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Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;

Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.
Æge. Yet this my comfort; when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.
Duke. Well, Syracusian; say, in brief, the cause


Why thou departedst from thy native home,
And for what cause thou cam 'st to Ephesus.
Ege. A heavier task could not have been imposed
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable;
Yet, that the world may witness that my end


Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence,

I'll utter what my sorrow gives me leave.


In Syracusa was I born; and wed

Unto a woman, happy but for me,

And by me too, had not our hap been bad.

With her I lived in joy; our wealth increased

By prosperous voyages I often made


To Epidamnum; till my factor's death,

41, 62.

29. home,] Home; Rowe; home? Ff. 32. griefs] F 1; griefe F 2; grief Ff 3, 4. 38. And by me too,] Ff 2, 3, 4; And by me; F 1. Epidamnum] Pope; Epidamium Ff, Marshall; Epidamnium Rowe. Epidamnum; death] Theobald; Epidamium, . . death F1; Epidamium, death; Ff 2, 3, 4.

26. this] Walker (Shakespeare's Versification, p. 85) suggested that this ought to be printed this', the contraction for "this is."

34. by nature] i.e. by natural affection, which prompted me to seek my son at Ephesus (Malone).

38. too] A syllable has certainly fallen out of this line. It is a poor expedient to lengthen the pronunciation

of " Our "into a dissyllable; and we

may as well adopt the reading of the second Folio. Besides, Shakespeare

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And the great care of goods at random left,
Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse:
From whom my absence was not six months old,
Before herself, almost at fainting under
The pleasing punishment that women bear,
Had made provision for her following me,


And soon and safe arrived where I was.

There had she not been long but she became

A joyful mother of two goodly sons;


And, which was strange, the one so like the other,

As could not be distinguish'd but by names.

That very hour, and in the self-same inn,

A meaner woman was delivered

Of such a burden, male twins, both alike:
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,
I bought, and brought up to attend my sons.


42. the

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care... left] Theobald; he... care. left F1; he store leaving Ff 2, 3, 4; he, great care . left Steevens (1778, 1793). random] Ff 3, 4; randone Ff 1, 2. (S. Walker conj.); meane F 1; poor meane F 2; poor mean burden, male twins,] burthen Male, twins F 1.

the correct name of the town, afterwards called by the Romans Dyrrhachium. Marshall points out that the mistake probably arose from the fact that in the acrostic argument prefixed to the Menaecmi the name of the town occurs only in the accusative case: "Post Epidamnum devenit."

42. random] The older spelling, randon (Folio randone), should perhaps be preserved in the text.

54. meaner] i.e. of lower rank than that of my wife. This, the conjecture of Sidney Walker, is undoubtedly correct, since the poverty of the parents is expressly referred to in line 56. Compare the usage of the word in 1 Henry VI. II. v. 123:

54. meaner] Delius Ff 3, 4. 55.


"Choked with ambition of the meaner
sort"; Richard III. v. ii, 24: Kings
it [hope] makes gods and meaner
creatures Kings"; Taming of the
Shrew, I. i. 210: "Some Neapolitan,
or meaner man of Pisa"; Coriolanus,
1. vi. 27:
"From every meaner man ";
and The Tempest, ш. iii. 87: “My
meaner ministers"; and Iv. i. 35:
"Thou and thy meaner fellows."
Compare also John Davies in his
Scourge of Folly, 1607, addressing
"Our English Terence, Mr. Will

"Thou hadst been a companion
for a King
And been a King among the
meaner sort."

My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
Made daily motions for our home return:
Unwilling I agreed; alas, too soon
We came aboard. . .

A league from Epidamnum had we sail'd
Before the always-wind-obeying deep
Gave any tragic instance of our harm:

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But longer did we not retain much hope;


For what obscured light the heavens did grant

Did but convey unto our fearful minds

A doubtful warrant of immediate death,

Which, though myself would gladly have embraced,
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,


Weeping before for what she saw must come,

And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,

That mourn'd for fashion ignorant what to fear,

Forced me to seek delays for them and me.

And this it was, for other means was none:


The sailors sought for safety by our boat,

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And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us.

