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we can arrive at a tolerably satisfactory decision. Malone first believed that “The Taming of the Shrew" was written in 1606, and subsequently gave 1596 as its probable date. It appears to me, that nobody has sufficiently attended to the apparently unimportant fact that in “Hamlet” Shakespeare mistakenly introduces the name of Baptista as that of a woman, while in “The Taming of the Shrew" Baptista is the father of Katharine and Bianca. Had he been aware when he wrote “ Hainlet" that Baptista was the name of a man, he would hardly have used it for that a woman: but before he produced “The Taming of the Shrew” he had detected his own crror. The great probability is, that “ Hamlet” was written at the earliest in 1601, and “ The Taming of the Shrew” perhaps came from the pen of its author not very long afterwards.
The recent reprint of “The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissill,” by Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton, from the edition of 1603, tends to throw light on this point. Henslowe's Diary establishes, that the three dramatists above named were writing it in the winter of 1599. It contains various allusions to the taming of shrews; and it is to be recollected that the old “ Taming of a Shrew” was acted by Henslowe's company, and is mentioned by him under the date of 11th June, 1594. One of the passages in “ Patient Grissill,” which seems to connect the two, occurs in Act v. sc. 2, where Sir Owen producing his wands, says to the marquess, "I will learn your medicines to tame shrews.” This expression is remarkable, because we find by Henslowe's Diary that, in July, 1602, Dekker received a payment from the old manager, on account of a comedy he was writing under the title of " A Medicine for a curst Wife.” My conjecture is, that Shakespeare (in coalition, possibly, with some other dramatist, who wrote the portions which are admitted not to be in Shakespeare's manner) produced his “ Taming of the Shrew" soon after “Patient Grissill” had been brought upon the stage, and as a sort of counterpart to it; and that Dekker followed up the subject in the summer of 1602 by his “ Medicine for a curst Wife," have ing been incited by the success of Shakespeare's “ Taming of the Shrew" at a rival theatre. At this time the old “ Taming. of a Shrew" had been laid by as a public performance, and Shakespeare having very nearly adopted its title, Dekker took a different one, in accordance with the expression he had used two or three years before in “ Patient Grissilla.”
The silence of Meres in 1598 regarding any such play by Shakespeare is also important: had it then been written, he could scarcely liave failed to mention it; so that we have strong negative evidence of its non-existence before the appearance of Palladis Tamia. When Sir John Harington, in his “ Metamorphosis of Ajax," 1596, says, “Read the booké
2 If we suppose Shakespeare, in Act iv. sc. 1, to allude to T. Heywood's play, " A Woman Killed with Kindness," it would show that “ The Taming of the Shrew" was written after Feb. 1602–3; but the expression was probably proverbial, and for this reason Heywood took it as the title of his tragedy.
of Taming a Shrew,' which hath made a number of us so perfect that now every one can rule a shrew in our country, save he that hath her," he meant the old “ Taming of a Shrew," reprinted in the same year. In that play we have not only the comedy in which Petruchio and Katharine are chiefly engaged, but the Induction, which is carried out to the close; for Sly and the Tapster conclude the piece, as they had begun it.
As it is evident that Shakespeare made great use of the old comedy, both in his Induction and in the body of his play, it is not necessary to inquire particularly to what originals the writer of “The Taming of a Shrew" resorted. As regards the Induction, Douce was of opinion that the story of The Sleeper awakened,” in the “ Arabian Nights' Entertainments," was the source of the many imitations which have, from time to time, been referred to. Warton (Hist. Engl. Poetry, iv. 117. Edit. 1824) tells us, that among the books of Collins was a collection of tales by Richard Edwards, dated in 1570, and including “the Induction of the Tinker in Shakespeare's • Taming of the Shrew."" This might be the original employed by the author of the old “ Taming of a Shrew.” For the play itself he, perhaps, availed himself of some now unknown iranslation of Nott. viii. fab. 2, of the Piacevoli Nottle of Straparola.
The Suppositi of Ariosto, freely translated by Gascoyne, (before 1566, when it was acted at Grey's Inn) under the title of" The Supposes," seems to have afforded Shakespeare part of his plot: it relates to the manner in which Lucentio and Tranio pass off the Pedant as Vincentio, which is not found in the old “ Taming of a Shrew.". In the list of persons preceding Gascoyne's “Supposes” Shakespeare found the name of Petrucio, (a character not so called by Ariosto,) and hence, perhaps, he adopted it. It affords another slight link of connexion between “ The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Supposes;" but there exists a third, still slighter, of which no notice has been taken. It consists of the use of the word
supposes,” in A. v. sc. 1, exactly in the substantive sense in which it is employed by Gascoyne, and in reference to that part of the story which had been derived from his trarslation. How little Shakespeare's “Taming of the Shrew” was known in the beginning of the eighteenth century, may be judged from the fact, that “The Tatler,” No. 231, contains the story of it, told as of a gentleman's family then residing in Lincolnwhiré.
Persons CHRISTOPHERO Sly, a Tinker. Hostess, in the
Page, Players, Huntsmen, and Ser- | Induc-
Suitors to Bianca.
Servants to Lucentio.
Servants to Petruchio.
KATHARINA, } Daughters to Baptista.
Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants attending on Baptista
SCENE, sometimes in Padua; and sometimes in
Petruchio's House in the Country.
TAMING OF THE SHREW.
Enter HOSTESS and CHRISTOPHERO SLY.
Sly. Y' are a baggage: the Slys are no rogues; look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris ; let the world slide. Sessa !?
Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst? Sly. No, not a denier. Go by, Jeronimy;' go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.*
Host. I know my remedy; I must go fetch the headborough.
[Exit. Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law; I'll not budge an inch, boy: let him come, and kindly.
[Lies down, and falls asleep. Wind horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with Hunts
men and Servants. Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my
1 Hun. Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord;
1 A common word in the west of England, where it means to chastise, humble.-Gifford. 3 Cessa, cease. 3'f. e. : says Jeronimy. Go, by Jeronimy-from Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy, often quoted in derision, and as a cant phrase, by the writers of the day. This is also a quotation from the same play. 5 Constable; it is usually altered to thirdborough. A hound. 7 Foams at the mouth from fatigue.
Lord. Thou art a fool : if Echo were as fleet,
1 Hun. I will, my lord.
he breathe ? 2 Hun. He breathes, my lord. Were he not warm'd
with ale, This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.
Lord. O, monstrous beast! how like a swine he lies. Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image! Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man. What think you, if he were convey'd to bed, Wrapp'd in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers, A most delicious banquet by his bed, And brave attendants near him when he wakes, Would not the beggar then forget himself?
1 Hun. Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose. 2 Hun. It would seem strange unto him when he
wak’d. Lord. Even as a flattering dream, or worthless fancy. 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 with warm distilled waters, And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet: Procure me music ready when he wakes, To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound; And if he chance to speak, be ready straight, And, with a low submissive reverence, Say,—what is it your honour will command ? Let one attend him with a silver bason, Full of rose-water, and bestrew'd with flowers; Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper, And say,-will’t please your lordship cool your hands ? Some one be ready with a costly suit, And ask him what apparel he will wear; Another tell him of his hounds and horse, And that his lady mourns at his disease. Persuade him that he hath been lunatic; When he says what he is,' say that he dreams, For he is nothing but a mighty lord.
8 And when he says he is : in f. e.