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Enter Menaechmusthe Citizenfrom his house, talking back to his wife within
Editor’s Note1

menaechmus the citizen If ye were not such a brabbling fool and 2madbrain scold as ye are, ye would never thus cross your hus-3band in all his actions! (To himself) 'Tis no matter. Let her serve 4me thus once more, I'll send her home to her dad with a 5vengeance. I can never go forth a-doors but she asketh me 6whither I go, what I do, what business, what I fetch, what I 7carry, as though she were a constable or a toll-gatherer. I have 8pampered her too much. She hath servants about her, wool, 9flax, and all things necessary to busy her withal, yet she watch-Editor’s Note10eth and wondereth whither I go. Well, sith it is so, she shall now 11have some cause. I mean to dine this day abroad with a sweet 12friend of mine.

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peniculus (aside) Yea, marry, now comes he to the point that 14pricks me. This last speech galls me as much as it would do his Editor’s Note15wife. If he dine not at home, I am dressed.

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menaechmus the citizen (to himself) We that have loves abroad 17and wives at home are miserably hampered. Yet, would every 18man could tame his shrew as well as I do mine! I have now 19pg 191filched away a fine riding cloak of my wife's which I mean to 20bestow upon one that I love better. Nay, if she be so wary and Editor’s Note21watchful over me, I count it an alms deed to deceive her.

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peniculus Come, what share have I in that same?

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menaechmus the citizen Out, alas, I am taken.

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peniculus True, but by your friend.

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menaechmus the citizen What, mine own Peniculus?

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peniculus Yours, i' faith, body and goods—if I had any.

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menaechmus the citizen Why, thou hast a body.

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peniculus Yea, but neither goods nor good body.

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menaechmus the citizen Thou couldst never come fitter in all thy 30life.

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peniculus Tush, I ever do so to my friends. I know how to come 32always in the nick. Where dine ye today?

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menaechmus the citizen I'll tell thee of a notable prank.

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peniculus What, did the cook mar your meat in the dressing?

Editor’s Note35Would I might see the reversion.

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menaechmus the citizen Tell me, didst thou see a picture how 37Jupiter's eagle snatched away Ganymede, or how Venus stole 38away Adonis?

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peniculus Often, but what care I for shadows? I want substance.

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menaechmus the citizen (showing the cloak he has concealed) Look 41thee here. Look not I like such a picture?

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peniculus Oho, what cloak have ye got here?

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menaechmus the citizen Prithee, say I am now a brave fellow.

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peniculus But hark ye, where shall we dine?

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menaechmus the citizen Tush, say as I bid thee, man.

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peniculus Out of doubt ye are a fine man.

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menaechmus the citizen What? Canst add nothing of thine own?

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peniculus Ye are a most pleasant gentleman.

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menaechmus the citizen On, yet.

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peniculus Nay, not a word more, unless ye tell me how you and 51your wife be fallen out.

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menaechmus the citizen Nay, I have a greater secret than that to 53impart to thee.

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peniculus Say your mind.

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menaechmus the citizen Come farther this way from my house.

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peniculus So, let me hear.

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menaechmus the citizen Nay, farther yet.

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peniculus I warrant ye, man.

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menaechmus the citizen Nay, yet farther.

pg 192 60

peniculus 'Tis pity ye were not made a waterman, to row in a Editor’s Note61wherry.

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menaechmus the citizen Why?

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peniculus Because ye go one way and look another still, lest your 64wife should follow ye. But what's the matter, is't not almost 65dinner-time?

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menaechmus the citizen Seest thou this cloak?

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peniculus Not yet. Well, what of it?

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menaechmus the citizen This same I mean to give to Erotium.

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peniculus That's well, but what of all this?

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menaechmus the citizen There I mean to have a delicious dinner 71prepared for her and me.

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peniculus And me?

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menaechmus the citizen And thee.

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peniculus O sweet word! What, shall I knock presently at her 75door?

