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HISTORICAL NOTICE

TAMING OF THE SHREW,

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Nothing appears to invalidate the conclusion of Malone that this was one of Shakspeare's earlier plays, although Warburton and Farmer have disputed its authenticity. It abounds with the doggerel measure and tedious play on words, so observable in The Comedy of Errors, and Love's Labor's Lost, which our author took occasion to condemn in one of his subsequent comedies. The year 1596 is the probable date of its production, since in 1594, an old play, on which the present drama is supposed to be founded, was entered at Stationers' Hall, intitled Taming of a Shrew, which is attributed to the pen of George Peele or Robert Green. The plots of these two pieces are found to be essentially the same.

The story of Lucentio, and his artifice to obtain the hand of Bianca, is formed on a comedy of George Gascoigne, from the Italian of Ariosto, called Supposes, which was performed by the gentlemen of Gray's Inn in 1566 : and the Induction is borrowed from Goulart's Histoires Admirables de notre Temps, translated from the Latin of Heuterus, who relates a similar delusion, which was practised on the credulity of a poor artisan at Brussels by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy.

* Of this play,' says Dr. Johnson, the two plots are

so well united, that they can hardly be called two without injury to the art with which they are inter

The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents. The part between Katharine and Petruchio is eminently sprightly and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca, the arrival of the real father perhaps produces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole play is very popalar and divertige

woven.

1

ARGUMENT.

A nehleman, returning from the chase, finds an ignorant tinker,

named Sly, lying on the bench of an ale-house, dead-drunk, and causes him to be conveyed home, laid on one of his richest beds, and arrayed in the most costly apparel. When the drunkard awakes, he is surrounded by attendants, who succeed in persuading him that he is a nobleman, who for many years has been laboring under mental delusion. The conviction of Sly that he is 'a lord indeed' is succeeded by the introdaction of a company of players, who entertain him with the representation of a comedy, of which the following is a brief outline :-A citizen of Padua, named Baptista, the father of Katharine and Bianca, refuses to listen to the numerous admirers of the latter till after the marriage of her elder sister, whose violence of temper effectually deters all suitors; and the lovers of Bianca are compelled to resort to the expedient of procuring a husband for Katharine in the person of Petruchio. By a rough and singular method of courtship the shrew is won, and at length tamed by a perseverance in the same course of treatment. In the mean time, Lucentio, a young gentleman of Pisa, introduces himself to Bianca in the disguise of a classical tutor, and succeeds in obtaining her hand by the intervention of his servant Tranio, who assumes the name and apparel of his master in order to forward his designs. The presence of Lucentio's father becomes necessary, and Tranio devises the scheme of engaging a schoolmaster to represent him. At this critical juncture the real father unexpectedly arrives, and encounters his son's servant in his master's clothes. Tranio impudently disclaims all knowlege of his master's father, who is about to be committed to jail as an impostor, when his son enters with his bride, and a reconciliation is speedily effected.

138

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

A LORD.
CHRISTOPHER Sly, a drunken tinker.
Ilostess, Page, Players, Huntsmen, and

other Servants attending on the Lord.

Persons in the In

duction.

BAPTISTA, a rich gentleman of Padua.
VINCENTIO, an old gentleman of Pisa.
LUCENTIO, son to Vincentio, in love with Bianca.
PETRUCHIO, a gentleman of Verona, a suitor to Katharina.
GREMIO,
HORTENSIO,

suitors to Bianca.
TRANIO,
BIONDELLO,

servants to Lucentio. GRUMIO,

} servants to Petruchio. Curtis, PEDANT, an old fellow set up to personate Vincentio.

}

KATHARINA, the shrew,
BIANCA, her sister,
Widow.

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.

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TAMING OF THE SHREW.'

INDUCTION,

SCENE I.

Before an alehouse on a heath.

Enter HOSTESS and sky.

1

Sly. I'll pheese 1 you, in faith.
Host. A pair of stocks, you rogue!

Sly. Y' are a baggage; the Slies are no rogues : look in the chronicles : we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore paucas pallabris ;2 let the world slide. Sessa !3

Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst: 4

Sly. No, not a denier : Go by S. Jeronimy ;-Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.5

Host. I know my remedy; I must go fetch the thirdborough.6

[Exit

Beat or knock.

2 Few words. 3 Be quiet.

4 Broke. 5 This rhodomontade, and the scraps of Spanish, are taken from an old play, called Hieronymo, or the Spanish Tragedy.

6 A peace officer, resembling in authority a headborough or constable.

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