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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, 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 shuis 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 serv'd me in
And I to thee engag'd a prince's word,
. At your important letters,] For importunate.
to take order -] i. e. to take measures.
And bid the lady abbess come to me;
Enter a Servant.
Serv. O mistress, mistress, shift and save your
self! 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: 3 And, sure, unless
you send some present help, Between them they will kill the conjuror. Adr. Peace, fool, thy master and his man arę
Serv. Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true;
2 Beaten the maids a-row,] i. e. successively, one after another.
* His man with scissars nicks him like a fool:] The force of this allusion I am unable to explain with certainty. Perhaps it was once the custom to cut the hair of idiots close to their heads. There is a proverbial simile-—"Like crop the conjuror;" which might have been ironically applied to these unfortunate beings.
STEEVENS, There is a penalty of ten shillings in one of King Alfred's ecclesiastical laws, if one opprobriously shave a common man like a fool. TOLLET.
Fools, undoubtedly, were shaved and nicked in a particular manner, in our author's time, as is ascertained by the following passage
in The Choice of Change, containing the Triplicitie of Divinitie, Philosophie and Poetrie, by S. R. Gent. 4to. 1598: Three things used by monks, which provoke other men to laugh at their follies, 1. They are shaven and notched on the head like fooles."
To scorch your face, and to disfigure you:
[Cry within. Hark, hark, I hear him, mistress; fly, be gone. Duke. Come, stand by me, fear nothing: Guard
with halberds. Adr. Ah me, it is
husband! Witness you, That he is borne about invisible: Even now we hous'd 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. Æge. Unless the fear of death doth make m
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
with harlots —] Harlot was a term of reproach applied to cheats among men, as well as to wantons among women.
Adr. No, my good lord ;--myself, he, and my .
sister, To-day did dine together: So befal 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 perjur'd 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, provok'd 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 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 hiin; And in his company, that gentleman. There did this perjur'd goldsınith swear me down, That I this day of him receiv'd 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 none 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 vil
I am advised -] i. e. I am not going to speak precipitately or rashly, but on reflection and consideration.
A meer anatomy, a mountebank,
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! And this is false, you burden me withal.
Duke. What an intricate impeach is this! I think, you all have drank of Circe's
cup. If here you hous’d him, here he would have been; If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly: