The Comedy of Errors


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Antipholus of Ephesus, his man Dromio, Angelo

the goldsmith, and Balthasar the merchant


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all.

My wife is shrewish when I keep not hours.
hour (n.) 3 (plural) fixed time, timetable

Say that I lingered with you at your shop

To see the making of her carcanet,
carcanet (n.) jewelled necklace

And that tomorrow you will bring it home.

But here's a villain that would face me down
face down (v.) confront with impudence, persist in contradicting

He met me on the mart, and that I beat him,
mart (n.) 1 market

And charged him with a thousand marks in gold,
charge (v.) 3 entrust, commission, delegate
mark (v.) 8 See Topics: Money

And that I did deny my wife and house.
deny (v.) 4 disown, disavow, renounce

Thou drunkard, thou – what didst thou mean by this?


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know:

That you beat me at the mart I have your hand to show.
mart (n.) 1 market

If the skin were parchment and the blows you gave were ink,

Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

I think thou art an ass.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

                         Marry, so it doth appear

By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear.

I should kick, being kicked, and, being at that pass,
pass (n.) 7 predicament, juncture, critical point

You would keep from my heels, and beware of an ass.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You're sad, Signor Balthasar. Pray God our cheer
cheer (n.) 1 entertainment, fare, food and drink
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

May answer my good will, and your good welcome here.
answer (v.) 10 live up to, correspond to, be equal to


BALTHASAR

I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your welcome dear.
dainty (n.) 3 delicacy, choice foodstuff


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

O, Signor Balthasar, either at flesh or fish

A table full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish.
scarce (adv.) 1 scarcely, hardly, barely, only just


BALTHASAR

Good meat, sir, is common. That every churl affords.
churl (n.) 1 peasant, serf, rustic


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

And welcome more common, for that's nothing but words.


BALTHASAR

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Ay, to a niggardly host and more sparing guest.

But though my cates be mean, take them in good part.
cates (n.) 2 provisions, food, victuals
mean (adj.) 2 lowly, humble, poor

Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart.
cheer (n.) 1 entertainment, fare, food and drink

But soft, my door is locked. Go bid them let us in.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian, Ginn!


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

Mome, malthorse, capon, coxcomb, idiot, patch,
capon (n.) 2 castrated cockerel; so: fool, dolt [as term of abuse]
coxcomb (n.) 2 fool's head, fool, simpleton
malthorse, malt-horse (n./adj.) heavy brewer's horse; so: drudge, idiot
mome (n.) blockhead, fool, dolt
patch (n.) fool, clown; rogue, knave

Either get thee from the door or sit down at the hatch.
hatch (n.) 2 lower part of a door, half-door, gate

Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou callest for such store,
conjure (v.) 1 ask solemnly, entreat earnestly, beseech
conjure (v.) 4 engage in magic, cast spells, invoke supernatural aid
store (n.) 1 abundance, plenty, surplus, quantity
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

When one is one too many? Go, get thee from the door.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

What patch is made our porter? – My master stays in the street.
patch (n.) fool, clown; rogue, knave
stay (v.) 1 wait (for), await


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

Let him walk from whence he came, lest he catch cold on's feet.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Who talks within, there? Hoa, open the door.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

Right, sir, I'll tell you when an you'll tell me wherefore.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Wherefore? For my dinner. I have not dined today.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

Nor today here you must not. Come again when you may.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

What art thou that keepest me out from the house I owe?
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)
time (n.) 7 circumstance, particular occasion

The porter for this time, sir, and my name is Dromio.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

O, villain, thou hast stolen both mine office and my name.
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

The one ne'er got me credit, the other mickle blame.
mickle (adj.) great, much, large

If thou hadst been Dromio today in my place,

Thou wouldst have changed thy face for a name, or thy name for an ass.

Enter Luce
coil (n.) turmoil, disturbance, fuss


LUCE

What a coil is there, Dromio! Who are those at the gate?


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Let my master in, Luce.


LUCE

                         Faith, no, he comes too late;

And so tell your master.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

                         O Lord, I must laugh.

Have at you with a proverb: shall I set in my staff?
staff, set in one's make oneself at home, take up abode


LUCE

Have at you with another. That's‘When? Can you tell?'


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

If thy name be called Luce, Luce, thou hast answered him well.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Do you hear, you minion? You'll let us in, I trow
minion (n.) 2 hussy, jade, minx
trow (v.) 4 hope, trust, suppose


LUCE

I thought to have asked you.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

                         And you said no.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

So, come – help. Well struck! There was blow for blow.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Thou baggage, let me in.


LUCE

                         Can you tell for whose sake?


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Master, knock the door hard.


LUCE

                         Let him knock till it ache.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You'll cry for this, minion, if I beat the door down.
minion (n.) 2 hussy, jade, minx


LUCE

What needs all that, and a pair of stocks in the town?

