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The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
To please the candid, give offense to none,
This, says the Poet, ever was his care:
Yet if there’s one who thinks he’s hardly censur’d,
Let him remember he was the aggressor:
He, who translating many, but not well,
On good Greek fables fram’d poor Latin plays;
He, who but lately to the public gave
The Phantom of Menander; He, who made,
In the Thesaurus, the Defendant plead
And vouch the question’d treasure to be his,
Before the Plaintiff his own title shows,
Or whence it came into his father’s tomb.
Henceforward, let him not deceive himself,
Or cry, “I’m safe, he can say naught of me.”
I charge him that he err not, and forbear
To urge me farther; for I’ve more, much more,
Which now shall be o’erlook’d, but shall be known,
If he pursue his slanders, as before.
Soon as this play, the Eunuch of Menander,
Which we are now preparing to perform,
Was purchas’d by the Ædiles, he obtain’d
Leave to examine it: and afterward
When ’twas rehears’d before the Magistrates,
“A Thief,” he cried, “no Poet gives this piece.
Yet has he not deceived us: for we know,
The Colax is an ancient comedy
Of Nævius, and of Plautus; and from thence
The Parasite and Soldier both are stolen.”
If that’s the Poet’s crime, it is a crime
Of ignorance, and not a studied theft.
Judge for yourselves! the fact is even thus.
The Colax is a fable of Menander’s;
Wherein is drawn the character of Colax
The parasite, and the vain-glorious soldier;
Which characters, he scruples not to own,
He to his Eunuch from the Greek transferr’d:
But that he knew those pieces were before
Made Latin, that he steadfastly denies.
Yet if to other Poets ’tis not lawful
To draw the characters our fathers drew,
How can it then be lawful to exhibit
Slaves running to and fro; to represent
Good matrons, wanton harlots; or to show
An eating parasite, vain-glorious soldier,
Supposititious children, bubbled dotards,
Or love, or hate, or jealousy? — In short,
Nothing’s said now but has been said before.
Weigh then these things with candor, and forgive
The Moderns, if what Ancients did, they do.
Attend, and list in silence to our play,
That ye may know what ’tis the Eunuch means.
Enter Phædria and Parmeno .
Phæd. And what then shall I do? not go? not now?
When she herself invites me? or were’t best
Fashion my mind no longer to endure
These harlots’ impudence? — Shut out! recall’d!
Shall I return? No, not if she implore me.
Par. Oh brave! oh excellent! if you maintain it!
But if you try, and can’t go through with spirit,
And finding you can’t bear it, uninvited,
Your peace unmade, all of your own accord,
You come and swear you love, and can’t endure it,
Good-night! all’s over! ruin’d and undone
She’ll jilt you, when she sees you in her pow’r.
Phæd. You then, in time consider and advise!
Par. Master! the thing which hath not in itself
Or measure or advice, advice can’t rule.
In love are all these ills: suspicions, quarrels,
Wrongs, reconcilements, war, and peace again:
Things thus uncertain, if by reason’s rules
You’d certain make, it were as wise a task
To try with reason to run mad. And now
What you in anger meditate — I her?
That him? — that me? that would not — pardon me!
I would die rather: No! she shall perceive
How much I am a man. — Big words like these,
She in good faith with one false tiny drop,
Which, after grievous rubbing, from her eyes
Can scarce perforce be squeez’d, shall overcome.
Nay, she shall swear, ’twas you in fault, not she;
You too shall own th’ offense, and pray for pardon.
Phæd. Oh monstrous! monstrous! now indeed I see
How false she is, and what a wretch I am!
Spite of myself I love; and knowing, feeling,
With open eyes run on to my destruction;
And what to do I know not.
Par. What to do?
What should you do, Sir, but redeem yourself
As cheaply as you can? — at easy rates
If possible — if not — at any rate —
And never vex yourself.
Phæd. Is that your counsel?
Par. Aye, if you’re wise; and do not add to love
More troubles than it has, and those it has
Bear bravely! But she comes, our ruin comes;
For she, like storms of hail on fields of corn,
Beats down our hopes, and carries all before her.
Enter Thais .
Thais. Ah me! I fear lest Phædria take offense
And think I meant it other than I did,
That he was not admitted yesterday. (To herself, not seeing them.)
Phæd. I tremble, Parmeno, and freeze with horror.
Par. Be of good cheer! approach yon fire — she’ll warm you.
Thais. Who’s there? my Phædria? Why did you stand here?
Why not directly enter?
Par. Not one word
Of having shut him out!
Thais. Why don’t you speak?
Phæd. Because, forsooth, these doors will always fly
Open to me, or that because I stand
The first in your good graces. (Ironically.)
Thais. Nay, no more!
Phæd. No more? — O Thais, Thais, would to Heaven
Our loves were parallel, that things like these
Might torture you, as this has tortur’d me:
Or that your actions were indifferent to me!
Thais. Grieve not, I beg, my love, my Phædria!
Not that I lov’d another more, I did this.
But I by circumstance was forc’d to do it.
Par. So then, it seems, for very love, poor soul,
You shut the door in ’s teeth.
Thais. Ah Parmeno!
Is’t thus you deal with me? Go to! — But hear
Why I did call you hither?
Phæd. Be it so.
Thais. But tell me first, can yon slave hold his peace?
Pam. I? oh most faithfully: But hark ye, madam!
On this condition do I bind my faith:
The truths I hear, I will conceal; but falsehood,
Fiction, or gross pretence, shall out at once.
I’m full of chinks, and run through here and there:
So if you claim my secrecy, speak truth.
Thais. My mother was a Samian, liv’d at Rhodes.
Par. This sleeps in silence. (Archly.)
Thais. There a certain merchant
Made her a present of a little girl,
Stol’n hence from Attica.
Phæd. A citizen?
Thais. I think so, but we can not tell for certain.
Her father’s and her mother’s name she told
Herself; her country and the other marks
Of her original, she neither knew,
Nor, from her age, was ’t possible she should.
The merchant added further, that the pirates,
Of whom he bought her, let him understand,
She had been stol’n from Sunium. My mother
Gave her an education, brought her up
In all respects as she had been her own;
And she in gen’ral was suppos’d my sister.
I journeyed hither with the gentleman
To whom alone I was connected then,
The same who left me all I have.
Par. These articles
Are both rank falsehoods, and shall out.
Thais. Why so?
Par. Because nor you with one could be content,
Nor he alone enrich’d you; for my master
Made good and large addition.
Thais. I allow it,
But let me hasten to the point I wish:
Meantime the captain, who was then but young
In his attachment to me, went to Caria.
I, in his absence, was address’d by you;
Since when, full well you know, how very dear
I’ve held you, and have trusted you with all
My nearest counsels.
Phæd. And yet Parmeno
Will not be silent even here.
Par. Oh, Sir,
Is that a doubt?
Thais. Nay, prithee now, attend!
My mother’s lately dead at Rhodes: her brother,
Too much intent on wealth, no sooner saw
This virgin, handsome, well-accomplish’d, skill’d
In music, than, spurr’d on by hopes of gain,
In public market he expos’d and sold her.
It so fell out, my soldier-spark was there,
And bought her, all unknowing these events,
To give to me: but soon as he return’d,
And found how much I was attach’d to you,
He feign’d excuses to keep back the girl;
Pretending, were he thoroughly convinc’d
That I would still prefer him to yourself,
Nor fear’d that when I had receiv’d the girl,
I would abandon him, he’d give her to me;
But that he doubted. For my part, I think
He is grown fond of her himself.
Phæd. Is there
Aught more between them?
Thais. No; for I’ve inquir’d,
And now, my Phædria, there are sundry causes
Wherefore I wish to win the virgin from him.
First, for she’s call’d my sister; and moreover,
That I to her relations may restore her.
I’m a lone woman, have nor friend, nor kin:
Wherefore, my Phædria, I would raise up friends
By some good turn:— And you, I prithee now,
Help me to do it. Let him some few days
Be my gallant in chief. What! no reply?
Phæd. Abandon’d woman! Can I aught reply
To deeds like these?
Par. Oh excellent! well said!
He feels at length; Now, master, you’re a man.
Phæd. I saw your story’s drift. — “A little girl
Stol’n hence — My mother brought her up — was call’d
My sister — I would fain obtain her from him,
That I to her relations might restore her — ”
All this preamble comes at last to this.
I am excluded, he’s admitted. Why?
But that you love him more than me, and fear
Lest this young captive win your hero from you.
Thais. Do I fear that?
Phæd. Why, prithee now, what else?
Does he bring gifts alone? didst e’er perceive
My bounty shut against you? Did I not,
Because you told me you’d be glad to have
An Ethiopian servant-maid, all else
Omitted, seek one out? You said besides,
You wish’d to have an Eunuch, ’cause forsooth,
They were for dames of quality; I found one:
For both I yesterday paid twenty minæ,
Yet you contemn me — I forgot not these,
And for these I’m despis’d.
Thais. Why this, my Phædria?
Though I would fain obtain the girl, and though
I think by these means it might well be done;
Yet, rather than make you my enemy,
I’ll do as you command.
Phæd. Oh, had you said
Those words sincerely. “Rather than make you
My enemy!” — Oh, could I think those words
Came from your heart, what is ’t I’d not endure!
Par. Gone! conquer’d with one word! alas, how soon!
Thais. Not speak sincerely? from my very soul?
What did you ever ask, although in sport,
But you obtain’d it of me? yet I can’t
Prevail on you to grant but two short days.
Phæd. Well — for two days — so those two be not twenty.
Thais. No in good faith but two, or —
Phæd. Or? no more.
Thais. It shall not be: but you will grant me those.
Phæd. Your will must be a law.
Thais. Thanks, my sweet Phædria!
Phæd. I’ll to the country: there consume myself
For these two days: it must be so: we must
Give way to Thais. See you, Parmeno,
The slaves brought hither.
Par. Sir, I will.
Phæd. My Thais,
For these two days farewell!
Thais. Farewell, my Phædria!
Would you aught else with me?
Phæd. Aught else, my Thais?
Be with yon soldier present, as if absent:
All night and day love me: still long for me:
Dream, ponder still of me; wish, hope for me:
Delight in me; be all in all with me;
Give your whole heart, for mine’s all yours, to me.
Manet Thais .
Ah me! I fear that he believes me not,
And judges of my heart from those of others.
I in my conscience know, that nothing false
I have deliver’d, nor to my true heart
Is any dearer than this Phædria:
And whatsoe’er in this affair I’ve done,
For the girl’s sake I’ve done: for I’m in hopes
I know her brother, a right noble youth.
To-day I wait him, by his own appointment;
Wherefore I’ll in, and tarry for his coming.
Phædria, Parmeno .
Phædria. Carry the slaves according to my order.
Par. I will.
Phæd. But diligently.
Par. Sir, I will.
Phæd. But soon.
Par. I will, Sir!
Phæd. Say, is it sufficient?
Par. Ah! what a question’s that? as if it were
So difficult! I wish, Sir Phædria,
You could gain aught so easy, as lose these.
Phæd. I lose, what’s dearer yet, my comfort with them.
Repine not at my gifts.
Par. Not I: moreover
I will convey them straight. But have you any
Phæd. Oh yes: set off our presents
With words as handsome as you can: and drive,
As much as possible, that rival from her!
Par. Ah, Sir, I should, of course, remember that.
Phæd. I’ll to the country, and stay there.
Par. O, aye! (Ironically.)
Phæd. But hark you!
Par. Sir, your pleasure?
Phæd. Do you think
I can with constancy hold out, and not
Return before my time?
Par. Hold out? Not you.
Either you’ll straight return, or want of sleep
Will drive you forth at midnight.
Phæd. I will toil;
That, weary, I may sleep against my will.
Par. Weary you may be; but you’ll never sleep.
Phæd. Ah, Parmeno, you wrong me. I’ll cast out
This treacherous softness from my soul, nor thus
Indulge my passions. Yes, I could remain,
If need, without her even three whole days.
Par. Hui! three whole livelong days! consider, Sir.
Phæd. I am resolved.
Par. Heav’ns, what a strange disease is this! that love
Should so change men, that one can hardly swear
They are the same! — No mortal liv’d
Less weak, more grave, more temperate than he.
— But who comes yonder? — Gnatho, as I live;
The Captain’s parasite! and brings along
The Virgin for a present: oh rare wench!
How beautiful! I shall come off, I doubt,
But scurvily with my decrepit Eunuch.
This Girl surpasses ev’n Thais herself.
Enter Gnatho leading Pamphila; Parmeno behind.
Gnat. Good Heav’ns! how much one man excels another!
What diff’rence ’twixt a wise man and a fool!
What just now happen’d proves it: coming hither
I met with an old countryman, a man
Of my own place and order, like myself,
No scurvy fellow, who, like me, had spent
In mirth and jollity his whole estate.
Seeing him in a wretched trim; his looks
Lean, sick, and dirty; and his clothes all rags.
“How now!” cried I, “what means this figure, friend?
Alas! says he, my patrimony’s gone.
— Ah, how am I reduc’d! my old acquaintance
And friends all shun me.” — Hearing this, how cheap
I held him in comparison with me!
“Why, how now? wretch, said I, most idle wretch!
Have you spent all, nor left ev’n hope behind?
What! have you lost your sense with your estate?
Me! — look on me — come from the same condition!
How sleek! how neat! how clad! in what good case!
I’ve ev’ry thing, though nothing; naught possess,
Yet naught I ever want.” — “Ah, Sir, but I
Have an unhappy temper, and can’t bear
To be the butt of others, or to take
A beating now and then.” — “How then! d’ye think
Those are the means of thriving? No, my friend!
Such formerly indeed might drive a trade:
But mine’s a new profession; I the first
That ever struck into this road. There are
A kind of men, who wish to be the head
Of ev’ry thing; but are not. These I follow;
Not for their sport and laughter, but for gain
To laugh with them, and wonder at their parts:
Whate’er they say, I praise it; if again
They contradict, I praise that too: does any
Deny? I too deny: affirm? I too
Affirm: and in a word, I’ve brought myself
To say, unsay, swear, and forswear, at pleasure:
And that is now the best of all professions.”
Par. A special fellow this! who drives fools mad.
Gnat. Deep in this conversation, we at length
Come to the market, where the sev’ral tradesmen,
Butchers, cooks, grocers, poult’rers, fishmongers,
(Who, while my means were ample, profited,
And, tho’ now wasted, profit by me still,)
All run with joy to me, salute, invite,
And bid me welcome. He, poor half-starv’d wretch,
Soon as he saw me thus caress’d, and found
I got my bread so easily, desired
He might have leave to learn that art of me.
I bade him follow me, if possible:
And, as the Schools of the Philosophers
Have ta’en from the Philosophers their names,
So, in like manner, let all Parasites
Be call’d from me Gnathonics!
Par. Mark, what ease,
And being kept at other’s cost, produces!
Gnat. But hold, I must convey this girl to Thais,
And bid her forth to sup. — Ha, Parmeno!
Our rival’s slave, standing at Thais’ door!
— How melancholy he appears! All’s safe:
These poor rogues find but a cold welcome here.
I’ll play upon this knave. (Aside.)
Par. These fellows think
This present will make Thais all their own. (Aside.)
Gnat. To Parmeno, his lov’d and honor’d friend,
Gnatho sends greeting. (Ironically.) — What are you upon?
Par. My legs.
Gnat. I see it. — Is there nothing here
Displeasing to you?
Gnat. I do believe it.
But prithee, is there nothing else?
Gnat. Because you’re melancholy.
Par. Not at all.
Gnat. Well, do not be so! — Pray, now, what d’ye think
Of this young handmaid?
Par. Troth, she’s not amiss.
Gnat. I plague the rascal. (Half aside.)
Par. How the knave’s deceiv’d! (Half aside.)
Gnat. Will not this gift be very acceptable
To Thais, think you?
Par. You’d insinuate
That we’re shut out. — There is, alas, a change
In all things.
Gnat. For these six months, Parmeno,
For six whole months at least, I’ll make you easy;
You sha’n’t run up and down, and watch till daylight;
Come, don’t I make you happy?
Par. Very happy.
Gnat. ’Tis my way with my friends.
Par. You’re very good.
Gnat. But I detain you: you, perhaps, was going
Gnat. May I beg you then
To use your int’rest here, and introduce me
Par. Hence! away! these doors
Fly open now, because you carry her.
Gnat. Would you have any one call’d forth?
Par. Well, well!
Pass but two days; and you, so welcome now,
That the doors open with your little finger,
Shall kick against them then, I warrant you,
Till your heels ache again.
Re-enter Gnatho .
Gnat. Ha! Parmeno!
Are you here still? What! are you left a spy,
Lest any go-between should run by stealth
To Thais from the Captain?
Par. Very smart!
No wonder such a wit delights the Captain!
But hold! I see my master’s younger son
Coming this way. I wonder much he should
Desert Piræus, where he’s now on guard.
’Tis not for nothing. All in haste he comes,
And seems to look about.
Enter Chærea; Parmeno behind.
Chær. Undone! undone!
The Girl is lost; I know not where she is,
Nor where I am: ah, whither shall I trace?
Where seek? of whom inquire? or which way turn?
I’m all uncertain; but have one hope still:
Where’er she is, she can not long lie hid.
Oh charming face! all others from my memory
Hence I blot out. Away with common beauties!
Par. So, here’s the other! and he mutters too
I know not what of love. Oh what a poor
Unfortunate old man their father is!
As for this stripling, if he once begin,
His brother’s is but jest and children’s play
To his mad fury.
Chær. Twice ten thousand curses
Seize the old wretch, who kept me back to-day;
And me for staying! with a fellow too
I did not care a farthing for! — But see!
Yonder stands Parmeno. — Good-day!
Par. How now?
Wherefore so sad? and why this hurry, Chærea?
Whence come you?
Chær. I? I can not tell, i’faith,
Whence I am come, or whither I am going,
I’ve so entirely lost myself.
Par. And why?
Chær. I am in love.
Par. Oh brave!
Chær. Now, Parmeno,
Now you may show what kind of man you are.
You know you’ve often told me; “Chærea,
Find something out to set your heart upon,
And mark how I will serve you!” yes, you know
You’ve often said so, when I scrap’d together
All the provisions for you at my father’s.
Par. Away, you trifler!
Chær. Nay, in faith, it’s true:
Now make your promise good! and in a cause
Worthy the utmost reachings of your soul:
A girl! my Parmeno, not like our misses;
Whose mothers try to keep their shoulders down,
And bind their bosoms, that their shapes may seem
Genteel and slim. Is a girl rather plump?
They call her nurse, and stint her in her food:
Thus art, in spits of nature, makes them all
Mere bulrushes: and therefore they’re belov’d.
