The Comedy of Errors

CE I.i.1.1 
Enter Solinus, Duke of Ephesus, with Egeon, the

CE I.i.1.2 
merchant of Syracuse, Gaoler, and other attendants

 

EGEON

CE I.i.1 
Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall,

CE I.i.2 
And by the doom of death end woes and all.
doom (n.) 1 judgement, sentence, decision

 

DUKE

CE I.i.3 
Merchant of Syracuse, plead no more.

CE I.i.4 
I am not partial to infringe our laws.
partial (adj.) 1 disposed, minded, inclined

CE I.i.5 
The enmity and discord which of late

CE I.i.6 
Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your Duke
outrage (n.) 1 violence, hostility, fury

CE I.i.7 
To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,
well-dealing (adj.) fair-dealing, conducting business well

CE I.i.8 
Who, wanting guilders to redeem their lives,
redeem (v.) 2 ransom
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without

CE I.i.9 
Have sealed his rigorous statutes with their bloods,
seal (v.) 2 accomplish, carry out, fulfil

CE I.i.10 
Excludes all pity from our threatening looks.

CE I.i.11 
For since the mortal and intestine jars
intestine (adj.) internal, civil, domestic
jar (n.) 1 conflict, quarrel, dissension

CE I.i.12 
'Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us
seditious (adj.) turbulent, tempestuous, violent

CE I.i.13 
It hath in solemn synods been decreed
synod (n.) assembly, council, gathering

CE I.i.14 
Both by the Syracusians and ourselves

CE I.i.15 
To admit no traffic to our adverse towns.
admit (v.) 1 permit, allow, grant
adverse (adj.) 3 hostile, belligerent, antagonistic
traffic (n.) 1 trade, commerce, business, merchandise

CE I.i.16 
Nay, more:

CE I.i.17 
If any born at Ephesus be seen

CE I.i.18 
At any Syracusian marts and fairs;
mart (n.) 1 market

CE I.i.19 
Again, if any Syracusian born

CE I.i.20 
Come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies,

CE I.i.21 
His goods confiscate to the Duke's dispose,
dispose (n.) 1 disposal, control, discretion

CE I.i.22 
Unless a thousand marks be levied,

CE I.i.23 
To quit the penalty and to ransom him.
quit (v.) 2 remit, release from

CE I.i.24 
Thy substance, valued at the highest rate,
substance (n.) 2 property, wealth, possessions, treasure

CE I.i.25 
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;

CE I.i.26 
Therefore by law thou art condemned to die.

 

EGEON

CE I.i.27 
Yet this my comfort: when your words are done,

CE I.i.28 
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.

 

DUKE

CE I.i.29 
Well, Syracusian, say in brief the cause

CE I.i.30 
Why thou departed'st from thy native home,

CE I.i.31 
And for what cause thou camest to Ephesus.

 

EGEON

CE I.i.32 
A heavier task could not have been imposed
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy

CE I.i.33 
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable.

CE I.i.34 
Yet, that the world may witness that my end

CE I.i.35 
Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence,

CE I.i.36 
I'll utter what my sorrow gives me leave.

CE I.i.37 
In Syracusa was I born, and wed

CE I.i.38 
Unto a woman happy but for me,

CE I.i.39 
And by me, had not our hap been bad.
hap (n.) 1 fortune, lot, fate

CE I.i.40 
With her I lived in joy, our wealth increased

CE I.i.41 
By prosperous voyages I often made

CE I.i.42 
To Epidamnum, till my factor's death,
factor (n.) agent, representative, broker

CE I.i.43 
And the great care of goods at random left,
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]
random, at untended, neglected, uncared for

CE I.i.44 
Drew me from kind embracements of my spouse,
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug
kind (adj.) 2 loving, affectionate, fond

CE I.i.45 
From whom my absence was not six months old

CE I.i.46 
Before herself, almost at fainting under

CE I.i.47 
The pleasing punishment that women bear,

CE I.i.48 
Had made provision for her following me,

CE I.i.49 
And soon and safe arrived where I was.

CE I.i.50 
There had she not been long but she became

CE I.i.51 
A joyful mother of two goodly sons;

CE I.i.52 
And, which was strange, the one so like the other

CE I.i.53 
As could not be distinguished but by names.

CE I.i.54 
That very hour, and in the self-same inn,

CE I.i.55 
A mean woman was delivered
mean (adj.) 2 lowly, humble, poor

CE I.i.56 
Of such a burden male, twins both alike.

