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Scene 1

A street before an abbey.

(Second Merchant; Angelo; Antipholus of Syracuse; Dromio of Syracuse; Adriana; Luciana; Courtezan; Lady Abbess; Duke of Ephesus; Egeon; Headsman; Officers; Messenger; Antipholus of Ephesus; Dromio of Ephesus)

The merchant and Angelo, meeting Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse, fight over the chain. Adriana, Luciana, the courtesan and others come, and Antipholus and Dromio take refuge in the priory, from whence the lady abbess refuses to deliver them. The Duke and Egeon enter, prepared for Egeon’s execution. A messenger brings tidings of the escape of Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, who have beaten up the servants and burnt Pinch’s beard. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus enter seeking justice against Adriana. The Duke tries to unravel the mystery of the conflicting testimonies. Egeon is denied by Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus. The abbess enters with the other Antipholus and Dromio, and all is explained. It turns out that the Abbess is Egeon’s long-lost wife. The Duke pardons Egeon, and all ends well. (429 lines)

Enter the Second Merchant and Angelo the goldsmith.


I am sorry, sir, that I have hind’red you,

But I protest he had the chain of me,

Though most dishonestly he doth deny it.

2. MER.

How is the man esteem’d here in the city?


Of very reverent reputation, sir,

Of credit infinite, highly belov’d,

Second to none that lives here in the city:

His word might bear my wealth at any time.

2. MER.

Speak softly, yonder, as I think, he walks.

Enter Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse again.


’Tis so; and that self chain about his neck,

Which he forswore most monstrously to have.

Good sir, draw near to me, I’ll speak to him.

Signior Antipholus, I wonder much

That you would put me to this shame and trouble,

And, not without some scandal to yourself,

With circumstance and oaths so to deny

This chain which now you wear so openly.

Beside the charge, the shame, imprisonment,

You have done wrong to this my honest friend,

Who, but for staying on our controversy,

Had hoisted sail and put to sea today.

This chain you had of me, can you deny it?


I think I had, I never did deny it.

2. MER.

Yes, that you did, sir, and forswore it too.


Who heard me to deny it or forswear it?

2. MER.

These ears of mine thou know’st did hear thee;

Fie on thee, wretch, ’tis pity that thou liv’st

To walk where any honest men resort.


Thou art a villain to impeach me thus:

I’ll prove mine honor and mine honesty

Against thee presently, if thou dar’st stand.

2. MER.

I dare, and do defy thee for a villain.

They draw.

Enter Adriana, Luciana, Courtezan, and others.


Hold, hurt him not for God sake! He is mad.

Some get within him, take his sword away:

Bind Dromio too, and bear them to my house.


Run, master, run, for God’s sake take a house!

This is some priory, in, or we are spoil’d.

Exeunt Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse to the priory.

Enter Lady Abbess Aemilia.


Be quiet, people. Wherefore throng you hither?


To fetch my poor distracted husband hence.

Let us come in, that we may bind him fast,

And bear him home for his recovery.


I knew he was not in his perfect wits.

2. MER.

I am sorry now that I did draw on him.


How long hath this possession held the man?


This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad,

And much different from the man he was;

But till this afternoon his passion

Ne’er brake into extremity of rage.


Hath he not lost much wealth by wrack of sea?

Buried some dear friend? Hath not else his eye

Stray’d his affection in unlawful love—

A sin prevailing much in youthful men,

Who give their eyes the liberty of gazing?

Which of these sorrows is he subject to?


To none of these, except it be the last,

Namely, some love that drew him oft from home.


You should for that have reprehended him.


Why, so I did.


Ay, but not rough enough.


As roughly as my modesty would let me.


Haply, in private.


And in assemblies too.


Ay, but not enough.


It was the copy of our conference:

In bed he slept not for my urging it;

At board he fed not for my urging it;

Alone, it was the subject of my theme;

In company I often glanced it;

Still did I tell him it was vild and bad.


And thereof came it that the man was mad.

The venom clamors of a jealous woman

Poisons more deadly than a mad dog’s tooth.

It seems his sleeps were hind’red by thy railing,

And thereof comes it that his head is light.

Thou say’st his meat was sauc’d with thy upbraidings:

Unquiet meals make ill digestions,

Thereof the raging fire of fever bred,

And what’s a fever but a fit of madness?

