Formula for a Perfect Marriage

Petruchio: Katherine, I charge thee, tell these headstrong women
what duty they owe their lords and husbands....
Katherine: Fie, fie! unknit that threat’ning brow, and dart not scornful glances
from those eyes to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads, confounds thy fame as
whirlwinds shake fair buds, and in no sense is sweet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled-
muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty-
and while it is so, none so dry or thirsty will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign;
one that cares for thee, and for thy maintenance commits his body to painful labor
both by sea and land, to watch the night in storms, the day in cold;
whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe; and craves no other tribute
at thy hands but love, fair looks, and true obediance;
too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince, even such a woman oweth her husband;
when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour, and not obedient to his honest will,
what is she but a foul contending rebel and graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple to offer war where they should
kneel for peace, or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway;
when they are bound to serve, love, an obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
unapt to toil and trouble in the world, but that our soft conditions
and our hearts should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms! My mind hath been as big as one of
yours, my heart as great, my reason haply more, to bandy word for word and
frown for frown; but now I see our lances are but straws,
our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
that seeming to be most which indeed we least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot, and place your hand below your
husband’s foot; in token of which duty, if he please,
my hand is ready; may it do him ease.
Petruchio: Why, there’s a wench! Come on and kiss me Kate.

(closing couplets; William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew)

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