Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Comedy of Errors (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Matthew Steggle

  • Copyright Matthew Steggle. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Matthew Steggle
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Comedy of Errors (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Comedie of Errors. 97

    Enter Ladie Abbesse.

    1505Ab. Be quiet people, wherefore throng you hither?
    Adr. To fetch my poore distracted husband hence,
    Let vs come in, that we may binde him fast,
    And beare him home for his recouerie.
    Gold. I knew he was not in his perfect wits.
    1510Mar. I am sorry now that I did draw on him.
    Ab. How long hath this possession held the man.
    Adr. This weeke he hath beene heauie, sower sad,
    And much different from the man he was:
    But till this afternoone his passion
    1515Ne're brake into extremity of rage.
    Ab. Hath he not lost much wealth by wrack of sea,
    Buried some deere friend, hath not else his eye
    Stray'd his affection in vnlawfull loue,
    A sinne preuailing much in youthfull men,
    1520Who giue their eies the liberty of gazing.
    Which of these sorrowes is he subiect too?
    Adr. To none of these, except it be the last,
    Namely, some loue that drew him oft from home.
    Ab. You should for that haue reprehended him.
    1525Adr. Why so I did.
    Ab. I but not rough enough.
    Adr. As roughly as my modestie would let me.
    Ab. Haply in priuate.
    Adr. And in assemblies too.
    1530Ab. I, but not enough.
    Adr. It was the copie of our Conference.
    In bed he slept not for my vrging it,
    At boord he fed not for my vrging it:
    Alone, it was the subiect of my Theame:
    1535In company I often glanced it:
    Still did I tell him, it was vilde and bad.
    Ab. And thereof came it, that the man was mad.
    The venome clamors of a iealous woman,
    Poisons more deadly then a mad dogges tooth.
    1540It seemes his sleepes were hindred by thy railing,
    And thereof comes it that his head is light.
    Thou saist his meate was sawc'd with thy vpbraidings,
    Vnquiet meales make ill digestions,
    Thereof the raging fire of feauer bred,
    1545And what's a Feauer, but a fit of madnesse?
    Thou sayest his sports were hindred by thy bralles.
    Sweet recreation barr'd, what doth ensue
    But moodie and dull melancholly,
    Kinsman to grim and comfortlesse dispaire,
    1550And at her heeles a huge infectious troope
    Of pale distemperatures, and foes to life?
    In food, in sport, and life-preseruing rest
    To be disturb'd, would mad or man, or beast:
    The consequence is then, thy iealous fits
    1555Hath scar'd thy husband from the vse of wits.
    Luc. She neuer reprehended him but mildely,
    When he demean'd himselfe, rough, rude, and wildly,
    Why beare you these rebukes, and answer not?
    Adri. She did betray me to my owne reproofe,
    1560Good people enter, and lay hold on him.
    Ab. No, not a creature enters in my house.
    Ad. Then let your seruants bring my husband forth
    Ab. Neither: he tooke this place for sanctuary,
    And it shall priuiledge him from your hands,
    1565Till I haue brought him to his wits againe,
    Or loose my labour in assaying it.
    Adr. I will attend my husband, be his nurse,

    Diet his sicknesse, for it is my Office,
    And will haue no atturney but my selfe,
    1570And therefore let me haue him home with me.
    Ab. Be patient, for I will not let him stirre,
    Till I haue vs'd the approoued meanes I haue,
    With wholsome sirrups, drugges, and holy prayers
    To make of him a formall man againe:
    1575It is a branch and parcell of mine oath,
    A charitable dutie of my order,
    Therefore depart, and leaue him heere with me.
    Adr. I will not hence, and leaue my husband heere:
    And ill it doth beseeme your holinesse
    1580To separate the husband and the wife.
    Ab. Be quiet and depart, thou shalt not haue him.
    Luc. Complaine vnto the Duke of this indignity.
    Adr. Come go, I will fall prostrate at his feete,
    And neuer rise vntill my teares and prayers
    1585Haue won his grace to come in person hither,
    And take perforce my husband from the Abbesse.
    Mar. By this I thinke the Diall points at fiue:
    Anon I'me sure the Duke himselfe in person
    Comes this way to the melancholly vale;
    1590The place of depth, and sorrie execution,
    Behinde the ditches of the Abbey heere.
    Gold. Vpon what cause?
    Mar. To see a reuerent Siracusian Merchant,
    Who put vnluckily into this Bay
    1595Against the Lawes and Statutes of this Towne,
    Beheaded publikely for his offence.
    Gold. See where they come, we wil behold his death
    Luc. Kneele to the Duke before he passe the Abbey.

    Enter the Duke of Ephesus, and the Merchant of Siracuse
    1600bare head, with the Headsman, & other

    Duke. Yet once againe proclaime it publikely,
    If any friend will pay the summe for him,
    He shall not die, so much we tender him.
    1605Adr. Iustice most sacred Duke against the Abbesse.
    Duke. She is a vertuous and a reuerend Lady,
    It cannot be that she hath done thee wrong.
    Adr. May it please your Grace, Antipholus my husbãd,
    Who I made Lord of me, and all I had,
    1610At your important Letters this ill day,
    A most outragious fit of madnesse tooke him:
    That desp'rately he hurried through the streete,
    With him his bondman, all as mad as he,
    Doing displeasure to the Citizens,
    1615By rushing in their houses: bearing thence
    Rings, Iewels, any thing his rage did like.
    Once did I get him bound, and sent him home,
    Whil'st to take order for the wrongs I went,
    That heere and there his furie had committed,
    1620Anon I wot not, by what strong escape
    He broke from those that had the guard of him,
    And with his mad attendant and himselfe,
    Each one with irefull passion, with drawne swords
    Met vs againe, and madly bent on vs
    1625Chac'd vs away: till raising of more aide
    We came againe to binde them: then they fled
    Into this Abbey, whether we pursu'd them,
    And heere the Abbesse shuts the gates on vs,
    And will not suffer vs to fetch him out,
    1630Nor send him forth, that we may beare him hence.
    I Therefore