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Speak low if you speak love.

      — Much Ado about Nothing, Act II Scene 1


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The Comedy of Errors

Act IV

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Scene 1. A public place.

Scene 2. The house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

Scene 3. A public place.

Scene 4. A street.


Act IV, Scene 1

A public place.

      next scene .

[Enter Second Merchant, ANGELO, and an Officer]

  • Second Merchant. You know since Pentecost the sum is due,
    And since I have not much importuned you;
    Nor now I had not, but that I am bound
    To Persia, and want guilders for my voyage:
    Therefore make present satisfaction, 955
    Or I'll attach you by this officer.
  • Angelo. Even just the sum that I do owe to you
    Is growing to me by Antipholus,
    And in the instant that I met with you
    He had of me a chain: at five o'clock 960
    I shall receive the money for the same.
    Pleaseth you walk with me down to his house,
    I will discharge my bond and thank you too.
    [Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus and DROMIO of Ephesus]
    from the courtezan's] 965
  • Officer. That labour may you save: see where he comes.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. While I go to the goldsmith's house, go thou
    And buy a rope's end: that will I bestow
    Among my wife and her confederates,
    For locking me out of my doors by day. 970
    But, soft! I see the goldsmith. Get thee gone;
    Buy thou a rope and bring it home to me.


  • Antipholus of Ephesus. A man is well holp up that trusts to you: 975
    I promised your presence and the chain;
    But neither chain nor goldsmith came to me.
    Belike you thought our love would last too long,
    If it were chain'd together, and therefore came not.
  • Angelo. Saving your merry humour, here's the note 980
    How much your chain weighs to the utmost carat,
    The fineness of the gold and chargeful fashion.
    Which doth amount to three odd ducats more
    Than I stand debted to this gentleman:
    I pray you, see him presently discharged, 985
    For he is bound to sea and stays but for it.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. I am not furnish'd with the present money;
    Besides, I have some business in the town.
    Good signior, take the stranger to my house
    And with you take the chain and bid my wife 990
    Disburse the sum on the receipt thereof:
    Perchance I will be there as soon as you.
  • Angelo. Then you will bring the chain to her yourself?
  • Angelo. Well, sir, I will. Have you the chain about you? 995
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. An if I have not, sir, I hope you have;
    Or else you may return without your money.
  • Angelo. Nay, come, I pray you, sir, give me the chain:
    Both wind and tide stays for this gentleman,
    And I, to blame, have held him here too long. 1000
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. Good Lord! you use this dalliance to excuse
    Your breach of promise to the Porpentine.
    I should have chid you for not bringing it,
    But, like a shrew, you first begin to brawl.
  • Angelo. You hear how he importunes me;—the chain!
  • Angelo. Come, come, you know I gave it you even now.
    Either send the chain or send me by some token.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. Fie, now you run this humour out of breath, 1010
    where's the chain? I pray you, let me see it.
  • Second Merchant. My business cannot brook this dalliance.
    Good sir, say whether you'll answer me or no:
    If not, I'll leave him to the officer.
  • Angelo. The money that you owe me for the chain.
  • Angelo. You know I gave it you half an hour since.
  • Angelo. You wrong me more, sir, in denying it: 1020
    Consider how it stands upon my credit.
  • Officer. I do; and charge you in the duke's name to obey me.
  • Angelo. This touches me in reputation.
    Either consent to pay this sum for me 1025
    Or I attach you by this officer.
  • Angelo. Here is thy fee; arrest him, officer,
    I would not spare my brother in this case, 1030
    If he should scorn me so apparently.
  • Officer. I do arrest you, sir: you hear the suit.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. I do obey thee till I give thee bail.
    But, sirrah, you shall buy this sport as dear
    As all the metal in your shop will answer. 1035
  • Angelo. Sir, sir, I will have law in Ephesus,
    To your notorious shame; I doubt it not.

[Enter DROMIO of Syracuse, from the bay]

  • Dromio of Syracuse. Master, there is a bark of Epidamnum
    That stays but till her owner comes aboard, 1040
    And then, sir, she bears away. Our fraughtage, sir,
    I have convey'd aboard; and I have bought
    The oil, the balsamum and aqua-vitae.
    The ship is in her trim; the merry wind
    Blows fair from land: they stay for nought at all 1045
    But for their owner, master, and yourself.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. Thou drunken slave, I sent thee for a rope; 1050
    And told thee to what purpose and what end.
  • Dromio of Syracuse. You sent me for a rope's end as soon:
    You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.
  • Antipholus of Ephesus. I will debate this matter at more leisure
    And teach your ears to list me with more heed. 1055
    To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight:
    Give her this key, and tell her, in the desk
    That's cover'd o'er with Turkish tapestry,
    There is a purse of ducats; let her send it:
    Tell her I am arrested in the street 1060
    And that shall bail me; hie thee, slave, be gone!
    On, officer, to prison till it come.
    [Exeunt Second Merchant, Angelo, Officer, and]
    Antipholus of Ephesus]
  • Dromio of Syracuse. To Adriana! that is where we dined, 1065
    Where Dowsabel did claim me for her husband:
    She is too big, I hope, for me to compass.
    Thither I must, although against my will,
    For servants must their masters' minds fulfil.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

The house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

      next scene .


  • 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. 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.
  • 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]

  • Luciana. How hast thou lost thy breath?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

A public place.

      next scene .

[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?
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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!'
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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.

[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.


. previous scene      

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.