Nay, come again, good Kate, I am a gentleman: Scansion for Performance

OK, here’s a preview… later this month, we’re going to talk in depth about the most popular scene in The Taming of the Shrew, the wooing scene (and probably one of the two most important, neck and neck with the last speech by Kate).

Act Two, Scene One, lines 169-325

PETRUCHIO
I will attend her here,
And woo her with some spirit when she comes.
Say that she rail; why then I'll tell her plain
She sings as sweetly as a nightingale:
Say that she frown, I'll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash'd with dew:
Say she be mute and will not speak a word;
Then I'll commend her volubility,
And say she uttereth piercing eloquence:
If she do bid me pack, I'll give her thanks,
As though she bid me stay by her a week:
If she deny to wed, I'll crave the day
When I shall ask the banns and when be married.
But here she comes; and now, Petruchio, speak.

Enter KATHARINA

Good morrow, Kate; for that's your name, I hear.

KATHARINA
Well have you heard, but something hard of hearing:
They call me Katharina that do talk of me.

PETRUCHIO
You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Kate,
And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate,
Take this of me, Kate of my consolation;
Hearing thy mildness praised in every town,
Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded,
Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs,
Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.

KATHARINA
Moved! in good time: let him that moved you hither
Remove you hence: I knew you at the first
You were a moveable.

PETRUCHIO
Why, what's a moveable?

KATHARINA
A join'd-stool.

PETRUCHIO
Thou hast hit it: come, sit on me.

KATHARINA
Asses are made to bear, and so are you.

PETRUCHIO
Women are made to bear, and so are you.

KATHARINA
No such jade as you, if me you mean.

PETRUCHIO
Alas! good Kate, I will not burden thee;
For, knowing thee to be but young and light--

KATHARINA
Too light for such a swain as you to catch;
And yet as heavy as my weight should be.

PETRUCHIO
Should be! should--buzz!

KATHARINA
Well ta'en, and like a buzzard.

PETRUCHIO
O slow-wing'd turtle! shall a buzzard take thee?

KATHARINA
Ay, for a turtle, as he takes a buzzard.

PETRUCHIO
Come, come, you wasp; i' faith, you are too angry.

KATHARINA
If I be waspish, best beware my sting.

PETRUCHIO
My remedy is then, to pluck it out.

KATHARINA
Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies,

PETRUCHIO
Who knows not where a wasp does
wear his sting? In his tail.

KATHARINA
In his tongue.

PETRUCHIO
Whose tongue?

KATHARINA
Yours, if you talk of tails: and so farewell.

PETRUCHIO
What, with my tongue in your tail? nay, come again,
Good Kate; I am a gentleman.

KATHARINA
That I'll try.

She strikes him

PETRUCHIO
I swear I'll cuff you, if you strike again.

KATHARINA
So may you lose your arms:
If you strike me, you are no gentleman;
And if no gentleman, why then no arms.

PETRUCHIO
A herald, Kate? O, put me in thy books!

KATHARINA
What is your crest? a coxcomb?

PETRUCHIO
A combless cock, so Kate will be my hen.

KATHARINA
No cock of mine; you crow too like a craven.

PETRUCHIO
Nay, come, Kate, come; you must not look so sour.

KATHARINA
It is my fashion, when I see a crab.

PETRUCHIO
Why, here's no crab; and therefore look not sour.

KATHARINA
There is, there is.

PETRUCHIO
Then show it me.

KATHARINA
Had I a glass, I would.

PETRUCHIO
What, you mean my face?

KATHARINA
Well aim'd of such a young one.

PETRUCHIO
Now, by Saint George, I am too young for you.

KATHARINA
Yet you are wither'd.

PETRUCHIO
'Tis with cares.

KATHARINA
I care not.

PETRUCHIO
Nay, hear you, Kate: in sooth you scape not so.

KATHARINA
I chafe you, if I tarry: let me go.

