Page images

A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd,
Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic instance of our harm:
But longer did we not retain much hope;
For what obscured light the heavens did grant
Did but convey unto our fearful minds
A doubtful warrant of immediate death;
Which, though myself would gladly have em-

After his brother; and importun'd me
That his attendant-so his case was like,
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name-
Might bear him company in the quest of him;
Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I lov'd.
Five summers have I spent in furthest Greece,
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus,
Hopeless to find, yet loath to leave unsought
Or that or any place that harbours men.
But there must end the story of my life;
And happy were I in my timely death,
Could all my travels warrant me they live.
Duke. Hapless Ægeon, whom the fates have



Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Weeping before for what she saw must come,
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourn'd for fashion, ignorant what to fear,
Forc'd me to seek delays for them and me.
And this it was, for other means was none:
The sailors sought for safety by our boat,
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us:
My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast,
Such as seafaring men provide for storms;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fasten'd ourselves at either end the mast;
And floating straight, obedient to the stream,
Were carried towards Corinth, as we thought.
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispers'd those vapours that offended us,
And by the benefit of his wished light
The seas wax'd calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us;
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:
But ere they came,-O! let me say no more;
Gather the sequel by that went before.

Duke. Nay, forward, old man; do not break
off so;



We were encounter'd by a mighty rock;
Which being violently borne upon,
Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst;
So that in this unjust divorce of us
Fortune had left to both of us alike
What to delight in, what to sorrow for.
Her part, poor soul! seeming as burdened
With lesser weight, but not with lesser woe,
Was carried with more speed before the wind,
And in our sight they three were taken up
By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
At length another ship had seized on us;
And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
Gave healthful welcome to their shipwreck'd



And would have reft the fishers of their prey,
Had not their bark been very slow of sail;
And therefore homeward did they bend their


Thus have you heard me sever'd from my bliss,
That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.


Duke. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for,

Do me the favour to dilate at full

For we may pity, though not pardon thee.

Mer. Therefore, give out you are of Epidamnum,



Ege. O had the gods done so, I had not now Worthily term'd them merciless to us, For, ere the ships could meet by twice five Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate. This very day, a Syracusian merchant Is apprehended for arrival here; And not being able to buy out his life, According to the statute of the town Dies ere the weary sun set in the west. There is your money that I had to keep.

Ant. S. Go bear it to the Centaur, where we

And stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee.
Within this hour it will be dinner-time:
Till that, I'll view the manners of the town,
Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings,
And then return and sleep within mine inn,
For with long travel I am stiff and weary.
Get thee away.

Dro. S. Many a man would take you at your

And go indeed, having so good a mean.


Ant. S. A trusty villain, sir, that very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humour with his merry jests.
What, will you walk with me about the town,
And then go to my inn and dine with me?

Mer. I am invited, sir, to certain merchants,
Of whom I hope to make much benefit;
I crave your pardon. Soon at five o'clock,
Please you, I'll meet with you upon the mart,
And afterwards consort you till bed-time:
My present business calls me from you now.

What hath befall'n of them and thee till now.
Ege. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive


To bear the extremity of dire mishap!
Now, trust me, were it not against our laws,
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity
Which princes, would they, may not disannul,
My soul should sue as advocate for thee.
But though thou art adjudged to the death,
And passed sentence may not be recall'd
But to our honour's great disparagement,
Yet will I favour thee in what I can :
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day 150
To seek thy life by beneficial help:
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die.
Gaoler, take him to thy custody.

Gaol. I will, my lord.

Ege. Hopeless and helpless doth Ægeon wend, But to procrastinate his lifeless end. Exeunt.

SCENE II.-The Mart.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse, DROMIO of
Syracuse, and a Merchant.



Ant. S. Farewell till then: I will go lose myself,
And wander up and down to view the city.
Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own content.
Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own


Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop;
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself:
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.
Enter DROMIO of Ephesus.


Dro. E. Your worship's wife, my mistress at the Phoenix;


She that doth fast till you come home to dinner,
And prays that you will hie you home to dinner.
Ant. S. What wilt thou flout me thus unto
my face,
Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave.
Strikes him.
Dro. E. What mean you, sir? for God's sake,
hold your hands.

40 Nay, an you will not, sir, I'll take my heels. Exit.
Ant. S. Upon my life, by some device or other
The villain is o'erraught of all my money.
They say this town is full of cozenage;
As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye,
Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind,
Soul-killing witches that deform the body,
Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks,
And many such like liberties of sin :
If it prove so, I will be gone the sooner.
I'll to the Centaur, to go seek this slave:
I greatly fear my money is not safe.

Here comes the almanac of my true date.
What now? How chance thou art return'd so

Dro. E. Return'd so soon! rather approach'd
too late.

