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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Part 8 out of 63

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We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife.
'Tis holy sport to be a little vain
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Sweet mistress-what your name is else, I know not,
Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine-
Less in your knowledge and your grace you show not
Than our earth's wonder-more than earth, divine.
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak;
Lay open to my earthy-gross conceit,
Smoth'red in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
The folded meaning of your words' deceit.
Against my soul's pure truth why labour you
To make it wander in an unknown field?
Are you a god? Would you create me new?
Transform me, then, and to your pow'r I'll yield.
But if that I am I, then well I know
Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
Nor to her bed no homage do I owe;
Far more, far more, to you do I decline.
O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears.
Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote;
Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And as a bed I'll take them, and there he;
And in that glorious supposition think
He gains by death that hath such means to die.
Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink.
LUCIANA. What, are you mad, that you do reason so?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Not mad, but mated; how, I do not know.
LUCIANA. It is a fault that springeth from your eye.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. For gazing on your beams, fair sun, being by.
LUCIANA. Gaze where you should, and that will clear your sight.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. As good to wink, sweet love, as look on night.
LUCIANA. Why call you me love? Call my sister so.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thy sister's sister.
LUCIANA. That's my sister.
It is thyself, mine own self's better part;
Mine eye's clear eye, my dear heart's dearer heart,
My food, my fortune, and my sweet hope's aim,
My sole earth's heaven, and my heaven's claim.
LUCIANA. All this my sister is, or else should be.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Call thyself sister, sweet, for I am thee;
Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life;
Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife.
Give me thy hand.
LUCIANA. O, soft, sir, hold you still;
I'll fetch my sister to get her good will.


ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Why, how now, Dromio! Where run'st thou
so fast?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Do you know me, sir? Am I Dromio?
Am I your man? Am I myself?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thou art Dromio, thou art my
man, thou art thyself.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I am an ass, I am a woman's man, and besides
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What woman's man, and how besides thyself?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due
to a woman-one that claims me, one that haunts me, one
that will have me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What claim lays she to thee?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, such claim as you would
lay to your horse; and she would have me as a beast: not
that, I being a beast, she would have me; but that she,
being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. A very reverent body; ay, such a one
as a man may not speak of without he say 'Sir-reverence.'
I have but lean luck in the match, and yet is she a
wondrous fat marriage.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. How dost thou mean a fat marriage?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, she's the kitchen-wench,
and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to but
to make a lamp of her and run from her by her own light.
I warrant, her rags and the tallow in them will burn
Poland winter. If she lives till doomsday, she'll burn
week longer than the whole world.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What complexion is she of?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Swart, like my shoe; but her face
nothing like so clean kept; for why, she sweats, a man may
go over shoes in the grime of it.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. That's a fault that water will mend.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No, sir, 'tis in grain; Noah's flood
could not do it.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Nell, sir; but her name and three
quarters, that's an ell and three quarters, will not measure
her from hip to hip.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Then she bears some breadth?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. No longer from head to foot than
from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe; I could find
out countries in her.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. In what part of her body stands Ireland?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, sir, in her buttocks; I found it out by
the bogs.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I found it by the barrenness, hard in
the palm of the hand.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. In her forehead, arm'd and reverted,
making war against her heir.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I look'd for the chalky cliffs, but I
could find no whiteness in them; but I guess it stood in her
chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Faith, I saw it not, but I felt it hot in
her breath.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Where America, the Indies?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, sir, upon her nose, an o'er embellished with
rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the
hot breath of Spain; who sent whole armadoes of caracks to be
ballast at her nose.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, Sir, I did not look so low. To
conclude: this drudge or diviner laid claim to me; call'd me
Dromio; swore I was assur'd to her; told me what privy
marks I had about me, as, the mark of my shoulder, the
mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I,
amaz'd, ran from her as a witch.
And, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith,
and my heart of steel,
She had transform'd me to a curtal dog, and made me turn i' th' wheel.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Go hie thee presently post to the road;
An if the wind blow any way from shore,
I will not harbour in this town to-night.
If any bark put forth, come to the mart,
Where I will walk till thou return to me.
If every one knows us, and we know none,
'Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack and be gone.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. As from a bear a man would run for life,
So fly I from her that would be my wife.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. There's none but witches do inhabit here,
And therefore 'tis high time that I were hence.
She that doth call me husband, even my soul
Doth for a wife abhor. But her fair sister,
Possess'd with such a gentle sovereign grace,
Of such enchanting presence and discourse,
Hath almost made me traitor to myself;
But, lest myself be guilty to self-wrong,
I'll stop mine ears against the mermaid's song.

Enter ANGELO with the chain

ANGELO. Master Antipholus!
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Ay, that's my name.
ANGELO. I know it well, sir. Lo, here is the chain.
I thought to have ta'en you at the Porpentine;
The chain unfinish'd made me stay thus long.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What is your will that I shall do with this?
ANGELO. What please yourself, sir; I have made it for you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not.
ANGELO. Not once nor twice, but twenty times you have.
Go home with it, and please your wife withal;
And soon at supper-time I'll visit you,
And then receive my money for the chain.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I pray you, sir, receive the money now,
For fear you ne'er see chain nor money more.
ANGELO. You are a merry man, sir; fare you well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What I should think of this cannot tell:
But this I think, there's no man is so vain
That would refuse so fair an offer'd chain.
I see a man here needs not live by shifts,
When in the streets he meets such golden gifts.
I'll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay;
If any ship put out, then straight away.



A public place


SECOND MERCHANT. You know since Pentecost the sum is due,
And since I have not much importun'd you;
Nor now I had not, but that I am bound
To Persia, and want guilders for my voyage.
Therefore make present satisfaction,
Or I'll attach you by this officer.
ANGELO. Even just the sum that I do owe to you
Is growing to me by Antipholus;
And in the instant that I met with you
He had of me a chain; at five o'clock
I shall receive the money for the same.
Pleaseth you walk with me down to his house,
I will discharge my bond, and thank you too.


