2. SCENE II. Padua. Before HORTENSIO'S house.
For this reason, if you'll know,
That she's the choice love of Signior Gremio.
That she's the chosen of Signior Hortensio.
Softly, my masters! If you be gentlemen,
Do me this right; hear me with patience.
Baptista is a noble gentleman,
To whom my father is not all unknown;
And were his daughter fairer than she is,
She may more suitors have, and me for one.
Fair Leda's daughter had a thousand wooers;
Then well one more may fair Bianca have;
And so she shall: Lucentio shall make one,
Though Paris came in hope to speed alone.
What!this gentleman will out-talk us all.
Sir, give him head; I know he'll prove a jade.
Hortensio, to what end are all these words?
Sir, let me be so bold as ask you,
Did you yet ever see Baptista's daughter?
No, sir, but hear I do that he hath two,
The one as famous for a scolding tongue
As is the other for beauteous modesty.
Sir, sir, the first's for me; let her go by.
Yea, leave that labour to great Hercules,
And let it be more than Alcides' twelve.
Sir, understand you this of me, in sooth:
The youngest daughter, whom you hearken for,
Her father keeps from all access of suitors,
And will not promise her to any man
Until the elder sister first be wed;
The younger then is free, and not before.
If it be so, sir, that you are the man
Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest;
And if you break the ice, and do this feat,
Achieve the elder, set the younger free
For our access, whose hap shall be to have her
Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.