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SALINUS, Duke of Ephesus.
geon and Æmilia, but un
Æmilia, Wife to Ægeon, an Abbess at Ephesus.)
А с т І. SCENE, the Duke's Palace, Enter the Duke of Ephesus, Ægeon, Jailor,
and other Attendants.
ÆGE O N.
more; I am not partial to infringe our laws: The enmity, and discord, which of late
(1) Comedy of ERRORS.] The Controversy of our Author's Acquaintance with the Latine Tongue has been partly canvass?d upon his having writ this Play. “ It is in great Measure taken (fays Mr. Rowe) “ from the Menachmi of Plautus. How That happen'd, I cannot easily
divine; since I do not take him to have been Master of Latine enough " to read it in the Original: and I know of no Translation of Plautus “ so old as his Time”. Thus far, his Acquaintance with the Roman Language is rather disputed, than ascertain'd. Let us fee, What Mr. Gilden has observ'd upon This. “ I confess, with Submission to the Writer “ of his Life, that I can find no such Need of Divination on this Head. “ For as it is beyond Contradiction plain, that this Comedy is taken from “ That of Plautus; so I think it as obvious to conclude from That, that
Sprung from the ranc'rous outrage of
Ægeon. Yet this my comfort, when your words are done,
Duke. Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause,
Than « Shakespeare did understand Latine enough to read him, and knew so “ much of him as to be able to form a Design out of That of the *“ Roman Poet". We now find his Title to Learning a little better grounded. After these Gentlemen comes Mr. Pope, and diffidently corroborates Mr. Gildon's Opinion. “ He appears (says be) also to kave “ been conversant in Plautus, from whom he has taken the Plot of One " of his Plays”. The Comedy of Errors is the Play meant here. But tho', perhaps, I may believe our Author better acquainted with the antient Languages, than these three Learned Men profess to do; yet, with Deference to them, his Literature will not come into Dispute on this Account. For the Menachmi of Plautus was translated into English, (which our Criticks might have known from Langbaine,) and printed in Quarto in the Year 1515, half a Century before our Author was born. (2) A heavier Task could not have been impos'd, Than I to sprak my Grief unspeakable.) The Poet seems to me