Par. And what’s this girl of yours?
Chær. A miracle.
Par. Oh, to be sure!
Chær. True, natural red and white;
Her body firm, and full of precious stuff!
Par. Her age?
Chær. About sixteen.
Par. The very prime!
Chær. This girl, by force, by stealth, or by entreaty,
Procure me! how I care not, so I have her.
Par. Well, whom does she belong to?
Chær. I don’t know.
Par. Whence comes she?
Chær. I can’t tell.
Par. Where does she live?
Chær. I can’t tell neither.
Par. Where was it you saw her?
Chær. Here in the street.
Par. And how was it you lost her?
Chær. Why it was that, which I so fumed about,
As I came hither! nor was ever man
So jilted by good fortune as myself.
Par. What mischief now?
Chær. Confounded luck.
Par. How so?
Chær. How so! d’ye know one Archidemides,
My father’s kinsman, and about his age?
Par. Full well.
Chær. As I was in pursuit of her
He met me.
Par. Rather inconveniently.
Chær. Oh most unhappily! for lighter ills
May pass for inconvenient, Parmeno.
Nay, I could swear, with a safe conscience too,
For six, nay seven months, I had not seen him,
Till now, when least I wish’d and most would shun it.
Is not this monstrous? Eh!
Par. Oh! very monstrous.
Chær. Soon as from far he saw me, instantly,
Bent, trembling, drop-jaw’d, gasping, out of breath,
He hobbled up to me. — “Holo! ho! Chærea!” —
I stopp’d. — “D’ye know what I want with you?” — “What?”
— “I have a cause to-morrow.” — “Well! what then?” —
— “Fail not to tell your father, he remember
To go up with me, as an advocate.” —
His prating took some time. “Aught else?” said I.
“Nothing,” said he:— Away flew I, and saw
The girl that instant turn into this street.
Par. Sure he must mean the virgin, just now brought
To Thais for a present.
Chær. When I reach’d
This place, the girl was vanish’d.
Par. Had your lady
Chær. Yes; a parasite,
With a maid-servant.
Par. ’Tis the very same;
Away! have done! all’s over.
Chær. What d’ye mean?
Par. The girl I mean.
Chær. D’ye know then who she is?
Tell me! — or have you seen her?
Par. Yes, I’ve seen her;
I know her; and can tell you where she is.
Chær. How! my dear Parmeno, d’ye know her?
Chær. And where she is, d’ye know?
Par. Yes, — there she is; (Pointing.)
Carried to Madam Thais for a present.
Chær. What monarch could bestow a gift so precious?
Par. The mighty Captain Thraso, Phædria’s rival.
Chær. Alas, poor brother!
Par. Aye, and if you knew
The gift he sends to be compar’d with this,
You’d cry alas, indeed!
Chær. What is his gift?
Par. An Eunuch.
Chær. What! that old and ugly slave
That he bought yesterday?
Par. The very same.
Chær. Why, surely, he’ll be trundled out o’ doors
He and his gift together — But till now
I never knew this Thais was our neighbour.
Par. She came but lately.
Chær. Ev’ry way unlucky:
Ne’er to have seen her neither:— Prithee, tell me,
Is she so handsome, as she’s said to be?
Par. Yes, faith.
Chær. But nothing to compare to mine.
Par. Oh, quite another thing.
Chær. But Parmeno!
Contrive that I may have her.
Par. Well, I will.
Depend on my assistance:— have you any
Further commands? (As if going.)
Chær. Where are you going?
To bring according to your brother’s order,
The slaves to Thais.
Chær. Oh, that happy Eunuch!
To be convey’d into that house!
Par. Why so?
Chær. Why so? why, he shall have that charming girl
His fellow-servant, see her all day long,
Converse with her, dwell under the same roof,
And sometimes eat, and sometimes sleep by her.
Par. And what if you should be so happy?
Tell me, dear Parmeno!
Par. Assume his dress.
Chær. His dress! what then?
Par. I’ll carry you for him.
Chær. I hear you.
Par. I will say that you are he.
Chær. I understand you.
Par. So shall you enjoy
Those blessings which but now you envied him:
Eat with her, be with her, touch, toy with her,
And sleep by her: since none of Thais’ maids
Know you, or dream of what you are. Besides,
Your figure, and your age are such, that you
May well pass for an Eunuch.
Chær. Oh, well said!
I ne’er heard better counsel. Come, let’s in?
Dress me, and carry me! Away, make haste!
Par. What are you at? I did but jest.
Chær. You trifle.
Par. I’m ruin’d: fool, what have I done? Nay, whither
D’ye push me thus? You’ll throw me down. Nay, stay!
Par. Nay, prithee!
Chær. I’m resolv’d.
You carry this too far.
Chær. No, not at all.
Par. And Parmeno must pay for all.
Ah, we do wrong!
Chær. Is it then wrong for me
To be convey’d into a house of harlots,
And turn those very arts on them, with which
They hamper us, and turn our youth to scorn?
Can it be wrong for me too, in my turn,
To deceive them, by whom we’re all deceiv’d?
No, rather let it be! ’tis just to play
This trick upon them: which, if gray-beards know,
They’ll blame indeed, but all will think well done.
Par. Well, if you must, you must; but do not then,
After all’s over, throw the blame on me.
Chær. No, no!
Par. But do you order me?
Chær. I do:
Order, command, compel you; nor will e’er
Deny, or disavow my putting-on.
Par. Come on then: follow me!
Chær. Heav’n grant success!
Enter Thraso and Gnatho .
Thraso. And Thais then returns me many thanks?
Gnat. Ten thousand.
Thra. Say, is she delighted with it?
Gnat. Not for the present’s sake so much, as that
From you it was presented: But therein
She truly triumphs.
Enter Parmeno behind.
Par. I’m upon the watch,
To mark a proper opportunity
To bring my presents. But behold the Captain!
Thra. It is, indeed, something, I know not how,
Peculiar to me, do whate’er I please,
It will appear agreeable.
Gnat. In truth
I always have observ’d it.
Thra. Ev’n the King
Held himself much obliged, whate’er I did:
Not so to others.
Gnat. Men of wit, like you,
The glory, got by others’ care and toil,
Often transfer unto themselves.
Thra. You’ve hit it.
Gnat. The king then held you —
Gnat. Most dear.
Thra. Most near. He trusted his whole army to me,
His counsels. —
Thra. And then whene’er
Satiety of company, or hate
Of business seiz’d him — when he would repose —
As if — you understand me.
When he would — in a manner — clear his stomach
Of all uneasiness.
Thra. The very thing.
On such occasions he chose none but me.
Gnat. Hui! there’s a king indeed! a king of taste!
Thra. No general man, I promise you.
Gnat. Oh no!
He must have been particular indeed,
If he convers’d with You.
Thra. The courtiers all
Began to envy me, and rail’d in secret:
I car’d not; whence their spleen increas’d the more.
One in particular, who had the charge
Of th’ Indian elephants; who grew at last
So very troublesome, “I prithee, Strato,
Are you so savage, and so fierce, (says I,)
Because you’re governor of the wild beasts?”
Gnat. Oh, finely said! and shrewdly! excellent!
Too hard upon him! — what said he to’t?
Gnat. And how the devil should he?
Par. Gracious Heav’n!
The stupid coxcomb! — and that rascal too! (Aside.)
Thra. Aye! but the story of the Rhodian, Gnatho!
How smart I was upon him at a feast —
Did I ne’er tell you?
Gnat. Never: but pray do!
— I’ve heard it o’er and o’er a thousand times. (Aside.)
Thra. We were by chance together at a feast —
This Rhodian, that I told you of and I. —
I, as it happen’d, had a wench: the spark
Began to toy with her, and laugh at me.
“Why how now, Impudence! (said I,) are you
A hare yourself, and yet would hunt for game?”
Gnat. Ha! ha! ha!
Thra. What’s the matter?
Gnat. Ha! ha! ha!
Witty! smart! excellent! incomparable!
Is it your own? I swear I thought ’twas old.
Thra. Why, did you ever hear it?
Gnat. Very often;
And reckon’d admirable.
Thra. ’Tis my own.
Gnat. And yet ’twas pity to be so severe
On a young fellow, and a gentleman.
Par. Ah! devil take you! (Aside.)
Gnat. What became of him?
Thra. It did for him. The company were all
Ready to die with laughing:— in a word,
They dreaded me.
Gnat. No wonder.
Thra. Harkye, Gnatho!
Thais, you know, suspects I love this girl.
Shall I acquit myself?
Gnat. On no account.
Rather increase her jealousy.
Thra. And why?
Gnat. Why? — do you ask? — as if you didn’t know! —
Whene’er she mentions Phædria, or whene’er
She praises him, to vex you —
Thra. I perceive.
Gnat. To hinder that, you’ve only this resource.
When she names Phædria, name you Pamphila.
If she should say, “come! let’s have Phædria
To dinner with us!” — “aye, and Pamphila
To sing to us!” — if she praise Phædria’s person,
Praise you the girl’s! so give her tit for tat,
And gall her in her turn.
Thra. Suppose she lov’d me,
This might avail me, Gnatho!
Gnat. While she loves
The presents which you give, expecting more,
So long she loves you; and so long you may
Have pow’r to vex her. She will always fear
To make you angry, lest some other reap
The harvest, which she now enjoys alone.
Thra. You’re right: and yet I never thought of it.