The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit,
The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell;
My mistress made it one upon my cheek:
She is so hot because the meat is cold;
The meat is cold because you come not home;
You come not home because you have no stomach;
You have no stomach having broke your fast; 50
But we that know what 'tis to fast and pray
Are penitent for your default to-day.

Ant. S. Stop in your wind, sir. Tell me this,
I pray:

Where have you left the money that I gave you?
Dro, E. Ol--sixpence, that I had o Wednes-
day last

To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper;
The saddler had it, sir; I kept it not.

Ant. S. I am not in a sportive humour now,
Tell me, and dally not, where is the money?
We being strangers here, how dar'st thou trust
So great a charge from thine own custody?

Dro. E. I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at dinner.
I from my mistress come to you in post;
If I return, I shall be post indeed,
For she will score your fault upon my pate.
Methinks, your maw, like mine, should be your


[blocks in formation]

Ant. S. Thy mistress' marks! what mistress, slave, hast thou?

Ant. S. Now, as I am a Christian, answer me, In what safe place you have bestow'd my money; Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours That stands on tricks when I am undispos'd. 80 Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me? Dro. E. 1 have some marks of yours upon my


Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders,
But not a thousand marks between you both.
If I should pay your worship those again,
Perchance you will not bear them patiently.




SCENE I.-The House of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

Adr. 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.

Luc. 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.

Adr. Why should their liberty than ours be


Luc. Because their business still lies out o'

Adr. Look, when I serve him so, he takes it ill.
Luc. O know he is the bridle of your will.
Adr. There's none but asses will be bridled so.
Luc. Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with



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.
Men, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lords 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.

Adr. This servitude makes you to keep unwed.
Luc. Not this, but troubles of the marriage bed.
Adr. But, were you wedded, you would bear

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

When I desir'd him to come home to dinner, 60 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:

Adr. Horn-mad, thou villain!

Dro. E. I mean not cuckold-mad; but, sure, I'll weep what's left away, and weeping die.

he is stark mad.

Luc. How many foud fools serve mad jealousy!

'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 mis


I know not thy mistress: out on thy mistress!' Luc. Quoth who?

Dro. E. Quoth my master:


'I know,' quoth he, 'no house no wife, no mis.


So that my errand, due unto my tongue,
I thank him, I bear home upon my shoulders;
For, in conclusion, he did beat me there.

Adr. Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.

Dro. E. Go back again, and be new beaten home?

For God's sake, send some other messenger.
Adr. Back, slave, or I will break thy pate


Adr. 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. Luc. Self-harming jealousy! fie! beat it hence. Adr. 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


Dro. E. And he will bless that cross with other beating:

Between you I shall have a holy head.


Adr. Hence, prating peasant! fetch thy master home.

Dro. E. Am Iso 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. Lur. Fie, how impatience lowereth in your face!!



Will lose his beauty and though gold bides still,
That others touch, yet often touching will
Wear gold; and no man that hath a name,
But falsehood and corruption doth it shame.
Since that my beauty cannot please his eye,

SCENE II. A public Place.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse.

Ant. S. 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?


Dro. S. What answer, sir? when spake I such a word?

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

Dro. S. I did not see you since you sent me hence,

Home to the Centaur, with the gold you gave me. Ant. S. 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.
Dro. S. I am glad to see you in this merry vein:
What means this jest? I pray you, master, tell me.
Ant. S. Yea, dost thou jeer, and flout me in
the teeth?


Think'st thou I jest? Hold, take thou that, and that. Beating him. Dro. S. Hold, sir, for God's sake! now your jest is earnest :

Upon what bargain do you give it me?
Ant. S. Because that I familiarly sometimes


Do use you for my fool and chat with you,
Your sauciness will jet 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.

Well, sir, I thank you.

Ant. S. Thank me, sir! for what?

Dro. S. Marry, sir, for this something, that you gave me for nothing.

Ant. S. I'll make you amends next, to give you nothing for something. But say, sir, is it dinner-time?

Dro. S. 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?


Ant. S. Dost thou not know?

Dro. S. Nothing, sir, but that I am beaten.
Ant. S. Shall I tell you why?

Dro. S. Ay, sir, and wherefore; for, they say, every why hath a wherefore.

Ant. S. Why, first,--for flouting me; and, then, wherefore,

For urging it the second time to me.

Dro. S. Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,

When, in the why and the wherefore is neither I am not Adriana nor thy wife. rime nor reason?


Ant. S. In good time, sir; what's that?
Dro. S. Basting.

Dro. S. No, sir: I think the meat wants that I have.

Ant. S. Well, sir, then 'twill be dry.
Dro. S. If it be, sir, I pray you eat none of it.
Ant. S. Your reason?

Dro. S. Lest it make you choleric, and purchase me another dry basting.

An'. S. Well, sir, learn to jest in good time: there's a time for all things.