OFFICER. That labour may you save; see where he comes.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. While I go to the goldsmith's house, go thou
And buy a rope's end; that will I bestow
Among my wife and her confederates,
For locking me out of my doors by day.
But, soft, I see the goldsmith. Get thee gone;
Buy thou a rope, and bring it home to me.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I buy a thousand pound a year; I buy a rope.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. A man is well holp up that trusts to you!
I promised your presence and the chain;
But neither chain nor goldsmith came to me.
Belike you thought our love would last too long,
If it were chain'd together, and therefore came not.
ANGELO. Saving your merry humour, here's the note
How much your chain weighs to the utmost carat,
The fineness of the gold, and chargeful fashion,
Which doth amount to three odd ducats more
Than I stand debted to this gentleman.
I pray you see him presently discharg'd,
For he is bound to sea, and stays but for it.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I am not furnish'd with the present money;
Besides, I have some business in the town.
Good signior, take the stranger to my house,
And with you take the chain, and bid my wife
Disburse the sum on the receipt thereof.
Perchance I will be there as soon as you.
ANGELO. Then you will bring the chain to her yourself?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. No; bear it with you, lest I come not time enough.
ANGELO. Well, sir, I will. Have you the chain about you?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. An if I have not, sir, I hope you have;
Or else you may return without your money.
ANGELO. Nay, come, I pray you, sir, give me the chain;
Both wind and tide stays for this gentleman,
And I, to blame, have held him here too long.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Good Lord! you use this dalliance to excuse
Your breach of promise to the Porpentine;
I should have chid you for not bringing it,
But, like a shrew, you first begin to brawl.
SECOND MERCHANT. The hour steals on; I pray you, sir, dispatch.
ANGELO. You hear how he importunes me-the chain!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Why, give it to my wife, and fetch your money.
ANGELO. Come, come, you know I gave it you even now.
Either send the chain or send by me some token.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Fie, now you run this humour out of breath!
Come, where's the chain? I pray you let me see it.
SECOND MERCHANT. My business cannot brook this dalliance.
Good sir, say whe'r you'll answer me or no;
If not, I'll leave him to the officer.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I answer you! What should I answer you?
ANGELO. The money that you owe me for the chain.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I owe you none till I receive the chain.
ANGELO. You know I gave it you half an hour since.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. You gave me none; you wrong me much to say so.
ANGELO. You wrong me more, sir, in denying it.
Consider how it stands upon my credit.
SECOND MERCHANT. Well, officer, arrest him at my suit.
OFFICER. I do; and charge you in the Duke's name to obey me.
ANGELO. This touches me in reputation.
Either consent to pay this sum for me,
Or I attach you by this officer.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Consent to pay thee that I never had!
Arrest me, foolish fellow, if thou dar'st.
ANGELO. Here is thy fee; arrest him, officer.
I would not spare my brother in this case,
If he should scorn me so apparently.
OFFICER. I do arrest you, sir; you hear the suit.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I do obey thee till I give thee bail.
But, sirrah, you shall buy this sport as dear
As all the metal in your shop will answer.
ANGELO. Sir, sir, I shall have law in Ephesus,
To your notorious shame, I doubt it not.

Enter DROMIO OF SYRACUSE, from the bay

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, there's a bark of Epidamnum
That stays but till her owner comes aboard,
And then, sir, she bears away. Our fraughtage, sir,
I have convey'd aboard; and I have bought
The oil, the balsamum, and aqua-vitx.
The ship is in her trim; the merry wind
Blows fair from land; they stay for nought at an
But for their owner, master, and yourself.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. How now! a madman? Why, thou peevish sheep,
What ship of Epidamnum stays for me?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. A ship you sent me to, to hire waftage.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. THOU drunken slave! I sent the for a rope;
And told thee to what purpose and what end.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. YOU sent me for a rope's end as soon-
You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I Will debate this matter at more leisure,
And teach your ears to list me with more heed.
To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight;
Give her this key, and tell her in the desk
That's cover'd o'er with Turkish tapestry
There is a purse of ducats; let her send it.
Tell her I am arrested in the street,
And that shall bail me; hie thee, slave, be gone.
On, officer, to prison till it come.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. To Adriana! that is where we din'd,
Where Dowsabel did claim me for her husband.
She is too big, I hope, for me to compass.
Thither I must, although against my will,
For servants must their masters' minds fulfil.




ADRIANA. Ah, Luciana, did he tempt thee so?
Might'st thou perceive austerely in his eye
That he did plead in earnest? Yea or no?
Look'd 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?
LUCIANA. First he denied you had in him no right.
ADRIANA. He meant he did me none-the more my spite.
LUCIANA. Then swore he that he was a stranger here.
ADRIANA. And true he swore, though yet forsworn he were.
LUCIANA. Then pleaded I for you.
ADRIANA. And what said he?
LUCIANA. That love I begg'd for you he begg'd of me.
ADRIANA. With what persuasion did he tempt thy love?
LUCIANA. With words that in an honest suit might move.
First he did praise my beauty, then my speech.
ADRIANA. Didst speak him fair?
LUCIANA. Have patience, I beseech.
ADRIANA. I cannot, nor I will not hold me still;
My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will.
He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac'd, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
LUCIANA. Who would be jealous then of such a one?
No evil lost is wail'd when it is gone.
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.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Here go-the desk, the purse. Sweet
now, make haste.
LUCIANA. How hast thou lost thy breath?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. By running fast.
ADRIANA. Where is thy master, Dromio? Is he well?
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 button'd up with steel;
A fiend, a fairy, 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 dry-foot well;
One that, before the Judgment, carries poor souls to hell.
ADRIANA. Why, man, what is the matter?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I do not know the matter; he is rested on the case.
ADRIANA. What, is he arrested? Tell me, at whose suit?
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?
ADRIANA. Go fetch it, sister. [Exit LUCIANA] This I wonder at:
Thus he unknown to me should be in debt.
Tell me, was he arrested on a band?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. on a band, but on a stronger thing,
A chain, a chain. Do you not hear it ring?
ADRIANA. What, the chain?
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.
ADRIANA. The hours come back! That did I never hear.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O yes. If any hour meet a sergeant,
'a turns back for very fear.
ADRIANA. As if Time were in debt! How fondly dost thou reason!
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 'a be in debt and theft, and a sergeant in the way,
Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?

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 press'd down with conceit-
Conceit, my comfort and my injury.


The mart


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 call'd me in his shop,
And show'd 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.


DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, here's the gold you sent me
for. What, have you got the picture of old Adam new-apparell'd?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What gold is this? What Adam dost thou 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 kill'd for the Prodigal; he that came behind
you, sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake your liberty.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I understand thee not.
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 rest
them; he, sir, that takes pity on decayed men, and give
them suits of durance; he that sets up his rest to do more
exploits with his mace than a morris-pike.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. What, thou mean'st an officer?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Ay, sir, the sergeant of the band;
that brings any man to answer it that breaks his band; on
that thinks a man always going to bed, and says 'God give
you good rest!'
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is
there any ship puts forth to-night? May we be gone?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Why, sir, I brought you word an
hour since that the bark Expedition put forth to-night; and
then were you hind'red by the sergeant, to tarry for the
boy Delay. Here are the angels that you sent for to deliver 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!


COURTEZAN. Well met, well met, Master Antipholus.
I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now.
Is that the chain you promis'd me to-day?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Satan, avoid! I charge thee, tempt me not.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, is this Mistress Satan?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Nay, she is worse, she is the devil's
dam, and here she comes 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.
Come not near her.
COURTEZAN. Your man and you are marvellous merry, sir.
Will you go with me? We'll mend our dinner here.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, if you do, expect spoon-meat,
or bespeak a long spoon.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Marry, he must have a long spoon
that must eat with the devil.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. 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.
COURTEZAN. Give me the ring of mine you had at dinner,
Or, for my diamond, the chain you promis'd,
And I'll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.
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 cherry-stone;
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.
COURTEZAN. I pray you, sir, my ring, or else the chain;
I hope you do not mean to cheat me so.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Avaunt, thou witch! Come, Dromio, let us go.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. 'Fly pride' says the peacock. Mistress, that you know.
COURTEZAN. 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 promis'd 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 to-day 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 rush'd into my house and took perforce
My ring away. This course I fittest choose,
For forty ducats is too much to lose.


