Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT III. - The Comedy of Errors
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ACT III. - William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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Before the House ofAntipholus of Ephesus.
EnterAntipholus of Ephesus, Dromio of Ephesus, Angelo,andBalthazar.
Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;
My wife is shrewish when I keep not hours;
Say that I linger’d with you at your shop
To see the making of her carkanet,
And that to-morrow you will bring it home.
But here’s a villain, that would face me down
He met me on the mart, and that I beat him,
And charg’d him with a thousand marks in gold,
And that I did deny my wife and house.
Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by this?
Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know;
That you beat me at the mart, I have your hand to show:
If the skin were parchment and the blows you gave were ink,
Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.
I think thou art an ass.
Marry, so it doth appear
By the wrongs I suffer and the blows I bear.
I should kick, being kick’d; and, being at that pass,
You would keep from my heels and beware of an ass.
You are sad, Signior Balthazar: pray God, our cheer
May answer my good will and your good welcome here.
I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your welcome dear.
O, Signior Balthazar, either at flesh or fish,
A table-full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish.
Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl affords.
And welcome more common, for that’s nothing but words.
Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
Ay, to a niggardly host and more sparing guest:
But though my cates be mean, take them in good part;
Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart.
But soft! my door is lock’d. Go bid them let us in.
Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian, Ginn!
[Within.] Mome, malt-horse, capon, coxcomb, idiot, patch!
Either get thee from the door or sit down at the hatch.
Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou call’st for such store,
When one is one too many? Go, get thee from the door.
What patch is made our porter?—My master stays in the street.
[Within.] Let him walk from whence he came, lest he catch cold on’s feet.
Who talks within there? ho! open the door.
[Within.] Right, sir; I’ll tell you when, an you’ll tell me wherefore.
Wherefore? for my dinner: I have not din’d to-day.
Nor to-day here you must not; come again when you may.
What art thou that keep’st me out from the house I owe?
[Within.] The porter for this time, sir, and my name is Dromio.
O villain! thou hast stolen both mine office and my name:
The one ne’er got me credit, the other mickle blame.
If thou hadst been Dromio to-day in my place,
Thou wouldst have chang’d thy face for a name, or thy name for an ass.
[Within.] What a coil is there, Dromio! who are those at the gate?
Let my master in, Luce.
[Within.] Faith, no; he comes too late;
And so tell your master.
O Lord! I must laugh.
Have at you with a proverb: Shall I set in my staff?
[Within.] Have at you with another: that’s—when? can you tell?
[Within.] If thy name be call’d Luce,—Luce, thou hast answer’d him well.
Do you hear, you minion? you’ll let us in, I trow?
[Within.] I thought to have ask’d you.
[Within.] And you said, no.
So come, help: well struck! there was blow for blow.
Thou baggage, let me in.
[Within.] Can you tell for whose sake?
Master, knock the door hard.
[Within.] Let him knock till it ache.
You’ll cry for this, minion, if I beat the door down.
[Within.] What needs all that, and a pair of stocks in the town?
[Within.] Who is that at the door that keeps all this noise?
[Within.] By my troth your town is troubled with unruly boys.
Are you there, wife? you might have come before.
[Within.] Your wife, sir knave! go, get you from the door.
If you went in pain, master, this ‘knave’ would go sore.
Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome: we would fain have either.
In debating which was best, we shall part with neither.
They stand at the door, master: bid them welcome hither.
There is something in the wind, that we cannot get in.
You would say so, master, if your garments were thin.
Your cake here is warm within; you stand here in the cold:
It would make a man mad as a buck to be so bought and sold.
Go fetch me something: I’ll break ope the gate.
[Within.] Break any breaking here, and I’ll break your knave’s pate.
A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind:
Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.
[Within.] It seems thou wantest breaking: out upon thee, hind!
Here’s too much ‘out upon thee!’ I pray thee, let me in.
[Within.] Ay, when fowls have no feathers, and fish have no fin.
Well, I’ll break in. Go borrow me a crow.
A crow without feather? Master, mean you so?
For a fish without a fin, there’s a fowl without a feather:
If a crow help us in, sirrah, we’ll pluck a crow together.
Go get thee gone: fetch me an iron crow.
Have patience, sir; O! let it not be so;
Herein you war against your reputation,
And draw within the compass of suspect
The unviolated honour of your wife.
Once this,—your long experience of her wisdom,
Her sober virtue, years, and modesty,
Plead on her part some cause to you unknown;
And doubt not, sir, but she will well excuse
Why at this time the doors are made against you.
Be rul’d by me: depart in patience,
And let us to the Tiger all to dinner;
And about evening come yourself alone,
To know the reason of this strange restraint.
If by strong hand you offer to break in
Now in the stirring passage of the day,
A vulgar comment will be made of it,
And that supposed by the common rout
Against your yet ungalled estimation,
That may with foul intrusion enter in
And dwell upon your grave when you are dead;
For slander lives upon succession,
For ever housed where it gets possession.
You have prevail’d: I will depart in quiet,
And, in despite of mirth, mean to be merry.
I know a wench of excellent discourse,
Pretty and witty, wild and yet, too, gentle:
There will we dine: this woman that I mean,
My wife,—but, I protest, without desert,—
Hath oftentimes upbraided me withal:
To her will we to dinner. [ToAngelo.] Get you home,
And fetch the chain; by this I know ’tis made:
Bring it, I pray you, to the Porpentine;
For there’s the house: that chain will I bestow,
Be it for nothing but to spite my wife,
Upon mine hostess there. Good sir, make haste.
Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me,
I’ll knock elsewhere, to see if they’ll disdain me.
I’ll meet you at that place some hour hence.
Do so. This jest shall cost me some expense.
