Page images
PDF
EPUB

Then fairly I bespoke the officer,
To
go

in person with me to my house.
By the way we met
My wife, her sister, and a rabble more
Of vile confederates; along with them
They brought one Pinch; a hungry lean-fac'd vil-

lain, A mere anatomy, a mountebank, A thread-bare juggler, and a fortune-teller; A needy, hollow-ey'd, sharp-looking wretch, A living dead man: this pernicious slave, Forsooth, took on him as a conjurer; And, gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse, And with no face, as 'twere, outfacing me, Cries out, I was possess'd: then altogether They fell upon me, bound me, bore me thence; And in a dark and dankish vault at home There left me and my man, both bound together; Till gnawing with my teeth my bonds in sunder, I gain’d my freedom, and immediately Ran hither to your grace; whom I beseech To give me ample satisfaction For these deep shames and great indignities.

Ang. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with

him ;

That he dined not at home but was lock'd out.

Duke. But had he such a chain of thee, or no?

Ang. He had, my lord: and when he ran in here, These people saw the chain about his neck.

Mer. Besides, I will be sworn, these ears of mine Heard you

had the chain of him, After

you

first forswore it on the mart,

confess you

And, thereupon, I drew my sword on you ;
And then you fled into this abbey here,
From whence, I think, you are comé by miracle.

Ant. E. I never came within these abbey walls,
Nor ever didst thou draw thy sword on me:
I never saw the chain, so help me heaven!
And this is false,

you

burden me withal.
Duke. Why, what an intricate impeach is this !
I think, you all have drank of Circe's cup.
If here

you

hous'd him, here he would have beent; If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly:You say, he dined at home; the goldsmith here Denies that saying :-Sirrah, what say you? Dro. E. Sir, he dined with her there, at the Por

cupine. Cour. He did; and from my finger snatch'd that

ring. Ant. E. 'Tis true, my liege, this ring I had of her. Duke. Saw'st thou him enter at the abbey here? Cour. As sure, my liege, as I do see your grace. Duke. Why, this is strange:-Go call the abbess

hither ; I think you are all mated,4 or stark mad.

[Exit an Attendant. Æge. Most mighty duke, vouchsafe me speak a

word; Haply I see a friend will save my life, And pay the sum that

may

deliver me. Duke. Speak freely, Syracusan, what thou wilt.

Æge. Is not your name, sir, call'd Antipholus? And is not that your bondman Dromio ?

4 Confounded

Dro. E. Within this hour I was his bondman, sir, But he, I thank him, gnaw'd in two my cords; Now am I Dromio, and his man, unbound.

Æge. I am sure, you both of you remember me.

Dro. E. Ourselves we do remember, sir, by you;
For lately we were bound as you are now.
You are not Pinch's patient, are you, sir?
Æge. Why look you strange on me? you know me

well.
Ant. E. I never saw you in my life, till now.
Æge. Oh! grief hath chang'd me, since you saw

me last;
And careful hours, with Time's deformed hand
Have written strange defeatures 5 in my face :
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?

Ant. E. Neither.
Æge.

Dromio, nor thou ?
Dro. E. No, trust me, sir, nor I.
Æge.

I am sure, thou dost. Dro. E. Ay, sir ? but I am sure, I do not; and whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.

Æge. Not know my voice! O, time's extremity!
Hast thou so crack'd and splitted my poor tongue,
' In seven short years, that here my only sơn
Knows not my feeble key of untun'd cares?
Though now this grained 6 face of mine be hid
In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow,
And all the conduits of my blood froze up;
Yet hath my night of life some memory,
My wasting lamp some fading glimmer left,

[ocr errors]

SAlteration of features.

6 Furrowed, lined.

My dull deaf ears a little use to hear :
All these old witnesses (I cannot err,)
Tell me, thou art my son Antipholus.

Ant. E. I never saw my father in my life.

Æge. But seven years since, in Syracusa, boy, Thou know'st, we parted: but, perhaps, my son, Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery. Ant. E. The duke, and all that know me in the

city, Can witness with me that it is not so; I ne'er saw Syracusa in my life.

Duke. I tell thee, Syracusan, twenty years Have I been patron to Antipholus, During which time he ne'er saw Syracusa : IS I see, thy age and dangers make thee dote. Enter the Abbess, with ANTIPHOLUS Syracusan, and

DROMIO. Syracusan. Ahh. Most mighty duke behold a man much wrong’d.

[All gather to see him. Adr. I see two husbands, or mine eyes

deceive me. Duke. One of these men is Genius to the other; And so of these: Which is the natural man, And which the spirit ? Who deciphers them?

Dro. S. I, sir, am Dromio; command him away. Dro. E. I, sir, am Dromio; pray, let me stay. Ant. S. Ægeon, art thou not? or else his ghost? Dro. S. O, my old master! who hath bound him

here? Abb. Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds, And gain a husband by his liberty :

0

VOL. IV.

Speak, old Ægeon, if thou be'st the man
That had'st a wife once call'd Æmilia,
That bore thee at a burden two fair sons :
O, if thou be'st the same Ægeon, speak,
And speak unto the same Æmilia!

Æge. If I dream not, thou art Æmilia;
If thou art she, tell me, where is that son
That floated with thee on the fatal raft?

Abb. By men of Epidamnum, he, and I,
And the twin Dromio, all were taken up;
But, by and by, rude fishermen of Corinth
By force took Dromio and my son from them,
And me they left with those of Epidamnum;
What then became of them, I cannot tell ;
I, to this fortune that you see me in.

Duke. Why, here begins his morning story right;"
These two Antipholus's, these two so like,
And these two Dromio's, one in semblance,
Besides her urging of her wreck at sea,
These are the parents to these children,
Which accidentally are met together.
Antipholus, thou cam'st from Corinth first.

Ant. S. No, sir, not I; I came from Syracuse. Duke. Stay, stand apart; I know not which is

which. Ant. E. I came from Corinth, my most gracious

lord. Dro. E. And I with him. Ant. E. Brought to this town with that most fa

mous warrior

? The morning story is what Ægeon tells the Duke in the first scene of this play.

« PreviousContinue »