A line-by-line translation

The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors Translation Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA

ADRIANA

Ah, Luciana, did he tempt thee so? Mightst thou perceive austerely in his eye That he did plead in earnest, yea or no? Looked he or red or pale, or sad or merrily? What observation mad’st thou in this case Of his heart’s meteors tilting in his face?

ADRIANA

Oh, Luciana, did he really attempt to seduce you like that? Could you tell from his face whether he was serious, yes or no? Did he look red or pale or sad or happy? What observation did you make in his face of what his heart might really feel?

LUCIANA

First he denied you had in him no right.

LUCIANA

First he denied that you had any right to him. 

ADRIANA

He meant he did me none; the more my spite.

ADRIANA

He meant he didn't do right by me, which makes me all the more miserable. 

LUCIANA

Then swore he that he was a stranger here.

LUCIANA

Then he swore that he was a stranger here. 

ADRIANA

And true he swore, though yet forsworn he were.

ADRIANA

He's definitely acting stranger, so that's true, even though he's lying. 

LUCIANA

Then pleaded I for you.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

And what said he?

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

That love i begged for you he begged of me.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

With what persuasion did he tempt thy love?

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

With words that in an honest suit might move.First he did praise my beauty, then my speech.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

Did’st speak him fair?

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Have patience, I beseech.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

I cannot, nor I will not hold me still; My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will. He is deformèd, crooked, old, and sere, Ill-faced, worse-bodied, shapeless everywhere, Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind, Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.

ADRIANA

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LUCIANA

Who would be jealous, then, of such a one?No evil lost is wailed when it is gone.

LUCIANA

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ADRIANA

Ah, but I think him better than I say, And yet would herein others' eyes were worse. Far from her nest the lapwing cries away. My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.

ADRIANA

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Enter DROMIO OF SYRACUSE, running

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Here, go—the desk, the purse! Sweet, now make haste.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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LUCIANA

How hast thou lost thy breath?

LUCIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

By running fast.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

Where is thy master, Dromio? Is he well?

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, he’s in Tartar limbo, worse than hell. A devil in an everlasting garment hath him, One whose hard heart is buttoned up with steel; A fiend, a fury, pitiless and rough; A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff; A back-friend, a shoulder clapper, one that countermands The passages of alleys, creeks, and narrow lands; A hound that runs counter and yet draws dryfoot well, One that before the judgment carries poor souls to hell.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

Why, man, what is the matter?

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I do not know the matter. He is ’rested on the case.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

What, is he arrested? Tell me at whose suit.

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

I know not at whose suit he is arrested well,But he’s in a suit of buff which ’rested him; that can I tell.Will you send him, mistress, redemption—the money in his desk?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

Go fetch it, sister.

ADRIANA

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Exit LUCIANA

This I wonder at,That he, unknown to me, should be in debt.Tell me, was he arrested on a bond?

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Not on a bond, but on a stronger thing:A chain, a chain. Do you not hear it ring?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

What, the chain?

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, no, the bell. 'Tis time that I were gone.It was two ere I left him, and now the clock strikes one.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

The hours come back. That did I never hear.

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

O yes, if any hour meet a sergeant, he turns back for very fear.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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ADRIANA

As if time were in debt. How fondly dost thou reason!

ADRIANA

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DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Time is a very bankrupt and owes more than he’s worth to season. Nay, he’s a thief too. Have you not heard men say That time comes stealing on by night and day? If he be in debt and theft, and a sergeant in the way, Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

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Re-enter LUCIANA with a purse

ADRIANA

Go, Dromio. There’s the money. Bear it straight,And bring thy master home immediately.Come, sister, I am pressed down with conceit:Conceit, my comfort and my injury.

ADRIANA

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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).