Thou say’st his sports were hind’red by thy brawls:

Sweet recreation barr’d, what doth ensue

But moody and dull melancholy,

Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair,

And at her heels a huge infectious troop

Of pale distemperatures and foes to life?

In food, in sport, and life-preserving rest

To be disturb’d, would mad or man or beast:

The consequence is then, thy jealous fits

Hath scar’d thy husband from the use of wits.


She never reprehended him but mildly,

When he demean’d himself rough, rude, and wildly.

Why bear you these rebukes, and answer not?


She did betray me to my own reproof.

Good people, enter and lay hold on him.


No, not a creature enters in my house.


Then let your servants bring my husband forth.


Neither. He took this place for sanctuary,

And it shall privilege him from your hands

Till I have brought him to his wits again,

Or lose my labor in assaying it.


I will attend my husband, be his nurse,

Diet his sickness, for it is my office,

And will have no attorney but myself,

And therefore let me have him home with me.


Be patient, for I will not let him stir

Till I have us’d the approved means I have,

With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,

To make of him a formal man again:

It is a branch and parcel of mine oath,

A charitable duty of my order,

Therefore depart, and leave him here with me.


I will not hence, and leave my husband here;

And ill it doth beseem your holiness

To separate the husband and the wife.


Be quiet and depart, thou shalt not have him.



Complain unto the Duke of this indignity.


Come go: I will fall prostrate at his feet,

And never rise until my tears and prayers

Have won his Grace to come in person hither,

And take perforce my husband from the abbess.

2. MER.

By this I think the dial points at five.

Anon I’m sure the Duke himself in person

Comes this way to the melancholy vale,

The place of death and sorry execution,

Behind the ditches of the abbey here.


Upon what cause?

2. MER.

To see a reverent Syracusian merchant,

Who put unluckily into this bay

Against the laws and statutes of this town,

Beheaded publicly for his offense.


See where they come, we will behold his death.


Kneel to the Duke before he pass the abbey.

Enter the Duke of Ephesus attended and Egeon the merchant of Syracuse, bare-head, with the Headsman and other Officers.


Yet once again proclaim it publicly,

If any friend will pay the sum for him,

He shall not die, so much we tender him.


Justice, most sacred Duke, against the abbess!


She is a virtuous and a reverend lady,

It cannot be that she hath done thee wrong.


May it please your Grace, Antipholus my husband,

Who I made lord of me and all I had,

At your important letters—this ill day

A most outrageous fit of madness took him,

That desp’rately he hurried through the street—

With him his bondman, all as mad as he—

Doing displeasure to the citizens

By rushing in their houses, bearing thence

Rings, jewels, any thing his rage did like.

Once did I get him bound, and sent him home,

Whilst to take order for the wrongs I went,

That here and there his fury had committed.

Anon, I wot not by what strong escape,

He broke from those that had the guard of him,

And with his mad attendant and himself,

Each one with ireful passion, with drawn swords,

Met us again, and madly bent on us

Chas’d us away; till raising of more aid,

We came again to bind them. Then they fled

Into this abbey, whither we pursu’d them,

And here the abbess shuts the gates on us,

And will not suffer us to fetch him out,

Nor send him forth, that we may bear him hence.

Therefore, most gracious Duke, with thy command

Let him be brought forth, and borne hence for help.


Long since thy husband serv’d me in my wars,

And I to thee engag’d a prince’s word,

When thou didst make him master of thy bed,

To do him all the grace and good I could.

Go some of you, knock at the abbey-gate,

And bid the Lady Abbess come to me:

I will determine this before I stir.

Enter a Messenger.


O mistress, mistress, shift and save yourself!

My master and his man are both broke loose,

Beaten the maids a-row, and bound the doctor,

Whose beard they have sing’d off with brands of fire,

And ever as it blaz’d, 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.


Peace, fool, thy master and his man are here,

And that is false thou dost report to us.


Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true;

I have not breath’d 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.

Cry within.

Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress; fly, be gone!


Come stand by me, fear nothing. Guard with halberds!


Ay me, it is my husband! Witness you,

That he is borne about invisible:

Even now we hous’d him in the abbey here,

And now he’s there, past thought of human reason.

Enter Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus.


