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to say which to admire most, the unaccountableness of his actions, or the unalterableness of his resolutions. It is a character which most husbands ought to study, unless perhaps the very audacity of Petruchio's attempt might alarm them more than his success would encourage them. What a sound must the following speech carry to some married ears!
"Think you a little din can daunt my ears?
Not all Petruchio's rhetoric would persuade more than " some dozen followers" to be of this heretical way of thinking. He unfolds his scheme for the Taming of the Shrew, on a principle of contradiction, thus:—
"I'll woo her with some spirit when she comes.
And say she uttereth piercing eloquence:
If she do bid me pack, I'll give her thanks,
As tho' she bid me stay by her a week;
If she deny to wed, I'll crave the day,
When I shall ask the banns, and when be married?"
He accordingly gains her consent to the match, by telling her father that he has got it; disappoints her by not returning at the time he has promised to wed her, and when he returns, creates no small consternation by the oddity of his dress and equipage. This however is nothing to the astonishment excited by his madbrained behaviour at the marriage. Here is the account of it by an eye-witness:—
"Gremio. Tut, she's a lamb, a dove, a fool to him: I'll tell you, Sir Lucentio; when the priest Should ask if Katherine should be his wife? Ay, by gogs woons, quoth he; and swore so loud, That, all amaz'd, the priest let fall the book; And as he stooped again to take it up, This mad-brain'd bridegroom took him such a cuff, That down fell priest and book, and book and priest. Now take them up, quoth he, if any list.
Tranio. What said the wench when he rose up again?
Gremio. Trembled and shook; for why, he stamp'd and swore,
As if the vicar meant to cozen him.
But after many ceremonies done,
He calls for wine; a health, quoth he; as if
He'ad been aboard carousing with his mates
After a storm; quaft off the muscadel,
And threw the sops all in the sexton's face;
The most striking and at the same time laughable feature in the character of Petruchio throughout is the studied approximation to the intractable character of real madness, his apparent insensibility to all external considerations, and utter indifference to every thing but the wild and extravagant freaks of his own self will. There is no contending with a person on whom nothing makes any impression but his own purposes, and who is bent on his own whims just in proportion as they seem to want common sense. With him a thing's being plain and reasonable is a reason against it. The airs he gives himself are infinite, and his caprices as sudden as they are groundless. The whole of his treatment of his wife at home is in the same spirit of ironical attention and inverted gallantry. Every thing flies before his will, like a conjuror's wand, and he only metamorphoses his wife's temper by metamorphosing her senses and all the objects she sees, at a word's speaking. Such are his insisting that it is the moon and not the sun which they see, &c. This extravagance reaches its most pleasant and poetical height in the scene where, on their return to her father's, they meet old Vincentio, whom Petruchio immediately addresses as a young lady:—
"Petruchio. Good morrow, gentle mistress, where
Tell me, sweet Kate, and tell me truly too,
Hortensio. He'll make the man mad to make a woman
Katherine. Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and
Whither away, or where is thy abode?
Petruchio. Why, how now, Kate, I hope thou art not
This is a man, old, wrinkled, faded, wither'd,
Katherine. Pardon, old father, my mistaken eyes
The whole is carried off with equal spirit, as if the poet's comic Muse had wings of fire. It is strange how one man could be so many things; but so it is. The concluding scene, in which trial is made of the obedience of the newmarried wives (so triumphantly for Petruchio) is a very happy one.—In some parts of this play there is a little too much about music-masters and masters of philosophy. They were things of greater rarity in those days than they are now. Nothing however can be better than the advice which Tranio gives his master for the prosecution of his studies:—
"The mathematics, and the metaphysics,
We have heard the Honey-Moon called "an elegant Katherine and Petruchio." We suspect we do not understand this word elegant in the sense that many people do. But in our sense of the word, we should call Lucentio's description of his mistress elegant.
"Tranio, I saw her coral lips to move, And with her breath she did perfume the air: Sacred and sweet was all I saw in her." ■ .'
When Biondello tells the same Lucentio for his encouragement, " I knew a wench married in an