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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    98 The Comedie of Errors.
    Therefore most gracious Duke with thy command,
    Let him be brought forth, and borne hence for helpe.
    Duke. Long since thy husband seru'd me in my wars
    And I to thee ingag'd a Princes word,
    1635When thou didst make him Master of thy bed,
    To do him all the grace and good I could.
    Go some of you, knocke at the Abbey gate,
    And bid the Lady Abbesse come to me:
    I will determine this before I stirre.
    1640 Enter a Messenger.
    Oh Mistris, Mistris, shift and saue your selfe,
    My Master and his man are both broke loose,
    Beaten the Maids a-row, and bound the Doctor,
    Whose beard they haue sindg'd off with brands of fire,
    1645And euer as it blaz'd, they threw on him
    Great pailes of puddled myre to quench the haire;
    My Mr preaches patience to him, and the while
    His man with Cizers nickes him like a foole:
    And sure (vnlesse you send some present helpe)
    1650Betweene them they will kill the Coniurer.
    Adr. Peace foole, thy Master and his man are here,
    And that is false thou dost report to vs.
    Mess. Mistris, vpon my life I tel you true,
    I haue not breath'd almost since I did see it.
    1655He cries for you, and vowes if he can take you,
    To scorch your face, and to disfigure you:
    Cry within.
    Harke, harke, I heare him Mistris: flie, be gone.
    Duke. Come stand by me, feare nothing: guard with
    Adr. Ay me, it is my hus
    band: witnesse you,
    That he is borne about inuisible,
    Euen now we hous'd him in the Abbey heere.
    And now he's there, past thought of humane reason.

    1665Enter Antipholus, and E.Dromio of Ephesus.

    E.Ant. Iustice most gracious Duke, oh grant me iu- (stice,
    Euen for the seruice that long since I did thee,
    When I bestrid thee in the warres, and tooke
    Deepe scarres to saue thy life; euen for the blood
    1670That then I lost for thee, now grant me iustice.
    Mar.Fat. Vnlesse the feare of death doth make me
    dote, I see my sonne Antipholus and Dromio.
    E.Ant. Iustice (sweet Prince) against yt Woman there:
    She whom thou gau'st to me to be my wife;
    1675That hath abused and dishonored me,
    Euen in the strength and height of iniurie:
    Beyond imagination is the wrong
    That she this day hath shamelesse throwne on me.
    Duke. Discouer how, and thou shalt finde me iust.
    1680E.Ant. This day (great Duke) she shut the doores
    vpon me,
    While she with Harlots feasted in my house.
    Duke. A greeuous fault: say woman, didst thou so?
    Adr. No my good Lord. My selfe, he, and my sister,
    1685To day did dine together: so befall my soule,
    As this is false he burthens me withall.
    Luc. Nere may I looke on day, nor sleepe on night,
    But she tels to your Highnesse simple truth.
    Gold. O periur'd woman! They are both forsworne,
    1690In this the Madman iustly chargeth them.
    E.Ant. My Liege, I am aduised what I say,
    Neither disturbed with the effect of Wine,
    Nor headie-rash prouoak'd with raging ire,
    Albeit my wrongs might make one wiser mad.

    1695This woman lock'd me out this day from dinner;
    That Goldsmith there, were he not pack'd with her,
    Could witnesse it: for he was with me then,
    Who parted with me to go fetch a Chaine,
    Promising to bring it to the Porpentine,
    1700Where Balthasar and I did dine together.
    Our dinner done, and he not comming thither,
    I went to seeke him. In the street I met him,
    And in his companie that Gentleman.
    There did this periur'd Goldsmith sweare me downe,
    1705That I this day of him receiu'd the Chaine,
    Which God he knowes, I saw not. For the which,
    He did arrest me with an Officer.
    I did obey, and sent my Pesant home
    For certaine Duckets: he with none return'd.
    1710Then fairely I bespoke the Officer
    To go in person with me to my house.
    By'th' way, we met my wife, her sister, and a rabble more
    Of vilde Confederates: Along with them
    They brought one Pinch, a hungry leane-fac'd Villaine;
    1715A meere Anatomie, a Mountebanke,
    A thred-bare Iugler, and a Fortune-teller,
    A needy-hollow-ey'd-sharpe-looking-wretch;
    A liuing dead man. This pernicious slaue,
    Forsooth tooke on him as a Coniurer:
    1720And gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse,
    And with no-face (as 'twere) out-facing me,
    Cries out, I was possest. Then altogether
    They fell vpon me, bound me, bore me thence,
    And in a darke and dankish vault at home
    1725There left me and my man, both bound together,
    Till gnawing with my teeth my bonds in sunder,
    I gain'd my freedome; and immediately
    Ran hether to your Grace, whom I beseech
    To giue me ample satisfaction
    1730For these deepe shames, and great indignities.
    Gold. My Lord, in truth, thus far I witnes with him:
    That he din'd not at home, but was lock'd out.
    Duke. But had he such a Chaine of thee, or no?
    Gold. He had my Lord, and when he ran in heere,
    1735These people saw the Chaine about his necke.
    Mar. Besides, I will be sworne these eares of mine,
    Heard you confesse you had the Chaine of him,
    After you first forswore it on the Mart,
    And thereupon I drew my sword on you:
    1740And then you fled into this Abbey heere,
    From whence I thinke you are come by Miracle.
    E.Ant. I neuer came within these Abbey wals,
    Nor euer didst thou draw thy sword on me:
    I neuer saw the Chaine, so helpe me heauen:
    1745And this is false you burthen me withall.
    Duke. Why what an intricate impeach is this?
    I thinke you all haue drunke of Circes cup:
    If heere you hous'd him, heere he would haue bin.
    If he were mad, he would not pleade so coldly:
    1750You say he din'd at home, the Goldsmith heere
    Denies that saying. Sirra, what say you?
    E.Dro. Sir he din'de with her there, at the Porpen-
    Cur. He did, and from my finger snacht that Ring.
    1755E.Anti. Tis true (my Liege) this Ring I had of her.
    Duke. Saw'st thou him enter at the Abbey heere?
    Curt. As sure (my Liege) as I do see your Grace.
    Duke. Why this is straunge: Go call the Abbesse hi-
    1760I thinke you are all mated, or starke mad.