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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,
1 The word villain was anciently used in the sense of slave, or servant 2 i. e. “ accompany you."
Ant. S. Farewell till then. I will go lose myself,
Enter DROMIO of Ephesus.
twelve upon the bell,
Ant. S. Stop in your wind, sir; tell me this, I pray;
Ant. S. I am not in a sportive humor now.
i Confounded, here, does not signify destroyed, as Malone asserts; but overwhelmed, mixed confusedly together, lost.
2 They were both born in the same hour, and therefore the date of Dromio's birth ascertains that of his master.
We being strangers here, how dar’st thou trust
Dro. E. I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at dinner.
season ; Reserve them till a merrier hour than this. Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?
Dro. E. To me, sir ? why you gave no gold to me. Ant. S. Come on, sir knave, have done your fool
ishness, And tell me how thou hast disposed thy charge.
Dro. E. My charge was but to fetch you from the
Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner.
Ant. S. Now, as I am a Christian, answer me,
Dro. E. I have some marks of yours upon my pate, Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders, But not a thousand marks between you both. If I should pay your worship those again, Perchance you will not bear them patiently. Ant. S. Thy mistress' marks! what mistress, slave,
hast thou ? Dro. E. Your worship's wife, my mistress at the
1 The old copy reads cook. The emendation is Pope's.
2 So in Hamlet, Act v. Sc. 1:- Why does he suffer this rude knave to knock him about the sconce ? » Sconce also signified a fortification, commonly round, as well as the human head.