William Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors

SCENE 1. A hall in the DUKE'S palace.


Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall,
And, by the doom of death, end woes and all.

Merchant of Syracuse, 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 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,
Cannot amount unto a hundred marks:
Therefore by law thou art condemn'd to die.

Yet this my comfort,--when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.

Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause
Why thou departedst from thy native home,
And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus.

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