Enter Adriana
keep (v.) 4 keep up, maintain, carry on


ADRIANA

Who is that at the door that keeps all this noise?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)
boy (n.) 1 fellow, rogue, wretch See Topics: Address forms

By my troth, your town is troubled with unruly boys.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Are you there, wife? You might have come before.


ADRIANA

Your wife, sir knave? Go get you from the door.
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

Exit with Luce


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

If you went in pain, master, this knave would go sore.


ANGELO

Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome. We would fain have either.
cheer (n.) 1 entertainment, fare, food and drink
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count


BALTHASAR

In debating which was best, we shall part with neither.
part (v.) 1 depart [from], leave, quit


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

They stand at the door, master. Bid them welcome hither.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

There is something in the wind, that we cannot get in.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

You would say so, master, if your garments were thin.
thin (adj.) 1 flimsy, threadbare, insufficient

Your cake here is warm within. You stand here in the cold.

It would make a man mad as a buck to be so bought and sold.
buy and sell, past form bought and sold betray, exploit, treat treacherously


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Go fetch me something. I'll break ope the gate.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

Break any breaking here, and I'll break your knave's pate.


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind;
break (v.) 1 speak, exchange

Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)
break (v.) 19 train, discipline, mould
hind (n.) 1 boor, fellow, rustic, peasant
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need

It seems thou wantest breaking. Out upon thee, hind!


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Here's too much ‘ Out upon thee.’ I pray thee, let me in.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(within)

Ay, when fowls have no feathers, and fish have no fin.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Well, I'll break in. Go borrow me a crow.
crow (n.) 1 crowbar


DROMIO OF EPHESUS

A crow without feather, master – mean you so?

For a fish without a fin, there's a fowl without a feather. –

If a crow help us in, sirrah, we'll pluck a crow together.
crow, pluck a settle the quarrel, clear up the matter


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Go, get thee gone. Fetch me an iron crow.
crow (n.) 1 crowbar


BALTHASAR

Have patience, sir. O, let it not be so.

Herein you war against your reputation,

And draw within the compass of suspect
compass (n.) 1 range, reach, limit, scope
suspect (n.) suspicion, mistrust, doubt

The unviolated honour of your wife.

Once this: your long experience of her wisdom,

Her sober virtue, years, and modesty,
years (n.) 2 maturity, experience [coming through age]

Plead on her part some cause to you unknown.

And doubt not, sir, but she will well excuse
excuse (v.) 1 explain, give reasons [for]

Why at this time the doors are made against you.
make (v.) 15 make fast, shut, close

Be ruled by me. Depart in patience,

And let us to the Tiger all to dinner,

And about evening come yourself alone

To know the reason of this strange restraint.
restraint (n.) 2 prohibition, exclusion, keeping out

If by strong hand you offer to break in
offer (v.) 1 attempt, start, try, make a move

Now in the stirring passage of the day,
passage (n.) 5 traffic, passing to and fro, movement of people
stirring (adj.) busy, bustling, active

A vulgar comment will be made of it,
vulgar (adj.) 1 public, general, common

And that supposed by the common rout
rout (n.) 2 rabble, mob, disorderly crowd
suppose (v.) 3 presume to be true, believe to be a fact

Against your yet ungalled estimation
estimation (n.) 1 esteem, respect, reputation
ungalled (adj.) uninjured, unharmed, unhurt

That may with foul intrusion enter in
intrusion (n.) breaking in, forced entry

And dwell upon your grave when you are dead.

For slander lives upon succession,
succession (n.) 1 transmission, being passed on

For ever housed where it gets possession.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You have prevailed. I will depart in quiet,

And in despite of mirth mean to be merry.
despite, in 1 in spite of [one], as opposed to [one]

I know a wench of excellent discourse,
discourse (n.) 1 conversation, talk, chat
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

Pretty and witty; wild, and yet, too, gentle.
wild (adj.) 7 wanton, flighty, frivolous

There will we dine. This woman that I mean,

My wife – but, I protest, without desert –
desert, desart (n.) 4 cause, deserving, warrant

Hath oftentimes upbraided me withal.
withal (adv.) 3 with this / it, by this / it See Topics: withal and -withal

To her will we to dinner. (To Angelo) Get you home

And fetch the chain. By this, I know, 'tis made.

Bring it, I pray you, to the Porpentine,

For there's the house. That chain will I bestow –

Be it for nothing but to spite my wife –

Upon mine hostess there. Good sir, make haste.

Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me,
entertain (v.) 1 receive, admit, let in

I'll knock elsewhere to see if they'll disdain me.


ANGELO

I'll meet you at that place some hour hence.


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Do so. – This jest shall cost me some expense.

Exeunt

 
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