Plays  +  Sonnets  +  Poems  +  Concordance  +  Advanced Search  +  About OSS

The Taming of the Shrew

print/save print/save view


Act IV, Scene 1

PETRUCHIO’S country house



  • Grumio. Fie, fie on all tired jades, on all mad masters, and all
    foul ways! Was ever man so beaten? Was ever man so ray'd? Was
    ever man so weary? I am sent before to make a fire, and they are
    coming after to warm them. Now were not I a little pot and soon
    hot, my very lips might freeze to my teeth, my tongue to the roof 1625
    of my mouth, my heart in my belly, ere I should come by a fire to
    thaw me. But I with blowing the fire shall warm myself; for,
    considering the weather, a taller man than I will take cold.
    Holla, ho! Curtis!


  • Curtis. Who is that calls so coldly?
  • Grumio. A piece of ice. If thou doubt it, thou mayst slide from my
    shoulder to my heel with no greater a run but my head and my
    neck. A fire, good Curtis.
  • Curtis. Is my master and his wife coming, Grumio? 1635
  • Grumio. O, ay, Curtis, ay; and therefore fire, fire; cast on no
  • Curtis. Is she so hot a shrew as she's reported?
  • Grumio. She was, good Curtis, before this frost; but thou know'st
    winter tames man, woman, and beast; for it hath tam'd my old 1640
    master, and my new mistress, and myself, fellow Curtis.
  • Curtis. Away, you three-inch fool! I am no beast.
  • Grumio. Am I but three inches? Why, thy horn is a foot, and so long
    am I at the least. But wilt thou make a fire, or shall I complain
    on thee to our mistress, whose hand- she being now at hand- thou 1645
    shalt soon feel, to thy cold comfort, for being slow in thy hot
  • Curtis. I prithee, good Grumio, tell me how goes the world?
  • Grumio. A cold world, Curtis, in every office but thine; and
    therefore fire. Do thy duty, and have thy duty, for my master and 1650
    mistress are almost frozen to death.
  • Curtis. There's fire ready; and therefore, good Grumio, the news?
  • Grumio. Why, 'Jack boy! ho, boy!' and as much news as thou wilt.
  • Curtis. Come, you are so full of cony-catching!
  • Grumio. Why, therefore, fire; for I have caught extreme cold. 1655
    Where's the cook? Is supper ready, the house trimm'd, rushes
    strew'd, cobwebs swept, the serving-men in their new fustian,
    their white stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on?
    Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without, the carpets
    laid, and everything in order? 1660
  • Curtis. All ready; and therefore, I pray thee, news.
  • Grumio. First know my horse is tired; my master and mistress fall'n
  • Grumio. Out of their saddles into the dirt; and thereby hangs a 1665
  • Curtis. Let's ha't, good Grumio.
  • Grumio. There. [Striking him] 1670
  • Curtis. This 'tis to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.
  • Grumio. And therefore 'tis call'd a sensible tale; and this cuff
    was but to knock at your car and beseech list'ning. Now I begin:
    Imprimis, we came down a foul hill, my master riding behind my
    mistress- 1675
  • Grumio. Tell thou the tale. But hadst thou not cross'd me, thou
    shouldst have heard how her horse fell and she under her horse; 1680
    thou shouldst have heard in how miry a place, how she was
    bemoil'd, how he left her with the horse upon her, how he beat me
    because her horse stumbled, how she waded through the dirt to
    pluck him off me, how he swore, how she pray'd that never pray'd
    before, how I cried, how the horses ran away, how her bridle was 1685
    burst, how I lost my crupper- with many things of worthy memory,
    which now shall die in oblivion, and thou return unexperienc'd to
    thy grave.
  • Curtis. By this reck'ning he is more shrew than she.
  • Grumio. Ay, and that thou and the proudest of you all shall find 1690
    when he comes home. But what talk I of this? Call forth
    Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip, Walter, Sugarsop, and the
    rest; let their heads be sleekly comb'd, their blue coats brush'd
    and their garters of an indifferent knit; let them curtsy with
    their left legs, and not presume to touch a hair of my mastcr's 1695
    horse-tail till they kiss their hands. Are they all ready?
  • Curtis. Do you hear, ho? You must meet my master, to countenance my
    mistress. 1700
  • Grumio. Why, she hath a face of her own.
  • Grumio. Thou, it seems, that calls for company to countenance her.
  • Curtis. I call them forth to credit her.
  • Grumio. Why, she comes to borrow nothing of them. 1705

Enter four or five SERVINGMEN

  • Grumio. Welcome, you!- how now, you!- what, you!- fellow, you!- and
    thus much for greeting. Now, my spruce companions, is all ready,
    and all things neat?
  • Nathaniel. All things is ready. How near is our master? 1715
  • Grumio. E'en at hand, alighted by this; and therefore be not-
    Cock's passion, silence! I hear my master.


