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Dr. Drake, in defending our author from the indiscriminate censure of Steevens, observes, that “if we consider the construction of the fable, the narrowness of its basis, and that its powers of entertainment are almost exclusively confined to a continued deception of the external senses, we must confess that Shakspeare bas not only improved on the Plautian model, but, making allowance for a somewhat too coarse vein of humor, has given to his production all the interest and variety that the nature and the limits of his subject would permit,'

ARGUMENT.

A rich merchant of Syracuse, named Ægeon, and a poor man

of the same city, become the fathers of twin sons exactly resembling each other in feature : the children of the latter are purchased by the citizen, who bestows them on his sons as attendants. Ægeon, with his wife and family, shortly after visits Epidamnum; and on their return, the ship in which they sail is split asunder by a violent storm, which separates the husband from the wife, and each of the twin brothers from their respective counterparts. Ægeon, with his younger son and attendant, is rescued from his perilous condition, and conveyed to Syracuse. Arrived at years of maturity, the young man is anxious to procure some intelligence of his mother and brother, and, with the consent of his father, quits his home, and at length, in company with his servant, arrives at Ephesus, where the elder Antipholus, who is separated from his mother, has long resided, in high favor with the duke, at whose desire he has united himself to a lady of fortune, who mistakes the stranger for her husband, insisting that he shall accompany her home to dinner : the real husband arrives during the repast, and finds his own doors barred against his entrance. The perplexities, arising from the confusion of the masters and their servants, induce the Syracusan youth to suppose bimself under the influence of witchcraft, and he takes refuge in a religious house, whither his mother had retired, and had long presided as abbess. The Ephesian dame, supposing the refugee to be her husband, complains to the duke of the conduct of the abbess, who refuses to deliver him up to the custody of his wife. The simultaneous appearance of the young men and their servants now unravels the mystery. In the mean time, Ægeon lands at Ephesus, and is about to lose his head for a violation of the law in entering a hostile city, when he is ransomed by his son, from whom he parted at Syracuse; and recognises, in the person of the abbess, his long-lost wife, Æmilia.

SHAK.

II.

R

258

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

{

SOLINUs, duke of Ephesus.
Ægeon, a merchant of Syracuse.

Twin brothers, and sons to Antipuolus of Ephesus, SÆgeon and Æmilia, but unANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse,

known to each other. Dromio of Ephesus, Twin brothers, and attendants on the Dromio of Syracuse, two Antipholuses. BALTHAZAR, a merchant. ANGELO, a goldsmith. A MERCHANT,

creditor to Angelo. Pinch, a schoolmaster and a conjurer.

Æmilia, wife to Ægeon, an abbess at Ephesus.
ADRIANA, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus.
LUCIANA, her sister,
Luce, her servant.
A COURTEZAN.

Jailer, Officers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, Ephesus.

COMEDY OF ERRORS.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

A hall in the Duke's palace.
Enter DUKE, ÆGEON, Jailer, Officers, and other

Attendants.
Ægeon. 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 seal'd 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 Syracusians and ourselves,
To admit no traffic to our adverse towns :
Nay, more; if any, born at Ephesus, be seen
At any Syracusian marts and fairs ;
Again, if any, Syracusian 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 ransom him.
Thy substance, valued 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, Syracusian, say, in brief, the cause
Why thou departedst from thy native home;
And for what cause thou camest to Ephesus.
Ægeon. 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,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 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,

· Not by any criminal act, but by natural affection.

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