William Shakespeare.

The plays of William Shakespeare; in twenty-one volumes, with the corrections and illustrations of various commentators, to which are added notes (Volume 9) online

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* TAMING OF THE SHREW.] We have hitherto supposed
Shakspeare the author of The Taming of the Shrew, but his
property in it is extremely disputable. "l will give my opinion,
and the reasons on which it is founded. I suppose then the
present play not originally the work of Shakspeare, but restored
by him to the stage, with the whole Induction of the Tinker ;
and some other occasional improvements; especially in the cha-
racter of Petruchio. It is very obvious that the Induction and
the Play were either the works of different hands, or written at
a great interval of time. The former is in our author's best
manner, and a great part of the latter in his "worst, or even be-
low it. Dr. Warburton declares it to be certainly spurious ; and
without doubt, supposing it to have been written by Shakspeare,
it must have been one of his earliest productions. Yet it is not
mentioned in the list of his works by Meres in 1598.

I have met with a facetious piece of Sir John Harrington,
printed in 1596, (and possibly there may be an earlier edition,)
called The Metamorphosis of Ajax, where I suspect an allusion
to the old play : " Read the Booke of Taming a Shrew, which
hath made a number of us so perfect, that now every one can
rule a shrew in our countrey, save he that hath hir." I am
aware a modern linguist may object that the word book does not
at present seem dramatick, but it was once technically so:
Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, containing a pleasaunt Invec-
tive against Poets, Pipers, Players, Jesters, and such like
Caterpillars of a Commonwealth, 1579, mentions " twoo prose
bookes played at the Bell-Sauage :" and Hearne tells us, in a
note at the end of William of Worcester, that he had seen a MS.
in the nature of a Play or Interlude, intitled The Booke of Sir
Thomas Moore.

And in fact there is such an old anonymous play in Mr. Pope's
list : " A pleasant conceited history, called, The Taming of a
Shrew sundry times acted by the Earl of Pembroke his ser-
vants." Which seems to have been republished by the remains
of that company in 1607, when Shakspeare's copy appeared at
the Black-Friars or the Globe. Nor let this seem derogatory
from the character of our poet. There is no reason to believe
that he wanted to claim the play as his own ; for it was not even
printed till some years after his death ; but he merely revived it
on his stage as a manager.

In support of what I have said relative to this play, let me
only observe further at present, that the author of Hamlet
speaks of Gonzago, and his wife Baptista ; hut the author of
The Taming of the Shrew knew Baptista to be the name of a
man. Mr. Capell indeed made me doubt, by declaring the
authenticity of it to be confirmed by the testimony of Sir Aston

B 2

Cockayn. I knew Sir Aston was much acquainted with the
writers immediately subsequent to Shakspeare ; and I was not
inclined to dispute his authority: but how was I surprised, when
I found that Cockayn ascribes nothing more to Shakspeare, than
the Induction- Wincot- Ale and the Beggar. 1 I hope this was only
a slip of Mr. Capell's memory. FARMER.

The following is Sir Aston's Epigram :


" Shakspeare your Wincot-ale hath much renown'd,
" That fox'd a beggar so (by chance was found
" Sleeping) that there needed not many a word
' To make him to believe he was a lord :
' But you affirm (and in it seem most eager)
' 'Twill make a lord as drunk as any beggar.
' Bid Norton brew such ale as Shakspeare fancies
' Did put Kit Sly into such lordly trances :
" And let us meet there (for a fit of gladness)
" And drink ourselves merry in sober sadness."

Sir A. Cockayn's Poems, 1659, p. 124-

In spite of the great deference which is due from every com-
mentator to Dr. Farmer's judgment, I own I cannot concur with
him on the present occasion. I know not to whom I could im-
pute this comedy, if Shakspeare was not its author. I think his
hand is visible in almost every scene, though perhaps not so evi-
dently as in those which pass between Katharine and Petruchio.

I once thought that the name of this play might have been
taken from an old story, entitled, The IV >/ flapped in Morelh
Skin, or The Tamins of a Shreiv ; but I have since discovered

Q *s

among the entries in the books of the Stationers' Company the
following: " Peter Shorte] May 2, 1594, a pleasaunt conceyted
hystorie, called, The, Tainiitge of a S/iroivc." It is likewise en-
tered to Nich. Ling, Jan. 22, 1606; and to John Smythwicke,
Nov. 19, 1607.

