any good tutors, then recommend them to me. I'll pay well for good teachers, and won't spare anything in giving my children a good education. So farewell.—Katherine, you may stay. I have more to talk about with Bianca.

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

Well, I can go too, can't I? What, do I have to start making appointments now, as if I didn't know when to come and go?

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

You can go straight to the devil! No one here can stand your "gifts."

[To HORTENSIO] Hortensio, our love for women isn't so great that we can't twiddle our thumbs and wait this out. We're out of luck for now. Farewell. But because of my love for sweet Bianca, I'll try to find a suitable man to teach her in the subjects she enjoys, and send him to her father.

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

So will I, Sir Gremio. But wait, let me have a word with you first, please. Though we've always been opponents, never allies, when you think about it, it's now important to us both that we regain access to our fair mistress, so that we can once again be friendly rivals competing for Bianca's love. But first we have to work to achieve one thing.

GREMIO

What’s that, I pray?

GREMIO

And what's that?

HORTENSIO

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

HORTENSIO

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

GREMIO

A husband? A devil!

GREMIO

A husband? A devil!

HORTENSIO

I say a husband.

HORTENSIO

I say a husband.

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

I say a devil. Do you really think, Hortensio, that any man is foolish enough to marry hell itself—even if her father is very rich?

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

Hush, Gremio. Even though you and I don't have the patience to put up with her loud cries, why, man, there are good fellows in this world, if we could only find them, who would take her with all her faults—and enough money.

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

I'm not sure. I would rather take her dowry and be whipped in public every morning than have to put up with her.

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

Well, as you say, it's a choice between two evils. But come, since this great obstacle makes us allies, let's be friends until we can find a husband for Baptista's elder daughter. Then we'll set the younger daughter free to be courted, and we can resume our competition. Sweet Bianca! Happy is the man who wins you! To the victor go the spoils. What do you say, Sir Gremio?

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

I agree with this plan. If we can find the right man, I'd give him the best horse in Padua to start wooing Katherine immediately, marry her, take her to bed, and rid the house of her! Come on.

Exeunt GREMIO and HORTENSIO

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

Please tell me, sir, is it possible that love could overpower a person so suddenly?

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

Oh Tranio, I never thought it possible or likely until it happened to me. But see, while I stood here watching this unfold, I suddenly found myself struck with love. You are as trustworthy and dear to me as Anna was to Dido, Queen of Carthage, so I must plainly confess to you, Tranio: I'm on fire, I'm burning, I'm filled with longing. Tranio—I'll die if I can't win this modest young girl for myself. Advise me, Tranio, for I know you can. Help me, Tranio, for I know you will.

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

Master, now's not the time to scold you. Affection can't be driven out of the heart. If love has really touched you, then there's only one thing to be done. As the Latin grammar book says, "Ransom yourself from captivity as cheaply as you can."

LUCENTIO

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

LUCENTIO

Many thanks, friend. Go on. This is helping. Your advice is good, so I know the rest of it will comfort me.

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

Master, you spent so much time looking at the girl that you might have missed the heart of the matter here.

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

Oh yes, I saw the sweet beauty in her face, just like that of Europa, the daughter of Agenor—beauty that made even the great god Jove fall in love and humble himself, falling to his knees and kissing the ground on that beach in Crete.

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

Is that all you saw? Didn't you notice how her sister began to scold and cause such a ruckus that human ears could hardly endure the noise?

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

Tranio, I saw her coral-pink lips move, and her breath perfume the air. Everything I saw in her was holy and sweet.

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

[To himself] Well, then, it's time to wake him up from his trance.

[To LUCENTIO]—Wake up, sir! If you love this girl, then start using your wits to figure out how to win her. This is how things stand right now: her older sister is such a bad-tempered shrew that her father wants to get rid of her. He's keeping your beloved locked up at home until he does, and not letting any suitors bother her.

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

Ah, Tranio, what a cruel father he is! But didn't you hear how he wanted to hire good tutors to instruct her?

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

Yes, I did, sir—and now I've got a plan!

LUCENTIO

I have it, Tranio!

LUCENTIO

I have it, Tranio!

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

Master, I think we both had the same idea at the same time.

LUCENTIO

Tell me thine first.

LUCENTIO

Tell me your idea first.

TRANIO

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

TRANIO

You will be a tutor and offer to teach the girl. Is that your plan?

LUCENTIO

It is. May it be done?

LUCENTIO

It is. Can it be done?

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

It's impossible. Who would take your place and be Vincentio's son here in Padua, living in your house and studying your books, welcoming your friends, visiting and dining with your fellow countrymen from Pisa?

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

Enough—don't worry, I have it all planned out. No one has seen us yet, so no one knows which of us is the master and which is the servant. So this is how it'll go: you'll be the master, Tranio, and replace me. You'll maintain my rank, live in my house, and keep servants, just as I would do. I, on the other hand, will be some other man—some fellow from Florence or Naples, or a low-ranking man from Pisa. Well, that's the plan, so let's do it. Tranio, undress yourself at once, and put on my colored hat and cloak.

They exchange clothes

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

When Biondello comes, he must wait on you like you're his master. But first I'll persuade him to keep all this a secret.

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

That's very important. Since this is what you want, sir, and I am sworn to obey you—for that's what your father commanded me when we left, saying, "Serve my son," although I don't think he had this in mind—I will pretend to be Lucentio, because I love the real Lucentio so much.

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

Good, Tranio, for the real Lucentio is also in love. I will even become a slave if it will win me that girl, whose appearance has bewitched my lovestruck eyes.

Enter BIONDELLO

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

Here comes that rascal. Boy, where have you been?

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

Where have I been? The real question is, where are you? Master, has Tranio stolen your clothes? Or have you stolen his? Or both? Please tell me, what's going on?

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

Boy, come here. This is no time for jokes, so get serious. Your fellow Tranio here has taken on my outward appearance to save my life, and I have put on his appearance in order to escape. I've been in a fight since we came ashore, and I killed a man. I'm afraid that someone saw me. So for now you must wait on Tranio like he's your master, while I make my escape and save my life. Do you understand me?

BIONDELLO

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

BIONDELLO

Yes, sir. 

[To himself] Not a bit.

LUCENTIO

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

LUCENTIO

And don't ever let the name "Tranio" slip out. "Tranio" is now "Lucentio."

BIONDELLO

The better for him. Would I were so too.

BIONDELLO

All the better for him. I wish I could be Lucentio too.

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

I'd second your wish, boy, if it meant that the next wish gave Baptista's youngest daughter to Lucentio. But for your master's sake, boy, not mine, I advise you to be discreet in the company of others. When we're alone, then I'm Tranio. But everywhere else, I'm your master Lucentio.

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

Tranio, let's go. One more thing still has to be done, and it's up to you to arrange it. You have to become another suitor to Bianca. Don't ask me why—just trust that I have a good reason for doing this.

Exeunt

The presenters above speak

FIRST SERVANT

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

FIRST SERVANT

[To SLY] My lord, you're falling asleep. You're not watching the play.

SLY

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

SLY

I am watching, by God, I am. It's a good play, to be sure. Is there any more?

PAGE

My lord, ’tis but begun.

PAGE

My lord, it's only just begun.

SLY

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

SLY

It's a very excellent piece of work, madam lady. I wish it were over.

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.