The Brothers, by Terence

Act the Second.

Scene I.

Enter Æschinus, Sannio, Parmeno, the Music-Girl, and a crowd of People.

San. Help, help, dear countrymen, for Heaven’s sake!
Assist a miserable, harmless man!
Help the distress’d!

Æsch. (to the Girl). Fear nothing: stand just there!
Why d’ye look back? you’re in no danger. Never,
While I am by, shall he lay hands upon you.

San. Aye, but I will, in spite of all the world.

Æsch. Rogue as he is, he’ll scarce do any thing
To make me cudgel him again to-day.

San. One word, Sir Æschinus! that you may not
Pretend to ignorance of my profession;
I’m a procurer.

Æsch. True.

San. And in my way
Of as good faith as any man alive.
Hereafter, to absolve yourself, you’ll cry,
That you repent of having wrong’d me thus.
I sha’n’t care that for your excuse. (Snapping his fingers.) Be sure
I’ll prosecute my right; nor shall fine words
Atone for evil deeds. I know your way,
— “I’m sorry that I did it: and I’ll swear
You are unworthy of this injury” —
Though all the while I’m us’d most scurvily.

Æsch. (to Par .) Do you go forward, Parmeno, and throw
The door wide open.

San. That sha’n’t signify.

Æsch. (to Parmeno). Now in with her!

San. (stepping between). I’ll not allow it.

Æsch. (to Parmeno). Here!
Come hither, Parmeno! — you’re too far off. —
Stand close to that pimp’s side — There — there — just there!
And now be sure you always keep your eyes
Steadfastly fix’d on mine; and when I wink,
To drive your fist directly in his face.

San. Aye, if he dare.

Æsch. (to Parmeno). Now mind! — (To Sannio). Let go the girl (Sannio still struggling with the Girl, Æschinus winks, and Parmeno strikes Sannio).

San. Oh monstrous!

Æsch. He shall double it, unless
You mend your manners.

Parmeno strikes Sannio again.

San. Help, help: murder, murder!

Æsch. (to Parmeno). I did not wink: but you had better err
That way than t’other. — Now go in with her.

Parmeno leads the Girl into Micio’s house.

San. How’s this? — Do you reign king here, Æschinus?

Æsch. Did I reign king, you should be recompens’d
According to your virtues, I assure you.

San. What business have you with me?

Æsch. None.

San. D’ye know
Who I am, Æschinus?

Æsch. Nor want to know.

San. Have I touch’d aught of yours, Sir?

Æsch. If you had,
You should have suffer’d for’t.

San. What greater right
Have you to take away my slave, for whom
I paid my money? answer me!

Æsch. ’Twere best
You’d leave off bellowing before our door:
If you continue to be troublesome,
I’ll have you dragg’d into the house, and there
Lash’d without mercy.

San. How, a freeman lash’d!

Æsch. Ev’n so.

San. O monstrous tyranny! Is this,
Is this the liberty they boast of here,
Common to all?

Æsch. If you have brawl’d enough,
Please to indulge me with one word, you pimp.

San. Who has brawl’d most, yourself or I?

Æsch. Well, well!
No more of that, but to the point!

San. What point?
What would you have?

Æsch. Will you allow me then
To speak of what concerns you?

San. Willingly:
Speak, but in justice.

Æsch. Very fine! a pimp,
And talks of justice!

San. Well, I am a pimp;
The common bane of youth, a perjurer,
A public nuisance, I confess it: yet
I never did you wrong.

Æsch. No, that’s to come.

San. Prithee return to whence you first set out, Sir!

Æsch. You, plague upon you for it! bought the girl
For twenty minæ; which sum we will give you.

San. What if I do not choose to sell the girl?
Will you oblige me?

Æsch. No.

San. I fear’d you would.

Æsch. She’s a free-woman, and should not be sold,
And, as such, by due course of law I claim her.
Now then consider which you like the best,
To take the money, or maintain your action.
Think on this, Pimp, till I come back again.


Scene II.

Sannio alone.

Oh Jupiter! I do not wonder now
That men run mad with injuries. He drags me
Out of my own house; cudgels me most soundly;
And carries off my slave against my will:
And after this ill-treatment, he demands
The Music-Girl to be made over to him
At the same price I bought her. — He has pour’d
His blows upon me, thick as hail; for which,
Since he deserves so nobly at my hands,
He should no doubt be gratified. — Nay, nay,
Let me but touch the cash, I’m still content.
But this I guess will be the case: as soon
As I shall have agreed to take his price,
He’ll produce witnesses immediately,
To prove that I have sold her — And the money
Will be mere moonshine. — “By-and-by.” — “To-morrow.”
— Yet I could bear that too, although much wrong,
Might I but get the money after all:
For thus it is, friend Sannio; when a man
Has taken up this trade, he must receive,
And pocket the affronts of young gallants.
— But nobody will pay me, and I draw
Conclusions to no purpose.

Scene III.

Enter Syrus .

Syrus (to Æsch. within). Say no more!
Let me alone to talk with him! I warrant
I’ll make him take the money; aye, and own
That he’s well treated too. (Coming forward.) Why how now, Sannio?
What’s the dispute I overheard just now
’Twixt you and my young master?

San. Never was
Any dispute conducted more unfairly,
Than that between us two to-day! Poor I
With being drubb’d, and he with drubbing me,
’Till we were both quite weary.

Syrus. All your fault.

San. What could I do?

Syrus. Give a young man his way.

San. What could I give him more, who gave my face?

Syrus. Nay, but d’ye know my meaning, Sannio?
To seem upon occasion to slight money,
Proves in the end, sometimes, the greatest gain.
Why prithee, blockhead, could you be afraid,
Had you abated somewhat of your right,
And humor’d the young gentleman, he would not
Have paid you back again with interest?

