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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Antipholis Errotis.
    395Ant. 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
    400I 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?
    405Your Mistresse sent to haue me home to dinner?
    My house was at the Phoenix? Wast thou mad,
    That thus so madlie thou did didst answere me?
    S.Dro. What answer sir? when spake I such a word?
    E.Ant. Euen now, euen here, not halfe an howre since.
    410S.Dro. I did not see you since you sent me hence
    Home to the Centaur with the gold you gaue me.
    Ant. 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.
    415S.Dro. I am glad to see you in this merrie vaine,
    What meanes this iest, I pray you Master tell me?
    Ant. Yea, dost thou ieere & flowt me in the teeth?
    Thinkst yu I iest? hold, take thou that, & that. Beats Dro.
    S.Dr. Hold sir, for Gods sake, now your iest is earnest,
    420Vpon what bargaine do you giue it me?
    Antiph. 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,
    425When 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.
    430S.Dro. Sconce call you it? so you would leaue batte-
    ring, 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?
    435Ant. Dost thou not know?
    S.Dro. Nothing sir, but that I am beaten.
    Ant. Shall I tell you why?
    S.Dro. I sir, and wherefore; for they say, euery why
    hath a wherefore.
    440Ant. Why first for flowting me, and then wherefore,
    for vrging it the second time to me.
    S.Dro. 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.
    445Ant. Thanke me sir, for what?
    S.Dro. Marry sir, for this something that you gaue me
    for nothing.
    Ant. Ile make you amends next, to giue you nothing
    for something. But say sir, is it dinner time?
    450S.Dro. No sir, I thinke the meat wants that I haue.
    Ant. In good time sir: what's that?
    S.Dro. Basting.
    Ant. Well sir, then 'twill be drie.
    S.Dro. If it be sir, I pray you eat none of it.
    455Ant. Your reason?
    S.Dro. Lest it make you chollericke, and purchase me
    another drie basting.
    Ant. Well sir, learne to iest in good time, there's a
    time for all things.
    460S.Dro. I durst haue denied that before you were so
    Anti. By what rule sir?
    S.Dro. Marry sir, by a rule as plaine as the plaine bald
    pate of Father time himselfe.
    465Ant. Let's heare it.
    S.Dro. There's no time for a man to recouer his haire
    that growes bald by nature.
    Ant. May he not doe it by fine and recouerie?
    S.Dro. Yes, to pay a fine for a perewig, and recouer
    470the lost haire of another man.
    Ant. Why, is Time such a niggard of haire, being (as
    it is) so plentifull an excrement?
    S.Dro. Because it is a blessing that hee bestowes on
    beasts, and what he hath scanted them in haire, hee hath
    475giuen them in wit.
    Ant. Why, but theres manie a man hath more haire
    then wit.
    S.Dro. Not a man of those but he hath the wit to lose
    his haire.
    480Ant. Why thou didst conclude hairy men plain dea-
    lers without wit.
    S.Dro. The plainer dealer, the sooner lost; yet he loo-
    seth it in a kinde of iollitie.
    An. For what reason.
    485S.Dro. For two, and sound ones to.
    The Comedie of Errors. 89
    An. Nay not sound I pray you.
    S.Dro. Sure ones then.
    An. Nay, not sure in a thing falsing.
    S.Dro. Certaine ones then.
    490An. Name them.
    S.Dro. The one to saue the money that he spends in
    trying: the other, that at dinner they should not drop in
    his porrage.
    An. You would all this time haue prou'd, there is no
    495time for all things.
    S.Dro. Marry and did sir: namely, in no time to re-
    couer haire lost by Nature.
    An. But your reason was not substantiall, why there
    is no time to recouer.
    500S.Dro. Thus I mend it: Time himselfe is bald, and
    therefore to the worlds end, will haue bald followers.
    An. I knew 'twould be a bald conclusion: but soft,
    who wafts vs yonder.
    Enter Adriana and Luciana.
    505Adri. 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,
    510That 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,
    515That 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;
    520For 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.
    525How 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,
    530And 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.
    535I 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:
    540Keepe then faire league and truce with thy true bed,
    I liue distain'd, thou vndishonoured.
    Antip. 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,
    545Who euery word by all my wit being scan'd,
    Wants wit in all, one word to vnderstand.
    Luci. 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.
    550Ant. By Dromio? Drom. By me.
    Adr. By thee, and this thou didst returne from him.
    That he did buffet thee, and in his bl
    Denied my house for his, me for his wife.
    Ant. Did you conuerse sir with this gentlewoman:
    555What is the course and drift of your compact?
    S.Dro. I sir? I neuer saw her till this time.
    Ant. Villaine thou liest, for euen her verie words,
    Didst thou deliuer to me on the Mart.
    S.Dro. I neuer spake with her in all my life.
    560Ant. How can she thus then call vs by our names?
    Vnlesse it be by inspiration.
    Adri. How ill agrees it with your grauitie,
    To counterfeit thus grosely with your slaue,
    Abetting him to thwart me in my moode;
    565Be 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,
    570Makes 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.
    575Ant. To mee shee speakes, shee moues mee for her
    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?
    580Vntill I know this sure vncertaintie,
    Ile entertaine the free'd fallacie.
    Luc. Dromio, goe bid the seruants spred for dinner.
    S.Dro. Oh for my beads, I crosse me for a sinner.
    This is the Fairie land, oh spight of spights,
    585We 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.
    Luc. Why prat'st thou to thy selfe, and answer'st not?
    Dromio, thou Dromio, thou snaile, thou slug, thou sot.
    590S.Dro. I am transformed Master, am I not?
    Ant. I thinke thou art in minde, and so am I.
    S.Dro. Nay Master, both in minde, and in my shape.
    Ant. Thou hast thine owne forme.
    S.Dro. No, I am an Ape.
    595Luc. If thou art chang'd to ought, 'tis to an Asse.
    S.Dro. '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.
    Adr. Come, come, no longer will I be a foole,
    600To 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:
    605Sirra, if any aske you for your Master,
    Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter:
    Come sister, Dromio play the Porter well.
    Ant. Am I in earth, in heauen, or in hell?
    Sleeping or waking, mad or well aduisde:
    610Knowne vnto these, and to my selfe disguisde:
    Ile say as they say, and perseuer so:
    And in this mist at all aduentures go.
    S.Dro. Master, shall I be Porter at the gate?
    Adr. I, and let none enter, least I breake your pate.
    615Luc. Come, come, Antipholus, we dine to late.
    H 3 Actus
    90 The Comedie of Errors.