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Then fairly I bespoke the officer,
Ang. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him; That he dined not at home, but was lock'd out.
Duke. But had he such a chain of thee, or no?
Ang. He had, my lord: and when he ran in here, These people saw the chain about his neck.
Mer. Besides, I will be sworn, these ears of mine
Ant. E. I never came within these abbey walls,
Duke. Why, what an intricate impeach is this!
1 A living dead man:] This thought appears to have been bor. rowed from Sackvil's Induction to The Mirror for Magistrates :
but as a lviung death, “ So ded aliue of life hee drew the breath.” Steevens.
I think, you all have drank of Circe's cup.
hither; I think, you are all mated, or stark mad.
[Exit an Attend. Æge. Most mighty duke, vouchsafe me speak a word; Haply, I see a friend will save my life, And pay the sum that may de
Duke. Speak freely, Syracusan, what thou wilt.
Æge. Is not your name, sir, callid Antipholus ?. And is not that your bondman Dromio?
Dro. E. Within this hour I was his bondman, sir, But he, I thank him, gnaw'd in two my cords; Now am I Dromio, and his man, unbound.
Æge. I am sure, you both of you remember me.
Dro. E. Qurselves we do remember, sir, by you; For lately we were bound, as you are now. You are not Pinch's patient, are you, sir? Æge. Why look you strange on me? you know me
well. Ant. E. I never saw you in my life, till now. Æge. Oh! grief hath chang’d me, since you saw me
And careful hours, with Time's deformed hand
mated,] See p. 367, n. 2. Malone. deformed -] For deforming. Steevens. strange defeatures -) Defeature is the privative of feaThe meaning is, time hath cancelled my features.
Fohnson Defeatures are undoings, miscarriages, misfortunes; from defaire, French. So, in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1599:
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?
Ant. E. Neither.
Dromio, nor thou?
I am sure, thou dost, Dro. E. Ay, sir? but I am sure, I do not; and whatsoever a man denies, you are now bound to believe him.5
Æge. Not know my voice! O, time's extremity!
“ The day before the night of my defeature, (i. e. undoing)
“He greets me with a casket richly wrought.” The sense is, I am deformed, undone, by misery. Misfortune has left its impression on my face. Steevens.
Defeature is, I think, alteration of feature, marks of deformity. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
to cross the curious workmanship of nature, “ To mingle beauty with infirmities,
“ And pure perfection with impure defeature.” Malone. Defeatures are certainly neither more nor less than features ; as demerits are neither more nor less than merits. Time, says Ægeon, hath placed new and strange features in my face; i. e. given it quite a different appearance: no wonder therefore thou dost not know me. Ritson.
you are now bound to believe him.] Dromio is still quibbling on his favourite topick. See p. 403. Malone.
my feeble key of untun'd cares?] i. e. the weak and discordant tone of my voice, that is changed by grief. Douce.
this grained face -] i. e. furrowed, like the grain of wood. So, in Coriolanus :
my grained ash.” Steevens. 8 All these old witnesses (I cannot err)] I believe should be read:
All these hold witnesses I cannot err. e. all these continue to testify that I cannot err, and tell me, &c.
Tell me, thou art my son Antipholus.
Ant. E. i never saw my father in my life.
Æge. But seven years since, in Syracusa, boy, Thou know'st, we parted: but, perhaps, my son, Thou sham'st to acknowledge me in misery.
Ant. E. The duke, and all that know me in the city, Can witness with me that it is not so; I ne'er saw Syracusa in my life.
Duke. I tell thee, Syracusan, twenty years Have I been patron to Antipholus; During which time he ne'er saw Syracusa: I see, thy age and dangers make thee dote. Enter the Abbess, with ANTIPHOLUS Syracusan, and
DROMIO Syracusan. Abb. Most mighty duke, behold a man much wrong'd.
[All gather to see him. Adr. I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me.
Duke. One of these men is Genius to the other;
Dro. S. I, sir, am Dromio; command him away.
Abb. Whoever bound him, I will loose his bonds,
Æge. If I dream not, 9 thou art Æmilia;
The old reading is the true one, as well as the most poetical. The words I cannot err, should be thrown into a parenthesis. By old witnesses I believe he means experienced, accustomed ones, which are therefore less likely to err. So, in The Tempest:
“ If these be true spies that I wear in my head," &c. Again, in Titus Andronicus, sc. ult:
“ But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,
“ Grave witnesses of true experience,” &c. Steevens. 9 If I dream not,] In the old copy, this speech of Ægeon, and the subsequent one of the Abbess, follow the speech of the Duke,
If thou art she, tell me, where is that son
Abb. By men of Epidamnum, he, and I,
Duke. Why, here begins his morning story right:
beginning with the words—“Why, here" &c. The transposition was suggested by Mr. Steevens. It scarcely requires any justification. Ægeon's answer to Æmilia's adjuration would necessarily immediately succeed to it. Besides, as Mr. Steevens has observed, as these speeches stand in the old copy, the Duke comments on Æmilia's words before she has uttered them. The slight change now made renders the whole clear. Malone.
That, however, will scarcely remove the difficulty: the next speech is Ægeon's. Both it and the following one should precede the Duke's; or there is possibly a line lost. Ritson.
If this be the right reading, it is, as Steevens justly remarks, one of Shakspeare's oversights, as the Abbess had not hinted at her shipwreck. But possibly we should read
“Besides his urging of her wreck at sea.” M. Mason. 1 Why, here begins his morning story right:] “The morning story” is what Ægeon tells the Duke in the first scene of this play. H. White.
semblance,] Semblance (as Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed) is here a trisyllable. Steevens.
of her wreck at sea,) I suspect that a line following this has been lost; the import of which was, that these circumstances all concurred to prove that These were the parents, &c. The line which I suppose to have been lost, and the following one, beginning perhaps with the same word, the omission might have been occasioned by the compositor's eye glancing from one to the other. Malone.
children,] This plural is here used as a trisyllable. So, in Chapman's version of the sixteenth Iliad: “ Abhor'd Chimæra; and such bane now caught his chil
deren.” Again, in the fourth Iliad: