Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT IV. - The Comedy of Errors
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ACT IV. - 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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A Public Place.
Enter Second Merchant, Angelo,and an Officer.
You know since Pentecost the sum is due,
And since I have not much importun’d you;
Nor now I had not, but that I am bound
To Persia, and want guilders for my voyage:
Therefore make present satisfaction,
Or I’ll attach you by this officer.
Even just the sum that I do owe to you
Is growing to me by Antipholus;
And in the instant that I met with you
He had of me a chain: at five o’clock
I shall receive the money for the same.
Pleaseth you walk with me down to his house,
I will discharge my bond, and thank you too.
EnterAntipholus of Ephesus andDromio of Ephesus from the Courtezan’s.
That labour may you save: see where he comes.
While I go to the goldsmith’s house, go thou
And buy a rope’s end, that I will bestow
Among my wife and her confederates,
For locking me out of my doors by day.
But soft! I see the goldsmith. Get thee gone;
Buy thou a rope, and bring it home to me.
I buy a thousand pound a year: I buy a rope!
A man is well holp up that trusts to you:
I promised your presence and the chain;
But neither chain nor goldsmith came to me.
Belike you thought our love would last too long,
If it were chain’d together, and therefore came not.
Saving your merry humour, here’s the note
How much your chain weighs to the utmost carat.
The fineness of the gold, and chargeful fashion,
Which doth amount to three odd ducats more
Than I stand debted to this gentleman:
I pray you see him presently discharg’d,
For he is bound to sea and stays but for it.
I am not furnish’d with the present money;
Besides, I have some business in the town.
Good signior, take the stranger to my house,
And with you take the chain, and bid my wife
Disburse the sum on the receipt thereof:
Perchance I will be there as soon as you.
Then, you will bring the chain to her yourself?
No; bear it with you, lest I come not time enough.
Well, sir, I will. Have you the chain about you?
An if I have not, sir, I hope you have,
Or else you may return without your money.
Nay, come, I pray you, sir, give me the chain:
Both wind and tide stays for this gentleman,
And I, to blame, have held him here too long.
Good Lord! you use this dalliance to excuse
Your breach of promise to the Porpentine.
I should have child you for not bringing it,
But, like a shrew, you first begin to brawl.
The hour steals on; I pray you, sir, dispatch.
You hear how he importunes me: the chain!
Why, give it to my wife and fetch your money.
Come, come; you know I gave it you even now.
Either send the chain or send by me some token.
Fie! now you run this humour out of breath.
Come, where’s the chain? I pray you, let me see it.
My business cannot brook this dalliance.
Good sir, say whe’r you’ll answer me or no:
If not, I’ll leave him to the officer.
I answer you! what should I answer you?
The money that you owe me for the chain.
I owe you none till I receive the chain.
You know I gave it you half an hour since.
You gave me none: you wrong me much to say so.
You wrong me more, sir, in denying it:
Consider how it stands upon my credit.
Well, officer, arrest him at my suit.
And charge you in the duke’s name to obey me.
This touches me in reputation.
Either consent to pay this sum for me,
Or I attach you by this officer.
Consent to pay thee that I never had!
Arrest me, foolish fellow, if thou dar’st.
Here is thy fee: arrest him, officer.
I would not spare my brother in this case,
If he should scorn me so apparently.
I do arrest you, sir: you hear the suit.
I do obey thee till I give thee bail.
But, sirrah, you shall buy this sport as dear
As all the metal in your shop will answer.
Sir, sir, I shall have law in Ephesus,
To your notorious shame, I doubt it not.
EnterDromio of Syracuse.
Master, there is a bark of Epidamnum
That stays but till her owner comes aboard,
And then she bears away. Our fraughtage, sir,
I have convey’d aboard, and I have bought
The oil, the balsamum, and aqua-vitæ.
The ship is in her trim; the merry wind
Blows fair from land; they stay for nought at all
But for their owner, master, and yourself.
How now! a madman! Why, thou peevish sheep,
What ship of Epidamnum stays for me?
A ship you sent me to, to hire waftage.
Thou drunken slave, I sent thee for a rope;
And told thee to what purpose, and what end.
You sent me for a rope’s end as soon:
You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.
I will debate this matter at more leisure,
And teach your ears to list me with more heed.
To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight;
Give her this key, and tell her, in the desk
That’s cover’d o’er with Turkish tapestry,
There is a purse of ducats: let her send it.