A street


ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Fear me not, man; I will not break away.
I'll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money,
To warrant thee, as I am 'rested for.
My wife is in a wayward mood to-day,
And will not lightly trust the messenger.
That I should be attach'd in Ephesus,
I tell you 'twill sound harshly in her cars.

Enter DROMIO OF EPHESUS, with a rope's-end

Here comes my man; I think he brings the money.
How now, sir! Have you that I sent you for?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Here's that, I warrant you, will pay them all.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. But where's the money?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Why, sir, I gave the money for the rope.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Five hundred ducats, villain, for rope?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I'll serve you, sir, five hundred at the rate.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. To what end did I bid thee hie thee home?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. To a rope's-end, sir; and to that end am I
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And to that end, sir, I will welcome you.
[Beating him]
OFFICER. Good sir, be patient.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, 'tis for me to be patient; I am in
OFFICER. Good now, hold thy tongue.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, rather persuade him to hold his hands.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou whoreson, senseless villain!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I would I were senseless, sir, that I
might not feel your blows.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou art sensible in nothing but
blows, and so is an ass.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I am an ass indeed; you may prove it
by my long 'ears. I have served him from the hour of my
nativity to this instant, and have nothing at his hands for
my service but blows. When I am cold he heats me with
beating; when I am warm he cools me with beating. I am
wak'd with it when I sleep; rais'd with it when I sit; driven
out of doors with it when I go from home; welcom'd home
with it when I return; nay, I bear it on my shoulders as
beggar wont her brat; and I think, when he hath lam'd me,
I shall beg with it from door to door.

call'd PINCH

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Come, go along; my wife is coming yonder.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Mistress, 'respice finem,' respect your end; or
rather, to prophesy like the parrot, 'Beware the rope's-end.'
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Wilt thou still talk?
[Beating him]
COURTEZAN. How say you now? Is not your husband mad?
ADRIANA. His incivility confirms no less.
Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer:
Establish him in his true sense again,
And I will please you what you will demand.
LUCIANA. Alas, how fiery and how sharp he looks!
COURTEZAN. Mark how he trembles in his ecstasy.
PINCH. Give me your hand, and let me feel your pulse.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.
[Striking him]
PINCH. I charge thee, Satan, hous'd within this man,
To yield possession to my holy prayers,
And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight.
I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Peace, doting wizard, peace! I am not mad.
ADRIANA. O, that thou wert not, poor distressed soul!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. You minion, you, are these your customers?
Did this companion with the saffron face
Revel and feast it at my house to-day,
Whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut,
And I denied to enter in my house?
ADRIANA. O husband, God doth know you din'd at home,
Where would you had remain'd until this time,
Free from these slanders and this open shame!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Din'd at home! Thou villain, what sayest thou?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Sir, Sooth to say, you did not dine at home.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Were not my doors lock'd up and I shut out?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Perdie, your doors were lock'd and you shut out.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And did not she herself revile me there?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Sans fable, she herself revil'd you there.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Did not her kitchen-maid rail, taunt, and scorn me?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Certes, she did; the kitchen-vestal scorn'd you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And did not I in rage depart from thence?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. In verity, you did. My bones bear witness,
That since have felt the vigour of his rage.
ADRIANA. Is't good to soothe him in these contraries?
PINCH. It is no shame; the fellow finds his vein,
And, yielding to him, humours well his frenzy.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Thou hast suborn'd the goldsmith to arrest me.
ADRIANA. Alas, I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Money by me! Heart and goodwill you might,
But surely, master, not a rag of money.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Went'st not thou to her for purse of ducats?
ADRIANA. He came to me, and I deliver'd it.
LUCIANA. And I am witness with her that she did.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. God and the rope-maker bear me witness
That I was sent for nothing but a rope!
PINCH. Mistress, both man and master is possess'd;
I know it by their pale and deadly looks.
They must be bound, and laid in some dark room.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth to-day?
And why dost thou deny the bag of gold?
ADRIANA. I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. And, gentle master, I receiv'd no gold;
But I confess, sir, that we were lock'd out.
ADRIANA. Dissembling villain, thou speak'st false in both.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Dissembling harlot, thou art false in all,
And art confederate with a damned pack
To make a loathsome abject scorn of me;
But with these nails I'll pluck out these false eyes
That would behold in me this shameful sport.
ADRIANA. O, bind him, bind him; let him not come near me.
PINCH. More company! The fiend is strong within him.

Enter three or four, and offer to bind him. He strives

LUCIANA. Ay me, poor man, how pale and wan he looks!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler, thou,
I am thy prisoner. Wilt thou suffer them
To make a rescue?
OFFICER. Masters, let him go;
He is my prisoner, and you shall not have him.
PINCH. Go bind this man, for he is frantic too.
[They bind DROMIO]
ADRIANA. What wilt thou do, thou peevish officer?
Hast thou delight to see a wretched man
Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
OFFICER. He is my prisoner; if I let him go,
The debt he owes will be requir'd of me.
ADRIANA. I will discharge thee ere I go from thee;
Bear me forthwith unto his creditor,
And, knowing how the debt grows, I will pay it.
Good Master Doctor, see him safe convey'd
Home to my house. O most unhappy day!
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. O most unhappy strumpet!
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Master, I am here ent'red in bond for you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Out on thee, villian! Wherefore
dost thou mad me?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Will you be bound for nothing?
Be mad, good master; cry 'The devil!'
LUCIANA. God help, poor souls, how idly do they talk!
ADRIANA. Go bear him hence. Sister, go you with me.
Say now, whose suit is he arrested at?
OFFICER. One Angelo, a goldsmith; do you know him?
ADRIANA. I know the man. What is the sum he owes?
OFFICER. Two hundred ducats.
ADRIANA. Say, how grows it due?
OFFICER. Due for a chain your husband had of him.
ADRIANA. He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
COURTEZAN. When as your husband, all in rage, to-day
Came to my house, and took away my ring-
The ring I saw upon his finger now-
Straight after did I meet him with a chain.
ADRIANA. It may be so, but I did never see it.
Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is;
I long to know the truth hereof at large.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE, with his rapier drawn, and

LUCIANA. God, for thy mercy! they are loose again.
ADRIANA. And come with naked swords.
Let's call more help to have them bound again.
OFFICER. Away, they'll kill us!
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE as fast as may be, frighted
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I see these witches are afraid of swords.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. She that would be your wife now ran from you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Come to the Centaur; fetch our stuff from thence.
I long that we were safe and sound aboard.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Faith, stay here this night; they will
surely do us no harm; you saw they speak us fair, give us
gold; methinks they are such a gentle nation that, but for
the mountain of mad flesh that claims marriage of me,
could find in my heart to stay here still and turn witch.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I will not stay to-night for all the town;
Therefore away, to get our stuff aboard.



