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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Quintus. Scoena Prima.
    Enter the Merchant and the Goldsmith.
    Gold. I am sorry Sir that I haue hindred you,
    1465But I protest he had the Chaine of me,
    Though most dishonestly he doth denie it.
    Mar. How is the man esteem'd heere in the Citie?
    Gold. Of very reuerent reputation sir,
    Of credit infinite, highly belou'd,
    1470Second to none that liues heere in the Citie:
    His word might beare my wealth at any time.
    Mar. Speake softly, yonder as I thinke he walkes.
    Enter Antipholus and Dromio againe.
    Gold. 'Tis so: and that selfe chaine about his necke,
    1475Which he forswore most monstrously to haue.
    Good sir draw neere to me, Ile speake to him:
    Signior Antipholus, I wonder much
    That you would put me to this shame and trouble,
    And not without some scandall to your selfe,
    1480With circumstance and oaths, so to denie
    This Chaine, which now you weare so openly.
    Beside the charge, the shame, imprisonment,
    You haue done wrong to this my honest friend,
    Who but for staying on our Controuersie,
    1485Had hoisted saile, and put to sea to day:
    This Chaine you had of me, can you deny it?
    Ant. I thinke I had, I neuer did deny it.
    Mar. Yes that you did sir, and forswore it too.
    Ant. Who heard me to denie it or forsweare it?
    1490Mar. These eares of mine thou knowst did hear thee:
    Fie on thee wretch, 'tis pitty that thou liu'st
    To walke where any honest men resort.
    Ant. Thou art a Villaine to impeach me thus,
    Ile proue mine honor, and mine honestie
    1495Against thee presently, if thou dar'st stand:
    Mar. I dare and do defie thee for a villaine.
    They draw. Enter Adriana, Luciana, Courtezan, & others.
    Adr. Hold, hurt him not for God sake, he is mad,
    Some get within him, take his sword away:
    1500Binde Dromio too, and beare them to my house.
    S.Dro. Runne master run, for Gods sake take a house,
    This is some Priorie, in, or we are spoyl'd.
    Exeunt to the Priorie.
    The Comedie of Errors. 97
    Enter Ladie Abbesse.
    1505Ab. Be quiet people, wherefore throng you hither?
    Adr. To fetch my poore distracted husband hence,
    Let vs come in, that we may binde him fast,
    And beare him home for his recouerie.
    Gold. I knew he was not in his perfect wits.
    1510Mar. I am sorry now that I did draw on him.
    Ab. How long hath this possession held the man.
    Adr. This weeke he hath beene heauie, sower sad,
    And much different from the man he was:
    But till this afternoone his passion
    1515Ne're brake into extremity of rage.
    Ab. Hath he not lost much wealth by wrack of sea,
    Buried some deere friend, hath not else his eye
    Stray'd his affection in vnlawfull loue,
    A sinne preuailing much in youthfull men,
    1520Who giue their eies the liberty of gazing.
    Which of these sorrowes is he subiect too?
    Adr. To none of these, except it be the last,
    Namely, some loue that drew him oft from home.
    Ab. You should for that haue reprehended him.
    1525Adr. Why so I did.
    Ab. I but not rough enough.
    Adr. As roughly as my modestie would let me.
    Ab. Haply in priuate.
    Adr. And in assemblies too.
    1530Ab. I, but not enough.
    Adr. It was the copie of our Conference.
    In bed he slept not for my vrging it,
    At boord he fed not for my vrging it:
    Alone, it was the subiect of my Theame:
    1535In company I often glanced it:
    Still did I tell him, it was vilde and bad.
    Ab. And thereof came it, that the man was mad.
    The venome clamors of a iealous woman,
    Poisons more deadly then a mad dogges tooth.
    1540It seemes his sleepes were hindred by thy railing,
    And thereof comes it that his head is light.
    Thou saist his meate was sawc'd with thy vpbraidings,
    Vnquiet meales make ill digestions,
    Thereof the raging fire of feauer bred,
    1545And what's a Feauer, but a fit of madnesse?
    Thou sayest his sports were hindred by thy bralles.
    Sweet recreation barr'd, what doth ensue
    But moodie and dull melancholly,
    Kinsman to grim and comfortlesse dispaire,
    1550And at her heeles a huge infectious troope
    Of pale distemperatures, and foes to life?
    In food, in sport, and life-preseruing rest
    To be disturb'd, would mad or man, or beast:
    The consequence is then, thy iealous fits
    1555Hath scar'd thy husband from the vse of wits.
    Luc. She neuer reprehended him but mildely,
    When he demean'd himselfe, rough, rude, and wildly,
    Why beare you these rebukes, and answer not?
    Adri. She did betray me to my owne reproofe,
    1560Good people enter, and lay hold on him.
    Ab. No, not a creature enters in my house.
    Ad. Then let your seruants bring my husband forth
    Ab. Neither: he tooke this place for sanctuary,
    And it shall priuiledge him from your hands,
    1565Till I haue brought him to his wits againe,
    Or loose my labour in assaying it.
