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your bail,


And speak unto the same Æmilia !

ADR. I sent you money, sir, to be
Æge. If I dream not,” thou art Æmilia ! By Dromio; but I think he brought it not.
If thou art she, tell me, where is that son

Dro. E. No; none by me.
That floated with thee on the fatal raft ?

Ant. S. This purse of ducats I receiv'd from ABB. By men of Epidamnum he and I,

you, And the twin Dromio, all were taken up.

And Dromio, my man, did bring them me: But, by and by, rude fishermen of Corinth, I see, we still did meet each other's man, By force, took Dromio and my son from them, And I was ta’en for him and he for me, And me they left with those of Epidamnum. And thereupon these Errors a rare arose. What then became of them I cannot tell ;

Ant. E. These ducats pawn I for my father I, to this fortune that you see me in.

here. DUKE. Why, here begins his morning story DUKE. It shall not need,—thy father hath his right;

life. These two Antipholus',—these two so like,

Cour. Sir, I must have that diamond from And these two Dromios, one in semblance;

you. Besides her urging of her wreck at sea :

ANT. E. There, take it, and much thanks for These are the parents to these children,

my good cheer. Which accidentally are met together.

ABB. Renowned duke, vouchsafe to take the Antipholus, thou cam'st from Corinth first.

pains ANT. S. No, sir, not I; I came from Syracuse. To go with us into the abbey here, Duke. Stay, stand apart; I know not which is And hear at large discoursed all our fortunes ; which.

And all that are assembled in this place, Ant. E. I came from Corinth, my most gracious That, by this sympathized one day's error, lord.

Have suffer'd wrong, go, keep us company, DRO. E. And I with him.

And we shall make full satisfaction. ANT. E. Brought to this town by that most Twenty-five years have I but gone in travail famous warrior,

Of you, my sons; and, till this present hour,
Duke Menaphon, your most renowned uncle. My heavy burden ne'er delivered.
ADR. Which of you two did dine with me The duke, my husband, and my children both,


the calendars of their nativity, ANT. S. I, gentle mistress.

Go to a gossip's feast, and go with me;? ADR.

And are not you my husband ? After so long grief, such festivity! Ant. E. No; I say nay to that.

DUKE. With all my heart, I'll gossip at this Ant. S. And so do I; yet did she call me so:

feast. And this fair gentlewoman, her sister here,

[Exeunt DUKE, Abbess, ÆGEON, Courtezan, Did call me brother. What I told you then,

Merchant, ANGELO, and Attendants. I hope I shall have leisure to make good;

Dro. S. Master, shall I fetch your stuff from If this be not a dream I see and hear.

ship-board ? Avg. That is the chain, sir, which you had Ant. E. Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou of me.

embark'd ? ANT. S. I think it be, sir ; I deny it not.

Dro. S. Your goods, that lay at host, sir, in Ant. E. And you, sir, for this chain arrested

the Centaur.

Ant. S. He speaks to me; I am your master, Ang. I think I did, sir; I deny it not.



a If I dream not,-) In the folio, 1623, this speech of Ægeon, and the subsequent one of the Abbess, are misplaced, and come after the Duke's speech, commencing,-"Why, here begins," &c. Malone made the necessary transposition.

To these children,-) Children must be pronounced as a trisyllable.

e What I told you then, &c.] This, and the two lines following, are addressed to Luciana, and should perhaps be spoken aside to her.

d These Errors rare arose.) The ancient copy has errors are, and this incontestable misprint is faithfully followed by modern editors. Mr. Collier's old corrector endeavours, not very successfully, to rectify it by reading all for are. I venture to substitute rare, which, besides being closer to the original, appears to give a better meaning.

Twenty-five years have I but gone in travail
Of you, my sons; and, till this present hour,
My heary burden ne'er delivered.)

The original copy has “thirtie three yeares." The rectification of
time was made by Theobald, who pointed out that as Ægeon had
related how at eighteen years his youngest boy “became inquisi-
tive after his brother;" and, in the present Scene, says it is but
seven years since they parted, the date of their birth is settled
indisputably. For the emendation, ne'er for are, we are indebted
to Mr. Dyce.

Go to a gossip's feast, and go with me;

After so long gries, such festivity!)
The old copy gives us :-

“ After so long grief, such nativity,"
which can hardly be right, “such nativity," that is, equal, or
proportionate nativity, being without sense here. Johnson pro-
posed festivity, which is most likely what the poet wrote. The
compositor seems to have caught nativity from the line just above.
I believe, however, this word is not the only corruption in the

Come, go

Will you

with us; we'll look to that anon;

walk in to see their gossiping ? Embrace thy brother there; rejoice with him. Dro. S. Not I, sir ; you are my elder.