CE I.i.57 
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,
exceeding (adv.) exceedingly, extremely, very
exceeding (adv.) exceedingly, extremely, very

CE I.i.58 
I bought, and brought up to attend my sons.
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

CE I.i.59 
My wife, not meanly proud of two such boys,
meanly, not not a little, in no small degree

CE I.i.60 
Made daily motions for our home return.
motion (n.) 5 urging, prompting, encouragement

CE I.i.61 
Unwilling I agreed. Alas, too soon

CE I.i.62 
We came aboard.

CE I.i.63 
A league from Epidamnum had we sailed
league (n.) 2 [measure of distance] c.3 miles [c.5 km]

CE I.i.64 
Before the always wind-obeying deep

CE I.i.65 
Gave any tragic instance of our harm.
harm (n.) 2 misfortune, affliction, trouble
instance (n.) 1 sign, evidence, proof

CE I.i.66 
But longer did we not retain much hope,

CE I.i.67 
For what obscured light the heavens did grant

CE I.i.68 
Did but convey unto our fearful minds
fearful (adj.) 1 timid, timorous, frightened, full of fear

CE I.i.69 
A doubtful warrant of immediate death,
doubtful (adj.) 2 dreadful, awful, frightful
warrant (n.) 1 assurance, pledge, guarantee

CE I.i.70 
Which though myself would gladly have embraced,

CE I.i.71 
Yet the incessant weepings of my wife,

CE I.i.72 
Weeping before for what she saw must come,

CE I.i.73 
And piteous plainings of the pretty babes,
plaining (n.) 2 wailing, crying

CE I.i.74 
That mourned for fashion, ignorant what to fear,
fashion (n.) 2 conventional behaviour, conformity, customary use

CE I.i.75 
Forced me to seek delays for them and me.

CE I.i.76 
And this it was – for other means was none –
this (adv.) in this way, thus, like this

CE I.i.77 
The sailors sought for safety by our boat,

CE I.i.78 
And left the ship, then sinking-ripe, to us.
sinking-ripe (adj.) ready to sink

CE I.i.79 
My wife, more careful for the latter-born,
careful (adj.) 1 anxious, concerned, worried
latter-born (n.) second-born, younger [twin]

CE I.i.80 
Had fastened him unto a small spare mast

CE I.i.81 
Such as seafaring men provide for storms.

CE I.i.82 
To him one of the other twins was bound,

CE I.i.83 
Whilst I had been like heedful of the other.
like (adv.) 3 equally, similarly, also

CE I.i.84 
The children thus disposed, my wife and I,

CE I.i.85 
Fixing our eyes on whom our care was fixed,

CE I.i.86 
Fastened ourselves at either end the mast,

CE I.i.87 
And floating straight, obedient to the stream,
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once
stream (n.) current, flow, drift

CE I.i.88 
Was carried towards Corinth, as we thought.

CE I.i.89 
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,

CE I.i.90 
Dispersed those vapours that offended us,
offend (v.) 3 assail, attack, fall upon
vapour (n.) 2 mist, cloud, fog

CE I.i.91 
And by the benefit of his wished light
benefit (n.) 1 agency, help, means

CE I.i.92 
The seas waxed calm, and we discovered
discover (v.) 5 spy, spot, make out
wax (v.) 1 grow, become, turn

CE I.i.93 
Two ships from far, making amain to us:
amain (adv.) 1 in all haste, at full speed

CE I.i.94 
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this.

CE I.i.95 
But ere they came – O, let me say no more.

CE I.i.96 
Gather the sequel by that went before!

 

DUKE

CE I.i.97 
Nay, forward, old man; do not break off so,

CE I.i.98 
For we may pity, though not pardon thee.

 

EGEON

CE I.i.99 
O, had the gods done so, I had not now

CE I.i.100 
Worthily termed them merciless to us;
worthily (adv.) justly, deservedly, rightly

CE I.i.101 
For ere the ships could meet by twice five leagues
league (n.) 2 [measure of distance] c.3 miles [c.5 km]

CE I.i.102 
We were encountered by a mighty rock,

CE I.i.103 
Which being violently borne upon,

CE I.i.104 
Our helpful ship was splitted in the midst;

CE I.i.105 
So that in this unjust divorce of us

CE I.i.106 
Fortune had left to both of us alike

CE I.i.107 
What to delight in, what to sorrow for.