    Adr. I will attend my husband, be his nurse,
    Diet his sicknesse, for it is my Office,
    And will haue no atturney but my selfe,
    1570And therefore let me haue him home with me.
    Ab. Be patient, for I will not let him stirre,
    Till I haue vs'd the approoued meanes I haue,
    With wholsome sirrups, drugges, and holy prayers
    To make of him a formall man againe:
    1575It is a branch and parcell of mine oath,
    A charitable dutie of my order,
    Therefore depart, and leaue him heere with me.
    Adr. I will not hence, and leaue my husband heere:
    And ill it doth beseeme your holinesse
    1580To separate the husband and the wife.
    Ab. Be quiet and depart, thou shalt not haue him.
    Luc. Complaine vnto the Duke of this indignity.
    Adr. Come go, I will fall prostrate at his feete,
    And neuer rise vntill my teares and prayers
    1585Haue won his grace to come in person hither,
    And take perforce my husband from the Abbesse.
    Mar. By this I thinke the Diall points at fiue:
    Anon I'me sure the Duke himselfe in person
    Comes this way to the melancholly vale;
    1590The place of depth, and sorrie execution,
    Behinde the ditches of the Abbey heere.
    Gold. Vpon what cause?
    Mar. To see a reuerent Siracusian Merchant,
    Who put vnluckily into this Bay
    1595Against the Lawes and Statutes of this Towne,
    Beheaded publikely for his offence.
    Gold. See where they come, we wil behold his death
    Luc. Kneele to the Duke before he passe the Abbey.
    Enter the Duke of Ephesus, and the Merchant of Siracuse
    1600bare head, with the Headsman, & other
    Duke. Yet once againe proclaime it publikely,
    If any friend will pay the summe for him,
    He shall not die, so much we tender him.
    1605Adr. Iustice most sacred Duke against the Abbesse.
    Duke. She is a vertuous and a reuerend Lady,
    It cannot be that she hath done thee wrong.
    Adr. May it please your Grace, Antipholus my husbãd,
    Who I made Lord of me, and all I had,
    1610At your important Letters this ill day,
    A most outragious fit of madnesse tooke him:
    That desp'rately he hurried through the streete,
    With him his bondman, all as mad as he,
    Doing displeasure to the Citizens,
    1615By rushing in their houses: bearing thence
    Rings, Iewels, any thing his rage did like.
    Once did I get him bound, and sent him home,
    Whil'st to take order for the wrongs I went,
    That heere and there his furie had committed,
    1620Anon I wot not, by what strong escape
    He broke from those that had the guard of him,
    And with his mad attendant and himselfe,
    Each one with irefull passion, with drawne swords
    Met vs againe, and madly bent on vs
    1625Chac'd vs away: till raising of more aide
    We came againe to binde them: then they fled
    Into this Abbey, whether we pursu'd them,
    And heere the Abbesse shuts the gates on vs,
    And will not suffer vs to fetch him out,
    1630Nor send him forth, that we may beare him hence.
    I Therefore
    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.
    The Comedie of Errors. 99
    Exit one to the Abbesse.
    Fa. Most mighty Duke, vouchsafe me speak a word:
    Haply I see a friend will saue my life,
    And pay the sum that may deliuer me.
    1765Duke. Speake freely Siracusian what thou wilt.
    Fath. Is not your name sir call'd Antipholus?
    And is not that your bondman Dromio?
    E.Dro. Within this houre I was his bondman sir,
    But he I thanke him gnaw'd in two my cords,
    1770Now am I Dromio, and his man, vnbound.
    Fath. I am sure you both of you remember me.
    Dro. Our selues we do remember sir by you:
    For lately we were bound as you are now.
    You are not Pinches patient, are you sir?
    1775Father. Why looke you strange on me? you know
    me well.
    E.Ant. I neuer saw you in my life till now.
    Fa. Oh! griefe hath chang'd me since you saw me last,
    And carefull houres with times deformed hand,
    1780Haue written strange defeatures in my face:
    But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?
    Ant. Neither.
    Fat. Dromio, nor thou?
    Dro. No trust me sir, nor I.
    1785Fa. I am sure thou dost?
    E.Dromio. I sir, but I am sure I do not, and whatso-
    euer a man denies, you are now bound to beleeue him.
    Fath. Not know my voice, oh times extremity
    Hast thou so crack'd and splitted my poore tongue
    1790In seuen short yeares, that heere my onely sonne
    Knowes not my feeble key of vntun'd cares?
    Though now this grained face of mine be hid
    In sap-consuming Winters drizled snow,
    And all the Conduits of my blood froze vp:
    1795Yet hath my night of life some memorie:
    My wasting lampes some fading glimmer left;
    My dull deafe eares a little vse to heare:
    All these old witnesses, I cannot erre.
    Tell me, thou art my sonne Antipholus.
    1800Ant. I neuer saw my Father in my life.
    Fa. But seuen yeares since, in Siracusa boy
    Thou know'st we parted, but perhaps my sonne,
    Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in miserie.
    Ant. The Duke, and all that know me in the City,
    1805Can witnesse with me that it is not so.
    I ne're saw Siracusa in my life.
