Page images
PDF
EPUB

With wholesome sirups, 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.

Adr. I will not hence, and leave my husband here ;
And ill it doth beseem your holiness,
To separate the husband and the wife.
Abb. Be quiet, and depart; thou shalt not have him.

[Exit Abbess. Luc. Complain unto the duke of this indignity.

Adr. 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.

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

2

the abbey.

Enter Duke, attended ; Ægeon, 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.

Adr. Justice, most sacred duke, against the abbess !

1 i. e. to bring him back to his senses, and the accustomed forms of sober behavior. In Measure for Measure, “ informal women" is used for just the contrary.

2 i. e. dismal :-“ dismolde and sorrie, atra funestus.”

[ocr errors]

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 hus

band, -
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, any thing 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 hiin 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.

[blocks in formation]

a

Enter a Servant.

a 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, 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.

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 breathed 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, begone. Duke. Come, stand by me; fear nothing. Guard

; with halberds! 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, 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.

Æge. Unless the fear of death doth make me dote, I see my son Antipholus, and Dromio.

1 i. e. successively, one after another.

wife;

Ant. E. Justice, sweet prince, against that woman

there.
She whom thou gav'st to me to be my
That hath abused and dishonored 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 1 feasted in

my

house. Duke. A grievous fault. Say, woman, didst thou

SOS

Adr. 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 !

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 disturbed with the effect of wine, Nor heady rash, provoked with raging ire, Albeit, my wrongs might make one wiser mad. This woman locked me out this day from dinner; That goldsmith there, were he not packed 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 Porcupine, 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,

1 Harlot was a term anciently applied to a rogue or base person among men, as well as to wantons among women. See Todd's Johnson,

in person

a

He did arrest me with an officer.
I did obey; and sent my peasant home
For certain ducats; he with none returned.
Then fairly I bespoke the officer,
To
go

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 bungry, 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 possessed. 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 gained 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 locked 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!
And this is false, you burden me withal.

« PreviousContinue »