The Comedies of Terence

The Self-Tormentor

Translated into familiar blank verse by George Colman

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Table of Contents

Persons Represented.

Prologue.

Act the First.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.

Act the Second.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III

Act the Third.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.
  7. Scene VII.

Act the Fourth.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.
  7. Scene VII.
  8. Scene VIII.
  9. Scene IX.

Act the Fifth.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.
  7. Scene VII.
  8. Scene VIII.

Persons Represented.

Prologue.

Menedemus.

Chremes.

Clinia.

Clitipho.

Syrus.

Dromo.

Sostrata.

Antiphila.

Bacchis.

Nurse.
Phrygia, and other servants of Bacchis .

Scene: a Village near Athens .

Prologue.

Lest any of you wonder, why the Bard
To an old actor hath assign’d the part
Sustain’d of old by young performers; that
I’ll first explain: then say what brings
To-day, a whole play, wholly from the Greek,
We mean to represent:— The Self-Tormentor:
Wrought from a single to a double plot.

Now therefore that our comedy is new,
And what it is, I’ve shown: who wrote it too,
And whose in Greek it is, were I not sure
Most of you knew already, would I tell.
But, wherefore I have ta’en this part upon me,
In brief I will deliver: for the Bard
Has sent me here as pleader, not as Prologue;
You he declares his judges, me his counsel:
And yet as counsel nothing can I speak
More than the Author teaches me to say,
Who wrote th’ oration which I now recite.

As to reports, which envious men have spread,
That he has ransack’d many Grecian plays,
While he composes some few Latin ones,
That he denies not, he has done; nor does
Repent he did it; means to do it still;
Safe in the warrant and authority
Of greater bards, who did long since the same.
Then for the charge, that his arch-enemy
Maliciously reproaches him withal,
That he but lately hath applied himself
To music, with the genius of his friends,
Rather than natural talents, fraught; how true,
Your judgment, your opinion, must decide.
I would entreat you, therefore, not to lean
To tales of slander, rather than of candor.
Be favorable; nurse with growing hopes
The bards, who give you pleasing novelties;
Pleasing I say, not such as His I mean,
Who lately introduc’d a breathless slave,
Making the crowd give way — But wherefore trace
A dunce’s faults? which shall be shown at large,
When more he writes, unless he cease to rail.

Attend impartially! and let me once
Without annoyance act an easy part;
Lest your old servant be o’er-labor’d still
With toilsome characters, the running slave,
The eating parasite, enrag’d old man,
The bold-fac’d sharper, covetous procurer;
Parts, that ask pow’rs of voice, and iron sides.
Deign then, for my sake, to accept this plea,
And grant me some remission from my labor.
For they, who now produce new comedies,
Spare not my age! If there is aught laborious,
They run to me; but if of little weight,
Away to others. In our piece to-day
The style is pure: now try my talents then
In either character. If I for gain,
Never o’er-rated my abilities;
If I have held it still my chief reward
To be subservient to your pleasure; fix
In me a fair example, that our youth
May seek to please you, rather than themselves.

Act the First.

Scene I.

Chremes, Menedemus .

Chrem. Though our acquaintance is as yet but young,
Since you have bought this farm that neighbors mine,
And little other commerce is betwixt us;
Yet or your virtue, or good neighborhood,
(Which is in my opinion kin to friendship,)
Urge me to tell you, fairly, openly,
That you appear to me to labor more
Than your age warrants, or affairs require.
For in the name of heav’n and earth, what would you?
What do you drive at? Threescore years of age,
Or older, as I guess; with an estate,
Better than which, more profitable, none
In these parts hold; master of many slaves;
As if you had not one at your command,
You labor in their offices yourself.
I ne’er go out so soon, return so late,
Morning or evening, but I see you still
At labour on your acres, digging, plowing,
Or carrying some burden: in a word,
You ne’er remit your toil, nor spare yourself.
This, I am certain, is not done for pleasure.
— You’ll say, perhaps, it vexes you to see
Your work go on so slowly; — do but give
The time you spend in laboring yourself
To set your slaves to work, ’twill profit more.

Mene. Have you such leisure from your own affairs
To think of those, that don’t concern you, Chremes?

Chrem. I am a man, and feel for all mankind.
Think, I advise, or ask for information:
If right, that I may do the same; if wrong,
To turn you from it.

Mene. I have need to do thus.
Do you as you think fit.

Chrem. Need any man
Torment himself?

Mene. I need.

Chrem. If you’re unhappy,
I’m sorry for it. But what evil’s this?
What is th’ offense so grievous to your nature,
That asks such cruel vengeance on yourself?

Mene. Alas! alas! (In tears.)

Chrem. Nay, weep not; but inform me.
Be not reserv’d; fear nothing: prithee, trust me:
By consolation, counsel, or assistance,
I possibly may serve you.

Mene. Would you know it?

Chrem. Aye, for the very reason I have mention’d.

Mene. I will inform you.

Chrem. But meanwhile lay down
Those rakes: don’t tire yourself.

Mene. It must not be.

Chrem. What mean you?

Mene. Give me leave: that I may take
No respite from my toil.

Chrem. I’ll not allow it. (Taking away the rakes.)

Mene. Ah, you do wrong.

Chrem. What, and so heavy too! (Weighing them in his hand.)

Mene. Such my desert.

Chrem. Now speak. (Laying down the rakes.)

Mene. One only son
I have. — Have, did I say? — Had I mean, Chremes.
Have I or no, is now uncertain.

Chrem. Wherefore?

Mene. That you shall know. An old Corinthian woman
Now sojourns here, a stranger in these parts,
And very poor. It happen’d, of her daughter
My son became distractedly enamor’d; —
E’en to the brink of marriage; and all this
Unknown to me: which I no sooner learn’d
Than I began to deal severely with him,
Not as a young and love-sick mind requir’d,
But in the rough and usual way of fathers.
Daily I chid him; crying, “How now, Sir!
Think you that you shall hold these courses long,
And I your father living? — Keep a mistress,
As if she were your wife! — You are deceiv’d,
If you think that, and do not know me, Clinia.
While you act worthily, you’re mine; if not,
I shall act toward you worthy of myself.
All this arises from mere idleness.
I, at your age, ne’er thought of love; but went
To seek my fortune in the wars in Asia,
And there acquir’d in arms both wealth and glory.”
— In short, things came to such a pass, the youth,
O’ercome with hearing still the self-same thing,
And wearied out with my reproaches; thinking,
Age and experience had enabled me
To judge his interest better than himself,
Went off to serve the king in Asia, Chremes.

Chrem. How say you?

Mene. Stole away three months ago,
Without my knowledge.

Chrem. Both have been to blame:
And yet this enterprise bespeaks a mind,
Modest and manly.

Mene. Having heard of this
From some of his familiars, home I came
Mournful, half-mad, and almost wild with grief.
I sit me down; my servants run to me;
Some draw my sandals off; while others haste
To spread the couches, and prepare the supper:
Each in his way, I mark, does all he can
To mitigate my sorrow. Noting this,
“How,” said I to myself, “so many then
Anxious for me alone? to pleasure me?
So many slaves to dress me? All this cost
For me alone? — Meanwhile, my only son,
For whom all these were fit, as well as me,
Nay rather more, since he is of an age
More proper for their use; him, him, poor boy,
Has my unkindness driven forth to sorrow.
Oh I were worthy of the heaviest curse,
Could I brook that! — No; long as he shall lead
A life of penury abroad, an exile
Through my unjust severity, so long
Will I revenge his wrongs upon myself,
Laboring, scraping, sparing, slaving for him.”
— In short, I did so; in the house I left
Nor clothes, nor movables: I scrap’d up all.
My slaves, both male and female, except those
Who more than earn’d their bread in country-work,
I sold: Then set my house to sale: In all
I got together about fifteen talents;
Purchas’d this farm; and here fatigue myself;
Thinking I do my son less injury,
While I’m in misery too; nor is it just
For me, I think, to taste of pleasure here,
Till he return in safety to partake on’t.

Chrem. You I believe a tender parent, him
A duteous son, if govern’d prudently.
But you was unacquainted with his nature,
And he with yours: sad life, where things are so!
You ne’er betray’d your tenderness to him;
Nor durst he place that confidence in you,
Which well becomes the bosom of a father.
Had that been done, this had not happen’d to you.

Mene. True, I confess; but I was most in fault.

Chrem. All, Menedemus, will, I hope, be well,
And trust, your son will soon return in safety.

Mene. Grant it, good Gods!

Chrem. They will. Now, therefore, since
The Dionysia are held here to-day,
If ’tis convenient, come, and feast with me.

Mene. Impossible.

Chrem. Why so? — Nay, prithee now,
Indulge yourself a while: your absent son,
I’m sure, would have it so.

Mene. It is not meet,
That I, who drove him forth to misery,
Should fly it now myself.

Chrem. You are resolv’d?

Mene. Most constantly.

Chrem. Farewell then!

Mene. Fare you well!

Exit.

Scene II.

Chremes alone.

He draws tears from me. — How I pity him!
— But ’tis high time, as the day goes, to warn
My neighbor Phania to come forth to supper.
I’ll go, and see if he’s at home.

Goes to Phania’s door, and returns.

There was,
It seems, no need of warning: for, they tell me,
He went to his appointment some time since.
’Tis I myself that keep my guests in waiting.
I’ll in immediately. — But what’s the meaning
That my door opens? — (Clitipho appears.) Who’s this? — I’ll retire. (Retires.)

