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The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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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 Syracusian 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 set in the west. There is your money that I had to keep.

FIRST MERCHANT

You'd better tell people you're from Epidamnum or your goods will be taken. This very day, a merchant from Syracuse was arrested for arriving here, and, since he can't pay his ransom, he will die at sundown according to the town's law. Here's your money I was keeping for you. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Go bear it to the Centaur, where we host, And stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee. Within this hour it will be dinnertime. Till that, I’ll view the manners of the town, Peruse 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.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Go bring it to the Centaur, where we're staying, and stay there, Dromio, till I come to you. It'll be lunchtime within the hour. Until then, I'll watch how people behave around town, look at the traders, gaze at the buildings, and then return and sleep within the inn, for I'm stiff and tired from traveling for so long. Get away, you. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Many a man would take you at your wordAnd go indeed, having so good a mean.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Many men would take you literally and get away for good, having such an easy opportunity. 

Exit DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

A trusty villain, 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 townAnd then go to my inn and dine with me?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

He's a trusty villain, sir, that often, when I'm feeling down, lightens my mood with his jokes. So, will you walk around town with me and then dine with me at my inn?

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 till bedtime. My present business calls me from you now.

FIRST MERCHANT

I've been invited, sir, to meet some merchants from whom I'm hoping to gain something. I hope you'll pardon me. Soon, at five o'clock if it pleases you, I'll meet you at the market and then accompany you until bedtime. I have to leave you now to take care of some business. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

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

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Goodbye till then. I'll let myself get lost in the streets as I wander up and down to see the city. 

FIRST MERCHANT

Sir, I commend you to your own content.

FIRST MERCHANT

Sir, I hope you do so to your heart's content. 

Exit FIRST MERCHANT exits.

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, falling 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.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

He who hopes I find my heart's content hopes for what I cannot have. In this huge world, I'm like a drop of water looking for another drop throughout the ocean. When the first drop doesn't find that second drop he's looking for, unseen, questioning, he loses track of himself. So I, in search of my mother and my brother, unhappily lose myself.

Enter DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Here comes the almanac of my true date.—What now? How chance thou art returned so soon?

[To himself] Here comes the calendar that tells me exactly how old I am.

 [To DROMIO OF EPHESUS]
 What now? How is it possible you're back so soon?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Returned so soon? Rather approach’d too late! The capon burns; the pig falls from the spit; The clock hath strucken 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 ’tis to fast and pray Are penitent for your default today.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Back so soon? More like came too late! The fish is burning, the pig is falling off the spit, the clock has struck twelve. My mistress made it one o'clock by slapping me across the cheek. She is so hot-tempered because the meat is cold. The meat is cold because you don't come home. You don't come home because you have no appetite. You have no appetite because you already ate, but we who have been fasting and praying are still fasting as if we're being remorseful for your sin of staying away from home. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

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

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Stop your long-windedness, 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 lastTo pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper?The saddler had it, sir; I kept it not.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Oh, the sixpence that you gave me last Wednesday to pay the saddler for my mistress's saddle strap? The saddler took it, sir. I didn't keep it. 

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 dar’st thou trust So great a charge from thine own custody?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I'm not in a joking mood now. Tell me and don't beat around the bush: where's the money? We're strangers here—how dare you take the risk of not keeping the money with you? 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

I pray you, jest, 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 scour your fault upon my pate. Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock, And strike you home without a messenger.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Please, sir, make jokes while you sit at lunch. I've been running from my mistress post-haste. If I go back, she'll treat me like a post indeed, for she'll take out her anger at you on my head. I think your appetite, like mine, should be your clock, and let you know when to come home without needing 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?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Come, Dromio, come, these jokes aren't appropriate right now. Save them for a happier time than this. Where's the gold I gave you to keep safe?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

To me, sir? Why, you gave no gold to me!

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.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Come on, you rascal, quit this foolishness, and tell me how you've done what I commanded you to do. 

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 for you.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

My only command was to fetch you from the market and bring you back to your house, the Phoenix, sir, for lunch. My mistress and her sister are waiting for you. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Now, as I am a Christian, answer me In what safe place you have bestowed my money, Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours That stands on tricks when I am undisposed. Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Now, as I am a Christian, answer me in what safe place you have left my money, or I will break that chattering head of yours that's playing tricks on me when I'm unwell. Where is the thousand marks you got from 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.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

I have some marks of yours on my head, some of my mistress's marks on my shoulders, but not a thousand marks between the two of you. If I should pay you those again, sir, you might not take it so well. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

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

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Your mistress's marks? What mistress, you rascal, do you have?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Your worship’s wife, my mistress at the Phoenix,She that doth fast till you come home to dinnerAnd prays that you will hie you home to dinner.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Your wife, sir, my mistress at the Phoenix, she who's fasting until you come home to lunch and prays you will hurry home to lunch. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What, wilt thou flout me thus unto my face,Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave. [beats DROMIO OF EPHESUS]

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What, will you mock me to my face like this when I told you not to? There, take that, you rascal. [Beats DROMIO OF EPHESUS]

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

What mean you, sir? For God’s sake, hold your hands.Nay, an you will not, sir, I’ll take my heels.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

What do you mean, sir? For God's sake, keep your hands off me. And if you won't, sir, I'll run for it. 

Exit DROMIO OF EPHESUS

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Upon my life, by some device or other The villain is o'erraught of all my money. They say this town is full of cozenage, 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 suchlike 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.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I'll be damned! Somehow or other, the villain's been tricked into giving up all my money. They say this town is full of tricksters, like nimble jugglers that deceive people's eyes, sorcerers that perform dark magic to control people's minds, soul-killing witches that cast spells to deform people's bodies, disguised cheaters, fast-talking quack salesmen, and many similar freely sinning folk. If that's proved to be true, I'll get out of here as soon as I can. I'll go the Centaur to find this rascal. I greatly fear my money is not safe. 

Exit

The comedy of errors
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Dan rubins
About the Translator: Dan Rubins

Dan Rubins is currently completing his MA in Shakespeare Studies from King's College London/Shakespeare's Globe and will be pursuing an MA in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a BA in English from Yale University. His Masters dissertation focuses on announcements of death in early modern drama, and other research areas of interest include Shakespeare in transformative contexts (prisons, schools, etc.) and rhyme in Shakespeare's dramatic texts. In addition to teaching and learning, he also writes theatre reviews (often of Shakespeare productions), composes musical theatre (frequently with Shakespearean inspirations), and sings in choirs (occasionally in Shakespearean choral settings).