« PreviousContinue »
authority: but how was I surprised, when I found that Cockayn ascribes nothing more to Shakspeare, than the Induction-WincotAle and the Beggar! I hope this was only a slip of Mr. Capell's memory. FARMER.
In spite of the great deference which is due from every commentator to Dr. Farmer's judgment, I own I cannot concur with him on the present occasion. I know not to whom I could impute this comedy, if Shakspeare was not its author. I think his hand is visible in almost every scene, though perhaps not so evidently as in those which pass between Katharine and Petruchio.
I once thought that the name of this play might have been taken from an old story, entitled, The Wyf lapped in Morell's Skin, or The Taming of a Shrew; but I have since discovered among the entries in the books of the Stationers' Company the following: "Peter Shorte] May 2, 1594, a pleasaunt conceyted historie, called, The Taminge of a Shrowe." It is likewise entered to Nich. Ling, Jan. 22, 1606; and to John Smythwicke, Nov. 19, 1607.
It was no uncommon practice among the authors of the age of Shakspeare, to avail themselves of the titles of ancient performances. Thus, as Mr. Warton has observed, Spenser sent out his Pastorals under the title of The Shepherd's Kalendar, a work which had been printed by Wynken de Worde, and reprinted about twenty years before these poems of Spenser appeared, viz. 1559.
Dr. Percy, in the first volume of his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, is of opinion, that The Frolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's good Fortune, an ancient ballad in the Pepys' Collection, might have suggested to Shakspeare the Induction for this comedy.
The following story, however, which might have been the parent of all the rest, is related by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 649: "A Tartur Prince, saith Marcus Polus, Lib. II. cap. 28, called Senex de Montibus, the better to establish his government amongst his subjects, and to keepe them in awe, found a convenient place in a pleasant valley environed with hills, in which he made a delitious parke full of odoriferous flowers and fruits, and a palace full of all worldly contents that could possibly be devised, musicke, pictures, variety of meats, &c. and chose out a certaine young man whom with a soporiferous potion he so benummed, that he perceived nothing; and so, fast asleepe as he was, caused him to be conveied into this faire garden. Where, after he had lived a while in all such pleasures a sensuall man could desire, he cast him into a sleepe againe, and brought him forth, that when he waked he might tell others he had beene in Paradise."-Marco Paolo, quoted by Burton, was a traveller of the 13th century.
Beaumont and Fletcher wrote what may be called a sequel to this comedy, viz. The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tam'd; in which Petruchio is subdued by a second wife. STEEVENS. Our author's Taming of the Shrew was written, I imagine, in 1594. MALONE.
Baptista, a rich Gentleman of Padua.
Persons in the
Lucentio, Son to Vincentio, in love with Bianca. Petruchio, a Gentleman of Verona, a Suitor to Katharina.
Hortensio, Suitors to Bianca.
Pedant, an old Fellow set up to personate Vincentio.
Katharina, the Shrew;
Bianca, her Sister,
} Daughters to Baptista.
Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants attending on Baptista and Petruchio.
SCENE, sometimes in Padua; and sometimes in Petruchio's House in the Country.
Before an Alehouse on a Heath.
Enter Hostess and SLY.
Sly. I'll pheese you,' in faith.
Host. A pair of stocks, you rogue!
Sly. Y'are a baggage; the Slies are no rogues:2 Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris; let the world slide: Sessa!
Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst ?4
1 I'll pheese you,] To pheese or fease, is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harrass, to plague, or to beat. Perhaps I'll pheese you, may be equivalent to I'll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character on like
—no rogues:] That is, vagrants, no mean fellows, but gentlemen. JOHNSON.
paucas pallabris:] Sly, as an ignorant fellow, is purposely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas palabras, i. e. few words: as they do likewise, Cessu, i. e. be quiet.
— you have burst?] To burst and to break were anciently synonymous. Burst is still used for broke in the North of England.
Sly. No, not a denier: Go by, says Jeronimy;Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.'
Host. I know my remedy, I must go fetch the thirdborough.
[Exit. Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law: I'll not budge an inch, boy; let him come, and kindly.
[Lies down on the ground, and falls asleep.
Wind Horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with Huntsmen and Servants.
Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds:
Brach Merriman,—the poor cur is emboss'd,"
I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.
1 Hun. Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord; He cried upon it at the merest loss,
And twice to-day pick'd out the dullest scent:
Go by, says Jeronimy;-Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.] These phrases are allusions to a fustian old play, called Hieronymo, or the Spanish Tragedy, which was the common butt of raillery to all the poets in Shakspeare's time.
6the thirdborough.] The office of Thirdborough is the same with that of Constable, except in places where there are both, in which case the former is little more than the constable's assistant. 7 Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd,] The Commentators are not agreed as to the meaning of brach; it is a species of hound, but of what kind, uncertain. Mr. Malone thinks that Brach is a verb; and Sir T. Hanmer reads Leech Merriman: i. e. apply some remedies to him.
Emboss'd is a hunting term. When a deer is hard run, and foams at the mouth, he is said to be emboss'd. A dog also when he is strained with hard running (especially upon hard ground,) will have his knees swelled, and then he is said to be emboss'd: from the French word bosse, which signifies a tumour.