Scene III.

Enter Clitipho, speaking to Clinia within.

As yet, my Clinia, you’ve no cause to fear:
They are not long: and she, I’m confident,
Will be here shortly with the messenger.
Prithee, away then with these idle cares,
Which thus torment you!

Chrem. (behind.) Whom does my son speak to?

Clit. My father as I wish’d — Good Sir, well met.

Chrem. What now?

Clit. D’ye know our neighbor Menedemus?

Chrem. Aye, very well.

Clit. D’ye know he has a son?

Chrem. I’ve heard he is in Asia.

Clit. No such thing.
He’s at our house, Sir.

Chrem. How!

Clit. But just arriv’d:
Ev’n at his landing I fell in with him,
And brought him here to supper: for, from boys,
We have been friends and intimates.

Chrem. Good news:
Now do I wish the more that Menedemus,
Whom I invited, were my guest to-day,
That I, and under my own roof, might be
The first to have surpris’d him with this joy!
And I may yet. (Going.)

Clit. Take heed! it were not good.

Chrem. How so?

Clit. Because the youth is yet in doubt:
Newly arriv’d; in fear of ev’ry thing;
He dreads his father’s anger, and suspects
The disposition of his mistress tow’rds him;
Her, whom he dotes upon; on whose account,
This diff’rence and departure came about.

Chrem. I know it.

Clit. He has just dispatch’d his boy
Into the city to her, and our Syrus
I sent along with him.

Chrem. What says the son?

Clit. Says? that he’s miserable.

Chrem. Miserable!
Who needs be less so? for what earthly good
Can man possess which he may not enjoy?
Parents, a prosp’rous country, friends, birth, riches.
Yet these all take their value from the mind
Of the possessor: he that knows their use,
To him they’re blessings; he that knows it not,
To him misuse converts them into curses.

Clit. Nay, but he ever was a cross old man:
And now there’s nothing that I dread so much,
As lest he be transported in his rage
To some gross outrages against his son.

Chrem. He! — He! — But I’ll contain myself. ’Tis good
For Menedemus that his son should fear. (Aside.)

Clit. What say you, Sir, within yourself! (Overhearing.)

Chrem. I say,
Be’t as it might, the son should have remain’d.
Grant that the father bore too strict a hand
Upon his loose desires; he should have borne it.
Whom would he bear withal, if not a parent?
Was’t fitting that the father should conform
To the son’s humor, or the son to his?
And for the rigor that he murmurs at,
’Tis nothing: the severities of fathers,
Unless perchance a hard one here and there,
Are much the same: they reprimand their sons
For riotous excesses, wenching, drinking;
And starve their pleasures by a scant allowance.
Yet this all tends to good: but when the mind
Is once enslav’d to vicious appetites,
It needs must follow vicious measures too.
Remember then this maxim, Clitipho,
A wise one ’tis to draw from others’ faults
A profitable lesson for yourself.

Clit. I do believe it.

Chrem. Well, I’ll in, and see
What is provided for our supper: you,
As the day wears, see that you’re not far hence.

Exit.

Scene IV.

Clitipho alone.

What partial judges of all sons are fathers!
Who ask gray wisdom from our greener years,
And think our minds should bear no touch of youth;
Governing by their passions, now kill’d in them,
And not by those that formerly rebell’d.
If ever I’ve a son, I promise him
He shall find me an easy father; fit
To know, and apt to pardon his offenses!
Not such as mine, who, speaking of another,
Shows how he’d act in such a case himself:
Yet when he takes a cup or two too much,
Oh, what mad pranks he tells me of his own:
But warns me now “to draw from others’ faults
A profitable lesson for myself.”
Cunning old gentleman! he little knows,
He pours his proverbs in a deaf man’s ear.
The words of Bacchis, Give me, Bring me, now
Have greater weight with me: to whose commands,
Alas! I’ve nothing to reply withal;
Nor is there man more wretched than myself.
For Clinia here (though he, I must confess,
Has cares enough) has got a mistress, modest,
Well-bred, and stranger to all harlot arts:
Mine is a self-will’d, wanton, haughty madam,
Gay, and extravagant; and let her ask
Whate’er she will, she must not be denied;
Since poverty I durst not make my plea.
This is a plague I have but newly found,
Nor is my father yet appris’d of it.

Act the Second.

Scene I.

Enter Clinia .

Clin. Had my affairs in love been prosperous,
They had, I know, been here long since: but, ah,
I fear she’s fall’n from virtue in my absence:
So many things concur to prove it so,
My mind misgives me; opportunity,
The place, her age, an infamous old mother,
Under whose governance she lives, to whom
’Naught but gain’s precious.

To him Clitipho .

Clit. Clinia!

Clin. Woe is me! (To himself.)

Clit. Take heed, lest some one issue from your father’s,
And chance to see you here.

Clin. I will: but yet
My mind forebodes I know not what of ill.

Clit. What, still foreboding, ere you know the truth?

Clin. Had there been no untoward circumstance,
They had return’d already

Clit. Patience, Clinia!
They’ll be here presently.

Clin. Presently! but when?

Clit. Consider, ’tis a long way off: and then
You know the ways of women; to set off,
And trick their persons out, requires an age.

Clin. Oh Clitipho, I fear —

Clit. Take courage; see,
Dromo and Syrus!

Scene II.

Enter Syrus and Dromo, conversing at a distance.

Syrus. Say you?

Dromo. Even so.

Syrus. But while we chat, the girls are left behind.

Clit. (listening.) Girls, Clinia! do you hear?

Clin. I hear, I see,
And now, at last, I’m happy, Clitipho.

Dromo (to Syrus). Left behind! troth, no wonder: so encumber’d;
A troop of waiting-women at her heels!

Clin. (listening). Confusion! Whence should she have waiting-women?

Clit. How can I tell?

Syrus (to Dromo). We ought not to have dropp’d them.
They bring a world of baggage!

Clin. (listening). Death!

Syrus. Gold, clothes!
It grows late too, and they may miss their way.
We’ve been to blame: Dromo, run back, and meet them.
Away! quick, quick! don’t loiter.

Exit Dromo .

Clin. What a wretch!
All my fair hopes quite blasted!

Clit. What’s the matter?
What is it troubles you?

Clin. What troubles me?
D’ye hear? She waiting-women, gold, and clothes!
She, whom I left with one poor servant-girl!
Whence come they, think you?

Clit. Oh, I take you now.

Syrus (to himself). Gods, what a crowd! our house will hardly hold them.
What eating, and what drinking will there be!
How miserable our old gentleman!
But here are those I wish’d to see!

Seeing Clit. and Clin .

Clin. Oh Jove!
Where then are truth, and faith, and honor fled?
While I a fugitive, for love of you,
Quit my dear country, you, Antiphila,
For sordid gain desert me in distress!
You, for whose sake I courted infamy,
And cast off my obedience to my father.
He, I remember now with grief and shame,
Oft warn’d me of these women’s ways; oft tried
In vain by sage advice to wean me from her.
But now I bid farewell to her forever;
Though, when ’twere good and wholesome, I was froward.
No wretch more curs’d than I!

Syrus. He has misconstrued
All our discourse, I find — You fancy, Clinia,
Your mistress other than she is. Her life,
As far as we from circumstance could learn,
Her disposition tow’rd you, are the same.

Clin. How! tell me all: for there is naught on earth
I’d rather know than that my fears are false.

Syrus. First then, that you may be appris’d of all,
Th’ old woman, thought her mother, was not so:
That beldam also is deceas’d; for this
I overheard her, as we came along,
Telling the other.

Clit. Other! who? what other?

Syrus. Let me but finish what I have begun,
And I shall come to that.

Clit. Dispatch then.

Syrus. First,
Having arriv’d, Dromo knocks at the door:
Which an old woman had no sooner open’d,
But in goes Dromo, and I after him.
Th’ old woman bolts the door, and spins again,
And now, or never, Clinia, might be known,
Coming thus unexpectedly upon her,
Antiphila’s employments in your absence:
For such, as then we saw, we might presume
Her daily practice, which of all things else,
Betrays the mind and disposition most.
Busily plying of the web we found her,
Decently clad in mourning, — I suppose,
For the deceas’d old woman. — She had on
No gold or trinkets, but was plain and neat,
And dress’d like those who dress but for themselves.
No female varnish to set off her beauty:
Her hair dishevel’d, long, and flowing loose
About her shoulders. — Peace! (To Clinia .)

Clin. Nay, prithee, Syrus,
Do not transport me thus without a cause.

Syrus. Th’ old woman spun the woof; one servant-girl,
A tatter’d dirty dowdy, weaving by her.

Clit. Clinia, if this be true, as sure it is,
Who is more fortunate than you? D’ye mark
The ragged dirty girl that he describ’d?
A sign the mistress leads a blameless life,
When she maintains no flaunting go-between:
For ’tis a rule with those gallants, who wish
To win the mistress, first to bribe the maid.

Clin. Go on, I beg you, Syrus; and take heed
You fill me not with idle joy. — What said she
When you nam’d me?

Syrus. As soon as we inform’d her
You was return’d, and begg’d her to come to you,
She left her work immediately, and burst
Into a flood of tears, which one might see
Were shed for love of you.

Clin. By all the Gods,
I know not where I am for very joy.
Oh, how I trembled!

