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The children thus dispos'd, my wife and I,
But ere they came,-, let me say no more!
Duke. Nay, forward, old man, do not break off so;
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,
Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst,
5 borne upon,] The original copy reads-borne up. The additional syllable was supplied by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
6 Gave helpful welcome-] Old copy-healthful welcome. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. So, in King Henry IV, P. I:
"And gave the tongue a helpful welcome." Malone.
That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
Duke. And, for the sake of them thou sorrowest for, Do me the favour to dilate at full
What hath befall'n of them, and thee, till now."
Ege. My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
After his brother; and impórtun'd me,
Duke. Hapless Egeon, whom the fates have mark'd To bear the extremity of dire mishap!
Now, trust me, were it not against our laws,
and thee, till now.] The first copy erroneously reads→→ and they. The correction was made in the second folio. Malone. 8 My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,] Shakspeare has here been guilty of a little forgetfulness. Egeon had said, page 331, that the youngest son was that which his wife had taken care of:
"My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
He himself did the same by the other; and then each, fixing their eyes on whom their care was fixed, fastened themselves at either end of the mast. M. Mason.
for his case was like,] The original copy has-so his: The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
1 Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,] In the northern parts of England this word is still used instead of quite, fully, perfectly, completely. So, in Coriolanus:
This is clean kam."
Again, in Julius Cæsar:
"Clean from the purpose of the things themselves."
The reader will likewise find it in the 77th Psalm. Steevens.
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
And live; if not, then thou art doom'd to die:-
Gaol. I will, my lord.
Ege. Hopeless, and helpless, doth Egeon wend,* But to procrastinate his lifeless end.
A publick Place.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS and DROMIO of Syracuse, and a Merchant.
Mer. Therefore, give out, you are of Epidamnum, Lest that your goods too soon be confiscate.
This very day, a Syracusan merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
And, not being able to buy out his life,
help-1 Mr. Pope and some other modern editors read -To seek thy life, &c. But the jingle has much of Shakspeare's manner. Malone.
To seek thy life, can hardly be the true reading, for, in ancient language, it signifies a base endeavour to take life away. Thus, Antonio says of Shylock,
"He seeks my life."
I believe, therefore, the word-help, was accidentally repeated by the compositor, and that our author wrote,
To seek thy help by beneficial means.
Corrected in the second folio.
wend,] i. e. go. An obsolete word. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
And back to Athens shall the lovers wend." Steevens.
Dies ere the weary sun set in the west."
Ant. S. Go bear it to the Centaur, where we host,
Till that, I'll view the manners of the town,
Dro. S. Many a man would take you at your word,
Mer. Sir, I commend you to your own content. [Exit Mer. Ant. S. He that commends me to mine own content,
5 — ere the weary sun set in the west.] So, in King John: the feeble and day-wearied sun.”
Again, in King Richard III:
"The weary sun hath made a golden set." Steevens.
6 A trusty villain,] i. e. servant.
7 And afterwards consort you till bed-time;] We should read, I believe,
And afterwards consort with you till bed-time.
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo." Malone. There is no need of emendation. The old reading is supported by the following passage in Love's Labour's Lost, Act II, sc. i; "Sweet health and fair desires consort your grace."
Again, in Romeo and Juliet:
"Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here —.”
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
Here comes the almanack of my true date.-
The capon burns, the pig falls from the spit;
The meat is cold, because you come not home;
Are penitent for your default to-day.
Ant. S. Stop in your wind, sir; tell me this, I pray; Where have you left the money that I gave you?
Dro. E. O,-six-pence, 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 dar'st 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.
I shall be post indeed;
For she will score your fault upon my pate.] Perhaps, before writing was a general accomplishment, a kind of rough reckoning, concerning wares issued out of a shop, was kept by chalk or notches on a post, till it could be entered on the books of a trader. So, in Every Man in his Humour, Kitely, the merchant, making his jealous inquiries concerning the familiarities used to his wife, Cob answers, "—if I saw any body to be kiss'd, unless they would have kiss'd the post in the middle of the warehouse,” &c. Steevens.