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Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst ;
So that, in this unjust divorce of
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 seised on us ;
And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
Gave helpful welcome to their shipwreck'd guests ;
And would have reft 1 the fishers of their prey,
Had not their bark been very slow of sail,
And therefore homeward did they bend their
Thus have you heard me sever'd from my
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
Do me the favor to dilate at full
What hath befallen of them, and thee, till now.
Ægeon. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care, At eighteen years became inquisitive After his brother; and importuned me, That his attendant (so his case was like, Reft of his brother, but retain's his name)
Might bear him company in the quest of him :
Whom whilst I labor'd of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I loved.
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,
Roaming clean 1 through the bounds of Asia,
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus ;
Hopeless to find, yet loath to leave unsought,
Or that, or any place that harbors 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
To bear the extremity of dire mishap !
Now, trust me, were it not against our laws,
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 honor's great disparagement,
Yet will I favor thee in what I can :
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day,
To seek thy help by beneficial help:
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die.-
Jailer, take him to thy custody.
Jailer. I will, my lord.
Ægeon. Hopeless, and helpless, doth Ægeon
wend, 1 But to procrastinate his lifeless end. [Exeunt.
A public place. Enter ANTIPHOLUS and DROMIO OF SYRACUSE, and
Mer. Therefore, give out, you are of Epidamnum,
Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.
This very day, a Syracusian merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
And, not being able to buy out his life,
According to the statute of the town,
Dies ere the weary sun set in the west,
There is your money that I had to keep.
Ant. S. Go, bear it to the Centaur, where we
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.
Dro. S. Many a man would take you at your
And go indeed, having so good a mean.
[Exit Dromio S.
Ant. S. A trusty villain, sir; that very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humor 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.
My present business calls me from you now.
Ant. S. Farewell till then. I will
lose myself, And wander
up and down, to view the city. Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own content.
[Exit Merchant. Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own con
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.