Imatges de pàgina
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PERSONS REPRESENTED.

SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus.
ÆGEON, a Merchant of Syracuse.

ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus,
ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse,

DROMIO of Ephesus,
DROMIO of Syracuse,

and

Twin Brothers, Sons to Ægeon and Æmilia, but unknown to each other. Twin Brothers, and Attendants on the two Antipholuses.

BALTHAZAR, a Merchant.
ANGELO, a Goldsmith.

A Merchant, Friend to Antipholus of Syracuse.
PINCH, a Schoolmaster, and a Conjurer.

ÆMILIA, Wife to Ægeon, an Abbess at Ephesus. ADRIANA, Wife to Antipholus of Ephesus. LUCIANA, her Sister.

LUCE, her Servant.

A Courtezan.

Jailer, Officers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, EPHESUS.

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;
Unless a thousand marks be levied,
To quit the penalty, and to ransom him.
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.

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 :
Yet, that the world may witness, that my end
Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence 2,
I'll utter what my sorrow gives me leave.
In Syracusa was I born; and wed
Unto a woman, happy but for me,
And by me too, had not our hap been bad.
With her I liv'd in joy; our wealth increas'd,
By prosperous voyages I often made

To Epidamnum; till my factor's death,
And the great care of goods at random left,
Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse:

2

- 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.

metre.

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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,
Before herself (almost at fainting, under
The pleasing punishment that women bear *,)
Had made provision for her following me,
And soon, and safe, arrived where I was.
There had she not been long, but she became
A joyful mother of two goodly sons;

And, which was strange, the one so like the other,
As could not be distinguish'd but by names.
That very hour, and in the self-same inn,
A poor mean woman was deliver'd

Of such a burden, male twins, both alike:
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,
I bought, and brought up to attend my sons.

*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,

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By prosperous voyages I often made

"To Epidamnum, till my factor's death:

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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

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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,
Made daily motions for our home return:
Unwilling I agreed; alas, too soon.
We came aboard:

A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd,
Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragick instance of our harm:
But longer did we not retain much hope;
For what obscured light the heavens did grant
Did but convey unto our fearful minds
A doubtful warrant of immediate death;
Which, though myself would gladly have embrac'd,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Weeping before for what she saw must come,
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourn'd for fashion, ignorant what to fear,
Forc'd me to seek delays for them and me.
And this it was,-for other means was none.-
The sailors sought for safety by our boat,
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us:
My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast,
Such as sea-faring men provide for storms;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fasten'd ourselves at either end the mast;
And floating straight, obedient to the stream,
Were carry'd towards Corinth, as we thought.
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispers'd those vapours that offended us;
And, by the benefit of his wished light,
The seas wax'd calm, and we discover'd
Two ships from far making amain to us,
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:
*First folio, was.

*

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