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The Comedy of Errors

[Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus and the Officer]
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Fear me not, man; I will not break away:
I’ll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money,
To warrant thee, as I am ‘rested for.
My wife is in a wayward mood to-day,
And will not lightly trust the messenger 5
That I should be attach’d in Ephesus,
I tell you, ’twill sound harshly in her ears.
[Enter DROMIO of Ephesus with a rope’s-end]
Here comes my man; I think he brings the money.
How now, sir! have you that I sent you for?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Here’s that, I warrant you, will pay them all. 10
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS But where’s the money?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Why, sir, I gave the money for the rope.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Five hundred ducats, villain, for a rope?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS I’ll serve you, sir, five hundred at the rate.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS To what end did I bid thee hie thee home? 15
DROMIO OF EPHESUS To a rope’s-end, sir; and to that end am I returned.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS And to that end, sir, I will welcome you.
[Beating him]
Officer Good sir, be patient.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Nay, ’tis for me to be patient; I am in adversity.
Officer Good, now, hold thy tongue. 20
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Nay, rather persuade him to hold his hands.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Thou whoreson, senseless villain!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS I would I were senseless, sir, that I might not feel
your blows.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS I am an ass, indeed; you may prove it by my long 25
ears. I have served him from the hour of my
nativity to this instant, and have nothing at his
hands for my service but blows. When I am cold, he
heats me with beating; when I am warm, he cools me
with beating; I am waked with it when I sleep; 30
raised with it when I sit; driven out of doors with
it when I go from home; welcomed home with it when
I return; nay, I bear it on my shoulders, as a
beggar wont her brat; and, I think when he hath
lamed me, I shall beg with it from door to door. 35
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Come, go along; my wife is coming yonder.
[Enter ADRIANA, LUCIANA, the Courtezan, and PINCH]
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Mistress, ‘respice finem,’ respect your end; or
rather, the prophecy like the parrot, ‘beware the
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Wilt thou still talk? 40
[Beating him]
Courtezan How say you now? is not your husband mad?
ADRIANA His incivility confirms no less.
Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer;
Establish him in his true sense again,
And I will please you what you will demand. 45
LUCIANA Alas, how fiery and how sharp he looks!
Courtezan Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy!
PINCH Give me your hand and let me feel your pulse.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.
[Striking him]
PINCH I charge thee, Satan, housed within this man, 50
To yield possession to my holy prayers
And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight:
I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Peace, doting wizard, peace! I am not mad.
ADRIANA O, that thou wert not, poor distressed soul! 55
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS You minion, you, are these your customers?
Did this companion with the saffron face
Revel and feast it at my house to-day,
Whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut
And I denied to enter in my house? 60
ADRIANA O husband, God doth know you dined at home;
Where would you had remain’d until this time,
Free from these slanders and this open shame!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Dined at home! Thou villain, what sayest thou?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Sir, sooth to say, you did not dine at home. 65
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Were not my doors lock’d up and I shut out?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Perdie, your doors were lock’d and you shut out.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS And did not she herself revile me there?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Sans fable, she herself reviled you there.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Did not her kitchen-maid rail, taunt, and scorn me? 70
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Certes, she did; the kitchen-vestal scorn’d you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS And did not I in rage depart from thence?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS In verity you did; my bones bear witness,
That since have felt the vigour of his rage.
ADRIANA Is’t good to soothe him in these contraries? 75
PINCH It is no shame: the fellow finds his vein,
And yielding to him humours well his frenzy.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Thou hast suborn’d the goldsmith to arrest me.
ADRIANA Alas, I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it. 80
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Money by me! heart and goodwill you might;
But surely master, not a rag of money.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Went’st not thou to her for a purse of ducats?
ADRIANA He came to me and I deliver’d it.
LUCIANA And I am witness with her that she did. 85
DROMIO OF EPHESUS God and the rope-maker bear me witness
That I was sent for nothing but a rope!
PINCH Mistress, both man and master is possess’d;
I know it by their pale and deadly looks:
They must be bound and laid in some dark room. 90
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth to-day?
And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
ADRIANA I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS And, gentle master, I received no gold;
But I confess, sir, that we were lock’d out. 95
ADRIANA Dissembling villain, thou speak’st false in both.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Dissembling harlot, thou art false in all;
And art confederate with a damned pack
To make a loathsome abject scorn of me:
But with these nails I’ll pluck out these false eyes 100
That would behold in me this shameful sport.
[ Enter three or four, and offer to bind him. He strives ]
ADRIANA O, bind him, bind him! let him not come near me.
PINCH More company! The fiend is strong within him.
LUCIANA Ay me, poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler, thou, 105
I am thy prisoner: wilt thou suffer them
To make a rescue?
Officer Masters, let him go
He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
PINCH Go bind this man, for he is frantic too. 110
[They offer to bind Dromio of Ephesus]
ADRIANA What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
Hast thou delight to see a wretched man
Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
Officer He is my prisoner: if I let him go,
The debt he owes will be required of me. 115
ADRIANA I will discharge thee ere I go from thee:
Bear me forthwith unto his creditor,
And, knowing how the debt grows, I will pay it.
Good master doctor, see him safe convey’d
Home to my house. O most unhappy day! 120
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS O most unhappy strumpet!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Master, I am here entered in bond for you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS Out on thee, villain! wherefore dost thou mad me?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS Will you be bound for nothing? be mad, good master:
cry ‘The devil!’ 125
LUCIANA God help, poor souls, how idly do they talk!
ADRIANA Go bear him hence. Sister, go you with me.
[ Exeunt all but Adriana, Luciana, Officer and Courtezan ]
Say now, whose suit is he arrested at?
Officer One Angelo, a goldsmith: do you know him?
ADRIANA I know the man. What is the sum he owes? 130
Officer Two hundred ducats.
ADRIANA Say, how grows it due?
Officer Due for a chain your husband had of him.
ADRIANA He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
Courtezan When as your husband all in rage to-day 135
Came to my house and took away my ring–
The ring I saw upon his finger now–
Straight after did I meet him with a chain.
ADRIANA It may be so, but I did never see it.
Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is: 140
I long to know the truth hereof at large.
[ Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse with his rapier drawn, and DROMIO of Syracuse ]
LUCIANA God, for thy mercy! they are loose again.
ADRIANA And come with naked swords.
Let’s call more help to have them bound again.
Officer Away! they’ll kill us. 145
[ Exeunt all but Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse ]
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE I see these witches are afraid of swords.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE She that would be your wife now ran from you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE Come to the Centaur; fetch our stuff from thence:
I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE Faith, stay here this night; they will surely do us 150
no harm: you saw they speak us fair, give us gold:
methinks they are such a gentle nation that, but for
the mountain of mad flesh that claims marriage of
me, I could find in my heart to stay here still and
turn witch. 155
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE I will not stay to-night for all the town;
Therefore away, to get our stuff aboard.

Next: The Comedy of Errors, Act 5, Scene 1