The Taming of the Shrew

by: William Shakespeare

  Induction Scene 2

page Induction Scene 2 Page 2

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SLY

10What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old Sly’s son of Burton Heath, by birth a peddler, by education a cardmaker, by transmutation a bearherd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat alewife of Wincot, if she know me not! If she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lying’st knave in Christendom. What! I am not bestraught! Here’s—

SLY

What, are you trying to make me crazy? I’m Christopher Sly, son of old Sly of Barton-on-Heath, a peddler by birth, a

cardmaker

A cardmaker made tools for working with wool.

cardmaker
by trade, a keeper of trained bears by bad luck, and now, by present profession, a tinker. Go ask Marian Hacket, the fat innkeeper of Wincot. She knows me! She’ll tell you about the tab I’ve run up—fourteen pence just for ale. If she doesn’t, call me the biggest liar in Christendom. I’m not crazy! Just look at how—

THIRD SERVANT

Oh, this it is that makes your lady mourn!

THIRD SERVANT

Oh, this is why your poor wife is mourning!

SECOND SERVANT

Oh, this is it that makes your servants droop!

SECOND SERVANT

And this is why your servants hang their heads in sorrow!

LORD

Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house,
As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
15O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth,
Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment,
And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Each in his office ready at thy beck.
20Wilt thou have music? Hark! Apollo plays,

LORD

And this is why your relatives never visit, frightened away by this unnatural insanity of yours. Oh noble lord, consider your lineage. Try to recall your former state of mental health and forget these crass, lowly desires. Look how your servants wait on you, each one ready to do whatever you command. Would you care to hear some music? Listen! That’s

Apollo

Apollo was the Greek god of music and song.

Apollo
playing.
Music
Music plays.
And twenty cagèd nightingales do sing:
Or wilt thou sleep? We’ll have thee to a couch
Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed
On purpose trimmed up for Semiramis.
25Say thou wilt walk, we will bestrew the ground.
Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapped,
Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.
Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar
Above the morning lark. Or wilt thou hunt?
30Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.
And those birds you hear—twenty caged nightingales. Do you want to sleep? We’ll have a couch made up that’s softer and more fragrant even than the bed of lustful

Semiramis

Semiramis was an Assyrian queen famous for her active sex life.

Semiramis
. Say you want to take a walk, and we’ll sprinkle the ground with flowers. Or do you want to go horseback riding? Your horses will be adorned with harnesses decorated in gold and pearls. Do you like hawking? You have hawks that can soar higher than the morning lark. Or do you want to hunt? Your hounds will make the sky echo with their high-pitched voices.