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SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus.
EGEON, a Merchant of Syracuse.
ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, ( twin-brothers and sons to Ægeon and
DROMIO of Ephesus, ( twin-brothers, and Attendants on the two
DROMIO of Syracuse, Antipholuses.
BALTHAZAR, a Merchant.
ANGELO, a Goldsmith.
A Merchant, Friend to Antipholus of Syracuse.
PINCH, a Schoolmaster and a Conjurer.
EMELIA, Wife to Egeon, an Abbess at Ephesus.
ADRIANA, Wife to Antipholus of Ephesus.
LUCIANA, her Sister.
LUCE, her Servant.
Jailer, Officers, and other Attendants.
SCENE I. A Hall in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke, ÆGEON, Jailer, Officer, and other Attendants.
Egeon. 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 guilders to redeem their lives,
Have sealed his rigorous statutes with their bloods,-
Excludes all pity from our threatening looks.
For, since the mortal and intestine jars
"Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us,
It hath in solemn synods been decreed,
Both by the Syracusans and ourselves,
To admit no traffic to our adverse towns;
If any, born at Ephesus, be seen
At any Syracusan marts and fairs,
Again, If any, Syracusan born,
Come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies,
His goods confiscate to the duke's dispose;
Unless a thousand marks be levied,
To quit the penalty and ransom him.
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Therefore by law thou art condemned to die.
Ege. Yet this my comfort; when your words are done, My woes end likewise with the evening sun.
Duke. Well, Syracusan, 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 imposed, Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable. Yet, that the world may witness that my end Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence, 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 lived in joy; our wealth increased
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;
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 she had 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 distinguished but by names.
That very hour, and in the self-same inn,
A poor, mean woman was delivered
Of such a burden, male twins, both alike.
Those for their parents were exceeding poor
I bought, and brought up to attend my sons.
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 sailed,
Before the always wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic 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 embraced,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Weeping before, for what she saw must come,
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourned for fashion, ignorant what to fear,