A street before a priory


ANGELO. I am sorry, sir, that I have hind'red you;
But I protest he had the chain of me,
Though most dishonestly he doth deny it.
SECOND MERCHANT. How is the man esteem'd here in the city?
ANGELO. Of very reverend reputation, sir,
Of credit infinite, highly belov'd,
Second to none that lives here in the city;
His word might bear my wealth at any time.
SECOND MERCHANT. Speak softly; yonder, as I think, he walks.


ANGELO. 'Tis so; and that self chain about his neck
Which he forswore most monstrously to have.
Good sir, draw near to me, I'll speak to him.
Signior Andpholus, I wonder much
That you would put me to this shame and trouble;
And, not without some scandal to yourself,
With circumstance and oaths so to deny
This chain, which now you wear so openly.
Beside the charge, the shame, imprisonment,
You have done wrong to this my honest friend;
Who, but for staying on our controversy,
Had hoisted sail and put to sea to-day.
This chain you had of me; can you deny it?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I think I had; I never did deny it.
SECOND MERCHANT. Yes, that you did, sir, and forswore it too.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Who heard me to deny it or forswear it?
SECOND MERCHANT. These ears of mine, thou know'st, did hear thee.
Fie on thee, wretch! 'tis pity that thou liv'st
To walk where any honest men resort.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Thou art a villain to impeach me thus;
I'll prove mine honour and mine honesty
Against thee presently, if thou dar'st stand.
SECOND MERCHANT. I dare, and do defy thee for a villain.
[They draw]


ADRIANA. Hold, hurt him not, for God's sake! He is mad.
Some get within him, take his sword away;
Bind Dromio too, and bear them to my house.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Run, master, run; for God's sake take a house.
This is some priory. In, or we are spoil'd.


ABBESS. Be quiet, people. Wherefore throng you hither?
ADRIANA. To fetch my poor distracted husband hence.
Let us come in, that we may bind him fast,
And bear him home for his recovery.
ANGELO. I knew he was not in his perfect wits.
SECOND MERCHANT. I am sorry now that I did draw on him.
ABBESS. How long hath this possession held the man?
ADRIANA. This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad,
And much different from the man he was;
But till this afternoon his passion
Ne'er brake into extremity of rage.
ABBESS. Hath he not lost much wealth by wreck of sea?
Buried some dear friend? Hath not else his eye
Stray'd his affection in unlawful love?
A sin prevailing much in youthful men
Who give their eyes the liberty of gazing.
Which of these sorrows is he subject to?
ADRIANA. To none of these, except it be the last;
Namely, some love that drew him oft from home.
ABBESS. You should for that have reprehended him.
ADRIANA. Why, so I did.
ABBESS. Ay, but not rough enough.
ADRIANA. As roughly as my modesty would let me.
ABBESS. Haply in private.
ADRIANA. And in assemblies too.
ABBESS. Ay, but not enough.
ADRIANA. It was the copy of our conference.
In bed, he slept not for my urging it;
At board, he fed not for my urging it;
Alone, it was the subject of my theme;
In company, I often glanced it;
Still did I tell him it was vile and bad.
ABBESS. And thereof came it that the man was mad.
The venom clamours of a jealous woman
Poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth.
It seems his sleeps were hind'red by thy railing,
And thereof comes it that his head is light.
Thou say'st his meat was sauc'd with thy upbraidings:
Unquiet meals make ill digestions;
Thereof the raging fire of fever bred;
And what's a fever but a fit of madness?
Thou say'st his sports were hind'red by thy brawls.
Sweet recreation barr'd, what doth ensue
But moody and dull melancholy,
Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair,
And at her heels a huge infectious troop
Of pale distemperatures and foes to life?
In food, in sport, and life-preserving rest,
To be disturb'd would mad or man or beast.
The consequence is, then, thy jealous fits
Hath scar'd thy husband from the use of wits.
LUCIANA. She never reprehended him but mildly,
When he demean'd himself rough, rude, and wildly.
Why bear you these rebukes, and answer not?
ADRIANA. She did betray me to my own reproof.
Good people, enter, and lay hold on him.
ABBESS. No, not a creature enters in my house.
ADRIANA. Then let your servants bring my husband forth.
ABBESS. Neither; he took this place for sanctuary,
And it shall privilege him from your hands
Till I have brought him to his wits again,
Or lose my labour in assaying it.
ADRIANA. I will attend my husband, be his nurse,
Diet his sickness, for it is my office,
And will have no attorney but myself;
And therefore let me have him home with me.
ABBESS. Be patient; for I will not let him stir
Till I have us'd the approved means I have,
With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,
To make of him a formal man again.
It is a branch and parcel of mine oath,
A charitable duty of my order;
Therefore depart, and leave him here with me.
ADRIANA. I will not hence and leave my husband here;
And ill it doth beseem your holiness
To separate the husband and the wife.
ABBESS. Be quiet, and depart; thou shalt not have him.
LUCIANA. Complain unto the Duke of this indignity.
ADRIANA. Come, go; I will fall prostrate at his feet,
And never rise until my tears and prayers
Have won his Grace to come in person hither
And take perforce my husband from the Abbess.
SECOND MERCHANT. By this, I think, the dial points at five;
Anon, I'm sure, the Duke himself in person
Comes this way to the melancholy vale,
The place of death and sorry execution,
Behind the ditches of the abbey here.
ANGELO. Upon what cause?
SECOND MERCHANT. To see a reverend Syracusian merchant,
Who put unluckily into this bay
Against the laws and statutes of this town,
Beheaded publicly for his offence.
ANGELO. See where they come; we will behold his death.
LUCIANA. Kneel to the Duke before he pass the abbey.

Enter the DUKE, attended; AEGEON, bareheaded;
with the HEADSMAN and other OFFICERS

DUKE. Yet once again proclaim it publicly,
If any friend will pay the sum for him,
He shall not die; so much we tender him.
ADRIANA. Justice, most sacred Duke, against the Abbess!
DUKE. She is a virtuous and a reverend lady;
It cannot be that she hath done thee wrong.
ADRIANA. May it please your Grace, Antipholus, my husband,
Who I made lord of me and all I had
At your important letters-this ill day
A most outrageous fit of madness took him,
That desp'rately he hurried through the street,
With him his bondman all as mad as he,
Doing displeasure to the citizens
By rushing in their houses, bearing thence
Rings, jewels, anything his rage did like.
Once did I get him bound and sent him home,
Whilst to take order for the wrongs I went,
That here and there his fury had committed.
Anon, I wot not by what strong escape,
He broke from those that had the guard of him,
And with his mad attendant and himself,
Each one with ireful passion, with drawn swords,
Met us again and, madly bent on us,
Chas'd us away; till, raising of more aid,
We came again to bind them. Then they fled
Into this abbey, whither we pursu'd them;
And here the Abbess shuts the gates on us,
And will not suffer us to fetch him out,
Nor send him forth that we may bear him hence.
Therefore, most gracious Duke, with thy command
Let him be brought forth and borne hence for help.
DUKE. Long since thy husband serv'd me in my wars,
And I to thee engag'd a prince's word,
When thou didst make him master of thy bed,
To do him all the grace and good I could.
Go, some of you, knock at the abbey gate,
And bid the Lady Abbess come to me,
I will determine this before I stir.


