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Enter a Servant.
Serv. O mistress, mistress, shift and save yourself! My master and his man are both broke loose, Beaten the maids a-row,1 and bound the doctor, Whose beard they have singed off with brands of fire; And ever as it blazed they threw on him Great pails of puddled mire to quench the hair. My master preaches patience to him, and the while His man with scissors nicks him like a fool; And, sure, unless you send some present help, Between them they will kill the conjurer.
Adr. Peace, fool; thy master and his man are here, And that is false, thou dost report to us.
Serv. Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true; I have not breathed almost, since I did see it. He cries for you, and vows, if he can take you, To scorch your face, and to disfigure you.
Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress; fly, begone. Duke. Come, stand by me; fear nothing. Guard with halberds!
Adr. Ah me, it is my husband! Witness you, That he is borne about invisible.
Even now we housed him in the abbey here;
Enter ANTIPHOLUS and DROMIO of Ephesus. Ant. E. Justice, most gracious duke, O, grant me justice!
Even for the service that long since I did thee,
Æge. Unless the fear of death doth make me dote, I see my son Antipholus, and Dromio.
1 i. e. successively, one after another.
Ant. E. Justice, sweet prince, against that woman
She whom thou gav'st to me to be my wife;
That she this day hath shameless thrown on me.
Duke. Discover how, and thou shalt find me just. Ant. E. This day, great duke, she shut the doors upon me,
While she with harlots1 feasted in my house.
Duke. A grievous fault. Say, woman, didst thou so?
Adr. No, my good lord;-myself, he, and my sister,
To-day did dine together. So befall my soul,
Luc. Ne'er may I look on day, nor sleep on night, But she tells to your highness simple truth!
Ang. O perjured woman! they are both forsworn. In this the madman justly chargeth them.
Ant. E. My liege, I am advised what I say; Neither disturbed with the effect of wine, Nor heady rash, provoked with raging ire, Albeit, my wrongs might make one wiser mad. This woman locked me out this day from dinner; That goldsmith there, were he not packed with her, Could witness it, for he was with me then; Who parted with me to go fetch a chain, Promising to bring it to the Porcupine, Where Balthazar and I did dine together. Our dinner done, and he not coming thither, I went to seek him: in the street I met him; And in his company, that gentleman. There did this perjured goldsmith swear me down, That I this day of him received the chain, Which, God he knows, I saw not; for the which,
1 Harlot was a term anciently applied to a rogue or base person among men, as well as to wantons among women. See Todd's Johnson.
He did arrest me with an officer.
I did obey; and sent my peasant home
Το go in person with me to my house.
By the way we met
My wife, her sister, and a rabble more
Of vile confederates; along with them
They brought one Pinch; a hungry, lean-faced villain,
A thread-bare juggler, and a fortune-teller;
For these deep shames and great indignities.
Ang. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him, That he dined not at home, but was locked out.
Duke. But had he such a chain of thee, or no? Ang. He had, my lord; and when he ran in here, These people saw the chain about his neck.
Mer. Besides, I will be sworn, these ears of mine
Ant. E. I never came within these abbey walls,
Duke. Why, what an intricate impeach is this! I think all have drunk of Circe's cup.
If here you housed him, here he would have been,
Dro. E. Sir, he dined with her there, at the Porcupine.
Cour. He did; and from my finger snatched that ring.
Ant. E. 'Tis true, my liege, this ring I had of her. Duke. Saw'st thou him enter at the abbey here? Cour. As sure, my liege, as I do see your grace. Duke. Why, this is strange.-Go, call the abbess hither;
I think you are all mated,1 or stark mad.
[Exit an Attendant. Ege. Most mighty duke, vouchsafe me speak a word;
Haply I see a friend will save my life,
Duke. Speak freely, Syracusan, what thou wilt. Ege. Is not your name, sir, called Antipholus? And is not that your bondman Dromio?
Dro. E. Within this hour, I was his bondman, sir, But he, I thank him, gnawed in two my cords; Now am I Dromio, and his man, unbound.
Ege. I am sure, you both of you remember me. Dro. E. Ourselves, we do remember, sir, by you; For lately we were bound as you are now. You are not Pinch's patient, are you, sir?
Æge. Why look you strange on me? You know
Ant. E. I never saw you in my life, till now.
Ege. Oh! grief hath changed me, since you saw me last;
And careful hours, with Time's deformed 2 hand,
1 Confounded. See note on Macbeth, Act v. Sc. 1.
Have written strange defeatures in my face:
Dro. E. No, trust me, sir, nor I.
I am sure, thou dost. Dro. E. Ay, sir? but I am sure, I do not; and whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.1
Dromio, nor thou?
Ege. Not know my voice! O, time's extremity! Hast thou so cracked and splitted my poor tongue, In seven short years, that here my only son Knows not my feeble key of untuned cares? Though now this grained face of mine be hid In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow, And all the conduits of my blood froze up, Yet hath my night of life some memory, My wasting lamp some fading glimmer left, My dull, deaf ears a little use to hear; All these old witnesses (I cannot err) Tell me, thou art my son Antipholus.
Ant. E. I never saw my father in my life. Æge. But seven years since, in Syracusa, boy, Thou know'st, we parted; but, perhaps, my son, Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery.
Ant. E. The duke and all that know me in the city, Can witness with me that it is not so;
I ne'er saw Syracusa in my life.
Duke. I tell thee, Syracusan, twenty years
Enter the Abbess, with ANTIPHOLUS Syracusan, and DROMIO Syracusan.
Abb. Most mighty duke,
behold a man much [All gather to see him.
1 Dromio delights in a quibble, and the word bound has before been the subject of his mirth.
2 Furrowed, lined.