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The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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Enter ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up Safe at the Centaur, and the heedful slave Is wandered forth, in care 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.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

The gold that I gave to Dromio is safely hidden at the Centaur, and according to the inn host, Dromio has left there in order to find me. Given my calculations and what the host told me, there's no way I could have spoken to Dromio since I first sent him on his errands from the market. See, here he comes. 

Enter DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

How now, sir? is your merry humor altered? As you love strokes, 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?

How's it going, sir? Are you still in your funny mood? Don't joke with me again unless you want a beating. You don't know the Centaur? You received no gold? Your mistress sent you to bring me home to lunch? My house was at the Phoenix? Were you crazy that you so insanely answered me like this?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

What answer, sir? When spake I such a word?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

What answer, sir? When did I say anything like that?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Even now, even here, not half an hour since.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Just now, right here, less than half an hour ago. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I did not see you since you sent me hence,Home to the Centaur with the gold you gave me.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I haven't seen you since you sent me to the Centaur with the gold you gave me. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Villain, thou didst deny the gold’s receiptAnd told’st me of a mistress and a dinner,For which, I hope, thou felt’st I was displeased.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Villain, you just denied having received the gold from me and told me of a wife and a lunch. I hope you felt that I was displeased by that. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I am glad to see you in this merry vein.What means this jest? I pray you, master, tell me?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I'm glad to see you in this merry mood. What does this joking mean? I ask you, master, tell me. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Yea, dost thou jeer and flout me in the teeth?Think’st thou I jest? Hold, take thou that and that. [beats DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Oh, do you mock me to my face? Do you think I joke? Okay, then, take that and that. [Beats DROMIO OF SYRACUSE]

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Hold, sir, for God’s sake! Now your jest is earnest.Upon what bargain do you give it me?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Stop, sir, for God's sake! Now your jokes are in earnest. How have I earned this beating?

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. When the sun shines, let foolish gnats make sport, But creep in crannies when he hides his beams. If you will jest with me, know my aspect, And fashion your demeanor to my looks, Or I will beat this method in your sconce.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Just because sometimes I make jokes with you and chat with you, you think you can use our friendship as an excuse to mock me and make fun of me when I'm serious. When I'm kind to you, it's like the sun's out, and you can joke with me like bugs out playing, but when the sun goes down, and I'm in a bad mood, creep back into your hole. If you're going to joke with me, look at my face and behave accordingly, or I'll beat this lesson into your sconce.

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. But I pray, sir, why am I beaten?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

You call it my "sconce"? If it will make you stop battering at it, I'd rather you call it my "head." And if you keep beating me a while, I'd better get a protective screen for my head and cover it too, or else my brains will be beaten into my shoulders. But, tell me, sir, why do you beat me?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Dost thou not know?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Do you not know?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Nothing, sir, but that I am beaten.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I only know that I'm beaten. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Shall I tell you why?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Should I tell you why?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Ay, sir, and wherefore, for they say every why hath a wherefore.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Yes, sir, and for what reason, for they say that every "why" has a reason behind it. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

“Why” first: for flouting me; and then “wherefore”: forurging it the second time to me.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

First, "why": for mocking me. Then, "for what reason": for mocking me again the second time. 

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.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Was any man in history so wrongly beaten, when neither the "why" or the "for what reason" have any truth or logic in them? Well, sir, I thank you. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thank me, sir, for what?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thank me for what, sir? 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, for this something that you gave me for nothing.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, for giving me something for nothing

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I’ll make you amends next, to give you nothing for something. But say, sir, is it dinnertime?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Next time, I'll do the reverse and give you nothing for something. But, tell me, sir, is it lunchtime? 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, sir, I think the meat wants that I have.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, sir, I think the meat still needs the thing that I've gotten

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

In good time, sir, what’s that?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Quickly, sir, what's that thing?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Basting.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Basting. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, then ’twill be dry.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, then the meat will be dry. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

If it be, sir, I pray you, eat none of it.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

If it is, sir, I hope you'll eat none of it. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Your reason?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Your reason?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Lest it make you choleric and purchase me another dry basting.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

It might make you choleric and then you'll give me another painful beating. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, learn to jest in good time. There’s a time for all things.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, you'll find a good time to joke eventually. There's a right time for everything. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I durst have denied that before you were so choleric.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I would have denied that before you were so angry. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

By what rule, sir?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

How would you have denied that, sir?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as the plain bald pate of FatherTime himself.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, by a logic as plain and simple as the plain bald head of Father Time himself.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Let’s hear it.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Let's hear it. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

There’s no time for a man to recover his hair that grows bald by nature.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

There's no time for a man to recover his hair when he's naturally become bald. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

May he not do it by fine and recovery?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Can't he do it by fine and recovery?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig, and recover the lost hair of another man.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Yes, he could pay a fine to buy a wig and recover the hair that another man had lost. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why is Time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, soplentiful an excrement?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why is Time so stingy about hair when there's so much of it to go around? 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts, andwhat he hath scanted men in hair, he hath given them inwit.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Because it's also shared by beasts, and he made up for taking people's hair from them by giving them brains. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, but there’s many a man hath more hair than wit.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, there are many men with more hair than brains. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Not a man of those but he hath the wit to lose his hair.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