Gnat. Ridiculous! because you did not turn
Your thoughts that way; or with how much more ease
Would you have hit on this device yourself!
Enter Thais and Pythias .
Thais. I thought I heard the Captain’s voice: and see!
Good-day, my Thraso!
Thra. Oh my Thais, welcome!
How does my sweeting? — are you fond of me
For sending you that music-girl?
Par. Oh brave!
He sets out nobly!
Thais. For your worth I love you.
Gnat. Come, let’s to supper? why do you delay?
Par. Mark t’other! he’s a chip of the old block.
Thais. I’m ready when you please.
Par. I’ll up to her,
And seem as if but now come forth. — Ha! Thais,
Where are you gadding?
Thais. Well met, Parmeno!
I was just going —
Thais. Don’t you see
Par. Yes, I see him — to my sorrow.
The presents from my master wait your pleasure.
Thra. Why do we stop thus? wherefore go not hence? (Angrily.)
Par. Beseech you, Captain, let us, with your leave,
Produce our presents, treat, and parley with her!
Thra. Fine gifts, I warrant you, compar’d with mine!
Par. They’ll answer for themselves — Ho, there! within!
Order the slaves, I told you, to come forth.
Enter a Black Girl .
This way! do you stand forward! — This girl, ma’am,
Comes quite from Æthiopia.
Thra. Worth three Minæ.
Par. Ho! where are you, Dorus? — Oh, come hither!
Enter Chærea in the Eunuch’s habit.
An Eunuch, Madam! of a lib’ral air,
And in his prime!
Thais. Now as I live, he’s handsome!
Par. What say you, Gnatho? Is he despicable?
Or, Captain, what say you? — Dumb? — Praise sufficient;
Try him in letters, exercises, music:
In all the arts, a gentleman should know,
I’ll warrant him accomplish’d.
Thra. Troth, that Eunuch
Is well enough.
Par. And he, who sends these presents,
Requires you not to live for him alone,
And for his sake to shut out all mankind:
Nor does he tell his battles, show his wounds,
Or shackle your free will, as some folks do.
Looking at Thraso .
But when ’twill not be troublesome, or when
You’ve leisure, in due season, he’s content
If then he is admitted.
Thra. This poor fellow
Seems to belong to a poor wretched master.
Gnat. Beyond all doubt; for who that could obtain
Another, would endure a slave like this?
Par. Peace, wretch, that art below the meanest slave!
You that could bring your mind so very low,
As to cry aye and no at yon fool’s bidding,
I’m sure, might get your bread out o’the fire.
Thra. Why don’t we go? (Impatiently.)
Thais. Let me but introduce
These first, and give some orders in the house,
And I’ll attend you.
Exit with Chærea, and the Ethiopian.
Thra. I’ll depart from hence.
Gnatho, wait you for her!
Par. It ill beseems
The dignity of a renown’d commander,
T’ escort his mistress in the street.
Slave! you’re beneath my notice — like your master.
Exit Parmeno .
Gnat. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Thra. What moves your laughter, Gnatho?
Gnat. Your speech but now: and then the Rhodian came
Across my mind. — But Thais comes.
Thra. Go run,
And see that ev’ry thing’s prepar’d at home!
Gnat. It shall be done.
Thais (entering with Pythias).
Take care now, Pythias,
Great care, if Chremes come, to press him stay;
Or, if that’s inconvenient, to return:
If that’s impossible, then bring him to me!
Pyth. I’ll do so.
Thais. Hold! what else had I to say?
Take care, be sure, of yonder virgin! see,
You keep at home.
Thra. Let’s go.
Thais. Girls, follow me!
Exit, attended by Servants and Thraso .
In truth the more and more I think, the more
I am convinc’d that Thais means me ill:
So plain I see her arts to draw me in.
Ev’n when she first invited me, (and when
Had any ask’d, What business have you there?
The question would have stagger’d me,) she fram’d
Sev’ral excuses to detain me there.
Said she had made a sacrifice, and had
Affairs of consequence to settle with me.
— Oho! thought I immediately, I smell
A trick upon me! — down she sat, behav’d
Familiarly, and tried to beat about
For conversation. Being at a loss,
She ask’d, how long my parents had been dead?
— I told her, long time since:— on which she ask’d,
Whether I had a country-house at Sunium?
— And how far from the sea? — I half believe
She likes my villa, and would wheedle me
To give it her. — Her final questions were,
If I ne’er lost a little sister thence?
— Who was miss’d with her? — what she had when lost?
— If there was any body capable
Of recollecting her? — Why all these questions?
Unless perhaps she means, — a saucy baggage! —
To play the counterfeit, and feign herself
That sister, who was lost so long ago?
But she, if living, is about sixteen;
Not more: and Thais older than myself.
She sent beside to press me earnestly
To visit her again. — Or, let her say
What she would have; or, trouble me no more!
I’ll not return a third time. — Ho! who’s there?
Here am I! Chremes!
Enter Pythias .
Pyth. Oh, sweet, charming, Sir!
Chre. A coaxing hussy!
Pyth. Thais begs and prays
You’d come again to-morrow.
Chre. I am going
Into the country.
Pyth. Nay, now prithee come?
Chre. I can’t, I tell you.
Pyth. Walk in, then, and stay
Till she returns herself.
Chre. Not I.
Pyth. And why,
Chre. Off, you saucy slut!
Pyth. Well, Sir,
Since you’re so positive, shall I entreat you
To go to her?
Chre. I will.
Pyth. Here, Dorias! (A maid-servant enters.)
Conduct this gentleman to Captain Thraso’s.
Pythias re-enters. — Chremes goes out another way with Dorias .
But yesterday a knot of us young fellows
Assembled at Piræus, and agreed
To club together for a feast to-day.
Chærea had charge of all; the rings were given,
And time and place appointed. — The time’s past;
No entertainment’s at the place; and Chærea
Is no where to be met with. — For my part,
I’m quite to seek in this; and what to say,
Or guess, I know not. — Yet the company
Have all commission’d me to find him out.
I’ll see if he’s at home; — but who comes here
From Thais? — Is it he, or no? — ’Tis he. —
— What manner of man’s here? — what habit’s that?
— What mischief is the meaning of all this?
I’m all astonishment, and can not guess.
But I’ll withdraw a while, and try to learn. (Retires.)
Enter Chærea, in the Eunuch’s habit.
Chær. (looking about). Is any body here? — No, nobody.
Does any follow me? — No, nobody.
May I then let my ecstasy break forth!
O Jupiter! ’tis now the very time,
When I could suffer to be put to death,
Lest not another transport like to this,
Remain in life to come. — But is there not
Some curious impertinent to come
Across me now, and murder me with questions?
— To ask, why I’m so flutter’d? why so joyful?
Whither I’m going? whence I came? from whence
I got this habit? what I’m looking after?
Whether I’m in my senses? or stark mad?
Anti. I’ll go myself, and do that kindness to him.
Chærea, (advancing) what’s all this flutter? what’s this dress?
What is’t transports you? what d’ye want? art mad?
Why do ye start at me? and why not speak?
Chær. O happy, happy day! — Save you, dear friend!
There’s not a man on earth I’d rather see
This moment than yourself.
Anti. Come, tell me all!
Chær. Tell you! I will beseech you give me hearing.
D’ye know my brother’s mistress here?
Anti. I do:
Thais, I think.
Chær. The same.
Anti. I recollect.
Chær. To-day a girl was sent a present to her.
Why need I speak or praise her beauty now
To you, that know me, and my taste so well?
She set me all on fire.
Anti. Is she so handsome?
Chær. Most exquisite: Oh, had you but once seen her,
You would pronounce her, I am confident,
The first of womankind. — But in a word,
I fell in love with her. — By great good luck
There was at home an Eunuch, which my brother
Had bought for Thais, but not yet sent thither.
— I had a gentle hint from Parmeno,
Which I seiz’d greedily.
Anti. And what was that?
Chær. Peace, and I’ll tell you. — To change dresses with him,
And order Parmeno to carry me
Instead of him.
Anti. How? for an Eunuch, you?
Chær. E’en so.
Anti. What good could you derive from that?
Chær. What good! — why, see, and hear, and be with her
I languish’d for, my Antipho! — was that
An idle reason, or a trivial good?
— To Thais I’m deliver’d; she receives me,
And carries me with joy into her house;
Commits the charming girl —
Anti. To whom? — to you?
Chær. To me.
Anti. In special hands, I must confess.
Chær. — Enjoins me to permit no man come near her;
Nor to depart, myself, one instant from her;
But in an inner chamber to remain
Alone with her alone. I nod, and look
Bashfully on the ground.
Anti. Poor simple soul!
Chær. I am bid forth, says she; and carries off
All her maid-servants with her, save some few
Raw novices, who straight prepar’d the bath.
I bade them haste; and while it was preparing,
In a retiring-room the Virgin sat;
Viewing a picture, where the tale was drawn
Of Jove’s descending in a golden show’r
To Danaë’s bosom. — I beheld it too,
And because he of old the like game play’d,
I felt my mind exult the more within me,
That Jove should change himself into a man,
And steal in secret through a stranger-roof,
With a mere woman to intrigue. — Great Jove,
Who shakes the highest heav’ns with his thunder!
And I, poor mortal man, not do the same! —
I did it, and with all my heart I did it.
— While thoughts, like these, possess’d my soul, they call’d
The girl to bathe. She goes, bathes, then returns:
Which done, the servants put her into bed.