[Exeunt ANTIPHOLUS S. and E., ADR. Dro. E. That's a question : how shall we try it? and Luc.

DRO. S. We'll draw cuts for the senior; till Dro. S. There is a fat friend at your master's

then, lead thou first. house,

Dro. E. Nay, then, thus ; That kitchen'd me for you to-day at dinner ; We came into the world like brother and broShe now shall be my sister,—not my wife.

ther; Dro. E. Methinks you are my glass, and not And now let's go hand in hand, not one before


[Exeunt. I see by you, I am a sweet-fac'd youth.

my brother :

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(1) SCENE II.They say this town is full of cozenage, &c.] This was the character attributed to Ephesus in remote ages. Steevens suggests that Shakespeare might have got the hint for this description from Warner's translation of the “Menæchmi," 1595. “For this assure yourselfe, this Towne Epidamnum is a place of outragious expences, exceeding in all ryot and lasciviousnesse : and (I heare) as full of Ribaulds, Parasites, Drunkards, Catchpoles, Cony-catchers, and Sycophants, as it can hold,” &c. But it is observable that Shakespeare, with great propriety, makes Antipholus attach to the Ephesians higher and more poetical qualities of cozenage than those enumerated by the old translator. It is not merely as “catchpoles,” “cony-catchers," and the like, but as

“ darkworking sorcerers,” and “soul-killing witches,” that he speaks of them. And hence we are prepared to find him

attribute the cross-purposes of the scene to supernatural agency, and see no inconsistency in his wooing Luciana as an enchantress :

“ Teach me, dear creature! how to think and speak;

Lay open to my earthy gross conceit,
Smother'd in errors-feeble--shallow-weak-

The folded meaning of your words' deceit.
Against my soul's pure truth, why labour you

To make it wander in an unknown field ?" Or in his imagining that, to win the sibyl, he must lose himself :

“ Sing, syren, for thyself, and I will dote:

Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And as a bride I 'll take thee, and there lie;

And, in that glorious supposition, think
He gains by death, that hath such means to die !"


(1) SCENE I.-Once this.] The following note in Gifford's “Ben Jonson" (vol. iii. p. 218) helps to confirm our opinion that once in this place, and in many other instances, is only another form of nonce, and means for the occasion, for the time being, &c. For the nonce, is simply for the once, for the one thing in question, whatever it may be. This is invariably its meaning. The aptitude of many of our monosyllables beginning with a vowel to assume the n is well known ; but the progress of this expression is distinctly marked in our early writers, 'a ones, 'an anes,' 'for the anes,' 'for the nanes,' 'for the nones,' 'for the nonco.

Borne on a foamy-crested wave,
She reach'd amain the bounding prow,
Then clasping fast the Chieftain brave,

She, plunging, sought the deep below." The reader desirous of particular information concerning the supposed existence and habits of these seductive beings, may consult Maillet's “Telliamed,” Pontopiddan's

“Natural History of Norway," and Waldron's “ Account of the Isle of Man,"

(2) SCENE II.-He gains by death, that hath such means to die.) The allusion is obviously to the long current opinion that the syren, or mermaid, decoyed mortals to destruction by the witchery of her songs. This superstition has been charmingly illustrated by Leyden, in his poem, “The Mermaid,” (vide Scott's “ Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," vol. iv, p. 294.)


ANT, S. Where France ?

DRO. S. In her forehead; arm'd and reverted, making war against her heir.] As Theobald first observed, an equivoque was, no doubt, intended between the words hair and heir ; and by the latter, was meant Henry IV. the heir of France, concerning whose succession to the throne there was a civil war in the country from 1589 for several years. Henry, after struggling long against the League, extricated himself from all his difficulties by embracing the Roman Catholic religion at St. Denis, on Sunday, the 25th of July, 1593, and was crowned King of France in February, 1594. In 1591, Lord Essex was dispatched with 4,000 troops to the French king's assistance, and his brother Walter was killed before Rouen, in Normandy; From that time till Henry was peaceably settled on the throne, many bodies of troops were sent by Queen Elizabeth to his aid : so that his situation must at that period have been a matter of notoriety, and a subject of conversation in England. From the reference to this circumstance, Malone imagines the “ Comedy of Errors to have been written before 1594.

“Thus, all to soothe the Chieftain's woe,

Far from the maid he loved so dear,
The song arose, so soft and slow,
He seem'd her parting sigh to hear.

