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You [To ORLANDO.] to a love, that your true faith doth
merit :You [To Oliver.] to your land, and love, and great
allies :You (To Silvius.] to a long and well deserved bed :And you [To TouchstONE.) to wrangling; for thy
loving voyage Is but for two months victuall’d.-So, to your pleasures : I am for other than for dancing measures.
Duke S. Stay, Jaques, stay. Jaq. To see no pastime, I :—what you would have, I'll stay to know at your abandon'd cave. [Erit.
Duke S. Proceed, proceed : we will begin these rites, As we do trust they'll end, in true delights.
Ros. It is not the fashion to see the lady the Epilogue; but it is no more unhandsome, than to see the lord the Prologue. If it be true, that good wine needs no bush, 't is true that a good play needs no epilogue ; yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in, then, that am neither a good epilogue, nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play? I am not furnished like a beg. gar, therefore to beg will not become me: my way is, to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge you, O women ! for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play as please you : and I charge you, O men ! for the love you bear to women, (as I perceive by your simpering none of you hates them) that between you and the women, the play may please. If I were a woman,' I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied not; and, I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths, will, for my kind offer, when I make curtsey, bid me farewell.
1 Tieck says, this is an allusion to the practice of women's parts being played by men.
“The Taming of the Shrew" was first printed in the folio of 1623, where it occupies twenty-two pages, viz. from p. 208 to page 229 inclusive, in the division of “Comedies.” It was reprinted in the three later folios.
SHAKESPEARE was indebted for nearly the whole plot of his “ Taming of the Shrew” to an older play, published in 1594, under the title of “The Taming of a Shrew." The mere circumstance of the adoption of the title, substituting only the definite for the indefinite article, proves that he had not the slightest intention of concealivg his obligation.
When Steevens published the “Six Old Plays," more or less employed by Shakespeare in six of his own dramas, no earlier edition of the “ Taming of a Shrew" than that of 1607 was known. It was conjectured, however, that it had come from the press at an earlier date, and Pope appeared to have been once in possession of a copy of it, published as early as 1594. This copy has since been recovered, and is now in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire: the exact title of it is as follows:
“A Pleasant Conceited Historie, called The taming of a Shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right honorable the Earle of Pembrook his seruants. Printed at London by Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, at his shop at the Royall Exchange. 1594.” 4to.
It was reprinted in 1596, and a copy of that edition is in the possession of Lord Francis Egerton. The impression of 1607, the copy used by Steevens, is in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire.
There are three entries in the Registers of the Stationers? Company relating to “The Taming of a Shrew” but not one referring to Shakespeare's “ Taming of the Shrew."'. When Blounte and Jaggard, on the 8th Nov. 1623, entered “Mr. William Shakspeere's Comedyes, Histories, and Tragedyes, soe many of the said copies as are not formerly entered to other men,” they did not include "The Taming of the Shrew:” hence an inference might be drawn, that at some previous time it had been “entered to other men;" but no such entry has been found, and Shakespeare's comedy, probably, was never printed until it was inserted in the folio of 1623.
On the question, when it was originally composed, opinions, including my own, have varied considerably; but I now think
1 Malone was mistaken when he said (Shakespeare by Boswell, vol. ii. p. 342.) that “our author's genuine play was entered at Stationers' Hall” on the 17th Nov. The entry is of the 19th Nov, and not of Shakespeare's “ Taming of the w," but of the old "Taming of a Shrew."