Justice, most gracious Duke, O, grant me justice,

Even for the service that long since I did thee,

When I bestrid thee in the wars, and took

Deep scars to save thy life; even for the blood

That then I lost for thee, now grant me justice.


Unless the fear of death doth make me dote,

I see my son Antipholus and Dromio.


Justice, sweet prince, against that woman there!

She whom thou gav’st to me to be my wife;

That hath abused and dishonored me,

Even in the strength and height of injury:

Beyond imagination is the wrong

That she this day hath shameless thrown on me.


Discover how, and thou shalt find me just.


This day, great Duke, she shut the doors upon me,

While she with harlots feasted in my house.


A grievous fault! Say, woman, didst thou so?


No, my good lord. Myself, he, and my sister

Today did dine together: so befall my soul

As this is false he burdens me withal!


Ne’er may I look on day, nor sleep on night,

But she tells to your Highness simple truth!


O perjur’d woman! They are both forsworn:

In this the madman justly chargeth them.


My liege, I am advised what I say,

Neither disturbed with the effect of wine,

Nor heady-rash, provok’d with raging ire,

Albeit my wrongs might make one wiser mad.

This woman lock’d me out this day from dinner;

That goldsmith there, were he not pack’d 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 Porpentine,

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 perjur’d goldsmith swear me down

That I this day of him receiv’d the chain,

Which, God he knows, I saw not; for the which

He did arrest me with an officer.

I did obey, and sent my peasant home

For certain ducats; he with none return’d.

Then fairly I bespoke the officer

To go in person with me to my house.

By th’ way we met

My wife, her sister, and a rabble more

Of vild confederates. Along with them

They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean-fac’d villain,

A mere anatomy, a mountebank,

A threadbare juggler and a fortune-teller,

A needy, hollow-ey’d, sharp-looking wretch,

A living dead man. This pernicious slave,

Forsooth, took on him as a conjurer,

And gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse,

And with no face, as ’twere, outfacing me,

Cries out, I was possess’d. Then all together

They fell upon me, bound me, bore me thence,

And in a dark and dankish vault at home

There left me and my man, both bound together,

Till gnawing with my teeth my bonds in sunder,

I gain’d my freedom; and immediately

Ran hither to your Grace, whom I beseech

To give me ample satisfaction

For these deep shames and great indignities.


My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him:

That he din’d not at home, but was lock’d out.


But had he such a chain of thee, or no?


He had, my lord, and when he ran in here,

These people saw the chain about his neck.

2. MER.

Besides, I will be sworn these ears of mine

Heard you confess you had the chain of him,

After you first forswore it on the mart,

And thereupon I drew my sword on you;

And then you fled into this abbey here,

From whence I think you are come by miracle.


I never came within these abbey walls,

Nor ever didst thou draw thy sword on me;

I never saw the chain, so help me heaven;

And this is false you burden me withal.


Why, what an intricate impeach is this!

I think you all have drunk of Circe’s cup.

If here you hous’d him, here he would have been;

If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly.

You say he din’d at home; the goldsmith here

Denies that saying. Sirrah, what say you?


Sir, he din’d with her there, at the Porpentine.


He did, and from my finger snatch’d that ring.


’Tis true, my liege, this ring I had of her.


Saw’st thou him enter at the abbey here?


As sure, my liege, as I do see your Grace.


Why, this is strange. Go call the abbess hither.

I think you are all mated, or stark mad.

Exit one to the abbess.


Most mighty Duke, vouchsafe me speak a word:

Haply I see a friend will save my life,

And pay the sum that may deliver me.


Speak freely, Syracusian, what thou wilt.


Is not your name, sir, call’d Antipholus?

And is not that your bondman, Dromio?


Within this hour I was his bondman, sir,

But he, I thank him, gnaw’d in two my cords:

Now am I Dromio, and his man, unbound.


I am sure you both of you remember me.


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?


Why look you strange on me? You know me well.


I never saw you in my life till now.


O! Grief hath chang’d me since you saw me last,

And careful hours with time’s deformed hand

Have written strange defeatures in my face:

But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?




Dromio, nor thou?


No, trust me, sir, nor I.


I am sure thou dost!


Ay, sir, but I am sure I do not—and whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.


