The Taming of the Shrew

by: William Shakespeare

  Induction Scene 1

page Induction Scene 1 Page 2

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LORD

Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds.
Breathe Merriman, the poor cur is embossed,
And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach.
Saw’st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
15At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault?
I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.

LORD

Huntsman, look after my hounds. Let Merriman catch his breath—the poor dog’s foaming at the mouth. And tie up Clowder together with the long-mouthed bitch. (to his page) Did you see, boy, how Silver picked up the scent at the hedge corner, where it was weakest? I wouldn’t part with that dog for twenty pounds.

FIRST HUNTSMAN

Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord.
He cried upon it at the merest loss,
And twice today picked out the dullest scent.
20Trust me, I take him for the better dog.

FIRST HUNTSMAN

I think Belman is just as good, my lord. He set up a howl when the scent was lost completely and twice picked it up where it was weakest. I swear he’s the better dog.

LORD

Thou art a fool. If Echo were as fleet,
I would esteem him worth a dozen such.
But sup them well and look unto them all.
Tomorrow I intend to hunt again.

LORD

You’re a fool. If Echo were as fast, he would be worth a dozen like Belman. But give them all a good dinner and look after them well. I’ll go hunting again tomorrow, I think.

FIRST HUNTSMAN

25I will, my lord.

FIRST HUNTSMAN

I will, my lord.

LORD

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

LORD

What’s this? A drunkard or a corpse? Check and see if he’s breathing.

SECOND HUNTSMAN

He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,
This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.

SECOND HUNTSMAN

He is, my lord. But this would be too cold a place to sleep if he hadn’t warmed himself with ale.

LORD

O monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies!
30Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!
Sirs, I will practice on this drunken man.
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,
35And brave attendants near him when he wakes,
Would not the beggar then forget himself?

LORD

It’s disgusting, sleeping that way—like a pig in the gutter! Alas, grim death, how vile and ugly your near-twin, sleep, is! Gentlemen, I think I’ll play a trick on this lout. What do you think? Say we were to carry him to one of the bedrooms, put fresh clothes on him and rings on his fingers, lay out a wonderful feast by his bed, and have servants in fancy dress near him when he wakes up—wouldn’t the poor tramp be confused?