Dro. S. I durst have denied that, before you were so choleric.

Ant. S. Nay, not sound, I pray you.
Dro. S. Sure ones then.

How comes it now, my husband, O! how comes it,
That thou art thus estranged from thyself?
Thyself I call it, being strange to me,
60 That, undividable, incorporate,

Ant. S. Why is Time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement?

80 Dro. S. Because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts: and what he hath scanted men in hair he hath given them in wit.

Ant. S. Why, but there's many a man hath more hair than wit.

Dro. S. Not a man of those but he hath the wit to lose his hair.

Ant. S. Why, thou didst conclude hairy men plain dealers without wit.

Ant. S. Nay, not sure, in a thing falsing.

Dro. S. Certain ones then.

Dro. S. The plainer dealer, the sooner lost: yet he loseth it in a kind of jollity.


Ant. S. For what reason?

Dro. S. For two; and sound ones too.

Ant. S. Name them.

Dro. S. The one, to save the money that he spends in tiring; the other, that at dinner they should not drop in his porridge.


Ant. S. You would all this time have proved there is no time for all things.

Dro. S. Marry, and did, sir; namely, no time to recover hair lost by nature.

Ant. S. But your reason was not substantial, why there is no time to recover.

Dro. S. Thus I mend it: Time himself is bald, and therefore to the world's end will have bald followers.


Ant. S. I knew 'twould be a bald conclusion : But soft! who wafts us yonder?


Adr. Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown:

Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects,

The time was once when thou unurg'd would'st


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, 120
Unless I spake, or look'd, or touch'd, or carv'd

to thee.

Ant. S. By what rule, sir?


Dro. S. Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as the By ruffian lust should be contaminate! plain bald pate of Father Time himself.

Ant. S. Let's hear it.

Dro. S. There's no time for a man to recover his hair that grows bald by nature.

Ant. S. May he not do it by fine and recovery? Dro. S. Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig and recover the lost hair of another man.

Am better than thy dear self's better part.
Ah! do not tear away thyself from me,
For know, my love, as easy may'st thou fall
A drop of water in the breaking gulf,
And take unmingled thence that drop again, 130
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,

Would'st thou not spit at me, and spura 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, 140
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

I live distain'd, thou undishonoured.

Ant. S. 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.

Luc. 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. Ant. S. By Dromio?

Dro. S. By me?

Ant. S. 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,

Adr. By thee; and this thou didst return And in this mist at all adventures go. from him,

That he did buffet thee, and in his blows Denied my house for his, me for his wife.


Ant. S. Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?

What is the course and drift of your compact?

Dro. S. I, sir? I never saw her till this time. Ant. S. Villain, thou liest; for even her very words

Didst thou deliver to me on the mart.

Dro. S. I never spake with her in all my life. Ant. S. How can she thus then call us by our


Unless it be by inspiration?


Adr. 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.


[blocks in formation]

Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!

Dro. S. I am transformed, master, am I not?
Ant. S. I think thou art, in mind, and so am I.
Dro. S. Nay, master, both in mind and in my

Ant. S. Thou hast thine own form.
Dro. S.


No, I am an ape. Luc. If thou art chang'd to aught, 'tis to an ass. Dro. S. '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.

Adr. Come, come; no longer will I be a fool, To put the finger in the eye and weep, Whilst man and master laugh 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.


Dro. S. Master, shall I be porter at the gate? Adr. Ay; and let none enter, lest I break your pate.


Luc. Come, come, Antipholus; we dine too late. Excunt.


SCENE I.-A public Place.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, DROMIO of Ephesus, ANGELO, and BALTHAZAR.

Ant. E. Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;

My wife is shrewish when I keep not hours.
Say that I linger'd with you at your shop
To see the making of her carcanet,
And that to-morrow you will bring it home.
But here's a villain that would face me down
He met me on the mart, and that I beat him,
And charg'd him with a thousand marks in gold,
And that I did deny my wife and house.
Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by


Dro. E. Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know;

That you beat me at the mart, I have your hand to show :

If the skin were parchment and the blows you gave were ink,

Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.

Ant. E. I think thou art an ass.

Dro. E.

Marry, so it doth appear By the wrongs I suffer and the blows I bear. I should kick, being kick'd; and being at that pass,

You would keep from my heels and beware of

an ass.

Ant. E. You are sad, Signior Balthazar: pray God, our cheer

May answer my good will and your good welcome here.


Bal. I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your welcome dear.

Ant. E. O Signior Balthazar, either at flesh or fish,

A table-full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish.

Bal. Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl affords.

Ant. E. And welcome more common, for that's nothing but words.

Bal. Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.

Ant. E. Ay, to a niggardly host and more sparing guest :

But though my cates be mean, take them in good part;

Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart.

But soft! my door is lock'd. Go bid them let

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »