seas wax'd calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us,
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus
But ere they came,--O, let me say no more!
Gather the sequel by that went before.
Nay, forward, old man; do not break off so;
For we may pity, though not pardon thee.
O, had the gods done so, I had not now
Worthily term'd them merciless to us!
For, ere the ships could
meet by twice five leagues,
We were encounterd by a mighty rock;
Which being violently borne upon,
helpful ship was splitted in the midst;
So that, in this unjust divorce of us,
Fortune had left to both of us
What to delight in, what to sorrow for.
Her part, poor soul! seeming as burdened
With lesser weight
but not with lesser woe,
Was carried with more speed before the wind;
And in our sight they three were
By fishermen of Corinth, as we thought.
At length, another ship had seized on us;
whom it was their hap to save,
Gave healthful welcome to their shipwreck'd guests;
And would have reft
the fishers of their prey,
Had not their bark been very slow of sail;
And therefore homeward did they bend
Thus have you heard me sever'd from my bliss;
That by misfortunes was my life prolong'd,
tell sad stories of my own mishaps.
And for the sake of them thou sorrowest for,
Do me the favour to dilate at full
What hath befall'n of them
and thee till now.
My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
At eighteen years became inquisitive
After his brother: and importuned
That his attendant--so his case was like,
Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name--
Might bear him
company in the quest of him:
Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see,
I hazarded the loss of whom I loved.
summers have I spent in furthest Greece,
Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,
And, coasting homeward,
came to Ephesus;
Hopeless to find, yet loath to leave unsought
Or that or any place that harbours men.
here must end the story of my life;
And happy were I in my timely death,
Could all my travels warrant me
Hapless AEgeon, whom the fates have mark'd
To bear the extremity of dire mishap!
Now, trust me, were
it not against our laws,
Against my crown, my oath, my dignity,
Which princes, would they, may not disannul,
soul would sue as advocate for thee.
But, though thou art adjudged to the death
And passed sentence
may not be recall'd
But to our honour's great disparagement,
Yet I will favour thee in what I can.
merchant, I'll limit thee this day
To seek thy life by beneficial help:
Try all the friends thou hast in Ephesus;
thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die.
Gaoler, take him to thy
I will, my lord.
Hopeless and helpless doth AEgeon wend,
But to procrastinate his lifeless end.
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