The Comedy of Errors


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


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up

Safe at the Centaur, and the heedful slave
slave (n.) 1 fellow, rascal, rogue, villain

Is wandered forth in care to seek me out
care (n.) 1 attentiveness, heedfulness, diligence

By computation and mine host's report.
computation (n.) working out, reasoning, cogitation

I could not speak with Dromio since at first

I sent him from the mart. See, here he comes.
mart (n.) 1 market

Enter Dromio of Syracuse
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count

How now, sir. Is your merry humour altered?

As you love strokes, so jest with me again.

You know no Centaur. You received no gold.

Your mistress sent to have me home to dinner?

My house was at the Phoenix. Wast thou mad

That thus so madly thou didst answer me?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

What answer, sir? When spake I such a word?


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Even now, even here, not half an hour since.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I did not see you since you sent me hence

Home to the Centaur with the gold you gave me.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Villain, thou didst deny the gold's receipt,

And toldest me of a mistress and a dinner,

For which I hope thou feltest I was displeased.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I am glad to see you in this merry vein.
vein (n.) 1 state of mind, motive, mood

What means this jest, I pray you, master, tell me?


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Yea, dost thou jeer and flout me in the teeth?
flout (v.) insult, abuse, mock
teeth, in the to my face, in direct opposition

Thinkest thou I jest? Hold, take thou that, and that.

He beats Dromio
earnest (adj.) genuine, real, serious


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Hold, sir, for God's sake; now your jest is earnest.

Upon what bargain do you give it me?


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Because that I familiarly sometimes

Do use you for my fool, and chat with you,

Your sauciness will jest upon my love,
jest upon (v.) mock, scoff at, trifle with

And make a common of my serious hours.
common (n.) 6 public property, common land, open pasture

When the sun shines let foolish gnats make sport,
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

But creep in crannies when he hides his beams.

If you will jest with me, know my aspect,
aspect (n.) 4 [astrology] influential phase, direction of alignment See Topics: Cosmos

And fashion your demeanour to my looks,

Or I will beat this method in your sconce.
sconce (n.) 1 [jocular] head, pate, bonce


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

‘ Sconce ’ call you it? So you

would leave battering I had rather have it a head. An you

use these blows long I must get a sconce for my head,
sconce (n.) 2 shelter, screen, guard

and ensconce it too, or else I shall seek my wit in my
ensconce, insconce (v.) 1 protect, conceal, shelter
wit (n.) 5 mind, brain, thoughts

shoulders. But I pray, sir, why am I beaten?


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Dost thou not know?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Nothing, sir, but that I am

beaten.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Shall I tell you why?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Ay, sir, and wherefore; for they

say every why hath a wherefore.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, first: for flouting me; and then wherefore:
flout (v.) insult, abuse, mock

For urging it the second time to me.
urge (v.) 6 provoke, incite, impel


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
season, out of (adj./adv.) 2 inopportunely, inappropriately, inconveniently

When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?

Well, sir, I thank you.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thank me, sir, for what?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, for this something

that you gave me for nothing.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I'll make you amends next,

to give you nothing for something. But say, sir, is it

dinner-time?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, sir. I think the meat wants
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

that I have.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

In good time, sir. What's

that?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Basting.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, then 'twill be

dry


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

If it be, sir, I pray you eat none

of it.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Your reason?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Lest it make you choleric, and
choleric (adj.) 2 irritable, angry, enraged

purchase me another dry basting.
dry (adj.) 4 severe, hard, harsh


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, learn to jest in

good time. There's a time for all things.
good (adj.) 6 seasonable, appropriate, proper
time, in good 1 at the right moment


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I durst have denied that before

you were so choleric.
choleric (adj.) 2 irritable, angry, enraged


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

By what rule, sir?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as

the plain bald pate of Father Time himself.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Let's hear it.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

There's no time for a man to

recover his hair that grows bald by nature.
recover (v.) 5 get back; also: cover again


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

May he not do it by fine
fine (n.) 6 [legal] agreement to transfer land possession

and recovery?
recovery (n.) 2 [legal] procedure for transferring property into full ownership


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig,
fine (n.) 5 [legal] fee, contracted amount

and recover the lost hair of another man.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why is Time such a

niggard of hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement?
excrement (n.) outgrowth [of hair]
niggard (n.) miser, mean person, skinflint


