ACT II SCENE II

The Comedy of Errors

ACT II SCENE II A public place.
[Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse]
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up
Safe at the Centaur; and the heedful slave
Is wander’d forth, in care to seek me out
By computation and mine host’s report.
I could not speak with Dromio since at first 5
I sent him from the mart. See, here he comes.
[Enter DROMIO of Syracuse]
How now sir! is your merry humour alter’d?
As you love strokes, so jest with me again.
You know no Centaur? you received no gold?
Your mistress sent to have me home to dinner? 10
My house was at the Phoenix? Wast thou mad,
That thus so madly thou didst answer me?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE What answer, sir? when spake I such a word?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Even now, even here, not half an hour since.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE I did not see you since you sent me hence, 15
Home to the Centaur, with the gold you gave me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Villain, thou didst deny the gold’s receipt,
And told’st me of a mistress and a dinner;
For which, I hope, thou felt’st I was displeased.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE I am glad to see you in this merry vein: 20
What means this jest? I pray you, master, tell me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Yea, dost thou jeer and flout me in the teeth?
Think’st thou I jest? Hold, take thou that, and that.
[Beating him]
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Hold, sir, for God’s sake! now your jest is earnest:
Upon what bargain do you give it me? 25
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Because that I familiarly sometimes
Do use you for my fool and chat with you,
Your sauciness will jest upon my love
And make a common of my serious hours.
When the sun shines let foolish gnats make sport, 30
But creep in crannies when he hides his beams.
If you will jest with me, know my aspect,
And fashion your demeanor to my looks,
Or I will beat this method in your sconce.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Sconce call you it? so you would leave battering, I 35
had rather have it a head: an you use these blows
long, I must get a sconce for my head and ensconce
it too; or else I shall seek my wit in my shoulders.
But, I pray, sir why am I beaten?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Dost thou not know? 40
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Nothing, sir, but that I am beaten.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Shall I tell you why?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Ay, sir, and wherefore; for they say every why hath
a wherefore.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Why, first,–for flouting me; and then, wherefore– 45
For urging it the second time to me.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme
nor reason?
Well, sir, I thank you. 50
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Thank me, sir, for what?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Marry, sir, for this something that you gave me for nothing.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE I’ll make you amends next, to give you nothing for
something. But say, sir, is it dinner-time?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE No, sir; I think the meat wants that I have. 55
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE In good time, sir; what’s that?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Basting.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Well, sir, then ’twill be dry.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE If it be, sir, I pray you, eat none of it.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Your reason? 60
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Lest it make you choleric and purchase me another
dry basting.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Well, sir, learn to jest in good time: there’s a
time for all things.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE I durst have denied that, before you were so choleric. 65
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE By what rule, sir?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as the plain bald
pate of father Time himself.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Let’s hear it.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE There’s no time for a man to recover his hair that 70
grows bald by nature.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE May he not do it by fine and recovery?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig and recover the
lost hair of another man.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Why is Time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, 75
so plentiful an excrement?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts;
and what he hath scanted men in hair he hath given them in wit.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Why, but there’s many a man hath more hair than wit.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Not a man of those but he hath the wit to lose his hair. 80
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Why, thou didst conclude hairy men plain dealers without wit.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE The plainer dealer, the sooner lost: yet he loseth
it in a kind of jollity.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE For what reason?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE For two; and sound ones too. 85
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Nay, not sound, I pray you.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Sure ones, then.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Nay, not sure, in a thing falsing.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Certain ones then.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Name them. 90
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE The one, to save the money that he spends in
trimming; the other, that at dinner they should not
drop in his porridge.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE You would all this time have proved there is no
