Ctesipho, Syrus .
Ctes. My father gone into the country, say you?
Syrus. Long since.
Ctes. Nay; speak the truth!
Syrus. He’s at his farm,
And hard at work, I warrant you.
Ctes. I wish,
So that his health were not the worse for it,
He might so heartily fatigue himself,
As to be forc’d to keep his bed these three days!
Syrus. I wish so too; and more, if possible.
Ctes. With all my heart: for I would fain consume,
As I’ve begun, the livelong day in pleasure.
Nor do I hate that farm of ours so much
For any thing, as that it is so near.
For if ’twas at a greater distance, night
Would come upon him ere he could return.
But now, not finding me, I’m very sure
He’ll hobble back again immediately;
Question me where I’ve been, that I’ve not seen him
All the day long; and what shall I reply?
Syrus. What? can you think of nothing?
Ctes. No, not I.
Syrus. So much the worse. — Have you no client, friend,
Ctes. I have. What then?
Syrus. You’ve been engag’d
Ctes. When not engag’d? It can not be.
Syrus. It may.
Ctes. Aye, marry, for the day I grant you.
But if I pass the night here, what excuse
Syrus. Ah! I would it were the custom
To be engag’d at night too with one’s friends!
— But be at ease! I know his mind so well,
That when he raves the loudest, I can make him
As gentle as a lamb.
Ctes. How so?
Syrus. He loves
To hear you prais’d. I sing your praises to him,
And make you out a little God.
And then the old man blubbers like a child,
For very joy. — But have a care! (Looking out.)
Ctes. What now?
Syrus. The wolf i’ th’ fable!
Ctes. What, my father?
Ctes. What’s the best, Syrus?
Syrus. In! fly! I’ll take care.
Ctes. You have not seen me, if he asks: d’ye hear?
Syrus. Can’t you be quiet? (Pushes out Ctesipho .)
Enter Demea at another part of the stage.
Dem. Verily I am
A most unhappy man! for first of all,
I can not find my brother any where:
And then besides, in looking after him,
I chanc’d on one of my day laborers,
Who had but newly left my farm, and told me
Ctesipho was not there. What shall I do?
(Ctes. and Syrus. Apart.)
Ctes. (peeping out.) Syrus?
Ctes. Does he seek me?
Dem. (to himself). Plague on it, what ill luck is this?
I can’t account for it: but I believe
That I was born for nothing but misfortunes.
I am the first who feels our woes; the first
Who knows of them; the first who tells the news:
And come what may, I bear the weight alone.
Syrus (behind). Ridiculous! he says he knows all first;
And he alone is ignorant of all.
Dem. I’m now return’d to see if Micio
Be yet come home again.
Ctes. (peeping out). Take care, good Syrus,
He don’t rush in upon us unawares!
Syrus. Peace! I’ll take care.
Ctes. ’Faith, I’ll not trust to you,
But shut myself and her in some by-place
Together: that’s the safest.
Syrus. Well, away! (Ctesipho disappears.)
I’ll drive the old man hence, I warrant you.
Dem. (seeing Syrus). But see that rascal Syrus coming hither!
Syrus (advancing hastily, and pretending not to see Demea).
By Hercules, there is no living here,
For any one, at this rate. — I’d fain know
How many masters I’m to have. — Oh monstrous!
Dem. What does he howl for? what’s the meaning on’t?
Hark ye, my good Sir! prithee tell me if
My brother be at home.
Syrus. My good Sir! Plague!
Why do you come with your good Sirs to me?
Dem. What’s the matter?
Syrus. What’s the matter!
Ctesipho, vengeance on him, fell upon me,
And cudgel’d me and the poor Music-Girl
Almost to death.
Syrus. Indeed. Nay see
How he has cut my lip. (Pretending to show it.)
Dem. On what account?
Syrus. The girl, he says, was bought by my advice.
Dem. Did not you say you saw him out of town
A little while ago?
Syrus. And so I did.
But he came back soon after, like a madman.
He had no mercy. — Was not he asham’d
To beat a poor old fellow? to beat me;
Who bore him in my arms but t’other day,
An urchin thus high? (Showing.)
Dem. Oh rare, Ctesipho!
