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have failed to mention it; so that we have strong negative evidence of its non-existence before the appearance of Palladis Tamia. When Sir John Harington, in his “Metamorphosis of Ajax," 1596, says, “ Read the booke of • Taming a Shrew,' which hath made a number of us so perfect that now every one can rule a shrew in our country, save he that hath her," he meant the old "Taming of a Shrew," reprinted in the same year. In that play we have not only the comedy in which Petruchio and Katharine are chiefly engaged, but the Induction, which is carried out to the close ; for Sly and the Tapster conclude the piece, as they had begun it.
As it is evident that Shakespeare made great use of the old comedy, both in his Induction and in the body of his play, it is not necessary to inquire particularly to what originals the writer of “The Taming of a Shrew” resorted. As regards the Induction, Douce was of opinion that the story of “The Sleeper awakened,” in the “Arabian Nights' Entertainments," was the source of the many imitations which have, from time to time, been referred to. Warton (Hist. Engl. Poetry, iv. 117. Edit. 1824) tells us, that among the books of Collins was a collection of tales by Richard Edwards, dated in 1570, and including “ the Induction of the Tinker in Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew.?” This might be the original employed by the author of the old "Taming of a Shrew.” For the play itself he, perhaps, availed himself of some now unknown translation of Nott. viii. fab. 2, of the Piacevoli Notti of Straparola.
The Suppositi of Ariosto, freely translated by Gascoyne, (before 1566, when it was acted at Grey's Inn) under the title of “ The Supposes," seems to have afforded Shakespeare part of his plot : it relates to the manner in which Lucentio and Tranio pass off the Pedant as Vincentio, which is not found in the old “ Taming of a Shrew." In the list of persons preceding Gascoyne's "Supposes' Shakespeare found the name of Petrucio, (a character not so called by Ariosto,) and hence, perhaps, he adopted it. It affords another slight link of connexion between “ The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Supposes ;" but there exists a third, still slighter, of which no notice has been taken. It consists of the use of the word “supposes," in A. v. sc. 1, exactly in the substantive sense in which it is employed by Gascoyne, and in reference to that part of the story which had been derived from his translation. How little Shakespeare's “ Taming of the Shrew" was known in the beginning of the eighteenth century, may be judged from the fact, that “ The Tatler," No. 231, contains the story of it, told as of a gentleman's family then residing in Lincolnshire.
Shrew” was written after Feb. 1602-3 ; but the expression was probably proverbial, and for this reason Heywood took it as the title of his tragedy.
Persons in the
Players, Huntsmen, and Servants,
Suitors to Bianca.
Servants to Lucentio.
Servants to Petruchio.
Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants attending on Baptista and
SCENE, sometimes in Padua ; and sometimes in Petruchio's
House in the Country.
1 A list of the characters was first printed by Rowe.
OF THE SHREW.
Before an Alehouse on a Heath.
Enter Hostess and SLY.
Sly. Y’are a baggage : the Slys are no rogues; look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris ; let the world slide. Sessa?!
Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst'? Sly. No, not a denier.
Go by, S. Jeronimy: Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee 4.
1 I'll PHEESE you, in faith.] Thus the word is printed in the folio of 1623. In the old “ Taming of a Shrew,” it is printed fese, in the three editions of 1594, 1596, and 1607. Ben Jonson uses the word in his “Alchemist,” and spells it, in his folio of 1616, feize. It is the same word, however spelt; and Gifford, who was a West of England man, says that in that part of the country it means, beat, chastise, or humble,” &c. Jonson's Works, iv. 188. Dr. Johnson, on the authority of Sir Thomas Smith, in his book De Sermone Anglico, says that it means in fila diducere. Such may have been its original sense, but there is no doubt that it is used figuratively in the way Gifford has explained.
? Therefore paucas pallabris ; let the world slide : Sessa !] Pocas palabras is Spanish for “ few words,” a foreign phrase in common use in the time of Shakespeare. See vol. ii. p. 240. The same remark will apply to “let the world slide," or “ let the world slip,” as Sly afterwards words it; but we do not find sessa, or cessa (cease), so employed in other authors. It occurs again, under the form of sessey, in“ King Lear,” Act iii. sc. 4. you have BURST ?] To burst and to brcak were anciently synonymous.
Go by, S. Jeronimy: Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.] In this passage, there is a double
Host. I know my remedy; I must go fetch the headborough.
[Exit. Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law. I'll not budge an inch, boy: let him come, and kindly.
[Lies down on the ground, and falls asleep.
Wind Horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with Hunts
men and Servants. Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my
1 Hun. Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord; He cried upon it at the merest loss,
allusion to “ The Spanish Tragedy,” by Thomas Kyd. How the capital S became introduced into the text, it is not easy to explain ; but Monck Mason would make out that it is part of the word says, the rest having dropped out ; but why should it have been printed with a capital letter? The phrase “Go by” is derive'. from one part of “ The Spanish Tragedy," of which Jeronimo may be called the hero ; and “ Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee,” refers to another part of the same play, where Jeronimo exclaims, “What outcries pluck me from my naked bed ?” when he enters in his night-dress, after the murder of his son. See
Dodsley's Old Plays,” last edition, vol. iii. p. 130 & 163. Different parts of this popular play were often quoted and ridiculed by contemporary writers. Sly can scarcely mean to canonize Jeronimo, and call him a saint, from his being such a favourite with the frequenters of our early theatres; and when Malone remarks, that “ Sly's making Jeronimy a saint is not more extravagant than his exhorting his hostess to go to her cold bed and warm herself,” he was not aware of the allusion to “ The Spanish Tragedy” in the last line of Sly’s reply.
I must go fetch the HEADBOROUGH.] So it stands in all the old copies, but in all the modern editions it has been needlessly altered to thirdborough, under the notion that it made Sly's answer more apposite. The threat regarding the “headborough,” by the hostess, brings the “thirdborough” (an officer of similar duties, and often mentioned in connection) into Sly's mind. The “thirdborough (as Ritson shows by a quotation from “ The Constable's Guide,” 1771) is an officer still known in Warwickshire. Dull calls himself " tharborough,” or thirdborough, in “Love's Labour's Lost," vol. ii. p. 289.
6 Brach Merriman,—the poor cur is EMBOSS’D,] “ Brach” generally meant a hound. A dog, or a deer, are said to be embossed when fatigue makes them foam at the mouth.
And twice to-day pick'd out the dullest scent :
Lord. Thou art a fool : if Echo were as fleet,
1 Hun. I will, my lord.
he breathe? 2 Hun. He breathes, my lord. Were he not warm’d
with ale, This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.
Lord. O, monstrous beast! how like a swine he lies. Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image! Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man. What think you, if he were convey'd to bed, Wrapp'd in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers, A most delicious banquet by his bed, And brave attendants near him when he wakes, Would not the beggar then forget himself?
1 Hun. Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose. 2 Hun. It would seem strange unto him when he
wak’d. Lord. Even as a flattering dream, or worthless fancy. 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 ; Balm his foul head with warm distilled waters, And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet : Procure me music ready when he wakes, To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound; And if he chance to speak, be ready straight, And, with a low submissive reverence, Say,—what is it your honour will command ? Let one attend him with a silver bason, Full of rose-water, and bestrew'd with flowers; Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,