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That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.

Duke. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for, Do me the favour to dilate at full

What hath befall'n of them, and thee, till now."

Age. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive

After his brother; and impórtun'd me,
That his attendant, (for his case was like,9
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name,)
Might bear him company in the quest of him:
Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I lov'd.

Five summers have I spent in furthest Greece,
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,1
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus;
Hopeless to find, yet loth to leave unsought,
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 mark'd To bear the extremity of dire mishap!

Now, trust me, were it not against our laws,


and thee, till now.] The first copy erroneously readsand they. The correction was made in the second folio. Malone.

8 My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,] Shakspeare has here been guilty of a little forgetfulness. Ageon had said, page 331, that the youngest son was that which his wife had taken care of:

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My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
"Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast."

He himself did the same by the other; and then each, fixing their eyes on whom their care was fixed, fastened themselves at either end of the mast. M. Mason.


for his case was like,] The original copy has-so his. The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. Malone.

1 Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,] In the northern parts of England this word is still used instead of quite, fully, perfectly, completely. So, in Coriolanus:


This is clean kam."

Again, in Julius Cæsar:

"Clean from the purpose of the things themselves."

The reader will likewise find it in the 77th Psalm. Steevens.

Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
Which princes, would they, may not disannul,
My soul should sue as advocate for thee.
But, though thou art adjudged to the death,
And passed sentence may not be recall'd,
But to our honour's great disparagement,
Yet will I favour thee in what I can:
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day,
To seek thy help2 by beneficial help:
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if not,3 then thou art doom'd to die:-
Gaoler, take him to thy custody.

Gaol. I will, my lord.

Ege. Hopeless, and helpless, doth Ægeon wend, But to procrastinate his lifeless end,


A publick Place.


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,


help] Mr. Pope and some other modern editors read -To seek thy life, &c. But the jingle has much of Shakspeare's

manner. Malone.

To seek thy life, can hardly be the true reading, for, in ancient language, it signifies a base endeavour to take life away. Thus, Antonio says of Shylock,

"He seeks my life."

I believe, therefore, the word-help, was accidentally repeated by the compositor, and that our author wrote,



To seek thy help by beneficial means.


if not,] Old copy-no. Corrected in the second folio.


wend,] i. e. go. An obsolete word. So, in A Midsum mer Night's Dream:

"And back to Athens shall the lovers wend."


Dies ere the weary sun set in the west.5
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.
Ant. S. A trusty villain, sir; that very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humour with his merry jests.
What, will you walk with me about the town,
And then go to my inn, and dine with me?

Mer. I am invited, sir, to certain merchants,
Of whom I hope to make much benefit;
I crave your pardon. Soon, at five o'clock,
Please you, I'll meet with you upon the mart,
And afterwards consort you till bed-time;7
My present business calls me from you now.
Ant. S. Farewel till then: I will go lose myself,
And wander up and down, to view the city.

Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own content.
[Exit Mer.
Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own content,

5 ―ere the weary sun set in the west.] So, in King John: the feeble and day-wearied sun."


Again, in King Richard III:

"The weary sun hath made a golden set." Steevens.

6 A trusty villain,] i. e. servant.


7 And afterwards consort you till bed-time;] We should read, I believe,

And afterwards consort with you till bed-time.

So, in Romeo and Juliet:

"Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo."


There is no need of emendation. The old reading is supported by the following passage in Love's Labour's Lost, Act II, sc. i: "Sweet health and fair desires consort your grace."

Again, in Romeo and Juliet:

"Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here —."


Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water,
That in the ocean seeks another drop;
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself:
So I, to find a mother, and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.
Enter DROMIO of Ephesus.

Here comes the almanack of my true date.-
What now? How chance, thou art return'd so soon?
Dro. E. Return'd so soon! rather approach'd too late:
The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;
The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell,
My mistress made it one upon my cheek:
She is so hot, because the meat is cold;

The meat is cold, because you come not home;
You come not home, because you have no stomach;
You have no stomach, having broke your fast;
But we, that know what 'tis to fast and pray,
Are penitent for your default to-day.

Ant. S. Stop in your wind, sir; tell me this, I pray; Where have you left the money that I gave you?

Dro. E. O,—six-pence, that I had o' Wednesday last, To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper;— The saddler had it, sir, I kept it not.

Ant. S. I am not in a sportive humour now: Tell me, and dally not, where is the money? We being strangers here, how dar'st thou trust So great a charge from thine own custody?

Dro. E. I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at dinner: I from my mistress come to you in post;

If I return, I shall be post indeed;

For she will score your fault upon my pate.

8 I shall be post indeed;


For she will score your fault upon my pate.] Perhaps, before writing was a general accomplishment, a kind of rough reckoning, concerning wares issued out of a shop, was kept by chalk or notches on a post, till it could be entered on the books of a trader. So, in Every Man in his Humour, Kitely, the merchant, making his jealous inquiries concerning the familiarities used to his wife, Cob answers, "-if I saw any body to be kiss'd, unless they would have kiss'd the post in the middle of the warehouse," &c. Steevens.

Methinks, your maw, like mine, should be your clock," And strike you home without a messenger.

Ant. S. Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of


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 foolish


And tell me, how thou hast dispos'd thy charge.

Dro. E. My charge was but to fetch you from the


Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner;
My mistress, and her sister, stay for you.

Ant. S. Now, as I am a christian, answer me,
In what safe place you have bestow'd my money;
Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours,1
That stands on tricks when I am undispos'd:
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of 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 Pho


She that doth fast, till you come home to dinner,

So, in Every Woman in her Humour, 1609:

"Host. Out of my doors, knave, thou enterest not my doors; I have no chalk in my house; my posts shall not be guarded with a little sing-song." Malone.

9 Methinks, your maw, like mine, should be your clock,] The old copy reads-your cook. Mr. Pope made the change. Malone. So, Plautus:

"me puero uterus erat solarium."

See Aul. Gell. L. III, ch. iii. Steevens.


that merry sconce of yours,] Sconce is head. So, in Hamlet, Act V: ". why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce?"

Again, in Ram Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

I say no more,

"But 'tis within this sconce to go beyond them." Steevens.

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