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Prin. Prepare, I say. I thank you, gracious lords,

For all your fair endeavours; and entreat,
Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe
In your rich wisdom to excuse or hide
The liberal opposition of our spirits,
If over-boldly we have borne ourselves
In the converse of breath. Your gentleness
Was guilty of it. Farewell, worthy lord!
A heavy heart bears not a humble tongue.
Excuse me so, coming too short of thanks
For my great suit so easily obtain'd.


King. The extreme parts of time extremely forms

All causes to the purpose of his speed,
And often, at his very loose, decides
That which long process could not arbitrate.
And though the mourning brow of progeny
Forbid the smiling courtesy of love

The holy suit which fain it would convince,
Yet, since love's argument was first on foot,
Let not the cloud of sorrow justle it


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We did not quote them so. Ag. Now, at the latest minute of the hour, Grant as your loves.

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A time, methinks, too short ake a world-without-end bargain in. o, my lord, your Grace is perjured much, of dear guiltiness; and therefore this: fr my love, as there is no such cause, Il do aught, this shall you do for me: roath I will not trust; but go with speed some forlorn and naked hermitage,

ore from all the pleasures of the world; ere stay until the twelve celestial signs se brought about the annual reckoning. is austere insociable life


age not your offer made in heat of blood; 810 ts and fasts, hard lodging and thin weeds the gaudy blossoms of your love, that it bear this trial, and last love; the expiration of the year, challenge me, challenge me by these deserts,


a by this virgin palm now kissing thine, be thine; and till that instant shut 4eful self up in a mourning house, g the tears of lamentation remembrance of my father's death. 820 hou do deny, let our hands part, er intitled in the other's heart.

If this, or more than this, I would deny, dater up these powers of mine with rest, -dden hand of death close up mine eye! 825 ce ever then my heart is in thy breast. -". And what to me, my love? and what to me?

5. You must be purged too, your sins are racked,


are attaint with faults and perjury: refore if you my favour mean to get, ivemonth shall you spend, and never


wek the weary beds of people sick.]

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Mar. The liker you; few taller are so young. Bir. Studies my lady? Mistress, look on me; Behold the window of my heart, mine eye, What humble suit attends thy answer there. Impose some service on me for thy love.


Ros. Oft have I heard of you, my Lord

Before I saw you; and the world's large tongue
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks,
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts,
Which you on all estates will execute
That lie within the mercy of your wit.


To weed this wormwood from your fruitful

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When shepherds pipe on oaten straws
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,

Cuckoo, cuckoo,"-O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

Winter. When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall

And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
"Tu-whit, tu-who!”.

A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow
And coughing drowns the parson's saw
And birds sit brooding in the snow

And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,

A merry note,

Tu-whit, tu-who!"

While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

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THERE has been very general agreement in regarding The Comedy of Errors as one of the earliest of Shakespeare's productions. A play called A Comedy of Errors ("like to Plautus his Menaecha) was acted by players at Gray's Inn on December 28, 1594, and there seems no reason to doubt that this was the present play. Of interual evidences, the most pointed is the reference in 125-127 to France as "making war against her heir," which is taken as an allusion to the contest between Henry of Navarre and the League (1589-94). But Henry of Navarre was heir to the French throne before the death of Henry III in 1589, and had been at war with France as early as 1585. Thus there is nothing in the passage to prevent this comedy from having come at the very beginning of Shakespeare's career. The large amount of verbal quibbling in the style of the play; the versification, which is marked by much rime both in couplets and alternates, by a considerable amount of doggerel, and by the absence of weak and light endings; and the parative rarity of prose, all point to an early date. The year 1591 has been most frequently ptured, and the play may well enough have been written still earlier. It was first published the First Folio of 1623, and on this the present text is based.

The main plot is derived from the Menechmi of Plautus, which Shakespeare may have read either in the original or in the translation by W. W. (? William Warner). Though this translawas not published till 1595, it is stated in the printer's note to the readers that the work had bres done by the translator "for the use and delight of his private friends," so that Shakespeare Lay have had opportunity of access to it some time previously.

The characters common to Plautus and Shakespeare are the two Antipholuses (Menechmi), o of Syracuse (Messenio), Adriana (Mulier), the Courtezan (Erotium), and Pinch (Medicus). akespeare preserves in the Dromio of Syracuse, whom he borrows, and bestows upon the o of Ephesus, whom he invents, the stock characteristics of the witty slave of Plautus. Far's attempt to diagnose the madness of Antipholus, there is a strong reminiscence of the Mes of Plautus. Mulier in the Menechmi is more of the conventional shrew than Adriana. Parasite who plays a large part in the Latin comedy, the cook and maid-servant of the zzan, and Senex, the father of Mulier, are all discarded by Shakespeare. On the other hand, Developing plot of the parents of the twins, with the characters of Egeon, Emilia, Solinus, asa, the Merchants, and Luce, are all due to Shakespeare's invention. Little of the detail is ta from Plautus, the most notable borrowings being the humorous treatment of the conjurer, quent thrashings of Dromio, and the reproof administered by the Abbess to Adriana, which ties the remarks addressed to Mulier by Senex.

Fra the Amphitruo of Plautus are derived the scene (II. i.) in which Antipholus of Ephesus #bs Dromio are shut out of their own home, and the notion of "doubling" the slaves as well

masters. This play had formed the basis of an early farce, Jack Juggler (1562–63), but race is discernible of Shakespeare's having used this intermediary. The riming fourteenated lines in which the Dromios often speak belong to the tradition of the early drama, and also suggested an English intermediary; a supposition which receives a slight support from 1plained presence of the names Sereptus and Errotis added to Antipholus of Ephesus and plus of Syracuse respectively in the stage directions of the Folio. Some have thought that peare may have founded his play on a Historie of Error showen at Hampton Court on daie at night enacted by the Children of Powles" (157); but, though possible, - far from certain. The word "Error" was at that time the common term for mistaken y and this was so common a device in the drama that no argument can be based on its * arrence in a title not otherwise identical.


Iugh The Comedy of Errors is notable among Shakespeare's plays for the slightness of the terization, yet a comparison with Plautus shows, especially in the case of Adriana, a rastial superiority in elaboration and vitality on the part of Shakespeare's creations.

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SCENE I. [4 hall in the Duke's palace.] Enter DUKE, ÆGEON, GAOLER, [Officers,] and other Attendants.

Ege. Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall, And by the doom of death end woes and all. Duke. Merchant of Syracusa, plead no more; I am not partial to infringe our laws. The enmity and discord which of late Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your duke


To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,
Who, wanting guilders to redeem their lives,
Have seal'd his rigorous statutes with their

Excludes all pity from our threatening looks. 10
For, since the mortal and intestine jars
'Twixt thy seditious countrymen and us,
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,



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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, 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 the great care of goods at random left
Drew me from kind embracements of my


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 th

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.
My wife, not meanly proud of



Made daily motions for our home return.
Unwilling I agreed. Alas! too soon
We came aboard.


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