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The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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Enter ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS, DROMIO OF EPHESUS, ANGELO, and BALTHASAR

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all; My wife is shrewish when I keep not hours. Say that I lingered with you at your shop To see the making of her carcanet, And that tomorrow you will bring it home. But here’s a villain that would face me down He met me on the mart, and that I beat him And charged him with a thousand marks in gold, And that I did deny my wife and house.— Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by this?

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Good sir Angelo, you must let us all go. My wife gets in a bad mood when I don't come home on time. Let's say that I was waiting at your shop to see her necklace made, and that you'll bring it to my house tomorrow. But this man's a villain that insists that he met me at the market, and claims that I beat him, asked him for a thousand gold marks, and told him I didn't have any wife or house. 

[To DROMIO OF EPHESUS] You drunkard, you, what did you mean by that?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know.That you beat me at the mart I have your hand to show;If the skin were parchment and the blows you gave were ink,Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Say what you want, sir, but I know what happened to me. I can prove you beat me at the market because of the mark of your hand on me. It's like my skin was parchment, and the blows you gave me in the beating were ink: anyone can read the marks on me in your own handwriting and know what happened. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

I think thou art an ass.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

I think you're an ass

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Marry, so it doth appearBy the wrongs I suffer and the blows I bear.I should kick being kicked; and, being at that pass,You would keep from my heels and beware of an ass.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Well, it looks like it, given how I suffer and how much I'm beaten up. I should kick back when I'm kicked. If I did that, you'd keep away from my heels just like you'd keep away from the legs of an ass. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You’re sad, Signior Balthasar. Pray God our cheerMay answer my good will and your good welcome here.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You look very serious, Balthasar, sir. I hope our food will show my friendliness and how much you're welcome here. 

BALTHASAR

I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your welcome dear.

BALTHASAR

I care less about the food you serve and more about the warm welcome you give. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

O Signior Balthasar, either at flesh or fishA table full of welcome make scarce one dainty dish.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Oh, Balthasar, whether you want meat or fish, all the welcome in the world doesn't cook the meals. 

BALTHASAR

Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl affords.

BALTHASAR

Good meat, sir, is cheap. Even the poorest can buy that. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

And welcome more common, for that’s nothing but words.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Welcome's cheap, too. It's only words. 

BALTHASAR

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.

BALTHASAR

A little celebration and a warm welcome make for a merry feast. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Ay, to a niggardly host and more sparing guest.But though my cates be mean, take them in good part.Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart.But soft! My door is lock’d. [to DROMIO] Go, bid them let us in.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Sure, to a stingy host and an easygoing guest. Well, even though my food's not much, eat your fill. I hope you'll be cheerier, but you couldn't be warmer. But wait! My door is locked.

[To DROMIO] Go, tell them to let us in.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Maud, Bridget, Marian, Ciceley, Gillian, Ginn!

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian, Ginn! 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] Mome, malt-horse, capon, coxcomb, idiot, patch!Either get thee from the door or sit down at the hatch.Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou call’st for such storeWhen one is one too many? Go, get thee from the door.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside the house] Fool, horse, eunuch, simpleton, idiot, clown! Either get away from the door or sit down at the gate. Are you summoning young women by magic, or why else do you call for so many when one is already too many for you? Go, get away from the door. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

What patch is made our porter? My master stays in the street.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

How has our porter become a clown? My master's waiting in the street. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] Let him walk from whence he came, lest he catch cold on ’s feet.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] He can go back where he came from so he doesn't catch cold. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Who talks within there? Ho, open the door.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Who's talking from inside there? Hey, open the door. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] Right, sir, I’ll tell you when an you tell me wherefore.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] Sure, sir, I'll tell you when if you tell me why. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Wherefore? For my dinner. I have not dined today.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Why? For my dinner. I haven't dined today. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] Nor today here you must not. Come again when you may.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] Well, you won't dine here today. Come again when you're free. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

What art thou that keep’st me out from the house I owe?

