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• The COMEDY or Errors' was first printed in the racters is a constantly-increasing triumph to us. The folio collection of Shakspere's Plays in 1623. This spectators, the readers, have the clue, are let into the copy presents many typographical blunders, and in a secret, by the story of the first scene. Nothing can be few passages the text is manifestly corrupt. The dif- more beautifully managed, or is altogether more Shakficulties, however, are not very considerable. The sperean, than the narrative of Ægeon; and that narrative Comedy was clearly one of Shakspere's very early is so clear and so impressive that the reader never forplays. It was probably untouched by its author after gets it amidst all the errors and perplexities which its first production.
follow. It appears to us that every one of an audience In a work by Francis Meres, published in 1598, it of The Comedy of Errors,' who keeps his eyes open, is mentioned amongst other dramas of Shakspere. The will, after he has become a little familiar with the perchief evidence of its being a very early play is to be sons of the two Antipholuses and the two Dromios, find found in the great prevalence of that measure which out some clue by which he can detect a difference was known to our language as early as the time of between each, even without “the practical contradictions Chaucer by the name of “rime dogerel." This pecu- which arise as soon as the different parties begin to liarity is to be observed only in three of our author's speak." Each pair of persons selected to play the twins plays,-in • Love's Labour 's Lost,' in “The Taming must be of the same height,-—with such general resemof the Shrew,' and in “The Comedy of Errors.' It blances of the features as may be made to appear idenwas a distinguishing characteristic of the early English tical by the colour and false hair of the tiring-room,drama. "The Comedy of Errors' was unquestionably and be dressed with apparently perfect similarity. Bu: suggested by “The Menæchmi' of Plautus ; and it let every care be taken to make the deception perfect, yet furnishes abundant proof of Shakspere's familiarity the observing spectator will detect a difference between with that ancient dramatist.
each; some peculiarity of the voice, some "trick o' the Criticism has justly held that “The Comedy of eye,” some dissimilarity in gait, some minute variation Errors' is essentially a farce, and was meant to be so. in dress; and, while his curiosity is kept alive by the Coleridge says, “A proper farce is mainly distinguished effort of attention which is necessary for this detection, from comedy by the licence allowed, and even required, the riddle will not only not tease him, but its perpetual in the fable, in order to produce strange and laughable solution will afford him the utmost satisfaction. situations." Nothing, however, can be managed with But has not Shakspere himself furnished a clue to more skill than the whole dramatic action of this farce. the understanding of the Errors, by his marvellous It has been objected that the riddle which is presented skill in the deliveation of character ? Pope forcibly throughout the piece teases and wearies the reader and remarked that, if our poet's dramas were printed without the spectator. Hazlitt says, “ In reading the play, the names of the persons represented being attached to from the sameness of the names of the two Antipholuses the individual speeches, we should know who is speakand the two Dromios, as well as from their being con- ing by his wonderful discrimination in assigning to stantly taken for each other by those who see them, it every character appropriate modes of thought and exis difficult, without a painful effort of attention, to pression. It appears to us that this is unquestionably keep the characters distinct in the mind. And again, the case with the characters of each of the twin-brothers on the stage, either the complete similarity of their in “The Comedy of Errors.' The Antipholus of Ephepersons and dress must produce the same perplexity sus is strikingly opposed to the Antipholus of Syracuse : whenever they first enter, or the identity of appearance, he is neither sedate, nor gentle, nor truly loving, as his which the story supposes, will be destroyed. We still, brother is ;-he has no babits of self-command ;-his however, having a clue to the difficulty, can tell which temperament is sensual. The two Dromios each have is which, merely from the contradictions which arise as their “merry jests;" they each bear a beating with soon as the different parties begin to speak; and we wonderful good temper; they each cling faithfully to are indemnified for the perplexity and blunders into their master's interests. But there is certainly a marked which we are thrown, by seeing others thrown into difference in the quality of their mirth. The Dromio greater and almost inextricable ones." Hazlitt has of Ephesus is precise and antithetical, striving to utter here, almost undesignedly, pointed out the source of the bis jests with infinite gravity and discretion. On the pleasure which, with an “effort of attention,”—not a contrary, the “merry jests" of Dromio of Syracuse all “ painful effort,” we think,
,-a reader or spectator of come from the outpouring of his gladsome heart. Of • The Comedy of Errors' is sure to receive from this course the characters of the twins could not be violently drama. We have “a clue to the difficulty ;" ——
;"--we contrasted, for that would have destroyed the illusion. know more than the actors in the drama ;-we may be They must still a little perplexed, but the deep perplexity of the cha- “ Go hand in hand, not one before another.'
