Four Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew, a Midsummer Night's Dream, the Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night
Four Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew, a Midsummer Night's Dream, the Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night

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Annotation: Includes The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night.
Catalog Number: #107967
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition Date: 1988
Pages: xxvii, 560 pages
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-553-21281-8 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-5106-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-553-21281-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-5106-8
Dewey: 822.3
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Reading Level: 9.0
Interest Level: 9+

[Dramatis Personae

Christopher Sly, a tinker and beggar,

hostess of an alehouse,

a lord, Persons in the

a page, servants, huntsmen,              Induction


Baptista, a rich gentleman of Padua

Katharina, the shrew, also called Katharine and Kate, Baptista's elder daughter

Bianca, Baptista's younger daughter

Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, suitor to Katharina

Grumio, Petruchio's servant

Curtis, Nathaniel, Philip, Joseph, Nicholas,

Peter, and other servants of Petruchio

Gremio,  elderly suitor to Bianca

Hortensio, suitor to Bianca

Lucentio, son of Vincentio, in love with Bianca

Tranio, Lucentio's servant

Biondello, Lucentio's servant

Vincentio, a gentleman of Pisa

a pedant (or Merchant) of Mantua

a widow, courted by Hortensio

a tailor

a haberdasher

an officer

Other Servants of Baptista and Lucentio

scene: Padua, and Petruchio's country house in Italy;

the Induction is located in the countryside and

at a Lord's house in England]


[Induction.1]  A  Enter Beggar (Christopher Sly) and


Sly  I'll feeze you, in faith. 1

hostess  A pair of stocks, you rogue! 2

Sly  You're a baggage. The Slys are no rogues. Look in  3

the chronicles; we came in with Richard Conqueror.  4

Therefore paucas pallabris, let the world slide. Sessa! 5

hostess  You will not pay for the glasses you have


Sly  No, not a denier. Go by, Saint Jeronimy, go to thy  8

cold bed and warm thee. 9

hostess  I know my remedy; I must go fetch the third-  10

borough. [Exit.]  11

Sly  Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him  12

by law. I'll not budge an inch, boy. Let him come, and  13

kindly. Falls asleep.  14

Wind horns [within]. Enter a Lord from hunt-

ing, with his train.


Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds. 15

Breathe Merriman--the poor cur is embossed-- 16

And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach. 17

Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good 18

At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault? 19

I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.

first huntsman

Why, Bellman is as good as he, my lord.

He cried upon it at the merest loss, 22

And twice today picked out the dullest scent.

Trust me, I take him for the better dog.


Thou art a fool. If Echo were as fleet,

I would esteem him worth a dozen such.

But sup them well and look unto them all. 27

Tomorrow I intend to hunt again.

first huntsman  I will, my lord.

lord [seeing Sly]

What's here? One dead, or drunk? See, doth he


second huntsman [examining Sly]

He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,

This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.


Oh, monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies!

Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image! 34

Sirs, I will practice on this drunken man. 35

What think you, if he were conveyed to bed,

Wrapped in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers, 37

A most delicious banquet by his bed, 38

And brave attendants near him when he wakes, 39

Would not the beggar then forget himself?

first huntsman

Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose. 41

second huntsman

It would seem strange unto him when he waked.


Even as a flatt'ring dream or worthless fancy. 43

Then take him up, and manage well the jest.

Carry him gently to my fairest chamber,

And hang it round with all my wanton pictures.

Balm his foul head in warm distilled waters, 47

And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet.

Procure me music ready when he wakes,

To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound. 50

And if he chance to speak, be ready straight, 51

And with a low submissive reverence 52

Say, "What is it Your Honor will command?"

Let one attend him with a silver basin

Full of rosewater and bestrewed with flowers;

Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper, 56

And say, "Will 't please Your Lordship cool your


Someone be ready with a costly suit,

And ask him what apparel he will wear;

Another tell him of his hounds and horse, 60

And that his lady mourns at his disease. 61

Persuade him that he hath been lunatic,

And when he says he is, say that he dreams, 63

For he is nothing but a mighty lord.

This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs. 65

It will be pastime passing excellent, 66

If it be husbanded with modesty. 67

first huntsman

My lord, I warrant you we will play our part

As he shall think by our true diligence 69

He is no less than what we say he is.


Take him up gently, and to bed with him,

And each one to his office when he wakes. 72

[Some bear out Sly.] Sound trumpets [within].

Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds. 73

[Exit a Servingman.]

Belike some noble gentleman that means, 74

Traveling some journey, to repose him here.

Enter [a] Servingman.

How now? Who is it?

servingman An't please Your Honor, players 76

That offer service to Your Lordship.

Enter Players.


Bid them come near.--Now, fellows, you are welcome.

players  We thank Your Honor.


Do you intend to stay with me tonight?

first player

So please Your Lordship to accept our duty. 81


With all my heart. This fellow I remember

Since once he played a farmer's eldest son.--

'Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well.

I have forgot your name, but sure that part

Was aptly fitted and naturally performed.

second player

I think 'twas Soto that Your Honor means.


'Tis very true. Thou didst it excellent.

Well, you are come to me in happy time, 89

The rather for I have some sport in hand 90

Wherein your cunning can assist me much. 91

There is a lord will hear you play tonight.

But I am doubtful of your modesties, 93

Lest, overeyeing of his odd behavior-- 94

For yet His Honor never heard a play--

You break into some merry passion 96

And so offend him; for I tell you, sirs,

If you should smile, he grows impatient.

first player

Fear not, my lord, we can contain ourselves,

Were he the veriest antic in the world. 100

lord [to a Servingman]

Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery, 101

And give them friendly welcome every one.

Let them want nothing that my house affords. 103

Exit one with the Players.

Sirrah, go you to Barthol'mew my page,

And see him dressed in all suits like a lady. 105

That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber,

And call him "madam," do him obeisance. 107

Tell him from me, as he will win my love, 108

He bear himself with honorable action

Such as he hath observed in noble ladies

Unto their lords by them accomplished. 111

Such duty to the drunkard let him do

With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy,

And say, "What is't Your Honor will command,

Wherein your lady and your humble wife

May show her duty and make known her love?"

And then with kind embracements, tempting kisses,

And with declining head into his bosom,

Bid him shed tears, as being overjoyed

To see her noble lord restored to health,

Who for this seven years hath esteemed him 121

No better than a poor and loathsome beggar.

And if the boy have not a woman's gift

To rain a shower of commanded tears,

An onion will do well for such a shift, 125

Which in a napkin being close conveyed 126

Shall in despite enforce a watery eye. 127

See this dispatched with all the haste thou canst.

Anon I'll give thee more instructions. 129

Exit a Servingman.

I know the boy will well usurp the grace, 130

Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman.

I long to hear him call the drunkard husband,

And how my men will stay themselves from laughter 133

When they do homage to this simple peasant.

I'll in to counsel them. Haply my presence 135

May well abate the overmerry spleen 136

Which otherwise would grow into extremes.


[Induction.2]  A  Enter aloft the drunkard [Sly], with attendants; some with apparel, basin, and ewer and other appurtenances; and Lord.

Sly  For God's sake, a pot of small ale. 1

first servingman

Will't please Your Lordship drink a cup of sack? 2

second servingman

Will't please Your Honor taste of these conserves? 3

third servingman

What raiment will Your Honor wear today?

Sly  I am Christophero Sly. Call not me "Honor" nor

"Lordship." I ne'er drank sack in my life; and if you

give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef.  7

Ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear, for I have no

more doublets than backs, no more stockings than  9

legs, nor no more shoes than feet--nay, sometimes

more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look  11

through the overleather. 12


Heaven cease this idle humor in Your Honor! 13

Oh, that a mighty man of such descent,

Of such possessions and so high esteem,

Should be infused with so foul a spirit!

Sly  What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christo-

pher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath, by birth a  18

peddler, by education a cardmaker, by transmutation  19

a bearherd, and now by present profession a tinker?  20

Ask Marian Hacket, the fat alewife of Wincot, if she  21

know me not. If she say I am not fourteen pence on  22

the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest  23

knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught:  24


third servingman

Oh, this it is that makes your lady mourn!

second servingman

Oh, this is it that makes your servants droop!


Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house,

As beaten hence by your strange lunacy. 29

Oh, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth.

Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment, 31

And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.

Look how thy servants do attend on thee,

Each in his office ready at thy beck. 34

Wilt thou have music? Hark, Apollo plays, Music. 35

And twenty caged nightingales do sing.

Or wilt thou sleep? We'll have thee to a couch,

Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed

On purpose trimmed up for Semiramis. 39

Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground. 40

Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapped, 41

Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.

Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar

Above the morning lark. Or wilt thou hunt?

Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them 45

And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.

first servingman

Say thou wilt course, thy greyhounds are as swift 47

As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe. 48

second servingman

Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight

Adonis painted by a running brook, 50

And Cytherea all in sedges hid, 51

Which seem to move and wanton with her breath, 52

Even as the waving sedges play wi'th'wind.


We'll show thee Io as she was a maid, 54

And how she was beguiled and surprised,

As lively painted as the deed was done. 56

third servingman

Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood, 57

Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds,

And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,

So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn. 60


Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord.

Thou hast a lady far more beautiful

Than any woman in this waning age. 63

first servingman

And till the tears that she hath shed for thee

Like envious floods o'errun her lovely face, 65

She was the fairest creature in the world;

And yet she is inferior to none. 67


Am I a lord? And have I such a lady?

Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now?

I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak,

I smell sweet savors, and I feel soft things.

Upon my life, I am a lord indeed,

And not a tinker nor Christopher Sly.

Well, bring our lady hither to our sight,

And once again a pot o'th' smallest ale.

second servingman

Will 't please Your Mightiness to wash your hands?

Oh, how we joy to see your wit restored! 77

Oh, that once more you knew but what you are! 78

These fifteen years you have been in a dream,

Or when you waked, so waked as if you slept.


These fifteen years! By my fay, a goodly nap. 81

But did I never speak of all that time? 82

first servingman

Oh, yes, my lord, but very idle words;

For though you lay here in this goodly chamber,

Yet would you say ye were beaten out of door,

And rail upon the hostess of the house, 86

And say you would present her at the leet 87

Because she brought stone jugs and no sealed quarts. 88

Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.


Ay, the woman's maid of the house.

third servingman

Why, sir, you know no house, nor no such maid,

Nor no such men as you have reckoned up,

As Stephen Sly, and old John Naps of Greet, 93

And Peter Turf, and Henry Pimpernel,

And twenty more such names and men as these,

Which never were, nor no man ever saw.


Now Lord be thanked for my good amends! 97



Enter [the Page as a] lady, with Attendants.

Sly I thank thee. Thou shalt not lose by it. 98


How fares my noble lord?

Sly Marry, I fare well, 99

For here is cheer enough. Where is my wife?


Here, noble lord. What is thy will with her?


Are you my wife, and will not call me husband?

My men should call me "lord"; I am your goodman. 103


My husband and my lord, my lord and husband;

I am your wife in all obedience.


I know it well.--What must I call her?

lord Madam.

Sly  Al'ce madam, or Joan madam?


Madam, and nothing else. So lords call ladies.


Madam wife, they say that I have dreamed

And slept above some fifteen year or more.


Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me,

Being all this time abandoned from your bed. 112


'Tis much.--Servants, leave me and her alone.--

Madam, undress you and come now to bed.


Thrice-noble lord, let me entreat of you

To pardon me yet for a night or two,

Or, if not so, until the sun be set.

For your physicians have expres Sly charged,

In peril to incur your former malady,

That I should yet absent me from your bed.

I hope this reason stands for my excuse.

Sly  Ay, it stands so that I may hardly tarry so long. But 122

I would be loath to fall into my dreams again. I will

therefore tarry in despite of the flesh and the blood.

Excerpted from Four Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew, a Midsummer Night's Dream, the Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

The Taming of the Shrew
Robust and bawdy, The Taming of the Shrew captivates audiences with outrageous humor as Katharina, the shrew, engages in a contest of wills–and love–with her bridegroom, Petruchio, in a comedy of unmatched theatrical brilliance, filled with visual gags and witty repartee.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Fairy magic, love spells, and an enchanted wood turn the mismatched rivalries of four young lovers into a marvelous mix-up of desire and enchantment, all touched by Shakespeare’s inimitable vision of the intriguing relationship between dreams and the waking world.

The Merchant of Venice

This dark comedy of love and money contains one of the truly mythic figures in literature–Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. The “pound of flesh” he demands as payment of Antonio’s debt has become a universal metaphor for vengeance. Here, pathos and farce combine with moral complexity and romantic entanglements, to display the extraordinary power and range of Shakespeare at his best.

Twelfth Night

Set in a topsy-turvy world like a holiday revel, this comedy juxtaposes a romantic plot involving separated twins and mistaken identity with a more satiric one about the humiliation of a pompous killjoy. The hilarity is touched with melancholy, and the play ends, not with laughter, but with a clown’s plaintive song.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography

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