The Taming of the Shrew

by: William Shakespeare

  Induction Scene 2

page Induction Scene 2 Page 4

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SLY

Am I a lord, and have I such a lady?
Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now?
55I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak.
I smell sweet savors and I feel soft things.
Upon my life, I am a lord indeed
And not a tinker, nor Christopher Sly.
Well, bring our lady hither to our sight,
60And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale.

SLY

I’m really a lord? And do I really have a wife like that? Is this a dream? Or has everything up till now been a dream? I don’t seem to be asleep: I can see and hear and speak. I can smell sweet smells and feel things that are soft to the touch. I’ll be damned! I guess I really am a lord and not a tinker, and not Christopher Sly, either. Well, bring my wife to me. Oh, and don’t forget the beer.

SECOND SERVANT

Will ’t please your Mightiness to wash your hands?
O, how we joy to see your wit restored!
O, that once more you knew but what you are!
These fifteen years you have been in a dream
65Or, when you waked, so waked as if you slept.

SECOND SERVANT

Would your Mightiness care to wash his hands? We’re overjoyed to see you sane again. If only you had a clearer memory of who you are! These past fifteen years you have been living in a dream, and even when you were awake, it was as though you slept.

SLY

These fifteen years! By my fay, a goodly nap.
But did I never speak of all that time?

SLY

Fifteen years! That’s some nap. But I never spoke the whole time?

FIRST SERVANT

O, yes, my lord, but very idle words.
For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,
70Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door;
And rail upon the hostess of the house,
And say you would present her at the leet,
Because she brought stone jugs and no sealed quarts.
Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.

FIRST SERVANT

Oh yes, you spoke, my lord, but total nonsense. For instance, you’d be lying here in this comfortable room, but you’d say that you were being thrown out of some tavern and would shout at a landlady about how you were going to take her to court for cheating you. Sometimes you would call out for one Cicely Hacket.

SLY

75Ay, the woman’s maid of the house.

SLY

Yes, the landlady’s maid.

THIRD SERVANT

Why, sir, you know no house nor no such maid,
Nor no such men as you have reckoned up,
As Stephen Sly and old John Naps of Greece,
And Peter Turph and Henry Pimpernell,
80And twenty more such names and men as these,
Which never were, nor no man ever saw.

THIRD SERVANT

But sir, there is no such house, no such maid, and no such men as you have dreamed up, like a certain Stephen Sly and one old John Naps of Greece, a Peter Turph, one “Henry Pimpernell,” and twenty more men of this sort—who never actually existed.