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SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus.
ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus,
DROMIO of Ephesus,
Twin Brothers, Sons to Ægeon and Æmilia, but unknown to each other. Twin Brothers, and Attendants on the two Antipholuses.
BALTHAZAR, a Merchant.
A Merchant, Friend to Antipholus of Syracuse.
ÆMILIA, Wife to Ægeon, an Abbess at Ephesus. ADRIANA, Wife to Antipholus of Ephesus. LUCIANA, her Sister.
LUCE, her Servant.
Jailer, Officers, and other Attendants.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
A Hall in the DUKE'S Palace.
Enter DUKE, ÆGEON, Jailer, Officers, and other Attendants.
EGE. Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall, And, by the doom of death, end woes and all.
DUKE. Merchant of Syracusa, plead no more; I am not partial, to infringe our laws : The enmity and discord, which of late Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your duke To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,— Who, wanting gilders to redeem their lives, Have seal'd his rigorous statutes with their bloods,— Excludes all pity from our threat'ning looks. For, since the mortal and intestine jars "Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us, It hath in solemn synods been decreed, Both by the Syracusians' and ourselves, To admit no traffic to our adverse towns: Nay, more, If any, born at Ephesus, be seen At any Syracusian marts and fairs; Again, If any, Syracusian born,
Come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies,
Both by the Syracusians,]
Thus the first folio. The modern editors have altered it to Syracusans, but it will be a sufficient vindication of the old spelling to state, that it has the sanction of Bentley, in his Dissertation on Phalaris. BOSWELL.
His goods confiscate to the duke's dispose;
EGE. Yet this my comfort; when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.
DUKE. Well, Syracusian, say, in brief, the cause Why thou departedst from thy native home; And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus.
EGE. A heavier task could not have been impos'd,
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable :
To Epidamnum; till my factor's death,
- by NATURE, not by vile offence,] Not by any criminal act, but by natural affection, which prompted me to seek my son at Ephesus.
Mr. M. Mason has made a similar observation. MALONE.
3 -and WED] Wed for wedded was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time. So, in Timon of Athens:
"Which makes the wappen'd widow wed again."
4 And by me Too,] Too, which is not found in the original copy, was added by the editor of the second folio, to complete the MALONE.
till my factor's death,
"And THE great care of goods at random left,
"Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse:] Thus
From whom my absence was not six months old,
And, which was strange, the one so like the other,
Of such a burden, male twins, both alike:
*First folio, bears,
the old copy, except that in that copy we have-And he great care, &c. For this emendation I am answerable.
Perhaps there are few passages in these plays where an emendation, effected by the addition of a single letter, produces so easy and clear a sense. Mr. Steevens, however, adhered to the errour of the old copy, but changed its punctuation and adopted a parenthesis, suggested by Mr. M. Mason; in consequence of which alterations the text appears in his edition as follows:
our wealth increas'd,
By prosperous voyages I often made
"To Epidamnum, till my factor's death:
And he (great care of goods at random left) "Drew me, &c."
According to this punctuation and arrangement, the meaning is, that Ægeon carried on a successful trade till his factor's death; and then he [the dead factor] drew him away from the embracements of his wife. MALONE.
6 A POOR mean woman was deliver'd-] The old copy reads: "A mean woman was delivered."
The word poor was added to complete the metre in the second folio. It is manifest that some word was omitted by the compositor of the original copy; but the word supplied by the second folio can hardly be the authour's word, for in the next line but one we have
for their parents were exceeding poor." However, rather than print an imperfect verse, I have admitted this clumsy emendation. MALONE.
My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd,