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The Taming of the Shrew Scenes

Scene 1

Padua. Baptista’s house.

(Lucentio; Hortensio; Bianca; Baptista’s Messenger)

Hortensio and Lucentio quarrel over whose turn it is to teach Bianca, but she settles the matter by announcing that she’s old enough to set her own schedule. She tells Hortensio to go tune his lute while she studies her Latin with Lucentio, who woos her in between sentences as she repeatedly makes Hortensio go away. Lucentio realizes that Hortensio has designs on Bianca, but when the disguised music teacher hands her a love-note, she is not impressed. Hortensio is worried that Lucentio may be in love. (83 lines)

Enter Lucentio as Cambio, Hortensio as Litio, and Bianca.


Fiddler, forbear, you grow too forward, sir.

Have you so soon forgot the entertainment

Her sister Katherine welcom’d you withal?


But, wrangling pedant, this is

The patroness of heavenly harmony.

Then give me leave to have prerogative,

And when in music we have spent an hour,

Your lecture shall have leisure for as much.


Preposterous ass, that never read so far

To know the cause why music was ordain’d!

Was it not to refresh the mind of man

After his studies or his usual pain?

Then give me leave to read philosophy,

And while I pause, serve in your harmony.


Sirrah, I will not bear these braves of thine.


Why, gentlemen, you do me double wrong

To strive for that which resteth in my choice.

I am no breeching scholar in the schools,

I’ll not be tied to hours, nor ’pointed times,

But learn my lessons as I please myself.

And to cut off all strife, here sit we down:

Take you your instrument, play you the whiles,

His lecture will be done ere you have tun’d.


You’ll leave his lecture when I am in tune?


That will be never, tune your instrument.


Where left we last?


Here, madam:

“Hic ibat Simois; hic est Sigeia tellus;

Hic steterat Priami regia celsa senis.”


Construe them.


“Hic ibat,” as I told you before, “Simois,” I am Lucentio, “hic est,” son unto Vincentio of Pisa, “Sigeia tellus,” disguis’d thus to get your love, “Hic steterat,” and that Lucentio that comes a-wooing, “Priami,” is my man Tranio, “regia,” bearing my port, “celsa senis,” that we might beguile the old pantaloon.


Madam, my instrument’s in tune.


Let’s hear. O fie, the treble jars.


Spit in the hole, man, and tune again.


Now let me see if I can construe it: “Hic ibat Simois,” I know you not, “hic est Sigeia tellus,” I trust you not, “Hic steterat Priami,” take heed he hear us not, “regia,” presume not, “celsa senis,” despair not.


Madam, ’tis now in tune.


All but the base.


The base is right, ’tis the base knave that jars.


How fiery and forward our pedant is!

Now, for my life, the knave doth court my love:

Pedascule, I’ll watch you better yet.


In time I may believe, yet I mistrust.


Mistrust it not, for sure Aeacides

Was Ajax, call’d so from his grandfather.


I must believe my master, else, I promise you,

I should be arguing still upon that doubt.

But let it rest. Now, Litio, to you:

Good master, take it not unkindly, pray,

That I have been thus pleasant with you both.


To Lucentio.

You may go walk, and give me leave a while;

My lessons make no music in three parts.


Are you so formal, sir? Well, I must wait,


And watch withal, for but I be deceiv’d,

Our fine musician groweth amorous.


Madam, before you touch the instrument,

To learn the order of my fingering,

I must begin with rudiments of art,

To teach you gamut in a briefer sort,

More pleasant, pithy, and effectual,

Than hath been taught by any of my trade;

And there it is in writing, fairly drawn.


Why, I am past my gamut long ago.


Yet read the gamut of Hortensio.



“Gamut I am, the ground of all accord:

A re, to plead Hortensio’s passion;

B mi, Bianca, take him for thy lord,

C fa ut, that loves with all affection.

D sol re, one cliff, two notes have I,

E la mi, show pity, or I die.”

Call you this gamut? Tut, I like it not.

Old fashions please me best; I am not so nice

To change true rules for odd inventions.

Enter Baptista’s Messenger.


Mistress, your father prays you leave your books,

And help to dress your sister’s chamber up.

You know tomorrow is the wedding-day.


Farewell, sweet masters both, I must be gone.

Exeunt Bianca and Baptista’s Messenger.


Faith, mistress, then I have no cause to stay.



But I have cause to pry into this pedant.

Methinks he looks as though he were in love;

Yet if thy thoughts, Bianca, be so humble

To cast thy wand’ring eyes on every stale,

Seize thee that list. If once I find thee ranging,

Hortensio will be quit with thee by changing.



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