time for all things. 95
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Marry, and did, sir; namely, no time to recover hair
lost by nature.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE But your reason was not substantial, why there is no
time to recover.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Thus I mend it: Time himself is bald and therefore 100
to the world’s end will have bald followers.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE I knew ‘twould be a bald conclusion:
But, soft! who wafts us yonder?
[Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA]
ADRIANA Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown:
Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects; 105
I am not Adriana nor thy wife.
The time was once when thou unurged wouldst vow
That never words were music to thine ear,
That never object pleasing in thine eye,
That never touch well welcome to thy hand, 110
That never meat sweet-savor’d in thy taste,
Unless I spake, or look’d, or touch’d, or carved to thee.
How comes it now, my husband, O, how comes it,
That thou art thus estranged from thyself?
Thyself I call it, being strange to me, 115
That, undividable, incorporate,
Am better than thy dear self’s better part.
Ah, do not tear away thyself from me!
For know, my love, as easy mayest thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf, 120
And take unmingled that same drop again,
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thyself and not me too.
How dearly would it touch me to the quick,
Shouldst thou but hear I were licentious 125
And that this body, consecrate to thee,
By ruffian lust should be contaminate!
Wouldst thou not spit at me and spurn at me
And hurl the name of husband in my face
And tear the stain’d skin off my harlot-brow 130
And from my false hand cut the wedding-ring
And break it with a deep-divorcing vow?
I know thou canst; and therefore see thou do it.
I am possess’d with an adulterate blot;
My blood is mingled with the crime of lust: 135
For if we too be one and thou play false,
I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
Keep then far league and truce with thy true bed;
I live unstain’d, thou undishonoured. 140
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not:
In Ephesus I am but two hours old,
As strange unto your town as to your talk;
Who, every word by all my wit being scann’d,
Want wit in all one word to understand. 145
LUCIANA Fie, brother! how the world is changed with you!
When were you wont to use my sister thus?
She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE By Dromio?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE By me? 150
ADRIANA By thee; and this thou didst return from him,
That he did buffet thee, and, in his blows,
Denied my house for his, me for his wife.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
What is the course and drift of your compact? 155
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE I, sir? I never saw her till this time.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Villain, thou liest; for even her very words
Didst thou deliver to me on the mart.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE I never spake with her in all my life.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE How can she thus then call us by our names, 160
Unless it be by inspiration.
ADRIANA How ill agrees it with your gravity
To counterfeit thus grossly with your slave,
Abetting him to thwart me in my mood!
Be it my wrong you are from me exempt, 165
But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
Come, I will fasten on this sleeve of thine:
Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine,
Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state,
Makes me with thy strength to communicate: 170
If aught possess thee from me, it is dross,
Usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss;
Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion
Infect thy sap and live on thy confusion.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE To me she speaks; she moves me for her theme: 175
What, was I married to her in my dream?
Or sleep I now and think I hear all this?
What error drives our eyes and ears amiss?
Until I know this sure uncertainty,
I’ll entertain the offer’d fallacy. 180
LUCIANA Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE O, for my beads! I cross me for a sinner.
This is the fairy land: O spite of spites!
We talk with goblins, owls and sprites:
If we obey them not, this will ensue, 185
They’ll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue.
LUCIANA Why pratest thou to thyself and answer’st not?
Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE I am transformed, master, am I not?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE I think thou art in mind, and so am I. 190
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Nay, master, both in mind and in my shape.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Thou hast thine own form.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE No, I am an ape.
LUCIANA If thou art changed to aught, ’tis to an ass.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE ‘Tis true; she rides me and I long for grass. 195
‘Tis so, I am an ass; else it could never be
But I should know her as well as she knows me.
ADRIANA Come, come, no longer will I be a fool,
To put the finger in the eye and weep,
Whilst man and master laugh my woes to scorn. 200
Come, sir, to dinner. Dromio, keep the gate.
Husband, I’ll dine above with you to-day
And shrive you of a thousand idle pranks.
Sirrah, if any ask you for your master,
Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter. 205
Come, sister. Dromio, play the porter well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking? mad or well-advised?
Known unto these, and to myself disguised!
I’ll say as they say and persever so, 210
And in this mist at all adventures go.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Master, shall I be porter at the gate?
ADRIANA Ay; and let none enter, lest I break your pate.
LUCIANA Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.
[Exeunt]

Next: The Comedy of Errors, Act 3, Scene 1