Leantio is a hard-working financial go-between, whose work compels him to travel all week. In this scene, he returns home, elated at the thought of seeing, and enjoying, his new-wed wife Bianca again, ignorant of the horror that has happened to her. Before entering the house, he pauses to relish the pleasures which (he thinks) lie ahead for him.
How near am I now to a happiness
That earth exceeds not, not another like it!
The treasures of the deep are not so precious
As are the concealed comforts of a man 85
Locked up in woman’s love. I scent the air
Of blessings when I come but near the house.
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth!
The violet bed’s not sweeter. Honest wedlock
Is like a banqueting-house built in a garden 90
On which the spring’s chaste flowers take delight
To cast their modest odours, when base lust
With all her powders, paintings, and best pride
Is but a fair house built by a ditch side.
When I behold a glorious dangerous strumpet 95
Sparkling in beauty, and destruction too,
Both at a twinkling, I do liken straight
Her beautified body to a goodly temple
That’s built on vaults where carcasses lie rotting;
And so by little and little I shrink back again,
And quench desire with a cool meditation. 100
And I’m as well, methinks. Now for a welcome
Able to draw men’s envies upon man,
A kiss now that will hang upon my lip
As sweet as morning dew upon a rose, 105
And full as long. After a five days’ fast
She’ll be so greedy now, and cling about me,
I take care how I shall be rid of her
And here’t begins.