That sea-maid's form, of pearly light, Was whiter than the downy spray, And round her bosom, heaving bright, Her glossy, yellow ringlets play.


(1) SCENE II.-A devil in an everlasting garment hath him.) A sergeant's buff leather garment was called durance ; partly, it would appear, on account of its everlasting qualities, and partly from a quibble on the occupation of the wearer, which was that of arresting and clapping men in durance. In Greene's “ Quip for an Upstart Courtier,” sig. D, 3d edit. 1620, there is a graphic description of a sergeant, or sheriff's officer. One of them had on a buffe-leather jerkin, all greasie before with the droppings of beere, that fell from his beard, and by his side, a skeine like a brewer's bung knife ; and muffled he was in a cloke, turn'd over his nose, as though hee had beene ashamed to showe his face."

This peculiar garb is again referred to by our author in a passage of “ Henry IV.” Part I, Act I. Sc. 2,

“ And is not a buf jerkin a most sweet robe of durance ?" the point of which seems not to have been fully understood by the commentators. A robe of durance was a cant term, implying imprisonment; and the Prince, after dilating on purse-stealing, humorously calls attention to its probable consequences, by his query about the buff jerkin. See MIDDLETON'S “Blurt, Master Constable,” Act III. Sc. 2:

"Tell my lady, that I go in a suit of durance.

(2) SCENE II.-A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry foot well.) To run counter is to follow on a false scent; to draw dry foot means to track by the mere scent of the foot. A hound that does one is not likely to do the other; but the ambiguity is explained by the double meaning attached to the words counter and dry foot. The former implying both false, and a prison, and the latter, privation of scent, and lack of means. The sheriff'sofficer, as he tracks for a prison, may be said to run counter, and, as he follows those who have expended their substance, he draws dry foot.

(3) SCENE II.One that, before the judgment, carries poor souls to hell.] By before the judgment, in its secondary sense, Dromio is supposed to allude to arrest on mesneprocess. Hell was a cant term for the worst dungeon in the wretched prisons of the time. There was the Master's Side, the Knight's Ward, the Hole, and last and most deplorable, the department called Hell, which was the receptacle for those who had no means to pay the extortionate fines exacted for better accommodation.

(4) SCENE III.—He that sets up his rest to do more exploits with his mace than a morris-pike.] Dromio plays


(1) SCENE I.- At your important letters, &c.]

“Shakspeare, who gives to all nations the customs of his own, seems from this passage to allude to a court of words 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 lordes and gentyllmen,
For they contrayne them to marry with their men;
Ye, wheder they wyll or no.'


on the word rest, arrest, and a metaphor, very common in our old writers, setting up his rest, which is taken from gaming, and means staking his all upon an event. Hence it was frequently applied to express fixed determination, steadfast purpose. Thus, in “ All's Well that Ends Well,” Act II. Sc. 1:

" What I can do, can do no hurt to try,

Since you set up your rest'gainst remedy." The Morris-pike is often mentioned by old writers. It was the Moorish pike, and was constantly used both in land and sea warfare, during the sixteenth century.

(5) SCENE III.-A ring he hath of mine worth forty ducats.] The number forty was very anciently adopted to express a great many, in the same way that we now use fifty, or a score. In the Scriptures it is recorded that the flood was forty days on the earth; the Israelites were forty years, and our Saviour forty days in the wilderness; and Job mourned forty days. In Hindustani, the word chalis, forty, has the same indefinite acceptation ; chalis-sutun, denoting literally forty columns, being applied to a palace with a number of pillars. So also in Persia, chihal signifies furty, and Persepolis, because it is a city of many towers, is called chihal-minar, the forty towers." In like manner, too, the insect which we name centipede, is there known as chihal-pd, forty feet." The word in this sense is not at all uncommon among old English writers ;

"Quoth Niceness to Newfangle, thou art such a Jacke, That thou devisest fortie fashions for my ladie's backe."

The Cobler's Prophecy, 1594. And it is so used repeatedly by Shakespeare ; for example,“I have learned these forty years."

Richard II. Act I. Sc. 3. "I will have forty moys."

Henry V. Act IV. Sc. 4. “I myself fight not once in forty years."

Henry VI. Part I. Act I, Sc. 3. "Some forty truncheoneers draw."

Henry VIII. Act V. Sc. 3. I could beat forty of them."

Coriolanus, Act III. Sc. I. “ I saw her once hop forty paces."

Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. Sc. 2. “ I had rather than forty pound."

Twelfth Night, Act V. Sc. 1.

