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The Comedie of Errors Ebook

The Comedie of Errors
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The Comedie of Errors

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Title: The Comedie of Errors
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Actus primus, Scena prima.

Enter the Duke of Ephesus, with the Merchant of Siracusa, Iaylor,
and
other attendants.

Marchant. Proceed Solinus to procure my fall,
And by the doome of death end woes and all

Duke. Merchant of Siracusa, plead no more.
I am not partiall to infringe our Lawes;
The enmity and discord which of late
Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your Duke,
To Merchants our well-dealing Countrimen,
Who wanting gilders to redeeme their liues,
Haue seal'd his rigorous statutes with their blouds,
Excludes all pitty from our threatning lookes:
For since the mortall and intestine iarres
Twixt thy seditious Countrimen and vs,
It hath in solemne Synodes beene decreed,
Both by the Siracusians and our selues,
To admit no trafficke to our aduerse townes:
Nay more, if any borne at Ephesus
Be seene at any Siracusian Marts and Fayres:
Againe, if any Siracusian borne
Come to the Bay of Ephesus, he dies:
His goods confiscate to the Dukes dispose,
Vnlesse a thousand markes be leuied
To quit the penalty, and to ransome him:
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount vnto a hundred Markes,
Therefore by Law thou art condemn'd to die

Mer. Yet this my comfort, when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the euening Sonne

Duk. Well Siracusian; say in briefe the cause
Why thou departedst from thy natiue home?
And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus

Mer. A heauier taske could not haue beene impos'd,
Then I to speake my griefes vnspeakeable:
Yet that the world may witnesse that my end
Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence,
Ile vtter what my sorrow giues me leaue.
In Syracusa was I borne, and wedde
Vnto a woman, happy but for me,
And by me; had not our hap beene bad:
With her I liu'd in ioy, our wealth increast
By prosperous voyages I often made
To Epidamium, till my factors death,
And he great care of goods at randone left,
Drew me from kinde embracements of my spouse;
From whom my absence was not sixe moneths olde,
Before her selfe (almost at fainting vnder
The pleasing punishment that women beare)
Had made prouision for her following me,
And soone, and safe, arriued where I was:
There had she not beene long, but she became
A ioyfull mother of two goodly sonnes:
And, which was strange, the one so like the other,
As could not be distinguish'd but by names.
That very howre, and in the selfe-same Inne,
A meane woman was deliuered
Of such a burthen Male, twins both alike:
Those, for their parents were exceeding poore,
I bought, and brought vp to attend my sonnes.
My wife, not meanely prowd of two such boyes,
Made daily motions for our home returne:
Vnwilling I agreed, alas, too soone wee came aboord.
A league from Epidamium had we saild
Before the alwaies winde-obeying deepe
Gaue any Tragicke Instance of our harme:
But longer did we not retaine much hope;
For what obscured light the heauens did grant,
Did but conuay vnto our fearefull mindes
A doubtfull warrant of immediate death,
Which though my selfe would gladly haue imbrac'd,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,
Weeping before for what she saw must come,
And pitteous playnings of the prettie babes
That mourn'd for fashion, ignorant what to feare,
Forst me to seeke delayes for them and me,
And this it was: (for other meanes was none)
The Sailors sought for safety by our boate,
And left the ship then sinking ripe to vs.
My wife, more carefull for the latter borne,
Had fastned him vnto a small spare Mast,
Such as sea-faring men prouide for stormes:
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whil'st I had beene like heedfull of the other.
The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fixt,
Fastned our selues at eyther end the mast,
And floating straight, obedient to the streame,
Was carried towards Corinth, as we thought.
At length the sonne gazing vpon the earth,
Disperst those vapours that offended vs,
And by the benefit of his wished light
The seas waxt calme, and we discouered
Two shippes from farre, making amaine to vs:
Of Corinth that, of Epidarus this,
But ere they came, oh let me say no more,
Gather the sequell by that went before

Duk. Nay forward old man, doe not breake off so,
For we may pitty, though not pardon thee

Merch. Oh had the gods done so, I had not now
Worthily tearm'd them mercilesse to vs:
For ere the ships could meet by twice fiue leagues,
We were encountred by a mighty rocke,
Which being violently borne vp,
Our helpefull ship was splitted in the midst;
So that in this vniust diuorce of vs,
Fortune had left to both of vs alike,
What to delight in, what to sorrow for,
Her part, poore soule, seeming as burdened
With lesser waight, but not with lesser woe,
Was carried with more speed before the winde,
And in our sight they three were taken vp
By Fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
At length another ship had seiz'd on vs,
And knowing whom it was their hap to saue,
Gaue healthfull welcome to their ship-wrackt guests,
And would haue reft the Fishers of their prey,
Had not their backe beene very slow of saile;
And therefore homeward did they bend their course.
Thus haue you heard me seuer'd from my blisse,
That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
To tell sad stories of my owne mishaps

The Comedie of Errors

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