Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Taming of the Shrew
ACT II. SCENE III. —The same. A Room in the Palace
Will you not push her out? Give her the
Thou dotard [to ANTIGONUS], thou art woman-
By thy dame Partlet here:—take up the
Take’t up, I say; give’t to thy crone.
Paul. For ever
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak’st up the princess, by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon’t!
Leon. He dreads hi wife.
Paul. So I would you did; then ’twere past
You’d call your children yours.
Leon. A nest of traitors!
Anl. I am none, by this good light.
Paul. Nor I; nor any,
But one, that’s here; and that’s himself: for he
The sacred honour of himself, his queen’s,
His hopeful son’s, his babe’s, betrays to slander,
Whose sting is sharper than the sword’s; and
For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compell’d to’t,—once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten
As ever oak or stone was sound.
Leon. A callat
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her
And now baits me!—This brat is none of mine;
It is the issue of Polixenes:
Hence with it! and, together with the dam,
Commit them to the fire.
Paul. It is yours! [charge,
And, might we lay the old proverb to your
So like you, ’tis the worse.—Behold, my lords,
Although the print be little, the whole matter
And copy of the father,—eye, nose, lip,
The trick of his frown, his forehead; nay, the
The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek; his
The very mould and frame of hand, nail,
finger:— [made it
And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast
So like to him that got it, if thou hast
The ordering of the mind to, ‘mongst all
No yellow in’t, lest the suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband’s!
Leon. A gross hag!
And, losel, thou art not worthy to be hang’d,
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Ant. Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you’ll have yourself
Hardly one subject.
Leon. Once more, take her hence.
Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.
Leon. I’ll have thee burn’d.
Paul. I care not.
It is an heretic that makes the fire, [tyrant;
Not she which burns in’t. I’ll not call you
But this most cruel usage of your queen,—
Not able to produce more accusation [savours
Than your own weak-hing’d fancy,—something
Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
Leon. On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
Where were her life? she durst not call me so,
If she did know me one. Away with her!
Paul. I pray you, do not push me; I’ll be
gone.— [send her
Look to your babe, my lord; ’tis yours: Jove
A better guiding spirit!—What needs these
You, that are thus so tender o’er his follies,
Will never do him good, not one of you.
So, so:—farewell; we are gone. Exit.
Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to
My child? away with’t!—even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o’er it, take it hence,
And see it instantly consum’d with fire;
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up
Within this hour bring me word ’tis done,—
And by good testimony,—or I’ll seize thy life,
With what thou else call’st thine. If thou refuse,
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard-brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
For thou sett’st on thy wife.
Ant. I did not, sir:
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in’t.
1 Lord. We can:—my royal liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither.
Leon. You are liars all. [credit:
1 Lord. Beseech your highness, give us better
We have always truly serv’d you; and beseech
So to esteem of us: and on our knees we beg,—
As recompense of our dear services,
Past and to come,—that you do change this
Which, being so horrible, so bloody, must
Lead on to some foul issue: we all kneel.
Leon. I am a feather for each wind that
Shall I live on, to see this bastard kneel
And call me father? better burn it now,
Than curse it then. But, be it; let it live:—
It shall not neither.—You, sir, come you hither:
You that have been so tenderly officious
With Lady Margery, your midwife, there,
To save this bastard’s life,—for ’tis a bastard,
So sure as thy beard’s gray,—what will you
To save this brat’s life?
Ant. Anything, my lord,
That my ability may undergo,
And nobleness impose: at least, thus much;
I’ll pawn the little blood which I have left,
To save the innocent:—anything possible.
Leon. It shall be possible. Swear by this.
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
Ant. I will, my lord.
Leon. Mark, and perform it,—seest thou? for
Of any point in’t shall not only be
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongu’d wife,
Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence; and that thou bear
To some remote and desert place, quite out
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection
And favour of the climate. As by strange for-
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
On thy soul’s peril and thy body’s torture,
That thou commend it strangely to some place,
Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
Ant. I swear to do this, though a present
Had been more merciful.—Come on, poor babe:
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and
To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
Casting their savageness aside, have done
Like offices of pity.—Sir, be prosperous [ing,
In more than this deed does require!—and bless-
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn’d to loss!
[Exit with the child.
Leon. No, I’ll not rear
2 Attend. Please your highness, posts,
From those you sent to the oracle, are come
An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion,
Being well arriv’d from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.
1 Lord. So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leon. Twenty-three days
They have been absent: ’tis good speed; fore-
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords;
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady; for, as she hath
Been publicly accus’d, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lies,
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me;
And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt.
(On 10/2/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,
ACT III. SCENE I. —SICILIA. A street in some Town.