PETRUCHIO
No, not a whit: I find you passing gentle.
'Twas told me you were rough and coy and sullen,
And now I find report a very liar;
For thou are pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous,
But slow in speech, yet sweet as spring-time flowers:
Thou canst not frown, thou canst not look askance,
Nor bite the lip, as angry wenches will,
Nor hast thou pleasure to be cross in talk,
But thou with mildness entertain'st thy wooers,
With gentle conference, soft and affable.
Why does the world report that Kate doth limp?
O slanderous world! Kate like the hazel-twig
Is straight and slender and as brown in hue
As hazel nuts and sweeter than the kernels.
O, let me see thee walk: thou dost not halt.

KATHARINA
Go, fool, and whom thou keep'st command.

PETRUCHIO
Did ever Dian so become a grove
As Kate this chamber with her princely gait?
O, be thou Dian, and let her be Kate;
And then let Kate be chaste and Dian sportful!

KATHARINA
Where did you study all this goodly speech?

PETRUCHIO
It is extempore, from my mother-wit.

KATHARINA
A witty mother! witless else her son.

PETRUCHIO
Am I not wise?

KATHARINA
Yes; keep you warm.

PETRUCHIO
Marry, so I mean, sweet Katharina, in thy bed:
And therefore, setting all this chat aside,
Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife; your dowry 'greed on;
And, Will you, nill you, I will marry you.
Now, Kate, I am a husband for your turn;
For, by this light, whereby I see thy beauty,
Thy beauty, that doth make me like thee well,
Thou must be married to no man but me;
For I am he am born to tame you Kate,
And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate
Conformable as other household Kates.
Here comes your father: never make denial;
I must and will have Katharina to my wife.

Re-enter BAPTISTA, GREMIO, and TRANIO

BAPTISTA
Now, Signior Petruchio, how speed you with my daughter?

PETRUCHIO
How but well, sir? how but well?
It were impossible I should speed amiss.

BAPTISTA
Why, how now, daughter Katharina! in your dumps?

KATHARINA
Call you me daughter? now, I promise you
You have show'd a tender fatherly regard,
To wish me wed to one half lunatic;
A mad-cup ruffian and a swearing Jack,
That thinks with oaths to face the matter out.

PETRUCHIO
Father, 'tis thus: yourself and all the world,
That talk'd of her, have talk'd amiss of her:
If she be curst, it is for policy,
For she's not froward, but modest as the dove;
She is not hot, but temperate as the morn;
For patience she will prove a second Grissel,
And Roman Lucrece for her chastity:
And to conclude, we have 'greed so well together,
That upon Sunday is the wedding-day.

KATHARINA
I'll see thee hang'd on Sunday first.

GREMIO
Hark, Petruchio; she says she'll see thee
hang'd first.

TRANIO
Is this your speeding? nay, then, good night our part!

PETRUCHIO
Be patient, gentlemen; I choose her for myself:
If she and I be pleased, what's that to you?
'Tis bargain'd 'twixt us twain, being alone,
That she shall still be curst in company.
I tell you, 'tis incredible to believe
How much she loves me: O, the kindest Kate!
She hung about my neck; and kiss on kiss
She vied so fast, protesting oath on oath,
That in a twink she won me to her love.
O, you are novices! 'tis a world to see,
How tame, when men and women are alone,
A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew.
Give me thy hand, Kate: I will unto Venice,
To buy apparel 'gainst the wedding-day.
Provide the feast, father, and bid the guests;
I will be sure my Katharina shall be fine.

BAPTISTA
I know not what to say: but give me your hands;
God send you joy, Petruchio! 'tis a match.

GREMIO TRANIO
Amen, say we: we will be witnesses.

PETRUCHIO
Father, and wife, and gentlemen, adieu;
I will to Venice; Sunday comes apace:
We will have rings and things and fine array;
And kiss me, Kate, we will be married o'Sunday.

Exeunt PETRUCHIO and KATHARINA severally

And we’ll look at the scene, primary through scansion to see if we can get any clues to performance through the verse.

Comment?