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Because it is a blessing that he

bestows on beasts, and what he hath scanted men in
scant (v.) 3 give out sparingly, curtail, withhold [from]

hair he hath given them in wit.
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, but there's many a

man hath more hair than wit.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Not a man of those but he hath

the wit to lose his hair.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, thou didst conclude

hairy men plain dealers, without wit.
plain (adj.) 1 honest, open, free from deceit


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

The plainer dealer, the sooner

lost. Yet he loseth it in a kind of jollity.
jollity (n.) sexual pleasure, carnal enjoyment


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

For what reason?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

For two, and sound ones, too.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Nay, not sound, I pray

you.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Sure ones, then.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Nay, not sure in a thing

falsing.
falsing (adj.) deceptive, playing false


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Certain ones, then.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Name them.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

The one, to save the money

that he spends in tiring. The other, that at dinner they
tiring (n.) hair-dressing

should not drop in his porridge.
porridge (n.) meat and vegetable stew or broth [reputed to produce strength]


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

You would all this time

have proved there is no time for all things.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, and did, sir; namely, e'en

no time to recover hair lost by nature.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

But your reason was not

substantial, why there is no time to recover.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Thus I mend it: Time himself is bald, and therefore
mend (v.) 1 amend, improve, make better, put right

to the world's end will have bald followers.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I knew 'twould be a bald
bald (adj.) 1 trivial, foolish, witless

conclusion. But, soft – who wafts us yonder?
waft (v.) 1 beckon, wave [at], signal

Enter Adriana and Luciana


ADRIANA

Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown.

Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects.
aspect (n.) 1 [of a human face] look, appearance, expression

I am not Adriana, nor thy wife.

The time was once when thou unurged wouldst vow

That never words were music to thine ear,

That never object pleasing in thine eye,

That never touch well welcome to thy hand,

That never meat sweet-savoured in thy taste,

Unless I spake, or looked, or touched, or carved to thee.

How comes it now, my husband, O how comes it,

That thou art then estranged from thyself?

Thyself I call it, being strange to me

That, undividable, incorporate,
incorporate (adj.) united in one body, combined in one entity

Am better than thy dear self's better part.

Ah, do not tear away thyself from me;

For know, my love, as easy mayst thou fall
fall (v.) 1 drop, descend, let fall

A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
gulf (n.) 1 whirlpool

And take unmingled thence that drop again

Without addition or diminishing,

As take from me thyself, and not me too.

How dearly would it touch me to the quick
dearly (adv.) 1 keenly, deeply, intensely
quick (n.) 1 sensitive parts [of the body], tender flesh

Shouldst thou but hear I were licentious,

And that this body consecrate to thee

By ruffian lust should be contaminate?

Wouldst thou not spit at me, and spurn at me,
spurn against / at (v.) kick out at, treat with contempt

And hurl the name of husband in my face,

And tear the stained skin off my harlot brow,
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

And from my false hand cut the wedding ring,
false (adj.) 2 disloyal, faithless, inconstant, unfaithful

And break it with a deep-divorcing vow?

I know thou canst, and therefore see thou do it!

I am possessed with an adulterate blot.
adulterate (adj.) adulterous
blot (n.) stain, disgrace, blemish

My blood is mingled with the crime of lust;
crime (n.) 1 sin, offence, wrong-doing

For if we two be one, and thou play false,
false (adv.) 1 slanderously, faithlessly, with such calumny

I do digest the poison of thy flesh,

Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
contagion (n.) 1 contagious quality, infecting influence
strumpet (v.) make a whore, pervert, debauch

Keep then fair league and truce with thy true bed,

I live unstained, thou undishonoured.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not.

In Ephesus I am but two hours old,

As strange unto your town as to your talk,

Who, every word by all my wit being scanned,
scan (v.) 1 examine, carefully consider
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

Wants wit in all one word to understand.
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count


LUCIANA

Fie, brother, how the world is changed with you.

When were you wont to use my sister thus?
wont (v.) be accustomed, used [to], be in the habit of See Topics: Frequency count

She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

By Dromio?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

By me?