I stand to wait their orders. Up comes one,
“Here, harkye, Dorus! take this fan and mark
You cool her gently thus, while we go bathe.
When we have bath’d, you, if you please, bathe too,”
I, with a sober air, receive the fan.
Anti. Then would I fain have seen your simple face!
I should have been delighted to behold
How like an ass you look’d, and held the fan.
Chær. Scarce had she spoke, when all rush’d out o’ doors;
Away they go to bathe; grow full of noise,
As servants use, when masters are abroad.
Meanwhile sleep seiz’d the virgin: I, by stealth,
Peep’d through the fan-sticks thus; then looking round,
And seeing all was safe, made fast the door.
Anti. What then?
Chær. What then, fool!
Anti. I confess.
Chær. D’ye think,
Bless’d with an opportunity like this,
So short, so wish’d for, yet so unexpected,
I’d let it slip? No. Then I’d been, indeed,
The thing I counterfeited.
Anti. Very true.
But what’s become of our club-supper?
Anti. An honest fellow! where? at your own house?
Chær. At Freeman Discus’s.
Anti. A great way off.
Chær. Then we must make more haste.
Anti. But change your dress.
Chær. Where can I change it? I’m distress’d. From home
I must play truant, lest I meet my brother.
My father too, perhaps, is come to town.
Anti. Come to my house then! that’s the nearest place
Where you may shift.
Chær. With all my heart! let’s go!
And at the same time, I’ll consult with you
How to enjoy this dear girl.
Anti. Be it so.
Enter Dorias, with a Casket.
Dorias. Now, as I hope for mercy, I’m afraid,
From what I’ve seen, lest yonder swaggerer
Make some disturbance, or do violence
To Thais. For as soon as Chremes came,
(Chremes, the youth that’s brother to the virgin,)
She beg’d of Thraso, he might be admitted.
This piqu’d him; yet he durst not well refuse.
She, fearing Chremes should not be detain’d,
Till she had time and opportunity
To tell him all she wish’d about his sister,
Urg’d Thraso more and more to ask him in.
The Captain coldly asks him; down he sat;
And Thais enter’d into chat with him.
The Captain, fancying a rival brought
Before his face, resolv’d to vex her too:
“Here, boy,” said he, “let Pamphila be call’d
To entertain us!” — “Pamphila!” cries Thais;
“She at a banquet? — No it must not be.” —
Thraso insisting on’t, a broil ensued:
On which my mistress slyly slipping off
Her jewels, gave them me to bear away;
Which is, I know, a certain sign, she will,
As soon as possible, sneak off herself. (Exit.)
Enter Phædria .
Phæd. Going into the country, I began
(As happens when the mind is ill at ease)
To ponder with myself upon the road,
Tossing from thought to thought, and viewing all
In the worst light. While thus I ruminate,
I pass unconsciously my country-house,
And had got far beyond, ere I perceiv’d it.
I turn’d about, but with a heavy heart;
And soon as to the very spot I came
Where the roads part, I stop. Then paus’d a while:
“Alas! thought I, and must I here remain
Two days? alone: without her? — Well! what then?
That’s nothing. — What, is’t nothing? — If I’ve not
The privilege to touch her, shall I not
Behold her neither? — If one may not be,
At least the other shall. — And certainly
Love, in its last degree, is something still.”
— Then I, on purpose, pass’d the house. — But see!
Pythias breaks forth affrighted. — What means this?
Enter Pythias and Dorias; Phædria at a distance.
Pyth. Where shall I find, unhappy that I am,
Where seek this rascal-slave? — this slave, that durst
To do a deed like this? — Undone! undone!
Phæd. What this may be, I dread.
Pyth. And then the villain,
After he had abused the virgin, tore
The poor girl’s clothes, and dragg’d her by the hair.
Phæd. How’s this!
Pyth. Who, were he now within my reach,
How could I fly upon the vagabond,
And tear the villain’s eyes out with my nails?
Phæd. What tumult’s this, arisen in my absence?
I’ll go and ask her. — (Going up.) What’s the matter, Pythias?
Why thus disturb’d? and whom is it you seek?
Pyth. Whom do I seek? Away, Sir Phædria!
You and your gifts together!
Phæd. What’s the matter?
Pyth. The matter, Sir! the Eunuch, that you sent us,
Has made fine work here! the young virgin, whom
The Captain gave my mistress, he has ravish’d.
Phæd. Ravish’d? How say you?
Pyth. Ruin’d, and undone!
Phæd. You’re drunk.
Pyth. Would those who wish me ill were so!
Dori. Ah Pythias! what strange prodigy is this?
Phæd. You’re mad: how could an Eunuch —
Pyth. I don’t know
Or who, or what he was. — What he has done,
The thing itself declares. — The virgin weeps,
Nor, when you ask what ails her, dare she tell.
But he, good man, is nowhere to be found:
And I fear too, that when he stole away,
He carried something off.
Phæd. I can’t conceive
Whither the rascal can have flown, unless
He to our house, perhaps, slunk back again.
Pyth. See now, I pray you, if he has.
Phæd. I will.
Dori. Good lack! so strange a thing I never heard.
Pyth. I’ve heard, that they lov’d women mightily
But could do nothing; yet I never thought on’t:
For if I had, I’d have confin’d him close
In some by-place, nor trusted the girl to him.
Re-enter Phædria, with Dorus the Eunuch, in Chærea’s clothes.
Phæd. Out, rascal, out! — What are you resty, Sirrah?
Out, thou vile bargain!
Dor. Dear Sir! (Crying.)
Phæd. See the wretch!
What a wry mouth he makes! — Come, what’s the meaning
Of your returning? and your change of dress?
What answer, Sirrah! — If I had delay’d
A minute longer, Pythias, I had miss’d him,
He was equipp’d so bravely for his flight.
Pyth. What, have you got the rogue?
Phæd. I warrant you.
Pyth. Well done! well done!
Dori. Aye, marry, very well.
Pyth. Where is he?
Phæd. Don’t you see him?
Pyth. See him? whom?
Phæd. This fellow, to be sure.
Pyth. This man! who is he?
Phæd. He that was carried to your house to-day.
Pyth. None of our people ever laid their eyes
Upon this fellow, Phædria!
Phæd. Never saw him?
Pyth. Why, did you think this fellow had been brought
Phæd. Yes, surely; for I had no other.
Pyth. Oh dear! this fellow’s not to be compar’d
To t’other. — He was elegant, and handsome.
Phæd. Aye, so he might appear a while ago,
Because he had gay clothes on: now he seems
Ugly, because he’s stripped.
Pyth. Nay, prithee, peace!
As if the diff’rence was so very small! —
The youth conducted to our house to-day,
’Twould do you good to cast your eyes on, Phædria:
This is a drowsy, wither’d, weasel-fac’d,
Phæd. How? — you drive me to that pass,
That I scarce know what I have done myself.
— Did not I buy you, rascal? (To Dorus .)
Dor. Yes, Sir.
Pyth. Order him
To answer me.
Phæd. Well, question him.
Pyth. (to Dorus). Was you
Brought here to-day? (Shakes his head.) See there! Not he. It was
Another, a young lad, about sixteen,
Whom Parmeno brought with him.
Phæd. (to Dorus). Speak to
First tell me, whence had you that coat? What, dumb?
I’ll make you speak, you villain? (Beating him.)
Dor. Chærea came — (Crying.)
Phæd. My brother?
Dor. Yes, Sir!
Phæd. How long since?
Dor. Just now.
Phæd. With whom?
Dor. With Parmeno.
Phæd. Did you
Know him before?
Dor. No, Sir; nor e’er heard of him.
Phæd. How did you know he was my brother then?
Dor. Parmeno told me so; and Chærea
Gave me these clothes —
Phæd. Confusion! (Aside.)
Dor. Put on mine;
And then they both went out o’ doors together.
Pyth. Now, Sir, do you believe that I am sober?
Now do you think, I’ve told no lie? And now
Are you convinc’d the girl has been abus’d!
Phæd. Away, fool! d’ye believe what this wretch says?
Pyth. What signifies belief? — It speaks itself.
Phæd. (apart to Dorus). Come
this way — hark ye! — further still. — Enough.
Tell me once more. — Did Chærea strip you?
Phæd. And put your clothes on?
Dor. Yes, Sir!
Phæd. And was brought
In your stead hither?
Phæd. Great Jupiter! (Pretending to be in a passion with
What a most wicked scoundrel’s this?
Don’t you believe, then, we’ve been vilely us’d?
Phæd. No wonder if you credit what he says.
I don’t know what to do. (Aside.) — Here, harkye, Sirrah!
Deny it all again. (Apart to Dorus .) — What! can’t I beat
The truth out of you, rascal? — have you seen
My brother Chærea? (Aloud, and beating him.)
Dor. No, Sir! (Crying.)
Phæd. So! I see
He won’t confess without a beating. — This way! (Apart.) Now
He owns it; now denies it. — Ask my pardon! (Apart.)
Dor. Beseech you, Sir, forgive me!
Phæd. Get you gone. (Kicking him.)
Oh me! oh dear!
Phæd. (aside). I had no other way
To come off handsomely. — We’re all undone.
— D’ye think to play your tricks on me, you rascal?
Aloud, and Exit after Dorus .
Manent Pythias and Dorias .
Pyth. As sure as I’m alive, this is a trick
Dori. No doubt on’t.
Pyth. I’ll devise
Some means to-day to fit him for’t. — But now
What would you have me do?