EnterLucianaandAntipholus of Syracuse.
And may it be that you have quite forgot A husband’s office? Shall, Antipholus,
Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
Then, for her wealth’s sake use her with more kindness:
Or, if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness;
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame’s orator;
Look sweet, speak fair, become disloyalty;
Apparel vice like virtue’s harbinger;
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted;
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
Be secret-false: what need she be acquainted?
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
’Tis double wrong to truant with your bed,
And let her read it in thy looks at board:
Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
Ill deeds are doubled with an evil word.
Alas! poor women, make us but believe,
Being compact of credit, that you love us;
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife:
’Tis holy sport to be a little vain,
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.
Sweet mistress,—what your name is else, I know not,
Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine,—
Less in your knowledge and your grace you show not
Than our earth’s wonder; more than earth divine.
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak:
Lay open to my earthy-gross conceit,
Smother’d in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
The folded meaning of your words’ deceit.
Against my soul’s pure truth why labour you
To make it wander in an unknown field?
Are you a god? would you create me new?
Transform me then, and to your power I’ll yield.
But if that I am I, then well I know
Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
Nor to her bed no homage do I owe:
Far more, far more, to you do I decline.
O! train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sister flood of tears:
Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote:
Spread o’er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And as a bed I’ll take them and there lie;
And, in that glorious supposition think
He gains by death that hath such means to die:
Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink!
What! are you mad, that you do reason so?
Not mad, but mated; how, I do not know.
It is a fault that springeth from your eye.
For gazing on your beams; fair sun, being by.
Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.
As good to wink, sweet love, as look on night.
Why call you me love? call my sister so.
Thy sister’s sister.
That’s my sister.
It is thyself, mine own self’s better part;
Mine eye’s clear eye, my dear heart’s dearer heart;
My food, my fortune, and my sweet hope’s aim,
My sole earth’s heaven, and my heaven’s claim.
All this my sister is, or else should be.
Call thyself sister, sweet, for I aim thee.
Thee will I love and with thee lead my life:
Thou hast no husband yet nor I no wife.
Give me thy hand.
O! soft, sir; hold you still:
I’ll fetch my sister, to get her good will.
EnterDromio of Syracuse, hastily.
Why, how now, Dromio! where run’st thou so fast?
Do you know me, sir? am I Dromio? am I your man? am I myself?
Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thyself.
I am an ass, I am a woman’s man and besides myself.
What woman’s man? and how besides thyself?
Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.
What claim lays she to thee?
Marry, sir, such claim as you would lay to your horse; and she would have me as a beast: not that, I being a beast, she would have me; but that she, being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
What is she?
A very reverent body; aye, such a one as a man may not speak of, without he say, ‘Sir-reverence.’ I have but lean luck in the match, and yet is she a wondrous fat marriage.
How dost thou mean a fat marriage?
Marry, sir, she’s the kitchen-wench, and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to but to make a lamp of her and run from her by her own light. I warrant her rags and the tallow in them will burn a Poland winter; if she lives till doomsday, she’ll burn a week longer than the whole world.
What complexion is she of?
Swart, like my shoe, but her face nothing like so clean kept: for why she sweats; a man may go over shoes in the grime of it.
That’s a fault that water will mend.
No, sir, ’tis in grain; Noah’s flood could not do it.
What’s her name?
Nell, sir; but her name and three quarters,—that is, an ell and three quarters,—will not measure her from hip to hip.
Then she bears some breadth?
No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her.
In what part of her body stands Ireland?
Marry, sir, in her buttocks: I found it out by the bogs.
I found it by the barrenness; hard in the palm of the hand.
In her forehead; armed and reverted, making war against her heir.
I looked for the chalky cliffs, but I could find no whiteness in them: but I guess it stood in her chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
Faith, I saw not; but I felt it hot in her breath.
Where America, the Indies?
O, sir! upon her nose, all o’er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain, who sent whole armadoes of caracks to be ballast at her nose.
Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
O, sir! I did not look so low. To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid claim to me; call’d me Dromio; swore I was assured to her; told me what privy marks I had about me, as the mark of my shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I, amazed, ran from her as a witch.
And, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith and my heart of steel,
She had transform’d me to a curtal dog and made me turn i’ the wheel.
Go hie thee presently post to the road:
An if the wind blow any way from shore,
I will not harbour in this town to-night:
If any bark put forth, come to the mart,
Where I will walk till thou return to me.
If every one knows us and we know none,
’Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack, and be gone.
As from a bear a man would run for life,
So fly I from her that would be my wife.
There’s none but witches do inhabit here,
And therefore ’tis high time that I were hence.
She that doth call me husband, even my soul
Doth for a wife abhor; but her fair sister,
Possess’d with such a gentle sovereign grace,
Of such enchanting presence and discourse,
Hath almost made me traitor to myself:
But, lest myself be guilty to self-wrong,
I’ll stop mine ears against the mermaid’s song.
Ay, that’s my name.
I know it well, sir: lo, here is the chain.
I thought to have ta’en you at the Porpentine;
The chain unfinish’d made me stay thus long.
What is your will that I shall do with this?
What please yourself, sir: I have made it for you.
Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not
Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you have.
Go home with it and please your wife withal;
And soon at supper-time I’ll visit you,
And then receive my money for the chain.
I pray you, sir, receive the money now,
For fear you ne’er see chain nor money more.
You are a merry man, sir: fare you well.
[Exit, leaving the chain.
What I should think of this, I cannot tell:
But this I think, there’s no man is so vain
That would refuse so fair an offer’d chain.
I see, a man here needs not live by shifts,
When in the streets he meets such golden gifts.
I’ll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay:
If any ship put out, then straight away.