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60, 61. Unwilling. aboard. .] As in Pope; one line in the Ff. 60. soon] soon! Pope; soon. Capell. 61. aboard.] aboard and put to sea, but scarce Editor conj. 68. doubtful] dreadful Theobald conj. weepings] F 1; weeping Ff 2, 3, 4. 75. this] thus Hudson (Collier).

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68. doubtful] Hardly, as Craig says,
"awful," "dreadful"; but rather im-
plying the great probability of the truth
of the statement, like the Latin
phrases haud scio an, dubito an, etc.
Compare King Lear, v. i. 12:—

"I am doubtful that you have been

And bosom'd with her."
77. sinking-ripe] Compare Love's
Labour's Lost, v. ii. 274: "weeping-
ripe"; and The Tempest, v. i. 279:

My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
Had fasten'd him unto a small spare mast,
Such as seafaring men provide for storms;
To him one of the other twins was bound,
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
The children thus disposed, my wife and I,
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fix'd,
Fasten'd ourselves at either end the mast;
And floating straight, obedient to the stream,
Was carried towards Corinth, as we thought.
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispersed those vapours that offended us;
And, by the benefit of his wished light,
The seas wax'd calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us,
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this:






78. latter-born] elder-born Rowe. 82. other] others Capell conj. either end the mast] th' end of either mast Hanmer. mast] masts Furnivall conj. 86, 87. And ... Was] Ff; And... Were Rowe; Which... Was Capell. 88. sun] sonne F 1. 90. wished] F 1; wish'd Ff 2, 3, 4. seas wax'd] seas waxt F 1; seas waxe F 2; seas wax F3; seas was F 4; sea was Rowe. 93. Epidaurus] Epidarus F 1; Epidamnus Theobald conj. 78. latter-born] See note on line 124 post.

92. amain] This word is frequent in the early plays and poems: e.g. 1, 2 and 3 Henry VI.; of an army on the march, etc., Titus Andronicus. Compare also Love's Labour's Lost, v. ii. 549 "The ship is under sail, and here she comes amain"; Venus and Adonis, 5, 66 sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him." Shakespeare also uses it of the flight of Juno's peacocks (The Tempest, IV. i. 74). 93. Of Corinth Epidaurus] Marshall well remarks: "This line seems to require a little geographical explanation. The Epidaurus (spelt Epidarus in F 1) mentioned here, was

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the town of that name, situate in Argolis on the Saronic Gulf. There was another Epidaurus in Laconia, called also Limera. Corinth had two ports, Lechæum on the Gulf of Corinth, and Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf. A ship, bound to or coming from the latter port, would come by the same course as one sailing to or from Epidaurus; and they would meet the floating mast, on which Aegeon, his wife and the four children were, outside the Ionian islands. Dyrrhachium (Durazzo) is about 250 miles from the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth; Aegeon tells us that the storm commenced when they were 'a league from Epidamium'; so that,

But ere they came,—O, let me say no more!

Gather the sequel by that went before.


Duke. Nay, forward, old man; do not break off so; can

For we may pity, though not pardon thee.

Ege. O, had the gods done so, I had not now

Worthily term'd them merciless to us!


For, ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues, 100

We were encountered by a mighty rock;

Which being violently borne upon,

Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst;

So that, in this unjust divorce of us,
Fortune had left to both of us alike
What to delight in, what to sorrow for.
Her part, poor soul! seeming as burdened
With lesser weight, but not with lesser woe,
Was carried with more speed before the wind;
And in our sight they three were taken up
By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
At length, another ship had seized on us;
And, knowing whom it was their hap to save,
Gave healthful welcome to their shipwracked




103. helpful] helpless Rowe; 112. another] the other Hanmer.

102. upon] Pope; up F1; up vpon Ff 2, 3, 4. hopeful Hudson (Jervis conj.). healthful] F 1; helpful Ff 2, 3, 4.

as it was not long before the wreck took place, the mast, on which he and his family were saved, must have travelled some considerable distance to have reached any spot near the entrance to that gulf. Accuracy, however, as regards the situation of places and their distance from one another, must not be looked for in dramatic works."


103. helpful] probably refers to the mast (lines 79, 85), which was their help when the ship was “sinkingripe" (line 77). The alterations to helpless" and "hopeful" are not convincing.


114. healthful] implying, perhaps,
recovery from the sufferings of ship-
wreck. 66
Helpful," the reading of
the second Folio, indeed seems a

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