    Duke. I tell thee Siracusian, twentie yeares
    Haue I bin Patron to Antipholus,
    During which time, he ne're saw Siracusa:
    1810I see thy age and dangers make thee dote.
    Enter the Abbesse with Antipholus Siracusa,
    and Dromio Sir.
    Abbesse. Most mightie Duke, behold a man much
    1815 All gather to see them.
    Adr. I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceiue me.
    Duke. One of these men is genius to the other:
    And so of these, which is the naturall man,
    And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?
    1820S.Dromio. I Sir am Dromio, command him away.
    E.Dro. I Sir am Dromio, pray let me stay.
    S.Ant. Egeon art thou not? or else his ghost.
    S.Drom. Oh my olde Master, who hath bound him
    1825Abb. Who euer bound him, I will lose his bonds,
    And gaine a husband by his libertie:
    Speake olde Egeon, if thou bee'st the man
    That hadst a wife once call'd Aemilia,
    That bore thee at a burthen two faire sonnes?
    1830Oh if thou bee'st the same Egeon, speake:
    And speake vnto the same Aemilia.
    Duke. Why heere begins his Morning storie right:
    These two Antipholus, these two so like,
    And these two Dromio's, one in semblance:
    1835Besides her vrging of her wracke at sea,
    These are the parents to these children,
    Which accidentally are met together.
    Fa. If I dreame not, thou art Aemilia,
    If thou art she, tell me, where is that sonne
    1840That floated with thee on the fatall rafte.
    Abb. By men of Epidamium, he, and I,
    And the twin Dromio, all were taken vp;
    But by and by, rude Fishermen of Corinth
    By force tooke Dromio, and my sonne from them,
    1845And me they left with those of Epidamium.
    What then became of them, I cannot tell:
    I, to this fortune that you see mee in.
    Duke. Antipholus thou cam'st from Corinth first.
    S.Ant. No sir, not I, I came from Siracuse.
    1850Duke. Stay, stand apart, I know not which is which.
    E.Ant. I came from Corinth my most gracious Lord
    E.Dro. And I with him.
    E.Ant. Brought to this Town by that most famous
    1855Duke Menaphon your most renowned Vnckle.
    Adr. Which of you two did dine with me to day?
    S.Ant. I, gentle Mistris.
    Adr. And are not you my husband?
    E.Ant. No, I say nay to that.
    1860S.Ant. And so do I, yet did she call me so:
    And this faire Gentlewoman her sister heere
    Did call me brother. What I told you then,
    I hope I shall haue leisure to make good,
    If this be not a dreame I see and heare.
    1865Goldsmith. That is the Chaine sir, which you had of
    S.Ant. I thinke it be sir, I denie it not.
    E.Ant. And you sir for this Chaine arrested me.
    Gold. I thinke I did sir, I deny it not.
    1870Adr. I sent you monie sir to be your baile
    By Dromio, but I thinke he brought it not.
    E.Dro. No, none by me.
    S.Ant. This purse of Duckets I receiu'd from you,
    And Dromio my man did bring them me:
    1875I see we still did meete each others man,
    And I was tane for him, and he for me,
    And thereupon these errors are arose.
    E.Ant. These Duckets pawne I for my father heere.
    Duke. It shall not neede, thy father hath his life.
    1880Cur. Sir I must haue that Diamond from you.
    E.Ant. There take it, and much thanks for my good
    Abb. Renowned Duke, vouchsafe to take the paines
    To go with vs into the Abbey heere,
    1885And heare at large discoursed all our fortunes,
    And all that are assembled in this place:
    That by this simpathized one daies error
    Haue suffer'd wrong. Goe, keepe vs companie,
    I 2 And
    100 The Comedie of Errors.
    And we shall make full satisfaction.
    1890Thirtie three yeares haue I but gone in trauaile
    Of you my sonnes, and till this present houre
    My heauie burthen are deliuered:
    The Duke my husband, and my children both,
    And you the Kalenders of their Natiuity,
    1895Go to a Gossips feast, and go with mee,
    After so long greefe such Natiuitie.
    Duke. With all my heart, Ile Gossip at this feast.
    Exeunt omnes. Manet the two Dromio's and
    two Brothers.
    1900S.Dro. Mast[er]. shall I fetch your stuffe from shipbord?
    E.An. Dromio, what stuffe of mine hast thou imbarkt
    S.Dro. Your goods that lay at host sir in the Centaur.
    S.Ant. He speakes to me, I am your master Dromio.
    Come go with vs, wee'l looke to that anon,
    1905Embrace thy brother there, reioyce with him. Exit
    S.Dro. There is a fat friend at your masters house,
    That kitchin'd me for you to day at dinner:
    She now shall be my sister, not my wife,
    E.D. Me thinks you are my glasse, & not my brother:
    1910I see by you, I am a sweet-fac'd youth,
    Will you walke in to see their gossipping?
    S.Dro. Not I sir, you are my elder.
    E.Dro. That's a question, how shall we trie it.
    S.Dro. Wee'l draw Cuts for the Signior, till then,
    1915lead thou first.
    E.Dro. Nay then thus:
    We came into the world like brother and brother:
    And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.