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And as a bed I'll take thee, and there lie;
And, in that glorious supposition, think
Let love, being light, be drowned if she sink!
That's my sister.
Luc. All this my sister is, or else should be.
Ant. S. Call thyself sister, sweet, for I aim ? thee. Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life; Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife. Give me thy hand. Luc.
O, soft, sir, hold you still ; I'll fetch my sister, to get her good will. [Exit Luc.
Enter, from the House of Antipholus of Ephesus,
Dromio of Syracuse. Ant. S. Why, how now, Dromio? where run'st thou so fast?
Dro. S. Do you know me, sir ? am I Dromio ? am I your man? am I myself?
1 The first folio reads :
“And as a bud I'll take thee, and there lie.” 2 The old copy reads, I am thee. The present reading is Steevens's. Others have proposed I mean thee; but aim, for aim at, was sometimes used. VOL. III.
Ant. S. Thou art Dromio; thou art my man; thou
art thyself. Dro. S. I am an ass; I am a woman's man, and
besides myself. Ant. S. What woman's man? and how besides
thyself? Dro. S. Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.
Ant. S. What claim lays she to thee?
Dro. S. 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.
Ant. S. What is she ?
Dro. S. A very reverend 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 she is a wondrous fat marriage.
Ant. S. How dost thou mean, a fat marriage ?
Dro. S. 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 a Poland winter. If she lives till doomsday, she'll burn a week longer than the whole world.
Ant. S. What complexion is she of?
Dro. S. 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.
Ant. S. That's a fault that water will mend.
Dro. S. No, sir, 'tis in grain ; Noah's flood could not do it.
Ant. S. What's her name?
Dro. S. Nell, sir ; but her name and three quarters, that is, an ell and three quarters, will not measure her from hip to hip.
i This is a very old corruption of save reverence, salva reverentia. See Blount's Glossography, 1682.
2 Swart, or swarth, i. e. dark, dusky, infuscus.
Ant. S. Then she bears some breadth ?
Dro. S. No longer from head to foot, than from hip to hip; she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her.
Ant. S. In what part of her body stands Ireland ?
Dro. S. Marry, sir, in her buttocks; I found it out by the bogs.
Ant. S. Where Scotland ?
Dro. S. I found it by the barrenness; hard, in the palm of the hand.
Ant. S. · Where France ?
Dro. S. In her forehead ; armed and reverted, making war against her heir.
Ant. S. Where England ?
Dro. S. I looked 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.
Ant. $. Where Spain ?
Dro. S. Faith, I saw it not; but I felt it hot in her breath.
Ant. S. Where America, the Indies ?
Dro. S. O, sir, upon her nose, all o'er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain ; who sent whole armadas of carracks 2 to be ballast at her nose.
Ant. S. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands?
Dro. S. O, sir, I did not look so low. To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid claim to me; called me Dromio; swore I was assured 3 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, amazed, 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 transformed me to a curtaildog, and made me turn i' the wheel.
1 « An equivoque,” says Theobald, “is intended. In 1589, Henry III. of France, being stabbed, was succeeded by Henry IV. of Navarre, whom he had appointed his successor; but whose claim the states of France resisted on account of his being a Protestant. This I take to be what is meant by France making war against her heir. Elizabeth had sent over the earl of Essex with four thousand men to the assistance of Henry of Navarre, in 1591. This oblique sneer at France was, therefore, a compliment to the Poet's royal mistress.”
2 Carracks, large ships of burthen (caraca, Span.). Ballast is merely a contraction of ballassed; to balase being the old orthography; as we write drest for dressed, embost for embossed, &c.
3 i. e. affianced.
Ant. S. Go, hie thee presently, post to the road ; And if the wind blow any way from shore, I will not harbor 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.
Dro. S. As from a bear a man would run for life, So fly I from her that would be my wife. [Exit.
Ant. S. 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, Possessed 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 my ears against the mermaid's song.
Ang. I know it well, sir. Lo, here is the chain ;
Ant. S. What is your will, that I shall do with this ? Ang. What please yourself, sir; I have made it for
you. Ant. S. Made it for me, sir ! I bespoke it not.
1 Alluding to the popular belief that a great share of faith was a protection from witchcraft.
2 Porcupine throughout the old editions of these plays is written porpentine. It is written porpyn in an old phrase book, called Hormanni Vulgaria, 1519, thus :-“ Porpyms have longer prickles than Yrchins.”
Ang. Not once nor twice, but twenty times you
Ant. S. I pray you, sir, receive the money now,
[Exit. Ant. S. What I should think of this, I cannot tell ; But this I think, there's no man is so vain, That would refuse so fair an offered 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. [Exit.
Enter a Merchant, ANGELO, and an Officer.
Ang. Even just the sum that I do owe to you,
1 i. e. accruing