Shakespeare - First Folio facsimile (1910)/The Comedy of Errors/Act 2

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Actus Secundus.

Enter Adriana, wife to Antipholis Sereptus, with Luciana her Sister.

Neither my husband nor the slaue return'd,
That in such haste I sent to seeke his Master?
Sure Luciana it is two a clocke.

Perhaps some Merchant hath inuited him,
And from the Mart he's somewhere gone to dinner:
Good Sister let vs dine, and neuer fret;
A man is Master of his libertie:
Time is their Master, and when they see time,
They'll goe or come; if so, be patient Sister.

Why should their libertie then ours be more?

Because their businesse still lies out a dore.

Looke when I serue him so, he takes it thus.

Oh, know he is the bridle of your will.

There's none but asses will be bridled so.

Why, headstrong liberty is lasht with woe:
There's nothing situate vnder heauens eye,
But hath his bound in earth, in sea, in skie.
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowles
Are their males subiects, and at their controules:
Man more diuine, the Master of all these,
Lord of the wide world, and wilde watry seas,
Indued with intellectuall sence and soules,
Of more preheminence then fish and fowles,
Are masters to their females, and their Lords:
Then let your will attend on their accords.

This seruitude makes you to keepe vnwed.

Not this, but troubles of the marriage bed.

But were you wedded, you wold bear some sway

Ere I learne loue, Ile practise to obey.

How if your husband start some other where?

Till he come home againe, I would forbeare.

Patience vnmou'd, no maruel though she pause,
They can be meeke, that haue no other cause:
A wretched soule bruis'd with aduersitie,
We bid be quiet when we heare it crie.
But were we burdned with like waight of paine,
As much, or more, we should our selues complaine:
So thou that hast no vnkinde mate to greeue thee,
With vrging helpelesse patience would releeue me;
But if thou liue to see like right bereft,
This foole-beg'd patience in thee will be left.

Well, I will marry one day but to trie:
Heere comes your man, now is your husband nie.

Enter Dromio Eph.


Say, is your tardie master now at hand?

Nay, hee's at too hands with mee, and that my two eares can witnesse.

Say, didst thou speake with him? knowst thou his minde?

I, I, he told his minde vpon mine eare,
Beshrew his hand, I scarce could vnderstand it.

Spake hee so doubtfully, thou couldst not feele his meaning.

Nay, hee strooke so plainly, I could too well
feele his blowes; and withall so doubtfully, that I could
scarce vnderstand them.

But say, I prethee, is he comming home?
It seemes he hath great care to please his wife.

Why Mistresse, sure my Master is horne mad.

Horne mad, thou villaine?

E.Dro. I meane not Cuckold mad,
But sure he is starke mad:
When I desir'd him to come home to dinner,
He ask'd me for a hundred markes in gold:
'Tis dinner time, quoth I: my gold, quoth he:
Your meat doth burne, quoth I: my gold quoth he:
Will you come, quoth I: my gold, quoth he;
Where is the thousand markes I gaue thee villaine?
The Pigge quoth I, is burn'd: my gold, quoth he:
My mistresse, sir, quoth I: hang vp thy Mistresse:
I know not thy mistresse, out on thy mistresse.

Quoth who?

Quoth my Master, I know quoth he, no house, no wife, no mistresse: so that my arrant due vnto my tongue, I thanke him, I bare home vpon my shoulders: for in conclusion, he did beat me there.

Go back againe, thou slaue, & fetch him home.

Goe backe againe, and be new beaten home?
For Gods sake send some other messenger.

Backe slaue, or I will breake thy pate a-crosse.

And he will blesse the crosse with other beating:
Betweene you, I shall haue a holy head.

Hence prating pesant, fetch thy Master home.

Am I so round with you, as you with me,
That like a foot-ball you doe spurne me thus:
You spurne me hence, and he will spurne me hither,
If I last in this seruice, you must case me in leather.

Fie how impatience lowreth in your face.

His company must do his minions grace,
Whil'st I at home starue for a merrie looke:
Hath homelie age th' alluring beauty tooke
From my poore cheeke? then he hath wasted it.
Are my discourses dull? Barren my wit,
If voluble and sharpe discourse be mar'd,
Vnkindnesse blunts it more then marble hard.
Doe their gay vestments his affections baite?
That's not my fault, hee's master of my state.
What ruines are in me that can be found,
By him not ruin'd? Then is he the ground
Of my defeatures. My decayed faire,
A sunnie looke of his, would soone repaire.
But, too vnruly Deere, he breakes the pale,
And feedes from home; poore I am but his stale.

Selfe-harming Iealousie; fie beat it hence.

Vnfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispence:
I know his eye doth homage other-where,
Or else, what lets it but he would be here?
Sister, you know he promis'd me a chaine,
Would that alone, a loue he would detaine,
So he would keepe faire quarter with his bed:
I see the Iewell best enamaled
Will loose his beautie: yet the gold bides still
That others touch, and often touching will,
Where gold and no man that hath a name,
By falshood and corruption doth it shame:
Since that my beautie cannot please his eie,
Ile weepe (what's left away) and weeping die.

How manie fond fooles serue mad Ielousie? Exit.

Enter Antipholis Errotis.


The gold I gaue to Dromio is laid vp
Safe at the Centaur, and the heedfull slaue
Is wandred forth in care to seeke me out
By computation and mine hosts report.
I could not speake with Dromio, since at first
I sent him from the Mart? see here he comes.

Enter Dromio Siracusia.

How now sir, is your merrie humor alter'd?

As you loue stroakes, so iest with me againe:
You know no Centaur? you receiu'd no gold?
Your Mistresse sent to haue me home to dinner?
My house was at the Phœnix? Wast thou mad,
That thus so madlie thou did didst answere me?

What answer sir? when spake I such a word?

Euen now, euen here, not halfe an howre since.

I did not see you since you sent me hence
Home to the Centaur with the gold you gaue me.

Villaine, thou didst denie the golds receit,
And toldst me of a Mistresse, and a dinner,
For which I hope thou feltst I was displeas'd.

S.Dro. I am glad to see you in this merrie vaine,
What meanes this iest, I pray you Master tell me?

Yea, dost thou ieere & flowt me in the teeth?
Thinkst thou I iest? hold, take thou that, & that. Beats Dro.

Hold sir, for Gods sake, now your iest is earnest,
Vpon what bargaine do you giue it me?

Because that I familiarlie sometimes
Doe vse you for my foole, and chat with you,
Your sawcinesse will iest vpon my loue,
And make a Common of my serious howres,
When the sunne shines, let foolish gnats make sport,
But creepe in crannies, when he hides his beames:
If you will iest with me, know my aspect,
And fashion your demeanor to my lookes,
Or I will beat this method in your sconce.

Sconce call you it? so you would leaue battering, I had rather haue it a head, and you vse these blows long, I must get a sconce for my head, and Insconce it to, or else I shall seek my wit in my shoulders, but I pray sir, why am I beaten?

Dost thou not know?

Nothing sir, but that I am beaten.

Shall I tell you why?

I sir, and wherefore; for they say, euery why hath a wherefore.

Why first for flowting me, and then wherefore, for vrging it the second time to me.

Was there euer anie man thus beaten out of season, when in the why and the wherefore, is neither rime nor reason. Well sir, I thanke you.

Thanke me sir, for what?

Marry sir, for this something that you gaue me for nothing.

Ile make you amends next, to giue you nothing for something. But say sir, is it dinner time?

No sir, I thinke the meat wants that I haue.

In good time sir: what's that?


Well sir, then 'twill be drie.

If it be sir, I pray you eat none of it.

Your reason?

Lest it make you chollericke, and purchase me another drie basting.

Well sir, learne to iest in good time, there's a time for all things.

I durst haue denied that before you were so chollericke.

By what rule sir?

Marry sir, by a rule as plaine as the plaine bald pate of Father time himselfe.

Let's heare it.

There's no time for a man to recouer his haire that growes bald by nature.

May he not doe it by fine and recouerie?

Yes, to pay a fine for a perewig, and recouer the lost haire of another man.

Why, is Time such a niggard of haire, being (as it is) so plentifull an excrement?

Because it is a blessing that hee bestowes on
beasts, and what he hath scanted them in haire, hee hath
giuen them in wit.

Why, but theres manie a man hath more haire then wit.

Not a man of those but he hath the wit to lose his haire.

Why thou didst conclude hairy men plain dealers without wit.

The plainer dealer, the sooner lost; yet he looseth it in a kinde of iollitie.

For what reason.

For two, and sound ones to.

Nay not sound I pray you.

Sure ones then.

Nay, not sure in a thing falsing.

Certaine ones then.

Name them.

The one to saue the money that he spends in trying: the other, that at dinner they should not drop in his porrage.

You would all this time haue prou'd, there is no time for all things.

Marry and did sir: namely, in no time to recouer haire lost by Nature.

But your reason was not substantiall, why there is no time to recouer.

Thus I mend it: Time himselfe is bald, and therefore to the worlds end, will haue bald followers.

I knew 'twould be a bald conclusion: but soft, who wafts vs yonder.

Enter Adriana and Luciana.


