The Taming of the Shrew


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter Christopher Sly and the Hostess
induction (n.) opening scene [of a play], initial step, preparation
pheeze, feeze (v.) do for, settle the hash of, fix


I'll pheeze you, in faith.


A pair of stocks, you rogue!


Y'are a baggage, the Slys are no rogues. Look in the
baggage (n.) good-for-nothing woman, harlot

Chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore

paucas pallabris, let the world slide. Sessa!
sessa, sesey, sese (int.) [cry of encouragement used in hunting, fencing] be off, off you go See Topics: Sounds


You will not pay for the glasses you have burst?
burst (v.) 1 break, smash


No, not a denier. Go by, Saint Jeronimy, go to thy
denier (n.) tenth of a penny [trivial sum, paltry amount] See Topics: Money

cold bed and warm thee.

He lies on the ground
thirdborough parish officer, town constable


I know my remedy, I must go fetch the




Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by

law. I'll not budge an inch, boy. Let him come, and
boy (n.) 2 servant, slave, menial
law, by in court, with legal proceedings

kindly, and by all means, in any case

He falls asleep

Wind horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with his train


Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds.
tender (v.) 5 look after, take care of
train (n.) 1 retinue, following, entourage
wind (v.) 2 sound, blow

Breathe Merriman, the poor cur is embossed,
breathe (v.) 3 allow to breathe, rest
embossed (adj.) 1 driven to such extremes, made mad with exhaustion

And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach.
brach (n.) hound [which hunts by scent], bitch
couple (v.) 2 leash together

Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
make good 2 perform well, succeed in carrying out

At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault?
fault (n.) 5 [hunting] break in a line of scent, loss of scent

I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.


Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord.

He cried upon it at the merest loss,
cry (v.) 2 give tongue, cry out

And twice today picked out the dullest scent.
dull (adj.) 4 dim, not sharp, lacking keenness

Trust me, I take him for the better dog.


Thou art a fool. If Echo were as fleet,
fleet (adj.) swift, nimble, active

I would esteem him worth a dozen such.

But sup them well, and look unto them all.
look unto (v.) attend to, take care of
sup (v.) 3 give the last daily feed to

Tomorrow I intend to hunt again.


I will, my lord.


What's here? One dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe?


He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,

This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.


O monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies!

Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!
image (n.) 1 embodiment, instance, form

Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man.
practise on / upon (v.) 2 work upon, act craftily with, make to operate

What think you, if he were conveyed to bed,

Wrapped in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers,

A most delicious banquet by his bed,
banquet, banket (n.) 1 refreshments, light meal, dessert

And brave attendants near him when he wakes,
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count

Would not the beggar then forget himself?
forget (v.) 3 lose one's sense of identity


Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose.
choose, cannot have no alternative, cannot do otherwise See Topics: Politeness


It would seem strange unto him when he waked.
strange (adj.) 1 remarkable, startling, abnormal, unnatural


Even as a flattering dream or worthless fancy.
fancy (n.) 5 imagining, flight of fancy, fanciful thought

Then take him up, and manage well the jest.

Carry him gently to my fairest chamber,

And hang it round with all my wanton pictures.
wanton (adj.) 4 gay, lively, cheerful

Balm his foul head in warm distilled waters,
balm (v.) 1 soothe, relieve, heal
distilled (adj.) fragrant, scented, aromatic

And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet.
sweet (adj.) 1 perfumed, scented, fragrant

Procure me music ready when he wakes,

To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound.
dulcet (adj.) sweet, mild, pleasant, agreeable

And if he chance to speak, be ready straight
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

And with a low submissive reverence
reverence (n.) 3 bow, obeisance, salutation

Say ‘What is it your honour will command?'

Let one attend him with a silver basin
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

Full of rose-water and bestrewed with flowers,
bestrew (v.) 1 strew, scatter, sprinkle

Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,
diaper (n.) towel, napkin, cloth
ewer (n.) pitcher containing water for washing hands

And say ‘ Will't please your lordship cool your hands?’

Some one be ready with a costly suit,

And ask him what apparel he will wear.
apparel (n.) clothes, clothing, dress See Topics: Frequency count

Another tell him of his hounds and horse,

And that his lady mourns at his disease.
disease (n.) 3 mental illness, disturbance of mind

Persuade him that he hath been lunatic,
lunatic (adj.) hallucinating, suffering from delusions

And when he says he is Sly, say that he dreams,

For he is nothing but a mighty lord.

