[Petruchio’s home outside Verona. The weather is cold. Petruchio’s rascally servant Grumio has just arrived, having been sent ahead to ensure that everything is in order for the arrival of Petruchio and his new wife Katherina. It will help to appreciate the humor in this scene if you imagine that the actor playing Grumio is rather small, which was the case at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.]
Fie, fie on all tired jades, on all mad masters, and all
foul ways! Was ever man so beaten? Was ever man so
rayed? Was ever man so weary? I am sent before to make
a fire, and they are coming after to warm them. Now, were
not I a little pot and soon hot, my very lips might freeze
to my teeth, my tongue to the roof of my mouth, my heart
in my belly, ere I should come by a fire to thaw me. But
I with blowing the fire shall warm myself, for, considering
the weather, a taller man than I will take cold. Holla, ho, Curtis!
[Enter Curtis, the head of the household staff]
Who is that calls so coldly?
A piece of ice. If thou doubt it, thou mayst slide from
my shoulder to my heel with no greater a run but my
head and my neck. A fire, good Curtis.
Is my master and his wife coming, Grumio?
O, ay, Curtis, ay; and therefore — Fire, fire! Cast on
Is she so hot a shrew as she's reported?
She was, good Curtis, before this frost. But thou
knowest winter tames man, woman and beast; for it hath
tamed my old master, and my new mistress, and myself,
Away, you three-inch fool! I am no beast.
Am I but three inches? Why, thy horn is a foot,
and so long am I at the least. But wilt thou make a fire,
or shall I complain on thee to our mistress, whose hand —
she being now “at hand” — thou shalt soon feel, to thy
cold comfort for being slow in thy hot office?
I prithee, good Grumio, tell me how goes the world?
A cold world, Curtis, in every office but thine,
and therefore, fire. Do thy duty, and have thy duty, for
my master and mistress are almost frozen to death.
There's fire ready, and therefore, good Grumio, the news.
Why, 'Jack, boy, ho boy!' and as much news as wilt thou.
Come, you are so full of cony-catching.
Why, therefore fire, for I have caught extreme cold.
Where's the cook? Is supper ready, the house trimmed,
rushes strewed, cobwebs swept, the servingmen in their
new fustian, their white stockings, and every officer his
wedding-garment on? Be the Jacks fair within, the Jills fair
without, the carpets laid, and everything in order?
All ready and therefore, I pray thee, news.
First, know my horse is tired, my master and mistress fallen out.
Out of their saddles, into the dirt, and thereby hangs a tale.
Let's ha't, good Grumio.
Lend thine ear.
[Striking him] There.
This is to feel a tale, not to hear a tale!
And therefore 'tis called a sensible tale, and this
cuff was but to knock at your ear and beseech listening.
Now I begin. Imprimis, we came down a foul hill, my
master riding behind my mistress —
Both of one horse?
What's that to thee?
Why, a horse.
Tell thou the tale! But hadst thou not crossed
me, thou shouldst have heard how her horse fell and
she under her horse; thou shouldst have heard in how
miry a place, how she was bemoiled, how he left her
with the horse upon her, how he beat me because her
horse stumbled, how she waded through the dirt to
pluck him off me, how he swore, how she prayed that
never prayed before, how I cried, how the horses ran
away, how her bridle was burst, how I lost my crupper,
with many things of worthy memory, which now
shall die in oblivion, and thou return unexperienced to
By this reckoning, he is more shrew than she.
Ay, and that thou and the proudest of you all shall
find when he comes home. But what talk I of this? Call
forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip, Walter, Sugarsop
and the rest. Let their heads be slickly combed, their
blue coats brushed, and their garters of an indifferent
knit. Let them curtsy with their left legs, and not presume
to touch a hair of my master's horse-tail till they kiss their
hands. Are they all ready?
Call them forth.
Do you hear, ho? You must meet my master to
countenance my mistress.
Why? She hath a face of her own.
Who knows not that?
Thou, it seems, that calls for company to
I call them forth to credit her.
Why? She comes to borrow nothing of them.
[Enter four or five Servants]
Welcome home, Grumio.
How now, Grumio.
How now, old lad.
Welcome, you! How now, you! What, you!