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Who do you think you are, keeping me out from my own house?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] The porter for this time, sir, and my name is Dromio.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] I'm the porter for now, sir, and my name is Dromio. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

O villain, thou hast stolen both mine office and my name!The one ne'er got me credit, the other mickle blame.If thou hadst been Dromio today in my place,Thou wouldst have changed thy face for a name, or thy name for an ass.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Oh, villain, you've stolen both my job and my name! My name's never had a great reputation, but I never fell short of my responsibilities in my job. If you had been Dromio today instead of me, you would have traded your job for a reputation, or your name for an ass. 

LUCE

[within] What a coil is there, Dromio! Who are those atthe gate?

LUCE

[From inside] What a ruckus, Dromio! Who are those people at the gate?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Let my master in, Luce.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Let my master in, Luce. 

LUCE

[within] Faith, no, he comes too late,And so tell your master.

LUCE

[From inside] God, no, he comes too late, and tell your master that. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

O Lord, I must laugh.Have at you with a proverb: shall I set in my staff?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Oh Lord, I must laugh. Here's a proverb for you: shall I plant my staff here and wait?

LUCE

[within] Have at you with another: that’s—When, can youtell?

LUCE

[From inside] Here's another proverb: When, can you tell?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] If thy name be called “Luce,” Luce, thou hast answered him well.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] If your name is "Luce," Luce, you've answered him cleverly. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Do you hear, you minion? You’ll let us in, I hope?

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Do you hear us, you villain? You'll let us in, I hope?

LUCE

[within] I thought to have asked you.

LUCE

[From inside] I thought that was a question for you. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] And you said no.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] Well, you said no already. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

So, come, help. Well struck! There was blow for blow.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Come bang at the door. Just like that! That was one blow on the door for every blow they aimed at us with their words. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Thou baggage, let me in.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You riff-raff, let me in. 

LUCE

[within) Can you tell for whose sake?

LUCE

[From inside] Can you say for whose sake we should let you in?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Master, knock the door hard.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Master, knock on the door hard. 

LUCE

[within] Let him knock till it ache.

LUCE

[From inside] Let him knock until his hand aches. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You’ll cry for this, minion, if I beat the door down.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You'll be sorry for this, woman, if I knock down the door. 

LUCE

[within] What needs all that, and a pair of stocks in the town?

LUCE

[From inside] Why should I feel threatened when you'll be put in the stocks in town?

ADRIANA

[within] Who is that at the door that keeps all this noise?

ADRIANA

[From inside] Who is that at the door making all this noise?


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] By my troth, your town is troubled with unrulyboys.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] It seems to me that a gang of unruly boys has come to town. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Are you there, wife? You might have come before.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Wife, are you there? You could have come sooner. 

ADRIANA

[within] Your wife, sir knave? Go, get you from the door.

ADRIANA

[From inside] Your wife, you villain? Go, get away from the door. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

If you went in pain, master, this knave would go sore.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

If you leave angrily, master, this servant will be beaten sore for it. 

ANGELO

Here is neither cheer, sir, nor welcome. We would fain have either.

ANGELO

There's neither cheer nor welcome here, sir. It would be great to have either. 

BALTHASAR

In debating which was best, we shall part with neither.

BALTHASAR

We were debating which was best, but we'll leave having had neither. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

They stand at the door, master. Bid them welcome hither.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

They're waiting at the door, master. Tell them they're welcome here. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

There is something in the wind, that we cannot get in.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

There's something in the wind preventing us from getting in. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

You would say so, master, if your garments were thin.Your cake there is warm within; you stand here in the cold.It would make a man mad as a buck to be so bought and sold.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

If your clothes were thin, you'd be right to say there was something in the wind, master. Your cake is warm inside and you're out here standing in the cold. It would make a man as angry as a bull to be toyed with like this. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Go, fetch me something: I’ll break ope the gate.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Go, get me something and I'll break open the gate. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] Break any breaking here, and I’ll break your knave’s pate.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] If you break anything, I'll break your foolish head. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are butwind,Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

I could break a word with you, sir, and words are only wind. Yeah, I'd break a word in your face, or otherwise I'd break wind from my backside. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] It seems thou want’st breaking. Out upon thee,hind!

