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The Comedy of Errors

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Act IV, Scene 4

A street.


[Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus and the Officer]

  • Antipholus of Ephesus. Fear me not, man; I will not break away:
    I'll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money, 1250
    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. 1255
    [Enter DROMIO 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?

[Beating him]

  • Officer. Good, now, hold thy tongue. 1270
  • Dromio of Ephesus. 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 1280
    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 1285
    beggar wont her brat; and, I think when he hath
    lamed me, I shall beg with it from door to door.

[Enter ADRIANA, LUCIANA, the Courtezan, and PINCH]

  • Dromio of Ephesus. Mistress, 'respice finem,' respect your end; or 1290
    rather, the prophecy like the parrot, 'beware the

[Beating him]

  • Courtezan. How say you now? is not your husband mad? 1295
  • Adriana. 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.
  • Luciana. Alas, how fiery and how sharp he looks! 1300
  • Courtezan. Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy!
  • Pinch. Give me your hand and let me feel your pulse.

[Striking him]

  • Pinch. I charge thee, Satan, housed within this man, 1305
    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!
  • Adriana. O, that thou wert not, poor distressed soul! 1310
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. 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? 1315
  • Adriana. O husband, God doth know you dined at home;
    Where would you had remain'd until this time,
    Free from these slanders and this open shame!
  • Dromio of Ephesus. In verity you did; my bones bear witness,
    That since have felt the vigour of his rage.
  • Adriana. Is't good to soothe him in these contraries? 1330
  • Pinch. It is no shame: the fellow finds his vein,
    And yielding to him humours well his frenzy.
  • Adriana. Alas, I sent you money to redeem you,
    By Dromio here, who came in haste for it. 1335
  • Dromio of Ephesus. Money by me! heart and goodwill you might;
    But surely master, not a rag of money.
  • Adriana. He came to me and I deliver'd it.
  • Luciana. And I am witness with her that she did. 1340
  • Dromio of Ephesus. God and the rope-maker bear me witness
    That I was sent for nothing but a rope!
  • Pinch. 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. 1345
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth to-day?
    And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
  • Adriana. I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.
  • Dromio of Ephesus. And, gentle master, I received no gold;
    But I confess, sir, that we were lock'd out. 1350
  • Adriana. Dissembling villain, thou speak'st false in both.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. 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 these false eyes 1355
    That would behold in me this shameful sport.
    [Enter three or four, and offer to bind him.]
    He strives]
  • Adriana. O, bind him, bind him! let him not come near me.
  • Pinch. More company! The fiend is strong within him. 1360
  • Luciana. Ay me, poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler, thou,
    I am thy prisoner: wilt thou suffer them
    To make a rescue?
  • Officer. Masters, let him go 1365
    He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
  • Pinch. Go bind this man, for he is frantic too.

[They offer to bind Dromio of Ephesus]

  • Adriana. What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
    Hast thou delight to see a wretched man 1370
    Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
  • Officer. He is my prisoner: if I let him go,
    The debt he owes will be required of me.
  • Adriana. I will discharge thee ere I go from thee:
    Bear me forthwith unto his creditor, 1375
    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!
  • Dromio of Ephesus. Will you be bound for nothing? be mad, good master:
    cry 'The devil!'
  • Luciana. God help, poor souls, how idly do they talk!
  • Adriana. Go bear him hence. Sister, go you with me. 1385
    [Exeunt all but Adriana, Luciana, Officer and]
    Say now, whose suit is he arrested at?
  • Officer. One Angelo, a goldsmith: do you know him?
  • Adriana. I know the man. What is the sum he owes? 1390
  • Officer. Due for a chain your husband had of him.
  • Adriana. He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
  • Courtezan. When as your husband all in rage to-day 1395
    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.
  • Adriana. It may be so, but I did never see it.
    Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is: 1400
    I long to know the truth hereof at large.
    [Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse with his rapier drawn,]
    and DROMIO of Syracuse]
  • Luciana. God, for thy mercy! they are loose again.
  • Adriana. And come with naked swords. 1405
    Let's call more help to have them bound again.
  • Officer. Away! they'll kill us.
    [Exeunt all but Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio]
    of Syracuse]
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. Come to the Centaur; fetch our stuff from thence:
    I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. Faith, stay here this night; they will surely do us
    no harm: you saw they speak us fair, give us gold: 1415
    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.
  • Antipholus of Syracuse. I will not stay to-night for all the town; 1420
    Therefore away, to get our stuff aboard.