It was no uncommon practice among the authors of the age
of Shakspeare, to avail themselves of the titles of ancient per-
formances. Thus, as Mr. Warton lias observed, Spenser sent
out his Pastorals under the title of The SliephenVs Kalendar>
a work which had been printed by Wynken de Worde, and re-
printed about twenty years before these poems of Spenser ap-
peared, viz. 1559.

Dr. Percy, in the first volume of his Rcl/ynes of Ancient En-
vlis/i Poetry, is of opinion, that The Frolicksome Duke, or the.
Tinker's Hood Fortune, an ancient ballad in the Pepys' Collection.

might have suggested to Shakspeare the Induction for this

The following story, however, which might have been the
parent of all the rest, is related by Burton in his Anatomy of
Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 619: " A Tartar Prince, sait'h
Marcus Polus, Lib. II. cap. 28, called Senex de Montibus, the
better to establish his government amongst his subjects, and to
keepe them in awe, found a convenient place in a pleasant valley
environed with hills, in which he made a delitious parkefull of
odorifferous jlowers and fruits, and a palace frill of all 'worldly
contents that could possibly be devised, musicke, pictures, variety
of meats, &c. and chose out a certaine young man whom with a
soporiferous potion he so benummed, that he perceived nothing;
and so, fast asleepe as he was, caused him to be conveied into this
fair e garden. Where, after he had lived a while in all such
pleasures a sensuall man could desire, he cast him into a sleepe
againe, and brought him forth, that when he waked he might tell
others he had beene in Paradise.'" Marco Paolo, quoted by
Burton, was a traveller of the 13th century.

Chance, however, has at last furnished me with the original
to which Shakspeare was indebted for his fable ; nor does this
discovery at all dispose me to retract my former opinion, which
the reader may find at the conclusion of the play. Such parts
of the dialogue as our author had immediately imitated, I have
occasionally pointed out at the bottom of the page ; but must
refer the reader, who is desirous to examine the whole structure
of the piece, to Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c.
published by S. Leacroft, at Charing-cross, as a Supplement to
our commentaries on Shakspeare.

Beaumont and Fletcher wrote what may be called a sequel to
this comedy, viz. The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tam'd; in
which Petruchio is subdued by a second wife. STEEVENS.

Among the books of my friend the late Mr. William Collins
of Chichester, now dispersed, was a collection of short comick
stories in pro*?, printed in the black letter under the year 1570:
" sett forth by maister Richard Edwards, mayster of her Ma-
jesties revels." Among these tales was that of the INDUCTION
OF THE TINKER in Shakspeare's Taming of the Shrew; and
perhaps Edwards's story-book was the immediate source from
which Shakspeare, or rather the author of the old Taming of a
Shrew, drew that diverting apologue. If I recollect right, the
circumstances almost tallied with an incident which Heuterus re-
lates from an epistle of Ludovicus Vives to have actually hap-
pened at the marriage of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy,

about the year 1110. That perspicuous annalist, who flourished
about the year 1580, says, this story was told to Vives by an old
officer of the Duke's court. T. WARTON.

See the earliest English original of this story, &c. at the con-
clusion of the play. STEEVENS.

Our author's Taming of the Shrew was written, I imagine, in
1594. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare* s
Plays, Vol. II. MALONE.


A Lord.

Christopher Sly, a drunken Tinker. "\

Hostess, Page, Players, Huntsmen, (Persons in the

and other Servants attending on r Induction.

the Lord. j

Baptista, a rich Gentleman of Padua.
Vincentio, an old Gentleman o/Pisa.
Lucentio, Son to Vincentio, in love with Bianca.
Petruchio, a Gentleman of Verona, a Suitor to

*"' to Bianca>
Konde'llo, } Senants to Lucentio.
.. ' > Servants to Petruchio.
Pedant, an old Fellow setup to personate Vincentio.

Katharina, the Shrew : > ^ , . T. , .

Bianca, her Sister, f Daughters to Baptista.


Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants attending on
Baptista and Petruchio.

SCENE, sometimes in Padua; and sometimes in
Petruchio's House in the Country.


To the Original Play of The Taming of a Shrew,
entered on the Stationers' books in 1594, and
printed in quarto in 1607.

A Lord, &c.


A Tapster.

Page, Players, Huntsmen, &c.


Alphonsus, a Merchant of Athens.
Jerobel, Duke o/~Cestus.

