The Comedy of Errors eText - Act II

Act II

Act II, Scene 1

ACT II.

SCENE 1. A public place.

[Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA.]

ADRIANA.
Neither my husband nor the slave return'd
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.
Good sister, let us dine, and never fret:
A man is master of his liberty;
Time is their master; and when they see time,
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.

ADRIANA.
Look when I serve him so, he takes it ill.

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 lash'd with woe.
There's nothing situate under heaven's eye
But hath his bound in earth, in sea, in sky;
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,
Are their males' subjects, and at their controls:
Man, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lord of the wide world and wild wat'ry seas,
Indued with intellectual sense and souls
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and their lords:
Then let your will attend on their accords.

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 other where?

LUCIANA.
Till he come home again, I would forbear.

ADRIANA.
Patience unmov'd, no marvel though she pause:
They can be meek that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruis'd with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burd'ned with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain:
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience would relieve me:
But if thou live to see like right bereft,
This fool-begg'd patience in thee will be left.

LUCIANA.
Well, I will marry one day, but to try:--
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? know'st thou his mind?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS.
Ay, ay, he told his mind upon mine ear. Beshrew his hand, I
scarce could understand it.

LUCIANA.
Spake he so doubtfully thou could'st not feel his meaning?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS.
Nay, he struck so plainly I could too well feel his blows; and
withal so doubtfully that I could scarce understand them.

ADRIANA.
But say, I pr'ythee, 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.

ADRIANA.
Horn-mad, thou villain?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS.
I mean not cuckold-mad; but, sure, he's stark mad.
When I desir'd him to come home to dinner,
He ask'd me for a thousand marks in gold:
"Tis dinner time' quoth I; 'My gold,' quoth he:
'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 burn'd'; '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?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS.
Quoth my master:
'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:
Between you I shall have a holy head.

ADRIANA.
Hence, prating peasant: fch thy master home.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS.
Am I so round with you, as you with me,
That like a football you do spurn me thus?
You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither:
If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.

[Exit.]

LUCIANA.
Fie, how impatience low'reth in your face!

ADRIANA.
His company must do his minions grace,
Whilst I at home starve for a merry look.
Hath homely age the alluring beauty took
From my poor cheek? then he hath wasted it:
Are my discourses dull? barren my wit?
If voluble and sharp discourse be marr'd,
Unkindness blunts it more than marble hard:
Do their gay vestments his affections bait?
That's not my fault; he's master of my state:
What ruins are in me that can be found
By him not ruin'd? then is he the ground
Of my defeatures: my decayed fair
A sunny look of his would soon repair;
But, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale
And feeds from home; poor I am but his stale.

LUCIANA.
Self-harming jealousy!--fie, beat it hence.

ADRIANA.
Unfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispense.
I know his eye doth homage otherwhere;
Or else what lets it but he would be here?
Sister, you know he promis'd me a chain;--
Would that alone, alone he would detain,
So he would keep fair quarter with his bed!
I see the jewel best enamelled
Will lose his beauty; yet the gold 'bides still
That others touch, yet often touching will
Wear gold; and no man that hath a name
By 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!

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 2

SCENE 2. The same.

[Enter ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.]

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up
Safe at the Centaur; and the heedful slave
Is wander'd forth in care to seek me out.
By computation and mine host's report
I could not speak with Dromio since at first
I sent him from the mart. See, here he comes.

[Enter DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.]

How now, sir! is your merry humour alter'd?
As you love strokes, so jest with me again.
You know no Centaur? you receiv'd 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 told'st me of a mistress and a dinner;
For which, I hope, thou felt'st I was displeas'd.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
I am glad to see you in this merry vein:
What means this jest? I pray you, master, tell me.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
Yea, dost thou jeer and flout me in the teeth?
Think'st thou I jest? Hold, take thou that, and that.
[Beating him.]

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,
And make a common of my serious hours.
When the sun shines let foolish gnats make sport,
But creep in crannies when he hides his beams.
If you will jest with me, know my aspect,
And fashion your demeanour to my looks,
Or I will beat this method in your sconce.

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, and ensconce it too; or else I shall seek my wit in
my 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,
For urging it the second time to me.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
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 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 purchase me another dry basting.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
Well, sir, learn to jest in good time:
There's a time for all things.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
I durst have denied that before you were so choleric.

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.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
May he not do it by fine and recovery?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
Yes, to pay a fine for a peruke, 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?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
Because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts: and what he
hath scanted men in hair he hath given them in wit.

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.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
The plainer dealer, the sooner lost: yet he loseth it in a kind
of jollity.

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.

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 should not drop in his porridge.

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, 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, to the
world's end will have bald followers.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
I knew 't'would be a bald conclusion:
But, soft! who wafts us yonder?

[Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA.]

ADRIANA.
Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown;
Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects:
I am not Adriana, nor thy wife.
The time was, once, when thou unurg'd 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-savour'd in thy taste,
Unless I spake, or look'd, or touch'd, or carv'd to thee.
How comes it now, my husband, oh, how comes it,
That thou art then estranged from thyself?
Thyself I call it, being strange to me,
That, undividable, incorporate,
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
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
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 thee to the quick,
Should'st 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,
And hurl the name of husband in my face,
And tear the stain'd skin off my harlot brow,
And from my false hand cut the wedding-ring,
And break it with a deep-divorcing vow?
I know thou canst; and, therefore, see thou do it.
I am possess'd with an adulterate blot;
My blood is mingled with the crime of lust:
For if we two be one, and thou play false,
I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
Keep then fair league and truce with thy true bed;
I live dis-stain'd, 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 scann'd,
Want wit in all one word to understand.

LUCIANA.
Fie, brother! how the world is chang'd with you:
When were you wont to use my sister thus?
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,--
That he did buffet thee, and in his blows
Denied my house for his, me for his wife.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
What is the course and drift of your compact?

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.

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?

ADRIANA.
How ill agrees it with your gravity
To counterfeit thus grossly with your slave,
Abetting him to thwart me in my mood!
Be it my wrong, you are from me exempt,
But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
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:
If aught possess thee from me, it is dross,
Usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss;
Who all, for want of pruning, with intrusion
Infect thy sap, and live on thy confusion.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
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
I'll entertain the offer'd fallacy.

LUCIANA.
Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
O, for my beads! I cross me for a sinner.
This is the fairy land;--O spite of spites!
We talk with goblins, owls, and sprites;
If we obey them not, this will ensue,
They'll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue.

LUCIANA.
Why prat'st thou to thyself, and answer'st not?
Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
I am transformed, master, am not I?

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 chang'd to aught, 'tis to an ass.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
'Tis true; she rides me, and I long for grass.
'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 to-day,
And shrive you of a thousand idle pranks:--
Sirrah, if any ask you for your master,
Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter.--
Come, sister:--Dromio, play the porter well.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE.
Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking, mad, or well-advis'd?
Known unto these, and to myself disguis'd!
I'll say as they say, and persever so,
And in this mist at all adventures go.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE.
Master, shall I be porter at the gate?

ADRIANA.
Ay; and let none enter, lest I break your pate.

LUCIANA.
Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.

[Exeunt.]