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The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

There’s not a man I meet but doth salute me As if I were their well-acquainted friend, And every one doth call me by my name. Some tender money to me; some invite me; Some other give me thanks for kindnesses; Some offer me commodities to buy. Even now a tailor called me in his shop And showed me silks that he had bought for me, And therewithal took measure of my body. Sure, these are but imaginary wiles, And lapland sorcerers inhabit here.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Every man I meet salutes me as if I were a good friend, and everyone calls me by my name. Some offer me money, some invite me over, some thank me for things I've done, some offer me things to buy. Just now a tailor called me into his shop and showed me silks that he had bought for me, and then took my measurements. These must all be deceitful tricks and all the residents must be sorcerers, like those from Lapland

Enter DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, here’s The gold you sent me for. What, have yougot redemption of the picture of old Adam new-appareled?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, here's the gold you sent me for. Oh, have you got free of the freshly-dressed old Adam?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What gold is this? What Adam dost thou mean?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What gold are you talking about? What Adam do you mean?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Not that Adam that kept the Paradise, but that Adam that keeps the prison; he that goes in the calf’s skin that was killed for the Prodigal; he that came behind you, sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake your liberty.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Not Adam who lived in the Garden of Eden, but Adam who runs the prison; he that wears the prison uniform that looks like the skin of the calf that was killed as a tribute to the Prodigal Son. The Adam who came behind you, sir, like an evil angel following you around, telling you to give up your freedom. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I understand thee not.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

I don't understand you. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No? Why, ’tis a plain case: he that went, like a bass viol in a case of leather; the man, sir, that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a sob and ’rests them; he, sir, that takes pity on decayed men and gives them suits of durance; he that sets up his rest to do more exploits with his mace than a morris-pike.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

You don't? Why, it's a straightforward case: this guy is like a big stringed instrument in a leather case. This man, sir, when gentlemen are tired, lets them pause and then arrests them. This man, sir, takes pity on ruined men and offers them long prison sentences. This man schedules his day, and he arrests people with his official mace rather than with a violent weapon. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

What, thou meanest an officer?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Huh? You mean an officer?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Ay, sir, the sergeant of the band; he that brings any man to answer it that breaks his bond; one that thinks aman always going to bed and says “God give you good rest.”

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Yes, sir, the sergeant of the police squad. He's the guy who brings anyone to explain himself in the event of an unpaid debt. He thinks that men always go to bed and say, "I hope God delivers a good night's rest."

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is there any ships put forth tonight? May we be gone?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, stop being silly right there. Are there any ships leaving tonight? Can we get out of here?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Why, sir, I brought you word an hour since that the bark Expedition put forth tonight, and then were you hindered by the sergeant to tarry for the hoy Delay . Here are the angels that you sent for to deliver you.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Well, sir, I brought you news an hour ago that the ship Expedition left tonight, and then you were stopped by the sergeant before you could make it to the vessel called Delay. Here are the coins with the angel Michael's picture on them that you asked me to bring to you. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

The fellow is distract, and so am I,And here we wander in illusions.Some blessed power deliver us from hence!

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

The man is going nutty, and I am too, while we're wandering here surrounded by illusions. I hope some heavenly power gets us out of here. 

Enter a COURTESAN

COURTESAN

Well met, well met, Master Antipholus.I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now.Is that the chain you promised me today?

COURTESAN

Hey, hey, Master Antipholus. I see, sir, that you've found the goldsmith now. Is that the chain you promised me today?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Satan, avoid! I charge thee, tempt me not.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Satan, get away from me! I command you, don't tempt me. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, is this Mistress Satan?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, is this Mistress Satan?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

It is the devil.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

She's the devil. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Nay, she is worse; she is the devil’s dam, and here shecomes in the habit of a light wench. And thereof comes that the wenches say “God damn me” that’s as much to say“God make me a light wench.” It is written they appear to men like angels of light. Light is an effect of fire,and fire will burn: ergo, light wenches will burn. Comenot near her.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, she's worse; she's the devil's mother, and she comes dressed as a loose woman. And that's why the women say "God damn me" which means "God make me a loose woman." It's written that these women look like angels of light when they appear to men. Light comes from fire, and fire burns: therefore, loose women will burn. Don't go near her. 

COURTESAN

Your man and you are marvelous merry, sir.Will you go with me? We’ll mend our dinner here.

COURTESAN

You and your servant are very jolly, sir. Will you go with me? We'll finish our dinner here. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, if you do, expect spoon meat; or bespeak a longspoon.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Master, if you do, she'll feed you meat meant for a baby on a spoon; you'd better ask for a long spoon. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, Dromio?

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Why, Dromio?

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Marry, he must have a long spoon that must eat with thedevil.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Oh, he who must eat with the devil must have a long spoon. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

[to COURTESAN] Avoid then, fiend! What tell’st thou me of supping?Thou art, as you are all, a sorceress.I conjure thee to leave me and be gone.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

[To COURTESAN] Get away then, demon! What are you saying to me about eating dinner? You are, as you all are here, a sorceress. I command you to leave me and vanish. 

COURTESAN

Give me the ring of mine you had at dinnerOr, for my diamond, the chain you promised,And I’ll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.

COURTESAN

Give me the ring I gave you at dinner, or, in exchange for it, the chain you promised me, and I'll vanish, sir, and not bother you any more. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Some devils ask but the parings of one’s nail, a rush, a hair, a drop of blood, a pin, a nut, a cherrystone; but she, more covetous, would have a chain. Master, be wise. An if you give it her, the devil will shake her chain and fright us with it.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

Some devils only ask for nail clippings, some straw, a hair, a drop of blood, a pin, a nut, a cherry pit, but she's more greedy and wants a chain. Master, be wise. If you give it to her, the devil will shake her chain and frighten us with it. 

COURTESAN

I pray you, sir, my ring or else the chain.I hope you do not mean to cheat me so.

COURTESAN

I beg of you, sir, bring me my ring or otherwise bring the chain. I hope you don't mean to cheat me out of what I'm owed. 

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Avaunt, thou witch!—Come, Dromio, let us go.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Get away, you witch! 

[To DROMIO OF SYRACUSE] Come, Dromio, let's go. 

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

“Fly pride,” says the peacock. Mistress, that you know.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

"Stop being prideful," says the peacock. Mistress, you know all about creatures calling people out for their own sins. 

Exeunt ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE and DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

COURTESAN

Now, out of doubt Antipholus is mad; Else would he never so demean himself. A ring he hath of mine worth forty ducats, And for the same he promised me a chain. Both one and other he denies me now. The reason that I gather he is mad, Besides this present instance of his rage, Is a mad tale he told today at dinner Of his own doors being shut against his entrance. Belike his wife, acquainted with his fits, On purpose shut the doors against his way. My way is now to hie home to his house And tell his wife that, being lunatic, He rushed into my house and took perforce My ring away. This course I fittest choose, For forty ducats is too much to lose.

COURTESAN

Now, there's no question Antipholus is mad. There's no other reason he would humiliate himself like this. He took a ring of mine that was worth forty ducats, and he promised he'd give me a chain in exchange. He's denying me both of them now. What's led me to think he is mad, besides seeing his rage just now, is the crazy story he told me today at dinner of how his own doors were shut when he tried to enter. It's possible his wife, knowing his fits well, purposefully locked the door on him. Now I'm going to hurry to his house and tell his wife that he's become a lunatic and rushed into my house and stole my ring. This is the best course I can take, since forty ducats is too much to lose. 

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).