Aurelius, his Son, } c .. ^77^

P i ' (^ Suitors to the Daughters of

Polidor,' J Alphonsus.

Valeria, Servant to Aurelius.

Sander, Servant to Ferando.

Phylotus, a Merchant tvho personates the Duke.

Kate, 1

Emelia, ^ Daughters to Alphonsus.

Phylema, }

Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants to Ferando and

SCENE, Athens; and sometimes Ferando's Country





Before an Alehouse on a Heath.
Enter Hostess and SLY,

SLY. 1*11 pheese you, 1 in faith.
HOST. A pair of stocks, you rogue !

1 ril pheese you,~\ To pheese or fease, is to separate a twist
into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough
be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harrass, to plague. Perhaps
m pheese you, may be equivalent to Pll comb your head, a
phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character on like occa-
sions. The following explanation of the word is given by Sir
Thomas Smith, in his book de Sermone Anglico, printed by
Eobert Stephens, 4to : " lojeize, means injila diducere."


Shakspeare repeats his use of the word in Troilusand Cressida,
where Ajax says he will pkeese the pride of Achilles: and Love-
wit in The Alcliemist employs it in the same sense. Again, in
Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, 1589:

*' Your pride serves you tofeaze them all alone.*'
Again, in Stanyhur$t's version of the first Book of VirgUV:
JEneid :


SLY. Y'are a baggage ; the Slies are no rogues: 2
Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard
Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris ; 3 let the
world slide : 4 Sessa !

" We are touz'd, and from Jtalyefeaz'd"

It alls longs disjungimur oris.

Again, ibid;

" Feaze away the droane bees," &c. STEEVENS.

To pheeze a man, is to beat him ; to give him a phecze, is, to
give him a knock. In The Chances, Antonio says of Don John,
" I felt him in my small ^-uts ; I am sure he haxjeaz'd me."


To touzc or toaze had the same signification. See Florio's
Italian Dictionary, 1598 : " Arrufi'are. To touzc, to tug, to
bang, or rib-baste one." MALONE.

* no rogues :] That is, vagrants, no mean fellows, but
gentlemen. JOHNSON.

One William Sly was a performer in the plays of Shakspeare,
as appears from the list of comedians prefixed to the folio, 1623.
This Sly is likewise mentioned in Hey wood's Actor's Vindication,
and the Induction to Marston's Malcontent. He was also among
those to whom James I. granted a licence to act at the Globe
theatre in 1603. STEEVENS.

s paucas pallabris ;] Sly, as an ignorant fellow, is pur-
posely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock
the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas palabras,
i. e. few words : as they do likewise, Cessa, i. e. be quiet.


This is a burlesque on Hieronyvno, which Theobald speaks of
in a following note : " What new device have they devised now ?
Pocas pal/tibrax." In the comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611,
a cut-purse makes use of the same words. Again, they appear
in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638, and in some others, but
are always appropriated to the lowest characters. STEEVENS.

4 let the world slide:"] This expression is proverbial. It

is used in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit without Money:

" will you go drink

" And let the world slide, uncle ?"

It occurs, however, or somewhat very much resembling it, in
r he ancient Morality entitled The iiii Elements :


HOST. You will not pay for the glasses you have
burst ? 5

SLY. No, not a denier : Go by, says Jeronimy ;
Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee. 6

let us be mery,

" With huff a galand, synge tyrll on the bery,
" And let the voyde worlde wynde" STEEVENS.

* you have burst ?] To burst and to break were anciently

synonymous. Falstaffsays, that " John of Gaunt burst Shallow's
head for crouding in among the marshal's men."
Again, in Soliman and Perseda :

" God save you, sir, you have burst your shin."
Again, in Dr. Philemon Holland's translation of Plutarch's
Apophthegms, edit. 1603, p. 405. To brast and to burst have
the same meaning. So, in All for Money, a tragedy by T. Lup-
ton, 1574 :

" If you forsake our father, for sorrow he will brast."
In the same piece, burst is used when it suited the rhyme.
Again, in the old morality of Every Man :

" Though thou weep till thy heart to-brast."


Burst is still used for broke in the North of England. See
Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, edit. 1780, Vol. XII. p. 375.


6 Go by, says Jeronimy ; Go to thy cold bed, and ivarm

thee.~\ The old copy reads go by S Jeronimie . STEEVENS.