COMEDY OF ERRORS.
BALTHAZAR, a merchant.
Appears, Act III. sc. I.
ANGELO, a goldsmith.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1 ; sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1 ANTIPHOLTS OF EPHESUS, twin-brother to Antipholus A Merchant, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse. Syracuse, but unknown to him, and son to Ægeon
Appears, Act l. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1. and Emilia, Appears, Act III. se. 1. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. l.
Pinch, a schoolmaster and a conjurer.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 4. ANTIPHOLUS OF Syractse, twin-brother to Antipholus
of Ephesus, but unknown to him, and son to Ægeon Æmilia, wife to Ægeon, an abbess at Ephesus and Emilia.
Appears, Act V. sc. I. appeari, Act I. se. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2.
ADRIANA, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1; se. 2; Act IV. sc. 2 ; sc. 4. Deoxio OP EPIESUS, twin-brother to Dromio of Syra
Act V. sc. I. cuse, and an attendant on Antipholus of Ephesus.
Luciana, sister to Adriana.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1 ; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2.
Act IV. sc. 21
sc. 4. Act V. sc. I. Dromio OF SYRACUSE, twin-brother to Dromio of Ephesus, and an attendant on Antipholus of Sy.
LUCE, her servant. racuse.
Appears, Act III. sc. ! Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act 11. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 3; sc. 4. Act 1.sc. I.
SCENE I.-A Hall in the Duke's Palace.
Duke. Merchant of Syracusa, plead no more;
Duke. Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause
Æge. A heavier task could not have been imposid,
By nature-by the impulses of nature, by natural affection, - as opposed to vile offence, the violation of the municipal laws of Ephesus.
I bouglit, and brought up to attend my sons.
I hazarded the loss of whom I lov'd. My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece, Made daily motions for our home return:
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia, Unwilling I agreed; alas, too soon. We came aboard: And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus; A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd
Hopeless to find, yet loth to leave unsought, Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Or that, or any place that harbours men. Gave any tragic instance of our harm:
But here must end the story of But longer did we not retain much hope;
And happy were I in my timely death, For what obscured light the heavens did grant
Could all my travels warrant ine they live. Did but convey unto our fearsul minds
Duke. Hapless Ægeon, whom the fates have mark'd A doubtful warrant of immediate death;
To bear the extremity of dire mishap! Which, though myself would gladly bave embrac'd, Now, trust me, were it not against our laws, Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity, Weeping before for what she saw must come,
Which princes, would they, may not disannul, And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
My soul should sue as advocate for thee. That mourn'd for fashion, ignorant what to fear, But, though thou art adjudged to the death, Forc'd me to seek delays for them and me.
And passed sentence may not be recall'd And this it was,—for other means was none.
But to our honour's great disparagement, The sailors sought for safety by our boat,
Yet will I favour thee in what I can: And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us :
Therefore, merchant, I 'll limit thee this day, My wife, most careful for the latter born,
To seek thy help by beneficial help: Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast,
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus : Such as seafaring men provide for storms:
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up
sum, To him one of the other twins was bound,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die :Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
Gaoler, take him into thy custody. The children thus dispos’d, my wife and I,
Gaol. I will, my lord. Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Æge. Hopeless, and helpless, doth Ægeon wend, Fasten'd ourselves at either end the mast;
But to procrastinate his liveless a end. Exeunt.
SCENE II.--- A public Place.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS and Dromio of Syracuse, and a And, by the benefit of his wished light,
Mer. Therefore give out you are of Epidamnum, Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:
Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate. But ere they came,-0, let me say no more!
This very day, a Syracusan merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
According to the statute of the town,
There is your money that I had to keep. For ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues, Ant. S. Go, bear it to the Centaur, where we host, We were encounter'd by a mighty rock;
And stay there, Dromio, till I come to thee. Which being violently borne upon,
Within this hour it will be dinner-time : Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst,
Till that, I'll view the manners of the town, So that, in this unjust divorce of us,
Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings, Fortune had left to both of us alike
And then return, and sleep within mine inn; What to delight in, what to sorrow for.
For with long travel I am stiff and weary. Her part, poor soul! seeming as burthened
Get thee away. Withi lesser weight, but not with lesser woe,
Dro. S. Many a man would take you at your word, Was carried with more speed before the wind; And go indeed, having so good a mean. [Exit Dro. S And in our sight they three were taken up
Ant. S. A trusty villain, sir, that very oft, By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
When I am dull with care and melancholy, At length, another ship had seiz'd on us;
Lightens my humour with his merry jests, And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
What, will you walk with me about the town, Gave healthful welcome to their shipwrack'd guests; And then go to my inn and dine with me? And would have reft the fishers of their prey,
Mer. I am invited, sir, to certain merchants,
Of whom I hope to make much benefit ;
And after ward consort you till bedtime;
My present business calls me from you now. Duke. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for, Ant. S. Farewell till then : I will go lose myself, Do me the favour to dilate at full
And wander up and down, to view the city. What hath befall’n of them, and thee, till now.
Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own content. Æge. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
(Exit Merchant. At eighteen years became inquisitive
Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own content After his brother; and importun'd me,
Commends me to the thing I cannot get. That his attendant (so his case was like, a
I to the world am like a drop of water, Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name)
That in the ocean seeks another drop; Might bear him company in the quest of him :
· Laveless. Lifeless and liveless are the same; as liucly Adel Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to ser,
lifely also are the same. • So his case was like-his case was su like that of Antiplulus. Soon at five o'clock-about five o'clock
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Ant. S. Come on, sir knave; hare done your fool. Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself:
ishness, So I to find a mother and a brother,
And tell me how thou hast dispos’d thy charge. In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.
Dro. E. My charge was but to fetch you from the mart Enter Dromio of Ephesus.
Home to your house, the Phænix, sir, to dinner,
My mistress and her sister stay for you. Here comes the almanac of my true date.
Ant. S. Now, as I am a christian, answer me, What now! How chance thou art return'd so soon? In what safe place you have bestow'd a my money ;
Dro. E. Return'd so soon! rather approach'd too late:Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours, The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;
That stands on tricks when I am undispos'd : The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell,
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me? My mistress made it one upon my cheek:
Dro. E. I have some marks of yours upon my pate, She is so hot, because the meat is cold;
Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders,
Ant. S. Thy mistress' marks? what mistress, slave, Are penitent for your default to-day.
hast thou? Ant. S. Stop in your wind, sir; tell me this, I pray: Dro. E. Your worship's wife, my mistress at the Where have you left the money that I gave you?
you will hie you home to dinner. To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper ;
Ant. S. What, wilt thou flout me thus unto my face, The saddler had it, sir; I kept it not.
Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave. Ant. $. I am not in a sportive humour now:
Dro. E. What mean you, sir? for God's sake, hold Tell me, and dally not, where is the money ?
your hands; We being strangers bere, how darst thou trust Nay, an you will not, sir, I 'll take my heels. So great a charge from thine own custody ?
[Escit DRO. E. Dro. E. I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at dinner : Ant. S. Upon my life, by some device or other, I from my mistress come to you in post;
The villain is o'er-raught b of all my money. If I return, I shall be post indeed ;**
They say this town is full of cozenage ; For she will score your fault upon my pate.
As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye, Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock, Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind, And strike you home without a messenger.
Soul-killing witches that deform the body, Ant. S. Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks, season;
And many such like liberties of sin : Reserve them till a merrier hour than this :
If it prove so, I will be gone the sooner. Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?
I'll to the Centaur, to go seek this slave; Dro. E. To me, sir ? why, you gave no gold to me. I greatly fear my money is not safe.
SCENE I.-A public Place.
Men, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lords of the wide world, and wild watery seas,
Indued with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls, Adr. Neither my husband, nor the slave retum'd, Are masters to their females, and their lords : That in such haste I sent to seek his master!
Then let your will attend on their accords. Sure, Laciana, it is two o'clock.
Adr. This servitude makes you to keep unwed. Luc. Perhaps, some merchant hath invited him, Luc. Not this, but troubles of the marriage-bed. And from the mart he 's somewhere gone to dinner. ¡Adr. But were you wedded you would bear some Good sister, let us dine, and never fret :
sway. A man is master of his liberty :
Luc. Ere I learn love, I 'll practise to obey. Time is their master; and when they see time,
Adr. How if your husband start some other where I c They 'll go, or come: If so, be patient, sister.
Luc. Till he come home again, I would forbear.
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain : But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky :
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee, The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,
With urging helpless patience would relieve me : Are their males' subjects, and at their controls : But, if thou live to see like right bereft, • Penitent--in the sense of doing penance.
This fool-begg'd patienced in thee will be left. • Past indeed. The post of a shop was used as the tally-board * Bestow'd-stowed, deposited. Ya publican is now used, to keep the score.
O'er-raught-overreached. • Lask'd with soe. A lace, a leash, a latch, a lash, is each a • Where has here the power of a noun, and is used as in form of expressing what binds or fasteas; and thus" head-1 Henry VIII. -" the king hath sent me otherwhere." strong liberty," and "woe," are bound together-are insepa- } • The allusion is to the practice of “ begging a fool" for the
Ellarrianship of his fortune.