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ANNOTATIONS

Ο Ρ Ο Ν Τ Η Ε

COMEDY of ERRORS.

ACT I.

Page 4. Scene Ephesus.] In the old

copy, these brothers are occasionally styled, Antipholus Erotes, or Errotis; and Antipholus Sereptus; meaning, perhaps-erraticus, and surreptus. One of these twins wandered in search of his brother who had been forced from Æmilia, by fishermen of Corinth. The following acrostick is the argument to the Menachmi of Plautus: Delph. Edit.

P. 654.

Mercator Siculus, cui erant gemini filii,
Ei, surrepto altero, mors obtigit.
Nomen surreptitii illi indit qui domi est
Avus paternus, facit Menæchmum Sosiclem.
Et is germanum, postquam adolevit, quæritat
Circum omnes oras.

Post Epidamnum devenit :
Hic fuerat auétus ille surreptitius.
Aij

Menæchmum

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Menæchmum civem credunt omnes advenam:
Eumque appellant, merctrix, uxor, et socer,

li se cognoscunt fratres postremo invicem.
The translator W. W. calls the brothers, Menæchmuts
Sosicles, and Menæchmus the Traveller. Whencesoever
Shakspere adopted erraticus and surreplus (which either
he or his editors have mis-spelt) 'hese distinctions were
soon dropt, and throughout the rest of the entries the
twins are styled of Syracuse or Ephesus.

See this translation of the Menachmi, among six old Plays on which Shakspere founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing-Cross.

At Stationers-Hall, Nov. 15, 1613: “ A booke called Two Twinnes," was entered by Geo. Norton. Such a play indeed, by W. Rider, was published in 4to. 1655. And Langbaine suspects it to be much older than the date annexed; otherwise the Twins might have been regarded as Shakspere's Comedy of Errors, under another title.

STEEVENS Page 5. Comedy of Errors.] I suspect this and all other plays where much rhime is used, and especially long hobbling verses, to have been among Shakspere's more early productions.

BLACKSTONE, A play with this title was exhihited at Gray's-Inn, in December 1594 ; but it was probably a translation from Plautus.-". After such sports, a Comedy off Errors (like to Plautus his Menechmus) was played by the players : so that night was begun, and continued to the end in nothing but confusion and errors.

Whereupon

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Whereupon it was ever afterwards called The Night of Errors.Gesta Grayorum, 1688. The Registers of Gray's-Inn have been examined, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the play above mentioned was our authors ;-but they afforded no information on the şubject.

MALONE, Line 34. Was wrought by nature, not by vile offence.] All his hearers understood that the punishment he was about to undergo was in consequence of no private crime, but of the publick enmity between two states, to one of which he belonged ; but it was a general superstition amongst the ancients, that every great and sudden misfortune was the vengeance of heaven pursuing men for their secret offences. Hence the sentiment put into the mouth of the speaker was proper. By my past life (says he), which I am going to relate, the world may understand, that my present death is according to the ordinary course of Providence [wrought by nature] and not the effects of divine vengeance overtaking me for my crimes (not by vile offence.]

WARBURTON. 133. Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia.] In the northern parts of England this word is still used instead of quite, fully, perfectly, completely. Julius Cæsar: “ Clean from the purpose of the things themselves."

STEEVENS, 157. wend,] i. e. go. See catch-word Al. phabet.

A iij

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So, in

222.

222.

-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 on a post, till it could be entered on the books of a trader. So, 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. 224: Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock.] The only authentick ancient copy of this play reads “your cook.Mr. Popè, I believe, made the change.

MALONE. 237 that merry sconce of yours,] Sconce is head. So in Hamlet, act v. -why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce?"

STEEVENS. 254. -o'er-raught-] That is over-reached.

JOHNSON. So in Hamlet :

-certain players
“ We oʻer-raught on the way.”

STEEVENS. 255. They say, this town is full of cozenage ;] This was the character the ancients gaveofit. WARBURTON. 257. - Dark-working sorcerers, that change the mind, Soul-killing witches, that deform the body;] Per

haps

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