The Comedy of Errors


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Luciana with Antipholus of Syracuse


LUCIANA

And may it be that you have quite forgot

A husband's office? Shall, Antipholus,
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Even in the spring of love thy love-springs rot?
love-springs (n.) young shoots of love, youthful growth of love

Shall love in building grow so ruinous?

If you did wed my sister for her wealth,

Then for her wealth's sake use her with more kindness;

Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth –

Muffle your false love with some show of blindness.
blindness (n.) concealment, disguise, camouflage
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
muffle (v.) hide, conceal, camouflage

Let not my sister read it in your eye.

Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator.
orator (n.) advocate, spokesman, champion

Look sweet, speak fair, become disloyalty.
become (v.) 3 put a good front on, give a pleasing appearance to

Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger.
apparel (v.) 1 clothe, dress up, trick out
harbinger (n.) forerunner, herald, precursor

Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted;
taint (v.) 1 sully, infect, stain

Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
carriage (n.) 1 bearing, demeanour, manner of behaviour

Be secret-false – what need she be acquainted?
secret-false (adj.) secretly disloyal, covertly inconstant

What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
attaint (n.) 1 disgrace, dishonour, corruption
simple (adj.) 2 foolish, silly, stupid

'Tis double wrong to truant with your bed
truant (v.) play truant, be unfaithful

And let her read it in thy looks at board.
board (n.) 1 table, mealtimes

Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
bastard (adj.) 1 illegitimate, spurious, unauthorized
fame (n.) 1 reputation, renown, character

Ill deeds is doubled with an evil word.
ill (adj.) 2 evil, wicked, immoral

Alas, poor women, make us but believe –

Being compact of credit – that you love us.
compact (adj.) 2 made up, composed
credit (n.) 2 trust, faith, belief

Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve.

We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
motion (n.) 8 orbit, rhythm of movement

Then, gentle brother, get you in again.
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife.

'Tis holy sport to be a little vain
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count
vain (n.) deceptive, false, idle [in using words]

When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Sweet mistress, what your name is else I know not,
else (adv.) 1 otherwise See Topics: Discourse markers

Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine.
wonder (n.) 5 special power, miraculous quality

Less in your knowledge and your grace you show not

Than our earth's wonder, more than earth divine.

Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak.

Lay open to my earthy gross conceit,
conceit (n.) 3 understanding, intelligence, apprehension
earthy (adj.) 4 coarse, unrefined, gross
gross (adj.) 9 dull, obtuse, ignorant

Smothered in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,

The folded meaning of your words' deceit.
folded (adj.) hidden, veiled, concealed

Against my soul's pure truth why labour you

To make it wander in an unknown field?

Are you a god? Would you create me new?

Transform me, then, and to your power I'll yield.
power (n.) 7 control, influence, sway

But if that I am I, then well I know

Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,

Nor to her bed no homage do I owe.

Far more, far more to you do I decline.
decline (v.) 1 incline, lean, bend

O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note
note (n.) 11 melody, tune, music, song
train (v.) 1 lure, entice, decoy

To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears.

Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote.

Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs

And as a bed I'll take thee, and there lie,

And in that glorious supposition think
supposition (n.) 1 notion, opinion, belief

He gains by death that hath such means to die.

Let love, being light, be drowned if she sink.


LUCIANA

What, are you mad, that you do reason so?
reason (v.) 1 talk, speak, converse


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Not mad, but mated. How I do not know.
mated (adj.) bewildered, confused


LUCIANA

It is a fault that springeth from your eye.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

For gazing on your beams, fair sun, being by.


LUCIANA

Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

As good to wink, sweet love, as look on night.
wink (v.) 1 shut one's eyes


LUCIANA

Why call you me ‘ love ’? Call my sister so.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thy sister's sister.


LUCIANA

                         That's my sister.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

                                                         No,

It is thyself, mine own self's better part,

Mine eye's clear eye, my dear heart's dearer heart,

My food, my fortune, and my sweet hope's aim,

My sole earth's heaven, and my heaven's claim.


LUCIANA

All this my sister is, or else should be.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Call thyself sister, sweet, for I am thee.

Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life.

Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife.

Give me thy hand.
still (adj.) 1 silent, quiet


LUCIANA

                         O, soft, sir, hold you still.

I'll fetch my sister to get her good will.

Exit

Enter Dromio of Syracuse


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, how now, Dromio.

Where runnest thou so fast?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Do you know me, sir? Am I

Dromio? Am I your man? Am I myself?


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thou art, Dromio. Thou

art my man, thou art thyself.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I am an ass, I am a woman's

man, and besides myself.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What woman's man? And

how besides thyself?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, besides myself I am

due to a woman. One that claims me, one that haunts

me, one that will have me.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What claim lays she to

thee?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, such claim as you

would lay to your horse; and she would have me as a

beast – not that, I being a beast, she would have me,

but that she, being a very beastly creature, lays claim

to me.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What is she?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

A very reverent body – ay, such

a one as a man may not speak of without he say ‘ sir-reverence.’
sir-reverence (n.) save your reverence See Topics: Politeness

I have but lean luck in the match, and yet
lean (adj.) 1 slight, mean, poor

is she a wondrous fat marriage.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