Fellow, you! And thus much for greeting. Now, my
spruce companions, is all ready, and all things neat?
All things is ready. How near is our master?
E'en at hand, alighted by this; and therefore be
not — Cock's passion, silence! I hear my master.
[Enter Petruchio and Katherina]
Where be these knaves? What, no man at door
To hold my stirrup, nor to take my horse?
Where is Nathaniel, Gregory, Philip?
Here, here, sir; here, sir.
‘Here, sir! Here, sir! Here, sir! Here, sir!’
You logger-headed and unpolished grooms!
What, no attendance? No regard? No duty?
Where is the foolish knave I sent before?
Here, sir, as foolish as I was before.
You peasant swain! You whoreson, malt-horse drudge!
Did I not bid thee meet me in the park,
And bring along these rascal knaves with thee?
Nathaniel's coat, sir, was not fully made,
And Gabriel's pumps were all unpinked i’th’ heel;
There was no link to color Peter's hat,
And Walter's dagger was not come from sheathing
There were none fine but Adam, Ralph, and Gregory;
The rest were ragged, old, and beggarly.
Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you.
Go, rascals, go, and fetch my supper in.
[Singing] Where is the life that late I led?
Where are those — Sit down, Kate, and welcome.
[Humming] Soud, soud, soud, soud!
[Re-enter Servants with supper]
Why, when, I say! — Nay, good sweet Kate, be merry —
Off with my boots, you rogues! You villains, when!
[Singing] It was the friar of orders grey,
As he forth walked on his way —
Out, you rogue! You pluck my foot awry.
[He kicks the Servant]
Take that, and mend the plucking of the other.
Be merry, Kate. [To servant] Some water, here. What, ho!
[Enter servant with water]
Where's my spaniel Troilus? Sirrah, get you hence
And bid my cousin Ferdinand come hither —
One, Kate, that you must kiss and be acquainted with. —
Where are my slippers? Shall I have some water? —
Come, Kate, and wash, and welcome heartily. —
You whoreson villain! Will you let it fall?
Patience, I pray you, 'twas a fault unwilling.
A whoreson beetle-headed, flap-eared knave! —
Come, Kate, sit down; I know you have a stomach.
Will you give thanks, sweet Kate, or else shall I? —
What's this? Mutton?
Who brought it?
'Tis burnt, and so is all the meat.
What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook?
How durst you villains bring it from the dresser
And serve it thus to me that love it not?
There, take it to you — trenchers, cups, and all.
[Throws the meat and cups about the stage]
You heedless jolt-heads and unmannered slaves!
What, do you grumble? I'll be with you straight.
I pray you, husband, be not so disquiet.
The meat was well if you were so contented.
I tell thee, Kate, 'twas burnt and dried away,
And I expressly am forbid to touch it,
For it engenders choler, planteth anger,
And better 'twere that both of us did fast —
Since of ourselves, ourselves are choleric —
Than feed it with such over-roasted flesh.
Be patient, tomorrow it shall be mended,
And for this night we'll fast for company.
Come, I will bring thee to thy bridal chamber.
[Exit Petruchio and Katherina. Re-enter Servants]
Peter, didst ever see the like?
He kills her in her own humor.
Where is he?
In her chamber, making a sermon of continency to her;
And rails, and swears, and rates; that she, poor soul,
Knows not which way to stand, to look, to speak,
And sits as one new-risen from a dream.
Away, away, for he is coming hither.
[Exit servants. Re-enter Petruchio alone, speaking out loud to himself.]
Thus have I politicly begun my reign,
And 'tis my hope to end successfully.
My falcon now is sharp and passing empty,
And till she stoop, she must not be full-gorged,
For then she never looks upon her lure.
Another way I have to man my haggard,
To make her come and know her keeper's call:
That is to watch her, as we watch these kites
That bate and beat, and will not be obedient.
She ate no meat today, nor none shall eat.
Last night she slept not, nor tonight she shall not.
As with the meat, some undeservèd fault
I'll find about the making of the bed;
And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
This way the coverlet, another way the sheets;
Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
That all is done in reverend care of her;
And in conclusion, she shall watch all night,
And if she chance to nod, I'll rail and brawl,
And with the clamor keep her still awake.
This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,
And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humor.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak — 'tis charity to show.