Table of Contents

ACT I 1

ACT I SCENE I. A hall in SOLINUS'S palace. 1

ACT I SCENE II. The Mart. 1

ACT II 1

ACT II SCENE I. The house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus. 1

ACT II SCENE II. A public place. 1

ACT III 1

ACT III SCENE I. Before the house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus. 1

ACT III SCENE II. The same. 1

ACT IV.. 1

ACT IV SCENE I. A public place. 1

ACT IV SCENE II. The house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus. 1

ACT IV SCENE III. A public place. 1

ACT IV SCENE IV. A public place. 1

ACT V.. 1

ACT V SCENE I. A street before a priory. 1

 

 



ACT I

ACT I SCENE I. A hall in SOLINUS'S palace.

 

Enter SOLINUS [of Ephesus], EGEON [merchant of Syracuse], gaoler, officers, and other attendants

 

EGEON

Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall
And, by the doom of death, end woes and all.

 

SOLINUS

Merchant of Syracuse, plead no more.
I am not partial (
inclined) to infringe our laws.
The enmity and discord which of late
Sprang from the rancorous outrage of your Duke
To merchants, our well-dealing (
honest) countrymen,
Who, wanting (
lacking) guilders (money) to redeem their lives,
Have (
enmity and discord have) seal'd his rigorous statutes with their bloods,
Exclude [
originally excludes – subject/verb disagreement is common in Shakespeare] all pity from our threatening looks,
For, since the mortal and intestine jars (
internal discord)
'Twixt thy seditious (
turbulent) countrymen and us,
It hath in solemn synods (
parliaments) been decreed,
Both by the Syracusans and ourselves,
To admit no traffic to our adverse (
opposed) towns. Nay, more,
If any born at Ephesus be seen
At any Syracusan marts and fairs,
Again, if any Syracusan born
Come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies,
His goods confiscate (
forfeit) to the Duke's dispose,
Unless a thousand marks be levied
To quit the penalty and to ransom him.
Thy substance (
present wealth), valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks.
Therefore, by law thou art condemned to die.

 

EGEON

Yet, this my comfort. When your words are done,
My woes end likewise (
also) with the evening sun.

 

SOLINUS

Well, Syracusan, say in brief the cause
Why thou departed'st from thy native home
And for what cause thou camest to Ephesus.

 

EGEON

A heavier task could not have been imposed
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable.
Yet, that the world may witness that my end
Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence,
I 'll utter what my sorrow gives me leave.
In Syracusa was I born and wed
Unto a woman, happy but for me
And by me had not our hap (
luck) been bad.
With her I lived in joy. Our wealth increased
By prosperous voyages I often made
To Epidamnum till my factor's death (
death of my agent)
And the great care of goods at random left
Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse,
From whom my absence was not six months old
Before herself, almost at fainting under
The pleasing punishment (
pregnancy) that women bear,
Had made provision for her following me
And soon and safe arrived where I was.
There had she not been long but she became
A joyful mother of two goodly sons,
And, which was strange, the one so like the other
As could not be distinguish'd but by names.
That very hour, and in the self-same inn,
A meaner (
poorer) woman was delivered
Of such a burden, male twins, both alike.
Those,--for their parents were exceeding poor,--
I bought and brought up to attend my sons.
My wife, not meanly (
a little) proud of two such boys,
Made daily motions for our home return.
Unwilling, I agreed. Alas! Too soon!
We came aboard.
A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd
Before the always wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic instance (
sign) of our harm [to come],
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 (
dreadful certainty) of immediate death
Which, though myself would gladly have embraced,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Weeping before for what she saw must come,
And piteous [
com]plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourn'd for fashion (
in imitation of others), ignorant what to fear,
Forced me to seek delays for them and me.
And this it was, for other means was none.
The sailors sought for safety by our [
life]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 disposed [
of], my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fasten'd ourselves at either end [
of] the mast
And, floating straight, obedient to the stream (
current),
Was (
were – disagreement not unusual in Shakespeare) carried towards Corinth, as we thought.
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispersed those vapors that offended us,
And, by the benefit of his wished light (
sunshine),
The seas wax'd (
began to become) calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain (
at full speed) to us,
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this (
from opposite directions).
But ere they came,--O, let me say no more!
Gather the sequel by that [
which] went before.