Clit. Without cause, I knew.
But come; now, Syrus, tell us, who’s that other?

Syrus. Your mistress, Bacchis.

Clit. How! what! Bacchis?
Where d’ye propose to carry her, rogue?

Syrus. Where?
To our house certainly.

Clit. My father’s?

Syrus. Aye.

Clit. Oh monstrous impudence!

Syrus. Consider, Sir;
More danger, the more honor.

Clit. Look ye, Sirrah,
You mean to purchase praise at my expense,
Where the least slip of yours would ruin me.
What is’t you drive at?

Syrus. But —

Clit. But what?

Syrus. I’ll tell you,
Give me but leave!

Clin. Permit him.

Clit. Well, I do.

Syrus. This business — now — is just as if — (Drawling.)

Clit. Confusion!
What a long roundabout beginning!

Clin. True.
To the point, Syrus!

Syrus. I’ve no patience with you.
You use me ill, Sir, and I can’t endure it.

Clin. Hear him: peace, Clitipho! (To Clitipho .)

Syrus. You’d be in love;
Possess your mistress; and have wherewithal
To make her presents: but to gain all this
You’d risk no danger. By my troth, you’re wise,
If it be wise to wish for what can’t be.
Take good and bad together; both, or none;
Choose which you will; no mistress, or no danger.
And yet, the scheme I’ve laid is fair and safe;
Your mistress may be with you at your father’s
Without detection; by the self-same means
I shall procure the sum you’ve promis’d her,
Which you have rung so often in my ears,
You’ve almost deafen’d them. — What would you more?

Clit. If it may be so —

Syrus. If! the proof shall show.

Clit. Well, well then, what’s this scheme?

Syrus. We will pretend
That Bacchis is his mistress.

Clit. Mighty fine!
What shall become then of his own? Shall she
Pass for his too, because one’s not enough
To answer for?

Syrus. No. She shall to your mother.

Clit. How so?

Syrus. ’Twere tedious, Clitipho, to tell:
Let it suffice, I’ve reason for it.

Clit. Nonsense!
I see no ground to make me hazard this.

Syrus. Well; if you dread this, I’ve another way,
Which you shall both own has no danger in’t.

Clit. Aye, prithee, find that out.

Syrus. With all my heart.
I’ll run and meet the woman on the road,
And order them to go straight home again.

Clit. How! what!

Syrus. I mean to ease you of your fear,
That you may sleep in peace on either side. (Going.)

Clit. What shall I do?

Clin. E’en profit of his scheme.

Clit. But, Syrus, tell me then —

Syrus. Away, away!
This day too late you’ll wish for her in vain. (Going.)

Clin. This is your time: enjoy it, while you may:
Who knows if you may have the like again?

Clit. Syrus, I say.

Syrus. Call as you please, I’ll on.

Clit. Clinia, you’re right. — Ho, Syrus! Syrus, ho!
Syrus, I say.

Syrus. So, he grows hot at last. (To himself.)
What would you, Sir? (Turning about.)

Clit. Come back, come back!

Syrus. I’m here. (Returns.)
You’re pleasure, Sir! — What, will not this content you?

Clit. Yes, Syrus; me, my passion, and my fame
I render up to you: dispose of all;
But see you’re not to blame.

Syrus. Ridiculous!
Spare your advice, good Clitipho! you know
Success is my concern still more than yours:
For if perchance we fail in our attempt,
You shall have words; but I, alas! dry blows.
Be sure then of my diligence; and beg
Your friend to join, and countenance our scheme.

Clin. Depend on me: I see it must be so.

Clit. Thanks, my best Clinia!

Clin. But take heed she trip not.

Syrus. Oh, she is well instructed.

Clit. Still I wonder
How you prevail’d so easily upon her:
Her, who’s so scornful.

Syrus. I came just in time,
Time, that in most affairs is all in all:
For there I found a certain wretched captain,
Begging her favors. She, an artful baggage,
Denied him, to inflame his mind the more,
And make her court to you. — But hark ye, Sir,
Be cautious of your conduct! no imprudence!
You know how shrewd and keen your father is;
And I know your intemperance too well.
No double-meanings, glances, leers, sighs, hems,
Coughing, or titt’ring, I beseech you, Sir!

Clit. I’ll play my part —

Syrus. Look to’t!

Clit. To your content.

Syrus. But see, the women! they’re soon after us. (Looking out.)

Clit. Where are they? — (Syrus stops him.) Why d’ye hold me?

Syrus. She is not
Your mistress now.

Clit. True: not before my father.
But now, meanwhile —

Syrus. Nor now, meanwhile,

Clit. Allow me!

Syrus. No.

Clit. But a moment!

Syrus. No.

Clit. A single kiss!

Syrus. Away, if you are wise!

Clit. Well, well, I’m gone.
— What’s he to do?

Syrus. Stay here.

Clit. O happy —

Syrus. March! (Pushes off Clitipho .)

Scene III

Enter Bacchis, and Antiphila at a distance.

Bacch. Well, I commend you, my Antiphila:
Happy, that you have made it still your care,
That virtue should seem fair as beauty in you!
Nor Gracious Heav’n so help me, do I wonder
If ev’ry man should wish you for his own;
For your discourse bespeaks a worthy mind.
And when I ponder with myself, and weigh
Your course of life, and all the rest of those
Who live not on the common, ’tis not strange,
Your morals should be different from ours.
Virtue’s your int’rest; those, with whom we deal,
Forbid it to be ours: For our gallants,
Charm’d by our beauty, court us but for that;
Which fading, they transfer their love to others.
If then meanwhile we look not to ourselves,
We live forlorn, deserted, and distress’d.
You, when you’ve once agreed to pass your life
Bound to one man, whose temper suits with yours,
He too attaches his whole heart to you:
Thus mutual friendship draws you each to each;
Nothing can part you, nothing shake your love.

Anti. I know not others’; for myself I know,
From his content I ever drew my own.

Clin. (overhearing). Excellent maid! my best Antiphila!
Thou too, thy love alone is now the cause
That brings me to my native land again.
For when away, all evils else were light
Compar’d to wanting thee.

Syrus. I do believe it.

  (Apart.)

Clin. O Syrus, ’tis too much: I can not bear it.
Wretch that I am! — and must I be debarr’d
To give a loose to love, a love like this?

Syrus. And yet if I may judge your father’s mind,
He has more troubles yet in store for you.

 

Bacch. Who is that youth that eyes us? (Seeing Clinia .)

Anti. Ha! (seeing him.) — Support me!

Bacch. Bless me, what now?

Anti. I faint.

Bacch. Alas, poor soul!
What is’t surprises you, Antiphila?

Anti. Is’t Clinia that I see, or no?

Bacch. Whom do you see?

Clin. Welcome my soul! (Running up to her.)

Anti. My wish’d-for Clinia, welcome!

Clin. How fares my love?

Anti. O’erjoyed at your return.

Clin. And do I hold thee, my Antiphila,
Thou only wish and comfort of my soul!

Syrus. In, in, for you have made our good man wait.

Exeunt.

Act the Third.

Scene I.

Chrem. ’Tis now just daybreak. — Why delay I then
To call my neighbor forth, and be the first
To tell him of his son’s return? — The youth,
I understand, would fain not have it so.
But shall I, when I see this poor old man
Afflict himself so grievously, by silence
Rob him of such an unexpected joy,
When the discov’ry can not hurt the son?
No, I’ll not do’t; but far as in my pow’r
Assist the father. As my son, I see,
Ministers to th’ occasions of his friend,
Associated in counsels, rank, and age,
So we old men should serve each other too.

Scene II.

Enter Menedemus .

Mene. (to himself). Sure I’m by nature form’d for misery
Beyond the rest of humankind, or else
’Tis a false saying, though a common one,
“That time assuages grief.” For ev’ry day
My sorrow for the absence of my son
Grows on my mind: the longer he’s away,
The more impatiently I wish to see him,
The more pine after him.

Chrem. But he’s come forth. (Seeing Menedemus .)
Yonder he stands. I’ll go and speak with him.
Good-morrow, neighbor! I have news for you;
Such news as you’ll be overjoy’d to hear.

Mene. Of my son, Chremes?

Chrem. He’s alive and well.

Mene. Where?

Chrem. At my house.

Mene. My son?

Chrem. Your son.

Mene. Come home?

Chrem. Come home.

Mene. My dear boy come? my Clinia?

Chrem. He.

Mene. Away then! prithee, bring me to him.

Chrem. Hold!
He cares not you should know of his return,
And dreads your sight because of his late trespass.
He fears, besides, your old severity
Is now augmented.

Mene. Did not you inform him
The bent of my affections?

Chrem. Not I.

Mene. Wherefore, Chremes?

Chrem. Because ’twould injure both yourself and him
To seem of such a poor and broken spirit.

Mene. I can not help it. Too long, much too long,
I’ve been a cruel father.

Chrem. Ah, my friend,
You run into extremes; too niggardly,
Or, too profuse; imprudent either way.
First, rather than permit him entertain
A mistress, who was then content with little,
And glad of any thing, you drove him hence:
Whereon the girl was forc’d against her will,
To grow a common gamester for her bread:
And now she can’t be kept without much cost,
You’d squander thousands. For to let you know
How admirably madam’s train’d to mischief,
How finely form’d to ruin her admirers,
She came to my house yesternight with more
Than half a score of women at her tail,
Laden with clothes and jewels. — If she had
A Prince to her gallant, he could not bear
Such wild extravagance: much less can you.

