[In front of Signor Baptista’s house. Enter Tranio-as-Lucentio and the merchant whom Tranio has persuaded to impersonate Lucentio’s father Vincentio, and guarantee to Baptista the dowry for Bianca so that he’ll consent to her marriage to Lucentio.]
Sir, this is the house. Please it you that I call?
Ay, what else? And but I be deceived
Signor Baptista may remember me,
Near twenty years ago in Genoa
Where we were lodgers at the Pegasus.
'Tis well, and hold your own in any case
With such austerity as 'longeth to a father.
[Enter Lucentio's other servant Biondello, who's playing along with Tranio's deception]
I warrant you. But, sir, here comes your boy.
'Twere good he were schooled.
Fear you not him.
[To Biondello] Sirrah Biondello,
Now do your duty throughly, I advise you,
Imagine 'twere the right Vincentio.
Tut, fear not me.
But hast thou done thy errand to Baptista?
I told him that your father was at Venice,
And that you look'd for him this day in Padua.
Thou'rt a tall fellow. Hold thee that to drink.
[He gives Biondello money]
[To the Merchant] Here comes Baptista. Set your countenance, sir.
[Enter Signor Baptista and Lucentio posing as the language teacher Cambio]
Signor Baptista, you are happily met.
[To Merchant-as-Vincentio] Sir, this is the gentleman I told you of.
I pray you stand good father to me now,
Give me Bianca for my patrimony.
Merchant (as Vincentio)
[To Baptista] Sir, by your leave: having come to Padua
To gather in some debts, my son Lucentio
Made me acquainted with a weighty cause
Of love between your daughter and himself;
And for the good report I hear of you,
And for the love he beareth to your daughter
And she to him, to stay him not too long
I am content, in a good father's care,
To have him matched. And if you please to like
No worse than I upon some agreement,
Me shall you find ready and willing
With one consent to have her so bestowed;
For curious I cannot be with you,
Signor Baptista, of whom I hear so well.
Sir, pardon me in what I have to say,
Your plainness and your shortness please me well.
Right true it is, your son Lucentio here
Doth love my daughter and she loveth him,
Or both dissemble deeply their affections;
And therefore if you say no more than this,
That like a father you will deal with him
And pass my daughter a sufficient dower,
The match is made and all is done,
Your son shall have my daughter with consent.
I thank you, sir. Where then do you know best
We be affied and such assurance ta'en
As shall with either part's agreement stand?
Not in my house, Lucentio, for you know
Pitchers have ears, and I have many servants.
Besides, old Gremio is hearkening still,
And happily we might be interrupted.
Then at my lodging an it like you.
There doth my father lie, and there, this night,
We'll pass the business privately and well.
Send for your daughter by your servant here;
My boy shall fetch the scrivener presently.
The worst is this, that at so slender warning,
You are like to have a thin and slender pittance.
It likes me well.
[To Lucentio-as-Cambio] Cambio, hie you home,
And bid Bianca make her ready straight;
And, if you will, tell what hath happened:
Lucentio's father is arrived in Padua,
And how she's like to be Lucentio's wife.
I pray the gods she may with all my heart!
[To Biondello] Dally not with the gods, but get thee gone.
[As Lucentio’s leaving, Tranio discreetly signals him to return after Baptista departs.]
Signor Baptista, shall I lead the way?
Welcome. One mess is like to be your cheer;
Come, sir, we will better it in Pisa.
I follow you.
[Exit all except Biondello. As soon as Baptista and Tranio are out of sight, Lucentio returns. Although he and his servant Biodello can speak freely with no one else around, Biondello continues to refer to his fellow servant Tranio who’s been impersonating Lucentio as “my master.”]
What say’st thou, Biondello?
You saw my master wink and laugh upon you?
Biondello, what of that?
Faith, nothing, but he's left me here behind to
expound the meaning, or moral, of his signs and tokens.
I pray thee, moralize them.
Then thus: Baptista is safe talking with the
deceiving father of a deceitful son.
And what of him?
His daughter is to be brought by you to the supper.
The old priest of Saint Luke's church is at your
command at all hours.
And what of all this?
I cannot tell, except they are busied about a
counterfeit assurance. Take you assurance of her, cum
privilegio ad imprimendum solem. To the church take the
priest, clerk, and some sufficient honest witnesses. If
this be not that you look for, I have no more to say but
bid Bianca farewell for ever and a day. [Starts to leave]
Hear’st thou, Biondello —
I cannot tarry. I knew a wench married in an
afternoon as she went to the garden for parsley to stuff
a rabbit, and so may you, sir; and so, adieu, sir. My
master hath appointed me to go to Saint Luke's to bid
the priest be ready to come against you come with your
I may, and will, if she be so contented.
She will be pleased — then wherefore should I doubt?
Hap what hap may, I'll roundly go about her .
It shall go hard if Cambio go without her.