But all of those men have enough brains to lose their hair. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, thou didst conclude hairy men plain dealers without wit.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Ah, you just concluded that hairy men deal plainly and have no brains. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

The plainer dealer, the sooner lost. Yet he loseth it in a kind of jollity.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

The plainer they deal, the sooner they lose their hair. Yet they're happy to lose it. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

For what reason?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

For what reason?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

For two, and sound ones too.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

For two reasons, and sound ones too. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Nay, not sound, I pray you.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

No, not sound reasons, please. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Sure ones, then.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Sure reasons, then. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Nay, not sure, in a thing falsing.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

No, not sure, in such an unreliable context. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Certain ones, then.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Certain reasons, then. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Name them.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Name them. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

The one, to save the money that he spends in tiring; the other, that at dinner they should not drop in his porridge.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

First, they save the money spent to keep their hair looking nice. Second, at dinner they won't get their hair in the soup. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

You would all this time have proved there is no time for all things.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

You meant to spend this whole time proving that it's not true that there's a time for all things. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, and did, sir: namely, e'en no time to recover hair lost by nature.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Well, and I did it, sir. Namely, there's not time to recover hair that's naturally lost. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

But your reason was not substantial why there is no time to recover.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

But your reasoning did not convince me why there is no time to recover hair. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Thus I mend it: Time himself is bald and therefore, to the world’s end, will have bald followers.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I'll try again like this: Time himself is bald, and therefore, until the world ends, he will have people following him who are bald. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I knew ’twould be a bald conclusion:But soft, who wafts us yonder?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I knew you would end with an argument as empty as a bald head. But hush, who's gesturing to us over there?

Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA

ADRIANA

Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown. Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects. I am not Adriana, nor thy wife. The time was once when thou unurged wouldst vow That never words were music to thine ear, That never object pleasing in thine eye, That never touch well welcome to thy hand, That never meat sweet-savored in thy taste, Unless I spake, or looked, or touched, or carved to thee. How comes it now, my husband, O, how comes it That thou art thus estranged from thyself? Thy "self" I call it, being strange to me, That, undividable, incorporate, Am better than thy dear self’s better part. Ah, do not tear away thyself from me! For know, my love, as easy mayest thou fall A drop of water in the breaking gulf, And take unmingled thence that drop again Without addition or diminishing, As take from me thyself and not me too. How dearly would it touch thee to the quick, Shouldst thou but hear I were licentious And that this body, consecrate to thee, By ruffian lust should be contaminate! Wouldst thou not spit at me, and spurn at me, And hurl the name of husband in my face, And tear the stained skin off my harlot brow, And from my false hand cut the wedding ring, And break it with a deep-divorcing vow? I know thou canst, and therefore see thou do it. I am possessed with an adulterate blot; My blood is mingled with the crime of lust; For if we two be one, and thou play false, I do digest the poison of thy flesh, Being strumpeted by thy contagion. Keep then fair league and truce with thy true bed, I live disstained, thou undishonorèd.

ADRIANA

Yes, yes, Antipholus, look confused and frown. Some other woman has gotten your affection. Apparently I am not Adriana, nor your wife. There was once a time when, without prompting, you would vow that no words could be music to your ear, no object could please your eye, no touch could be welcome to your hand, no meat could taste sweet to your mouth, unless I spoke, or looked, or touched, or carved the meat for you. How has it happened, my husband, oh, how has it happened that you are such a stranger to yourself? Your "self," I call it, a stranger to me, when I am indivisible, united as one with you, no better than the best part of you. Oh, don't tear yourself away from me! Just know, my love, that you can separate me from you without separating me from myself too as easily as you can splash a drop of water into the sea, and then take the drop back from the sea without gaining or losing water. How much it would pain you if you only heard a whisper that I was unfaithful, and that this body, so sacred to you, had been contaminated by lust! Wouldn't you spit at me and turn on me, and remind me that you were my husband, and tear the skin off my cheating forehead, and cut the wedding ring from my false hand, and break that ring with a vow to divorce me? I know you could, and therefore I want to see you do that. Now I'm filled with adulterous blood that's mingled with lustful crimes. If we two are one, and you act falsely to me, the poison of your flesh enters mine, and your sin is contagious. You'd better stay true to me, for I am ruined when you are dishonored. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not.In Ephesus I am but two hours old,As strange unto your town as to your talk,Who, every word by all my wit being scanned,Want wit in all one word to understand.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Are you pleading with me, fair lady? I don't know you. I've been in Ephesus for only two hours. I'm as much a stranger to the town as to the subject you're talking with, which, as hard as I'm trying to follow your words, I have absolutely no ability to understand. 

LUCIANA

Fie, brother, how the world is changed with you!When were you wont to use my sister thus?She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.

LUCIANA

For shame, brother, you've changed so much! When would you ever abuse my sister like this? She sent Dromio to bring you home to lunch. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

By Dromio?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Dromio?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

By me?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Me?

