[Padua, outside the house of Hortensio (one of Bianca’s suitors). Enter Petruchio, Hortensio’s friend from Verona, who has arrived in town to visit him. Petruchio’s accompanied by his rascally servant, Grumio (not to be confused with Gremio, the elder suitor of Bianca.]
Verona, for a while I take my leave
To see my friends in Padua, but of all,
My best belovèd and approvèd friend,
Hortensio; and I trow this is his house.
Here, sirrah Grumio, knock, I say.
Grumio (Petruchio’s servant)
Knock, sir? Whom should I knock? Is there any
man has rebused your worship?
Villain, I say, knock me here soundly.
Knock you here, sir? Why, sir, what am I, sir, that
I should knock you here, sir?
Villain, I say, knock me at this gate,
and rap me well, or I'll knock your knave's pate.
My master is grown quarrelsome.
I should knock you first,
And then I know after who comes by the worst.
Will it not be?
Faith, sirrah, an you'll not knock, I'll ring it;
[He wrings Grumio by the ears who falls to the ground screaming]
I'll try how you can ‘sol,’ ‘fa,’ and sing it.
Help, masters, help! My master is mad.
Now, knock when I bid you, sirrah villain.
How now, what's the matter my old friend
Grumio and my good friend Petruchio? How do you all
Signior Hortensio, come you to part the fray?
Con tutti le core bene trobatto, may I say.
'Alla nostra casa bene venuto, multo honorata signior mio Petruchio.'
Rise, Grumio, rise. We will compound this quarrel.
Nay, 'tis no matter, sir, what he 'leges in Latin.
If this be not a lawful cause for me to leave his service!
Look you, sir; he bid me knock him and rap him soundly,
sir. Well, was it fit for a servant to use his master so, being
perhaps, for aught I see, two and thirty, a pip out?
Whom would to God I had well knocked at first,
Then had not Grumio come by the worst.
A senseless villain. Good Hortensio,
I bade the rascal knock upon your gate,
And could not get him for my heart to do it.
Knock at the gate? O heavens! Spake you not these
words plain: 'Sirrah, knock me here, rap me here, knock
me well, and knock me soundly'? And come you now
with, 'knocking at the gate'?
Sirrah, be gone, or talk not, I advise you.
Petruchio, patience; I am Grumio's pledge.
Why, this' a heavy chance 'twixt him and you,
Your ancient, trusty, pleasant servant Grumio.
And tell me now, sweet friend, what happy gale
Blows you to Padua here from old Verona?
Such wind as scatters young men through the world
To seek their fortunes farther than at home,
Where small experience grows. But in a few,
Signor Hortensio, thus it stands with me:
Antonio, my father, is deceased,
And I have thrust myself into this maze,
Happily to wive and thrive as best I may.
Crowns in my purse I have, and goods at home,
And so am come abroad to see the world.
Petruchio, shall I then come roundly to thee
And wish thee to a shrewd ill-favoured wife?
Thou'dst thank me but a little for my counsel;
And yet I'll promise thee, she shall be rich,
And very rich. But thou'rt too much my friend,
And I'll not wish thee to her.
Signior Hortensio, 'twixt such friends as we,
Few words suffice; and therefore, if thou know
One rich enough to be Petruchio's wife —
As wealth is burden of my wooing dance —
Be she as foul as was Florentius' love,
As old as Sibyl, and as curst and shrewd
As Socrates' Xanthippe or a worse.
She moves me not — or not removes at least
Affection's edge in me — were she as rough
As are the swelling Adriatic seas.
I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily, in Padua.
[To Hortensio] Nay, look you, sir, he tells you flatly what his mind
is. Why, give him gold enough and marry him to a puppet
or an aglet-baby, or an old trot with ne'er a tooth in her
head, though she have as many diseases as two-and-fifty
horses. Why, nothing comes amiss, so money comes
Petruchio, since we are stepped thus far in,
I will continue that I broached in jest.
I can, Petruchio, help thee to a wife
With wealth enough, and young and beauteous,
Brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman.
Her only fault, and that is faults enough,
Is that she is intolerable curst,
And shrewd, and froward, so beyond all measure
That, were my state far worser than it is,
I would not wed her for a mine of gold.
