Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

They sit
Lat table.

And then, with mutual explanations, they travel together to Signior Lucentio's house.

A bounteous feast is prepared : and all the guests are assembled to celebrate the wedding of Signior Lucentio to the pretty Bianca. Among these, we see old Signior Vincentio, and his travelling friends Petrucio and Katharina : besides the pedant Gremio, and, of course, the new Bride and Bridegroom: with a group of visitors, including Tranio, Biondello, and Grumio. But see: in yonder shady corner sit another newly married pair: it is Hortensio and the “wealthy widow,” whom he had prudently selected to console himself for the loss of the pretty Bianca. But, hush: the happy bridegroom Lucentio is about to address his friends : Luc. At 'last, though 'long, our jarring notes agree:

And time it is, wben raging 'war is done,
To smile at 'scapes and perils overblown.
My fair Bianca, bid 'my father welcome,
While I, with self-same kindness, welcome 'thine.-
Brother Petrucio,-sister Katharina, -
And thou, Hortensio, with thy loving widow,-
Feast with the best, and welcome to my

house.
Pray you, sit down, to 'chat, as well as eat.
Pet. Nothing but sit and sit, and eat and eat!
Bap. 'Padua affords this kindness, son Petrucio.
Pet. Padua affords nothing but what 'is kind.

Hortensio, the newly married man, says :
Hor. For 'both our sakes, I would that word were 'true.

Petrucio cries out:
Pet. Now, for my life, Hortensio 'fears' his widow!

The Widow merrily interposes :
Wid. Then never trust me, if 'I be afeard.
Pet. You 're very sensible, and yet you miss 'my sense :

I mean, Hortensio is afeard of 'you.
Wid. He that is giddy thinks the 'world turns round.

Katharine asks:
Kath. Mistress, how 'mean you that ?
Wid. 'Your husband, being troubled with a 'shrew,

Measures 'my husband's sorrow by his woe:

And now you 'know my meaning. Kath. A very 'mean meaning!

And so the merriment proceeds till the Ladies retire. The Gentlemen continue their jests by making comparison of their wives : Baptista says: Bap. Now, in good sadness, son Petrucio,

I think 'thou hast the veriest shrew of all.

10. R. come.

b dreads.

Exit Bioneello.

re

Pet. Well, 'I say 'no: and therefore, for assurance,

Let each one of us 'send unto his wife ;
And he, whose wife is 'most obedient,
(To come at 'first when he doth send for her,)

Shall 'win the wager which we will propose.
Hor. Content. What is the wager ?
Luc.

Twenty crowns.
Pet. 'Twenty crowns !

I'll venture so much on' my hawk or hound,

But'twenty times so much upon my 'wife!
Luc. A 'hundred, then ?
Pet. Content. Who shall begin ?

. Luc.

That will 'I.
Go, Biondello, bid your

mistress come to me. [ Bap. Son, I will be your 'half, Bianca 'comes. Luc. I'll have no'balves; I'll bear it 'all myself. [Brands alone.

How now! what news ? Bion.

Sir, my mistress sends

you

word That she is 'busy, and she 'cannot come. Pet. How! she is busy, and she 'cannot come!

Is that an 'answer?
Gre.

Ay, and a 'kind one too:
Pray heaven, sir, 'your wife send you not a 'worse.
Pet. I hope, 'better.

Hortensio says:
Hor. Sirrah Biondello, go, and entreat 'my wife
To come to m3 forthwith.

[ Pet. O ho!'entreat her! Nay,then, she must 'needs come. IIor. I am afraid, sir,

Do what you can, 'yours will not be entreated.
Now, where 's

my

wifo? Bion. She says, you have some goodly 'jest in hand ;

She 'will not come: she bids you come to 'her.
Pet. Worse and worse! she 'will not come? O vile!

Intolerable! not to be endured!
Sirrah Grumio, go to 'your mistress ; say,

I 'command her come to me.
Hor. I know her answer. She will 'not.
Pet. The 'fouler fortune mine and there an end !

Hortensio's prediction is falsified, and the general expectation defeated, by the immediate entrance of Katharine. Kath. What is your will, sir, that you 'send for me?

Exit Biondello

(Biondello again returns alone.

Exit _Grumio.

a O. R. of.

- Exit

Pet. Where is your sister ? and Hortensio's wife?
Rath. They sit conferring by the parlour-fire.
Pet. Go, 'fetch them hither: if they 'deny to come,

'Swinge me them soundly forth unto their husbands.

Away, I say, and 'bring them hither 'straight. .
Luc. 'Here is a wonder, if you talk of wonders.
Hor. And so it is. I wonder what it 'bodes.
Pet. Marry, 'peace it bodes, and love, and quiet life,

An awful rule, and right supremacy ;
And, to be short, What 'not, that's sweet and happy?

The merry old father Baptista says :
Bap. Now fair befall thee, good Petrucio!

The wager 'thou hast won! and I will add,
Unto 'their losses, twenty'thousand crowns ;-
'Another dowry to another daughter ;-

For she 'is changed, as she had never been.
Pet. Nay, I will win my wager 'better yet.