ADRIANA

By thee; and this thou didst return from him:
return (v.) 1 answer, report, say in reply [to]

That he did buffet thee, and in his blows
buffet (v.) 1 beat, strike, cuff

Denied my house for his, me for his wife.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
gentlewoman (n.) woman of good breeding, well-born lady See Topics: Address forms

What is the course and drift of your compact?
compact (n.) agreement, contract, covenant
course (n.) 4 gist, scope, tenor
drift (n.) 2 direction, progress, course


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I, sir? I never saw her till this time.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Villain, thou liest; for even her very words

Didst thou deliver to me on the mart.
deliver (v.) 1 report [to], communicate [to], tell, describe
mart (n.) 1 market


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I never spake with her in all my life.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

How can she thus then call us by our names? –

Unless it be by inspiration.
inspiration (n.) supernatural power, inspired means


ADRIANA

How ill agrees it with your gravity
gravity (n.) 1 respectability, authority, dignified position
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

To counterfeit thus grossly with your slave,
counterfeit (v.) 2 pretend, feign, make believe See Topics: Frequency count
grossly (adv.) 1 openly, blatantly, brazenly
slave (n.) 1 fellow, rascal, rogue, villain

Abetting him to thwart me in my mood.
mood (n.) 1 anger, fury, frenzy, fit of temper

Be it my wrong you are from me exempt;
exempt (adj.) removed, cut off, excluded, debarred

But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
more (adj.) 1 greater

Come, I will fasten on this sleeve of thine.

Thou art an elm, my husband; I a vine,

Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state,

Makes me with thy strength to communicate.
communicate (v.) share [in], partake [of], participate [in]

If aught possess thee from me, it is dross,
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count
possess (v.) 4 take possession of, seize

Usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss,
idle (adj.) 1 useless, barren, worthless

Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion
want (n.) 1 lack, shortage, dearth

Infect thy sap, and live on thy confusion.
confusion (n.) 1 destruction, overthrow, ruin
intrusion (n.) breaking in, forced entry


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

(aside)
move (v.) 4 appeal to, urge, exhort
theme (n.) 1 subject, subject-matter, topic of discourse

To me she speaks; she moves me for her theme.

What, was I married to her in my dream?

Or sleep I now, and think I hear all this?

What error drives our eyes and ears amiss?

Until I know this sure uncertainty,
know (v.) 6 unravel, get to understand
sure (adj.) 1 certain, definite, reliable
uncertainty (n.) mystery, puzzle, enigma

I'll entertain the offered fallacy.
entertain (v.) 10 accept as true, allow, accommodate
fallacy (n.) delusion, misconception, error


LUCIANA

Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.
spread (v.) 2 lay the table


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

(aside)
bead (n.) 3 [plural] rosary beads

O for my beads! I cross me for a sinner.

This is the fairy land. O spite of spites,
spite of spite whatever happens, come what may

We talk with goblins, owls, and sprites.
sprite, spright (n.) 1 spirit, ghost, supernatural being

If we obey them not, this will ensue:

They'll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue.


LUCIANA

Why pratest thou to thyself, and answerest not?
prate (v.) prattle, chatter, blather See Topics: Frequency count

Dromio, thou Dromio, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot.
slug (n.) sluggard, lazy fellow
sot (n.) blockhead, idiot, dolt


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I am transformed, master, am not I?
transform (v.) change in form, metamorphose


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I think thou art in mind, and so am I.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Nay, master, both in mind and in my shape.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thou hast thine own form.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, I am an ape.


LUCIANA

If thou art changed to aught, 'tis to an ass.
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

'Tis true, she rides me, and I long for grass.
ride (v.), past forms rid, ridden 1 control, dominate, tyrannize

'Tis so, I am an ass; else it could never be

But I should know her as well as she knows me.


ADRIANA

Come, come, no longer will I be a fool,

To put the finger in the eye and weep

Whilst man and master laughs my woes to scorn.

Come, sir, to dinner. – Dromio, keep the gate. –

Husband, I'll dine above with you today,
above (adv.) 1 upstairs

And shrive you of a thousand idle pranks. –
idle (adj.) 2 mad, crazy, lunatic
prank (n.) 3 trick, frolic, mischief
shrive (v.) hear confession, grant absolution, forgive

Sirrah, if any ask you for your master,

Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter. –
forth (adv.) 1 away from home, out

Come, sister. – Dromio, play the porter well.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

(aside)

Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?

Sleeping or waking? mad or well advised?
well-advised (adj.) 2 in one's right mind, sane, rational

Known unto these, and to myself disguised!

I'll say as they say and persever so,
persever (v.) 1 persevere, persist, keep at it

And in this mist at all adventures go.
adventure (n.) 1 venture, enterprise, issue, hazard
mist (n.) confused state, state of uncertainty


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, shall I be porter at the gate?


ADRIANA

Ay, and let none enter, lest I break your pate.
break (v.) 8 crack, split, beat


LUCIANA

Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.

Exeunt

 
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