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Cast of the Characters as performed at the Theatres Royal,
Duke of Ephesus
Antipholis of Syracuse........
Antipholis of Ephesus........
Dromio of Syracuse....
Dromio of Ephesus
Mr. W. Farren.
Mrs. Faucit. Adriana
Miss Stephens. Miss M. Tree. Luciana
Madame Vestris. Miss Paton. Hermia
Mrs. Boyle. Lesbia
Miss Henry. Bridget...
.......... Mrs. Willmott. Attendants on Doctor Pinch, Executioner, Sisters of the Convent.
STAGE DIRECTIONS. The Conductors of this Work print no Plays but those which they have seen acted. The Stage Directions are given from their own personal observations, during the most recent performances.
EXITS and ENTRANCES. R. means Right; L. Left; D. F. Door in Flat; R. D. Right Door ; L. D. Left Door ; S. E. Second Entrance ; U. E. Upper Entrance. M. D. Middle Door.
RELATIVE POSITIONS. R. means Right ; L. Left; C. Centre ; R. C. Right of Centre; L.C Left of Centre.
The Reader is supposed to be on the Stage facing the Audience;
SCENE I.-A Hall in the Palace of the Duke.
DUKE, R. S. E. Ægeon in Chains, two Officers, four Guards,
and Attendants, discovered.
Ægeon. (L.) Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall,
And terminate, by this, thy rig'rous doom,
Ægeon's life and miseries together.
Duke. (R.) Merchant of Syracusa, plead no more.
The enmity and discord, which, of late,
Sprung from the ranc'rous outrage of your duke,
To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,
(Who, wanting gilders to redeem their lives,
Have seal'd his rig'rous statutes with their blood,)
Excludes all pity from our threat'ning looks.
For, since the mortal and intestine jars
"Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us,
It hạth, in solemu synods, been decreed,
Both by the Syracusaus and ourselves,
T admit no traffic to our adverse towns.
Nay, more-If any, born at Ephesus,
Be seen at Syracusan marts or fairs :
Again—if any Syracusan 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 ransom him.
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Caunot amount unto an hundred marks :
Therefore, by law, thou art condemn'd to die.
Ægeon. This comfort, then, (the wretch's last resource)
A least, I gain from the severe decree-
My woes must finish ere the setting sun.
Duke. Yet, Syracusan, say in brief the cause,
Why thou departedst from thy native home,
And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus.
Ægeon. A heavier task could not have beeu imposed.
Yet will I utter what my grief permits.--
In Syracusa was I born; and wed
Unto a woman, happy but for me!
With her I lived in joy; our wealth increased
By prosp'rous traffic-till my factor's death
Drew us unwillingly to Epidamnum.
There had we not been long, but she became.
A joyful mother of two goodly sons,
And, strange to hear, the one so like the other,
They hardly by ourselves could be distinguish'd.
That very hour, and in the self-same house,
А poor mean woman was delivered
Of such a burden, male twins, both alike.
These (for their parents were exceeding poor)
I bought, and brought up, to attend my sons.
My wife, not meanly proud of her two boys,
Made daily motions for our home-return.
Unwilling I agreed. We came aboard-
Oh, bitter recollection !
Duke. Stop thy tears-
I long, yet almost ad, to hear the rest.
Ægeon. A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd,
Before the always wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic instance of our harm;
But longer did we not retaiu much hope,
For what obscured light the heavens did grant,
Did but convey into our fearful ininds
A dreadful warraut of immediate death.
The sailors sought for safety by our boat,
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us.
My wife, more careful for the elder born,
Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast;
To him, one of the other twins was bound;
While I had been like heedful of the youngers
The children thus disposed, my wife and I
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 sea wax'd calm : and we discover'd
Two ships from far, making amain to us ;
But ere they came
Duke. Pursue thy tale, old man.
Ægeon. Being encounter'd by a mighty rock,
Our helpless raft was splitted in the midst.
Her part (poor soul!) burden'd with lesser weight,
Was carried with more speed before the wind;
And, in our sight, they three were taken up
By fishermen of Corinth.
At length, another ship had seized on us;
And would have 'reft the fishers of their prey,
Had not their bark been very slow of sail.
Duke. Relate at full
What hath befallen to them, and thee, till now.
Ægeon. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years, became inquisitive
After his brother, and importuned me
That his attendant (for his case was like,
'Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name)
Might bear him company, in quest of him,
Whom, while I labour'd of a love to see,
I yielded to the loss of him I loved.
Since which unhappy time, no news arriving
What course their wayward stars had hurried them.
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,
Roaming e'en through the bounds of Asia,
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus :
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 Ægeon! whom the fates have mark'd
To bear th' extremity of dire mishap.
Now trust me, were it not agaiust our laws,
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
My soul should sue as advocate for thee:
But though thou art adjudged to the death
And passed sentence cannot be recall’d,
But to our honour's great disparagement
Yet will I favour thee in what I can.
1, therefore, merchant, 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-[Crosses L.]-if not, then art thou doom d to die.
[Exit, with Guards, L. Ægeon. (R.) What friends, alas! can misery expect ? This pity but prolongs the date of pain ;
And to a sure, though short-protracted end,
Helpless and hopeless doth Ægeon wend.
[Exit, guarded, R.
SCENE II.--The Mart.
Enter ANTIPHOLIS OF SYRACUSE, DROMIO OF SYRACUSE,
and CLEON, L. Dromio crosses to R.
Cleon. Therefore, give out, you are of Epidamnum,
Lest that your goods he forfeit to the state.
This very day, a Syracusan merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
And, not being able to buy out his life,
Dies ere the weary sun sets in the west.-
There is your money, which I had to keep.
[Gives Money to Antipholis.
Ant. of Syr. 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 then I'll view the manners of the town,
Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings,
And then return, and sleep withiu mine inn;
For, with long travel, I am sick and weary.
Get thee away!
Dro. of Syr. Many a man would take you at your word, And go away, indeed, having so great A treasure in his charge. Of what strength do You conceive my honesty, good master, That you dare put it to such temptation ?
Ant. of Syr. Of proof against a greater charge than this : Were it remiss, thy love would strengthen it: I think thou would'st not wrong me if thou could'st.
Dro. of Syr. I hope I should not, sir; but there is such A thing as trusting too far.-Odds heart! 'tis A weighty matter, and, if balanced in A steel-yard against my honesty, I doubt
Ant. of Syr. That very doubt is my security. No further argument, but speed away.
Dro. of Syr. Ay, but master, you know the old saying
Ant. of Syr. Then thou hast no occasion to tell it me. Begone, I say.
[Exit Dromio of Syracuse, R. A trusty villain, sir, that very oft, When I am dull with care and melancholy, Lightens my humour, with his merry jests.com