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They have measured many a mile
To tread a measure with you on this grass.

      — Love's Labour's Lost, Act V Scene 2


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The Comedy of Errors


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Scene 1. Before the house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

Scene 2. The same.


Act III, Scene 1

Before the house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

      next scene .

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.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

The same.


[Enter LUCIANA and ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse]

  • Luciana. 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? 765
    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: 770
    Let not my sister read it in your eye;
    Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator;
    Look sweet, be fair, become disloyalty;
    Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger;
    Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted; 775
    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: 780
    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; 785
    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. 790
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. 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; 795
    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? 800
    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 805
    Far more, far more to you do I decline.
    O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
    To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears:
    Sing, siren, for thyself and I will dote:
    Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs, 810
    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!
  • Luciana. What, are you mad, that you do reason so? 815
  • Luciana. It is a fault that springeth from your eye.
  • Luciana. Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.
  • Luciana. Why call you me love? call my sister so.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. No;
    It is thyself, mine own self's better part, 825
    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.
  • Luciana. All this my sister is, or else should be.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Call thyself sister, sweet, for I am thee. 830
    Thee will I love and with thee lead my life:
    Thou hast no husband yet nor I no wife.
    Give me thy hand.
  • Luciana. O, soft, air! hold you still:
    I'll fetch my sister, to get her good will. 835


[Enter DROMIO of Syracuse]

  • Dromio of Syracuse. Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one
    that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me. 845
  • Dromio of Syracuse. 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. 850
  • Dromio of Syracuse. A very reverent body; ay, 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. 855
  • Dromio of Syracuse. 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 860
    Poland winter: if she lives till doomsday,
    she'll burn a week longer than the whole world.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Swart, like my shoe, but her face nothing half so
    clean kept: for why, she sweats; a man may go over 865
    shoes in the grime of it.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Nell, sir; but her name and three quarters, that's 870
    an ell and three quarters, will not measure her from
    hip to hip.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip:
    she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out 875
    countries in her.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. I looked for the chalky cliffs, but I could find no 885
    whiteness in them; but I guess it stood in her chin,
    by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Oh, 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.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Oh, 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 900
    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. 905
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. 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. 910
    If every one knows us and we know none,
    'Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack and be gone.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. As from a bear a man would run for life,
    So fly I from her that would be my wife.


  • Antipholus of Syracuse. 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, 920
    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.

[Enter ANGELO with the chain]

  • Angelo. Master Antipholus,—
  • Angelo. 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. 930
  • Angelo. What please yourself, sir: I have made it for you.
  • Angelo. Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you have.
    Go home with it and please your wife withal; 935
    And soon at supper-time I'll visit you
    And then receive my money for the chain.
  • Angelo. You are a merry man, sir: fare you well. 940


  • Antipholus of Syracuse. 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, 945
    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.