« ZurückWeiter »
Have won his grace to come in person hither,
And take perforce my husband from the abbess.
Mer. By this, I think, the dial points at five:
Anon, I am 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.
Ang. Upon what cause?
Mer. To see a reverend Syracusan merchant,
Who put unluckily into this bay
Against the laws and statutes of this town,
Beheaded publicly for his offence.
Ang. See, where they come; we will behold his death.
Luc. Kneel to the duke, before he pass the abbey.
Enter DUKE attended; ÆGEON bare-headed; 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.
Adr. 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.
Adr. May it please your grace, Antipholus, my husband,—
Whom 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 desperately 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,
Chased us away; till raising of more aid,
We came again to bind them: then they fled
Into this abbey, whither we pursued 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 served me in my wars:
And I to thee engaged 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.
Enter a SERVANT.
Serv. 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 singed off with brands of fire;
And ever as it blazed, they threw on him
Great pails of puddled mire to quench the hair:
My master preaches patience to him, while
His man with scissars nicks him† like a fool:
And, sure, unless you send some present help,
Between them they will kill the conjurer.
Adr. Peace, fool, thy master and his man are here:
And that is false thou dost report to us.
Serv. 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 :
Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress; fly, be gone.
Duke. Come, stand by me, fear nothing: Guard with halberts. Adr. Ah me, it is my husband! Witness you, That he is borne about invisible: Even now we housed him in the abbey here; And now he's there, past thought of human reason.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS and DROMIO of Ephesus.
Ant. E. Justice, most gracious duke, oh, 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.
Ege. Unless the fear of death doth make me dote,
I see my son Antipholus, and Dromio.
Ant. E. Justice, sweet prince, against that woman there.
She whom thou gav'st to me to be my wife;
That hath abused and dishonour'd 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.
Ant. E. 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?
Adr. No, my good lord ;-myself, he, and my sister,
*I. e. one after another.
† I. e. cuts his hair close.
The term once included male cheats.
To-day did dine together: So befall my soul,
As this is false, he burdens me withal!
Luc. Ne'er may I look on day, nor sleep on night, But she tells to your highness simple truth!
Ang. O perjured woman! They are both forsworn. In this the madman justly chargeth them.
Ant. E. My liege, I am advised what I say:
Neither disturb'd with the effect of wine,
Nor heady-rash, provoked 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 perjured goldsmith swear me down,
That I this day of him received 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 one return'd.
Then fairly I bespoke the officer,
To go in person with me to my house.
By the way we met
My wife, her sister, and a rabble more
Of vile confederates; along with them
They brought one Pinch; a hungry lean-faced villain,
A mere anatomy, a mountebank,
A thread-bare juggler, and a fortune-teller;
A needy, hollow-eyed, 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 altogether
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.
Ang. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him; That he dined not at home but was lock'd out.
Duke. But had he such a chain of thee, or no?
Ang. He had, my lord: and when he ran in here, These people saw the chain about his neck.
Mer. 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.
Ant. E. 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!
As this is false you burden me withal.
Du Why, what an intricate impeach is this!
I think, you all have drunk of Circe's cup.
If here you housed him, here he would have been;
If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly:-
You say, he dined at home; the goldsmith here
Denies that saying:-Sirrah, what say you?
Dro. E. Sir, he dined with her there, at the Porpentine.
Cour. He did; and from my finger snatch'd that ring.
Ant. E. 'Tis true, my liege, this ring I had of her.
Duke. Saw'st thou him enter at the abbey here?
Cour. 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. [Exit an Attendant.
Ege. 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, Syracusan, what thou wilt.
Age. Is not your name, Sir, called Antipholus?
And is not that your bondman Dromio?
Dro. E. 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.
Ege. I am sure, you both of you remember me.
Dro. E. 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?
Ege. Why look you strange on me, you know me well.
Ant. E. I never saw you in my life till now.
Ege. Oh! grief hath changed me since you saw me last;
And careful hours, with Time's deformed+ hand
Have written strange defeaturest in my face:
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?
Ant. E. Neither.
Ege. Dromio, nor thou?
Dro. E. No, trust me, Sir, nor I.
Ege. I am sure, thou dost.
Dro. E. Ay, Sir; but I am sure, I do not; and whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.
Ege. Not know my voice! O, time's extremity! Hast thou so cracked and splitted my poor tongue,
In seven short years, that here my only son
Knows not my feeble key of untuned cares?*
Though now this grainedt 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 lamp 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.
Ant. E. I never saw my father in my life.
Ege. But seven years since, in Syracusa, boy,
Thou know'st we parted: but perhaps, my son,
Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery.
Ant. E. The Duke, and all that know me in the city,
Can witness with me that it is not so;
I ne'er saw Syracusa in my life.
Duke. I tell thee, Syracusan, twenty years
Have I been patron to Antipholus,
During which time he ne'er saw Syracusa:
I see, thy age and dangers make thee dote.
Enter the ABBESS, with ANTIPHOLUS Syracusan, and DROMIO Syracusan.
Abb. Most mighty duke, behold a man much wronged.
[All gather to see him.
Adr. 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?
Dro. S. I, Sir, am Dromio; command him away.
Dro. E. I, Sir, am Dromio, pray let me stay.
Ant. S. Egeon, art thou not? or else his ghost?
Dro. S. O, my old master! who hath bound him here?
Abb. Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds,
And gain a husband by his liberty:-
Speak, old Egeon, if thou be'st the man
That hadst a wife once called Æmilia,
That bore thee at a burden two fair sons:
O, if thou be'st the same Ægeon, speak,
And speak unto the same Emilía!
Ege. If I dream not, thou art Æmilia; If thou art she, tell me, where is that son That floated with thee on the fatal raft?
Abb. 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:
* Voice made feeble by grating cares.