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Ant. S. Thou art a villain, to impeach me thus:
I 'll prove mine honour and mine honesty
Against thee presently, if thou dar’st stand.
Mer. I dare, and do defy thee for a villain.

[They draw. Enter ADRIANA, LUCIANA, Courtezan, and Others.

Adr. Hold, hurt him not, for God's sake; he is mad;
Some get within him, 8 take his sword away:
Bind Dromio too, and bear them to my house.
Dro. S. Run, master, run; for God's sake, take a

This is some priory ;-In, or we are spoil'd.

[Exeunt Ant. S. and Dro. S. to the Priory.

Enter the Abbess.
Abb. Be quiet, people; Wherefore throng you hither?

Adr. To fetch my poor distracted husband hence:
Let us come in, that we may bind him fast,
And bear him home for his recovery.

Ang. I knew, he was not in his perfect wits.
Mer. I am sorry now, that I did draw on him.
Abb. How long hath this possession held the man?

Adr. This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad,
And much, much different from the man he was;}
But, till this afternoon, his passion
Ne'er brake into extremity of rage.

Abb. Hath he not lost much wealth by wreck at sea ?
Buried some dear friend? Hath not else his eye
Stray'd his affection in unlawful love?
A sin, prevailing much in youthful men,
Who give their eyes the liberty of gazing.
Which of these sorrows is he subject to?

Adr. To none of these, except it be the last;
Namely, some love, that drew him oft from home.

Abb. You should for that have reprehended him.
Adr. Why, so I did.

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get within him,] i. e. close with him, grapple with him.

Steevens. take a house ] i. e. go into a house. So, we say-a dog takes the water'. Steevens.

1 And much, much different from the man he was ;] Thus the second folio. The first impairs the metre by omitting to repeat the word much. Steevens.


Ay, but not rough enough.
Adr. As roughly, as my modesty would let me.
Abb. Haply, in private.

And in assemblies too.
Abb. Ay, but not enough.

Adr. It was the copy? of our conference:
In bed, he slept not for my urging it;
At board, he fed not for my urging it;
Alone, it was the subject of my theme;.
In company, I often glanced it;
Still did I tell him it was vile and bad.

Abb. And thereof came it, that the man was mad:
The venom clamours of a jealous woman
Poison more deadly than a mad dog's tooth.
It seems, his sleeps were hinder’d by thy railing:
And thereof comes it, that his head is light.
Thou say’st, his meat was sauc'd with thy upbraidings:
Unquiet meals make ill digestions,
Thereof the raging fire of fever bred;
And what's a fever but a fit of madness?
Thou say'st, his sports were hinder'd by thy brawls:
Sweet recreation barr’d, what doth ensue,
But moody and dull melancholy,
(Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair)



the copy -] i. e. the theme. We still talk of setting copies for boys. Steevens. 3 But moody and dull melancholy,

(Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair)] Shakspeare could never make melancholy a male in this line, and a female in the next. This was the foolish insertion of the first erlitors. I have, therefore, put it into hooks, as spurious. Warburton.

The defective metre of the second line, is a plain proof that some dissyllable word hath been dropped there. I think it there. fore probable our poet may have written:

Sweet recreation barr’d, what doth ensue,
But moody (moping] and dull melancholy,
Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair ?
And at their

heels a huge infectious troop.-. Heath. It has been observed to me that Mr. Capell reads:

But moody and dull melancholy, kins

woman to grim and comfortless despair; Yet, though the Roman language may allow of such transfers from the end of one verse to the beginning of the next, the custom is unknown to English poetry, unless it be of the burlesque kind. It is too like Homer Travesty:

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And, at her heels, a huge infectious troop
Of pale distemperatures, and foes to life?
In food, in sport, and life-preserving rest
To be disturb’d, would mad or man, or beast:
The consequence is then, thy jealous fits
Have scared thy husband from the use of wits.

Luc. She never reprehended him but mildly, When he demean’d himself rough, rude and wildlyWhy bear you these rebukes, and answer not?

Adr. She did betray me to my own reproof.-
Good people, enter, and lay hold on him.
Abb. No, not a creature enters in my

Adr. Then, let your servants bring my husband forth.

Abb. Neither; he took this place for sanctuary,
And it shall privilege him from your hands,
Till I have brought him to his wits again,
Or lose my labour in assaying it.

Adr. I will attend my husband, be his nurse,
Diet his sickness, for it is my office,
And will have no attorney but myself;
And therefore let me have him home with me.

Abb. Be patient; for I will not let him stir,
Till I have used the approved means I have,
With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,
To make of him a formal man again:5


On this, Agam“memnon began to curse and damn.” Steevens. Kinsman means no more than near relation. Many words are used by Shakspeare with much greater latitude.

Nor is this the only instance of such a confusion of genders. In The Merchant of Venice, Portia says

but now I was the lord
“Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,

Queen o'er myself.” Ritson. 4 And, at her heels, a huge infectious troop-] I have no doubt the emendation proposed by Mr. Heath ["their heels”] is right. In the English manuscripts of our author's time the pronouns were generally expressed by abbreviations. In this very play we have already met their for her, which has been rightly amended: “ Among my wife and their confederates

Act IV, sc. i. Malone. a formal man again:] i. e. to bring him back to his senses, and the forms of sober behaviour. So, in Measure for Measure," informal women,” for just the contrary, Steevens.

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It is a branch and parcel of mine oath,
A charitable duty of my order;
Therefore depart, and leave him here with me.

Adr. I will not hence, and leave my husband here;
And ill it doth beseem your holiness,
To separate the husband and the wife.
Abb. Be quiet, and depart, thou shalt not have him.

[Exit Abb. Luc. Complain unto the duke of this indignity.

Adr. Conie, go; I will fall prostrate at his feet,
And never rise until my tears and prayers
Have won his grace to come in person hither,
And take perforce my husband from the abbess.

Mer. By this, I think, the dial points at five:
Anon, I am sure, the duke himself in person
Comes this way to the melancholy vale;
The place of death and sorry execution,
Behind the ditches of the abbey here.

Ang. Upon what cause?

Mer. To see a reverend Syracusan merchant,
Who put unluckily into this bay
Against the laws and statutes of this town,
Beheaded publickly for his offence.

Ang. See, where they come; we will behold his death.
Luc. Kneel to the duke, before he pass the abbey.
Enter Duke attended; Ægeon bare-headed; with the

Headsman and other Officers. Duke. Yet once again proclaim it publickly,


6 The place of death -] The original copy has-depth. Mr. Rowe made the emendation. Malone.

sorry execution,] So, in Macbeth:

“Of sorriest fancies your companions making.” Sorry had anciently a stronger meaning than at present. Thus, in the ancient MS. Romance of The Sowdon of Babylayne, &c:

“ It was done as the kinge commaunde

“ His soule was fet to helle “ To daunse in that sory lande

“ With develes that wer ful felle.” Steevens. Thus, Macbeth looking on his bloody hands after the murder of Duncan:

“ This is a sorry sight.” Henley: Mr. Douce is of opinion, that sorry, in the text, is put for sor. sowful. Steevens.

If any friend will pay the sum for him,
He shall not die, so much we tender him.

Adr. Justice, most sacred duke, against the abbess!

Duke. She is a virtuous and a reverend lady;
It cannot be, that she hath done thee wrong.
Adr. May it please your grace, Antipholus, my hus-

Whom I made lord of me and all I had,
At your important letters, this ill day
A most outrageous fit of madness took him;
That desperately he hurried through the street,
(With him his bondman, all as mad as he,)
Doing displeasure to the citizens
By rushing in their houses, bearing thence
Rings, jewels, any thing his rage did like.
Once did I get him bound, and sent him home,
Whilst to take order for the wrongs I went,
That here and there his fury had committed.
Anon, I wot not by what strong escape, 1
He broke from those that had the guard of him;

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8 Whom I made lord of me and all I had,

At your important letters,] Important seems to be used for importunate. Johnson. So, in King Lear:

great France “My mourning and important tears hath pitied.” Again, in George Whetstone's Castle of Delight, 1576:“-yet won by importance accepted his courtesie.”

Shakspeare, who gives to all nations the customs of his own, seems from this passage to allude to a court of wards in Ephesus.

The court of wards was always considered as a grievous oppression. It is glanced at as early as in the old morality of Hycke Scorner:

these ryche men ben unkinde:
Wydowes do curse lordeş. and gentyllmen,
For they contrayne them to marry with their men;
“ Ye, wheder they wyll or no.” Steevens.

to take order -] i.e. to take measures. So, in Othello, Act V:

“Honest Iago hath ta'en order for it.” Steevens.

by what strong escape,] Though strong is not unintelligible, I suspect we should read-strange. The two words are often confounded in the old copies. Malone.

A strong escape, I suppose, means an escape effected by strength or violence. Steevens.


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