See, where she comes, and 'brings your froward wives
As 'prisoners to her womanly persuasion. –
Katharine returns, with her sister Bianca and the Widow.
Katharine, that cap of yours 'becomes you not:

'
'Off with that bauble! Throw it under foot!
She at once pulls off her cap and throws it down.

The Widow says:
Wid. O! let me never have a cause to sigh,
Till 'I be brought to such a silly pass!

Bianca adds:
Bian. Fie! what a 'foolish duty call you

this?
Her husband replies :
Luc. I would, 'your duty were as foolish too.
Pet. Katharine, I charge thee, tell these headstrong women
What duty they do owe their lords and husbands?

The Widow is a shocked":
Wid. Come, come, you 're mocking: we will have no

telling.
The obedient Katharine, therefore, begins with the Widow :
Kath. Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
And dart not 'scornful glances from those eyes,

A predicts, foretells,

[ocr errors]

a

To wound thy lord,—thy king, thy governor !
It blots thy beauty, as frosts ofta bite the meads."
A 'woman 'moved, is like a fountain 'troubled, -
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty ;
And, 'while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip, or touch one 'drop of it.
Thy husband is thy 'lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for 'thee
And for thy 'maintenance ; commits his body
To painful labour, both by sea and land;
To watch the 'night in storms, the day in 'cold,
Whilst 'thou liest warm at home, secure and safe ;
And craves no 'other tribute at thy hands,
But 'love, 'fair looks, and true 'obedience,-
Too 'little payment for so great a 'debt!
I am ashamed, that women are so simple
To offer 'war, where they should kneel for 'peace ;
Or seek for 'rule, supremacy,

When they are bound to 'serve, 'love, and 'obey.
Pet. Why, there's a wench! Come on, and kiss me, Kate.

She does not refuse him this time. Hortensio says to Petrucio :
Hor. Now go thy ways, thou hast tamed a cursed shrewo.

Lucentio adds :
Luc. 'T is wonder, by your leave, she 'is tamed so".

And the exultant Petrucio concludes:
Pet. 'I won the wager, though 'you hit the white;"

And 'being a winner, Heaven give you all “Good

and sway,

night!”

(Exeunt.

END OF THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.

a O. R. do.
b meadows.

CO. R. thou hast tam'd a curst shrow 10. R. 'Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tam'd so. e a phrase in archery : the central part of the “bull's eye” was usually painted whitē; also a punning allusion to the name of Bianca (white). ftwo transposed lines.

A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.

The beautifully poetic Comedy of “A Midsummer Night's Dream," (which has been aptly described as “a play of fancy, and a plea for fancy,") was twice printed in 1600;" but it must have been performed at least two years earlier, as it is mentioned in Meres' list of 1598. (See p. 6.)

Love is the general theme; but the lovers are like Tennysons “ Pleiades ”_"A nest of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.”_

There were many legendary sources whence the loves of Theseus and Hippolyta might have been obtained :-Statius in his • • Thebaid" Boccaccio in his “ Teseide "-or Chaucer in his “Knight's Tale."Besides, fairy lore and witch tradition were fashionable in Shakespeare's day; and the poet was evidently well acquainted with all the folk-lore superstitions of the King and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon and Titania, (or Mab, as he elsewhere calls her) and of Puck, or Robin Good-fellow—the “lob "of spirits, his royal master's jester, companion, and chief agent in mischief, fough and shockpated; contrasting with the dainty-limbed delicacy of spiritual refinement, and the clumsy grotesqueness of dull-brained humanity.

The story of “Pyramus and Thisbe" is also a time-honoured theme with poets—from Ovid, (a translation of whose “Metamorphoses," by Golding, appeared in 1527) to Saxe, the American humourist. The performance of “the most lamentable comedy by the “great unwashed” of Athens, may have had its prototype among the Poet's fellow-townsmen in Stratford-on-Avon.

“I am convinced," writes Coleridge, “that Shakespeare availed himself of the title of this Play in his own mind, and worked upon it as a 'Dream' throughout;" and though the story of the “most cruel comedy" be the “silliest stuff," yet the remark of Theseus redeems it from 'folly :-“ The 'best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse, if Imagination amend them."

This Comedy consists of four incongruous histories :—that of Theseus and Hippolyta-of the four Athenian lovers, Lysander and Demetrius, Helena and Hermia ;-of the hard-handed mechanics who would fain become great actors in the classic city of Athens ;—and of the Fairies, headea by Oberon and Titania, their King and Queen, with Puck as their Prime Minister in mischief.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The following is the entry on the “Stationers' Register” of October 8, 1600 : “Tho. Fisher) A booke called a Midsomer Nyghte Dreame." This first Quarto, (known as Fisher's,) has the following title: "A Midsommer nights dreame : As it hath beene sundry times publickely acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Bhakespeare. Imprinted at London for Thomas Fisher, and are to be soulde at his shoppe at the signe of the White Hart in Fleete streete, 1600 "

The second Quarto, (known as Roberts',) is nearly the same, but with the addition of a few stage directions : it appeared shortly after, in the same year : “A Midsommer nights dreame, As it hath beene sundry times publikely acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Shakespeare. Printed by Iames Roberts, 1600.”

« AnteriorContinuar »