This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs.
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
kindly (adv.) 4 naturally, spontaneously, convincingly

It will be pastime passing excellent,
passing (adv.) very, exceedingly, extremely

If it be husbanded with modesty.
husband (v.) 1 manage, handle, look after
modesty (n.) 1 moderation, restraint, discipline


My lord, I warrant you we will play our part
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

As he shall think by our true diligence
true (adj.) 1 loyal, firm, faithful in allegiance

He is no less than what we say he is.


Take him up gently and to bed with him,

And each one to his office when he wakes.
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Sly is carried away

A trumpet sounds

Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds –

Exit Servingman

Belike some noble gentleman that means,
belike (adv.) probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems See Topics: Frequency count

Travelling some journey, to repose him here.

Enter Servingman

How now? Who is it?


                         An't please your honour, players

That offer service to your lordship.


Bid them come near.

Enter Players

                         Now, fellows, you are welcome.


We thank your honour.


Do you intend to stay with me tonight?


So please your lordship to accept our duty.
duty (n.) 2 reverence, due respect, proper attitude


With all my heart. This fellow I remember

Since once he played a farmer's eldest son.

'Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well.

I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part

Was aptly fitted and naturally performed.


I think 'twas Soto that your honour means.


'Tis very true, thou didst it excellent.

Well, you are come to me in happy time,
happy (adj.) 2 opportune, appropriate, propitious, favourable

The rather for I have some sport in hand

Wherein your cunning can assist me much.
cunning (n.) 1 skill, ability, expertise
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

There is a lord will hear you play tonight;

But I am doubtful of your modesties,
doubtful (adj.) 1 fearful, worried, apprehensive
modesty (n.) 1 moderation, restraint, discipline

Lest over-eyeing of his odd behaviour –
over-eye (v.) watch, observe; or: look too much at

For yet his honour never heard a play –

You break into some merry passion
merry (adj.) 2 hilarious, uproarious, hysterical
passion (n.) 5 passionate outburst, emotional passage

And so offend him, for I tell you, sirs,

If you should smile, he grows impatient.
impatient (adj.) 1 angry, irate, incensed


Fear not, my lord, we can contain ourselves,
contain (v.) 2 restrain, keep under control

Were he the veriest antic in the world.
antic, antick(e), antique (n.) 1 grotesque figure, grinning jester, buffoon
very (adj.) 1 [intensifying] thorough-going, absolute


Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,
buttery (n.) store-room [for provisions], liquor-store

And give them friendly welcome every one.

Let them want nothing that my house affords.
afford (v.) 1 have to offer, be capable of supplying
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Exit one with the Players

Sirrah, go you to Barthol'mew my page,

And see him dressed in all suits like a lady.
suits, in all in all respects

That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber,

And call him ‘ madam,’ do him obeisance.
obeisance (n.) bow, curtsy, respectful salutation

Tell him from me – as he will win my love –

He bear himself with honourable action,
action (n.) 8 movement, demeanour, gesture

Such as he hath observed in noble ladies

Unto their lords, by them accomplished.
accomplish (v.) 3 perform, do, carry out

Such duty to the drunkard let him do,
duty (n.) 2 reverence, due respect, proper attitude

With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy,
courtesy, cur'sy, curtsy (n.) 2 curtsy, bow, gesture of respect
low (adj.) 3 gentle, mild, not shrill
lowly (adj.) 1 humble, modest, submissive

And say ‘ What is't your honour will command,

Wherein your lady and your humble wife

May show her duty and make known her love?’

And then with kind embracements, tempting kisses,
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug

And with declining head into his bosom,
declining (adj.) 1 hanging, bowing, drooping

Bid him shed tears, as being overjoyed

To see her noble lord restored to health,

Who for this seven years hath esteemed him
esteem (v.) regard, think, consider

No better than a poor and loathsome beggar.

And if the boy have not a woman's gift

To rain a shower of commanded tears,
commanded (adj.) forced, feigned, contrived

An onion will do well for such a shift,
shift (n.) 3 stratagem, contriving, trick

Which in a napkin being close conveyed,
close (adv.) 6 safely, secretly, out of sight

Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
despite, in 2 no matter what else happens

See this dispatched with all the haste thou canst,
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly

Anon I'll give thee more instructions.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

Exit a Servingman

I know the boy will well usurp the grace,
grace (n.) 4 gracefulness, charm, elegance
usurp (v.) 2 assume, take on, adopt

Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman.
action (n.) 8 movement, demeanour, gesture
gait (n.) 1 manner of walking, bearing, movement
gentlewoman (n.) woman of good breeding, well-born lady See Topics: Address forms

I long to hear him call the drunkard husband,

And how my men will stay themselves from laughter
stay (v.) 8 stop, prevent, end

When they do homage to this simple peasant.
simple (adj.) 1 common, ordinary, average, humble

I'll in to counsel them. Haply my presence

May well abate the over-merry spleen,
abate (v.) 1 lessen, lower, diminish
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count
spleen (n.) 1 temper, spirit, passion [part of the body seen as the source of both gloomy and mirthful emotions]

Which otherwise would grow into extremes.


