What you can make her do,

I am content to look on: what to speak,
I am content to hear; for 'tis as easy
To make her speak, as move.


It is requir'd,

You do awake your faith: Then, all stand still;
Or those, that think it is unlawful business


I am about, let them depart.


No foot shall stir.


Musick; awake her: strike.- [Musick.
'Tis time; descend; be stone no more: approach;
Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come;
I'll fill your grave up: stir; nay, come away;
Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you. You perceive, she stirs :
[HER. comes down from the Pedestal.

Start not: her actions shall be holy, as,
You hear, my spell is lawful: do not shun her,
Until you see her die again; for then

You kill her double: Nay, present your hand:
When she was young, you woo'd her; now, in age,
Is she become the suitor.

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Cam. She hangs about his neck;

If she pertain to life, let her speak too.

Pol. Ay, and make 't manifest where she has liv'd,

Or, how stol'n from the dead?


That she is living,

Were it but told you, should be hooted at

Like an old tale: but it appears, she lives,

Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.-
Please you to interpose, fair madam; kneel,

And pray your mother's blessing.-Turn good lady;
Our Perdita is found.


[Presenting PER. who kneels to HER. You gods, look down,9

8 Or those,] The old copy reads-On: those, &c. Corrected by Sir T. Hanmer. Malone.

And from your sacred vials pour your graces1

Upon my daughter's head!-Tell me, mine own,

Where hast thou been preserv'd? where liv'd? how found
Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear, that I,—
Knowing by Paulina, that the oracle

Gave hope thou wast in being,-have preserv'd
Myself, to see the issue.

Lest they desire, upon this push to trouble
Your joys with like relation.—Go together,
You precious winners all;2 your exultation
Partake to every one.3 I, an old turtle,

There's time enough for that;

Will wing me to some wither'd bough; and there
My mate, that's never to be found again,

Lament till I am lost.4

9 You gods, look down, &c.] A similar invocation has already occurred in The Tempest:

"Look down, ye gods,

"And on this couple drop a blessed crown!" Steevens.

1 And from your sacred vials pour your graces-] The expression seems to have been taken from the sacred writings; "And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the angels, go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth." Rev. xvi, 1. Malone.

2 You precious winners all;] You who by this discovery have gained what you desired, may join in festivity, in which I, who have lost what never can be recovered, can have no part. Johnson. 3 - your exultation

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Partake to every one.] Partake here means participate. It is used in the same sense in the old play of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Malone.

It is also thus employed by Spenser:


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My friend, hight Philemon, I did partake "Of all my love, and all my privity."

·I, an old turtle,


Will wing me to some wither'd bough; and there

My mate, that's never to be found again,

Lament till I am lost.] So, Orpheus, in the exclamation which Johannes Secundus has written for him, speaking of his grief for the loss of Eurydice, says:

"Sic gemit arenti viduatus ab arbore turtur."

So, in Lodge's Rosalynde, 1592:

"A turtle sat upon a leaveless tree,

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O peace, Paulina;

Thou should'st a husband take by my consent,

As I by thine, a wife: this is a match,

And made between 's by vows. Thou hast found mine;
But how, is to be question'd: for I saw her,

As I thought, dead; and have, in vain, said many
A prayer upon her grave: I'll not seek far

(For him, I partly know his mind,) to find thee
An honourable husband:-Come, Camillo,

And take her by the hand: whose worth, and honesty,* Is richly noted; and here justified

By us, a pair of kings.-Let's from this place.What?-Look upon my brother:-both your pardons, That e'er I put between your holy looks

My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law,

And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing)
Is troth-plight to your daughter."-Good Paulina,
Lead us from hence; where we may leisurely
Each one demand, and answer to his part
Perform'd in this wide gap of time, since first
We were dissever'd: Hastily lead away.



whose worth, and honesty,] The word whose, evidently refers to Camillo, though Paulina is the immediate antecedent.


This your son-in-law,

And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing)

M. Mason.

Is troth-plight to your daughter.] Whom heavens directing is here in the absolute case, and has the same signification as if the poet had written-" him heavens directing." So, in The Tempest: "Some food we had, and some fresh water, that "A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,

"Out of his charity, (who being then appointed
"Master of the design) did give us."

Again, in Venus and Adonis:

"Or as the snail (whose tender horns being hurt)
"Shrinks backward to his shelly cave with pain."

Here we should now write-" his tender horns."

See also a passage in King John, Act II, sc. ii: "Who having no external thing to lose," &c. and another in Coriolanus, Act III, SC. ii, which are constructed in a similar manner. In the note on the latter passage this phraseology is proved not to be peculiar to Shakspeare. Malone.

7 This play, as Dr. Warburton justly observes, is, with all its absurdities, very entertaining. The character of Autolycus is naturally conceived, and strongly represented. Johnson.




SHAKSPEARE might have taken the general plan of this comedy from a translation of the Menæchmi of Plautus, by W. W. i. e. (according to Wood) William Warner, in 1595, whose version of the acrostical argument hereafter quoted is as follows: "Two twinne borne sonnes a Sicill marchant had, "Menechmus one, and Sosicles the other; "The first his father lost, a little lad;

"The grandsire namde the latter like his brother:
"This (growne a man) long travell took to seeke
"His brother, and to Epidamnum came,

"Were th' other dwelt inricht, and him so like,
"That citizens there take him for the same:

"Father, wife, neighbours, each mistaking either, "Much pleasant error, ere they meet togither."

Perhaps the last of these lines suggested to Shakspeare the title for his piece.

See this translation of the Menæchmi, among six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing


At the beginning of an address Ad Lectorem, prefixed to the errata of Decker's Satiromastix, &c. 1602, is the following passage, which apparently alludes to the title of the comedy before


"In steed of the Trumpets sounding thrice before the play begin, it shall not be amisse (for him that will read) first to beholde this short Comedy of Errors, and where the greatest enter, to give them instead of a hisse, a gentle correction." Steevens.

I suspect this and all other plays where much rhyme is used, and especially long hobbling verses, to have been among Shakspeare's more early productions. Blackstone.

I am possibly singular in thinking that Shakspeare was not under the slightest obligation, in forming this comedy, to Warner's translation of the Menæchmi. The additions of Erotes and Sereptus, which do not occur in that translation, and he could never invent, are, alone, a sufficient inducement to believe that he was no way indebted to it. But a further and more convincing proof is, that he has not a name, line, or word, from the old play, nor any one incident but what must, of course, be common to every translation. Sir William Blackstone, I observe, suspects "this and all other plays where much rhyme is used, and especially long hobbling verses, to have been among Shakspeare's more early productions." But I much doubt whether any of these "long hobbling verses" have the honour of proceeding from his pen, and, in fact, the superior elegance and harmony of his language is no less distinguishable in his earliest than his latest production. The truth is, if any inference can be drawn from the most striking dissimilarity of style, a tissue as different as silk and worsted, that this comedy, though boasting the embellishments of our author's genius, in additional words, lines, speeches, and scenes, was not originally his, but proceeded from some inferior playwright, who was capable of reading the Menæchmi with.

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