The Comedy of Errors

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

I crave your pardon. Soon at five o'clock,
Please you, I’ll meet with you upon the mart
And afterward consort you till bedtime.
My present business calls me from you now.
it pleases you, I’ll meet you in the marketplace at five and will keep you company until bedtime. Right now, my pressing business calls me away.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

30Farewell till then. I will go lose myself
And wander up and down to view the city.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

Farewell till then. I will go lose myself, wandering up and down throughout the city.

FIRST MERCHANT

Sir, I commend you to your own content.

FIRST MERCHANT

Sir, I leave you to your own contentment.
Exit FIRST MERCHANTexits.
FIRST MERCHANT exits.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

He that commends me to mine own content
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
35I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
40In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.

ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE

He leaves me to my own contentment, but that’s the one thing I cannot find. Out in the world, I’m like a drop of water, trying to find a drop that matches in the whole wide ocean. When that drop fails its task–unnoticed, inquisitive–it dissipates into the ocean and destroys itself. In order to find a mother and a brother, I too have lost myself, unhappily.
Enter DROMIO OF EPHESUS
DROMIO OF EPHESUS enters.
Here comes the almanac of my true date.—
What now? How chance thou art returned so soon?
Here comes the man who shares my birthday. What is it? How is it that you’ve come back so soon?

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Returned so soon? Rather approach’d too late!
The capon burns; the pig falls from the spit;
45The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell;
My mistress made it one upon my cheek.
She is so hot because the meat is cold;
The meat is cold because you come not home;
You come not home because you have no stomach;
50You have no stomach, having broke your fast;
But we that know what ’tis to fast and pray
Are penitent for your default today.

DROMIO OF EPHESUS

Back so soon? Too late is more like it. The chicken is burning, the pig is overcooked, the clock has already struck twelve, and my mistress has clocked me one on the cheek. She’s hot because lunch is cold; lunch is cold because you’re not home; you’re not home because you’re not hungry; you’re not hungry because you’ve eaten already. But we servants—who know how to properly fast and pray—are being punished for your offenses today.