Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Taming of the Shrew
SCENE,—Sometimes in SICILIA; sometimes in BOHEMIA.
SCENE II.—The same. A Room of State in
Inch-thick, knee-deep, o’er head and ears a fork’d one!—
Go, play, boy, play:—thy mother plays, and I
Play too; but so disgrac’d a part, whose issue
Will hiss me to my grave: contempt and
clamour [have been,
Will be my knell.—Go, play, boy, play.—There
Or I am much deceiv’d, cuckolds ere now;
Andy many a man there is, even at this present,
Now while I speak this, holds his wife by the
That little thinks she has been sluic’d in his
And his pond fish’d by his next neighbour, by
Sir Smile, his neighbour: nay, there’s comfort
Whiles other men have gates, and those gates
As mine, against their will: should all despair
That I have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind.
Would hang themselves. Physic for’t there is
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
Where ’tis predominant; and ’tis powerful,
From east, west, north, and south: be it con-
No barricado for a belly; know’t;
It will let in and out the enemy
With bag and baggage: many a thousand of us
Have the disease, and feel’t not.—How now,
Mam. I am like you, they say.
Leon. Why, that’s some comfort.—
What! Camillo there?
Cam. Ay, my good lord.
Leon. Go play, Mamillius; thou’rt an honest
man.— [Exit MAMILLIUS.
Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
Cam. You had much ado to make his anchor hold:
When you cast out, it still came home.
Leon. Didst note it?
Cam. He would not stay at your petitions;
His business more material.
Leon. Didst perceive it?—
They’re here with me already; whispering,
Sicilia is a so-forth: ’tis far gone
When I shall gust it last.—How cam’t, Camillo,
That he did stay?
Cam. At the good queen’s entreaty.
Leon. At the queen’s be’t: good should be pertinent;
But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
By any understanding pate but thine?
For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
More than the common blocks:—not noted, is’t,
But of the finer natures? by some severals
Of head-piece extraordinary? lower messes,
Perchance are to this business purblind: say.
Cam. Business, my lord! I think most under-
Bohemia stays here longer.
Cam. Stays here longer.
Leon. Ay, but why? [treaties
Cam. To satisfy your highness, and the en-
Of our most gracious mistress.
The entreaties of your mistress!—satisfy!—
Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo,
With all the nearest things to my heart, as well
My chamber-councils, whereing, priest-like,
Hast cleans’d my bosom; I from thee departed
Thy penitent reform’d: but we have been
Deceiv’d in thy integrity, deceiv’d
In that which seems so.
Cam. Be it forbid, my lord!
Leon. To bide upon’t,—thou art not honest;
If thou inclin’st that way, thou art a coward,
Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
From course requir’d; or else thou must be
A servant grafted in my serious trust,
And therein negligent; or else a fool,
That seest a game play’d home, the rich stake
And tak’st it all for jest.
Cam. My gracious lord,
I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful;
In every one of these no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
Amongst the infinite doings of the world,
Sometime puts forth: in your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were wilful-negligent,
It was my folly; if industriously
I play’d the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing, where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, ’twas a fear
Which oft affects the wises: these, my lord,
Are such allow’d infirmities that honesty
Is never free of. But, beseech your grace,
Be plainer with me; let me know my trespass
By its own visage: if I then deny it,
‘Tis none of mine.
Leon. Have you not seen, Camillo,—
But that’s past doubt: you have, or your eye-
Is thicker than a cuckhold’s horn,—or heard,—
For, to a vision so apparent, rumour
Cannot be mute,—or thought,—for cogitation
Resides not in that man that does not think
My wife is slippery? If thou wilt confess,—
Or else be impudently negative,
To have nor eyes nor ears nor thought,—then
My wife’s a hobbyhorse; deserves a name
As rank as any flax-wench that puts to
Before her troth-plight: say’t and justify’t.
Cam. I would not be a stander-boy to hear
My sovereign mistress clouded so, without
My present vengeance taken: ‘shrew my heart,
You never spoke what did become you less
That this; which to reiterate were sin
As deep as that, though true.
Leon. Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
(On 9/24/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,
ACT I. SCENE II. (cont’d)—The same. A Room of State in the Palace.