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not have inserted the allusion to the hostility between France and her " heir,” after the war had been so long carried on, that interest in, or attention to it in this country would have been relaxed.
Another question by Antipholus, and the answer of Dromio, immediately preceding what is above quoted, is remarkable on a different account:“ Ant. S. Where Scotland ?
Dro. S. I found it by the barrenness; hard, in the palm of the hand.”
" From this passage,” (says Malone) “we may learn that this comedy was not revived after the accession of the Scottish monarch to the English throne; otherwise it would probably have been struck out by the Master of the Revels.” However, we are now certain (a curious fact hitherto unknown), that “The Comedy of Errors” was represented at Whitehall on the 28th December, 1604. In the account of the Master of the Revels of the expenses of his department, from the end of Oct. 1604, to Shrove Tuesday, 1605, preserved in the Audit Office, we read the subsequent entry :
“By his Matis Plaiers. On Inosents Night, the plaie of Errors," the name of Shaxberd, for Shakespeare, being inserted in the margin as “the Poet which mayd the Plaie.” “ The Comedy of Errors" was, therefore, not only “revived,” but represented at court very soon after James I. came to the crown : we may be confident, however, that the question and answer respecting Scotland were not repeated on the occasion, though retained in the MS. used by the actor-editors for the folio of 1623.
In his Lectures on Shakespeare in 1818, Coleridge passed over “The Comedy of Errors” without any particular or separate observation ; but in his “Literary Remains ” we find it twice mentioned (vol. ii. 90 and 114), in much the same terms. “Shakespeare,” he observes, "has in this piece presented us with a legitimate farce, in exactest consonance with the philosophical principles and character of farce, as distinguished from comedy and entertainments. A proper farce is mainly distinguished from comedy by the licence allowed, and even required, in the fable, in order to produce strange and laughable situations. The story need not be probable ; it is enough that it is possible. A comedy would scarcely allow even the two Antipholuses; because, although there have been instances of almost undistinguishable likeness in two persons, yet these are mere individual accidents, casus ludentis naturæ, and the verum will not excuse the inverisimile. But farce dares add the two Dromios, and is justified in so doing by the laws of its end and constitution.”
SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus.
ÆMILIA, Wife to Ægeon.
Jailor, Officers, and other Attendants.
" This enumeration of the persons is not in the folio of 1623, nor in those of 1632, 1664, and 1685. It was first inserted by Rowe.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
A Hall in the Duke's Palace.
Enter Solinus, Duke of Ephesus, Ægeon, a Merchant of
Syracusa, Jailor, Officers, and other Attendants. Æge. 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 gilders to redeem their lives, Have seald 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, 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,
Duke. Well, Syracusian; say, in brief, the cause
Æge. A heavier task could not have been impos’d,
And by me too,] Too was added by the editor of the second folio. ? And the great care of goods at random left] Malone altered he, as it stands in the folio of 1623, to the, and it is very evident that a letter had dropped out. The second folio, in order to make sense of the passage, reads
“ And he great store of goods at random leaving
Drew me from kind embracements,” &c. that women BEAR,] Boswell added a note, asserting that the first folio has bears and not “ bear.” It is a matter of little moment, but every copy of the first folio I have seen has “ bear” and not bears.
As could not be distinguish'd but by names.
* A POOR mean woman was delivered] The word poor was added to complete the metre in the second folio. Malone therefore adopted it, but he himself spoiled the line, by printing deliver'd instead of “ delivered.” In the same way, near the end of the speech, we meet with this line :
“ The seas wax'd calm, and we discovered :" Malone printed discorer'd, though the word must be read as four syllables.
5 Unwilling I agreed. Alas, too soon we came aboard !) This is the reading of the folios, whereas Malone would make the sense run on to the next line: the clear meaning is, that they “ came aboard too soon,” in consequence of the storm that almost immediately followed.