Page images
[blocks in formation]

SCENE I.-A Hall in the DUKE'S Palace. Enter DUKE, ÆGEON, Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants.


Æge. 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 guilders to redeem their lives, 8 Have seal'd his rigorous statutes with their bloods,


Why thou departedst from thy native home, And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus. Æge. A heavier task could not have been impos'd



Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable;
Yet, that the world may witness that my end
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 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,
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.




16 There had she not been long but she became
A joyful mother of two goodly sons;
And, which was strange, the one so like the

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 Syracusians and ourselves,
T'admit no traffic to our adverse towns:
Nay, more, if any, born at Ephesus
Be seen at 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, valu'd at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.
Æge. Yet this my comfort: when your words
are done,



My woes end likewise with the evening sun. Duke. Well, Syracusian; say, in brief the


As could not be distinguish'd but by names. 52 That very hour, and in the self-same inn,

A meaner woman was delivered

Of such a burden, male twins, both alike.
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,—
bought, and brought up to attend my sons. 57
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.

28 A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd,


[blocks in formation]



Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
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 seafaring 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, 84
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 wished 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.

[blocks in formation]

At eighteen years became inquisitive
After his brother; and importun'd me
That his attendant-for his case was like,
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name 128
Might bear him company in the quest of him;
Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see,

80 I hazarded the loss of whom I lov'd.
Five summers have I spent in furthest Greece,
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia, 133
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus,
Hopeless to find, yet loath 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 Egeon, whom the fates have



[blocks in formation]

For we may pity, though not pardon thee.
Ege. O! had the gods done so, I had not now
Worthily term'd them merciless to us!
For, ere the ships could meet by twice five



We were encounter'd by a mighty rock;
Which being violently borne upon,
Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst;
So that, in this unjust divorce of us
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, 108
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 seiz❜d on us;
And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
Gave healthful welcome to their ship-wrack'd


And would have reft the fishers of their prey,





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 honour's great disparagement, 148
Yet will I favour thee in what I can:
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day
To seek thy life 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.
Gaoler, take him to thy custody.
Gaol. I will, my lord.



Æge. Hopeless and helpless doth Ægeon wend, But to procrastinate his lifeless end. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.-The Mart.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse, DROMIO of
Syracuse, and a Merchant.

Mer. Therefore, give out you are of Epidam


Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.
This very day, a Syracusian merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;

[blocks in formation]

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 afterward consort you till bed-time:
My present business calls me from you now.
Ant. S. Farewell till then: I will go lose my-

And wander up and down to view the city.


Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own con-
Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own

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.

[blocks in formation]

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!-sixpence, that I had o' Wednes-
day last

To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper; 56
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? 61
Dro. E. I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at

[blocks in formation]

Ant. S. Come on, sir knave, have done your foolishness,


And tell me how thou hast dispos'd thy charge.
Dro. E. My charge was but to fetch you from
the mart

Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner:
My mistress and her sister stays for you. 76

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

36 That stands on tricks when I am undispos'd. 80
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?
Dro. E. I have some marks of yours upon my

40 Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders,
But not a thousand marks between you both. 84
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?

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, 44
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


You have no stomach, having broke your fast;
But we, that know what 'tis to fast and pray,

Dro. E. Your worship's wife, my mistress at the Phoenix;


She that doth fast till you come home to dinner,
And prays that you will hie you home to dinner.

Ant. S. What! wilt thou flout me thus unto
my face,

Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave. 92 [Strikes him.

Dro. E. What mean you, sir? for God's sake, hold your hands!

Nay, an you will not, sir, I'll take my heels. [Exit.

Ant. S. Upon my life, by some device or other The villain is o'er-raught of all my money. 96 They say this town is full of cozenage; As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye, Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind, Soul-killing witches that deform the body, Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks, And many such-like liberties of sin: If it prove so, I will be gone the sooner. I'll to the Centaur, to go seek this slave: I greatly fear my money is not safe.



104 [Exit.

SCENEI.-The House of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus.


Adr. Neither my husband, nor the slave return'd,

That in such haste I sent to seek his master! Sure, Luciana, it is two o'clock.