“In the passage before us, Shakspeare was thinking particularly on the interest which the king had in England in the marriage of his wards, who were the heirs of his tenants holding by knight's service, or in capité, and were under age ; an interest which Queen Elizabeth in Shakspeare's time exerted on all occasions, as did her successors, till the abolition of the Court of Wards and Liveries; the poet attributes to the duke the same right to choose a wife or a husband for his wards at Ephesus." MALONE.



The alternate rhymes that are found in this play, as well as in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' • Love's Labour 's Lost,' "The Two Gentlemen of Verona,' and 'Romeo and Juliet,' are a further proof that these pieces were among our author's earliest productions. We are told by himself that Venus and Adonis' was 'the first heir of his invention.' The ‘Rape of Lucrece' probably followed soon afterwards. When he turned his thoughts to the stage, the measure which he had used in those poems naturally presented itself to him in his first dramatick essays: I mean in those plays which were written originally by himself. In those which were grounded, like the Henries, on the preceding productions of other men, he naturally followed the example before him, and consequently in those pieces no alternate rhymes are found. The doggrel measure, which, if I recollect right, is employed in none of our author's plays except “The Comedy of Errors,' “The Taming of the Shrew,' and 'Love's Labour 's Lost,' also adds support to the dates assigned to these plays; for these long doggrel verses are written in that kind of metre which was usually attributed by the dramatic poets before his time to some of their inferior characters.* He was imperceptibly infected with the prevailing mode in these his early compositions ; but soon learned to "deviate boldly from the common track' left by preceding writers.”—MALONE.

“ This drama of Shakspeare's is much more varied, rich, and interesting in its incidents than the Menachmi of Plautus ; and while, in rigid adherence to the unities of action, time, and place, our poet rivals the Roman play, he has contrived to insinuate the necessary previous information for the spectator, in a manner infinitely more pleasing and artful than that adopted by the Latin bard ; for whilst Plautus has chosen to convey it through the medium of a prologue, Shakspeare has rendered it at once natural and pathetic, by placing it in the mouth of Ægeon, the father of the twin brothers.

“ In a play, of which the plot is so intricate, occupied, in a great measure, by mere personal mistakes and their whimsical results, no elaborate development of character can be expected; yet is the portrait


“ Royst. If your name to me you will declare and showe,
You may in this matter my minde the sooner knowe.

Tos. Few wordes are best among freends, this is true,
Wherefore I shall briefly show my name unto you.
Tom Tospot it is, it need not to be painted,
Wherefore I with Raife Roister must needs be acquainted,” &c.

And some, berlady, very good, for so standeth the case,
As neither gentlemen nor other Lord Promos sheweth any grace;
But I marvel much, poore slaves, that they are hanged so soone,
They were wont to staye a day or two, now scarce an after-

noone;" &c.



“ You think I am going to market to buy rost meate, do ye not?

I thought so, but you are deceived, for I wot what I wot:
I am neither going to the butchers, to buy veale, mutton, or

But I am going to a bloodsucker, and who is it? faith Usurie,

that theefe.”


(About 1570.) ** SHIFT. By gogs bloud, my maisters, we were not best longer

here to staie, I thinke was never such a craftie knave before this daie.

(Ex. AMBO.
Cord. Are thei all gone? Ha, ha, well fare old Shift at a neede:
By his woundes had I not devised this, I had hanged indeed.
Tinkers, (qd you) tinke me no tinkes ; I'll meddle with them no

I thinke was never knave so used by a companie of tinkers before.
By your leave I'll be so bolde as to looke about me and spie,
Lest any knases for my coming down in ambush do lie.
By your license i minde not to preache longer in this tree,
My tinkerly slaves are packed hence, as farre as I maie see;" &c.



" Quoth Niceness to Newfangle, thou art such a Jacke,

That thou devisest fortie fashions for my ladie's backe.
And thou, quoth he, art so possest with everie frantick toy,
That following of my ladie's humour thou dost make her coy,
For once a day for fashion-sake my lady must be sicke,
No meat but mutton, or at most the pinion of a chicke;
To-day her owne haire best becomes, which yellow is as gold,
A periwig is better for to-morrow, blacke to behold:
To-day in pumps and cheveril gloves to walk she will be bold,
To-morrow cuffes and countenance, for feare of catching cold,
Now is she barefast to be seene, straight on her mufler goes;
Now is she husst up to the crowne, straight nusled to the nose."


1578. s“ The wind is yl blows no man's gaine: for cold J neede not care:

Here is nine and twentie sutes of apparel for my share :

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