The Comedy of Errors


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, with

Luciana, her sister


ADRIANA

Neither my husband nor the slave returned,
slave (n.) 1 fellow, rascal, rogue, villain

That in such haste I sent to seek his master?

Sure, Luciana, it is two o'clock.


LUCIANA

Perhaps some merchant hath invited him,

And from the mart he's somewhere gone to dinner.
mart (n.) 1 market

Good sister, let us dine, and never fret.

A man is master of his liberty.

Time is their master, and when they see time
time (n.) 8 right moment, favourable opportunity

They'll go or come. If so, be patient, sister.


ADRIANA

Why should their liberty than ours be more?


LUCIANA

Because their business still lies out o' door.
a (prep.) 4 variant form of ‘of’
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count


ADRIANA

Look when I serve him so he takes it ill.
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count
look when (conj.) whenever, as soon as


LUCIANA

O, know he is the bridle of your will.


ADRIANA

There's none but asses will be bridled so.


LUCIANA

Why, headstrong liberty is lashed with woe.
lash (v.) scourge, punish, flog

There's nothing situate under heaven's eye

But hath his bound in earth, in sea, in sky.
bound (n.) 1 limit, boundary, confine, barrier

The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,

Are their males' subjects and at their controls.

Man, more divine, the master of all these,

Lord of the wide world and wild watery seas,

Indued with intellectual sense and souls,
indued, endued (adj.) endowed, supplied [with appropriate qualities]

Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,

Are masters to their females, and their lords.

Then let your will attend on their accords.
accord (n.) 2 agreement, assent, consent
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]


ADRIANA

This servitude makes you to keep unwed.


LUCIANA

Not this, but troubles of the marriage-bed.


ADRIANA

But were you wedded, you would bear some sway.


LUCIANA

Ere I learn love, I'll practise to obey.


ADRIANA

How if your husband start some otherwhere?
otherwhere (adv.) elsewhere, somewhere else
start (v.) 4 fly off, move off


LUCIANA

Till he come home again I would forbear.
forbear (v.) 3 control oneself, have patience [for]


ADRIANA

Patience unmoved! No marvel though she pause.
pause (v.) delay, take time to consider

They can be meek that have no other cause.
cause (n.) 1 reason, motive, ground

A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,

We bid be quiet when we hear it cry.

But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

As much or more we should ourselves complain.

So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
grieve (v.) vex, hurt, trouble

With urging helpless patience would relieve me.
helpless (adj.) unavailing, useless, unprofitable

But if thou live to see like right bereft,
bereave (v.) 1 take away [from], deprive, deny, rob
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
right (n.) 1 just claim, rights, title

This fool-begged patience in thee will be left.
fool-begged (adj.) foolish, idiotic, silly
leave (v.) 2 abandon, forsake, relinquish


LUCIANA

Well, I will marry one day, but to try.
try (v.) 1 prove, ascertain, find out

Here comes your man. Now is your husband nigh.

Enter Dromio of Ephesus


ADRIANA

Say, is your tardy master now at hand?


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Nay, he's at two hands with me,

and that my two ears can witness.


ADRIANA

Say, didst thou speak with him? Knowest thou his mind?


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

I? Ay. He told his mind upon mine ear.
tell (v.) 4 communicate, make known

Beshrew his hand, I scarce could understand it.
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count
understand (v.) 1 stand under the force of [with pun on ‘comprehend’]


LUCIANA

Spake he so doubtfully thou couldst not feel
doubtfully (adv.) 1 ambiguously, hesitatingly, indistinctly

his meaning?


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Nay, he struck so plainly I could

too well feel his blows, and withal so doubtfully that I
doubtfully (adv.) 2 dreadfully, awfully, fearfully

could scarce understand them.
understand (v.) 1 stand under the force of [with pun on ‘comprehend’]


ADRIANA

But say, I prithee, is he coming home?

It seems he hath great care to please his wife.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Why, mistress, sure my master is horn-mad.
horn-mad (adj.) [as of horned beasts] furious, enraged, raving mad


ADRIANA

Horn-mad, thou villain?
cuckold-mad (adj.) mad through being a cuckold


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

                         I mean not cuckold-mad,

But sure he is stark mad.

When I desired him to come home to dinner

He asked me for a thousand marks in gold.
mark (v.) 8 See Topics: Money

‘ 'Tis dinner-time,’ quoth I. ‘ My gold,’ quoth he.
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

‘ Your meat doth burn,’ quoth I; ‘ My gold,’ quoth he.

