Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/152

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112
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

of the word "taming" in Shakespeare's play, The Taming of the Shrew. In this roaring farce, the character of Katharine is conceived throughout as a human embodiment of the spirit of a hawk. She is tamed as hawks were tamed; and the sudden and complete change in her character from extreme shrewishness to extreme docility was exactly similar to the familiar change that took place as the result of very similar treatment in the life of every hawk. This idea, though no Elizabethan could fail to see it, is explicity set forth by Petrucio:

"Thus have I politickly begun my reign,
And 'tis my hope to end successfully.
My falcon now is sharp and passing empty;
And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged,
For then she never looks upon her lure.
Another way I have to man my haggard,
To make her come and know her keeper's call,
That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
That bate and beat and will not be obedient.
She eat not meat to-day, nor none shall eat:
Last night she slept not, nor to-night she shall not;
As with the meat some undeserved fault
I'll find about the making of the bed:
And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
This way the coverlet, another way the sheets:
Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
That all is done in reverend care of her:
And in conclusion she shall watch all night;
And if she chance to nod I'll rail and bawl
And with the clamour keep her still awake."