 

SOLINUS

Nay, forward, old man. Do not break off so,
For we may pity, though not pardon, thee.

 

EGEON

O, had the gods done so, I had not now
Worthily (
rightly) term'd them merciless to us,
For, ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues (
thirty miles),
We were encounterd by a mighty rock,
Which, being violently borne upon,
Our helpful [
cherished] 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 (
the ship’s 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 (
luck) to save,
Gave healthful welcome to their shipwreck'd guests
And would have [
be]reft the fishers of their prey
Had not their bark been very slow of sail,
And, therefore, homeward did they bend their course.
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 favor to dilate (
speak) at full
What hath befall’n of them and thee till now.

 

EGEON

My youngest boy, and, yet, my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive
After his brother and importuned me
That his attendant – so his case was like
[
be]Reft (robbed) of his brother but retained his name--
Might bear him company in the quest of him
Whom, whilst I labored of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I loved.
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus.
Hopeless to find, yet, loath to leave unsought (
unexplored)
Or (
either … or) that or any place that harbors men,
But here must end the story of my life,
And happy were I in my timely (
occurring at a fitting time) death
Could all my travels warrant (
assure) me they live.

 

SOLINUS

Hapless (unlucky) Egeon, whom the fates have mark'd
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 (
even if they wanted to) , may not disannul (cancel),
My soul would sue as advocate for thee.
But, though thou art adjudged to the death
And passed sentence may not be recall'd
But to our honor's great disparagement (
discredit),
Yet, I will favor thee in what I can.
Therefore, merchant, I 'll limit thee this day
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.

 

GAOLER

I will, my lord.

 

EGEON

Hopeless and helpless doth Egeon wend
But to procrastinate (
postpone) his lifeless end.

 

Exeunt


ACT I SCENE II. The Mart.

 

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse, DROMIO of Syracuse, and first merchant

 

FIRST MERCHANT

Therefore, give out you are of Epidamnum,
Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.
This very day a Syracusan 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 sets in the west.
There is your money that I had to keep.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Go bear it to the Centaur (tavern), where we host,
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 (
observe) 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.

 

DROMIO of SYRACUSE

Many a man would take you at your word
And go, indeed, having so good a means (
financial support).

 

Exit

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

A trusty villain (peasant -  jocularly), Sir, that very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humor with his merry jests.
What, will you walk with me about the town
And then go to my inn and dine with me?

 

FIRST MERCHANT

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 afterward consort you (
keep you company) till bed-time.
My present business calls me from you now.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Farewell till then. I will go lose myself
And wander up and down to view the city.

 

FIRST MERCHANT

Sir, I commend you to your own content.

 

Exit

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

He that commends me to mine own content
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, failing 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

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

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

Return'd so soon! Rather approach'd too late.
The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit,
The clock hath stricken (
struck) 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,
But we that know what 't is to fast and pray
Are penitent for your default today.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Stop in your wind, Sir. Tell me this, I pray.
Where have you left the money that I gave you?

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

O, sixpence that I had o' Wednesday last
To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper?
The saddler had it, Sir. I kept it not.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

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

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

I pray you, 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 (
appetite), like mine, should be your clock
And strike you home without a messenger.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of season.
Reserve them till a merrier hour than this.
Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

To me, Sir? Why, you gave no gold to me.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Come on, sir knave, have done your foolishness
And tell me how thou hast disposed thy charge.

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

My charge was but to fetch you from the mart
Home to your house, the Phoenix, Sir, to dinner.
My mistress and her sister stays (
wait) for you.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

In what safe place you have bestow'd my money,
Or I shall break that merry sconce (
head) of yours
That stands on tricks when I am undisposed.
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

I have some marks of yours upon my pate,
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.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Thy mistress' marks? What mistress, slave, hast thou?

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

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 (
hurry) you home to dinner.

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

What, wilt thou flout me thus unto my face,
Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave.

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

What mean you, Sir? For God's sake, hold your hands!
Nay, and you will not, Sir, I'll take [
to] my heels.