MESSENGER. O mistress, mistress, shift and save yourself!
My master and his man are both broke loose,
Beaten the maids a-row and bound the doctor,
Whose beard they have sing'd off with brands of fire;
And ever, as it blaz'd, they threw on him
Great pails of puddled mire to quench the hair.
My master preaches patience to him, and the while
His man with scissors nicks him like a fool;
And sure, unless you send some present help,
Between them they will kill the conjurer.
ADRIANA. Peace, fool! thy master and his man are here,
And that is false thou dost report to us.
MESSENGER. Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true;
I have not breath'd almost since I did see it.
He cries for you, and vows, if he can take you,
To scorch your face, and to disfigure you.
[Cry within]
Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress; fly, be gone!
DUKE. Come, stand by me; fear nothing. Guard with halberds.
ADRIANA. Ay me, it is my husband! Witness you
That he is borne about invisible.
Even now we hous'd him in the abbey here,
And now he's there, past thought of human reason.


ANTIPHOLUS OFEPHESUS. Justice, most gracious Duke; O, grant me justice!
Even for the service that long since I did thee,
When I bestrid thee in the wars, and took
Deep scars to save thy life; even for the blood
That then I lost for thee, now grant me justice.
AEGEON. Unless the fear of death doth make me dote,
I see my son Antipholus, and Dromio.
ANTIPHOLUS OFEPHESUS. Justice, sweet Prince, against that woman there!
She whom thou gav'st to me to be my wife,
That hath abused and dishonoured me
Even in the strength and height of injury.
Beyond imagination is the wrong
That she this day hath shameless thrown on me.
DUKE. Discover how, and thou shalt find me just.
ANTIPHOLUS OFEPHESUS. This day, great Duke, she shut the doors upon me,
While she with harlots feasted in my house.
DUKE. A grievous fault. Say, woman, didst thou so?
ADRIANA. No, my good lord. Myself, he, and my sister,
To-day did dine together. So befall my soul
As this is false he burdens me withal!
LUCIANA. Ne'er may I look on day nor sleep on night
But she tells to your Highness simple truth!
ANGELO. O peflur'd woman! They are both forsworn.
In this the madman justly chargeth them.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. My liege, I am advised what I say;
Neither disturbed with the effect of wine,
Nor heady-rash, provok'd with raging ire,
Albeit my wrongs might make one wiser mad.
This woman lock'd me out this day from dinner;
That goldsmith there, were he not pack'd with her,
Could witness it, for he was with me then;
Who parted with me to go fetch a chain,
Promising to bring it to the Porpentine,
Where Balthazar and I did dine together.
Our dinner done, and he not coming thither,
I went to seek him. In the street I met him,
And in his company that gentleman.
There did this perjur'd goldsmith swear me down
That I this day of him receiv'd the chain,
Which, God he knows, I saw not; for the which
He did arrest me with an officer.
I did obey, and sent my peasant home
For certain ducats; he with none return'd.
Then fairly I bespoke the officer
To go in person with me to my house.
By th' way we met my wife, her sister, and a rabble more
Of vile confederates. Along with them
They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean-fac'd villain,
A mere anatomy, a mountebank,
A threadbare juggler, and a fortune-teller,
A needy, hollow-ey'd, sharp-looking wretch,
A living dead man. This pernicious slave,
Forsooth, took on him as a conjurer,
And gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse,
And with no face, as 'twere, outfacing me,
Cries out I was possess'd. Then all together
They fell upon me, bound me, bore me thence,
And in a dark and dankish vault at home
There left me and my man, both bound together;
Till, gnawing with my teeth my bonds in sunder,
I gain'd my freedom, and immediately
Ran hither to your Grace; whom I beseech
To give me ample satisfaction
For these deep shames and great indignities.
ANGELO. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him,
That he din'd not at home, but was lock'd out.
DUKE. But had he such a chain of thee, or no?
ANGELO. He had, my lord, and when he ran in here,
These people saw the chain about his neck.
SECOND MERCHANT. Besides, I will be sworn these ears of mine
Heard you confess you had the chain of him,
After you first forswore it on the mart;
And thereupon I drew my sword on you,
And then you fled into this abbey here,
From whence, I think, you are come by miracle.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I never came within these abbey walls,
Nor ever didst thou draw thy sword on me;
I never saw the chain, so help me Heaven!
And this is false you burden me withal.
DUKE. Why, what an intricate impeach is this!
I think you all have drunk of Circe's cup.
If here you hous'd him, here he would have been;
If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly.
You say he din'd at home: the goldsmith here
Denies that saying. Sirrah, what say you?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Sir, he din'd with her there, at the Porpentine.
COURTEZAN. He did; and from my finger snatch'd that ring.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. 'Tis true, my liege; this ring I had of her.
DUKE. Saw'st thou him enter at the abbey here?
COURTEZAN. As sure, my liege, as I do see your Grace.
DUKE. Why, this is strange. Go call the Abbess hither.
I think you are all mated or stark mad.
AEGEON. Most mighty Duke, vouchsafe me speak a word:
Haply I see a friend will save my life
And pay the sum that may deliver me.
DUKE. Speak freely, Syracusian, what thou wilt.
AEGEON. Is not your name, sir, call'd Antipholus?
And is not that your bondman Dromio?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Within this hour I was his bondman, sir,
But he, I thank him, gnaw'd in two my cords
Now am I Dromio and his man unbound.
AEGEON. I am sure you both of you remember me.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Ourselves we do remember, sir, by you;
For lately we were bound as you are now.
You are not Pinch's patient, are you, sir?
AEGEON. Why look you strange on me? You know me well.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I never saw you in my life till now.
AEGEON. O! grief hath chang'd me since you saw me last;
And careful hours with time's deformed hand
Have written strange defeatures in my face.
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?
AEGEON. Dromio, nor thou?
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. No, trust me, sir, nor I.
AEGEON. I am sure thou dost.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Ay, sir, but I am sure I do not; and
whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.
AEGEON. Not know my voice! O time's extremity,
Hast thou so crack'd and splitted my poor tongue
In seven short years that here my only son
Knows not my feeble key of untun'd cares?
Though now this grained face of mine be hid
In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow,
And all the conduits of my blood froze up,
Yet hath my night of life some memory,
My wasting lamps some fading glimmer left,
My dull deaf ears a little use to hear;
All these old witnesses-I cannot err-
Tell me thou art my son Antipholus.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I never saw my father in my life.
AEGEON. But seven years since, in Syracuse, boy,
Thou know'st we parted; but perhaps, my son,
Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. The Duke and all that know me in
the city Can witness with me that it is not so:
I ne'er saw Syracuse in my life.
DUKE. I tell thee, Syracusian, twenty years
Have I been patron to Antipholus,
During which time he ne'er saw Syracuse.
I see thy age and dangers make thee dote.