Dori. About the girl!
Pyth. Aye; shall I tell; or keep the matter secret?
Dori. Troth, if you’re wise you know not what you know,
Nor of the Eunuch, nor the ravishment:
So shall you clear yourself of all this trouble,
And do a kindness to our mistress too.
Say nothing, but that Dorus is gone off.
Pyth. I’ll do so.
Dori. Prithee is not Chremes yonder?
Thais will soon be here.
Pyth. How so?
When I came thence, a quarrel was abroach
Pyth. Carry in the jewels, Dorias.
Meanwhile I’ll learn of Chremes what has happen’d.
Exit Dorias .
Enter Chremes tipsy.
Chrem. So! so! — I’m in for’t — and the wine I’ve drank
Has made me reel again. — Yet while I sat,
How sober I suppos’d myself! — But I
No sooner rose, than neither foot, nor head,
Knew their own business!
Chrem. Who’s that? — Ha!
Pythias! — How much more handsome you seem now,
Than you appear’d a little while ago!
Pyth. I’m sure you seem a good deal merrier.
Chrem. I’faith it’s an old saying, and a true one,
“Ceres and Bacchus are warm friends of Venus.”
— But, pray, has Thais been here long before me?
Pyth. Has she yet left the Captain’s?
Chrem. Long time since:
An age ago. They’ve had a bloody quarrel.
Pyth. Did not she bid you follow her?
Chrem. Not she:
Only she made a sign to me at parting.
Pyth. Well, wasn’t that enough?
Chrem. No, faith! I never
At all conceiv’d her meaning, till the Captain
Gave me the hint, and kick’d me out o’ doors!
— But here she is! I wonder how it was,
I overtook her!
Enter Thais .
Thais. I am apt to think,
The Captain will soon follow me, to take
The virgin from me: Well then, let him come!
But if he does but lay a finger on her,
We’ll tear his eyes out. — His impertinence.
And big words, while mere words, I can endure;
But if he comes to action, woe be to him!
Chrem. Thais, I have been here some time.
Thais. My Chremes!
The very man I wanted! — Do you know
That you have been th’ occasion of this quarrel?
And that this whole affair relates to you?
Chrem. To me! how so?
Thais. Because, while I endeavor,
And study to restore your sister to you,
This and much more I’ve suffer’d.
Chrem. Where’s my sister?
Thais. Within, at my house.
Chrem. Ha! (With concern.)
Thais. Be not alarm’d:
She has been well brought up, and in a manner
Worthy herself and you.
Thais. ’Tis true:
And now most freely I restore her to you,
Demanding nothing of you in return.
Chrem. I feel your goodness, Thais, and shall ever
Remain much bounden to you.
Thais. Aye, but now
Take heed, my Chremes, lest ere you receive
The maid from me, you lose her! for ’tis she,
Whom now the Captain comes to take by storm.
— Pythias, go, fetch the casket with the proofs!
Chrem. D’ye see him, Thais? (Looking out.)
Pyth. Where does the casket stand?
Thais. Upon the cabinet. — D’ye loiter, hussy?
Exit Pythias .
Chrem. What force the Captain brings with him against you!
Thais. Are you afraid, young gentleman?
Chrem. Away! — who? I? afraid? — No mortal less.
Thais. Nay, you had need be stout at present, Chremes.
Chrem. What kind of man d’ye take me for?
He, whom you’ve now to cope with, is a stranger
Less powerful than you, less known, and less
Befriended here than you!
Chrem. I know all that:
But why, like fools, admit what we may shun?
Better prevent a wrong, than afterward
Revenge it, when receiv’d — Do you step in,
And bolt the door, while I run to the Forum,
And call some officers to our assistance. (Going.)
Thais. Stay! (Holding him.)
Chrem. ’Twill be better.
Chrem. Nay, let me go!
I’ll soon be back.
Thais. We do not want them, Chremes.
Say, only, that this maiden is your sister,
And that you lost her when a child, and now
Know her again for yours.
Enter Pythias .
Thais (to Pyth .) Produce the proofs!
Pyth. Here they are.
Thais. Take them, Chremes! — If the Captain
Attempts to do you any violence,
Lead him before a magistrate. D’ye mark me?
Chrem. I do.
Thais. Be sure now speak with a good courage!
Chrem. I will.
Thais. Come, gather up your cloak. — Undone!
My champion wants a champion for himself.
Enter Thraso, Gnatho, Sanga, etc.
Thraso. Shall I put up with an affront so gross,
So monstrous, Gnatho? — No, I’d rather die.
Simalio, Donax, Syrus, follow me!
First, I will storm their castle.
Thra. Next carry off the Virgin.
Thra. Then punish Thais herself.
Thra. Here, in the centre, Donax, with your club!
Do you, Simalio, charge on the left wing!
You, Syrus, on the right! — Bring up the rest!
Where’s the Centurion Sanga, and his band
Of rascal runaways?
San. Here, Sir!
Thra. How now?
Think’st thou to combat with a dish-clout, slave!
That thus thou bring’st it here?
San. Ah, Sir! I knew
The valor of the gen’ral and his troops;
And seeing this affair must end in blood,
I brought a clout, to wipe the wounds withal.
Thra. Where are the rest?
San. Rest! Plague, whom d’ye mean?
There’s nobody, but Sannio, left at home.
Thra. Lead you the van (to Gnatho); and I’ll bring up the rear:
Thence give the word to all.
Gnat. What wisdom is!
Now he has drawn up these in rank and file,
His post behind secures him a retreat.
Thra. Just so his line of battle Pyrrhus form’d.
Chremes and Thais appear above at a window.
Chrem. D’ye see, my Thais, what he is about?
To bar and bolt the doors was good advice.
Thais. Tut, man! you fool, that seems so mighty brave,
Is a mere coward. Do not be afraid!
Thra. What were best? (To Gnatho .)
Gnat. Troth, I wish you had a sling:
That you from far in ambush might attack them!
They’d soon fly then, I warrant you.
Thra. But see!
Gnat. Let’s charge them then! Come on!
Thra. Halt! — ’Tis the part of a wise general
To try all methods, ere he come to arms.
How do you know, but Thais may obey
My orders without force?
Gnat. Oh, gracious Heavens!
Of what advantage is it to be wise!
I ne’er approach but I go wiser from you.
Thra. Thais, first answer this! Did you, or no,
When I presented you the Virgin, promise,
To give yourself some days to me alone?
Thais. What then?
Thra. Is that a question, when you brought
Your lover to affront me to my face? —
Thais. What business have you with him?
Thra. — And stole off
In company with him?
Thais. It was my pleasure.
Thra. Therefore, restore me Pamphila; unless
You choose to see her carried off by force.
Chrem. She restore Pamphila to you? Or you
Attempt to touch her, rascal?
Gnat. Ah, beware!
Peace, peace, young gentleman!
Thra. (to Chrem .) What is’t
Shall I not touch my own?
Chrem. Your own, you scoundrel?
Gnat. Take heed! you know not whom you rail at thus.
Chrem. Won’t you be gone? — here, hark ye, Sir! d’ye know
How matters stand with you? — if you attempt
To raise a riot in this place to-day,
I’ll answer for it, that you shall remember
This place, to-day, and me, your whole life-long.
Gnat. I pity you: to make so great a man
Chrem. Hence! or I’ll break your head.
Gnat. How’s that, you hang-dog? Are you for that sport?
Thra. Who are you, fellow? — what d’ye mean? — and what
Have you to do with Pamphila?
Chrem. I’ll tell you,
First, I declare, that she’s a free-born woman!
Chrem. And a citizen of Athens.
Chrem. My sister.
Chrem. So, Captain, now
I give you warning, offer her no force!
— Thais, I’ll now to Sophrona, the Nurse,
And bring her here with me to see the proofs.
Thra. And you prohibit me to touch my own?
Chrem. Yes, I prohibit you.
Gnat. D’ye hear? he owns
The robbery himself. Isn’t that sufficient?
Thra. And, Thais, you maintain the same?
Thais. Ask those
Who care to answer. (Shuts down the window.)
Manent Thraso and Gnatho, etc.
Thra. What shall we do now?
Gnat. Why — e’en go back again! — This harlot here
Will soon be with you to request forgiveness.
Thra. D’ye think so?
Gnat. Aye, most certainly. I know
The ways of women. — When you will, they won’t;
And when you won’t, they’re dying for you.
Gnat. Shall I disband the army?
Thra. When you will.
Gnat. Sanga, as well becomes a brave militia,
Take to your houses and firesides again.
San. My mind was like a sop i’ th’ pan, long since.
Gnat. Good fellow!
San. To the right about there! march!
Exit, with Gnatho and Thraso at the head of the troops.
Thais and Pythias .
Thais. Still, still, you, baggage, will you shuffle with me?
— “I know — I don’t know — he’s gone off — I’ve heard —
I was not present” — Be it what it may,
Can’t you inform me openly? — The Virgin,
Her clothes all torn, in sullen silence weeps.
The Eunuch’s fled. — What means all this? and what
Has happen’d? — Won’t you answer me?
What can I answer you? — He was, they say,
Thais. What then?
Pyth. Phædria’s younger brother.
What’s that, hag?
Pyth. I’ve discover’d it: I’m sure on’t.
Thais. Why, what had he to do with us? or why
Was he brought hither?
Pyth. That I can not tell;
Unless, as I suppose, for love of Pamphila.