All the editions have coined a Saint here, for Sly to swear
by. But the poet had no such intentions. The passage has par-
ticular humour in it, and must have been very pleasing at that
time of day. But I must clear up a piece of stage history to
make it understood. There is a fustian old play called Hiero-
nymo; or The Spanish Tragedy: which I find was the common
butt of raillery to all the poets in SHakspeare's time : and a pas-
sage, that appeared very ridiculous in that play, is here humor-
ously alluded to. Hieronymo, thinking himself injured, applies
to the king for justice ; but the courtiers, who did not desire his
wrongs should be set in a true light, attempt to hinder him from
an audience :

" Hiero. Justice ! O ! justice to Hieronymo.

" Lor. Back ; seest thou not the king is busy ?

" Hiero. O, is he so ?


HOST. I know my remedy, I must go fetch the
thirdborough. 7 [Exit.

" King. Who is he, that interrupts our business ?

" Hiero. Not I : Hieronymo, beware ; go by, go by"

So Sly here, not caring to be dunn'dby the Hostess, cries to her

in effect; " Don't be troublesome, don't interrupt me, go by ;"

and to fix the satire in his allusion, pleasantly calls her Jeronimo.


The first part of this tragedy is called Jeronimo. The Tinker
therefore does not say Jeronimo as a mistake for Hieronymo.


I believe the true reading is Go by, says Jeronimo, and that
the 5 was the beginning of the word says, which, by mistake, the
printers did not complete. The quotation from the old play
proves that it is Jeronimo himself that says, Go by. M. MASON.

I have not scrupled to place Mr. M. Mason's judicious cor-
rection in the text. STEEVENS.

Surely Sly, who in a preceding speech is made to say Richard
for William, paucas pallabris for pocas palabras, &c. may be
allowed here to misquote a passage from the same play in which
that scrap of Spanish is found, viz. The Spanish Tragedy. He
afterwards introduces a saint in form. The similitude, however
slight, between Jeronimy and S. Jerome, who in Sly's dialect
would be Jeremy, may be supposed the occasion of the blunder.
He does not, I conceive, mean to address the Hostess by the
name*of Jeronimy, as Mr. Theobald supposed, but merely to
quote a line from a popular play. Nyin, Pistol, and many other
of Shakspeare's low characters, quote scraps of plays with equal

There are two passages in The Spanish Tragedy here alluded
to. One quoted by Mr. Theobald, and this other :

" What outcry calls me from my naked bed ?"

Sly'.s making Jeronimy a saint is surely not more extravagant
than his exhorting his Hostess to go to her cold bed to warm
herself; or declaring that he will go to his cold bed for the same
purpose ; for perhaps, like Hieronymo, he here addresses himself.

In King Lear, Edgar, when he assumes the madman, utters
the same words that are here put in the mouth of the tinker :
*' Humph ; go to thy cold bed, and warm thee." MALONE.

7 / must go fetch the thirdborough.] The old copy reads :

/ must go fetch the headborough.

Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, &c. STEEVENS.

This corrupt reading had passed down through all the copies,


SLY. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll an-
swer him by law : I'll not budge an inch, boy ; let
him come, and kindly.

\_Lies down on the ground, and falls asleep?

and none of the editors pretended to guess at the poet's conceit.
What an insipid unmeaning reply does Sly make to his Hostess ?
How do third, or fourth, orjifth borough relate to Headborough ?
The author intended but a poor witticism, and even that is lost.
The Hostess would say, that she'd fetch a constable : and this
officer she calls by his other name, a Third-borough : and upon
this term Sly founds the conundrum in his answer to her. Who
does not perceive at a single glance, some conceit started by this
certain correction ? There is an attempt at wit, tolerable enough
for a tinker, and one drunk too. Third-borough is a Saxon term
sufficiently explained by the glossaries : and in our statute-books,
no further back than the 28th year of Henry VIII. we find it
used to signify a constable. THEOBALD.

In the Personae Dramatis to Bfcn Jonson's Tale of a Tub, the
high-constable, the petty-constable, the head-borough, and the
third-borough, are enumerated as distinct characters. It is diffi-
cult to say precisely what the office of a third-borough was.


The office of thirdborough is known to all acquainted with the
civil constitution of this country, to be co-extensive with that of
the constable. SIR J. HAWKINS.

