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Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Duke. Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause
Æge. A heavier task could not have been imposed,
1 i. e. natural affection.
2 The old copy reads he: the emendation is Malone's. The manner in which Steevens pointed this passage, gave to it a confused if not an absurd meaning.
3 The word poor was supplied by the editor of the second folio.
My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
1 Instance appears to be used here for symptom or prognostic. Shakspeare uses this word with very great latitude. VOL. III.
But ere they came,-0, let me say no more!
Duke. Nay, forward, old man ; do not break off so; For we may pity, though not pardon thee.
Æge. O, had the gods done so, I had not now Worthily termed them merciless to us! For ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues, We were encountered by a mighty rock; Which being violently borne upon, Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst, So that, in this unjust divorce of us, Fortune had left to both of us alike What to delight in, what to sorrow for. Her part, poor soul! seeming as burdened With lesser weight, but not with lesser woe, Was carried with more speed before the wind; And in our sight they three were taken up By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought. At length, another ship had seized on us; And, knowing whom it was their hap to save, Gave healthful? welcome to their shipwrecked guests; And would have reft the fishers of their prey, Had not their bark been very slow of sail, And therefore homeward did they bend their course. Thus you have heard me severed from my bliss; That by misfortunes was my life prolonged, To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.
Duke. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for, Do me the favor to dilate at full What hath befallen of them, and thee, till now.
Æge. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care, At eighteen years became inquisitive After his brother; and importuned me,
1 The first folio reads "borne up."
2 The second folio altered this to " helpful welcome;" but change was unnecessary.
3 It appears, from what goes before, that it was the eldest, and not the youngest. He says, “ My wife, more careful of the latter-born,” &c.
That his attendant (for his case was like,
Duke. Hapless Ægeon, whom the fates have marked
Jail. I will, my lord.
Æge. Hopeless and helpless doth Ægeon wend, But to procrastinate his lifeless end. [Exeunt. SCENE II. A public Place.
1 The first folio reads so, the second for.
2 The personal pronoun he is suppressed: such phraseology is not unfrequent in the writings of that age.
3 No, which is the reading of the first folio, was, anciently, often used for not. The second folio reads not.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS and Dromio of Syracuse, and a
Merchant. Mer. Therefore, give out, you are of Epidamnum, Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate. This very day, a Syracusan merchant Is apprehended for arrival here; And, not being able to buy out his life, According to the statute of the town, Dies ere the weary sun set in the west. There is your money that I had to keep.
Ant. S. Go bear it to the Centaur, where we host, And stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee. Within this hour it will be dinner-time; Till that, I'll view the manners of the town, Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings, And then return, and sleep within mine inn; For with long travel I am stiff and weary. Get thee away.
Dro. S. Many a man would take you at your word, And go indeed, having so good a mean.
[Exit Dro. S.
Mer. I am invited, sir, to certain merchants,
I'll meet with you upon the mart; And afterwards consort 2
till bed-time : My present business calls me from you now.
i The word villain was anciently used in the sense of slave, or servant. 2 i. e. “ accompany you.”