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THE

COMEDY of ERRORS.

ACT 1. SCENE I.

The Duke's Palace.

Enter the Duke of Ephesus, Ægeon, Jailor, and

other Attendants.

Æ GEON.

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ROCEED, Salinus, to procure my fall,
And by the doom of death end woes and all.

Duke. Merchant of Syracufa, plead no more ;
I am not partial to infringe our laws :
The enmity, and discord, which of late
Sprung from the ranc'rous 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 threatning looks.
For, since the mortal and inteftine jars
'Twixt thy feditious contrymen and us,
It hath in folemn fynods been decreed,
Both by the Syracufans and ourselves.

H4

T'admit

T'admit no traffick to our adverse towns.
Nay, more ; if any born at Ephesus
Be seen at Syracujan 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, valu’d at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks ;
Therefore, by law thou art condemn’d to die.
Ægeon. 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 departedft from thy native home ; And for what cause thou cam'lt to Ephesus.

Ægeon. A heavier task could not have been imposid, Than I to speak my grief 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 liv'd in joy ; our wealth increas’d, By prosperous voyages I often made * Was wrought by nature, not fences. Hence the sentiment

by vile offence,} All his here put into the mouth of the hearers understood that the pu- speaker was proper. By my nishment he was about to un-' past life (fays he) which I am dergo was in consequence of no going to relate, the world may private crime, but of the pub- understand that my present death lic enmity betwein two states, is according to the ordinary to one of which he belonged: course of providence, [wrong be But it was a general superstition - by nature) and not the effects of amongst the ancients, that every divine vengeance overtaking me great and sudden misfortune was for my crimes (not by vile of the vengeance of heaven pur- fence.] suing men for their secret of.

WAR BURTON,

To

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 fons ;
And, which was strange, the one fo like the other,
As could not be distinguish'd but by names.
1 hat very hour, and in the self-fame inn,
A poor mean woman was delivered
Ot such a burden, male-twins both alike:
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,
I bought, and brought up to attend my fons.
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 fail'd,
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 heav'ns did grant,
Did but convey unto our fearful minds
A doubtful warrant of immediate death;
Which, tho'myself would gladly have embrac'd,
Yet the incessant weeping of my wife,
Weeping before, for what she saw must come ;
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourn'd for fashion, ign'rant what to fear,
Forc'd me to seek delays for them and me :
And this it was; for other means were none.
The failors fought for safety by our boat,
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us ;
My wife, more careful for the elder-born,

Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast,
Such as sea-faring men provide for storns ;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilit 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 fixt;
Fasten'd ourselves at either end the mast;
And Aoating straight, obedient to the stream,
Were carry'd towards Corintb, as we thought.
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispers'd those vapours that offended us ;
And, by the benefit of his wish'd light,
The feas waxt calm ; and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us;
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this ;
But ere they came oh, let me say no more !
Gather the sequel by that went before.

Duke. Nay, forward, old man, do not break off so į For we may pity, tho' not pardon thee.

Ægeon. Oh, had the Gods done so; I had not now Worthily term'd them merciless to us ; For ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues; We were encountred by a mighty rock; Which being violently borne upon, Our helpless 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 carry'd 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 seiz'd on us ; And knowing whom it was their hap to save, Gave helpful welcome to their shipwreckt guests s And would have reft the fishers of their prey, Had not their bark been very now of fail;

And

And therefore homeward did they bend their course.-
Thus have you heard me sever'd from my bliss ;
That by misfortunes was my lise prolong'd,
To tell fad stories of my own milhaps.

Duke. And, for the fakes of them thou sorrow't for,
Do me the favour to dilate at full
What hath befallin of them, and thee, 'till now.

Ægeon. My youngest boy, and yet ny eldest care, At eighteen years became inquisitive After his brother; and importun'd me, That his attendant, (for his case was like, Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name,) Might bear him company in quest of him : Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see, I nazarded the loss of whom I lov'd. Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece, Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia, And coasting homeward, came to Ephesus. Hopeless to find, yet loth to leave unfoughts Or that, or any place that harbours men. But here must end the story of my life; And happy were I in my timely death, Could all my travels warrant me they live.'

Duke. Hapless Ægeon, whom the fates have marko To bear th' extremity of dire misap; Now, trust me, were it not against our laws, (Which Princes, would they, may not disannul;) Against my crown, my oath, my dignity, My soul should sue as advocate for thee. But, tho' thou art adjudged to the death, And passed sentence may not be recallid, But to our honour's great disparagement; Yet will I favour thee in what I can; I therefore, merchant, limit thee this day, To seek thy life by beneficial help: Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus, Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,

And

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