Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PETRUCHIO'S WIFE, by AMELIA JOSEPHINE BURR



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PETRUCHIO'S WIFE, by            
First Line: Ay, go your ways, my lord. Look where he struts
Last Line: Then is the day grown bright for katharine!
Subject(s): Dramatists; Plays & Playwrights ; Poetry & Poets; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Dramatists


AY, go your ways, my lord. Look where he struts
And ruffles it along the sunny street!
His doublet's broken at the seam again --
I'll look to it when he comes home. He's worse
Than any wanton youngling on his gear.
A gallant bearing -- he is well worth ten
Of my fair sister's pretty mummer. Bah!
Playing the schoolmaster to win a bride
He might have had by knocking at the door
And shaking a fat purse! Petruchio
Measures more nearly to a man's degree;
Yet he is but a boy, an o'er-grown boy.
Was ever man so easily deceived?
What, did he think that he could master me
By wearying my body, starving it,
Shaming it with vile raiment? Bless the fool!
And yet I swear I did not bless him then --
I could have slain him rather; but I thought,
"Kate, thou art married; make the best of it.
"Thou hadst been wiser to lead apes in hell,
"But since thy cup of folly has been poured,
"Drink it off smiling. He shall pay anon."
There at Bianca's feast, when he would show
His power so braggartly, I had well-nigh
Defied him to his face, -- but I recalled
Hortensio's fine madam, and her taunt.
"What other way to sting so well," thought I,
"As show myself the model, her the shrew?"
Eh, did I sweetly play the pattern wife?
Ask of Petruchio's purse, where merrily
His fellow-bridegroom's golden forfeits clinked --
(Until he spent the better part of them
Upon a cap richer an hundredfold
Than that I spurned to please him!) Am I tamed?
Thus much, perhaps . . . that now I play my part
Not bitterly, but laughing in a sleeve
Which now is fashioned to my own desire,
I praying his approval; and instead
Of anger at his boastful boyishness
Is something, neither pity nor yet love --
The child of both, perchance.
I used to think
That when I held the larder keys, himself
Should fast some day, to pay that fast of mine.
But when the time came, I no longer cared
For little vengeance on a little wrong.
And so I feed him well, and speak him fair,
And keep him bravely clad, and when he meets
His friends, he vaunts the merits of his wife,
While they all marvel at the mastered shrew!
Look -- he comes home -- he's never long away.
How boyish-gay he waves an eager hand,
Seeing me waiting at the window here!
God rest thee merry, good Petruchio;
How I could love thee . . . wert thou more a man!

My excellent dear lord! Art thou returned?
Then is the day grown bright for Katharine!





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