The office of Thirdborough is the same with that of Constable,
except in places where there are both, in which case the former
is little more than the constable's assistant. The headborough,
petty constable, and thirdborough, introduced by Ben Jonson in
The Tale of a Tub, being all of different places, are but one and
the same officer under so many different names. In a book in-
titled, The Constable's Guide, &c. 1771, it is said that " there
are in several counties of this realm other officers ; that is, by
other titles, but not much inferior to our constables ; as in War-
wickshire a thirdborough.'" The etymology of the word is un-
certain. RITSON.

8 falls asleep.] The spurious play, already mentioned,

begins thus :

" Enter a Tapster, beating out of his doores Slie drunken.

" Taps. You whoreson drunken slave, you had best be gone.
" And empty your drunken panch somewhere else,
" For in this house thou shalt not rest to night. {Exit Tapster.


Wind Horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with
Huntsmen and Servants.

LORD. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well

my hounds :
Brach Merriman, the poor cur is emboss'd, 9

" Slie. Tilly vally ; by crisee Tapster \\cfese you anone :
" Fills the t'other pot, and all's paid for : looke you,
" I doe drink it of mine own instigation. Omne bene.

** Heere He lie awhile : why Tapster, I say,
" Fill's a fresh cushen heere :

" Heigh ho, here's good warme lying. [He falls asleepe.

" Enter a noble man and his men from hunting."


9 Brach Mcrriman, the poor cur is emboss'd,] Here, says
Pope, brack signifies a degenerate hound: but Edwards explains
it a hound in general.

That the latter of these criticks is right, will appear from the
use of the word brach, in Sir T. Moore's Comfort against Tribu-
lation, Book III. ch. xxiv : " Here it must be known of some
men that can skill of hunting, whether that we mistake not our
terms, for then are we utterly ashamed as ye wott well. And I
am so cunning, that I cannot tell, whether among them a bitche
be a bitche or no ; but as I remember she is no bitch but a
bracked The meaning of the latter part of the paragraph
seems to be, " I am so little skilled in hunting, that I can hardly
tell whether a bitch be a bitch or not ; my judgment goes no
further, than just to direct me to call either dog or bitch by their
general name Hound." I am aware that Spelman acquaints
his reader, that brache was used in his days for a lurcher, and
that Shakspeare himself has made it a dog of a particular species :

" Mastiff', greyhound, mungrill grim,

" Hound or spaniel, brach or lym."

King Lear, Act III. sc. v.

But it is manifest from the passage of More just cited, that it
was sometimes applied in a general sense, and may therefore be
so understood in the passage before us ; and it may be added,
that brache appears to be used in the same sense by Beaumont
and Fletcher :

" A. Is that your brother ?

" E. Yes, have you lost your memory >


And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd brach.

*' A. As I live he is a pretty fellow.
*' Y. O this is a sweet brack.' "

Scornful Lady, Act i, sc. i. T. WARTON,

I believe brack Merriman means only Merriman the brack.
So in the old song 4

" Coiv Crumbock is a very good cow."

Brack, however, appears to have been a particular sort of hound.
Jn an old metrical charter, granted by Edward the Confessor to
the hundred of Cholmer and Dancing, in Essex, there are the
two following lines :

" Four greyhounds & six Bratches,
" For hare, fox, and wild cattes."

Merriman surely could not be designed for the name of a fe-
male of the canine species. STEEVENS.

It seems from the commentary of Ulitius upon Gratius, from
Caius de Canibus Britannicis, from bracco, in Spelman's
Glossary, and from Markham's Country Contentments, that
brache originally meant a bitch. Ulitius, p. 163, observes, that
bitches have a superior sagacity of nose : " foeminis [canibus]
sagacitatis plurimum inesse, usus docuit;" and hence, perhaps,
any hound with eminent quickness of scent, whether dog or
bitch, was called brache, for the term brache is sometimes ap-
plied to males. Our ancestors hunted much with the large
.southern hounds, and had in every pack a couple of dogs pecu-
liarly good aid cunning to find game, or recover the scent, as
Markham informs us. To this custom Shakspeare seems here
to allude, by naming two braches, which, in my opinion, are
beagles; and this discriminates brack, from the lym, a blood-
hound mentioned together with it, in the tragedy of King Lear.
In the following quotation offered by Mr. Steevens on another
occasion, the brache hunts truly by the scent, behind the doe,
while the hounds are on every side :

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe plays of William Shakespeare; in twenty-one volumes, with the corrections and illustrations of various commentators, to which are added notes (Volume 9) → online text (page 1 of 29)