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Solinus, duke of Ephesus.

Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse.

twin brothers and sons to Ageon and

Antipholus of Syracuse, Emilia, but unknown to each other.

Antipholus of Ephesus,*

Dromio of Ephesus,

Dromio of Syracuse,

Balthazar, a merchant.

Angelo, a goldsmith.

twin brothers, and attendants on the two Antipholus's.

A Merchant, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse.
Pinch, a schoolmaster and a conjurer.

Emilia, wife to Egeon, an abbess at Ephesus.
Adriana, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus.

Luciana, her sister.

Luce, her servant.

A Courtezan.

Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, Ephesus.

*In the old copy, these brothers are occasionally styled Antipholus Erotes, or Errotis; and Antipholus Sereptus; meaning, perhaps, erraticus, and surreptus. One of these twins wandered in search of his brother, who had been forced from Æmilia by fishermen of Corinth. The following acrostick is the argument to the Menæchmi of Plautus-Delph. Edit. p. 654:

“Mercator Siculus, cui erant gemini filii,
"Ei, surrepto altero, mors obtigit.

"Nomen surreptitii illi indit qui domi est
"Avus paternus, facit Menæchmum Sosiclem.
"Et is germanum, postquam adolevit, quæritat
"Circum omnes oras. Post Epidamnum devenit:
"Hic fuerat auctus ille surreptitius.

"Menæchmum civem credunt omnes advenam:

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Eumque appellant, meretrix, uxor, et socer. "Ii se cognoscunt fratres postremò invicem."

The translator, W. W. calls the brothers, Menæchmus Sosicles, and Menæchmus the traveller. Whencesoever Shakspeare adopted erraticus and surreptus, (which either he or his editors have mis-spelt) these distinctions were soon dropped, and throughout the rest of the entries the twins are styled of Syracuse or EpheSteevens.



A Hall in the Duke's Palace.

Enter Duke, EGEON, Gaoler, Officers, and other

Æge. 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 gilders to redeem their lives,
Have sealed his rigorous statutes with their bloods,
Excludes all pity from our threat'ning 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 traffick to our adverse towns:
Nay, more,

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 to ransome him.
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.

Ege. Yet this my comfort; when your words are done, My woes end likewise with the evening sun.

E e 2

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 impos'd,
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable:

Yet, that the world may witness, that my end
Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence,1
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

To Epidamnum, till my factor's death;

And he (great care of goods at random left)3
Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse:

1 Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence.] All his hearers understood that the punishment he was about to undergo was in consequence of no private crime, but of the publick enmity between two states, to one of which he belonged: but it was a general superstition amongst the ancients, that every great and sudden misfortune was the vengeance of heaven pursuing men for their secret offences. Hence the sentiment put into the mouth of the speaker was proper. By my past life, (says he) which I am going to relate, the world may understand, that my present death is according to the ordinary course of Providence, [wrought by nature] and not the effects of divine vengeance overtaking me for my crimes, [not by vile offence.] Warburton.

The real meaning of this passage is much less abstruse than that which Warburton attributes to it. By nature is meant natural affection. Ageon came to Ephesus in search of his son, and tells his story, in order to show that his death was in consequence of natural affection for his child, not of any criminal intention. M. Mason.

2 And by me too,] Too, which is not found in the original copy, was added by the editor of the second folio, to complete the metre. Malone.

3 And he (great care of goods at random left)] Surely we should read

And the great care of goods at random left

Drew me &c.

The text, as exhibited in the old copy, can scarcely be reconciled to grammar. Malone.

A parenthesis makes the present reading clear:

And he (great care of goods at random left)

Drew me &c. M. Mason.

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 selfsame 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 sail'd,
Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragick 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 embrac❜d,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,

Weeping before for what she saw must come,
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
That mourn'd for fashion, ignorant what to fear,
Forc'd me to seek delays for them and me.
And this it was, for other means was none.-
The sailors sought for safety by our boat,
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us:
My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast,
Such as sea-faring men provide for storms;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.

4 A poor mean woman-] Poor is not in the old copy. It was inserted, for the sake of the metre, by the editor of the second folio. Malone.

The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fasten'd ourselves at either end the mast;
And floating straight, obedient to the stream,
Were carried towards Corinth, 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 seas wax'd calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us,
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:

But ere they came,-O, let me say no more!
Gather the sequel by that went before.

Duke. Nay, forward, old man, do not break off so;

For we may pity, though not pardon thee.

Ege. O, 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 encounter'd by a mighty rock;
Which being violently borne upon,5

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 seiz’d on us;
And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
Gave helpful welcome to their shipwreck'd 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 have you heard me sever'd from my bliss;

5 borne upon,] The original copy reads-borne up. The additional syllable was supplied by the editor of the second folio. Malone.

6 Gave helpful welcome-] Old copy-healthful welcome. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. So, in King Henry IV,

P. I:

"And gave the tongue a helpful welcome." Malone.

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