A line-by-line translation

The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA

ADRIANA

Neither my husband nor the slave returned That in such haste I sent to seek his master? Sure, Luciana, it is two o'clock.

ADRIANA

Neither my husband nor my servant who I sent running to find his master have returned? Luciana, it's already 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.

LUCIANA

Perhaps some merchant has invited him, and he's gone to lunch somewhere from the market. Remember that men are masters of their own freedom. Time is their only master, and when they think it's the right time they come and go as they wish. Let's eat and not fret. 

ADRIANA

Why should their liberty than ours be more?

ADRIANA

Why should men have more freedom than women?

LUCIANA

Because their business still lies out o' door.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

Look when I serve him so, he takes it ill.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

O, know he is the bridle of your will.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

There’s none but asses will be bridled so.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Why, headstrong liberty is lashed 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 wingèd 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, Endued with intellectual sense and souls, Of more preeminence than fish and fowls, Are masters to their females, and their lords. Then let your will attend on their accords.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

This servitude makes you to keep unwed.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Not this, but troubles of the marriage bed.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

But, were you wedded, you would bear some sway.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Ere I learn love, I’ll practice to obey.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

How if your husband start some otherwhere?

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Till he come home again, I would forbear.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

Patience unmoved! No marvel though she pause; 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 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-begged patience in thee will be left.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Well, I will marry one day, but to try.Here comes your man. Now is your husband nigh.

LUCIANA

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Enter DROMIO OF EPHESUS

ADRIANA

Say, is your tardy master now at hand?

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Nay, he’s at two hands with me, and that my two ears can witness.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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ADRIANA

Say, didst thou speak with him? Know’st thou his mind?

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Ay, ay, he told his mind upon mine ear.Beshrew his hand, I scarce could understand it.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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LUCIANA

Spake he so doubtfully thou couldst not feel his meaning?

LUCIANA

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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.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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ADRIANA

But say, I prithee, is he coming home?It seems he hath great care to please his wife.

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Why, mistress, sure my master is horn mad.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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ADRIANA

Horn mad, thou villain!

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF EPHESUS

I mean not cuckold mad, But sure he is stark mad. When I desired him to come home to dinner, He asked me for a thousand marks in gold. “'Tis dinnertime,” quoth I. “My gold,” quoth he. “Your meat doth burn,” quoth I. “My gold,” quoth he. “Will you come?” quoth I. “My gold,” quoth he. “Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain?” “The pig,” quoth I, “is burned.” “My gold,” quoth he. “My mistress, sir,” quoth I. “Hang up thy mistress! I know not thy mistress. Out on thy mistress!”

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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LUCIANA

Quoth who?

LUCIANA

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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.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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ADRIANA

Go back again, thou slave, and fetch him home.

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Go back again and be new beaten home?For God’s sake, send some other messenger.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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ADRIANA

Back, slave, or I will break thy pate across.

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF EPHESUS

And he will bless that cross with other beating.Between you, I shall have a holy head.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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ADRIANA

Hence, prating peasant! Fetch thy master home.

ADRIANA

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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.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

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Exit DROMIO OF EPHESUS

LUCIANA

Fie, how impatience loureth in your face.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

His company must do his minions grace, Whilst I at home starve for a merry look. Hath homely age th' 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 marred, 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 ruined? Then is he the ground Of my defeatures. My decayèd 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.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Self-harming jealousy, fie, beat it hence.

LUCIANA

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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 promised me a chain. Would that alone o' love he would detain, So he would keep fair quarter with his bed. I see the jewel best enamelèd Will lose his beauty. Yet the gold bides still That others touch, and often touching will Wear gold; yet 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.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

How many fond fools serve mad jealousy!

LUCIANA

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Exeunt

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).