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menaechmus the citizen Ay, knock. But stay too, Peniculus, let's 77not be too rash. O, see, she is in good time coming forth.

Editor’s Note78

peniculus Ah, he now looks against the sun. How her beams 79dazzle his eyes!

Enter Erotiumfrom her house
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erotium What, mine own Menaechmus? Welcome, sweetheart.

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peniculus And what, am I welcome too?

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erotium You, sir? Ye are out of the number of my welcome 83guests.

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peniculus I am like a voluntary soldier—out of pay.

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menaechmus the citizen Erotium, I have determined that here Editor’s Note86shall be pitched a field this day. We mean to drink, for the heav-87ens, and which of us performs the bravest service at his 88weapon—the wine bowl—yourself as captain shall pay him his 89wages according to his deserts.

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erotium Agreed.

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peniculus I would we had the weapons, for my valour pricks me to 92the battle.

Editor’s Note93

menaechmus the citizen Shall I tell thee, sweet mouse? I never 94look upon thee but I am quite out of love with my wife.

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erotium Yet ye cannot choose but ye must still wear something of 96hers. What's this same?

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menaechmus the citizen This? Such a spoil, sweetheart, as I took 98from her to put on thee.

pg 193 99

erotium Mine own Menaechmus, well worthy to be my dear, 100of all dearest!

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peniculus (aside) Now she shows herself in her likeness: when she 102finds him in the giving vein, she draws close to him.

Editor’s Note103

menaechmus the citizen I think Hercules got not the garter from 104Hippolyta so hardly as I got this from my wife. Take this, and 105with the same take my heart.

He gives her the cloak
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peniculus Thus they must do that are right lovers— (aside) espe-Editor’s Note107cially if they mean to be beggars with any speed.

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menaechmus the citizen I bought this same of late for my wife. It Editor’s Note109stood me, I think, in some ten pound.

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peniculus (aside) There's ten pound bestowed very thriftily.

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menaechmus the citizen But know ye what I would have ye do?

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erotium It shall be done. Your dinner shall be ready.

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menaechmus the citizen Let a good dinner be made for us three. 114Hark ye: some oysters, a marrowbone pie or two, some arti-115chokes, and potato roots; let our other dishes be as you please.

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erotium You shall, sir.

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menaechmus the citizen I have a little business in this city; by 118that time dinner will be prepared. Farewell till then, sweet 119Erotium. Come, Peniculus.

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peniculus Nay, I mean to follow ye. I will sooner lose my life than 121sight of you till this dinner be done.

ExeuntMenaechmus and Peniculus
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erotium (calling into her house) Who's there? Call me Cylindrus 123the cook hither.

Enter Cylindrus

124Cylindrus, take the handbasket, and here, there's ten shillings, 125is there not?

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cylindrus 'Tis so, mistress.

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erotium Buy me of all the daintiest meats ye can get—ye know 128what I mean—so as three may dine passing well and yet no 129more than enough.

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cylindrus What guests have ye today, mistress?

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erotium Here will be Menaechmus and his parasite, and myself.

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cylindrus That's ten persons in all.

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erotium How many?

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cylindrus Ten, for I warrant you that parasite may stand for eight 135at his victuals.

pg 194 136

erotium Go, dispatch as I bid you, and look ye return with all 137speed.

Editor’s Note138

cylindrus I will have all ready with a trice.

Exeunt

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
1.2.1 brabbling quarrelsome
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10 sith since
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15 dressed done for
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21 alms deed act of charity
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35 reversion leftovers
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61 wherry taxi-boat
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78 against toward
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86 field i.e. of battle
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93 mouse (a term of affection)
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97 spoil prize
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103–4 Hercules … this it was as difficult for me to get this cloak as it was for Hercules to get the girdle of Hippolyta (one of his twelve labours)
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107 speed success
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109 stood … in cost me
Editor’s Note
138 with a trice in a twinkling
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