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The Comedy of Errors
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Act II, Scene i:
A public place.

[Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA.]

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.

ADRIANA:
Look when 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 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:
Man, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lord 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.

ADRIANA:
This servitude 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 practise to obey.

ADRIANA:
How if your husband start some other where?

LUCIANA:
Till he come home again, I would forbear.

ADRIANA:
Patience unmov'd, no marvel though she pause:
They can be meek that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruis'd with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burd'ned with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain:
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience would relieve me:
But if thou live to see like right bereft,
This fool-begg'd 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.

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 thou could'st not feel his meaning?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS:
Nay, he struck so plainly I could too well feel his blows; and
withal so doubtfully that I could scarce understand them.

ADRIANA:
But say, I pr'ythee, 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.

ADRIANA:
Horn-mad, thou villain?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS:
I mean not cuckold-mad; but, sure, he's stark mad.
When I desir'd him to come home to dinner,
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:
'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 not thy mistress; 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 bare 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.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS:
Am I so 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.]

LUCIANA:
Fie, how impatience low'reth in your face!

ADRIANA:
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.

LUCIANA:
Self-harming jealousy!—fie, beat it hence.

ADRIANA:
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
Will lose his beauty; yet the gold 'bides still
That others touch, yet often touching will
Wear gold; and no man that hath a name
By falsehood and corruption doth it shame.
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.]

The Comedy of Errors
Prev: The Comedy of Errors: Act 1, Scene 2
Next: The Comedy of Errors: Act 2, Scene 2

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