The Comedy of Errors

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2 Page 1

Original Text

Modern Text



And may it be that you have quite forgot
A husband’s office? Shall, Antipholus,
Even in the spring of love thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
5If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
Then for her wealth’s sake use her with more kindness.
Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth—
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness.
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
10Be not thy tongue thy own shame’s orator;
Look sweet, be fair, become disloyalty;
Apparel vice like virtue’s harbinger.
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted.
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint.
15Be secret-false. What need she be acquainted?
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
'Tis double wrong to truant with your bed
And let her read it in thy looks at board.
Shame hath a bastard fame, well managèd;
20Ill deeds is doubled with an evil word.
Alas, poor women, make us but believe,
Being compact of credit, that you love us.
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
25Then, 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.


Have you completely forgotten your duty as a husband? Antipholus, your marriage is still fresh and new, like the springtime—have the young shoots of your love already started to wither? Is the building of your love already in ruins? If you married my sister for her wealth, then for her wealth’s sake, treat her with more kindness. Or if your affection has already strayed to another woman, at least be stealthy about it. Hide your false love, blindfold yourself so my sister cannot read your faithlessness in your eyes. Watch what you say, and don’t let your own words give away your shame. Look sweet and act kindly—be attractive in your disloyalty. Disguise your misbehavior as integrity, and behave properly even if your heart is tainted. Though you are sinful, carry yourself like a holy saint. Be false in secret: why does she need to know? What foolish thief brags about his crimes? It’s doubly wrong to cheat on your wife and then let her see the offense in your eyes. When you do something shameful, it’s possible to put a good spin on it, but bad deeds are made worse by speaking of them. Alas, poor women! We’re so gullible, we believe it when you say you love us. Even if you love someone else in your heart, make it appear as if you love us. We follow in your orbit, and you have the power to move us. So, my sweet brother-in-law, go inside. Comfort my sister, cheer her up, call her “wife.” It’s a holy thing to lie a little when sweet flattery can smooth over trouble.


Sweet mistress—what your name is else I know not,
30Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine,—


Sweet mistress—I don’t know what other name to give you, or how you’ve figured out mine—you seem as

Popular pages: The Comedy of Errors