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Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
Which princes, would they, may not disannul,
My soul should sue as advocate for thee.
But, though thou art adjudged to the death,
And passed sentence may not be recall'd
But to our honour's great disparagement,
Yet will I favour thee in what I can.
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day
To seek thy help by beneficial help:
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die.
Gaoler, take him to thy custody.

GAOL. I will, my lord.

ÆGE. Hopeless and helpless doth Ægeon wend, But to procrastinate his lifeless end.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II - THE MART

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse, DROMIO of Syracuse,
and First Merchant

FIRST MER. Therefore give out you are of Epidamnum,

Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.

This very day a Syracusian merchant

Is apprehended for arrival here;

And, not being able to buy out his life,
According to the statute of the town,

150

Dies ere the weary sun set in the west.

There is your money that I had to keep.

ANT. S. 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 that, I'll view the manners of the town,
Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings,
And then return, and sleep within mine inn;
For with long travel I am stiff and weary.
Get thee away.

DRO. S. Many a man would take you at
And go indeed, having so good a mean.

your word,

ANT. S. A trusty villain, sir; that very oft, When I am dull with care and melancholy, Lightens my humour with his merry jests. What, will you walk with me about the town, And then go to my inn, and dine with me?

[Exit.

FIRST MER. I am invited, sir, to certain merchants, Of whom I hope to make much benefit;

I crave your pardon. Soon at five o'clock,

Please you, I'll meet with you upon the mart,

[blocks in formation]

And afterward consort you till bed-time:

ANT. S. Farewell till then: I will go lose myself,

30

My present business calls me from you now.

And wander up and down to view the city.

FIRST MER. Sir, I commend you to your own content.

[Exit.

28 consort you] accompany you. Cf. L. L. L., II, i, 177: "Sweet health and fair desires consort your Grace"; Rom. & Jul., III, i, 135, and Jul. Caes., V, i, 83.

40

ANT. S. He that commends me to mine own con

tent

Commends me to the thing I cannot get.

I to the world am like a drop of water,
That in the ocean seeks another drop;
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself:
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.

Enter DROMIO of Ephesus

Here comes the almanac of my true date.

What now? how chance thou art return'd so soon? DRO. E. Return'd so soon! rather approach'd too late:

The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;
The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell;
My mistress made it one upon my cheek:
She is so hot, because the meat is cold;

The meat is cold, because you come not home;
You come not home, because you have no stomach;
You have no stomach, having broke your fast;
But we, that know what 't is to fast and pray,
Are penitent for your default to-day.

38 confounds] destroys, loses.

41 almanac ... date] The speaker was born at the same hour as the newcomer, who is therefore called the indicator of the other's true date of birth.

52 Are penitent] Suffer penance (by fasting and praying).

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ANT. S. Stop in your wind, sir: tell me this, I pray : Where have you left the money that I gave you?

DRO. E. 0,- sixpence, that I had o' Wednesday last To pay the saddler for my mistress' crupper The saddler had it, sir; I kept it not.

ANT. S. I am not in a sportive humour now: Tell me, and dally not, where is the money? We being strangers here, how darest thou trust So great a charge from thine own custody?

DRO. E. I pray you, jest, sir, as you sit at dinner: I from my mistress come to you in post;

If I return, I shall be post indeed,

For she will score your fault upon my pate.

Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock,
And strike you home without a messenger.

ANT. S. Come, Dromio, come, these jests are out of

season;

Reserve them till a merrier hour than this.

Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?

DRO. E. To me, sir? why, you gave no gold to me. ANT. S. Come on, sir knave, have done your foolish

ness,

And tell me how thou hast disposed thy charge.

DRO. E. My charge was but to fetch you from the

mart

63-65 post... score] A post usually stood in the middle of a shop or a tavern, and on it the scores of customers were chalked up. The words in line 63, in post, which suggest the quibble, mean "in haste.” 66 clock] Pope's emendation of the original reading cook.

66

70

Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner:
My mistress and her sister stays for you.

ANT. S. Now, as I am a Christian, answer me,
In what safe place you have bestow'd my money;
Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours,
That stands on tricks when I am undisposed:
Where is the thousand marks thou had'st of me?

DRO. E. I have some marks of yours upon my pate,
Some of my mistress' marks upon my shoulders;
But not a thousand marks between you both.
If I should pay your worship those again,
Perchance you will not bear them patiently.

ANT. S. Thy mistress' marks? what mistress, slave, hast thou?

DRO. E. Your worship's wife, my mistress at the Phoenix ;

She that doth fast till you come home to dinner,

And prays that
you will hie you home to dinner.
ANT. S. What, wilt thou flout me thus unto my face,
Being forbid? There, take you that, sir knave.
DRO. E. What mean you, sir? for God's sake, hold

your hands!

Nay, an you will not, sir, I'll take my heels.

ANT. S. Upon my life, by some device or other
The villain is o'er-raught of all my money.
They say this town is full of cozenage;
As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye,

80 stands on tricks] indulges in tricks.

96 o'er-raught] over-reached, cheated out of, cheated.

[Exit.

80

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