The Taming of the Shrew By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 2

GREMIO.
O Sir, such a life, with such a wife, were strange!
But if you have a stomach, to't i' God's name;
You shall have me assisting you in all.
But will you woo this wild-cat?

PETRUCHIO.
Will I live?

GRUMIO.
Will he woo her? Ay, or I'll hang her.

PETRUCHIO.
Why came I hither but to that intent?
Think you a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
Have I not heard the sea, puff'd up with winds,
Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
And heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
Have I not in a pitched battle heard
Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets' clang?
And do you tell me of a woman's tongue,
That gives not half so great a blow to hear
As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire?
Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs.

GRUMIO.
[Aside] For he fears none.

GREMIO.
Hortensio, hark:
This gentleman is happily arriv'd,
My mind presumes, for his own good and ours.

HORTENSIO.
I promis'd we would be contributors,
And bear his charge of wooing, whatsoe'er.

GREMIO.
And so we will, provided that he win her.

GRUMIO.
I would I were as sure of a good dinner.

[Enter TRANIO, bravely apparelled;and BIONDELLO.]

TRANIO.
Gentlemen, God save you! If I may be bold,
Tell me, I beseech you, which is the readiest way
To the house of Signior Baptista Minola?

BIONDELLO.
He that has the two fair daughters; is't he you mean?

TRANIO.
Even he, Biondello!

GREMIO.
Hark you, sir, you mean not her to —

TRANIO.
Perhaps him and her, sir; what have you to do?

PETRUCHIO.
Not her that chides, sir, at any hand, I pray.

TRANIO.
I love no chiders, sir. Biondello, let's away.

LUCENTIO.
[Aside] Well begun, Tranio.

HORTENSIO.
Sir, a word ere you go.
Are you a suitor to the maid you talk of, yea or no?

TRANIO.
And if I be, sir, is it any offence?

GREMIO.
No; if without more words you will get you hence.

TRANIO.
Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free
For me as for you?

GREMIO.
But so is not she.

TRANIO.
For what reason, I beseech you?

GREMIO.
For this reason, if you'll know,
That she's the choice love of Signior Gremio.

HORTENSIO.
That she's the chosen of Signior Hortensio.

TRANIO.
Softly, my masters! If you be gentlemen,
Do me this right; hear me with patience.
Baptista is a noble gentleman,
To whom my father is not all unknown;
And were his daughter fairer than she is,
She may more suitors have, and me for one.
Fair Leda's daughter had a thousand wooers;
Then well one more may fair Bianca have;
And so she shall: Lucentio shall make one,
Though Paris came in hope to speed alone.

GREMIO.
What!this gentleman will out-talk us all.

LUCENTIO.
Sir, give him head; I know he'll prove a jade.

PETRUCHIO.
Hortensio, to what end are all these words?

HORTENSIO.
Sir, let me be so bold as ask you,
Did you yet ever see Baptista's daughter?

TRANIO.
No, sir, but hear I do that he hath two,
The one as famous for a scolding tongue
As is the other for beauteous modesty.

PETRUCHIO.
Sir, sir, the first's for me; let her go by.

GREMIO.
Yea, leave that labour to great Hercules,
And let it be more than Alcides' twelve.

PETRUCHIO.
Sir, understand you this of me, in sooth:
The youngest daughter, whom you hearken for,
Her father keeps from all access of suitors,
And will not promise her to any man
Until the elder sister first be wed;
The younger then is free, and not before.

TRANIO.
If it be so, sir, that you are the man
Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest;
And if you break the ice, and do this feat,
Achieve the elder, set the younger free
For our access, whose hap shall be to have her
Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.

HORTENSIO.
Sir, you say well, and well you do conceive;
And since you do profess to be a suitor,
You must, as we do, gratify this gentleman,
To whom we all rest generally beholding.

TRANIO.
Sir, I shall not be slack; in sign whereof,
Please ye we may contrive this afternoon,
And quaff carouses to our mistress' health;
And do as adversaries do in law,
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.

GRUMIO, BIONDELLO.
O excellent motion! Fellows, let's be gone.

HORTENSIO.
The motion's good indeed, and be it so: —
Petruchio, I shall be your ben venuto.

[Exeunt.]

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