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] Oh, well. now you're asking for someone to break you. Get out of here, servant! 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Here’s too much “out upon thee!” I pray thee, let me in.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Enough with your "get out of here!" I beg of you, let me in. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[within] Ay, when fowls have no feathers and fish have no fin.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

[From inside] Sure, when birds have no feathers and fish have no fins. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Well, I’ll break in. Go, borrow me a crow.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Well, I'll break in. Go, borrow a crowbar for me. 

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

A crow without feather? Master, mean you so?For a fish without a fin, there’s a fowl without a feather.— [To DROMIO OF SYRACUSE] If a crow help us in, sirrah, we’ll pluck a crow together.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

A crow without feathers? Master, is that what you mean? We don't have a fish without a fin, but that's a bird without feathers. 

[To DROMIO OF SYRACUSE] If a crowbar helps us in, sir, we'll get this settled once and for all. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Go, get thee gone. Fetch me an iron crow.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Go, get out of here. Fetch me an iron crowbar. 

BALTHASAR

Have patience, sir. O, let it not be so. Herein you war against your reputation, And draw within the compass of suspect Th' unviolated honor of your wife. Once this: your long experience of her wisdom, Her sober virtue, years, and modesty Plead on her part some cause to you unknown. And doubt not, sir, but she will well excuse Why at this time the doors are made against you. Be ruled by me; depart in patience, And let us to the Tiger all to dinner, And about evening come yourself alone To know the reason of this strange restraint. If by strong hand you offer to break in Now in the stirring passage of the day, A vulgar comment will be made of it; And that supposèd by the common rout Against your yet ungallèd estimation That may with foul intrusion enter in And dwell upon your grave when you are dead; For slander lives upon succession, Forever housèd where it gets possession.

BALTHASAR

Have patience, sir. Oh, don't let it come to this. You're putting your reputation at risk and your wife's pure honor will be the subject of suspicion and gossip. Here's what I think: you know her wisdom, clear-minded virtue, age, and modesty well, and you should give her the benefit of the doubt that there's some cause you don't know about. I'm sure that she will have a good excuse for why she's locked the doors on you at this time. Listen to me, leave patiently, and let's all go to the Tiger for lunch. In the evening, come alone and find out the reason for this strange behavior. If you try to break in by force in the busy streets in the middle of the day, it will be talked about. Whatever the common people say about you, ruining your good reputation, might well stick around until after you're dead and be your legacy. Slander and gossip grows and grows and never dies. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You have prevailed. I will depart in quiet And, in despite of mirth, mean to be merry. I know a wench of excellent discourse, Pretty and witty, wild and yet, too, gentle. There will we dine. This woman that I mean, My wife—but, I protest, without desert— Hath oftentimes upbraided me withal; To her will we to dinner. [to ANGELO] Get you home And fetch the chain; by this I know ’tis made. Bring it, I pray you, to the Porpentine, For there’s the house. That chain will I bestow— Be it for nothing but to spite my wife— Upon mine hostess there. Good sir, make haste. Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me, I’ll knock elsewhere, to see if they’ll disdain me.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

You've persuaded me. I'll leave quietly, and, even though I have nothing to make me happy, I'll try to be cheerful. I know a girl who's a great conversationalist, pretty and witty, wild and gentle at the same time. We'll dine with her. My wife has often complained to me about this woman when I didn't deserve it. Now we'll go to her place for dinner.

[To ANGELO] Go home and get the chain. That way I'll know you've finished it. Bring it, please, to the Porpentine, since that's where the house is. That chain I'll give—only to spite my wife—to my hostess there. Good sir, hurry. Since I can't be entertained within my own doors, I'll knock at other doors and see if they're locked against me too. 

ANGELO

I’ll meet you at that place some hour hence.

ANGELO

I'll meet you there in about an hour. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

Do so. This jest shall cost me some expense.

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS

We'll see you there. This prank will be costly to me. 

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).