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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    88The Comedie of Errors.

    100For we may pitty, though not pardon thee.
    Merch. Oh had the gods done so, I had not now
    Worthily tearm'd them mercilesse to vs:
    For ere the ships could meet by twice fiue leagues,
    We were encountred by a mighty rocke,
    105Which being violently borne vp,
    Our helpefull ship was splitted in the midst;
    So that in this vniust diuorce of vs,
    Fortune had left to both of vs alike,
    What to delight in, what to sorrow for,
    110Her part, poore soule, seeming as burdened
    With lesser waight, but not with lesser woe,
    Was carried with more speed before the winde,
    And in our sight they three were taken vp
    By Fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
    115At length another ship had seiz'd on vs,
    And knowing whom it was their hap to saue,
    Gaue healthfull welcome to their ship-wrackt guests,
    And would haue reft the Fishers of their prey,
    Had not their backe beene very slow of saile;
    120And therefore homeward did they bend their course.
    Thus haue you heard me seuer'd from my blisse,
    That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
    To tell sad stories of my owne mishaps.
    Duke. And for the sake of them thou sorrowest for,
    125Doe me the fauour to dilate at full,
    What haue befalne of them and they till now.
    Merch. My yongest boy, and yet my eldest care,
    At eighteene yeeres became inquisitiue
    After his brother; and importun'd me
    130That his attendant, so his case was like,
    Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name,
    Might beare him company in the quest of him:
    Whom whil'st I laboured of a loue to see,
    I hazarded the losse of whom I lou'd.
    135Fiue Sommers haue I spent in farthest Greece,
    Roming cleane through the bounds of Asia,
    And coasting homeward, came to Ephesus:
    Hopelesse to finde, yet loth to leaue vnsought
    Or that, or any place that harbours men:
    140But heere must end the story of my life,
    And happy were I in my timelie death,
    Could all my trauells warrant me they liue.
    Duke. Haplesse Egeon whom the fates haue markt
    To beare the extremitie of dire mishap:
    145Now trust me, were it not against our Lawes,
    Against my Crowne, my oath, my dignity,
    Which Princes would they may not disanull,
    My soule should sue as aduocate for thee:
    But though thou art adiudged to the death,
    150And passed sentence may not be recal'd
    But to our honours great disparagement:
    Yet will I fauour thee in what I can;
    Therefore Marchant, Ile limit thee this day
    To seeke thy helpe by beneficiall helpe,
    155Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus,
    Beg thou, or borrow, to make vp the summe,
    And liue: if no, then thou art doom'd to die:
    Iaylor, take him to thy custodie.
    Iaylor. I will my Lord.
    160Merch. Hopelesse and helpelesse doth Egean wend,
    But to procrastinate his liuelesse end. Exeunt.

    Enter Antipholis Erotes, a Marchant, and Dromio.
    Mer. Therefore giue out you are of Epidamium,
    Lest that your goods too soone be confiscate:

    165This very day a Syracusian Marchant
    Is apprehended for a riuall here,
    And not being able to buy out his life,
    According to the statute of the towne,
    Dies ere the wearie sunne set in the West:
    170There is your monie that I had to keepe.
    Ant. Goe beare it to the Centaure, where we host,
    And stay there Dromio, till I come to thee;
    Within this houre it will be dinner time,
    Till that Ile view the manners of the towne,
    175Peruse the traders, gaze vpon the buildings,
    And then returne and sleepe within mine Inne,
    For with long trauaile I am stiffe and wearie.
    Get thee away.
    Dro. Many a man would take you at your word,
    180And goe indeede, hauing so good a meane.
    Exit Dromio.
    Ant. A trustie villaine sir, that very oft,
    When I am dull with care and melancholly,
    Lightens my humour with his merry iests:
    185What will you walke with me about the towne,
    And then goe to my Inne and dine with me?
    E.Mar. I am inuited sir to certaine Marchants,
    Of whom I hope to make much benefit:
    I craue your pardon, soone at fiue a clocke,
    190Please you, Ile meete with you vpon the Mart,
    And afterward consort you till bed time:
    My present businesse cals me from you now.
    Ant. Farewell till then: I will goe loose my selfe,
    And wander vp and downe to view the Citie.
    195E.Mar. Sir, I commend you to your owne content.
    Ant. He that commends me to mine owne content,
    Commends me to the thing I cannot get:
    I to the world am like a drop of water,
    200That in the Ocean seekes another drop,
    Who falling there to finde his fellow forth,
    (Vnseene, inquisitiue) confounds himselfe.
    So I, to finde a Mother and a Brother,
    In quest of them (vnhappie a) loose my selfe.

    205 Enter Dromio of Ephesus.
    Here comes the almanacke of my true date:
    What now? How chance thou art return'd so soone.
    E.Dro. Return'd so soone, rather approacht too late:
    The Capon burnes, the Pig fals from the spit;
    210The clocke hath strucken twelue vpon the bell:
    My Mistris made it one vpon my cheeke:
    She is so hot because the meate is colde:
    The meate is colde, because you come not home:
    You come not home, because you haue no stomacke:
    215You haue no stomacke, hauing broke your fast:
    But we that know what 'tis to fast and pray,
    Are penitent for your default to day.
    Ant. Stop in your winde sir, tell me this I pray?
    Where haue you left the mony that I gaue you.
    220E.Dro. Oh sixe pence that I had a wensday last,
    To pay the Sadler for my Mistris crupper:
    The Sadler had it Sir, I kept it not.
    Ant. I am not in a sportiue humor now:
    Tell me, and dally not, where is the monie?
    225We being strangers here, how dar'st thou trust
    So great a charge from thine owne custodie.
    E.Dro. I pray you iest sir as you sit at dinner:
    I from my Mistris come to you in post:
    If I returne I shall be post indeede.