The Taming of the Shrew; Act V, Scene ii


The Taming of the Shrew.         Act 5, Scene 2.             Katherina

(This text is featured in our interview with Gabra Zackman)

(Click here to see the First Folio version)

(Click here to see the fully scanned version)

135  Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
136  And dart not scornful glances from those eyes,
137  To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
138  It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
139  Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
140  And in no sense is meet or amiable.
141  A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
142  Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
143  And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
144  Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
145  Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
146  Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
147  And for thy maintenance commits his body
148  To painful labour both by sea and land,
149  To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
150  Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
151  And craves no other tribute at thy hands
152  But love, fair looks and true obedience;
153  Too little payment for so great a debt.
154  Such duty as the subject owes the prince
155  Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
156  And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
157  And not obedient to his honest will,
158  What is she but a foul contending rebel
159  And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
160  I am ashamed that women are so simple
161  To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
162  Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
163  When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
164  Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
165  Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
166  But that our soft conditions and our hearts
167  Should well agree with our external parts?
168  Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
169  My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
170  My heart as great, my reason haply more,
171  To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
172  But now I see our lances are but straws,
173  Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
174  That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
175  Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
176  And place your hands below your husband’s foot:
177  In token of which duty, if he please,
178  My hand is ready; may it do him ease.

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