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Solinus, Duke of Ephesus.
Egeon, a Merchant of Syracuse.
Antipholus of Ephesus,
Antipholus of Syracuse,
Dromio of Ephesus,
Dromio of Syracuse,
Balthazar, a Merchant.
Angelo, a Goldsmith.
Twin Brothers, and Sons to Egeon and Emilia, but unknown to each other. Twin Brothers, and Attendants on the two Autipholus'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.
Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants.
SCENE I. A Hall in the DUKE's Palace. Enter DUKE, ÆGEON, Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants.
Ege. 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 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 traffic to our adverse towns:
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 ransom 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.
Duke. Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause
Why thou departed'st 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
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
To Epidamnum, till my factor's death
And he (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 sons;
And, which was strange, the one so like the other,
As could not be distinguish'd but by names.
That very hour, and in the self-same 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 tragic 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
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.
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.