Not know my voice! O time’s extremity,

Hast thou so crack’d and splitted my poor tongue

In seven short years, that here my only son

Knows not my feeble key of untun’d 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 lamps 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.


I never saw my father in my life.


But seven years since, in Syracuse, boy,

Thou know’st we parted, but perhaps, my son,

Thou sham’st to acknowledge me in misery.


The Duke, and all that know me in the city,

Can witness with me that it is not so.

I ne’er saw Syracuse in my life.


I tell thee, Syracusian, twenty years

Have I been patron to Antipholus,

During which time he ne’er saw Syracuse:

I see thy age and dangers make thee dote.

Enter the abbess with Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse.


Most mighty Duke, behold a man much wrong’d.

All gather to see them.


I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me.


One of these men is genius to the other:

And so of these, which is the natural man,

And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?


I, sir, am Dromio, command him away.


I, sir, am Dromio, pray let me stay.


Egeon art thou not? Or else his ghost?


O my old master, who hath bound him here?


Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds,

And gain a husband by his liberty.

Speak, old Egeon, if thou be’st the man

That hadst a wife once call’d Aemilia,

That bore thee at a burden two fair sons.

O, if thou be’st the same Egeon, speak,

And speak unto the same Aemilia!


If I dream not, thou art Aemilia.

If thou art she, tell me, where is that son

That floated with thee on the fatal raft?


By men of Epidamium he and I,

And the twin Dromio, all were taken up;

But by and by rude fishermen of Corinth

By force took Dromio and my son from them,

And me they left with those of Epidamium.

What then became of them I cannot tell;

I to this fortune that you see me in.


Why, here begins his morning story right:

These two Antipholus’, these two so like,

And these two Dromios, one in semblance—

Besides her urging of her wrack at sea—

These are the parents to these children,

Which accidentally are met together.

Antipholus, thou cam’st from Corinth first?


No, sir, not I, I came from Syracuse.


Stay, stand apart, I know not which is which.


I came from Corinth, my most gracious lord—


And I with him.


Brought to this town by that most famous warrior,

Duke Menaphon, your most renowned uncle.


Which of you two did dine with me today?


I, gentle mistress.


And are not you my husband?


No, I say nay to that.


And so do I, yet did she call me so;

And this fair gentlewoman, her sister here,

Did call me brother.

To Luciana.

What I told you then

I hope I shall have leisure to make good,

If this be not a dream I see and hear.


That is the chain, sir, which you had of me.


I think it be, sir, I deny it not.


And you, sir, for this chain arrested me.


I think I did, sir, I deny it not.


I sent you money, sir, to be your bail,

By Dromio, but I think he brought it not.


No, none by me.


This purse of ducats I receiv’d from you,

And Dromio my man did bring them me.

I see we still did meet each other’s man,

And I was ta’en for him, and he for me,

And thereupon these errors are arose.


These ducats pawn I for my father here.


It shall not need, thy father hath his life.


Sir, I must have that diamond from you.


There take it, and much thanks for my good cheer.


Renowned Duke, vouchsafe to take the pains

To go with us into the abbey here,

And hear at large discoursed all our fortunes;

And all that are assembled in this place

That by this sympathized one day’s error

Have suffer’d wrong, go keep us company,

And we shall make full satisfaction.

Thirty-three years have I but gone in travail

Of you, my sons, and till this present hour

My heavy burden ne’er delivered.

The Duke, my husband, and my children both,

And you the calendars of their nativity,

Go to a gossips’ feast, and go with me—

After so long grief, such nativity!


With all my heart, I’ll gossip at this feast.

Exeunt omnes. Manent the two Dromios and two brothers.


Master, shall I fetch your stuff from shipboard?


Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou embark’d?


Your goods that lay at host, sir, in the Centaur.


He speaks to me. I am your master, Dromio.

Come go with us, we’ll look to that anon.

Embrace thy brother there, rejoice with him.

Exit with Antipholus of Ephesus.


There is a fat friend at your master’s house,

That kitchen’d me for you today at dinner:

She now shall be my sister, not my wife.


Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother:

I see by you I am a sweet-fac’d youth.

Will you walk in to see their gossiping?


Not I, sir, you are my elder.


That’s a question; how shall we try it?


We’ll draw cuts for the senior, till then, lead thou first.


Nay then thus:

We came into the world like brother and brother;

And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.



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