I, I, Antipholus, looke strange and frowne,
Some other Mistresse hath thy sweet aspects:
I am not Adriana, nor thy wife.
The time was once, when thou vn-vrg'd wouldst vow,
That neuer words were musicke to thine eare,
That neuer obiect pleasing in thine eye,
That neuer touch well welcome to thy hand,
That neuer meat sweet-sauour'd in thy taste,
Vnlesse I spake, or look'd, or touch'd, or caru'd to thee.
How comes it now, my Husband, oh how comes it,
That thou art then estranged from thy selfe?
Thy selfe I call it, being strange to me:
That vndiuidable Incorporate
Am better then thy deere selfes better part.
Ah doe not teare away thy selfe from me;
For know my loue: as easie maist thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulfe,
And take vnmingled thence that drop againe
Without addition or diminishing,
As take from me thy selfe, and not me too.
How deerely would it touch thee to the quicke,
Shouldst thou but heare I were licencious?
And that this body consecrate to thee,
By Ruffian Lust should be contaminate?
Wouldst thou not spit at me, and spurne at me,
And hurle the name of husband in my face,
And teare the stain'd skin of my Harlot brow,
And from my false hand cut the wedding ring,
And breake it with a deepe-diuorcing vow?
I know thou canst, and therefore see thou doe it.
I am possest with an adulterate blot,
My bloud is mingled with the crime of lust:
For if we two be one, and thou play false,
I doe digest the poison of thy flesh,
Being strumpeted by thy contagion:
Keepe then faire league and truce with thy true bed,
I liue distain'd, thou vndishonoured.

Plead you to me faire dame? I know you not:
In Ephesus I am but two houres old,
As strange vnto your towne, as to your talke,
Who euery word by all my wit being scan'd,
Wants wit in all, one word to vnderstand.

Fie brother, how the world is chang'd with you:
When were you wont to vse my sister thus?
She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.

By Dromio?

By me.

By thee, and this thou didst returne from him.
That he did buffet thee, and in his blowes,
Denied my house for his, me for his wife.

Did you conuerse sir with this gentlewoman:
What is the course and drift of your compact?

I sir? I neuer saw her till this time.

Villaine thou liest, for euen her verie words,
Didst thou deliuer to me on the Mart.

I neuer spake with her in all my life.

How can she thus then call vs by our names?
Vnlesse it be by inspiration.

How ill agrees it with your grauitie,
To counterfeit thus grosely with your slaue,
Abetting him to thwart me in my moode;
Be it my wrong, you are from me exempt,
But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
Come I will fasten on this sleeue of thine:
Thou art an Elme my husband, I a Vine:
Whose weaknesse married to thy stranger state,
Makes me with thy strength to communicate:
If ought possesse thee from me, it is drosse,
Vsurping Iuie, Brier, or idle Mosse,
Who all for want of pruning, with intrusion,
Infect thy sap, and liue on thy confusion.

To mee shee speakes, shee moues mee for her theame;
What, was I married to her in my dreame?
Or sleepe I now, and thinke I heare all this?
What error driues our eies and eares amisse?
Vntill I know this sure vncertaintie,
Ile entertaine the free'd fallacie.

Dromio, goe bid the seruants spred for dinner.

Oh for my beads, I crosse me for a sinner.
This is the Fairie land, oh spight of spights,
We talke with Goblins, Owles and Sprights;
If we obay them not, this will insue:
They'll sucke our breath, or pinch vs blacke and blew.

Why prat'st thou to thy selfe, and answer'st not?
Dromio, thou Dromio, thou snaile, thou slug, thou sot.

I am transformed Master, am I not?

I thinke thou art in minde, and so am I.

Nay Master, both in minde, and in my shape.

Thou hast thine owne forme.

No, I am an Ape.

If thou art chang'd to ought, 'tis to an Asse.

'Tis true she rides me, and I long for grasse.
'Tis so, I am an Asse, else it could neuer be,
But I should know her as well as she knowes me.

Come, come, no longer will I be a foole,
To put the finger in the eie and weepe;
Whil'st man and Master laughes my woes to scorne:
Come sir to dinner, Dromio keepe the gate:
Husband Ile dine aboue with you to day,
And shriue you of a thousand idle prankes:
Sirra, if any aske you for your Master,
Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter:
Come sister, Dromio play the Porter well.

Am I in earth, in heauen, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking, mad or well aduisde:
Knowne vnto these, and to my selfe disguisde:
Ile say as they say, and perseuer so:
And in this mist at all aduentures go.

Master, shall I be Porter at the gate?

I, and let none enter, least I breake your pate.

Come, come, Antipholus, we dine to late.