ABBESS. Most mighty Duke, behold a man much wrong'd.
[All gather to see them]
ADRIANA. I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me.
DUKE. One of these men is genius to the other;
And so of these. Which is the natural man,
And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. I, sir, am Dromio; command him away.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. I, Sir, am Dromio; pray let me stay.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Aegeon, art thou not? or else his
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. O, my old master! who hath bound
ABBESS. Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds,
And gain a husband by his liberty.
Speak, old Aegeon, if thou be'st the man
That hadst a wife once call'd Aemilia,
That bore thee at a burden two fair sons.
O, if thou be'st the same Aegeon, speak,
And speak unto the same Aemilia!
AEGEON. If I dream not, thou art Aemilia.
If thou art she, tell me where is that son
That floated with thee on the fatal raft?
ABBESS. By men of Epidamnum he and I
And the twin Dromio, all were taken up;
But by and by rude fishermen of Corinth
By force took Dromio and my son from them,
And me they left with those of Epidamnum.
What then became of them I cannot tell;
I to this fortune that you see me in.
DUKE. Why, here begins his morning story right.
These two Antipholus', these two so like,
And these two Dromios, one in semblance-
Besides her urging of her wreck at sea-
These are the parents to these children,
Which accidentally are met together.
Antipholus, thou cam'st from Corinth first?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. No, sir, not I; I came from Syracuse.
DUKE. Stay, stand apart; I know not which is which.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. I came from Corinth, my most gracious lord.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. And I with him.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Brought to this town by that most famous warrior,
Duke Menaphon, your most renowned uncle.
ADRIANA. Which of you two did dine with me to-day?
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I, gentle mistress.
ADRIANA. And are not you my husband?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. No; I say nay to that.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. And so do I, yet did she call me so;
And this fair gentlewoman, her sister here,
Did call me brother. [To LUCIANA] What I told you then,
I hope I shall have leisure to make good;
If this be not a dream I see and hear.
ANGELO. That is the chain, sir, which you had of me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. I think it be, sir; I deny it not.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. And you, sir, for this chain arrested me.
ANGELO. I think I did, sir; I deny it not.
ADRIANA. I sent you money, sir, to be your bail,
By Dromio; but I think he brought it not.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. No, none by me.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. This purse of ducats I receiv'd from you,
And Dromio my man did bring them me.
I see we still did meet each other's man,
And I was ta'en for him, and he for me,
And thereupon these ERRORS are arose.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. These ducats pawn I for my father here.
DUKE. It shall not need; thy father hath his life.
COURTEZAN. Sir, I must have that diamond from you.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. There, take it; and much thanks for my
good cheer.
ABBESS. Renowned Duke, vouchsafe to take the pains
To go with us into the abbey here,
And hear at large discoursed all our fortunes;
And all that are assembled in this place
That by this sympathized one day's error
Have suffer'd wrong, go keep us company,
And we shall make full satisfaction.
Thirty-three years have I but gone in travail
Of you, my sons; and till this present hour
My heavy burden ne'er delivered.
The Duke, my husband, and my children both,
And you the calendars of their nativity,
Go to a gossips' feast, and go with me;
After so long grief, such nativity!
DUKE. With all my heart, I'll gossip at this feast.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Master, shall I fetch your stuff from shipboard?
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou embark'd?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Your goods that lay at host, sir, in the Centaur.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. He speaks to me. I am your master, Dromio.
Come, go with us; we'll look to that anon.
Embrace thy brother there; rejoice with him.
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. There is a fat friend at your master's house,
That kitchen'd me for you to-day at dinner;
She now shall be my sister, not my wife.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother;
I see by you I am a sweet-fac'd youth.
Will you walk in to see their gossiping?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Not I, sir; you are my elder.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. That's a question; how shall we try it?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. We'll draw cuts for the senior; till then,
lead thou first.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Nay, then, thus:
We came into the world like brother and brother,
And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.





by William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae


Generals against the Volscians

MENENIUS AGRIPPA, friend to Coriolanus

Tribunes of the People

YOUNG MARCIUS, son to Coriolanus
NICANOR, a Roman
TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of the Volscians
LIEUTENANT, to Aufidius
ADRIAN, a Volscian
A CITIZEN of Antium

VOLUMNIA, mother to Coriolanus
VIRGILIA, wife to Coriolanus
VALERIA, friend to Virgilia
GENTLEWOMAN attending on Virgilia

Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Aediles, Lictors,
Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other


Rome and the neighbourhood; Corioli and the neighbourhood; Antium

Rome. A street

Enter a company of mutinous citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons

FIRST CITIZEN. Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
ALL. Speak, speak.
FIRST CITIZEN. YOU are all resolv'd rather to die than to famish?
ALL. Resolv'd, resolv'd.
FIRST CITIZEN. First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the
ALL. We know't, we know't.
FIRST CITIZEN. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own
price. Is't a verdict?
ALL. No more talking on't; let it be done. Away, away!
SECOND CITIZEN. One word, good citizens.
FIRST CITIZEN. We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
What authority surfeits on would relieve us; if they would yield
us but the superfluity while it were wholesome, we might guess
they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear. The
leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a
gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes ere we become
rakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in
thirst for revenge.
SECOND CITIZEN. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
FIRST CITIZEN. Against him first; he's a very dog to the
SECOND CITIZEN. Consider you what services he has done for his
FIRST CITIZEN. Very well, and could be content to give him good
report for't but that he pays himself with being proud.
SECOND CITIZEN. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
FIRST CITIZEN. I say unto you, what he hath done famously he did it
to that end; though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say it
was for his country, he did it to please his mother and to be
partly proud, which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
SECOND CITIZEN. What he cannot help in his nature you account a
vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
FIRST CITIZEN. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;
he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts
within] What shouts are these? The other side o' th' city is
risen. Why stay we prating here? To th' Capitol!
ALL. Come, come.
FIRST CITIZEN. Soft! who comes here?


SECOND CITIZEN. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always lov'd
the people.
FIRST CITIZEN. He's one honest enough; would all the rest were so!
MENENIUS. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you
With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
FIRST CITIZEN. Our business is not unknown to th' Senate; they have
had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll
show 'em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths;
they shall know we have strong arms too.
MENENIUS. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
FIRST CITIZEN. We cannot, sir; we are undone already.
MENENIUS. I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
Against the Roman state; whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder than can ever
Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you; and you slander
The helms o' th' state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.
FIRST CITIZEN. Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er car'd for us
yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses cramm'd with
grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily
any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more
piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor. If the
wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear
MENENIUS. Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale. It may be you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To stale't a little more.
FIRST CITIZEN. Well, I'll hear it, sir; yet you must not think to
fob off our disgrace with a tale. But, an't please you, deliver.
MENENIUS. There was a time when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:
That only like a gulf it did remain
I' th' midst o' th' body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where th' other instruments
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answer'd-
FIRST CITIZEN. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
MENENIUS. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus-
For look you, I may make the belly smile
As well as speak- it tauntingly replied
To th' discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators for that
They are not such as you.
FIRST CITIZEN. Your belly's answer- What?
The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
Is this our fabric, if that they-
MENENIUS. What then?
Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? What then?
FIRST CITIZEN. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,
Who is the sink o' th' body-
MENENIUS. Well, what then?
FIRST CITIZEN. The former agents, if they did complain,
What could the belly answer?
MENENIUS. I will tell you;
If you'll bestow a small- of what you have little-
Patience awhile, you'st hear the belly's answer.
FIRST CITIZEN. Y'are long about it.
MENENIUS. Note me this, good friend:
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered.
'True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he
'That I receive the general food at first
Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the storehouse and the shop
Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to th' seat o' th' brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live. And though that all at once
You, my good friends'- this says the belly; mark me.
FIRST CITIZEN. Ay, sir; well, well.
MENENIUS. 'Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,
And leave me but the bran.' What say you to' t?
FIRST CITIZEN. It was an answer. How apply you this?
MENENIUS. The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members; for, examine
Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
Touching the weal o' th' common, you shall find
No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
You, the great toe of this assembly?
FIRST CITIZEN. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
MENENIUS. For that, being one o' th' lowest, basest, poorest,
Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost.
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
Lead'st first to win some vantage.
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs.
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
The one side must have bale.