Enter aloft Sly, with attendants; some with apparel,

basin and ewer, and other appurtenances; and Lord


For God's sake, a pot of small ale.
apparel (n.) clothes, clothing, dress See Topics: Frequency count
beer / ale, small 1 weak beer, beer of poor quality


Will't please your lordship drink a cup of sack?
sack (n.) [type of] white wine


Will't please your honour taste of these conserves?
conserve (n.) 2 (plural) confections, sweetmeats, candied fruits


What raiment will your honour wear today?
raiment (n.) clothing, clothes, dress


I am Christophero Sly, call not me ‘ honour ’ nor ‘ lordship.’

I ne'er drank sack in my life. And if you give me

any conserves, give me conserves of beef. Ne'er ask me
conserve (n.) (plural) preserve, store

what raiment I'll wear, for I have no more doublets than

backs, no more stockings than legs, nor no more shoes

than feet – nay, sometimes more feet than shoes, or such

shoes as my toes look through the overleather.
overleather (n.) leather in the upper part of a shoe


Heaven cease this idle humour in your honour!
humour (n.) 2 fancy, whim, inclination, caprice
idle (adj.) 2 mad, crazy, lunatic

O, that a mighty man of such descent,

Of such possessions, and so high esteem,

Should be infused with so foul a spirit!
foul (adj.) 2 false, hypocritical, shameful
infuse (v.) 1 fill, imbue, pervade
spirit (n.) 1 disposition, temperament, frame of mind


What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher

Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath, by birth a pedlar,

by education a cardmaker, by transmutation a
cardmaker (n.) instrument for combing wool

bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask
bearherd, bear-herd, bearard, bearward, berrord (n.) bear-keeper, bear-handler [for dancing or baiting]
transmutation (n.) change of condition

Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know
ale-wife (n.) ale-house keeper, barmaid

me not. If she say I am not fourteen pence on the score
score (n.) 1 reckoning, account, debt

for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow
score (v.) 1 mark up, chalk up, add to the tally
sheer (adj.) 2 taken alone, unaccompanied by food


A Servingman brings him a pot of ale
bestraught (adj.) bereft of wits, mad, out of one's mind

What! I am not bestraught. Here's –

He drinks


O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.


O, this is it that makes your servants droop.


Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house,

As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
beat (v.) 3 drive, force, impel

O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth,
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count

Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment,
ancient, aunchient (adj.) 2 former, earlier, past

And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.

Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

Each in his office ready at thy beck.
beck (n.) 1 beckoning, command, call
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

Wilt thou have music? Hark, Apollo plays,


And twenty caged nightingales do sing.

Or wilt thou sleep? We'll have thee to a couch

Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
lustful (adj.) lust-arousing

On purpose trimmed up for Semiramis.
trim up, trim (v.) 1 decorate, array, deck out

Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground.
bestrew (v.) 1 strew, scatter, sprinkle

Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapped,
trapped (adj.) adorn with trappings, deck out

Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
stud (v.) adorn with studs, emboss

Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar

Above the morning lark. Or wilt thou hunt?

Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them
welkin (n.) sky, firmament, heavens

And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.


Say thou wilt course, thy greyhounds are as swift
course (v.) 2 hunt hares [or other game] with hounds by sight

As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.
breathed (adj.) strong-winded, well-exercised
fleet (adj.) swift, nimble, active


Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Adonis painted by a running brook,

And Cytherea all in sedges hid,
sedge (n.) variety of grassy plant, rush See Topics: Plants

Which seem to move and wanton with her breath
wanton (v.) play, sport, frolic

Even as the waving sedges play wi'th' wind.


We'll show thee Io as she was a maid,

And how she was beguiled and surprised,
beguile (v.) 1 cheat, deceive, trick

As lively painted as the deed was done.


Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood,

Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds,

And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.
workmanly (adv.) skilfully, with great artistry


Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord.

Thou hast a lady far more beautiful

Than any woman in this waning age.