Hortensio, peace! Thou know'st not gold's effect.
Tell me her father's name and 'tis enough.
For I will board her, though she chide as loud
As thunder when the clouds in autumn crack.
Her father is Baptista Minola,
An affable and courteous gentleman;
Her name is Katherina Minola,
Renowned in Padua for her scolding tongue.
I know her father, though I know not her,
And he knew my deceased father well.
I will not sleep, Hortensio, till I see her;
And therefore let me be thus bold with you,
To give you over at this first encounter,
Unless you will accompany me thither.
[To Hortensio] I pray you, sir, let him go while the
humor lasts. O' my word, an she knew him as well as
I do, she would think scolding would do little good
upon him. She may perhaps call him half a score
knaves or so — why, that's nothing. An he begin once,
he'll rail in his rope tricks. I'll tell you what, sir, an she
stand him but a little, he will throw a figure in her face,
and so disfigure her with it that she shall have no more
eyes to see withal than a cat. You know him not, sir.
Tarry, Petruchio, I must go with thee,
For in Baptista's keep my treasure is.
He hath the jewel of my life in hold,
And her withholds from me and others more,
Suitors to her, and rivals in my love.
Supposing it a thing impossible —
For those defects I have before rehearsed —
That ever Katherina will be woo'd,
Therefore this order hath Baptista ta'en:
That none shall have access unto Bianca
Till Katherine the curst have got a husband.
‘Katherine the curst!’
A title for a maid, of all titles, the worst.
Now shall my friend Petruchio do me grace,
And offer me disguised in sober robes
To old Baptista as a schoolmaster,
Well seen in music to instruct Bianca,
That so I may by this device at least
Have leave and leisure to make love to her,
And, unsuspected, court her by herself.
Here's no knavery. See, to beguile the old folks, how
the young folks lay their heads together!
[Enter Gremio (the elderly suitor of Bianca) with Lucentio.]
Master, master, look about you who goes there, ha.
Peace, Grumio, it is the rival of my love.
Petruchio, stand by a while.
[Referring to the elderly Gremio] A proper stripling and an amorous!
[Petruchio, Hortensio, and Grumio (Petruchio's servant) stand aside and eavesdrop on the conversation between Lucentio and Gremio, the elderly suitor of Bianca. Lucentio, knowing that Gremio would be looking for a teacher he could present to Baptista to gain Baptista’s good favor, has previously introduced himself as Cambio, a language teacher. Gremio is holding an order for some books about love that he wants Lucentio to use when he teaches Bianca. We join them mid-conversation.]
O, very well; I have perused the note.
Hark you, sir, I'll have them very fairly bound,
All books of love. See that at any hand;
And see you read no other lectures to her.
You understand me? Over and beside
Signor Baptista's liberality,
I'll mend it with a largess. Take your paper too,
And let me have them very well perfumed,
For she is sweeter than perfume itself
To whom they go to. What will you read to her?
Whate'er I read to her, I'll plead for you
As for my patron. Stand you so assured
As firmly as yourself were still in place —
Yea, and perhaps with more successful words
Than you, unless you were a scholar, sir.
O this learning, what a thing it is!
Grumio (Petruchio’s servant)
[Aside, referring to Gremio] O this woodcock, what an ass it is!
[Aside to Grumio] Peace, sirrah!
[Aside] Grumio, mum! [Aloud] God save you, Signor Gremio.
And you are well met, Signior Hortensio. Trow you
whither I am going? To Baptista Minola. I promised to
inquire carefully about a schoolmaster for the fair Bianca;
and by good fortune I have lighted well on this young
man, for learning and behavior fit for her turn, well read
in poetry and other books — good ones, I warrant ye.
'Tis well, and I have met a gentleman
Hath promised me to help me to another,
A fine musician to instruct our mistress.
So shall I no whit be behind in duty
To fair Bianca, so beloved of me.
Beloved of me — and that, my deeds shall prove.
[Aside] And that, his bags shall prove.
Gremio, 'tis now no time to vent our love.
Listen to me, and if you speak me fair,
I'll tell you news indifferent good for either.
