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Adr. I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me Duke. One of these men is genius to the other; And so of these. Which is the natural man, And which the spirit? Who deciphers them P Dro. S. I, sir, am Dromio; command him away. Dro. E. I, sir, am Dromio; pray, let me stay. Ant. S. AEgeon, art thou not, or else his ghost? Dro. S. O, my old master' who hath bound him here P Abb. Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds, And gain a husband by his liberty. Speak, old AEgeon, if thou be'st the man That hadst a wife once called AEmilia, That bore thee at a burden two fair sons. O, if thou be'st the same Ægeon, speak, And speak unto the same Æmilia! AEge. If I dream not, thou art AEmilia;" If thou art she, tell me, where is that son That floated with thee on the fatal raft? Abb. By men of Epidamnum, he, and I, And the twin Dromio, all were taken up, But, by and by, rude fishermen of Corinth By force took Dromio and my son from them, And me they left with those of Epidamnum. What then became of them, I cannot tell; I, to this fortune that you see me in. Duke. Why, here begins his morning story right.” These two Antipholuses, these two so alike, And these two Dromioes, one in semblance,— Besides her urging of her wreck at sea, These are the parents to these children, Which accidentally are met together. Antipholus, thou cam'st from Corinth first. Ant. S. No, sir, not I; I came from Syracuse. Duke. Stay, stand apart; I know not which is which. 1 In the old copy, this speech of Ægeon, and the subsequent one of the abbess, follow the speech of the duke. It is evident that they were transposed by mistake.
2 “The morning story” is what Ægeon tells the duke in the first scene of this play. .
Ant. E. I came from Corinth, my most gracious lord. Dro. E. And I with him. Ant. E. Brought to this town by that most famous Warrior Duke Menaphon, your most renowned uncle. Adr. Which of you two did dine with me to-day ? Ant. S. I, gentle mistress. Adr. And are not you my husband P Ant. E. No, I say nay to that. Ant. S. And so do I, yet did she call me so; And this fair gentlewoman, her sister here, Did call me brother.—What I told you then, I hope, I shall have leisure to make good; If this be not a dream I see and hear. Ang. That is the chain, sir, which you had of me. Ant. S. I think it be, sir; I deny it not. Ant. E. And you, sir, for this chain arrested me. Ang. I think I did, sir; I deny it not. Adr. I sent you money, sir, to be your bail, By Dromio; but I think he brought it not. Dro. E. No, none by me. Ant. S. This purse of ducats I received from you, And Dromio my man did bring them me. I see, we still did meet each other's man, And I was ta'en for him, and he for me, And thereupon these Errors are arose. Ant. E. These ducats pawn I for my father here. Duke. It shall not need; thy father hath his life. Cour. Sir, I must have that diamond from you. Ant. E. There, take it; and much thanks for my - good cheer. . . * Abb. Renowned duke, vouchsafe to take the pains To go with us into the abbey here, And hear at large discoursed all our fortunes.— And all that are assembled in this place, That by this sympathized one day’s error Have suffered wrong, go, keep us company, And we shall make full satisfaction.— Twenty-five years have I but gone in travail Of you, my sons, and till this present hour;
My heavy burden here delivered."
ith all my heart, I’ll gossip at this feast. [Exeunt Duke, Abbess, AEGEoN, Courtesan, - Merchant, ANGELo, and Attendants. Dro. S. Master, shall I fetch your stuff from shipboard P Ant. E. Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou embarked P Dro. S. Your goods, that lay at host, sir, in the Centaur. Ant. S. He speaks to me; I am your master, Dromio; Come, go with us; we’ll look to that anon. Embrace thy brother there, rejoice with him. [Ereunt ANT. S. and ANT. E., ADR. and Luc. Dro. S. There is a fat friend at your master's house, That kitchened me for you to-day at dinner; She now shall be my sister, not my wife. Dro. E. Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother: . I see by you, I am a sweet-faced youth, Will you walk in to see their gossiping?
1 The old copy reads, erroneously, thus:–
“Of you, my sons; until this present hour
Thirty-three years are an evident error for twenty-five; this was corrected
Dro. S. Not I, sir; you are my elder. Dro. E. That's a question; how shall we try it? Dro. S. We will draw cuts for the senior; till then, lead thou first . . . . Dro. E. Nay; then thus; We came into the world, like brother and brother; And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another. s’ “ • * : . . [Exeunt.
On a careful revision of the foregoing scenes, I do not hesitate to pronounce them the composition of two very unequal writers. Shakspeare had undoubtedly a share in them; but that the entire play was no work of his, is an opinion which (as Benedick says) “fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.” Thus, as we are informed by Aulus Gellius, Lib. III. Cap. 3, some plays were absolutely ascribed to Plautus, which in truth had only been (retractata et expolitar) retouched and polished by him.
In this comedy we find more intricacy of plot than distinction of character; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in great measure how the denouement will be brought about. Yet the subject appears to have been reluctantly dismissed, even in this last and unnecessary scene, where the same mistakes are continued, till the power of affording entertainment is entirely lost.