And till the tears that she hath shed for thee

Like envious floods o'errun her lovely face,
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count
overrun (v.) 2 flow over, stream down

She was the fairest creature in the world –

And yet she is inferior to none.


Am I a lord and have I such a lady?

Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now?

I do not sleep. I see, I hear, I speak.

I smell sweet savours and I feel soft things.
savour (n.) 1 scent, fragrance, smell

Upon my life, I am a lord indeed,

And not a tinker nor Christophero Sly.

Well, bring our lady hither to our sight,

And once again a pot o'th' smallest ale.
beer / ale, small 1 weak beer, beer of poor quality


Will't please your mightiness to wash your hands?

O, how we joy to see your wit restored!
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

O, that once more you knew but what you are!

These fifteen years you have been in a dream,

Or when you waked, so waked as if you slept.


These fifteen years! By my fay, a goodly nap.
goodly (adj.) 1 splendid, excellent, fine

But did I never speak of all that time?


O, yes, my lord, but very idle words,
idle (adj.) 2 mad, crazy, lunatic

For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
goodly (adj.) 1 splendid, excellent, fine

Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door,
beat (v.) 3 drive, force, impel

And rail upon the hostess of the house,
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

And say you would present her at the leet,
leet (n.) local court of justice, manorial court
present (v.) 2 put forward [for immediate action]

Because she brought stone jugs and no sealed quarts.
sealed (adj.) certified, authenticated [through a wax seal]

Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.


Ay, the woman's maid of the house.
house (n.) 1 inn, tavern


Why, sir, you know no house, nor no such maid,

Nor no such men as you have reckoned up,
reckon up (v.) list, enumerate

As Stephen Sly, and did John Naps of Greece,

And Peter Turph, and Henry Pimpernell,

And twenty more such names and men as these,

Which never were nor no man ever saw.


Now Lord be thanked for my good amends.
amends (n.) recovery, cure, improvement in health



Enter Page as a lady, with attendants. One gives Sly

a pot of ale


I thank thee, thou shalt not lose by it.


How fares my noble lord?
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


Marry, I fare well, for here is cheer enough.
cheer (n.) 1 entertainment, fare, food and drink

He drinks

Where is my wife?


Here, noble lord, what is thy will with her?


Are you my wife, and will not call me husband?

My men should call me ‘ lord,’ I am your goodman.


My husband and my lord, my lord and husband,

I am your wife in all obedience.


I know it well. What must I call her?




Al'ce madam, or Joan madam?


Madam and nothing else, so lords call ladies.


Madam wife, they say that I have dreamed

And slept above some fifteen year or more.


Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me,

Being all this time abandoned from your bed.
abandon (v.) banish, exile, keep away


'Tis much. Servants, leave me and her alone.

Exeunt Lord and Servingmen

Madam, undress you and come now to bed.


Thrice-noble lord, let me entreat of you

To pardon me yet for a night or two,

Or, if not so, until the sun be set.

For your physicians have expressly charged,

In peril to incur your former malady,

That I should yet absent me from your bed.

I hope this reason stands for my excuse.
excuse (n.) pardon, dispensation, exoneration
stand for (v.) 5 be acceptable as, be valid as


Ay, it stands so that I may hardly tarry so long. But I
tarry (v.) 1 stay, remain, linger

would be loath to fall into my dreams again. I will therefore

tarry in despite of the flesh and the blood.

Enter the Lord as a Messenger
amendment (n.) recovery, recuperation, improvement


Your honour's players, hearing your amendment,

Are come to play a pleasant comedy;
pleasant (adj.) 2 merry, festive, jolly

For so your doctors hold it very meet,
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

Seeing too much sadness hath congealed your blood,

And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy.
frenzy (n.) distraction, agitation, delirium
nurse (n.) nourisher, feeder

Therefore they thought it good you hear a play

And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,

Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.
bar (v.) 1 prevent, obstruct, block


Marry, I will. Let them play it. Is not a comonty a
comonty, commonty (n.) malapropism for ‘comedy’

Christmas gambold or a tumbling-trick?
gambold (n.) frolic, entertainment, pastime
tumbling-trick (n.) acrobatic feat


No, my good lord, it is more pleasing stuff.
stuff (n.) 1 substance, composition, quality, essence


What, household stuff?


It is a kind of history.
history (n.) 1 story, tale, narrative


Well, well see 't. Come, madam wife, sit by my side

and let the world slip, we shall ne'er be younger.

They sit

A flourish of trumpets to announce the play

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