Taming of the Shrew. His better judgment made him subsequently abandon it. The particular translation from Plautus, which served as a model, has not come down to us. There was a translation of the Menæchmi, by W. W. (Warner), published in 1595, which it is possible Shakespeare may have seen in manuscript; but from the circumstance of the brothers being, in the folio of 1623, occasionally styled Antipholus Erotes or Errotis, and Antipholus Sereptus, perhaps for Surreptus and Erraticus, while in Warner's translation the brothers are named Menæchmus Sosicles and Menæchmus the traveller; it is concluded that he was not the poet's authority. It is difficult to pronounce decidedly between the contending opinions of the critics, but the general impression upon my mind is that the whole of the play is from the hand of Shakespeare. Dr. Drake thinks it "is visible throughout the entire play, as well in the broad exuberance of its mirth, as in the cast of its more chastised parts, a combination of which may be found in the character of Pinch, who is sketched in his strongest and most marked style." We may conclude with Schlegel's dictum that "this is the best of all written or possible Menæchmi; and if the piece is inferior in worth to other pieces of Shakespeare, it is merely because nothing more could be made of the materials."

Malone first placed the date of this piece in 1593, or 1596, but lastly in 1592. Chalmers plainly showed that it should be ascribed to the early date of 1591. It was neither printed nor entered on the Stationers' books until it appeared in the folio of 1623.


SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus

ÆGEON, a Merchant of Syracuse.

DROMIO of Ephesus,twin Brothers and Attendants on the

DROMIO of Syracuse,

[blocks in formation]

two Antipholuses.

twin Brothers and Sons to Ægeon

and Emilia, but unknown to each other.

BALTHAZAR, a Merchant.
ANGELO, a Goldsmith,

A Merchant, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse.
PINCH, a Schoolmaster and a Conjurer.

EMILIA, Wife to Ægeon, an Abbess at Ephesus.
ADRIANA, Wife to Antipholus of Ephesus.
LUCIANA, her sister.

LUCE, her servant.

A Courtezan.

Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, Ephesus.

[ocr errors]



SCENE I. A Hall in the Duke's Palace.

Enter Duke, ÆGEON, Gaolers, Officers, and other



ROCEED, Solinus, to procure my fall, And, by the doom of death, end woes and all.


Duke. Merchant of Syracusa, plead no


I am not partial, to infringe our laws:
The enmity and discord, which of late
Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your
To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,-
Who, wanting guilders1 to redeem their lives,
Have sealed his rigorous statutes with their bloods,
Excludes all pity from our threat'ning looks.
For, since the mortal and intestine jars
'Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us,

1 A guilder was a Flemish coin, valued from one shilling and sixpence to two shillings. The German guilder about three shillings and ninepence,

It hath in solemn synods been decreed,
Both by the Syracusians and ourselves,
To admit no traffic to our adverse towns:
Nay, more, if any, born at Ephesus,

Be seen at any Syracusian marts and fairs;
Again, If any Syracusian born

Come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies;
His goods confiscate to the duke's dispose,
Unless a thousand marks be levied,
To quit the penalty, and to ransom him.
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.
Ege. Yet this my comfort; when your words are

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 liv'd in joy: our wealth increas'd,
By prosperous voyages I often made
To Epidamnum; till my factor's death,
And the3 great care of goods at random left,

2 Nature, i.e. natural affection.

The old copy reads he: the emendation is Malone's. It is a happy restoration; for the manner in which Steevens pointed this passage gave to it a confused, if not an absurd meaning. The second folio attempts a remedy by printing, " And he great store of goods at random leaving."

« VorigeDoorgaan »