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HRISTOPHERO SLY, thou wert a grace
less varlet: thy contempt of legal authority
friends must have had frequent cause for regret
Grim Death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!" Yet certes it is, most impudent of pot-menders, that "there is some soul of goodness in things evil, would men observingly distil it out;" and truly, upon the whole, it was a lucky moment for thee and the world when thou wert caught napping upon Barton Heath, where thou snor'dst
thyself into immortal fame, and becamest the hero of as rich a piece of character, for its length, as any in the teeming pages of thy myriad-eyed Delineator.
The humour, indeed, of the Induction to this amusing drama, is as closely packed as pemican for an arctic voyage. The first indication that Sly gives of the risible aspect of drunkenness, is the boast of his family: “The Slys are no rogues: look in the chronicles; we came in with Richard Conqueror.” This is a capital and ever-recurring bit of truth. It was but the other day we encountered a droll fellow (one of the Sly genus), in a state somewhat between beggary and selling matches; and about the third word he uttered, was the commencement of a rigmarole concerning his mother's relationship to a certain duke. In the same short speech of the indignant Christopher, we have another specimen of no less characteristic self-importance — the affectation of acquaintance with foreign tongues ; " Paucas pallabris; let the world slide. Sessa !” Peculiar revelations, on subjects of language and history, are very apt to "come trippingly off the tongue” of your shallow toper, whose bemuddled faculties are exceedingly liable to mistake the inspirations of Bacchus for those of Apollo or Minerva. But a still closer touch of tavern life is the fat alewife's fiery indignation about the broken glass, and Christopher's plump and heroic refusal to pay for it. Any one who has been in the habit of "taking his ease at his inn,” well knows that one of the most trying moments to be encountered in this vale of tears-of shivered hopes and shivered glasses—is that in which an impassioned elbow movement condemns him to produce a silver equivalent for the still more shining, but, alas! more brittle material. Sly's mode of settlement is altogether more obvious, common, and convenient,—but requires nerve.
Both the present play and its admirable induction are founded on an older drama, by an unknown author, called “THE TAMING OF 'A' Shrew.” A few specimens of the parent production will be found in the Notes. Shakspere has pretty closely followed his original in the incidents relating to the Shrew and her Tamer, prodigally enriching the dialogue both comic and serious, as he proceeds. The language rises into poetry, or broadens into humour, with the Poet's usual elastic felicity. Petruchio is a goodnatured fellow at heart; a worldling of the wiser sort ;— and Kate, whose shrewishness has actually attained the culminating point of beating her younger sister, may well bear some degree of personal coercion, without any violent shock to the most chivalrous sensibility. But after all, it is not pleasant to contemplate the triumph of mere physical force. That superiority of Man over Woman which results from predominance of bluster and bodily strength, is much of the same class as that of Bull over Man, —when the infuriated Taurus has driven one of the pseudo lords of creation into the corner of a disputed field of argument, with the manifest intention of sticking him on one or both of the horns of as interesting a dilemma as any given domestic tyrant could wish or deserve to be placed in. :
Shakspere's “ TAMING OF THE Shrew” was first published in the original folio of 1623.
Enter Hostess and Sly.
Sly. Y'are a baggage; the Slys are no rogues :
world slide. Sessa! Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have 1st Hun. Why, Belman is as good as he, my burst?
Sly. No, not a denier: go by, says Jeronimy;- He cried upon it at the merest loss, go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
And twice to-day picked out the dullest scent: Host. I know my remedy; I must go fetch the Trust me, I take him for the better dog. thirdborough.
[Exit. Lord. Thou art a fool : if Echo were as fleet, Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll ar I would esteem him worth a dozen such. swer him by law: I'll not budge an inch, boy; But sup them well, and look unto them all; let him come, and kindly.
To-morrow I intend to hunt again. [Lies down on the ground, and falls asleep. 1st Hun. I will, my lord.
Lord. What's here: one dead, or drunk? See, Wind horns. Enter a Lord, from hunting, with
doth he breathe? Huntsmen and Servants.
2nd Hun. He breathes, my lord : were he not Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well
warmed with ale,
This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly. Brach Merriman,—the poor cur is embossed; Lord. O monstrous beast! how like a swine he And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach.
lies! Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine At the hedge-corner, in the coldest fault?
image! I would not lose the dog for twenty pound. Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man.