William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors in the complete original text.
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Comedy of Errors

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Act III. Scene I.

Act III. Scene I.—Before the House of
ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

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

Ant. E. Good Signior Angela, you must ex-
cuse 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 carkanet,
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
this?
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 wel-
come 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
us in.
Dro E. Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian,
Ginn!
Dro. S. [Within.] Mome, malt-horse, capon,
coxcomb, idiot, patch!
Either get thee from the door or sit down at the
hatch.
Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou call'st
for such store,
When one is one too many? Go, get thee from
the door.
Dro. E. What patch is made our porter?—My
master stays in the street.
Dro. S. [Within.] Let him walk from whence
he came, lest he catch cold on's feet.
Ant. E. Who talks within there? ho! open
the door.
Dro. S. [Within.] Bight, sir; I'll tell you
when, an you'll tell me wherefore.
Ant. E. Wherefore? for my dinner: I have
not din'd to-day.
Dro. S. Nor to-day here you must not; come
again when you may.
Ant. E. What art thou that keep'st me out
from the house I owe?
Dro. S. [Within] The porter for this time,
sir, and my name is Dromio.
Dro. E. O villain! thou hast stolen both mine
office and my name:
The one ne'er got me credit, the other mickle
blame.
If thou hadst been Dromio to-day in my place,
Thou wouldst have chang'd thy face for a name,
or thy name for an ass.
Luce. [Within.] What a coil is there, Dromio!
who are those at the gate?
Dro. E. Let my master in Luce.
Luce. [Within.] Faith, no; he comes too late;
And so tell your master.
Dro. E. O Lord! I must laugh.
Have at you with a proverb: Shall I set in my
staff?
Luce. [Within.] Have at you with another:
that's—when? can you tell?
Dro. S. [Within.] If thy name be called Luce,—
Luce, thou hast answered him well.
Ant. E. Do you hear, you minion? you'll let
us in, I trow?
Luce. [Within.] I thought to have ask'd you.
Dro. S. [Within.] And you said, no.
Dro. E. So come, help: well struck! there
was blow for blow.
Ant. E. Thou baggage, let me in.
Luce. [Within.] Can you tell for whose sake?
Dro. E. Master, knock the door hard.
Luce. [Within.] Let him knock till it ache,
Ant. E. You'll cry for this, minion, if I beat
the door down.
Luce. [Within.] What needs all that, and a
pair of stocks in the town?
Adr. [Within.] Who is that at the door that
keeps all this noise?
Dro. S. [Within.] By my troth your town is
troubled with unruly boys.
Ant. E. Are you there, wife? you might have
come before.
Adr. [Within.] Your wife, sir knave! go, get
you from the door.
Dro. E. If you went in pain, master, this
'knave' would go sore.
Ang. Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome:
we would fain have either.
Bal. In debating which was best, we shall part
with neither.
Dro. E. They stand at the door, master: bid
them welcome hither.
Ant. E. There is something in the wind, that
we cannot get in.
Dro. E. You would say so, master, if your
garments were thin.
Your cake here is warm within; you stand here
in the cold:
It would make a man mad as a buck to be so
bought and sold.
Ant. E. Go fetch me something: I'll break
open the gate.
Dro. S. [Within.] Break any breaking here,
and I'll break your knave's pate.
Dro. E. A man may break a word with you,
sir, and words are but wind:
Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not
behind.
Dro. S. [Within.] It seems thou wantest break-
ing: out upon thee, hind!
Dro. E. Here's too much 'out upon thee!' I
pray thee, let me in.
Dro. S. [Within.] Ay, when fowls have no
feathers, and fish have no fin.
Ant. E. Well, I'll break in. Go borrow me
a crow.
Dro. E. A crow without feather? Master,
mean you so?
For a fish without a fin, there's a fowl without
a feather:
If a crow help us in, sirrah, we'll pluck a crow
together.
Ant. E. Go get thee gone: fetch me an iron
crow.
Bal. Have patience, sir; O! let it not be so;
Herein you war against your reputation,
And draw within the compass of suspect
The unviolated honour of your wife.
Once this,—your long experience of her wisdom,
Her sober virtue, years, and modesty,
Plead on her part some cause to you unknown;
And doubt not, sir, but she will well excuse
Why at this time the doors are made against
you.
Be rul'd by me: depart in patience,
And let us to the Tiger all to dinner;
And about evening come yourself alone,
To know the reason of this strange restraint.
If by strong hand you offer to break in
Now in the stirring passage of the day,
A vulgar comment will be made of it,
And that supposed by the common rout
Against your yet ungalled estimation,
That may with foul intrusion enter in
And dwell upon your grave when you are dead;
For slander lives upon succession,
For ever housed where it gets possession.
Ant. E. You have prevail'd: I will depart in
quiet,
And, in despite of mirth, mean to be merry.
I know a wench of excellent discourse,
Pretty and witty, wild and yet, too, gentle:
There will we dine: this woman that I mean,
My wife,—but, I protest, without desert,—
Hath oftentimes upbraided me withal:
To her will we to dinner. [To ANGELO.] Get you
home,
And fetch the chain; by this I know 'tis-made:
Bring it, I pray you, to the Porpentine;
For there's the house: that chain will I be-
stow,
Be it for nothing but to spite my wife,
Upon mine hostess there. Good sir, make haste.
Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me,
I'll knock elsewhere, to see if they'll disdain me.
Ang. I'll meet you at that place some hour
hence.
Ant. E. Do so. This jest shall cost me some
expense. [Exeunt.
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