 

Exit

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Upon my life, by some device or other
The villain (
peasant - a jest) is o'er-raught (cheated) of all my money.
They say this town is full of cozenage (
cheating),
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.

 

Exit

ACT II                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

ACT II SCENE I. The house of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.

 

Enter ADRIANA, wife of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, and LUCIANA, her sister

 

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 (often takes them away from home).

 

ADRIANA

Look, when[ever] 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 (punished) 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.
Men, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lords of the wide world and wild watery seas,
Indued (
endowed) with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more preeminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females and their (
the females’) lords.
Then, let your will attend on their accords (
assent).

 

ADRIANA

This servitude (servility) 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 practice to obey.

 

ADRIANA

How if your husband start some other where?

 

LUCIANA

Till he come home again, I would forbear.

 

ADRIANA

Patience unmoved! No marvel though she pause (hesitate before marrying).
They can be meek that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry,
But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
As much or more would we ourselves complain.
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience wouldst relieve me,
But, if thou live to see like right bereft (
to experience a similar betrayal of  your marriage),
This fool-begg'd (
foolishly urged) 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.
(
he has been beating me with both hands)

 

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(ambiguously), thou couldst not feel his meaning?

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

Nay, he struck so plainly, I could too well feel his
blows, and withal so doubtfully (
dreadfully) that I could scarce
understand them.

 

ADRIANA

But say, I prithee, 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 (enraged and ready to attack like a ram).

 

ADRIANA

Horn-mad, thou villain!

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

I mean not cuckold-mad,
But, sure, he is stark mad.
When I desired him to come home to dinner,
He ask'd me for a thousand marks in gold.
''’T is 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 thy mistress not. 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 bore 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! Fetch thy master home.

(she beats Dromio)

 

DROMIO of EPHESUS

Am I so round (uncompromising) with you as you with me
That, like a football, you do spurn (
kick) 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 (to Adriana)

Fie, how impatience loureth (frowns) in your face!

 

ADRIANA

His company must do his minions (mistresses) 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 (
sagacious) discourse be marr'd,
Unkindness blunts it more than marble hard.
Do their gay vestments (
clothing) his affections bait (attract)?
That's not my fault. He 's master of my state [
of dress].
What ruins are in me that can be found
By him not ruin'd? Then is he the ground (
cause)
Of my defeatures (
disfigurement). My decayed fair (beauty)
A sunny look of his (
by him) would soon repair,
But, too unruly (
unfaithful) deer, he breaks the pale (enclosure)
And feeds [
away] from home. Poor I am but his stale (laughing-stock).

 

LUCIANA

Self-harming jealousy! Fie, beat it hence!

 

ADRIANA

Unfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispense.
(
since she is unfeeling, Luciana can overlook wrongs)
I know his eye doth homage otherwhere,
Or else what lets it but he would be here?
(
what stops him from being here?)
Sister, you know he promised me a chain,
Would that alone, alone he would detain
So he would keep fair quarter with his bed!
(
he can keep his chain so long as he is faithful)
I see the jewel best enamelled
Will lose his beauty, yet, the gold [
a]bides still (always)
That others touch, and often touching will
Wear gold, and no man that hath a [
good] name
By falsehood and corruption doth it shame.
(
gold will not tarnish regardless of falsehood and corruption)
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 II. A public place.

 

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up
Safe at the Centaur, and the heedful (
attentive) slave
Is wander'd forth in care (
with the intention) 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 humor alter'd?
As you love strokes (
being beaten), so jest with me again.
You know no Centaur? You received 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 displeased.

 

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 (mock) 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 (
intrude upon my private time).
When the sun shines, let foolish gnats make sport
But creep in crannies when he (
it) hides his (its) beams.
If you will jest with me, know my aspect (
appearance of heavenly body)
And fashion your demeanor to my looks,
Or I will beat this method in your sconce (
head or “protection for the head”).

 

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.
(
when his head has been beaten down into his chest)
But, I pray, Sir, why am I beaten?

 

ANTIPHOLUS of SYRACUSE

Dost thou (do you) 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?