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the character of Pinch, who is sketched in his strongest and most marked style.” We may conclude with Schlegel's dictum, that “this is the best of all written or possible Menæchmi; and if the piece is inferior in worth to other pieces of Shakspeare, it is merely because nothing more could be made of the materials."
Malone first placed the date of this piece in 15 or 1596, but lastly in 1592. Chalmers plainly showed that it should be ascribed to the early date of 1591. It was neither printed nor entered on the Stationers' books until it appeared in the folio of 1623.
SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus.
twin-brothers, and sons to ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse,
Ægeon and Æmilia, but
unknown to each other.
Æmilia, Wife to Ægeon, an Abbess at Ephesus.
Jailer, Officers, and other Attendants.
COMEDY OF ERRORS.
SCENE I. A Hall in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Duke, Ægeon, Jailer, Officer, and other At
Duke. Merchant of Syracusa, plead no more;
born at Ephesus, be seen
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Duke. Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause
Æge. A heavier task could not have been imposed,
poor,' mean woman was delivered
ii. e, natural affection.
2 The old copy reads he: the emendation is Malone's. The manner in which Steevens pointed this passage, gavę to it a confused if not an absurd meaning.
3 The word poor was supplied by the editor of the second folio.
My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
1 Instance appears to be used here for symptom or prognostic. Shakspeare uses this word with very great latitude. VOL. III.
But ere they came,-0, let me say no more!
Duke. Nay, forward, old man; do not break off so ; For we may pity, though not pardon thee.
Æge. O, had the gods done so, I had not now Worthily termed them merciless to us! For ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues, We were encountered 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, 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 seized on us; And, knowing whom it was their hap to save, Gave healthful? welcome to their shipwrecked guests; And would have reft the fishers of their
prey, Had not their bark been very slow of sail, And therefore homeward did they bend their course.Thus you
have heard me severed from my bliss ; That by misfortunes was my life prolonged, To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.
Duke. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for, Do me the favor to dilate at full What hath befallen of them, and thee, till now.
Ege. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care, At eighteen years became inquisitive After his brother; and importuned me,
1 The first folio reads “borne up.”
2 The second folio altered this to “helpful welcome;" but change was unnecessary.
3 It appears, from what goes before, that it was the eldest, and not the youngest. He says, “ My wife, more careful of the latter-born,” &c.