Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > The Comedy of Errors
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Comedy of Errors
 
Act III. Scene II.
 
The Same.
 
Enter LUCIANA and ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse.
  Luc.  And may it be that you have quite forgot
  A husband’s office? Shall, Antipholus,
Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?        5
  Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
  Then, for her wealth’s sake use her with more kindness:
Or, if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;
  Muffle your false love with some show of blindness;        10
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
  Be not thy tongue thy own shame’s orator;
Look sweet, speak fair, become disloyalty;
  Apparel vice like virtue’s harbinger;
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted;        15
  Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
Be secret-false: what need she be acquainted?
  What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
’Tis double wrong to truant with your bed,
  And let her read it in thy looks at board:        20
Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
  Ill deeds are doubled with an evil word.
Alas! poor women, make us but believe,
  Being compact of credit, that you love us;
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;        25
  We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
  Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife:
’Tis holy sport to be a little vain,
  When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.        30
Ant. S.  Sweet mistress,—what your name is else, I know not,
  Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine,—
Less in your knowledge and your grace you show not
  Than our earth’s wonder; more than earth divine.
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak:        35
  Lay open to my earthy-gross conceit,
Smother’d in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
  The folded meaning of your words’ deceit.
Against my soul’s pure truth why labour you
  To make it wander in an unknown field?        40
Are you a god? would you create me new?
  Transform me then, and to your power I’ll yield.
But if that I am I, then well I know
  Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
Nor to her bed no homage do I owe:        45
  Far more, far more, to you do I decline.
O! train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
  To drown me in thy sister flood of tears:
Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote:
  Spread o’er the silver waves thy golden hairs,        50
And as a bed I’ll take them and there lie;
  And, in that glorious supposition think
He gains by death that hath such means to die:
  Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink!
  Luc.  What! are you mad, that you do reason so?        55
  Ant. S.  Not mad, but mated; how, I do not know.
  Luc.  It is a fault that springeth from your eye.
  Ant. S.  For gazing on your beams, fair sun, being by.
  Luc.  Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.
  Ant. S.  As good to wink, sweet love, as look on night.        60
  Luc.  Why call you me love? call my sister so.
  Ant. S.  Thy sister’s sister.
  Luc.        That’s my sister.
  Ant. S.        No;
It is thyself, mine own self’s better part;        65
Mine eye’s clear eye, my dear heart’s dearer heart;
My food, my fortune, and my sweet hope’s aim,
My sole earth’s heaven, and my heaven’s claim.
  Luc.  Al this my sister is, or else should be.
  Ant. S.  Call thyself sister, sweet, for I aim thee.        70
Thee will I love and with thee lead my life:
Thou hast no husband yet nor I no wife.
Give me thy hand.
  Luc.        O! soft, sir; hold you still:
I’ll fetch my sister, to get her good will.  [Exit.        75
 
Enter DROMIO of Syracuse, hastily.
  Ant. S.  Why, how now, Dromio! where run’st thou so fast?
  Dro. S.  Do you know me, sir? am I Dromio? am I your man? am I myself?
  Ant. S.  Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thyself.
  Dro. S.  I am an ass, I am a woman’s man and besides myself.        80
  Ant. S.  What woman’s man? and how besides thyself?
  Dro. S.  Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.
  Ant. S.  What claim lays she to thee?
  Dro. S.  Marry, sir, such claim as you would lay to your horse; and she would have me as a beast: not that, I being a beast, she would have me; but that she, being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
  Ant. S.  What is she?        85
  Dro. S.  A very reverent body; aye, such a one as a man may not speak of, without he say, ‘Sir-reverence.’ I have but lean luck in the match, and yet is she a wondrous fat marriage.
  Ant. S.  How dost thou mean a fat marriage?
  Dro. S.  Marry, sir, she’s the kitchen-wench, and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to but to make a lamp of her and run from her by her own light. I warrant her rags and the tallow in them will burn a Poland winter; if she lives till doomsday, she’ll burn a week longer than the whole world.
  Ant. S.  What complexion is she of?
  Dro. S.  Swart, like my shoe, but her face nothing like so clean kept: for why she sweats; a man may go over shoes in the grime of it.        90
  Ant. S.  That’s a fault that water will mend.
  Dro. S.  No, sir, ’tis in grain; Noah’s flood could not do it.
  Ant. S.  What’s her name?
  Dro. S.  Nell, sir; but her name and three quarters,—that is, an ell and three quarters,—will not measure her from hip to hip.
  Ant. S.  Then she bears some breadth?        95
  Dro. S.  No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her.
  Ant. S.  In what part of her body stands Ireland?
  Dro. S.  Marry, sir, in her buttocks: I found it out by the bogs.
  Ant. S.  Where Scotland?
  Dro. S.  I found it by the barrenness; hard in the palm of the hand.        100
  Ant. S.  Where France?
  Dro. S.  In her forehead; armed and reverted, making war against her heir.
  Ant. S.  Where England?
  Dro. S.  I looked for the chalky cliffs, but I could find no whiteness in them: but I guess it stood in her chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
  Ant. S.  Where Spain?        105
  Dro. S.  Faith, I saw not; but I felt it hot in her breath.
  Ant. S.  Where America, the Indies?
  Dro. S.  O, sir! upon her nose, all o’er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain, who sent whole armadoes of caracks to be ballast at her nose.
  Ant. S.  Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
  Dro. S.  O, sir! I did not look so low. To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid claim to me; call’d me Dromio; swore I was assured to her; told me what privy marks I had about me, as the mark of my shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I, amazed, ran from her as a witch.        110
And, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith and my heart of steel,
She had transform’d me to a curtal dog and made me turn i’ the wheel.
  Ant. S.  Go hie thee presently post to the road:
An if the wind blow any way from shore,
I will not harbour in this town to-night:        115
If any bark put forth, come to the mart,
Where I will walk till thou return to me.
If every one knows us and we know none,
’Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack, and be gone.
  Dro. S.  As from a bear a man would run for life,        120
So fly I from her that would be my wife.  [Exit.
  Ant. S.  There’s none but witches do inhabit here,
And therefore ’tis high time that I were hence.
She that doth call me husband, even my soul
Doth for a wife abhor; but her fair sister,        125
Possess’d with such a gentle sovereign grace,
Of such enchanting presence and discourse,
Hath almost made me traitor to myself:
But, lest myself be guilty to self-wrong,
I’ll stop mine ears against the mermaid’s song.        130
 
Enter ANGELO.
  Ang.  Master Antipholus!
  Ant. S.  Ay, that’s my name.
  Ang.  I know it well, sir: lo, here is the chain.
I thought to have ta’en you at the Porpentine;        135
The chain unfinish’d made me stay thus long.
  Ant. S.  What is your will that I shall do with this?
  Ang.  What please yourself, sir: I have made it for you.
  Ant. S.  Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not.
  Ang.  Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you have.        140
Go home with it and please your wife withal;
And soon at supper-time I’ll visit you,
And then receive my money for the chain.
  Ant. S.  I pray you, sir, receive the money now,
For fear you ne’er see chain nor money more.        145
  Ang.  You are a merry man, sir: fare you well.  [Exit, leaving the chain.
  Ant. S.  What I should think of this, I cannot tell:
But this I think, there’s no man is so vain
That would refuse so fair an offer’d chain.
I see, a man here needs not live by shifts,        150
When in the streets he meets such golden gifts.
I’ll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay:
If any ship put out, then straight away.  [Exit.
 
 
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