Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > The Comedy of Errors
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
The Comedy of Errors
Act IV. Scene IV.
A Street.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus and the Officer.
  Ant. E.  Fear me not, man; I will not break away:
I’ll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money,
To warrant thee, as I am ’rested for.        5
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.
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?
  Dro. E.  Here’s that, I warrant you, will pay them all.
  Ant. E.  But where’s the money?
  Dro. E.  Why, sir, I gave the money for the rope.        15
  Ant. E.  Five hundred ducats, villain, for a rope?
  Dro. E.  I’ll serve you, sir, five hundred at the rate.
  Ant. E.  To what end did I bid thee hie thee home?
  Dro. E.  To a rope’s end, sir; and to that end am I return’d.
  Ant. E.  And to that end, sir, I will welcome you.  [Beats him.        20
  Off.  Good sir, be patient.
  Dro. E.  Nay, ’tis for me to be patient; I am in adversity.
  Off.  Good now, hold thy tongue.
  Dro. E.  Nay, rather persuade him to hold his hands.
  Ant. E.  Thou whoreson, senseless villain!        25
  Dro. E.  I would I were senseless, sir, that I might not feel your blows.
  Ant. E.  Thou art sensible in nothing but blows, and so is an ass.
  Dro. E.  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 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 beggar wont her brat; and, I think, when he hath lamed me, I shall beg with it from door to door.
  Ant. E.  Come, go along; my wife is coming yonder.
Enter ADRIANA, LUCIANA, the Courtezan, and PINCH.
  Dro. E.  Mistress, respice finem, respect your end; or rather, to prophesy like the parrot, ‘Beware the rope’s end.’
  Ant. E.  Wilt thou still talk?  [Beats him.
  Cour.  How say you now? is not your husband mad?
  Adr.  His incivility confirms no less.
Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer;        35
Establish him in his true sense again,
And I will please you what you will demand.
  Luc.  Alas! how fiery and how sharp he looks.
  Cour.  Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy!
  Pinch.  Give me your hand and let me feel your pulse.        40
  Ant. E.  There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.  [Strikes him.
  Pinch.  I charge thee, Satan, hous’d within this man,
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.        45
  Ant. E.  Peace, doting wizard, peace! I am not mad.
  Adr.  O! that thou wert not, poor distressed soul!
  Ant. E.  You minion, you, are these your customers?
Did this companion with the saffron face
Revel and feast it at my house to-day,        50
Whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut
And I denied to enter in my house?
  Adr.  O husband, God doth know you din’d at home;
Where would you had remain’d until this time,
Free from these slanders and this open shame!        55
  Ant. E.  Din’d at home! Thou villain, what say’st thou?
  Dro. E.  Sir, sooth to say, you did not dine at home.
  Ant. E.  Were not my doors lock’d up and I shut out?
  Dro. E.  Perdy, your doors were lock’d and you shut out.
  Ant. E.  And did not she herself revile me there?        60
  Dro. E.  Sans fable, she herself revil’d you there.
  Ant. E.  Did not her kitchen-maid rail, taunt, and scorn me?
  Dro. E.  Certes, she did; the kitchen-vestal scorn’d you.
  Ant. E.  And did not I in rage depart from thence?
  Dro. E.  In verity you did: my bones bear witness,        65
That since have felt the vigour of his rage.
  Adr.  Is ’t good to soothe him in these contraries?
  Pinch.  It is no shame: the fellow finds his vein,
And, yielding to him humours well his frenzy.
  Ant. E.  Thou hast suborn’d the goldsmith to arrest me.        70
  Adr.  Alas! I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it.
  Dro. E.  Money by me! heart and good will you might;
But surely, master, not a rag of money.
  Ant. E.  Went’st not thou to her for a purse of ducats?        75
  Adr.  He came to me, and I deliver’d it.
  Luc.  And I am witness with her that she did.
  Dro. E.  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:        80
I know it by their pale and deadly looks.
They must be bound and laid in some dark room.
  Ant. E.  Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth to-day?
And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
  Adr.  I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.        85
  Dro. E.  And, gentle master, I receiv’d no gold;
But I confess, sir, that we were lock’d out.
  Adr.  Dissembling villain! thou speak’st false in both.
  Ant. E.  Dissembling harlot! thou art false in all;
And art confederate with a damned pack        90
To make a loathsome abject scorn of me;
But with these nails I’ll pluck out those false eyes
That would behold in me this shameful sport.
  Adr.  O! bind him, bind him, let him not come near me.
  Pinch.  More company! the fiend is strong within him.        95
  Luc.  Ay me! poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
Enter three or four and bind ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.
  Ant. E.  What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler, thou;
I am thy prisoner: wilt thou suffer them
To make a rescue?        100
  Off.        Masters, let him go:
He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
  Pinch.  Go bind this man, for he is frantic too.  [They bind DROMIO of Ephesus.
  Adr.  What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
Hast thou delight to see a wretched man        105
Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
  Off.  He is my prisoner: if I let him go,
The debt he owes will be requir’d of me.
  Adr.  I will discharge thee ere I go from thee:
Bear me forthwith unto his creditor,        110
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!
  Ant. E.  O most unhappy strumpet!
  Dro. E.  Master, I am here enter’d in bond for you.        115
  Ant. E.  Out on thee, villain! wherefore dost thou mad me?
  Dro. E.  Will you be bound for nothing? be mad, good master; cry, ‘the devil!’
  Luc.  God help, poor souls! how idly do they talk.
  Adr.  Go bear him hence. Sister, go you with me.—  [Exeunt PINCH and Assistants with ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus and DROMIO of Ephesus.
Say now, whose suit is he arrested at?        120
  Off.  One Angelo, a goldsmith; do you know him?
  Adr.  I know the man. What is the sum he owes?
  Off.  Two hundred ducats.
  Adr.        Say, how grows it due?
  Off.  Due for a chain your husband had of him.        125
  Adr.  He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
  Cour.  When as your husband all in rage, to-day
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.        130
  Adr.  It may be so, but I did never see it.
Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is:
I long to know the truth hereof at large.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse and DROMIO of Syracuse, with rapiers drawn.
  Luc.  God, for thy mercy! they are loose again.        135
  Adr.  And come with naked swords. Let’s call more help
To have them bound again.
  Off.        Away! they’ll kill us.  [Exeunt ADRIANA, LUCIANA, and Officer.
  Ant. S.  I see, these witches are afraid of swords.
  Dro. S.  She that would be your wife now ran from you.        140
  Ant. S.  Come to the Centaur; fetch our stuff from thence:
I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
  Dro. S.  Faith, stay here this night, they will surely do us no harm; you saw they speak us fair, give us gold: 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.
  Ant. S.  I will not stay to-night for all the town;
Therefore away, to get our stuff aboard.  [Exeunt.        145

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