San. I never purchase hope with ready money.

Syrus. Away! you’ll never thrive. You do not know
How to ensnare men, Sannio.

San. Well, perhaps,
Your way were best: yet I was ne’er so crafty
But I had rather, when ’twas in my power,
Receive prompt payment.

Syrus. Pshaw! I know your spirit:
As if you valued twenty minæ now,
So you might do a kindness to my master!
— Besides, they say you’re setting out for Cyprus. (Carelessly.)

San. Ha! (Alarmed.)

Syrus. — And have bought up a large stock of goods
To carry over thither. — Hir’d a vessel.
That ’tis, I know, which keeps you in suspense:
When you return, I hope, you’ll settle this.

San. I shall not budge a foot. — Undone by Heav’n!
Urg’d by these hopes they’ve undertaken this. (Aside.)

Syrus. He fears. I hinted Cyprus. There’s the rub.

San. (to himself.) Confusion! they have nick’d me to a hair!
I’ve bought up sev’ral slaves, and other wares,
For exportation; and to miss my time
At Cyprus-fair would be a heavy loss.
Then if I leave this business broken thus,
All’s over with me; and at my return
’Twill come to nothing, grown quite cold and stale.
“ — What! come at last? — Why did you stay so long?
Where have you been?” — that it were better lose it,
Than wait for it so long, or sue for’t then.

Syrus (coming up to him.) Well, have you calculated what’s your due?

San. Monstrous oppression! Is this honorable,
Or just in Æschinus, to take away
My property by force?

Syrus. So, so! he comes. (Aside.)
— I have but one word more to say to you.
See how you like it. — Rather, Sannio,
Than run the risk to get or lose the whole,
E’en halve the matter: and he shall contrive
To scrape together by some means ten minæ.

San. Alas, alas! am I in danger then
Of losing ev’n my very principal?
Shame on him! he has loosen’d all my teeth:
My head is swell’d all over like a mushroom:
And will he cheat me too? — I’m going nowhere.

Syrus. Just as you please. — Have you aught else to say
Before I go?

San. Yes, one word, prithee Syrus!
However things have happen’d, rather than
I should be driven to commence a suit,
Let him return me my bare due at least;
The sum she cost me, Syrus. — I’m convinc’d
You’ve had no tokens of my friendship yet;
But you shall find I will not be ungrateful.

Syrus. I’ll do my best. But I see Ctesipho.
He is rejoic’d about his mistress.

San. Say,
Will you remember me?

Syrus. Hold, hold a little! (Syrus and Sannio retire.)

Scene IV.

Enter Ctesipho at another part of the stage.

Ctes. Favors are welcome in the hour of need
From any hand; but doubly welcome when
Conferr’d by those from whom we most expect them.
O brother, brother, how shall I applaud thee?
Ne’er can I rise to such a height of praise
But your deservings will outtop me still:
For in this point I am supremely bless’d,
That none can boast so excellent a brother,
So rich in all good qualities, as I.

Syrus (coming forward). O Ctesipho!

Ctes. (turning round). O Syrus! where’s my brother?

Syrus. At home, where he expects you.

Ctes. Ha! (Joyfully.)

Syrus. What now!

Ctes. What now? — By his assistance I live, Syrus.
Ah, he’s a friend indeed! who disregarding
All his own interests for my advantage,
The scandal, infamy, intrigue, and blame,
All due to me, has drawn upon himself!
What could exceed it? — But who’s there? — The door
Creaks on the hinges. (Offering to go off.)

Syrus. Hold! ’tis Æschinus.

Scene V.

Enter Æschinus .

Æsch. Where is that rascal?

San. (behind.) He inquires for me.
Has he brought out the cash with him? — Confusion!
I see none.

Æsch. (to Ctesipho). Ha! well met: I long’d to see you
How is it, Ctesipho? All’s safe. Away
With melancholy!

Ctes. Melancholy! I
Be melancholy, who have such a brother?
Oh my dear Æschinus! thou best of brothers,
— Ah, I’m asham’d to praise you to your face,
Lest it appear to come from flattery,
Rather than gratitude.

Æsch. Away, you fool!
As if we did not know each other, Ctesipho.
It only grieves me, we so lately knew this,
When things were almost come to such a pass,
That all the world, had they desir’d to do it,
Could not assist you.

Ctes. ’Twas my modesty.

Æsch. Pshaw! it was folly, and not modesty.
For such a trifle, almost fly your country?
Heaven forbid it! — fie, fie, Ctesipho!

Ctes. I’ve been to blame.

Æsch. Well, what says Sannio?

Syrus. He’s pacified at last.

Æsch. I’ll to the Forum,
And pay him off. — You, Ctesipho, go in
To the poor girl.

San. Now urge the matter, Syrus! (Apart to Syrus .)

Syrus. Let’s go; for Sannio wants to be at Cyprus.

San. Not in such haste: though truly I’ve no cause
To loiter here.

Syrus. You shall be paid: ne’er fear!

San. But all?

Syrus. Yes, all: so hold your tongue, and follow!

San. I will.

Exit after ÆschinusSyrus going.

Ctes. Hist! hark ye, Syrus!

Syrus (turning back.) Well, what now?

Ctes. For Heaven’s sake discharge that scurvy fellow
Immediately; for fear, if further urg’d,
This tale should reach my father’s ears: and then
I am undone forever.

Syrus. It sha’n’t be.
Be of good courage! meanwhile, get you in,
And entertain yourself with her; and order
The couches to be spread, and all prepar’d.
For, these preliminaries once dispatch’d,
I shall march homeward with provisions.

Ctes. Do!
And since this business has turn’d out so well,
Let’s spend the day in mirth and jollity!

Exeunt severally.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01