Hail, noble Marcius!
MARCIUS. Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?
FIRST CITIZEN. We have ever your good word.
MARCIUS. He that will give good words to thee will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
That like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese; you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you do change a mind
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble Senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another? What's their seeking?
MENENIUS. For corn at their own rates, whereof they say
The city is well stor'd.
MARCIUS. Hang 'em! They say!
They'll sit by th' fire and presume to know
What's done i' th' Capitol, who's like to rise,
Who thrives and who declines; side factions, and give out
Conjectural marriages, making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking
Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough!
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
As I could pick my lance.
MENENIUS. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
What says the other troop?
MARCIUS. They are dissolv'd. Hang 'em!
They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs-
That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
Corn for the rich men only. With these shreds
They vented their complainings; which being answer'd,
And a petition granted them- a strange one,
To break the heart of generosity
And make bold power look pale- they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o' th' moon,
Shouting their emulation.
MENENIUS. What is granted them?
MARCIUS. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus-
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. 'Sdeath!
The rabble should have first unroof'd the city
Ere so prevail'd with me; it will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.
MENENIUS. This is strange.
MARCIUS. Go get you home, you fragments.

Enter a MESSENGER, hastily

MESSENGER. Where's Caius Marcius?
MARCIUS. Here. What's the matter?
MESSENGER. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
MARCIUS. I am glad on't; then we shall ha' means to vent
Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.


FIRST SENATOR. Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:
The Volsces are in arms.
MARCIUS. They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
I sin in envying his nobility;
And were I anything but what I am,
I would wish me only he.
COMINIUS. You have fought together?
MARCIUS. Were half to half the world by th' ears, and he
Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
Only my wars with him. He is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.
FIRST SENATOR. Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
COMINIUS. It is your former promise.
MARCIUS. Sir, it is;
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
What, art thou stiff? Stand'st out?
LARTIUS. No, Caius Marcius;
I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other
Ere stay behind this business.
MENENIUS. O, true bred!
FIRST SENATOR. Your company to th' Capitol; where, I know,
Our greatest friends attend us.
LARTIUS. [To COMINIUS] Lead you on.
[To MARCIUS] Follow Cominius; we must follow you;
Right worthy you priority.
COMINIUS. Noble Marcius!
FIRST SENATOR. [To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be gone.
MARCIUS. Nay, let them follow.
The Volsces have much corn: take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutineers,
Your valour puts well forth; pray follow.
Ciitzens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS
SICINIUS. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
BRUTUS. He has no equal.
SICINIUS. When we were chosen tribunes for the people-
BRUTUS. Mark'd you his lip and eyes?
SICINIUS. Nay, but his taunts!
BRUTUS. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the gods.
SICINIUS. Bemock the modest moon.
BRUTUS. The present wars devour him! He is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.
SICINIUS. Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at noon. But I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Under Cominius.
BRUTUS. Fame, at the which he aims-
In whom already he is well grac'd- cannot
Better be held nor more attain'd than by
A place below the first; for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To th' utmost of a man, and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius 'O, if he
Had borne the business!'
SICINIUS. Besides, if things go well,
Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.
Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed
In aught he merit not.
SICINIUS. Let's hence and hear
How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
More than his singularity, he goes
Upon this present action.
BRUTUS. Let's along. Exeunt

Corioli. The Senate House.


FIRST SENATOR. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are ent'red in our counsels
And know how we proceed.
AUFIDIUS. Is it not yours?
What ever have been thought on in this state
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone
Since I heard thence; these are the words- I think
I have the letter here;.yes, here it is:
[Reads] 'They have press'd a power, but it is not known
Whether for east or west. The dearth is great;
The people mutinous; and it is rumour'd,
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither 'tis bent. Most likely 'tis for you;
Consider of it.'
FIRST SENATOR. Our army's in the field;
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
To answer us.
AUFIDIUS. Nor did you think it folly
To keep your great pretences veil'd till when
They needs must show themselves; which in the hatching,
It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery
We shall be short'ned in our aim, which was
To take in many towns ere almost Rome
Should know we were afoot.
SECOND SENATOR. Noble Aufidius,
Take your commission; hie you to your bands;
Let us alone to guard Corioli.
If they set down before's, for the remove
Bring up your army; but I think you'll find
Th' have not prepar'd for us.
AUFIDIUS. O, doubt not that!
I speak from certainties. Nay more,
Some parcels of their power are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your honours.
If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,
'Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
Till one can do no more.
ALL. The gods assist you!
AUFIDIUS. And keep your honours safe!
ALL. Farewell. Exeunt

Rome. MARCIUS' house

Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA, mother and wife to MARCIUS;
they set them down on two low stools and sew

VOLUMNIA. I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself in a more
comfortable sort. If my son were my husband, I should freelier
rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour than in the
embracements of his bed where he would show most love. When yet
he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth
with comeliness pluck'd all gaze his way; when, for a day of
kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her
beholding; I, considering how honour would become such a person-
that it was no better than picture-like to hang by th' wall, if
renown made it not stir- was pleas'd to let him seek danger where
he was to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him, from whence he
return'd his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I
sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child than
now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.
VIRGILIA. But had he died in the business, madam, how then?
VOLUMNIA. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein
would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely: had I a dozen
sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my
good Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country
than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.


GENTLEWOMAN. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
VIRGILIA. Beseech you give me leave to retire myself.
VOLUMNIA. Indeed you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum;
See him pluck Aufidius down by th' hair;
As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
'Come on, you cowards! You were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome.' His bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes,
Like to a harvest-man that's task'd to mow
Or all or lose his hire.
VIRGILIA. His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!
VOLUMNIA. Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria
We are fit to bid her welcome. Exit GENTLEWOMAN
VIRGILIA. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
VOLUMNIA. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.