Mene. Is she within too?

Chrem. She within! Aye, truly.
I’ve found it to my cost: for I have given
To her and her companions but one supper;
And to give such another would undo me.
For, not to dwell on other circumstances,
Merely to taste, and smack, and spirt about.
What quantities of wine has she consum’d!
This is too rough, she cries; some softer, pray!
I have pierc’d every vessel, ev’ry cask;
Kept ev’ry servant running to and fro:
All this ado, and all in one short night!
What, Menedemus, must become of you,
Whom they will prey upon continually?
Now, afore Heaven, thinking upon this,
I pitied you.

Mene. Why let him have his will;
Waste, consume, squander; I’ll endure it all,
So I but keep him with me.

Chrem. If resolv’d
To take that course, I hold it of great moment
That he perceive not you allow of this.

Mene. What shall I do then?

Chrem. Any thing much rather
Than what you mean to do: at second-hand
Supply him; or permit his slave to trick you;
Though I perceive they’re on that scent already,
And privately contriving how to do’t.
There’s Syrus, and that little slave of yours
In an eternal whisper: the young men
Consulting too together: and it were
Better to lose a talent by these means,
Than on your plan a mina: for at present
Money is not the question, but the means
To gratify the youth the safest way.
For if he once perceives your turn of mind,
That you had rather throw away your life,
And waste your whole estate, than part with him,
Ah, what a window to debauchery
You’ll open, Menedemus! Such a one,
As will embitter even life itself;
For too much liberty corrupts us all.
Whatever comes into his head, he’ll have;
Nor think if his demand be right or wrong.
You, on your part, to see your wealth and son
Both wreck’d, will not be able to endure.
You’ll not comply with his demands; whereon
He falls to his old fence immediately,
And knowing where your weak part lies, will threaten
To leave you instantly.

Mene. ’Tis very like.

Chrem. Now on my life I have not clos’d my eyes,
Nor had a single wink of sleep this night,
For thinking how I might restore your son.

Mene. Give me your hand: and let me beg you, Chremes,
Continue to assist me!

Chrem. Willingly.

Mene. D’ye know what I would have you do at present?

Chrem. What?

Mene. Since you have found out they meditate
Some practice on me, prithee, urge them on
To execute it quickly: for I long
To grant his wishes, long to see him straight.

Chrem. Let me alone. I must lay hold of Syrus,
And give him some encouragement. — But see!
Some one, I know not who, comes forth: In, in,
Lest they perceive that we consult together!
I have a little business too in hand.
Simus and Crito, our two neighbors here,
Have a dispute about their boundaries;
And they’ve referr’d it to my arbitration,
I’ll go and tell them, ’tis not in my power
To wait on them, as I propos’d to-day.
I will be with you presently.

Mene. Pray do.

Exit Chremes .
Gods! that the nature of mankind is such,
To see and judge of the affairs of others
Much better than their own! Is’t therefore so,
Because that, in our own concerns, we feel
The influence of joy or grief too nearly?
How much more wisely does my neighbor here,
Consult for me, than I do for myself!

Chrem. (returning.) I’ve disengag’d myself! that I might be
At leisure to attend on your affairs.

Exit Menedemus .

Scene III.

Enter Syrus at another part of the stage.

Syrus (to himself.) One way, or other, money must be had,
And the old gentleman impos’d upon.

Chrem. (overbearing.) Was I deceiv’d in thinking they were at it?
That slave of Clinia’s, it should seem, is dull,
And so our Syrus has the part assign’d him.

Syrus. Who’s there (seeing Chremes). Undone if he has overheard me. (Aside.)

Chrem. Syrus.

Syrus. Sir!

Chrem. What now?

Syrus. Nothing. — But I wonder
To see you up so early in the morning,
Who drank so freely yesterday.

Chrem. Not much.

Syrus. Not much? You have, Sir, as the proverb goes,
The old age of an eagle.

Chrem. Ah!

Syrus. A pleasant,
Good sort of girl, this wench of Clinia’s.

Chrem. Aye, so she seems.

Syrus. And handsome.

Chrem. Well enough.

Syrus. Not like the maids of old, but passable,
As girls go now: nor am I much amaz’d
That Clinia dotes upon her. But he has,
Alas, poor lad! a miserable, close,
Dry, covetous, curmudgeon to his father:
Our neighbor here; d’ye know him? — Yet, as if
He did not roll in riches, his poor son
Was forc’d to run away for very want.
D’ye know this story?

Chrem. Do I know it? Aye.
A scoundrel! should be horse-whipp’d.

Syrus. Who?

Chrem. That slave
Of Clinia’s —

Syrus. Troth, I trembled for you, Syrus! (Aside.)

Chrem. Who suffer’d this.

Syrus. Why what should he have done?

Chrem. What? — have devis’d some scheme, some ways and means
To raise the cash for the young gentleman
To make his mistress presents; and have done
A kindness to th’ old hunks against his will.

Syrus. You jest.

Chrem. Not I: it was his duty, Syrus.

Syrus. How’s this? why prithee then, d’ye praise those slaves,
Who trick their masters?

Chrem. Yes upon occasion.

Syrus. Mighty fine, truly!

Chrem. Why, it oft prevents
A great deal of uneasiness: for instance,
My neighbour Menedemus, well deceiv’d,
Would ne’er have seen his son abandon him.

Syrus. I don’t know whether he’s in jest or earnest,
But it gives me encouragement to trick him.(Aside.)

Chrem. And now what is’t the blockhead waits for, Syrus?
Is’t till his master runs away again,
When he perceives himself no longer able
To bear with the expenses of his mistress?
Has he no plot upon th’ old gentleman?

Syrus. He’s a poor creature.

Chrem. But it is your part,
For Clinia’s sake, to lend a helping hand.

Syrus. Why, that indeed I easily can do,
If you command me; for I know which way.

Chrem. I take you at your word.

Syrus. I’ll make it good.

Chrem. Do so.

Syrus. But hark ye, Sir! remember this,
If ever it hereafter comes to pass,
— As who can answer for th’ affairs of men!
That your own son —

Chrem. I hope ’twill never be.

Syrus. I hope so too; nor do I mention this
From any knowledge or suspicion of him:
But that in case — his time of life, you know;
And should there be occasion, trust me, Chremes,
But I could handle you most handsomely.

Chrem. Well, well, we’ll think of it, when that time comes.
Now to your present task!

Exit Chremes .

Scene IV.

Syrus alone.

I never heard
My master argue more commodiously;
Nor ever was inclin’d to mischief, when
It might be done with more impunity.
But who’s this coming from our house?

Scene V.

Enter Clitipho, and Chremes following.

Chrem. How now?
What manners are these, Clitipho? does this
Become you?

Clit. What’s the matter?

Chrem. Did not I
This very instant see you put your hand
Into yon wench’s bosom?

Syrus. So! all’s over:
I am undone. (Aside.)

Clit. Me, Sir?

Chrem. These very eyes
Beheld you: don’t deny it. — ’Tis base in you
To be so flippant with your hands. For what
Affront’s more gross than to receive a friend
Under your roof, and tamper with his mistress?
And, last night in your cups too, how indecent
And rudely you behav’d!

Syrus. ’Tis very true.

Chrem. So very troublesome, so help me Heav’n,
I fear’d the consequence. I know the ways
Of lovers: they oft take offense at things
You dream not of.

Clit. But my companion, Sir,
Is confident I would not wrong him.

Chrem. Granted.
Yet you should cease to hang forever on them.
Withdraw, and leave them sometimes to themselves.
Love has a thousand sallies; you restrain them.
I can conjecture from myself. There’s none,
How near soever, Clitipho, to whom
I dare lay open all my weaknesses.
With one my pride forbids it, with another
The very action shames me: and believe me,
It is the same with him; and ’tis our place
To mark on what occasions to indulge him.

Syrus. What says he now? (Aside.)

Clit. Confusion!

Syrus. Clitipho,
These are the very precepts that I gave you:
And how discreet and temperate you’ve been!

Clit. Prithee, peace!

Syrus. Aye, I warrant you.

Chrem. Oh, Syrus,
I’m quite asham’d of him.

Syrus. I do not doubt it.
Nor without reason; for it troubles me.

Clit. Still, rascal?

Syrus. Nay, I do but speak the truth.

Clit. May I not then go near them?

Chrem. Prithee, then,
Is there one way alone of going near them?

Syrus. Confusion! he’ll betray himself before
I get the money. (Aside.) — Chremes, will you once
Hear a fool’s counsel?

Chrem. What do you advise?

Syrus. Order your son about his business.

Clit. Whither?

Syrus. Whither! where’er you please. Give place to them.
Go take a walk.

Clit. Walk! where?

Syrus. A pretty question!
This, that, or any way.

Chrem. He says right. Go!

Clit. Now, plague upon you, Syrus! (Going.)

Syrus (to Clitipho, going). Henceforth, learn
To keep those hands of yours at rest.

Exit Clitipho .

Scene VI.

Chremes, Syrus .

D’ye mind?
What think you, Chremes, will become of him,
Unless you do your utmost to preserve,
Correct, and counsel him?

Chrem. I’ll take due care.

Syrus. But now’s your time, Sir, to look after him.

Chrem. It shall be done.

Syrus. It must be, if you’re wise:
For ev’ry day he minds me less and less.

Chrem. But, Syrus, say, what progress have you made
In that affair I just now mention’d to you?
Have you struck out a scheme that pleases you?
Or are you still to seek?

Syrus. The plot, you mean,
On Menedemus. I’ve just hit on one.

Chrem. Good fellow! prithee now, what is’t?

Syrus. I’ll tell you.
But as one thing brings in another —

Chrem. Well?

Syrus. This Bacchis is a sad jade.

Chrem. So it seems.

Syrus. Aye, Sir, if you knew all; nay, even now
She’s hatching mischief. — Dwelling hereabouts,
There was of late an old Corinthian woman,
To whom this Bacchis lent a thousand pieces.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. The woman’s dead; and left behind
A daughter, very young, whom she bequeath’d,
By way of pledge, to Bacchis for the money.

Chrem. I understand.

Syrus. This girl came here with Bacchis,
And now is with your wife.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. She begs
Of Clinia to advance the cash; for which
She’ll give the girl as an equivalent.
She wants the thousand pieces.

Chrem. Does she so?

Syrus. No doubt on’t.

Chrem. So I thought. — And what do you
Intend to do?

Syrus. Who? I, Sir? I’ll away
To Menedemus presently; and tell him
This maiden is a rich and noble captive,
Stolen from Caria; and to ransom her
Will greatly profit him.

Chrem. ’Twill never do.

Syrus. How so?

Chrem. I answer now for Menedemus.
I will not purchase her. What say you now?

Syrus. Give a more favorable answer!

Chrem. No,
There’s no occasion.

Syrus. No occasion?

Chrem. No.

Syrus. I can not comprehend you.

Chrem. I’ll explain.
— But hold! what now? whence comes it that our door
Opens so hastily?

Scene VII.

Enter at a distance Sostrata with a ring, and the Nurse .

Sostra. Or I’m deceiv’d,
Or this is certainly the very ring;
The ring with which my daughter was expos’d.

Chrem. (to Syrus, behind). What can those words mean, Syrus?

Sostra. Tell me, Nurse!
Does it appear to you to be the same?

Nurse. Aye, marry: and the very moment that
You show’d it me, I said it was the same.

Sostra. But have you thoroughly examin’d, Nurse?

Nurse. Aye, thoroughly.

Sostra. In then, and let me know
If she has yet done bathing; and meanwhile
I’ll wait my husband here.

Exit Nurse .

Syrus. She wants you, Sir!
Enquire, what she would have. She’s very grave.
’Tis not for nothing; and I fear the cause.

Chrem. The cause? pshaw! nothing. She’ll take mighty pains
To be deliver’d of some mighty trifle.

Sostra. (seeing them). Oh husband!

Chrem. Oh wife!

Sostra. I was looking for you,

Chrem. Your pleasure?

Sostra. First, I must entreat you then,
Believe, I would not dare do any thing
Against your order.

Chrem. What! must I believe
A thing past all belief? — I do believe it.

Syrus. This exculpation bodes some fault, I’m sure. (Aside.)

Sostra. Do you remember, I was pregnant once,
When you assur’d me with much earnestness,
That if I were deliver’d of a girl,
You would not have the child brought up?

Chrem. I know
What you have done. You have brought up the child.

Syrus. Madam, if so, my master gains a loss.

Sostra. No, I have not: but there was at that time
An old Corinthian woman dwelling here,
To whom I gave the child to be expos’d.

Chrem. O Jupiter! was ever such a fool!

Sostra. Ah, what have I committed?

Chrem. What committed!

Sostra. If I’ve offended, Chremes, ’tis a crime
Of ignorance, and nothing of my purpose.

Chrem. Own it or not, I know it well enough,
That ignorantly, and imprudently,
You do and say all things; how many faults
In this one action are you guilty of!
For first, had you complied with my commands,
The girl had been dispatch’d; and not her death
Pretended, and hopes given of her life.
But that I do not dwell upon: You’ll cry,
“ — Pity, — a mother’s fondness.” — I allow it.
But then how rarely you provided for her!
What could you mean? consider! — for ’tis plain,
You have betray’d your child to that old beldam,
Either for prostitution, or for sale.
So she but liv’d, it was enough, you thought:
No matter how, or what vile life she led.
— What can one do, or how proceed, with those,
Who know of neither reason, right, nor justice?
Better or worse, for or against, they see
Nothing but what they list.

Sostra. My dearest Chremes,
I own I have offended: I’m convinc’d.
But since you’re more experienc’d than myself,
I pray you be the more indulgent too,
And let my weakness shelter in your justice.

Chrem. Well, well, I pardon you: but, Sostrata,
Forgiving you thus easily, I do
But teach you to offend again. But come,
Say, wherefore you began this?

Sostra. As we women
Are generally weak and superstitious,
When first to this Corinthian old woman
I gave the little infant, from my finger
I drew a ring, and charg’d her to expose
That with my daughter: that if chance she died,
She might have part of our possessions with her.

Chrem. ’Twas right: you thus preserv’d yourself and her.

Sostra. This is that ring.

Chrem. Where had it you?

Sostra. The girl
That Bacchis brought with her —

Syrus. Ha! (Aside.)

Chrem. What says she?

Sostra. Desir’d I’d keep it while she went to bathe.
I took no notice on’t, at first; but I
No sooner look’d on’t than I knew’t again,
And straight ran out to you.

Chrem. And what d’ye think,
Or know concerning her?

Sostra. I can not tell,
Till you inquire it of herself, and find,
If possible, from whence she had the ring.

Syrus. Undone! I see more hope than I desire.
She’s ours, if this be so. (Aside.)

Chrem. Is she alive
To whom you gave the child?

Sostra. I do not know.

Chrem. What did she tell you formerly?

Sostra. That she
Had done what I commanded her.

Chrem. Her name;
That we may make inquiry.

Sostra. Philtere.

Syrus. The very same! she’s found, and I am lost.

Aside.

Chrem. In with me, Sostrata!

Sostra. Beyond my hopes.
How much I fear’d you should continue still
So rigidly inclin’d, as formerly,
When you refus’d to educate her, Chremes!

Chrem. Men can not always be as they desire,
But must be govern’d by their fortunes still.
The times are alter’d with me, and I wish
To have a daughter now; then, nothing less.

Act the Fourth.

Scene I.

Syrus, alone.

My mind misgives me, my defeat is nigh,
This unexpected incident has driven
My forces into such a narrow pass,
I can not even handsomely retreat
Without some feint, to hinder our old man
From seeing that this wench is Clitipho’s.
As for the money, and the trick I dream’d of,
Those hopes are flown, and I shall hold it triumph,
So I but ’scape a scouring — Cursed fortune,
To have so delicate a morsel snatch’d
Out of my very jaws! — What shall I do?
What new device? for I must change my plan.
— Nothing so difficult, but may be won
By industry. — Suppose, I try it thus. (Thinking.)
— ’Twill never do. — Or thus? — No better still.
But thus I think. — No, no. — Yes, excellent!
Courage! I have it. — Good! — Good! — best of all! —
— ’Faith, I begin to hope to lay fast hold
Of that same slipp’ry money after all.

Scene II.

Enter Clinia at another part of the stage.

Clin. Henceforward, fate, do with me what thou wilt!
Such is my joy, so full and absolute,
I can not know vexation. From this hour
To you, my father, I resign myself,
Content to be more frugal than you wish!

Syrus (overhearing). ’Tis just as I suppos’d. The girl’s acknowledged;
His raptures speak it so. — (Going up.) I’m overjoyed
That things have happen’d to your wish.

Clin. O Syrus!
Have you then heard it too?

Syrus. Undoubtedly.
I, who was present at the very time!

Clin. Was ever any thing so lucky?

Syrus. Nothing.

Clin. Now, Heav’n so help me, I rejoice at this
On her account much rather than my own,
Her, whom I know worthy the highest honors.

Syrus. No doubt on’t. — But now, Clinia, hold a while!
Give me a moment’s hearing in my turn.
For your friend’s business must be thought of now,
And well secur’d, lest our old gentleman
Suspect about the wench.

Clin. O Jupiter! (In raptures.)

Syrus. Peace! (Impatiently.)

Clin. My Antiphila shall be my wife.

Syrus. And will you interrupt me?

Clin. Oh, my Syrus,
What can I do! I’m overjoy’d. Bear with me.

Syrus. Troth so I do.

Clin. We’re happy, as the Gods.

Syrus. I lose my labor on you.

Clin. Speak; I hear.

Syrus. Aye, but you don’t attend.

Clin. I’m all attention.

Syrus. I say then, Clinia, that your friend’s affairs
Must be attended to, and well secur’d:
For if you now depart abruptly from us,
And leave the wench upon our hands, my master
Will instantly discover she belongs
To Clitipho. But if you take her off,
It will remain, as still it is, a secret.

Clin. But, Syrus, this is flatly opposite
To what I most devoutly wish, my marriage,
For with what face shall I accost my father?
D’ye understand me?

Syrus. Aye.

Clin. What can I say?
What reason can I give him?

Syrus. Tell no lie.
Speak the plain truth.

Clin. How?

Syrus. Every syllable.
Tell him your passion for Antiphila;
Tell him you wish to marry her, and tell him,
Bacchis belongs to Clitipho.

Clin. ’Tis well,
In reason, and may easily be done:
And then besides you’d have me win my father,
To keep it hid from your old gentleman.

