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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 embraced,
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,
Forced 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 disposed, 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 discover'd
Two ships from far making amain to us,
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:
But ere they came,-Ŏ, let me say no more!
Gather the sequel by what went before.
Duke. Nay, forward, old man, do not break off so;
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 leagues, 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 burden'd 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 seiz'd on us; And, knowing whom it was their hap to save, Gave helpful welcome to their shipwreck'd 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 have you heard me sever'd from my bliss;
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 for,
Do me the favour to dilate at full
What hath befall'n of them, and thee, till now.
Ege. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive
After his brother; and impórtuned me,
That his attendant (for his case was like,
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name)
Might bear him company in the quest of him :
Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I loved.
Five summers have I spent in furthest Greece,
Roaming clean* 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 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 mark'd
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,
Yet will I favour 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 not, then thou art doom'd to die:-
Jailer, take him to thy custody.
Jail. I will, my lord.
Ege. Hopeless, and helpless, doth Egeon wend,† But to procrastinate his lifeless end.
SCENE II-A public Place.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS and DROMIO of Syracuse, and a
Mer. Therefore give out, you are of Epidamnum,
Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.
This very day, a Syracusan merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
* Clear, completely.
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 host,
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.
Get thee away.
Dro. S. Many a man would take you at your word, And go indeed, having so good a mean.
Ant. S. A trusty villain,† Sir; that very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humour 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 go lose myself,
And wander up and down, to view the city.
Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own content.
Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own content,
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.
Here comes the almanack of my true date,—
What now? How chance, thou art return'd so soon?
The sign of their hotel.
+ Exchange, market-place.
Dro. E. Return'd so soon! rather approach'd too late :
The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;
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 stomach;
You have no stomach, having broke your fast;
† I. e. servant.
But we, that know what 'tis to fast and pray,
Are penitent for your default to-day.
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' Wednesday last,
To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper ;-
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?
Dro. E. I pray you, jest, Sir, as you sit at dinner:
I from my mistress come to you in post;
If I return, I shall be post indeed;
For she will score your fault upon my pate.
Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock,
And strike you home without a messenger.
Ant. S. Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of scason
Reserve them till a merrier hour than this:
Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?
Dro. E. To me, Sir, why you gave no gold to me.
Ant. S. Come on, sír knave, have done your foolishness,
And tell me, how thou hast disposed 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, stay for you.
Ant. S. Now, as I am a Christian, answer me,
In what safe place you have bestow'd my money;
Or I will break that merry sconce of yours,
That stands on tricks when I am indisposed:
Where are the thousand marks thou hadst of me?
Dro. E. I have some marks of yours upon my pate,
Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders,
But not a thousand marks between you both.-
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?
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.
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 DROMIO E.
Ant. S. Upon my life, by some device or other,
The villain is o'er-raught of all my money.
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.
SCENE I-A public Place.
Enter ADRIANA and LUCIANA.
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,
And from the mart he's somewhere gone to 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,
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. Look, when I serve him so, he takes 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 woe.
There's nothing, situate under heaven's eye,
But hath its bound, in earth, in sea, in sky:
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,
Are their males' subject, and at their controls:
Men, more divine, and masters of all these,
Lords of the wide world, and wild wat'ry seas,
Indued with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and their lords:
Then let your will attend on their accords.
Adr. This servitude makes you to keep unwed.
Luc. Not this, but troubles of the marriage bed.
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?
Luc. Till he come home again, I would forbear.
Adr. Patience, unmoved, no marvel though she pause;
They can be meek, that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet, when we hear it cry;
But were we burthen'd with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain:
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience wouldst relieve me:
* Licensed offenders.