Tell her I am arrested in the street,
And that shall bail me. Hie thee, slave, be gone!
On, officer, to prison till it come.
[Exeunt Merchant, Angelo, Officer, andAntipholus of Ephesus.
To Adriana! that is where we din’d,
Where Dowsabel did claim me for her husband:
She is too big, I hope, for me to compass.
Thither I must, although against my will,
For servants must their masters’ minds fulfil.
A Room in the House ofAntipholus of Ephesus.
Ah! Luciana, did he tempt thee so?
Mights thou perceive austerely in his eye
That he did plead in earnest? yea or no?
Look’d he or red or pale? or sad or merrily?
What observation mad’st thou in this case
Of his heart’s meteors tilting in his face?
First he denied you had in him no right.
He meant he did me none; the more my spite.
Then swore he that he was a stranger here.
And true he swore, though yet forsworn he were.
Then pleaded I for you.
And what said he?
That love I begg’d for you he begg’d of me.
With what persuasion did he tempt thy love?
With words that in an honest suit might move.
First, he did praise my beauty, then my speech.
Didst speak him fair?
Have patience, I beseech.
I cannot, nor I will not hold me still:
My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will.
He is deformed, crooked, old and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where:
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
Who would be jealous then, of such a one?
No evil lost is wail’d when it is gone.
Ah! but I think him better than I say,
And yet would herein others’ eyes were worse.
Far from her nest the lapwing cries away:
My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.
EnterDromio of Syracuse.
Here, go: the desk! the purse! sweet, now, make haste.
How hast thou lost thy breath?
By running fast.
Where is thy master, Dromio? is he well?
No, he’s in Tartar limbo, worse than hell.
A devil in an everlasting garment hath him,
One whose hard heart is button’d up with steel;
A fiend, a fairy, pitiless and rough;
A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff;
A back-friend, a shoulder-clapper, one that countermands
The passages of alleys, creeks and narrow lands;
A hound that runs counter and yet draws dryfoot well;
One that, before the judgment, carries poor souls to hell.
Why, man, what is the matter?
I do not know the matter: he is ’rested on the case.
What, is he arrested? tell me at whose suit.
I know not at whose suit he is arrested well;
But he’s in a suit of buff which ’rested him, that can I tell.
Will you send him, mistress, redemption, the money in his desk?
Go fetch it, sister.—[ExitLuciana.] This I wonder at:
That he, unknown to me, should be in debt:
Tell me, was he arrested on a band?
Not on a band, but on a stronger thing;
A chain, a chain. Do you not hear it ring?
What, the chain?
No, no, the bell: ’tis time that I were gone:
It was two ere I left him, and now the clock strikes one.
The hours come back! that did I never hear.
O yes; if any hour meet a sergeant, a’ turns back for very fear.
As if Time were in debt! how fondly dost thou reason!
Time is a very bankrupt, and owes more than he’s worth to season.
Nay, he’s a thief too: have you not heard men say,
That Time comes stealing on by night and day?
If Time be in debt and theft, and a sergeant in the way,
Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?
Go, Dromio: there’s the money, bear it straight,
And bring thy master home immediately.
Come, sister; I am press’d down with conceit; Conceit, my comfort and my injury.
A Public Place.
EnterAntipholus of Syracuse.
There’s not a man I meet but doth salute me,
As if I were their well acquainted friend;
And every one doth call me by my name.
Some tender money to me; some invite me;
Some other give me thanks for kindnesses;
Some offer me commodities to buy:
Even now a tailor call’d me in his shop
And show’d me silks that he had bought for me,
And therewithal, took measure of my body.
Sure these are but imaginary wiles,
And Lapland sorcerers inhabit here.
EnterDromio of Syracuse.
Master, here’s the gold you sent me for.
What! have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled?
What gold is this? What Adam dost thou mean?
Not that Adam that kept the Paradise, but that Adam that keeps the prison: he that goes in the calf’s skin that was killed for the Prodigal: he that came behind you, sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake your liberty.
I understand thee not.
No? why, ’tis a plain case: he that went, like a base-viol, in a case of leather; the man, sir, that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a fob, and ’rests them; he, sir, that takes pity on decayed men and gives them suits of durance; he that sets up his rest to do more exploits with his mace than a morris-pike.
What, thou meanest an officer?
Ay, sir, the sergeant of the band; he that brings any man to answer it that breaks his band; one that thinks a man always going to bed, and says, ‘God give you good rest!’
Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is there any ship puts forth to-night? may we be gone?
Why, sir, I brought you word an hour since that the bark Expedition put forth to-night; and then were you hindered by the sergeant to tarry for the hoy Delay. Here are the angels that you sent for to deliver you.
The fellow is distract, and so am I;
And here we wander in illusions:
Some blessed power deliver us from hence!
Enter a Courtezan.
Well met, well met, Master Antipholus.
I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now:
Is that the chain you promis’d me to-day?
Satan, avoid! I charge thee tempt me not!
Master, is this Mistress Satan?
It is the devil.
Nay, she is worse, she is the devil’s dam, and here she comes in the habit of a light wench: and thereof comes that the wenches say, ‘God damn me;’ that’s as much as to say, ‘God make me a light wench.’ It is written, they appear to men like angels of light: light is an effect of fire, and fire will burn; ergo, light wenches will burn. Come not near her.
Your man and you are marvellous merry, sir. Will you go with me? we’ll mend our dinner here.
Master, if you do, expect spoon-meat, so bespeak a long spoon.
Marry, he must have a long spoon that must eat with the devil.
Avoid thee, fiend! what tell’st thou me of supping?
Thou art, as you are all, a sorceress:
I conjure thee to leave me and be gone.
Give me the ring of mine you had at dinner,
Or, for my diamond, the chain you promis’d,
And I’ll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.
Some devils ask but the parings of one’s nail,
A rush, a hair, a drop of blood, a pin,
A nut, a cherry-stone;
But she, more covetous, would have a chain.
Master, be wise: an if you give it her,
The devil will shake her chain and fright us with it.
I pray you, sir, my ring, or else the chain:
I hope you do not mean to cheat me so.
Avaunt, thou witch! Come, Dromio, let us go.
‘Fly pride,’ says the peacock: mistress, that you know.
[ExeuntAntipholus of Syracuse andDromio of Syracuse.
Now, out of doubt, Antipholus is mad,
Else would he never so demean himself.
A ring he hath of mine worth forty ducats,
And for the same he promis’d me a chain:
Both one and other he denies me now.
The reason that I gather he is mad,
Besides this present instance of his rage,
Is a mad tale he told to-day at dinner,
Of his own doors being shut against his entrance
Belike his wife, acquainted with his fits,
On purpose shut the doors against his way.
My way is now to hie home to his house,
And tell his wife, that, being lunatic,
He rush’d into my house, and took perforce
My ring away. This course I fittest choose,
For forty ducats is too much to lose.
EnterAntipholus of Ephesus and the Officer.
Fear me not, man; I will not break away:
I’ll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money,
To warrant thee, as I am ’rested for.
My wife is in a wayward mood to-day,
And will not lightly trust the messenger.
That I should be attach’d in Ephesus,
I tell you, ’twill sound harshly in her ears.
EnterDromio of Ephesus with a rope’s end.
Here comes my man: I think he brings the money.
How now, sir! have you that I sent you for?
Here’s that, I warrant you, will pay them all.
But where’s the money?
Why, sir, I gave the money for the rope.
Five hundred ducats, villain, for a rope?
I’ll serve you, sir, five hundred at the rate.
To what end did I bid thee hie thee home?
To a rope’s end, sir; and to that end am I return’d.
And to that end, sir, I will welcome you.
Good sir, be patient.
Nay, ’tis for me to be patient; I am in adversity.
Good now, hold thy tongue.
Nay, rather persuade him to hold his hands.
Thou whoreson, senseless villain!
I would I were senseless, sir, that I might not feel your blows.
Thou art sensible in nothing but blows, and so is an ass.
I am an ass indeed; you may prove it by my long ears. I have served him from the hour of my nativity to this instant, and have nothing at his hands for my service but blows. When I am cold, he heats me with beating; when I am warm, he cools me with beating; I am waked with it when I sleep; raised with it when I sit; driven out of doors with it when I go from home; welcomed home with it when I return; nay, I bear it on my shoulders, as a beggar wont her brat; and, I think, when he hath lamed me, I shall beg with it from door to door.
Come, go along; my wife is coming yonder.
EnterAdriana, Luciana,the Courtezan, andPinch.
Mistress, respice finem, respect your end; or rather, to prophesy like the parrot, ‘Beware the rope’s end.’
Wilt thou still talk?