CE I.i.108 
Her part, poor soul, seeming as burdened

CE I.i.109 
With lesser weight but not with lesser woe,

CE I.i.110 
Was carried with more speed before the wind,

CE I.i.111 
And in our sight they three were taken up

CE I.i.112 
By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.

CE I.i.113 
At length another ship had seized on us,

CE I.i.114 
And knowing whom it was their hap to save
hap (n.) 2 luck, chance, accident

CE I.i.115 
Gave healthful welcome to their shipwrecked guests,
healthful (adj.) healthy, wholesome, fit [in health]

CE I.i.116 
And would have reft the fishers of their prey

CE I.i.117 
Had not their bark been very slow of sail;
bark, barque (n.) ship, vessel

CE I.i.118 
And therefore homeward did they bend their course.

CE I.i.119 
Thus have you heard me severed from my bliss,

CE I.i.120 
That by misfortunes was my life prolonged

CE I.i.121 
To tell sad stories of my own mishaps.

 

DUKE

CE I.i.122 
And for the sake of them thou sorrowest for,

CE I.i.123 
Do me the favour to dilate at full
dilate (v.) 1 relate, describe, enlarge upon

CE I.i.124 
What hath befallen of them and thee till now.
befall of (v.) become of, happen to

 

EGEON

CE I.i.125 
My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
eldest (adj.) oldest, longest

CE I.i.126 
At eighteen years became inquisitive
inquisitive (adj.) eager for information, seeking knowledge

CE I.i.127 
After his brother, and importuned me
importune (v.) 2 beg [for], ask persistently [for]

CE I.i.128 
That his attendant, so his case was like,
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal

CE I.i.129 
Reft of his brother, but retained his name,

CE I.i.130 
Might bear him company in the quest of him;

CE I.i.131 
Whom whilst I laboured of a love to see,

CE I.i.132 
I hazarded the loss of whom I loved.

CE I.i.133 
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,

CE I.i.134 
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,
bound (n.) 2 territory, region, domain

CE I.i.135 
And coasting homeward came to Ephesus,
coast (v.) 1 travel along the coast

CE I.i.136 
Hopeless to find, yet loath to leave unsought
hopeless (adj.) 1 despairing, without hope
unsought (adj.) unsearched, uninvestigated

CE I.i.137 
Or that or any place that harbours men.

CE I.i.138 
But here must end the story of my life,

CE I.i.139 
And happy were I in my timely death
timely (adj.) early, premature

CE I.i.140 
Could all my travels warrant me they live.
travail, travel (n.) 2 journeying, travel [often overlapping with sense 1]
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm

 

DUKE

CE I.i.141 
Hapless Egeon, whom the fates have marked
hapless (adj.) luckless, unfortunate, unlucky

CE I.i.142 
To bear the extremity of dire mishap,
extremity (n.) 1 utmost degree, greatest amount
mishap (n.) evil, misfortune, calamity

CE I.i.143 
Now trust me, were it not against our laws,

CE I.i.144 
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
dignity (n.) 2 official position, high office, rule

CE I.i.145 
Which princes, would they, may not disannul,
disannul (v.) 1 annul, abolish, cancel

CE I.i.146 
My soul should sue as advocate for thee.

CE I.i.147 
But, though thou art adjudged to the death,
adjudge (v.) 1 sentence, condemn

CE I.i.148 
And passed sentence may not be recalled
recall (v.) revoke, annul, nullify

CE I.i.149 
But to our honour's great disparagement,
disparagement (n.) disgrace, dishonour, discredit

CE I.i.150 
Yet will I favour thee in what I can.

CE I.i.151 
Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day
limit (v.) appoint, specify, fix the limit of

CE I.i.152 
To seek thy health by beneficial help.
health (n.) 4 well-being, deliverance

CE I.i.153 
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;

CE I.i.154 
Beg thou or borrow to make up the sum,

CE I.i.155 
And live. If no, then thou art doomed to die.

CE I.i.156 
Gaoler, take him to thy custody.

 

GAOLER

CE I.i.157 
I will, my lord.

 

EGEON

CE I.i.158 
Hopeless and helpless doth Egeon wend,

CE I.i.159 
But to procrastinate his lifeless end.
procrastinate (v.) postpone, defer, put off

CE I.i.159 
Exeunt

 
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