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The Comedy of Errors

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Act III, Scene 1

Before the house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.


Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, DROMIO of Ephesus, ANGELO, and BALTHAZAR]

  • Antipholus of Ephesus. 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 carcanet, 615
    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 charged him with a thousand marks in gold,
    And that I did deny my wife and house. 620
    Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by this?
  • Dromio of Ephesus. 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. 625
  • Dromio of Ephesus. 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. 630
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. You're sad, Signior Balthazar: pray God our cheer
    May answer my good will and your good welcome here.
  • Balthazar. I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your
    welcome dear.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. O, Signior Balthazar, either at flesh or fish, 635
    A table full of welcome make scarce one dainty dish.
  • Balthazar. Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl affords.
  • Balthazar. Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. Ay, to a niggardly host, and more sparing guest: 640
    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.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. [Within] Mome, malt-horse, capon, coxcomb, 645
    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. 650
  • Dromio of Syracuse. [Within] Let him walk from whence he came, lest he
    catch cold on's feet.
  • Dromio of Ephesus. O villain! thou hast stolen both mine office and my name.
    The one ne'er got me credit, the other mickle blame. 665
    If thou hadst been Dromio to-day in my place,
    Thou wouldst have changed thy face for a name or thy
    name for an ass.
  • Luce. [Within] What a coil is there, Dromio? who are those
    at the gate? 670
  • Luce. [Within] Faith, no; he comes too late;
    And so tell your master.
  • Dromio of Ephesus. O Lord, I must laugh!
    Have at you with a proverb—Shall I set in my staff? 675
  • Luce. [Within] Have at you with another; that's—When?
    can you tell?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. [Within] If thy name be call'd Luce—Luce, thou hast
    answered him well.
  • Luce. [Within] I thought to have asked you.
  • Luce. [Within] Can you tell for whose sake? 685
  • Luce. [Within] Let him knock till it ache.
  • Luce. [Within] What needs all that, and a pair of stocks in the town?
  • Adriana. [Within] Who is that at the door that keeps all 690
    this noise?
  • Adriana. [Within] Your wife, sir knave! go get you from the door. 695
  • Angelo. Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome: we would
    fain have either.
  • Balthazar. In debating which was best, we shall part with neither.
  • Dromio of Ephesus. You would say so, master, if your garments were thin.
    Your cake there is warm within; you stand here in the cold:
    It would make a man mad as a buck, to be so bought and sold.
  • Dromio of Ephesus. 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.
  • Dromio of Ephesus. 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.
  • Balthazar. Have patience, sir; O, let it not be so! 720
    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, 725
    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 ruled by me: depart in patience,
    And let us to the Tiger all to dinner, 730
    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, 735
    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, 740
    For ever housed where it gets possession.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. You have prevailed: 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: 745
    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.
    [To Angelo] 750
    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— 755
    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.
  • Angelo. I'll meet you at that place some hour hence.