Re-enter GENTLEWOMAN, With VALERIA and an usher

VALERIA. My ladies both, good day to you.
VOLUMNIA. Sweet madam!
VIRGILIA. I am glad to see your ladyship.
VALERIA. How do you both? You are manifest housekeepers. What are
you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your little
VIRGILIA. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.
VOLUMNIA. He had rather see the swords and hear a drum than look
upon his schoolmaster.
VALERIA. O' my word, the father's son! I'll swear 'tis a very
pretty boy. O' my troth, I look'd upon him a Wednesday half an
hour together; has such a confirm'd countenance! I saw him run
after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it he let it go
again, and after it again, and over and over he comes, and up
again, catch'd it again; or whether his fall enrag'd him, or how
'twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it. O, I warrant, how he
mammock'd it!
VOLUMNIA. One on's father's moods.
VALERIA. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.
VIRGILIA. A crack, madam.
VALERIA. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the
idle huswife with me this afternoon.
VIRGILIA. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
VALERIA. Not out of doors!
VOLUMNIA. She shall, she shall.
VIRGILIA. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the threshold
till my lord return from the wars.
VALERIA. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably; come, you
must go visit the good lady that lies in.
VIRGILIA. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my
prayers; but I cannot go thither.
VOLUMNIA. Why, I pray you?
VIRGILIA. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.
VALERIA. You would be another Penelope; yet they say all the yarn
she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill Ithaca full of moths.
Come, I would your cambric were sensible as your finger, that you
might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
VIRGILIA. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed I will not forth.
VALERIA. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news
of your husband.
VIRGILIA. O, good madam, there can be none yet.
VALERIA. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him
last night.
VIRGILIA. Indeed, madam?
VALERIA. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it
is: the Volsces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the
general is gone, with one part of our Roman power. Your lord and
Titus Lartius are set down before their city Corioli; they
nothing doubt prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true,
on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
VIRGILIA. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in everything
VOLUMNIA. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease
our better mirth.
VALERIA. In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then. Come,
good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o'
door and go along with us.
VIRGILIA. No, at a word, madam; indeed I must not. I wish you much
VALERIA. Well then, farewell. Exeunt

Before Corioli

Enter MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, with drum and colours,
with CAPTAINS and soldiers. To them a MESSENGER

MARCIUS. Yonder comes news; a wager- they have met.
LARTIUS. My horse to yours- no.
MARCIUS. 'Tis done.
LARTIUS. Agreed.
MARCIUS. Say, has our general met the enemy?
MESSENGER. They lie in view, but have not spoke as yet.
LARTIUS. So, the good horse is mine.
MARCIUS. I'll buy him of you.
LARTIUS. No, I'll nor sell nor give him; lend you him I will
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
MARCIUS. How far off lie these armies?
MESSENGER. Within this mile and half.
MARCIUS. Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.

They sound a parley. Enter two SENATORS with others,
on the walls of Corioli

Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
FIRST SENATOR. No, nor a man that fears you less than he:
That's lesser than a little. [Drum afar off] Hark, our drums
Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls
Rather than they shall pound us up; our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves. [Alarum far off] Hark you far off!
There is Aufidius. List what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
MARCIUS. O, they are at it!
LARTIUS. Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!

Enter the army of the Volsces

MARCIUS. They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields. Advance, brave Titus.
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows.
He that retires, I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches.
Re-enter MARCIUS, cursing

MARCIUS. All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! you herd of- Boils and plagues
Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
Farther than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind! Backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
And make my wars on you. Look to't. Come on;
If you'll stand fast we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches. Follow me.

Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and MARCIUS follows
them to the gates

So, now the gates are ope; now prove good seconds;
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers. Mark me, and do the like.

[MARCIUS enters the gates]

FIRST SOLDIER. Fool-hardiness; not I.
FIRST SOLDIER. See, they have shut him in.
ALL. To th' pot, I warrant him. [Alarum continues]


LARTIUS. What is become of Marcius?
ALL. Slain, sir, doubtless.
FIRST SOLDIER. Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd to their gates. He is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
LARTIUS. O noble fellow!
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And when it bows stand'st up. Thou art left, Marcius;
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy

LARTIUS. O, 'tis Marcius!
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.
[They fight, and all enter the city]

Within Corioli. A street

Enter certain Romans, with spoils

FIRST ROMAN. This will I carry to Rome.
THIRD ROMAN. A murrain on 't! I took this for silver.
[Alarum continues still afar off]

Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS With a trumpeter

MARCIUS. See here these movers that do prize their hours
At a crack'd drachma! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
Ere yet the fight be done, pack up. Down with them!
Exeunt pillagers
And hark, what noise the general makes! To him!
There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius,
Piercing our Romans; then, valiant Titus, take
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.
LARTIUS. Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
Thy exercise hath been too violent
For a second course of fight.
MARCIUS. Sir, praise me not;
My work hath yet not warm'd me. Fare you well;
The blood I drop is rather physical
Than dangerous to me. To Aufidius thus
I will appear, and fight.
LARTIUS. Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee, and her great charms
Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!
MARCIUS. Thy friend no less
Than those she placeth highest! So farewell.
LARTIUS. Thou worthiest Marcius! Exit MARCIUS
Go sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers o' th' town,
Where they shall know our mind. Away! Exeunt

Near the camp of COMINIUS

Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire, with soldiers

COMINIUS. Breathe you, my friends. Well fought; we are come off
Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands
Nor cowardly in retire. Believe me, sirs,
We shall be charg'd again. Whiles we have struck,
By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
The charges of our friends. The Roman gods,
Lead their successes as we wish our own,
That both our powers, with smiling fronts encount'ring,
May give you thankful sacrifice!


Thy news?
MESSENGER. The citizens of Corioli have issued
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle;
I saw our party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.
COMINIUS. Though thou speak'st truth,
Methinks thou speak'st not well. How long is't since?
MESSENGER. Above an hour, my lord.
COMINIUS. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums.
How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?
MESSENGER. Spies of the Volsces
Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.


COMINIUS. Who's yonder
That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods!
He has the stamp of Marcius, and I have
Before-time seen him thus.
MARCIUS. Come I too late?
COMINIUS. The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabor
More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
From every meaner man.
MARCIUS. Come I too late?
COMINIUS. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
But mantled in your own.
MARCIUS. O! let me clip ye
In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart
As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn'd to bedward.
COMINIUS. Flower of warriors,
How is't with Titus Lartius?
MARCIUS. As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death and some to exile;
Ransoming him or pitying, threat'ning th' other;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome
Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
To let him slip at will.
COMINIUS. Where is that slave
Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
Where is he? Call him hither.
MARCIUS. Let him alone;
He did inform the truth. But for our gentlemen,
The common file- a plague! tribunes for them!
The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
From rascals worse than they.
COMINIUS. But how prevail'd you?
MARCIUS. Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
Where is the enemy? Are you lords o' th' field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?
COMINIUS. Marcius,
We have at disadvantage fought, and did
Retire to win our purpose.
MARCIUS. How lies their battle? Know you on which side
They have plac'd their men of trust?
COMINIUS. As I guess, Marcius,
Their bands i' th' vaward are the Antiates,
Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of hope.
MARCIUS. I do beseech you,
By all the battles wherein we have fought,
By th' blood we have shed together, by th' vows
We have made to endure friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanc'd and darts,
We prove this very hour.
COMINIUS. Though I could wish
You were conducted to a gentle bath
And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
Deny your asking: take your choice of those
That best can aid your action.
MARCIUS. Those are they
That most are willing. If any such be here-

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