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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Iuliana, with Antipholus of Siracusia.
    Iulia. And may it be that you haue quite forgot
    A husbands office? shall Antipholus
    Euen in the spring of Loue, thy Loue-springs rot?
    790Shall loue in buildings grow so ruinate?
    If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
    Then for her wealths-sake vse her with more kindnesse:
    Or if you like else-where doe it by stealth,
    Muffle your false loue with some shew of blindnesse:
    795Let not my sister read it in your eye:
    Be not thy tongue thy owne shames Orator:
    Looke sweet, speake faire, become disloyaltie:
    Apparell vice like vertues harbenger:
    Beare a faire presence, though your heart be tainted,
    800Teach sinne the carriage of a holy Saint,
    Be secret false: what need she be acquainted?
    What simple thiefe brags of his owne attaine?
    'Tis double wrong to truant with your bed,
    And let her read it in thy lookes at boord:
    805Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed,
    Ill deeds is doubled with an euill word:
    Alas poore women, make vs not beleeue
    (Being compact of credit) that you loue vs,
    Though others haue the arme, shew vs the sleeue:
    810We in your motion turne, and you may moue vs.
    Then gentle brother get you in againe;
    Comfort my sister, cheere her, call her wife;
    'Tis holy sport to be a little vaine,
    When the sweet breath of flatterie conquers strife.
    815S.Anti. Sweete Mistris, what your name is else I
    know not;
    Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine:
    Lesse in your knowledge, and your grace you show not,
    Then our earths wonder, more then earth diuine.
    820Teach me deere creature how to thinke and speake:
    Lay open to my earthie grosse conceit:
    Smothred in errors, feeble, shallow, weake,
    The foulded meaning of your words deceit:
    Against my soules pure truth, why labour you,
    825To make it wander in an vnknowne field?
    Are you a god? would you create me new?
    Transforme me then, and to your powre Ile yeeld.
    But if that I am I, then well I know,
    Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
    830Nor to her bed no homage doe I owe:
    Farre more, farre more, to you doe I decline:
    Oh traine me not sweet Mermaide with thy note,
    To drowne me in thy sister floud of teares:
    Sing Siren for thy selfe, and I will dote:
    835Spread ore the siluer waues thy golden haires;
    And as a bud Ile take thee, and there lie:
    And in that glorious supposition thinke,
    He gaines by death, that hath such meanes to die:
    Let Loue, being light, be drowned if she sinke.
    840Luc. What are you mad, that you doe reason so?
    Ant. Not mad, but mated, how I doe not know.
    Luc. It is a fault that springeth from your eie.
    Ant. For gazing on your beames
    faire sun being by.
    Luc. Gaze when you should, and that will cleere
    845 your sight.
    Ant. As good to winke sweet loue, as looke on night.
    Luc. Why call you me loue? Call my sister so.
    Ant. Thy sisters sister.
    Luc. That's my sister.
    850Ant. No: it is thy selfe, mine owne selfes better part:
    Mine eies cleere eie, my deere hearts deerer heart;
    My foode, my fortune, and my sweet hopes aime;
    My sole earths heauen, and my heauens claime.
    Luc. All this my sister is, or else should be.
    855Ant. Call thy selfe sister sweet, for I am thee:
    Thee will I loue, and with thee lead my life;
    Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife:
    Giue me thy hand.
    Luc. Oh soft sir, hold you still:
    860Ile fetch my sister to get her good will. Exit.
    Enter Dromio, Siracusia.
    Ant. Why how now Dromio, where run'st thou so
    S.Dro. Doe you know me sir? Am I Dromio? Am I
    865 your man? Am I my selfe?
    Ant. Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art
    thy selfe.
    Dro. I am an asse, I am a womans man, and besides
    my selfe.
    870Ant. What womans man? and how besides thy
    Dro. Marrie sir, besides my selfe, I am due to a woman:
    One that claimes me, one that haunts me, one that will
    haue me.
    Ant. What
    92 The Comedie of Errors.
    875Anti. What claime laies she to thee?
    Dro. Marry sir, such claime as you would lay to your
    horse, and she would haue me as a beast, not that I bee-
    ing a beast she would haue me, but that she being a ve-
    rie beastly creature layes claime to me.
    880Anti. What is she?
    Dro. A very reuerent body: I such a one, as a man
    may not speake of, without he say sir reuerence, I haue
    but leane lucke in the match, and yet is she a wondrous
    fat marriage.