Thais. Alas! I am undone; undone, indeed,
If that, which you have told me now, be true.
Is’t that the girl bemoans thus?
Pyth. I believe so.
Thais. How, careless wretch! was that the charge I gave you
At my departure?
Pyth. What could I do? She
Was trusted, as you bade, to him alone.
Thais. Oh, jade, you set the wolf to keep the sheep
— I’m quite asham’d to ’ve been so poorly bubbled.
Pyth. Who comes here? — Hist! peace, madam, I beseech you!
We’re safe: we have the very man.
Seeing Chærea at a distance.
Thais. Where is he?
Pyth. Here, on the left; d’ye see him, ma’am?
Thais. I see him.
Pyth. Let him be seiz’d immediately!
Thais. And what
Can we do to him, fool?
Pyth. Do to him, say you?
— See, what a saucy face the rogue has got!
Ha’nt he? — and then how settled an assurance?
Enter Chærea .
Chær. At Antipho’s, as if for spite, there were
His father and his mother both at home,
So that I could by no means enter, but
They must have seen me. Meanwhile, as I stood
Before the door, came by an old acquaintance,
At sight of whom I flew, with all my speed,
Into a narrow, unfrequented alley;
And thence into another, and another,
Frighten’d and flurried as I scampered on,
Lest any one should know me in this habit.
But is that Thais? She. I’m all aground.
What shall I do? — Pshaw! what have I to care?
What can she do to me?
Thais. Let’s up to him.
Oh, Dorus! good Sir, welcome! — And so, Sirrah,
You ran away.
Chær. Yes, madam!
Thais. And you think
It was a clever trick, I warrant you?
Chær. No, madam!
Thais. Can you believe that you shall go unpunish’d?
Chær. Forgive me this one fault! If I commit
Another, kill me!
Thais. Do you dread my cruelty?
Chær. No, ma’am!
Thais. What then?
Chær. I was afraid, lest She
Accuse me to you. (Pointing to Pythias .)
Thais. Of what crime?
Chær. A little matter.
Pyth. Rogue! a little matter?
Is it so little, think you, to abuse
A virgin, and a citizen!
Chær. I thought
She was my fellow-servant.
I can scarce hold from flying at his hair.
Monstrous! he’s come to make his sport of us.
Thais. Away! you rave.
Pyth. Not I. If I had done ’t,
I should have still been in the monster’s debt;
Particularly, as he owns himself
Thais. Well — no more of this. — Oh, Chærea,
You’ve done a deed unworthy of yourself:
For granting I, perhaps, might well deserve
This injury, it was not honorable
In you to do it. — As I live, I know not
What counsel to pursue about this girl;
You’ve so destroy’d my measures, that I can’t
Restore her, without blushing to her friends,
Nor so deliver her, as I propos’d,
To make them thank me for my kindness, Chærea!
Chær. Henceforth, I hope, eternal peace shall be
Betwixt us, Thais! Oft from things like these,
And bad beginnings, warmest friendships rise.
What if some God hath order’d this?
I’ll so interpret it, and wish it so.
Chær. I prithee do! — and be assured of this,
That naught I did in scorn, but all in love.
Thais. I do believe it; and, on that account,
More readily forgive you: for oh! Chærea,
I am not form’d of an ungentle nature,
Nor am I now to learn the pow’r of love.
Chær. Now, Thais, by my life, I love thee too.
Pyth. Then, by my troth, you must take care of him.
Chær. I durst not —
Pyth. I don’t mind a word you say.
Thais. Have done!
Chær. But now, in this one circumstance,
Let me beseech you to assist me, Thais!
I trust myself entirely to your care:
Invoke you, as my patroness; implore you.
Perdition seize me, but I’ll marry her!
Thais. But if your father —
Chær. What of him? I know
He’ll soon consent, provided it appears
That she’s a citizen.
Thais. If you will wait
A little while, her brother will be here:
He’s gone to fetch the nurse that brought her up;
And you shall witness the discovery.
Chær. I will remain then.
Thais. But, in the mean time,
Had you not rather wait within, than here
Before the door?
Chær. Much rather.
Pyth. What the plague
Are you about?
Thais. What now?
Pyth. What now, indeed?
Will you let him within your doors again?
Thais. Why not?
Pyth. Remember that I prophesy,
He’ll make some fresh disturbance.
Thais. Prithee, peace!
Pyth. It seems, you have not had sufficient proof
Of his assurance.
Chær. I’ll do no harm, Pythias!
Pyth. I’ll not believe it, till I see it, Chærea.
Chær. But you shall keep me, Pythias!
Pyth. No, not I.
For, by my troth, I would trust nothing with you,
Neither to keep, nor be kept by you. — Hence!
Thais. Oh brave! the brother’s here! (Looking out.)
Let’s in, dear Thais! I’d not have him see me
Here in this dress.
Thais. Why so? Are you asham’d?
Chær. I am indeed.
Pyth. Indeed! asham’d! oh dear!
Think of the girl!
Thais. Go in! I’ll follow you.
Pythias, do you stay here to bring in Chremes.
Exeunt Thais and Chærea .
Pythias, Chremes, Sophrona .
Pyth. What can I think of? what can I devise?
Some trick now to be even with that rogue
Who palm’d this young spark on us.
Chrem. (leading the nurse). Nay, but stir
Your stumps a little faster, nurse!
Soph. I come.
Chrem. Aye, marry; but you don’t come on a jot.
Pyth. Well! have you shown the tokens to the nurse?
Chrem. I have.
Pyth. And pray what says she? Did she know them?
Chrem. At first sight.
Pyth. Oh brave news! I’m glad to hear it;
For I’ve a kindness for the girl. Go in;
My mistress is impatient for your coming.
Exeunt Chremes and Sophrona .
See, yonder’s my good master Parmeno,
Marching this way: How unconcern’d, forsooth,
He stalks along! — But I’ve devis’d, I hope,
The means to vex him sorely. — First I’ll in,
To know the truth of this discovery,
And then return to terrify this rascal.
Enter Parmeno .
Par. I’m come to see what Chærea has been doing:
Who, if he has but manag’d matters well,
Good Heav’ns, how much, and what sincere applause
Shall Parmeno acquire! — For not to mention,
In an intrigue so difficult as this,
Of so much probable expense at least,
Since with a griping harlot he’d have bargain’d,
That I’ve procur’d for him the girl he lov’d,
Without cost, charge, or trouble; t’other point,
That, that I hold my master-piece, there think
I’ve gain’d the prize, in showing a young spark
The dispositions and the ways of harlots:
Which having early learn’d, he’ll ever shun.
Enter Pythias behind.
When they’re abroad, forsooth, there’s none so clean,
Nothing so trim, so elegant, as they;
Nor, when they sup with a gallant, so nice!
To see these very creatures’ gluttony,
Filth, poverty, and meanness, when at home;
So eager after food, that they devour
From yesterday’s stale broth the coarse black bread:—
All this to know is safety to young men.
Pythias, Parmeno .
Pyth. (behind). ’Faith, Sirrah, I’ll be handsomely
For all you’ve done and said. You shall not boast
Your tricks on us without due punishment.
Aloud, coming forward.
Oh Heav’ns! oh dreadful deed! oh hapless youth!
Oh wicked Parmeno, that brought him here!
Par. What now?
Pyth. It mov’d me so. I could not bear
To see it: therefore I flew out o’ doors.
What an example will they make of him!
Par. Oh Jupiter! What tumult can this be?
Am I undone, or no? — I’ll e’en inquire.
Pythias! (going up.) What now? what is’t you rave about?
Who’s to be made this terrible example?
Pyth. Who? most audacious monster! while you meant
To play your tricks on us, you have destroyed
The youth whom you brought hither for the Eunuch.
Par. How so? and what has happen’d? Prithee tell me!
Pyth. Tell you? D’ye know the virgin, that was sent
To-day to Thais, is a citizen?
Her brother too a man of the first rank?
Par. I did not know it.
Pyth. Aye, but so it seems.
The poor young spark abus’d the girl; a thing
No sooner known, than he, the furious brother —
Par. Did what?
Pyth. First bound him hand and foot —
Par. How! bound him!
Pyth. And now, though Thais begged him not to do it —
Par. How! what!
Pyth. Moreover threatens, he will serve him
After the manner of adulterers;
A thing I ne’er saw done, and ne’er desire.
Par. How durst he offer at an act so monstrous?
Pyth. And why so monstrous?
Par. Is it not most monstrous?
Who ever saw a young man seiz’d by force,
And punish’d for adultery in a brothel?
Pyth. I don’t know.
Par. Aye; but you must all know this.
I tell you, and foretell you, that young spark
Is my old master’s son.
Pyth. Indeed, is he?
Par. And let not Thais suffer any one
To do him any violence! — But why
Don’t I rush in myself?
Pyth. Ah! have a care
What you’re about; lest you do him no good,
And hurt yourself: for they imagine you,
Whatever has been done, the cause of all.
Par. What shall I do then? what resolve? Confusion!
— Oh! yonder’s my old master, just return’d
To town. Shall I tell him of it, or no?
I’ll tell him, tho’ I am well convinc’d, the blame
Will light on me, and heavily: And yet
It must be done to help poor Chærea.
I’ll in again; and you, in the mean while,
Tell the old gentleman the whole affair.
Enter Laches .
Laches. I’ve this convenience from my neighb’ring villa;
I’m never tir’d of country or of town.
For as disgust comes on, I change my place.
