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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Actus Secundus.
    Enter Adriana, wife to Antipholis Sereptus, with
    Luciana her Sister.
    275Adr. 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.
    Luc. Perhaps some Merchant hath inuited him,
    And from the Mart he's somewhere gone to dinner:
    280Good 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.
    Adr. Why should their libertie then ours be more?
    285Luc. Because their businesse still lies out adore.
    Adr. Looke when I serue him so, he takes it thus.
    Luc. Oh, know he is the bridle of your will.
    Adr. There's none but asses will be bridled so.
    Luc. Why, headstrong liberty is lasht with woe:
    290There'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,
    295Lord 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.
    300Adri. This seruitude makes you to keepe vnwed.
    Luci. Not this, but troubles of the marriage bed.
    Adr. But were you wedded, you wold bear some sway
    Luc. Ere I learne loue, Ile practise to obey.
    Adr. How if your husband start some other where?
    305Luc. Till he come home againe, I would forbeare.
    Adr. 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.
    310But 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,
    315This foole-beg'd patience in thee will be left.
    Luci. Well, I will marry one day but to trie:
    Heere comes your man, now is your husband nie.
    Enter Dromio Eph.
    Adr. Say, is your tardie master now at hand?
    320E.Dro. Nay, hee's at too hands with mee, and that my
    two eares can witnesse.
    Adr. Say, didst thou speake with him? knowst thou
    his minde?
    E.Dro. I, I, he told his minde vpon mine eare,
    325Beshrew his hand, I scarce could vnderstand it.
    Luc. Spake hee so doubtfully, thou couldst not feele
    his meaning.
    E.Dro. Nay, hee strooke so plainly, I could too well
    feele his blowes; and withall so doubtfully, that I could
    330scarce vnderstand them.
    Adri. But say, I prethee, is he comming home?
    It seemes he hath great care to please his wife.
    E.Dro. Why Mistresse, sure my Master is horne mad.
    Adri. Horne mad, thou villaine?
    335E.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:
    340Your 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:
    345I know not thy mistresse, out on thy mistresse.
    Luci. Quoth who?
    E.Dr. 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:
    350for in conclusion, he did beat me there.
    Adri. Go back againe, thou slaue, & fetch him home.
    Dro. Goe backe againe, and be new beaten home?
    For Gods sake send some other messenger.
    H 2 Adri. Backe
    88 The Comedie of Errors.
    Adri. Backe slaue, or I will breake thy pate a-crosse.
    355Dro. And he will blesse yt crosse with other beating:
    Betweene you, I shall haue a holy head.
    Adri. Hence prating pesant, fetch thy Master home.
    Dro. Am I so round with you, as you with me,
    That like a foot-ball you doe spurne me thus:
    360You spurne me hence, and he will spurne me hither,
    If I last in this seruice, you must case me in leather.
    Luci. Fie how impatience lowreth in your face.
    Adri. His company must do his minions grace,
    Whil'st I at home starue for a merrie looke:
    365Hath 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.
    370Doe 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,
    375A 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.
    Luci. Selfe-harming Iealousie; fie beat it hence.
    Ad. Vnfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispence:
    380I 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:
    385I 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:
    390Since that my beautie cannot please his eie,
    Ile weepe (what's left away) and weeping die.
    Luci. How manie fond fooles serue mad Ielousie?