‘ Will you come home?’ quoth I. ‘ My gold,’ quoth he.

‘ Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain?’

‘ The pig,’ quoth I, ‘ is burned.’ ‘ My gold,’ quoth he.

‘ My mistress, sir – ’ quoth I – ‘ Hang up thy mistress!

I know not thy mistress. Out on thy mistress!’


LUCIANA

Quoth who?
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Quoth my master.
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

‘ I know,’ quoth he, ‘ no house, no wife, no mistress.’

So that my errand, due unto my tongue,

I thank him, I bare home upon my shoulders;

For, in conclusion, he did beat me there.


ADRIANA

Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Go back again, and be new-beaten home?

For God's sake send some other messenger.


ADRIANA

Back, slave, or I will break thy pate across.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

And he will bless that cross with other beating,
bless (v.) 2 wound, hurt, beat; also: consecrate
cross (n.) 4 crossness; also: sign of the cross

Between you I shall have a holy head.
holy (adj.) 2 of holiness; also: full of holes


ADRIANA

Hence, prating peasant, fetch thy master home.
peasant (n.) servant, fellow, rascal
prating (adj.) prattling, chattering, blathering

She beats Dromio


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Am I so round with you as you with me
round (adj.) 1 blunt, forthright, straight, plain-spoken

That like a football you do spurn me thus?
spurn (v.) 2 kick, strike, stamp [on], dash

You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither.

If I last in this service you must case me in leather.
case (v.) 1 cover, protect, enclose

Exit


LUCIANA

(to Adriana)

Fie, how impatience loureth in your face.
lour, lower (v.) frown, scowl, look dark and threatening


ADRIANA

His company must do his minions grace
grace (n.) 1 honour, favour, recognition, respect
minion (n.) 1 darling, favourite, select one

Whilst I at home starve for a merry look.
starve (v.) 1 die, perish

Hath homely age the alluring beauty took
homely (adj.) 2 plain-looking, unattractive, ugly

From my poor cheek? Then he hath wasted it.
waste (v.) 3 squander, wear away, lay waste to

Are my discourses dull? barren my wit?
barren (adj.) 2 stupid, empty-headed, dull
discourse (n.) 1 conversation, talk, chat
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

If voluble and sharp discourse be marred,
discourse (n.) 1 conversation, talk, chat
sharp (adj.) 4 witty, sharp-witted, discerning

Unkindness blunts it more than marble hard.

Do their gay vestments his affections bait?
bait (v.) 2 tempt, entice, lure

That's not my fault; he's master of my state.
state (n.) 1 condition, circumstances, situation, state of affairs

What ruins are in me that can be found

By him not ruined? Then is he the ground
ground (n.) 1 reason, cause, source

Of my defeatures. My decayed fair
defeature (n.) disfigurement, defacement, loss of beauty
fair (n.) 1 fair face, beauty

A sunny look of his would soon repair.

But, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale
pale (n.) 1 fence, paling, enclosure

And feeds from home. Poor I am but his stale.
stale (n.) 2 dupe, sap, laughing-stock


LUCIANA

Self-harming jealousy! Fie, beat it hence.


ADRIANA

Unfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispense.
dispense with (v.) 1 disregard, pardon, put up with

I know his eye doth homage otherwhere,
otherwhere (adv.) elsewhere, somewhere else

Or else what lets it but he would be here?
let (v.) 1 hinder, prevent, stand in the way

Sister, you know he promised me a chain.

Would that alone a love he would detain
detain (v.) keep back, withhold, retain

So he would keep fair quarter with his bed.
keep fair quarter with play fair over, behave honourably over, have a proper regard to

I see the jewel best enamelled
enamelled (adj.) brightly coloured, multi-coloured, kaleidoscopic
jewel (n.) 1 fine ornament, costly adornment

Will lose his beauty. Yet the gold bides still
bide (v.) 3 remain, persist, continue in being
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

That others touch; and often touching will
touch (v.) 6 test the quality [of], put to the test

Wear gold, and no man that hath a name

But falsehood and corruption doth it shame.

Since that my beauty cannot please his eye,

I'll weep what's left away, and weeping die.


LUCIANA

How many fond fools serve mad jealousy!
fond (adj.) 7 credulous, naive, gullible

Exeunt

 
  Previous scene     Next scene
--%>