Syrus. No; rather to prevail on him, to go
And tell him the whole truth immediately.

Clin. How? are you mad? or drunk? You’ll be the ruin
Of Clitipho: for how can he be safe?
Eh, Sirrah!

Syrus. That’s my master-piece: this plot
Is my chief glory, and I’m proud to think
I have such force, such power of cunning in me,
As to be able to deceive them both,
By speaking the plain truth: that when your father
Tells Chremes, Bacchis is his own son’s mistress,
He sha’n’t believe it.

Clin. But that way again
You blast my hopes of marriage: for while Chremes
Supposes her my mistress, he’ll not grant
His daughter to me. You, perhaps, don’t care,
So you provide for him, what comes of me.

Syrus. Why, plague! d’ye think I’d have you counterfeit
Forever? but a day, to give me time
To bubble Chremes of the money. — Peace!
Not an hour more.

Clin. Is that sufficient for you?
But then, suppose his father find it out!

Syrus. Suppose, as some folks say, the sky should fall!

Clin. Still I’m afraid.

Syrus. Afraid indeed, as if
It was not in your pow’r, whene’er you pleas’d,
To clear yourself, and tell the whole affair.

Clin. Well, well, let Bacchis be brought over then!

Syrus. Well said; and here she comes.

Scene III.

Enter Bacchis, Phrygia, etc., at another part of the stage.

Bacch. Upon my life,
This Syrus with his golden promises
Has fool’d me hither charmingly! Ten minæ
He gave me full assurance of: but if
He now deceives me, come whene’er he will,
Canting and fawning to allure me hither,
It shall be all in vain; I will not stir.
Or when I have agreed, and fix’d a time,
Of which he shall have giv’n his master notice,
And Clitipho is all agog with hope,
I’ll fairly jilt them both, and not come near them;
And master Syrus’ back shall smart for it.

Clin. She promises you very fair.

Syrus. D’ye think
She jests? She’ll do it, if I don’t take heed.

Bacch. They sleep: i’ faith, I’ll rouse them. Hark ye, Phrygia,
Did you observe the villa of Charinus,
Which yonder fellow shew’d us? (Aloud.)

Phry. I did, Madam.

Bacch. The next upon the right.

Phry. I recollect.

Bacch. Run thither quickly: for the Captain spends
The Dionysia there. (Aloud.)

Syrus (behind). What means she now?

Bacch. Tell him I’m here; and sore against my will,
Detain’d by force; but I’ll devise some means
To slip away and come to him. (Aloud.)

Syrus. Confusion! — (Comes forward.)
Stay, Bacchis, Bacchis! where d’ye send that girl?
Bid her stop!

Bacch. Go! (To Phrygia .)

Syrus. The money’s ready for you.

Bacch. Oh! then I stay. (Phrygia returns.)

Syrus. You shall be paid directly.

Bacch. When you please; I don’t press you.

Syrus. But d’ye know
What you’re to do?

Bacch. Why, what?

Syrus. You must go over,
You and your equipage, to Menedemus.

Bacch. What are you at now, sauce-box?

Syrus. Coining money
For your use, Bacchis.

Bacch. Do you think to play
Your jests on me?

Syrus. No; this is downright earnest.

Bacch. Are you the person I’m to deal with?

Syrus. No.
But ’twill secure your money.

Bacch. Let us go then!

Syrus. Follow her there. — Ho, Dromo!

Scene IV.

Enter Dromo .

Dromo. Who calls?

Syrus. Syrus.

Dromo. Your pleasure! What’s the matter now?

Syrus. Conduct
All Bacchis’ maids to your house instantly.

Dromo. Why so?

Syrus. No questions: let them carry over
All they brought hither. Our old gentleman
Will think himself reliev’d from much expense
By their departure. Troth, he little knows
With how much loss this small gain threatens him.
If you’re wise, Dromo, know not what you know.

Dromo. I’m dumb.

Exit Dromo, with Bacchis ’ servants and baggage, into the house of Menedemus .

Scene V.

Enter Chremes .

Chrem. (to himself). ’Fore Heav’n, I pity Menedemus.
His case is lamentable: to maintain
That jade and all her harlot family!
Although I know for some few days to come
He will not feel it; so exceedingly
He long’d to have his son: but when he sees
Such monstrous household riot and expense
Continue daily, without end or measure,
He’ll wish his son away from him again.
But yonder’s Syrus in good time. (Seeing Syrus .)

Syrus. I’ll to him. (Aside.)

Chrem. Syrus!

Syrus. Who’s there? (Turning about.)

Chrem. What now?

Syrus. The very man!
I have been wishing for you this long time.

Chrem. You seem to’ve been at work with Menedemus.

Syrus. What! at our plot? No sooner said than done.

Chrem. Indeed!

Syrus. Indeed.

Chrem. I can’t forbear to stroke
Your head for it. Good lad! come nearer, Syrus!
I’ll do thee some good turn for this. I will,
I promise you. (Patting his head.)

Syrus. Ah, if you did but know
How luckily it came into my head!

Chrem. Pshaw, are you vain of your good luck?

Syrus. Not I.
I speak the plain truth.

Chrem. Let me know it then.

Syrus. Clinia has told his father that the wench
Is mistress to your Clitipho; and that
He brought her over with him to their house,
To hinder your detecting it.

Chrem. Good! good!

Syrus. D’ye think so?

Chrem. Charming!

Syrus. Aye, if you knew all.
But only hear the rest of our device.
He’ll tell his father he has seen your daughter,
Whose beauty has so charm’d him at first sight,
He longs to marry her.

Chrem. Antiphila?

Syrus. The same: and he’ll request him to demand her
Of you in marriage.

Chrem. To what purpose, Syrus?
I don’t conceive the drift on’t.

Syrus. No! you’re slow.

Chrem. Perhaps so.

Syrus. Menedemus instantly
Will furnish him with money for the wedding,
To buy — d’ye take me?

Chrem. Clothes and jewels.

Syrus. Aye.

Chrem. But I will neither marry, nor betroth
My daughter to him.

Syrus. No? Why?

Chrem. Why! — is that
A question? to a wretch! —

Syrus. Well, as you please.
I never meant that he should marry her,
But only to pretend —

Chrem. I hate pretense.
Plot as you please, but do not render me
An engine in your rogueries. Shall I
Contract my daughter, where I never can
Consent to marry her?

Syrus. I fancied so.

Chrem. Not I.

Syrus. It might be done most dextrously:
And, in obedience to your strict commands,
I undertook this business.

Chrem. I believe it.

Syrus. However, Sir, I meant it well.

Chrem. Nay, nay,
Do’t by all means, and spare no trouble in’t;
But bring your scheme to bear some other way.

Syrus. It shall be done: I’ll think upon some other.
— But then the money which I mention’d to you,
Owing to Bacchis by Antiphila,
Must be repaid her: and you will not now
Attempt to shift the matter off; or say,
“ — What is’t to me? was I the borrower?
Did I command it? Could she pledge my daughter
Against my will?” — These pleas you cannot urge;
For ’tis a common saying, and a true,
That strictest law is oft the highest wrong.

Chrem. I mean not to evade it.

Syrus. No, I’ll warrant.
Nay you, though others did, could never think on’t;
For all the world imagines you’ve acquir’d
A fair and handsome fortune.

Chrem. I will carry
The money to her instantly myself.

Syrus. No; rather send it by your son.

Chrem. Why so!

Syrus. Because he acts the part of her gallant.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. Why then ’twill seem more probable,
If he presents it: I too shall effect
My scheme more easily. — And here he is. —
In, Sir, and fetch the money out.

Chrem. I will.

Exit Chremes .

Scene VI.

Enter Clitipho .

Clit. (to himself). Nothing so easy in itself, but when
Perform’d against one’s will, grows difficult.
This little walk how easy! yet how faint
And weary it has made me! — and I fear
Lest I be still excluded, and forbid
To come near Bacchis. (Seeing Syrus .) — Now all powers above.
Confound you, Syrus, for the trick you play’d me!
That brain of yours is evermore contriving
Some villainy to torture me withal.
Syrus. Away, you malapert! Your frowardness
Had well-nigh been my ruin.

Clit. Would it had!
For you deserv’d it richly.

Syrus. How! deserv’d it?
I’faith I’m glad I heard you say so much
Before you touch’d the cash, that I was just
About to give you.

Clit. Why, what can I say?
You went away; came back, beyond my hopes,
And brought my mistress with you; then again
Forbade my touching her.

Syrus. Well, well, I can’t
Be peevish with you now — But do you know
Where Bacchis is?

Clit. At our house.

Syrus. No.

Clit. Where then?

Syrus. At Clinia’s.

Clit. Then I’m ruin’d.

Syrus. Courage, man!
You shall go to her instantly, and carry
The money that you promis’d her.

Clit. Fine talk!
Where should I get it?

Syrus. From your father.

Clit. Pshaw!
You play upon me.

Syrus. The event shall show.

Clit. Then I am bless’d indeed. Thanks, thanks, dear Syrus!

Syrus. Hist! here’s your father. — Have a care! don’t seem
Surpris’d at any thing: give way in all:
Do as he bids, and say but little. Mum!

Scene VII.

Enter Chremes .

Chrem. Where’s Clitipho?

Syrus (to Clitipho). Here, say.

Clit. Here, Sir!

Chrem. Have you
Inform’d him of the business? (To Syrus .)