How dost thou mean, a fat

marriage?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, she's the kitchen

wench, and all grease; and I know not what use to put
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

her to but to make a lamp of her and run from her by

her own light. I warrant her rags and the tallow in
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

them will burn a Poland winter. If she lives till doomsday

she'll burn a week longer than the whole world.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What complexion is she
complexion (n.) 1 appearance, look, colouring

of?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Swart like my shoe, but her face
swart, swarth (adj.) swarthy, dusky, of dark complexion

nothing like so clean kept. For why? She sweats a man

may go overshoes in the grime of it.
overshoes, over-shoes (adv.) deep enough to cover the shoes


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

That's a fault that water

will mend.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, sir, 'tis in grain. Noah's
grain, in inherent, ingrained, indelible

flood could not do it.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What's her name?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Nell, sir; but her name and

three quarters – that's an ell and three quarters – will
ell (n.) measure of length [45 inches / c.114 cm in England]

not measure her from hip to hip.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Then she bears some

breadth?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No longer from head to foot

than from hip to hip. She is spherical, like a globe. I

could find out countries in her.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

In what part of her body

stands Ireland?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, in her buttocks. I

found it out by the bogs.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Where Scotland?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I found it by the barrenness,
barrenness (n.) area [of skin] worn dry and bare

hard in the palm of the hand.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Where France?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

In her forehead, armed and

reverted, making war against her heir.
reverted (adj.) revolted, in rebellion, mutinied


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Where England?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I looked for the chalky cliffs,

but I could find no whiteness in them. But I guess it

stood in her chin, by the salt rheum that ran between
rheum (n.) 2 watery discharge, seepage [especially of the eyes]
salt (adj.) 4 [of a cold] bitter, intense, heavy

France and it.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Where Spain?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Faith, I saw it not, but I felt

it hot in her breath.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Where America, the Indies?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

O, sir, upon her nose, all o'er

embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining
carbuncle (n.) 1 fiery red precious stone
decline (v.) 1 incline, lean, bend

their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain, who
aspect (n.) 2 [of objects] sight, appearance

sent whole armadoes of carracks to be ballast at her nose.
armado (n.) armada, fleet, navy
carrack, carack (n.) galleon, large merchant ship, also fitted out for war


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Where stood Belgia, the

Netherlands?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

O, sir, I did not look so low.

To conclude, this drudge, or diviner laid claim to me,
diviner (n.) witch, sorceress, magician

called me Dromio, swore I was assured to her, told me
assured (adj.) 2 betrothed, engaged

what privy marks I had about me, as the mark of my
mark (n.) 6 birthmark, discolouration, blemish
privy 4 secret, personal, private

shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart on my

left arm, that I, amazed, ran from her as a witch.

And I think if my breast had not been made of faith, and my heart of steel,

She had transformed me to a curtal dog, and made me turn i'the wheel.
curtal (adj.) with a docked tail; common, household
turn (v.) 8 spin round, whirl about, go round and round


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Go hie thee presently. Post to the road.
hie (v.) hasten, hurry, speed See Topics: Frequency count
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count
road (n.) 1 harbour, anchorage, roadstead

An if the wind blow any way from shore

I will not harbour in this town tonight.
harbour (v.) lodge, stay, shelter

If any bark put forth, come to the mart,
bark, barque (n.) ship, vessel
mart (n.) 1 market

Where I will walk till thou return to me.

If everyone knows us, and we know none,

'Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack, and be gone.
pack (v.) 1 take [oneself] off, be off, depart


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

As from a bear a man would run for life,

So fly I from her that would be my wife.

Exit


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

There's none but witches do inhabit here,

And therefore 'tis high time that I were hence.

She that doth call me husband, even my soul

Doth for a wife abhor. But her fair sister,

Possessed with such a gentle sovereign grace,
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
sovereign (adj.) 1 excellent, excelling, superlative

Of such enchanting presence and discourse,
discourse (n.) 1 conversation, talk, chat
presence (n.) 5 appearance, bearing, demeanour

Hath almost made me traitor to myself.

But lest myself be guilty to self-wrong,

I'll stop mine ears against the mermaid's song.
stop (v.) 2 stop up, close (up), shut

Enter Angelo with the chain


ANGELO

Master Antipholus.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

                         Ay, that's my name.


ANGELO

I know it well, sir. Lo, here's the chain.

I thought to have ta'en you at the Porpentine.
take (v.) 18 overtake, encounter, meet up with

The chain unfinished made me stay thus long.
stay (v.) 2 linger, tarry, delay


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What is your will that I shall do with this?


ANGELO

What please yourself, sir. I have made it for you.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not.


ANGELO

Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you have.

Go home with it, and please your wife withal,

And soon at supper-time I'll visit you,

And then receive my money for the chain.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I pray you, sir, receive the money now,

For fear you ne'er see chain nor money more.


ANGELO

You are a merry man, sir. Fare you well.

Exit


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What I should think of this I cannot tell.

But this I think: there's no man is so vain
vain (adj.) 1 foolish, silly, stupid

That would refuse so fair an offered chain.

I see a man here needs not live by shifts,
shift (n.) 3 stratagem, contriving, trick

When in the streets he meets such golden gifts.

I'll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay;
mart (n.) 1 market

If any ship put out, then straight away!
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Exit

 
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