— But is not that our Parmeno? ’Tis he.
Parmeno, who is it you’re waiting for
Before that door?
Par. Who’s that? Oh, Sir! you’re welcome:
I’m glad to see you safe return’d to town.
Laches. Whom do you wait for?
Par. I’m undone: my tongue
Cleaves to my mouth through fear.
Laches. Ha! what’s the matter?
Why do you tremble so? Is all right? Speak!
Par. First be persuaded, Sir, — for that’s the case,
Whatever has befall’n has not befall’n
Through any fault of mine.
Laches. What is’t?
Par. That’s true.
Your pardon, Sir, I should have told that first.
— Phædria lately bought a certain Eunuch
By way of present to this gentlewoman.
Laches. What gentlewoman, sirrah?
Par. Madam Thais.
Laches. Bought? I’m undone! at what price?
Par. Twenty Minæ.
Laches. I’m ruin’d.
Par. And then Chærea’s fall’n in love
With a young music-girl.
Laches. How! what! in love!
Knows he already what a harlot is?
Is he in town? misfortune on misfortune!
Par. Nay, Sir! don’t look on me! it was not done
By my advice.
Laches. Leave prating of yourself.
As for you, rascal, if I live — But first
Whatever has befallen, tell me, quick!
Par. Chærea was carried thither for the Eunuch.
Laches. He for the Eunuch!
Par. Yes: since when, within
They’ve seiz’d and bound him for a ravisher.
Par. See the impudence of harlots!
Laches. Is there aught else of evil or misfortune
You have not told me yet?
Par. You know the whole.
Laches. Then why do I delay to rush in on them?
Par. There is no doubt but I shall smart for this.
But since I was oblig’d to ’t, I rejoice
That I shall make these strumpets suffer too:
For our old gentleman has long desir’d
Some cause to punish them; and now he has it.
Enter Pythias; Parmeno at a distance.
Pyth. Well! I was ne’er more pleas’d in all my life
Than when I saw th’ old man come blund’ring in.
I had the jest alone; for I alone
Knew what he was afraid of.
Par. Hey! what now?
Pyth. I’m now come forth t’ encounter Parmeno.
Where is he?
Par. She seeks me.
Pyth. Oh, there he is.
I’ll go up to him.
Par. Well, fool, what’s the matter? (Pythias laughs.)
What would you? what d’ye laugh at? Hey! what still?
Pyth. Oh, I shall die: I’m horribly fatigu’d
With laughing at you. (Laughing heartily.)
Par. For what cause?
Pyth. What cause?
I ne’er saw, ne’er shall see, a greater fool.
Oh, it’s impossible to tell what sport
You’ve made within. — I swear, I always thought
That you had been a shrewd, sharp, cunning fellow.
What! to believe directly what I told you!
Or was not you contented with the crime
You urg’d the youth to perpetrate, unless
You afterwards betray’d him to his father?
How d’ye suppose he felt when old gray-beard
Surpris’d him in that habit? — What! you find
That you’re undone. (Laughing heartily.)
Par. What’s this, impertinence?
Was it a lie you told me? D’ye laugh still?
Is’t such a jest to make fools of us, hag?
Pyth. Delightful! (Laughing.)
Par. If you don’t pay dearly for it! —
Pyth. Perhaps so. (Laughing.)
Par. I’ll return it.
Pyth. Oh, no doubt on’t. (Laughing.)
But what you threaten, Parmeno, is distant:
You’ll be truss’d up to-day; who first draw in
A raw young man to sin, and then betray him.
They’ll both conspire to make you an example. (Laughing.)
Par. I’m done for.
Pyth. Take this, slave, as a reward
For the fine gift you sent us; so, farewell!
Exit Pythias .
Par. I’ve been a fool indeed; and like a rat,
Betray’d myself to-day by my own squeaking.
Enter Thraso, Gnatho; Parmeno behind.
Gnat. What now? with what hope, or design, advance we?
What’s your intention, Thraso?
Thraso. My intention?
To Thais to surrender at discretion.
Gnat. How say you?
Thraso. Even so. Why should not I,
As well as Hercules to Omphale?
Gnat. A fit example. — Oh, that I could see her
Combing your empty noddle with her slipper!
But her door opens.
Creak, and fly open.
Thraso. ’Sdeath! what mischief now?
I ne’er so much as saw this face before.
Why bursts he forth with such alacrity?
Enter Chærea at another part of the stage.
Chær. Lives there, my countrymen, a happier man
To-day than I? — Not one. — For on my head
The gods have plainly emptied all their store,
On whom they’ve pour’d a flood of bliss at once.
Par. What’s he so pleas’d at?
Chær. (seeing him.) Oh my Parmeno
Inventor, undertaker, perfecter
Of all my pleasures, know’st thou my good fortunes?
Know’st thou my Pamphila’s a citizen?
Par. I’ve heard so.
Chær. Know’st thou she’s betroth’d my wife?
Par. Good news, by heaven!
Gnat. Hear you what he says? (To Thraso .)
Chær. Then I rejoice, my brother Phædria’s love
Is quietly secur’d to him forever:
We’re now one family: and Thais has
Found favor with my father, and resign’d
Herself to us for patronage and care.
Par. She’s then entirely Phædria’s!
Chær. Aye, entirely.
Par. Another cause of joy: the Captain routed!
Chær. See, Parmeno, my brother (wheresoe’er
He be) know this, as soon as possible!
Par. I’ll see if he’s at home.
Thraso. Hast any doubt,
Gnatho, but I’m entirely ruin’d?
Gnat. None at all.
Chær. What shall I mention first? whom praise the most!
Him that advis’d this action? or myself
That durst to undertake it? — or extol
Fortune, the governess of all, who deign’d,
Events so many, of such moment too,
So happily to close within one day?
Or shall I praise my father’s frank good-humor,
And gay festivity? — Oh, Jupiter,
Make but these blessings permanent!
Enter Phædria .
Phæd. Good heavens!
What wondrous things has Parmeno just told me!
But where’s my brother?
Phæd. I’m quite transported.
Chær. I dare believe you are; and trust me, brother,
Naught can be worthier of your love than Thais:
Our family are all much bounden to her.
Phæd. So! you’d need sing her praise to me!
As my hope dies, my passion gathers strength.
Gnatho, your help! my only hope’s in you.
Gnat. What would you have me do?
Thraso. Accomplish this;
By pray’r, by purchase, that I still may have
Some little share in Thais.
Gnat. A hard task!
Thraso. Do but incline to do’t, you can, I know.
Effect it, and demand whatever gift,
Whate’er reward you please, it shall be yours.
Gnat. If I accomplish this,
I claim, that you agree to throw your doors,
Present or absent, always open to me;
A welcome, uninvited guest forever.
Thraso. I pawn my honor as the pledge.
Gnat. I’ll try.
Phæd. What voice is that? Oh, Thraso!
Phæd. Perhaps you’re not acquainted yet
With what has happen’d here?
Thraso. I am.
Phæd. Why then
Do I behold you in these territories?
Thraso. Depending on —
Phæd. Depend on naught but this!
Captain, I give you warning, if, henceforth,
I ever find you in this street, although
You tell me, “I was looking for another,
I was but passing through,” expect no quarter.
Gnat. Oh fie! that is not handsome.
Phæd. I have said it.
Gnat. You can not be so rude.
Phæd. It shall be so.
Gnat. First grant me a short hearing: if you like
What I propose, agree to’t.
Phæd. Let us hear!
Gnat. Do you retire a moment, Thraso! (Thraso retires.) First,
I must beseech you both, most firmly think,
That I, whate’er I do in this affair,
For my own sake I do it: but if that
Likewise advantage you, not to agree
In you were folly.
Phæd. What are your proposals?
Gnat. I think, ’twere not imprudent to admit
The Captain, as your rival.
Admit him, say you?
Gnat. Nay reflect a little.
Phædria, you live at a high rate with Thais,
Revel, and feast, and stick at no expense.
Yet what you give’s but little, and you know
’Tis needful Thais should receive much more
Now to supply your love without your cost,
A fitter person, one more form’d, can’t be
Than Thraso is: first, he has wherewithal
To give, and gives most largely: a fool too,
A dolt, a block, that snores out night and day;
Nor can you fear she’ll e’er grow fond of him;
And you may drive him hence whene’er you please.
Phæd. What shall we do? (To Chærea .)
Gnat. Moreover this; the which
I hold no trifle, no man entertains
More nobly or more freely.
Phæd. I begin
To think we’ve need of such a fool.
Chær. And I.
Gnat. Well judg’d! and let me beg one favor more;
Admit me into your fraternity!
I’ve roll’d this stone too long.
Phæd. We do admit you.
Chær. With all our hearts.
Gnat. And you, Sirs, in return,
Shall pledge me in the Captain; eat him; drink him:
And laugh at him.
Chær. A bargain!
Phæd. ’Tis his due.
Gnat. Thraso, whene’er you please, come forward!
How stands the case?
Gnat. Alas! they knew you not!
But when I drew your character, and prais’d
Your worth, according to your deeds and virtues,
I gain’d my point.
Thraso. ’Tis well: I’m much oblig’d;
I ne’er was any where, in all my life,
But all folks lov’d me most exceedingly.
Gnat. There, did I not assure you, gentlemen,
That he had all the Attick Elegance?
Phæd. He is the very character you drew.
Gnat. Retire then. — Ye, (to the audience) farewell, and clap your hands!
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