Open Source Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors

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Act IV, Scene 3

A public place.


[Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse]

  • Antipholus 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; 1155
    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 1160
    And Lapland sorcerers inhabit here.


  • Dromio of Syracuse. Master, here's the gold you sent me for. What, have
    you got the picture of old Adam new-apparelled?
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. What gold is this? what Adam dost thou mean? 1165
  • Dromio of Syracuse. 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. 1170
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. I understand thee not.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. No? why, 'tis a plain case: he that went, like a
    bass-viol, in a case of leather; the man, sir,
    that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a sob
    and 'rests them; he, sir, that takes pity on decayed 1175
    men and gives them suits of durance; he that sets up
    his rest to do more exploits with his mace than a
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. What, thou meanest an officer?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Ay, sir, the sergeant of the band, he that brings 1180
    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!'
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is there any
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Why, sir, I brought you word an hour since that the 1185
    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.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. The fellow is distract, and so am I; 1190
    And here we wander in illusions:
    Some blessed power deliver us from hence!

[Enter a Courtezan]

  • Courtezan. Well met, well met, Master Antipholus.
    I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now: 1195
    Is that the chain you promised me to-day?
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Satan, avoid! I charge thee, tempt me not.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Master, is this Mistress Satan?
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. It is the devil.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Nay, she is worse, she is the devil's dam; and here 1200
    she comes in the habit of a light wench: and thereof
    comes that the wenches say 'God damn me;' that's as
    much 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; 1205
    ergo, light wenches will burn. Come not near her.
  • Courtezan. Your man and you are marvellous merry, sir.
    Will you go with me? We'll mend our dinner here?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Master, if you do, expect spoon-meat; or bespeak a
    long spoon. 1210
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Why, Dromio?
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Marry, he must have a long spoon that must eat with
    the devil.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Avoid then, fiend! what tell'st thou me of supping?
    Thou art, as you are all, a sorceress: 1215
    I conjure thee to leave me and be gone.
  • Courtezan. Give me the ring of mine you had at dinner,
    Or, for my diamond, the chain you promised,
    And I'll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Some devils ask but the parings of one's nail, 1220
    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. 1225
  • Courtezan. I pray you, sir, my ring, or else the chain:
    I hope you do not mean to cheat me so.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Avaunt, thou witch! Come, Dromio, let us go.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. 'Fly pride,' says the peacock: mistress, that you know.

[Exeunt Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse]

  • Courtezan. 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 promised me a chain:
    Both one and other he denies me now. 1235
    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, 1240
    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; 1245
    For forty ducats is too much to lose.