    885Anti. How dost thou meane a fat marriage?
    Dro. Marry sir, she's the Kitchin wench, & al grease,
    and I know not what vse to put her too, but to make a
    Lampe of her, and run from her by her owne light. I
    warrant, her ragges and the Tallow in them, will burne
    890a Poland Winter: If she liues till doomesday, she'l burne
    a weeke longer then the whole World.
    Anti. What complexion is she of?
    Dro. Swart like my shoo, but her face nothing like
    so cleane kept: for why? she sweats a man may goe o-
    895uer-shooes in the grime of it.
    Anti. That's a fault that water will mend.
    Dro. No sir, 'tis in graine, Noahs flood could not
    do it.
    Anti. What's her name?
    900Dro. Nell Sir: but her name is three quarters, that's
    an Ell and three quarters, will not measure her from hip
    to hip.
    Anti. Then she beares some bredth?
    Dro. No longer from head to foot, then from hippe
    905to hippe: she is sphericall, like a globe: I could find out
    Countries in her.
    Anti. In what part of her body stands Ireland?
    Dro. Marry sir in her buttockes, I found it out by
    the bogges.
    910Ant. Where Scotland?
    Dro. I found it by the barrennesse, hard in the palme
    of the hand.
    Ant. Where France?
    Dro. In her forhead, arm'd and reuerted, making
    915warre against her heire.
    Ant. Where England?
    Dro. I look'd for the chalkle Cliffes, but I could find
    no whitenesse in them. But I guesse, it stood in her chin
    by the salt rheume that ranne betweene France, and it.
    920Ant. Where Spaine?
    Dro. Faith I saw it not: but I felt it hot in her breth.
    Ant. Where America, the Indies?
    Dro. Oh sir, vpon her nose, all ore embellished with
    Rubies, Carbuncles, Saphires, declining their rich As-
    925pect to the hot breath of Spaine, who sent whole Ar-
    madoes of Carrects to be ballast at her nose.
    Anti. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
    Dro. Oh sir, I did not looke so low. To conclude,
    this drudge or Diuiner layd claime to mee, call'd mee
    930Dromio, swore I was assur'd to her, told me what priuie
    markes I had about mee, as the marke of my shoulder,
    the Mole in my necke, the great Wart on my left arme,
    that I amaz'd ranne from her as a witch. And I thinke,
    my brest had not beene made of faith, and my heart of
    935steele, she had transform'd me to a Curtull dog, & made
    me turne i'th wheele.
    Anti. Go hie thee presently, post to the rode,
    And if the winde blow any way from shore,
    I will not harbour in this Towne to night.
    940If any Barke put forth, come to the Mart,
    Where I will walke till thou returne to me:
    If euerie one knowes vs, and we know none,
    'Tis time I thinke to trudge, packe, and be gone.
    Dro. As from a Beare a man would run for life,
    945So flie I from her that would be my wife. Exit
    Anti. There's none but Witches do inhabite heere,
    And therefore 'tis hie time that I were hence:
    She that doth call me husband, euen my soule
    Doth for a wife abhorre. But her faire sister
    950Possest with such a gentle soueraigne grace,
    Of such inchanting presence and discourse,
    Hath almost made me Traitor to my selfe:
    But least my selfe be guilty to selfe wrong,
    Ile stop mine eares against the Mermaids song.
    955 Enter Angelo with the Chaine.
    Ang. Mr Antipholus.
    Anti. I that's my name.
    Ang. I know it well sir, loe here's the chaine,
    I thought to haue tane you at the Porpentine,
    960The chaine vnfinish'd made me stay thus long.
    Anti. What is your will that I shal do with this?
    Ang. What please your selfe sir: I haue made it for
    Anti. Made it for me sir, I bespoke it not.
    965Ang. Not once, nor twice, but twentie times you
    Go home with it, and please your Wife withall,
    And soone at supper time Ile visit you,
    And then receiue my money for the chaine.
    970Anti. I pray you sir receiue the money now.
    For feare you ne're see chaine, nor mony more.
    Ang. You are a merry man sir, fare you well. Exit.
    Ant. What I should thinke of this, I cannot tell:
    But this I thinke, there's no man is so vaine,
    975That would refuse so faire an offer'd Chaine.
    I see a man heere needs not liue by shifts,
    When in the streets he meetes such Golden gifts:
    Ile to the Mart, and there for Dromio stay,
    If any ship put out, then straight away. Exit.