[Presenting Petruchio] Here is a gentleman whom by chance I met,
Upon agreement from us to his liking,
Will undertake to woo curst Katherine,
Yea, and to marry her, if her dowry please.
So said, so done, is well.
Hortensio, have you told him all her faults?
I know she is an irksome brawling scold.
If that be all, masters, I hear no harm.
No, say'st me so, friend? What countryman?
Born in Verona, old Antonio's son.
My father dead, my fortune lives for me,
And I do hope good days and long to see.
O sir, such a life with such a wife were strange.
But if you have a stomach, to't in God's name;
You shall have me assisting you in all.
But will you woo this wildcat?
Will I live?
[Aside] Will he woo her? Ay, or I'll hang her.
Why came I hither but to that intent?
Think you a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
Have I not heard the sea, puffed up with winds,
Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
And heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
Have I not, in a pitched battle, heard
Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets' clang?
And do you tell me of a woman's tongue,
That gives not half so great a blow to hear
As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire?
Tush, tush, fear boys with bugs.
[Aside] For he fears none.
This gentleman is happily arrived,
My mind presumes, for his own good and ours.
I promised we would be contributors,
And bear his charge of wooing, whatsoe'er.
And so we will, provided that he win her.
[Aside] I would I were as sure of a good dinner.
[Enter Tranio, impersonating his master, Lucentio, and Biondello, another of Lucentio's servants. Lucentio is still present, but pretending to be Cambio, a language teacher. Biondello is aware of Lucentio and Tranio's deceptions, and is trying to play along.]
Tranio (as Lucentio)
Gentlemen, God save you. If I may be bold, tell me,
I beseech you, which is the readiest way to the house of
Signor Baptista Minola?
He that has the two fair daughters, is't he you mean?
Even he, Biondello.
Hark you, sir; you mean not her to —
Perhaps him — and her, sir. What have you to do?
Not her that chides, sir, at any hand, I pray.
I love no chiders, sir. Biondello, let's away.
[Aside to Tranio] Well begun, Tranio.
Sir, a word ere you go.
Are you a suitor to the maid you talk of, yea or no?
And if I be, sir, is it any offence?
No, if without more words you will get you hence.
Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free
For me as for you?
But so is not she.
For what reason, I beseech you?
For this reason, if you'll know,
That she's the choice love of Signor Gremio.
That she's the chosen of Signor Hortensio.
Softly, my masters! If you be gentlemen,
Do me this right: hear me with patience.
Baptista is a noble gentleman,
To whom my father is not all unknown;
And were his daughter fairer than she is,
She may more suitors have, and me for one.
Fair Leda's daughter had a thousand wooers;
Then well one more may fair Bianca have;
And so she shall. Lucentio shall make one,
Though Paris came in hope to speed alone.
What, this gentleman will out-talk us all.
Lucentio (as Cambio)
Sir, give him head. I know he'll prove a jade.
Hortensio, to what end are all these words?
[To Tranio as Lucentio] Sir, let me be so bold as ask you,
Did you yet ever see Baptista's daughter?
No, sir, but hear I do that he hath two.
The one as famous for a scolding tongue,
As is the other for beauteous modesty.
Sir, sir, the first's for me; let her go by.
Yea, leave that labor to great Hercules,
And let it be more than Alcides' twelve.
Sir, understand you this of me — in sooth,
The youngest daughter whom you hearken for,
Her father keeps from all access of suitors,
And will not promise her to any man
Until the elder sister first be wed.
The younger then is free, and not before.
If it be so, sir, that you are the man
Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest;
And if you break the ice and do this feat —
Achieve the elder, set the younger free
For our access — whose hap shall be to have her
Will not so graceless be, to be ingrate.
Sir, you say well, and well you do conceive;
And since you do profess to be a suitor,
You must, as we do, gratify this gentleman
To whom we all rest generally beholding.
Sir, I shall not be slack. In sign whereof,
Please ye, we may contrive this afternoon,
And quaff carouses to our mistress' health,
And do as adversaries do in law,
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
Grumio and Biondello
O excellent motion! Fellows, let's be gone.
The motion's good indeed, and be it so.
Petruchio, I shall be your bene venuto.