Open Source Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors

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Act IV, Scene 2

The house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.



  • Adriana. Ah, Luciana, did he tempt thee so?
    Mightst 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? 1075
    What observation madest thou in this case
    Of his heart's meteors tilting in his face?
  • Luciana. First he denied you had in him no right.
  • Adriana. He meant he did me none; the more my spite.
  • Luciana. Then swore he that he was a stranger here. 1080
  • Adriana. And true he swore, though yet forsworn he were.
  • Luciana. Then pleaded I for you.
  • Adriana. And what said he?
  • Luciana. That love I begg'd for you he begg'd of me.
  • Adriana. With what persuasion did he tempt thy love? 1085
  • Luciana. With words that in an honest suit might move.
    First he did praise my beauty, then my speech.
  • Adriana. Didst speak him fair?
  • Luciana. Have patience, I beseech.
  • Adriana. I cannot, nor I will not, hold me still; 1090
    My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will.
    He is deformed, crooked, old and sere,
    Ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
    Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
    Stigmatical in making, worse in mind. 1095
  • Luciana. Who would be jealous then of such a one?
    No evil lost is wail'd when it is gone.
  • Adriana. 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: 1100
    My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.

[Enter DROMIO of Syracuse]

  • Dromio of Syracuse. Here! go; the desk, the purse! sweet, now, make haste.
  • Luciana. How hast thou lost thy breath?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. By running fast. 1105
  • Adriana. Where is thy master, Dromio? is he well?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. 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 fury, pitiless and rough; 1110
    A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff;
    A back-friend, a shoulder-clapper, one that
    The passages of alleys, creeks and narrow lands;
    A hound that runs counter and yet draws dryfoot well; 1115
    One that before the judgement carries poor souls to hell.
  • Adriana. Why, man, what is the matter?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. I do not know the matter: he is 'rested on the case.
  • Adriana. What, is he arrested? Tell me at whose suit.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. I know not at whose suit he is arrested well; 1120
    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?
  • Adriana. Go fetch it, sister.
    [Exit Luciana]
    This I wonder at, 1125
    That he, unknown to me, should be in debt.
    Tell me, was he arrested on a band?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Not on a band, but on a stronger thing;
    A chain, a chain! Do you not hear it ring?
  • Adriana. What, the chain? 1130
  • Dromio of Syracuse. No, no, the bell: 'tis time that I were gone:
    It was two ere I left him, and now the clock
    strikes one.
  • Adriana. The hours come back! that did I never hear.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. O, yes; if any hour meet a sergeant, a' turns back for 1135
    very fear.
  • Adriana. As if Time were in debt! how fondly dost thou reason!
  • Dromio of Syracuse. 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 1140
    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?

[Re-enter LUCIANA with a purse]

  • Adriana. Go, Dromio; there's the money, bear it straight; 1145
    And bring thy master home immediately.
    Come, sister: I am press'd down with conceit—
    Conceit, my comfort and my injury.