  • Petruchio. Where be these knaves? What, no man at door
    To hold my stirrup nor to take my horse! 1720
    Where is Nathaniel, Gregory, Philip?
  • Petruchio. Here, sir! here, sir! here, sir! here, sir!
    You logger-headed and unpolish'd grooms!
    What, no attendance? no regard? no duty? 1725
    Where is the foolish knave I sent before?
  • Grumio. Here, sir; as foolish as I was before.
  • Petruchio. YOU peasant swain! you whoreson malt-horse drudge!
    Did I not bid thee meet me in the park
    And bring along these rascal knaves with thee? 1730
  • Grumio. Nathaniel's coat, sir, was not fully made,
    And Gabriel's pumps were all unpink'd i' th' heel;
    There was no link to colour Peter's hat,
    And Walter's dagger was not come from sheathing;
    There were none fine but Adam, Ralph, and Gregory; 1735
    The rest were ragged, old, and beggarly;
    Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you.
  • Petruchio. Go, rascals, go and fetch my supper in.
    [Exeunt some of the SERVINGMEN]
    [Sings] Where is the life that late I led? 1740
    Where are those-
    Sit down, Kate, and welcome. Soud, soud, soud, soud!
    [Re-enter SERVANTS with supper]
    Why, when, I say? Nay, good sweet Kate, be merry.
    Off with my boots, you rogues! you villains, when? 1745
    [Sings] It was the friar of orders grey,
    As he forth walked on his way-
    Out, you rogue! you pluck my foot awry;
    Take that, and mend the plucking off the other.
    [Strikes him] 1750
    Be merry, Kate. Some water, here, what, ho!
    [Enter one with water]
    Where's my spaniel Troilus? Sirrah, get you hence,
    And bid my cousin Ferdinand come hither:
    [Exit SERVINGMAN] 1755
    One, Kate, that you must kiss and be acquainted with.
    Where are my slippers? Shall I have some water?
    Come, Kate, and wash, and welcome heartily.
    You whoreson villain! will you let it fall? [Strikes him]
  • Katherina. Patience, I pray you; 'twas a fault unwilling. 1760
  • Petruchio. A whoreson, beetle-headed, flap-ear'd knave!
    Come, Kate, sit down; I know you have a stomach.
    Will you give thanks, sweet Kate, or else shall I?
    What's this? Mutton?
  • Petruchio. 'Tis burnt; and so is all the meat.
    What dogs are these? Where is the rascal cook?
    How durst you villains bring it from the dresser 1770
    And serve it thus to me that love it not?
    There, take it to you, trenchers, cups, and all;
    [Throws the meat, etc., at them]
    You heedless joltheads and unmanner'd slaves!
    What, do you grumble? I'll be with you straight. 1775


  • Katherina. I pray you, husband, be not so disquiet;
    The meat was well, if you were so contented.
  • Petruchio. I tell thee, Kate, 'twas burnt and dried away,
    And I expressly am forbid to touch it; 1780
    For it engenders choler, planteth anger;
    And better 'twere that both of us did fast,
    Since, of ourselves, ourselves are choleric,
    Than feed it with such over-roasted flesh.
    Be patient; to-morrow 't shall be mended. 1785
    And for this night we'll fast for company.
    Come, I will bring thee to thy bridal chamber. Exeunt

Re-enter SERVANTS severally

  • Peter. He kills her in her own humour. 1790

Re-enter CURTIS

  • Curtis. In her chamber. Making a sermon of continency to her,
    And rails, and swears, and rates, that she, poor soul,
    Knows not which way to stand, to look, to speak. 1795
    And sits as one new risen from a dream.
    Away, away! for he is coming hither. Exeunt


  • Petruchio. Thus have I politicly begun my reign,
    And 'tis my hope to end successfully. 1800
    My falcon now is sharp and passing empty.
    And till she stoop she must not be full-gorg'd,
    For then she never looks upon her lure.
    Another way I have to man my haggard,
    To make her come, and know her keeper's call, 1805
    That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
    That bate and beat, and will not be obedient.
    She eat no meat to-day, nor none shall eat;
    Last night she slept not, nor to-night she shall not;
    As with the meat, some undeserved fault 1810
    I'll find about the making of the bed;
    And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
    This way the coverlet, another way the sheets;
    Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
    That all is done in reverend care of her- 1815
    And, in conclusion, she shall watch all night;
    And if she chance to nod I'll rail and brawl
    And with the clamour keep her still awake.
    This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,
    And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humour. 1820
    He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
    Now let him speak; 'tis charity to show. Exit