ADRIANA

By thee; and this thou didst return from him:That he did buffet thee and, in his blows,Denied my house for his, me for his wife.

ADRIANA

You, and this is the report you brought back from him: that he struck you and, in his blows, denied that you live in my house or that I am your wife. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?What is the course and drift of your compact?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Did you talk to this lady, sir? What's the nature of your conspiracy? 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I, sir? I never saw her till this time.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Me, sir? I never saw her until right now. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Villain, thou liest; for even her very wordsDidst thou deliver to me on the mart.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Villain, you lie. In the market, you said to me the very words she just spoke. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I never spake with her in all my life.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I never spoke with her in my whole life. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

How can she thus then call us by our names—Unless it be by inspiration?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

How can she call us by our names then unless she's divinely inspired? 

ADRIANA

How ill agrees it with your gravity To counterfeit thus grossly with your slave, Abetting him to thwart me in my mood. Be it my wrong you are from me exempt, But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt. Come, I will fasten on this sleeve of thine. Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine, Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state, Makes me with thy strength to communicate. If aught possess thee from me, it is dross, Usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss, Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion Infect thy sap and live on thy confusion.

ADRIANA

It's not a good look for your dignity to play-act this stupidly with your slave, maddening me in my angry mood. Even if it's my fault that you've turned away from me, don't react to that fault by treating me with worse contempt. Come, I'll cling to your sleeve. You're an elm tree, my husband, and I'm a weak vine who, when I cling to you, get strength from you to express myself. Anything that is trying to steal you from me is garbage, just creeping ivy, or brambles, or invasive moss, all of which haven't been pruned so they infect the sap of your tree and flourish in your sickness. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

To me she speaks; she moves me for her theme. What, was I married to her in my dream? Or sleep I now and think I hear all this? What error drives our eyes and ears amiss? Until I know this sure uncertainty I’ll entertain the offered fallacy.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

She's speaking to me. Her story's moving. Well, was I married to her in a dream? Or am I asleep now and dreaming this? What's the cause of the confusion of our eyes and ears? Until I know what's caused this clear misunderstanding, I'll go along with it. 

LUCIANA

Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.

LUCIANA

Dromio, go tell the servants to prepare for dinner. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

O, for my beads! I cross me for a sinner. This is the fairy land. O spite of spites! We talk with goblins, owls, and sprites: If we obey them not, this will ensue: They’ll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[To himself] Oh, where are my rosary beads? I'll cross myself since I must be a sinner. This is a fairy land. Oh, horrible fate! We've been talking with goblins, owls, and spirits. If we don't obey them, they'll suck our breath out of us, or pinch us till we're black and blue. 

LUCIANA

Why prat’st thou to thyself and answer’st not?Dromio—thou, Dromio—thou snail, thou slug, thou sot.

LUCIANA

Why are you muttering to yourself and not answering? Dromio—you, Dromio—you snail, you slug, you fool. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I am transformèd, master, am I not?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I've been transformed, master, haven't I?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I think thou art in mind, and so am I.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I think your mind has been, and so has mine. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Nay, master, both in mind and in my shape.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, master, both my mind and my appearance. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Thou hast thine own form.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

You have your own appearance. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, I am an ape.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, I'm an ape. 

LUCIANA

If thou art changed to aught, ’tis to an ass.

LUCIANA

If you've been changed to anything, it's into a donkey

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

'Tis true. She rides me, and I long for grass.'Tis so. I am an ass; else it could never beBut I should know her as well as she knows me.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

It's true. She rides me like a donkey, and I long to eat grass. It's the truth. I am a donkey. Otherwise, there's no way that she could know me so well and I don't know her at all. 

ADRIANA

Come, come, no longer will I be a fool, To put the finger in the eye and weep Whilst man and master laugh my woes to scorn. Come, sir, to dinner. —Dromio, keep the gate. — Husband, I’ll dine above with you today, And shrive you of a thousand idle pranks. Sirrah, if any ask you for your master, Say he dines forth, and let no creature enter.— Come, sister.—Dromio, play the porter well.

ADRIANA

Come along now. I won't be a fool anymore to make myself cry while my husband and his servant mock my sorrows. Come, sir, to lunch. Dromio, watch over the gate. Husband, I'll dine with you today, and you can confess all of your silly pranks to me. Servant,  if anyone asks to see your master, tell them he's dining out, and don't let anyone in. Come, sister. Dromio, play the role of the porter well. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?Sleeping or waking, mad or well-advised?Known unto these, and to myself disguised!I’ll say as they say, and persever so,And in this mist at all adventures go.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

[To himself] Am I in earth, heaven, or hell? Sleeping or waking, mad or sane? I'm known to these women and not to myself! I'll do what they tell me and go along with them through this mental mist. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, shall I be porter at the gate?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, should I be the porter at the gate?

ADRIANA

Ay; and let none enter, lest I break your pate.

ADRIANA

Yes, and don't let anyone in, or I'll break your head. 

LUCIANA

Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.

LUCIANA

Come, come, Antipholus, it's already late to eat. 

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).