How say you now? is not your husband mad?
His incivility confirms no less.
Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer;
Establish him in his true sense again,
And I will please you what you will demand.
Alas! how fiery and how sharp he looks.
Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy!
Give me your hand and let me feel your pulse.
There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.
I charge thee, Satan, hous’d within this man,
To yield possession to my holy prayers,
And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight:
I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven.
Peace, doting wizard, peace! I am not mad.
O! that thou wert not, poor distressed soul!
You minion, you, are these your customers?
Did this companion with the saffron face
Revel and feast it at my house to-day,
Whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut
And I denied to enter in my house?
O husband, God doth know you din’d at home;
Where would you had remain’d until this time.
Free from these slanders and this open shame!
Din’d at home! Thou villain, what say’st thou?
Sir, sooth to say, you did not dine at home.
Were not my doors lock’d up and I shut out?
Perdy, your doors were lock’d and you shut out.
And did not she herself revile me there?
Sans fable, she herself revil’d you there.
Did not her kitchen-maid rail, taunt, and scorn me?
Certes, she did; the kitchen-vestal scorn’d you.
And did not I in rage depart from thence?
In verity you did: my bones bear witness,
That since have felt the vigour of his rage.
Is’t good to soothe him in these contraries?
It is no shame: the fellow finds his vein,
And, yielding to him humours well his frenzy.
Thou hast suborn’d the goldsmith to arrest me.
Alas! I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it.
Money by me! heart and good will you might;
But surely, master, not a rag of money.
Went’st not thou to her for a purse of ducats?
He came to me, and I deliver’d it.
And I am witness with her that she did.
God and the rope-maker bear me witness
That I was sent for nothing but a rope!
Mistress, both man and master is possess’d:
I know it by their pale and deadly looks.
They must be bound and laid in some dark room.
Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth to-day?
And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.
And, gentle master, I receiv’d no gold;
But I confess, sir, that we were lock’d out.
Dissembling villain! thou speak’st false in both.
Dissembling harlot! thou art false in all;
And art confederate with a damned pack
To make a loathsome abject scorn of me;
But with these nails I’ll pluck out those false eyes
That would behold in me this shameful sport.
O! bind him, bind him, let him not come near me.
More company! the fiend is strong within him.
Ay me! poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
Enter three or four and bindAntipholus of Ephesus.
What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler, thou,
I am thy prisoner: wilt thou suffer them
To make a rescue?
Masters, let him go:
He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
Go bind this man, for he is frantic too.
[They bindDromio of Ephesus.
What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
Hast thou delight to see a wretched man
Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
He is my prisoner: if I let him go,
The debt he owes will be requir’d of me.
I will discharge thee ere I go from thee:
Bear me forthwith unto his creditor,
And, knowing how the debt grows, I will pay it.
Good Master doctor, see him safe convey’d
Home to my house. O most unhappy day!
O most unhappy strumpet!
Master, I am here enter’d in bond for you.
Out on thee, villain! wherefore dost thou mad me?
Will you be bound for nothing? be mad, good master; cry, ‘the devil!’
God help, poor souls! how idly do they talk.
Go bear him hence. Sister, go you with me.—
[ExeuntPinchand Assistants withAntipholus of Ephesus andDromio of Ephesus.
Say now, whose suit is he arrested at?
One Angelo, a goldsmith; do you know him?
I know the man. What is the sum he owes?
Two hundred ducats.
Say, how grows it due?
Due for a chain your husband had of him.
He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
When as your husband all in rage, to-day
Came to my house, and took away my ring,—
The ring I saw upon his finger now,—
Straight after did I meet him with a chain.
It may be so, but I did never see it.
Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is:
I long to know the truth hereof at large.
EnterAntipholus of Syracuse andDromio of Syracuse, with rapiers drawn.
God, for thy mercy! they are loose again.
And come with naked swords. Let’s call more help
To have them bound again.
Away! they’ll kill us.
[ExeuntAdriana, Luciana,and Officer.
I see, these witches are afraid of swords.
She that would be your wife now ran from you.
Come to the Centaur; fetch our stuff from thence:
I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
Faith, stay here this night, they will surely do us no harm; you saw they speak us fair, give us gold: methinks they are such a gentle nation, that, but for the mountain of mad flesh that claims marriage of me, I could find in my heart to stay here still, and turn witch.
I will not stay to-night for all the town;
Therefore away, to get our stuff aboard.