Syrus. In good part.

Chrem. Here, take the money then, and carry it. (To Clitipho .)

Syrus. Plague, how you stand, log! — take it.

Clit. Give it me. (Awkwardly.)

Syrus. Now in with me immediately! — You, Sir, (To Chremes .)
Be pleas’d meanwhile to wait our coming here;
There’s nothing to detain us very long.

Exit Clitipho and Syrus .

Scene VIII.

Chremes alone.

My daughter now has had ten minæ of me,
Which I account laid out upon her board:
Ten more her clothes will come to: and moreover
Two talents for her portion. — How unjust
And absolute is custom! I must now
Leave every thing, and find a stranger out,
On whom I may bestow the sum of wealth
Which I have so much labor’d to acquire.

Scene IX.

Enter Menedemus .

Mene. (to himself). Oh son, how happy hast thou made thy father,
Convinc’d of thy repentance!

Chrem. (overhearing). How mistaken!

Mene. Chremes! I wish’d for you. — ’Tis in your power,
And I beseech you do it, to preserve
My son, myself, and family.

Chrem. I’ll do’t.
Wherein can I oblige you?

Mene. You to-day
Have found a daughter.

Chrem. True. What then?

Mene. My Clinia
Begs your consent to marry her.

Chrem. Good Heaven!
What kind of man are you?

Mene. What mean you, Chremes?

Chrem. Has it then slipp’d your memory so soon,
The conversation that we had together,
Touching the rogueries they should devise,
To trick you of your money?

Mene. I remember.

Chrem. This is the trick.

Mene. How, Chremes? I’m deceiv’d.
’Tis as you say. From what a pleasing hope
Have I then fall’n!

Chrem. And she, I warrant you,
Now at your house, is my son’s mistress? Eh!

Mene. So they say.

Chrem. What! and you believ’d it?

Mene. All.

Chrem. — And they say too he wants to marry her;
That soon as I’ve consented, you may give him
Money to furnish her with jewels, clothes,
And other necessaries.

Mene. Aye, ’tis so:
The money’s for his mistress.

Chrem. To be sure.

Mene. Alas, my transports are all groundless then.
— Yet I would rather bear with any thing,
Than lose my son again. — What answer, Chremes,
Shall I return with, that he mayn’t perceive
I’ve found him out, and take offense?

Chrem. Offense!
You’re too indulgent to him, Menedemus!

Mene. Allow me. I’ve begun, and must go through.
Do but continue to assist me, Chremes.

Chrem. Say we have met, and treated of the match.

Mene. Well; and what else?

Chrem. That I give full consent;
That I approve my son-in-law; — In short,
You may assure him also, if you please,
That I’ve betroth’d my daughter to him.

Mene. Good!
The very thing I wanted.

Chrem. So your son
The sooner shall demand the money of you;
And so shall you, according to your wish
The sooner give.

Mene. It is my wish indeed.

Chrem. ’Fore heaven, friend, as far as I can judge,
You’ll soon be weary of your son again.
But be it as it may, give cautiously,
A little at a time, if you are wise.

Mene. I will.

Chrem. Go in, and see what he demands.
If you should want me, I’m at home.

Mene. ’Tis well.
For I shall let you know, do what I will.

Exeunt severally.

Act the Fifth.

Scene I.

Menedemus alone.

That I’m not overwise, no conjurer,
I know full well: but my assistant here,
And counselor, and grand controller Chremes,
Outgoes me far: dolt, blockhead, ninny, ass;
Or these, or any other common terms
By which men speak of fools, befit me well:
But him they suit not: his stupidity
Is so transcendent, it exceeds them all.

Scene II.

Enter Chremes .

Chrem. (to Sostrata, within). Nay prithee, good wife, cease to stun the Gods
With thanking them that you have found your daughter;
Unless you fancy they are like yourself,
And think they can not understand a thing
Unless said o’er and o’er a hundred times.
— But meanwhile (coming forward) wherefore do my son and Syrus
Loiter so long?

Mene. Who are those loiterers, Chremes?

Chrem. Ha, Menedemus, are you there? — Inform me,
Have you told Clinia what I said?

Mene. The whole.

Chrem. And what said he?

Mene. Grew quite transported at it,
Like those who wish for marriage.

Chrem. Ha! ha! ha!

Mene. What do you laugh at?

Chrem. I was thinking of
The cunning rogueries of that slave, Syrus. (Laughing.)

Mene. Oh, was that it?

Chrem. Why, he can form and mould
The very visages of men, a rogue! (Laughing.)

Mene. Meaning my son’s well-acted transport?

Chrem. Aye. (Laughing.)

Mene. The very thing that I was thinking of.

Chrem. A subtle villain! (Laughing.)

Mene. Nay, if you knew more,
You’d be still more convinc’d on’t.

Chrem. Say you so?

Mene. Aye; do but hear.

Chrem. (laughing). Hold! hold! inform me first
How much you’re out of pocket. For as soon
As you inform’d your son of my consent,
Dromo, I warrant, gave you a broad hint
That the bride wanted jewels, clothes, attendants;
That you might pay the money.

Mene. No.

Chrem. How? No?

Mene. No, I say.

Chrem. What! nor Clinia?

Mene. Not a word;
But only press’d the marriage for to-day.

Chrem. Amazing! — But our Syrus? Did not he
Throw in a word or two?

Mene. Not he.

Chrem. How so?

Mene. Faith I can’t tell: but I’m amaz’d that you,
Who see so clearly into all the rest,
Should stick at this. — But that arch villain Syrus
Has form’d and moulded your son too so rarely.
That nobody can have the least suspicion
That this is Clinia’s mistress.

Chrem. How?

Mene. I pass
Their kisses and embraces. All that’s nothing.

Chrem. What is there more that he can counterfeit?

Mene. Ah! (Smiling.)

Chrem. What d’ye mean?

Mene. Nay, do but hear. I have
A private snug apartment, a back room,
Whither a bed was brought and made.

Chrem. What then?

Mene. No sooner done, than in went Clitipho.

Chrem. Alone?

Mene. Alone.

Chrem. I tremble.

Mene. Bacchis follow’d.

Chrem. Alone?

Mene. Alone.

Chrem. Undone!

Mene. No sooner in,
But they made fast the door.

Chrem. Ha! And was Clinia
Witness to this?

Mene. He was. — Both he and I.

Chrem. Bacchis is my son’s mistress, Menedemus.
I’m ruin’d.

Mene. Why d’ye think so?

Chrem. Mine is scarce
A ten-days’ family.

Mene. What are you dismay’d
Because he sticks so closely to his friend?

Chrem. Friend! His she-friend.

Mene. If so —

Chrem. Is that a doubt?
Is any man so courteous, and so patient,
As tamely to stand by and see his mistress —

Mene. Ha, ha, ha! Why not? — That I, you know,
Might be more easily impos’d upon. (Ironically.)

Chrem. D’ye laugh at me? I’m angry with myself:
And well I may. How many circumstances
Conspir’d to make it gross and palpable,
Had I not been a stone! — What things I saw!
Fool, fool! But by my life I’ll be reveng’d:
For now —

Mene. And can’t you then contain yourself?
Have you no self-respect? And am not I
A full example for you?

Chrem. Menedemus,
My anger throws me quite beside myself.

Mene. That you should talk thus! is it not a shame
To be so lib’ral of advice to others,
So wise abroad, and poor in sense at home?

Chrem. What shall I do?

Mene. That which but even now
You counsel’d me to do: Give him to know
That you’re indeed a father: let him dare
Trust his whole soul to you, seek, ask of you;
Lest he to others have recourse, and leave you.

Chrem. And let him go; go where he will; much rather
Than here by his extravagance reduce
His father to distress and beggary.
For if I should continue to supply
The course of his expenses, Menedemus,
Your desp’rate rakes would be my lot indeed.

Mene. Ah, to what evils you’ll expose yourself,
Unless you’re cautious! You will seem severe,
And yet forgive him afterward, and then
With an ill grace too.

Chrem. Ah, you do not know
How much this grieves me.

Mene. Well, well, take your way.
But tell me, do you grant me my request
That this your new-found daughter wed my son?
Or is there aught more welcome to you?

Chrem. Nothing.
The son-in-law and the alliance please me.

Mene. What portion shall I tell my son you’ve settled!
Why are you silent?

Chrem. Portion!

Mene. Aye, what portion?

Chrem. Ah!

Mene. Fear not, Chremes, though it be but small:
The portion nothing moves us.

Chrem. I propos’d,
According to my fortune, that two talents
Were full sufficient: But you now must say,
If you’d save me, my fortune, and my son,
That I have settled all I have upon her.

Mene. What mean you?

Chrem. Counterfeit amazement too,
And question Clitipho my reason for it.

Mene. Nay, but I really do not know your reason.

Chrem. My reason for it? — That his wanton mind,
Now flush’d with lux’ry and lasciviousness,
I may o’erwhelm: and bring him down so low,
He may not know which way to turn himself.

Mene. What are you at?

Chrem. Allow me! let me have
My own way in this business.

Mene. I allow you.
Is it your pleasure?

Chrem. It is.

Mene. Be it so.

Chrem. Come then, let Clinia haste to call the bride.
And for this son of mine, he shall be school’d,
As children ought. — But Syrus!

Mene. What of him?

Chrem. What! I’ll so handle him, so curry him,
That while he lives he shall remember me.