Luc. Perhaps some merchant hath invited him,


[blocks in formation]

Dro. E. Nay, he's at two hands with me, and

And from the mart he's somewhere gone to that my two ears can witness. dinner.

Good sister, let us dine and never fret:

A man is master of his liberty:

Time is their master, and, when they see time, 8 They'll go or come: if so, be patient, sister.

Adr. Why should their liberty than ours be more?

Luc. Because their business still lies out o' door.

Adr. Say, didst thou speak with him? Know'st thou his mind?

Dro. E. Ay, ay, he told his mind upon mine

[blocks in formation]

Beshrew his hand, I scarce could understand it. Luc. Spake he so doubtfully, thou couldst not feel his meaning?

Dro. E. Nay, he struck so plainly, I could too well feel his blows; and withal so doubtfully,

Adr. Look, when I serve him so, he takes that I could scarce understand them. it ill.


Luc. O! know he is the bridle of your will. Adr. There's none but asses will be bridled so. Luc. Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with



There's nothing situate under heaven's eye 16
But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky:
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,
Are their males' subjects and at their controls.
Men, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lords of the wide world, and wild wat'ry seas,
Indu'd with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females and their lords: 24
Then, let your will attend on their accords.

Adr. This servitude makes you to keep unwed. Luc. Not this, but troubles of the marriagebed.

Adr. But, were you wedded, you would bear some sway.


Luc. Ere I learn love, I'll practise to obey. Adr. How if your husband start some other where?

Adr. But say, I prithee, is he coming home? It seems he hath great care to please his wife. 56 Dro. E. Why, mistress, sure my master is horn-mad.

Adr. Horn-mad, thou villain!

Dro. E. I mean not cuckold-mad; but, sure, he is stark mad.

When I desir'd him to come home to dinner, 60 He ask'd me for a thousand marks in gold: "'Tis dinner time,' quoth I; 'my gold!' quoth he: 'Your meat doth burn,' quoth I; 'my gold!' quoth he:

'Will you come home?' quoth I: 'my gold!' quoth he:


'Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain?'

'The pig,' quoth I, 'is burn'd;' 'my gold!' quoth he:

'My mistress, sir,' quoth I: 'hang up thy mistress!

I know not thy mistress: out on thy mistress!' Luc. Quoth who?

Dro. E. Quoth my master:


[blocks in formation]

Adr. Hence, prating peasant! fetch thy master home.

Dro. E. Am I so round with you as you with me,

That like a football you do spurn me thus? You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither: 84 If I last in this service, you must case me in leather. [Exit.

Luc. Fie, how impatience loureth in your face! Adr. His company must do his minions grace,


Whilst I at home starve for a merry look. 88
Hath homely age the alluring beauty took
From my poor cheek? then, he hath wasted it:
Are my discourses dull? barren my wit?
If voluble and sharp discourse be marr'd,
Unkindness blunts it more than marble hard:
Do their gay vestments his affections bait?
That's not my fault; he's master of my state:
What ruins are in me that can be found
By him not ruin'd? then is he the ground
Of my defeatures. My decayed fair
A sunny look of his would soon repair;
But, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale
And feeds from home: poor I am but his stale.
Luc. Self-harming jealousy! fie! beat it



Adr. Unfeeling fools can with such wrongs dispense.


I know his eye doth homage other where,
Or else what lets it but he would be here?
Sister, you know he promis'd me a chain:
Would that alone, alone he would detain,
So he would keep fair quarter with his bed! 108
I see, the jewel best enamelled

Will lose his beauty; and though gold bides still
That others touch, yet often touching will
Wear gold; and no man that hath a name, 112
By falsehood and corruption doth it shame.
Since that my beauty cannot please his eye,
I'll weep what's left away, and weeping die.

[blocks in formation]


How now, sir! is your merry humour alter'd?
As you love strokes, so jest with me again.
You know no Centaur? You receiv'd no gold?
Your mistress sent to have me home to dinner?
My house was at the Phoenix? Wast thou mad,
That thus so madly thou didst answer me? 12
Dro. S. What answer, sir? when spake I such
a word?

Ant. S. Even now, even here, not half-an-hour since.

Dro. S. I did not see you since you sent me hence,

Home to the Centaur, with the gold you gave

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »