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Titania. My Oberon! what visions have I seen! Methought I was enamoured of an ass.
Oberon. There lies your love.
How come these things to pass?
O, mine eyes do loathe his visage now!
Oberon. Silence, awhile.-Robin, take off this head.Titania, music call; and strike more dead
Than common sleep, of all these five the sense.
Titania. Music, ho! music: such as charmeth sleep.
Puck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own fool's eyes peep. Oberon. Sound, music. [Still music.] Come, my queen, take
hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity;
And will, to-morrow midnight, solemnly,
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair posterity:
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity.
Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark;
I do hear the morning lark.
Oberon. Then, my queen, in silence sad,
Trip we after the night's shade:
We the globe can compass soon,
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.
Titania. Mon cher Obéron! quelles visions j'ai eues! Il m'a semblé que j'étais amoureuse d'un âne.
Obéron. Voilà votre amant.
Titania. Comment cela s'est-il fait? Oh! combien maintenant mes yeux abhorrent son visage!
Obéron. Silence un instant.-Robin, détache cette tête.-Titania, appelez la musique, et que ses accords plongent les sens de ces cinq personnages dans un assoupissement plus profond que le sommeil
Titania. Musique! holà, musique! donnez-nous des accords qui charment le sommeil.
Farfadet. (Faisant disparaître la tête d'âne de Lanavette et lui rendant sa figure naturelle.) Quand tu t'éveilleras, vois avec tes propres yeux, yeux d'un imbécile.
Obéron. Musique, jouez! (Une musique lente et monotone se fait entendre.) Venez, Titania, donnons-nous la main, et imprimons à la terre où sont couchés ces dormeurs, un tremblement qui les berce: maintenant, vous et moi, nous sommes réconciliés; demain, à minuit nous exécuterons dans le palais du duc Thésée, des danses solennelles ; et nous appellerons sur sa maison toutes les bénédictions du ciel. Là aussi seront unis, en même temps que Thésée, ces deux couples d'amant fidèles, et tout le monde sera dans la joie.
KATHARINE is introduced to us as a bad bargain, which her wearied father would be glad to rid himself of. Her dowry, be it never so large, has failed him in inducing suitors for her hand. As a last resource, he determines that his meek and lovely daughter, BIANCA, shall not be wedded to any of her numerous lovers, until KATE has been disposed of; and the prudence of this course is justified by its success.
HORTENSIO, One of BIANCA'S suitors, resolves the difficulty by offering Katharine to his friend PETRUCHIO. He, however, does this in an honest manner, concealing none of her faults.
PETRUCHIO, nothing cowed by them, determines to woo and win Katharine, and relies on his own tactics to tame her after marriage. His courtship commences in the same manner as his subsequent treatment continues. Using her own weapons, he attacks the fortress of her will, and insists on having her as his wife.
To the infinite delight of all who know her, KATHARINE is thus wedded; and her husband, leaving her no time to fret, commands her instant journey to his home. Married in an old suit, fit only for a groom, he takes her on horseback to his house, so managing by the way, that they are both thrown into the mud. In woful plight they arrive at home; and KATHARINE, wearied and hungry, requires rest and refreshment. PETRUCHIO, on pretence of "killing a wife with kindness," contrives to keep her without rest and food. If she make the slightest objection to anything presented to her, it is instantly sent away; and he even descends to such trifles as dress, bonnets, &c., indignantly dismissing the modiste, who, having in a small matter forgot instructions, gave KATHARINE a chance of complaint. By this course, he gradually reduces her to the negative quality of keeping silence; but, not content with this, he at last succeeds in persuading her to agree with anything he affirms to be true.
Having arrived at this happy frame of mind, PETRUCHIO thinks he may safely visit her father, that he may convince him of the complete cure effected in his daughter. Arriving at Padua, they are just in time to share in the banquet given in honour of BIANCA'S wedding, at which HORTENSIO, who has lately married a widow, is also present. During the feast, a wager is made between LUCENTIO (the husband of BIANCA), HORTENSIO, and PETRUCHIO, as to—
"Whose wife is most obedient
To come at first, when he doth send for her."
The scene which follows is one of the richest humour. LUCENTIO's bride "is busy, and she cannot come." HORTENSIO'S has "some goodly jest in hand; she will not come." At last PETRUCHIO commands the presence of KATHARINE; and, to the infinite astonishment of all, she instantly appears-reads a splendid lecture on married life, and concludes by declaring her humility, and asking of each wife present :-
"Place your hands below your husband's foot;
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease."
Thus ends the act of Taming of the Shrew. Inimitable in humour, it is doubtless the wonder of all mankind, and full of suggestive lessons to all shrews (if any exist) amongst the softer sex.