Exit Menedemus .
What, make a jest of me? a laughing-stock?
Now, afore Heav’n, he would not dare to treat
A poor lone widow as he treated me.

Scene III.

Re-enter Menedemus, with Clitipho and Syrus .

Clit. And can it, Menedemus, can it be,
My father has so suddenly cast off
All natural affection? for what act?
What crime, alas! so heinous have I done?
It is a common failing.

Mene. This I know,
Should be more heavy and severe to you
On whom it falls: and yet am I no less
Affected by it, though I know not why,
And have no other reason for my grief,
But that I wish you well.

Clit. Did not you say
My father waited here?

Mene. Aye; there he is.

Exit Menedemus .

Chrem. Why d’ye accuse your father, Clitipho?
Whate’er I’ve done, was providently done
Tow’rd you and your imprudence. When I saw
Your negligence of soul, and that you held
The pleasures of to-day your only care,
Regardless of the morrow; I found means
That you should neither want, nor waste my substance.
When you, whom fair succession first made heir,
Stood self-degraded by unworthiness,
I went to those the next in blood to you,
Committing and consigning all to them.
There shall your weakness, Clitipho, be sure
Ever to find a refuge; food, and raiment,
And roof to fly to.

Clit. Ah me!

Chrem. Better thus,
Than, you being heir, for Bacchis to have all.

Syrus. Distraction! what disturbances have I,
Wretch that I am, all unawares created!

Clit. Would I were dead!

Chrem. Learn first what ’tis to live.
When you know that, if life displeases you,
Then talk of dying.

Syrus. Master, may I speak?

Chrem. Speak.

Syrus. But with safety?

Chrem. Speak.

Syrus. How wrong is this,
Or rather what extravagance and madness,
To punish him for my offense!

Chrem. Away!
Do not you meddle. No one blames you, Syrus!
Nor need you to provide a sanctuary,
Or intercessor.

Syrus. What is it you do?

Chrem. I am not angry, nor with you, nor him:
Nor should you take offense at what I do.

Exit Chremes .

Scene IV.

Manent Clitipho, Syrus .

Syrus. He’s gone. Ah, would I’d ask’d him —

Clit. Ask’d what, Syrus?

Syrus. Where I should eat, since he has cast us off.
You, I perceive, are quarter’d on your sister.

Clit. Is’t come to this, that I should be in fear
Of starving, Syrus?

Syrus. So we do but live,
There’s hope —

Clit. Of what?

Syrus. That we shall have rare stomachs.

Clit. D’ye jest at such a time as this;
And lend me no assistance by your counsel?

Syrus. Nay, I was studying for you even now.
And was so all the while your father spoke.
And far as I can understand this —

Clit. What?

Syrus. Stay, you shall have it presently. (Thinking.)

Clit. Well, what?

Syrus. Thus then: I don’t believe that you’re their son.

Clit. How Syrus! are you mad?

Syrus. I’ll speak my thoughts.
Be you the judge. While they had you alone,
While yet there was no other nearer joy,
You they indulg’d, and gave with open hand:
But now a daughter’s found, their real child,
A cause is found to drive you forth.

Clit. ’Tis like.

Syrus. Think you this fault so angers him?

Clit. I think not.

Syrus. Consider too; ’tis ever found that mothers
Plead for their sons, and in the father’s wrath
Defend them. ’Tis not so at present.

Clit. True.
What shall I do then, Syrus?

Syrus. Ask of them
The truth of this suspicion. Speak your thoughts.
If ’tis not so, you’ll speedily incline them
Both to compassion; or, if so, be told
Whose son you are.

Clit. Your counsel’s good. I’ll do’t.

Scene V.

Syrus alone.

A lucky thought of mine! for Clitipho:
The less he hopes, so much more easily
Will he reduce his father to good terms.
Besides, who knows but he may take a wife?
No thanks to Syrus neither. — But who’s here?
Chremes! — I’m off: for seeing what has pass’d,
I wonder that he did not order me
To be truss’d up immediately. I’ll hence
To Menedemus, and prevail on him
To intercede for me: as matters stand,
I dare not trust to our old gentleman.

Exit Syrus .

Scene VI.

Enter Chremes, Sostrata .

Sostra. Nay indeed, husband, if you don’t take care,
You’ll bring some kind of mischief on your son:
I can’t imagine how a thought so idle
Could come into your head.

Chrem. Still, woman, still
D’ye contradict me? Did I ever wish
For any thing in all my life, but you
In that same thing oppos’d me, Sostrata?
Yet now if I should ask wherein I’m wrong,
Or wherefore I act thus, you do not know.
Why then d’ye contradict me, simpleton?

Sostra. Not know?

Chrem. Well, well, you know: I grant it, rather
Than hear your idle story o’er again.

Sostra. Ah, ’tis unjust in you to ask my silence
In such a thing as this.

Chrem. I do not ask it.
Speak if you will: I’ll do it ne’ertheless.

Sostra. Will you?

Chrem. I will.

Sostra. You don’t perceive what harm
May come of this. He thinks himself a foundling.

Chrem. A foundling, say you?

Sostra. Yes indeed, he does.

Chrem. Confess it to be true.

Sostra. Ah, Heav’n forbid!
Let our most bitter enemies do that!
Shall I disown my son, my own dear child!

Chrem. What! do you fear you can not at your pleasure
Produce convincing proofs that he’s your own?

Sostra. Is it because my daughter’s found you say this?

Chrem. No: but because, a stronger reason far,
His manners are so very like your own,
They are convincing proofs that he’s your son
He is quite like you: not a vice, whereof
He is inheritor, but dwells in you:
And such a son no mother but yourself
Could have engender’d. — But he comes. — How grave!
Look in his face, and you may guess his plight.

Scene VII.

Enter Clitipho .

Clit. Oh mother, if there ever was a time
When you took pleasure in me, or delight
To call me son, beseech you, think of that;
Pity my present misery, and tell me
Who are my real parents!

Sostra. My dear son,
Take not, I beg, that notion to your mind,
That you’re an alien to our blood.

Clit. I am.

Sostra. Ah me! and can you then demand me that?
So may you prosper after both, as you’re
Of both the child! and if you love your mother,
Take heed henceforward that I never hear
Such words from you.

Chrem. And if you fear your father,
See that I never find such vices in you.

Clit. What vices?

Chrem. What? I’ll tell you. Trifler, idler,
Cheat, drunkard, whoremaster, and prodigal.
— Think this, and think that you are ours.

Sostra. These words
Suit not a father.

Chrem. No, no, Clitipho,
Though from my brain you had been born, as Pallas
Sprang, it is said, from Jupiter, I would not
Bear the disgrace of your enormities.

Sostra. The Gods forbid —

Chrem. I know not for the Gods:
I will do all that lies in me. You seek
For parents, which you have: but what is wanting,
Obedience to your father, and the means
To keep what he by labor hath acquir’d,
For that you seek not. — Did you not by tricks
Ev’n to my presence introduce — I blush
To speak immodestly before your mother:
But you by no means blush’d to do’t.

Clit. Alas!
How hateful am I to myself! how much
Am I asham’d! so lost, I can not tell
How to attempt to pacify my father.

Scene VIII.

Enter Menedemus .

Mene. Now in good faith our Chremes plagues his son
Too long and too severely. I come forth
To reconcile him, and make peace between them.
And there they are!

Chrem. Ha, Menedemus! wherefore
Is not my daughter summon’d? and the portion,
I settled on her; ratified by you?

Sostra. Dear husband, I beseech you not to do it!

Clit. My father, I entreat you pardon me!

Mene. Forgive him, Chremes! let his pray’rs prevail!

Chrem. What! shall I then with open eyes bestow
My whole estate on Bacchis? I’ll not do’t.

Mene. We will prevent that. It shall not be so.

Clit. If you regard my life, forgive me, father!

Sostra. Do, my dear Chremes!

Mene. Do, I prithee now!
Be not obdurate, Chremes!

Chrem. Why is this?
I see I can’t proceed as I’ve begun.

Mene. ’Tis as it should be now.

Chrem. On this condition,
That he agrees to do what I think fit.

Clit. I will do ev’ry thing. Command me, father!

Chrem. Take a wife.

Clit. Father!

Chrem. Nay, Sir, no denial!

Mene. I take that charge upon me. He shall do’t.

Chrem. But I don’t hear a word of it from him.

Clit. Confusion!

Sostra. Do you doubt then, Clitipho?

Chrem. Nay, which he pleases.

Mene. He’ll obey in all;
Whate’er you’d have him.

Sostra. This at first is grievous,
While you don’t know it; when you know it, easy.

Clit. I’m all obedience, father!

Sostra. Oh my son,
I’ll give you a sweet wife, that you’ll adore,
Phanocrata’s, our neighbor’s daughter.

Clit. Her!
That red-hair’d, blear-eyed, wide-mouth’d, hook-nos’d wench?
I can not, father.

Chrem. Oh, how nice he is!
Would any one imagine it?

Sostra. I’ll get you
Another then.

Clit. Well, well; since I must marry,
I know one pretty near my mind.

Sostra. Good boy!

Clit. The daughter of Archonides, our neighbor.

Sostra. Well chosen!

Clit. One thing, father, still remains.

Chrem. What?

Clit. That you’d grant poor Syrus a full pardon
For all that he hath done on my account.

Chrem. Be it so. — (To the Audience.) Farewell Sirs, and clap your hands!

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