Father’s own son! a man, I warrant him.
Syrus. Oh rare, d’ye cry? I’ faith, if he is wise,
He’ll hold his hands another time.
Dem. Oh brave!
Syrus. Oh mighty brave, indeed! — Because he beat
A helpless girl, and me a wretched slave,
Who durst not strike again; — oh, to be sure,
Mighty brave, truly!
Dem. Oh, most exquisite!
My Ctesipho perceived, as well as I,
That you was the contriver of this business.
— But is my brother here?
Syrus. Not he. (Sulkily.)
Dem. I’m thinking
Where I shall seek him.
Syrus. I know where he is:
But I’ll not tell.
Dem. How, Sirrah?
Syrus. Even so.
Dem. I’ll break your head.
Syrus. I can not tell the name
Of him he’s gone to, but I know the place.
Dem. Well, where’s the place?
Syrus. D’ye know the Portico
Just by the market, down this way? (Pointing.)
Dem. I do.
Syrus. Go straight along that street: and at the end
You’ll see a hill; go straight down that: and then
On this hand, there’s a chapel; and just by
A narrow lane. (Pointing.)
Dem. Where? (Looking.)
Syrus. There; by the great wild fig-tree.
D’ye know it, Sir?
Dem. I do.
Syrus. Go through that lane.
Dem. That lane’s no thoroughfare.
Syrus. Aye, very true:
No more it is, Sir. — What a fool I am!
I was mistaken — You must go quite back
Into the portico; and after all,
This is the nearest and the safest way.
— D’ye know Cratinus’ house? the rich man?
Syrus. When you’ve pass’d that, turn short upon the left.
Keep straight along that street, and when you reach
Diana’s Temple, turn upon the right.
And then, on this side of the city gate,
Just by the pond, there is a baker’s shop,
And opposite a joiner’s. — There he is.
Dem. What business has he there?
Syrus. He has bespoke
Some tables to be made with oaken legs
To stand the sun.
Dem. For you to drink upon.
Oh brave! But I lose time. I’ll after him.
Aye, go your ways! I’ll work your old shrunk shanks
As you deserve, old Drybones! — Æschinus
Loiters intolerably. Dinner’s spoil’d.
Ctesipho thinks of nothing but his girl.
’Tis time for me to look to myself too.
Faith, then I’ll in immediately; pick out
All the tid-bits, and tossing off my cups,
In lazy leisure lengthen out the day.
Enter Micio and Hegio .
Micio. I can see nothing in this matter, Hegio,
Wherein I merit so much commendation.
’Tis but my duty, to redress the wrongs
That we have caus’d: unless perhaps you took me
For one of those who, having injur’d you,
Term fair expostulation an affront;
And having first offended, are the first
To turn accusers. — I’ve not acted thus:
And is’t for this that I am thank’d?
Hegio. Ah, no;
I never thought you other than you are.
But let me beg you, Micio, go with me
To the young woman’s mother, and repeat
Yourself to her what you have just told me:
— That the suspicion, fall’n on Æschinus,
Sprung from his brother and the Music-Girl.
Micio. If you believe I ought, or think it needful,
Hegio. ’Tis very kind in you: for thus
You’ll raise her spirit drooping with the load
Of grief and misery, and have perform’d
Ev’ry good office of benevolence.
But if you like it not, I’ll go myself,
And tell her the whole story.
Micio. No, I’ll go.
Hegio. ’Tis good and tender in your nature, Micio.
For they, whose fortunes are less prosperous,
Are all I know not how, the more suspicious;
And think themselves neglected and contemn’d,
Because of their distress and poverty.
Wherefore I think ’twould satisfy them more
If you would clear up this affair yourself.
Micio. What you have said is just, and very true.
Hegio. Let me conduct you in!
Micio. With all my heart.
Oh torture to my mind! that this misfortune
Should come thus unexpectedly upon me!
I know not what to do, which way to turn.
Fear shakes my limbs, amazement fills my soul,
And in my breast despair shuts out all counsel.
Ah, by what means can I acquit myself?
Such a suspicion is now fallen on me;
And that too grounded on appearances.
Sostrata thinks that on my own account
I bought the Music-Girl. That’s plain enough
From the old nurse. For meeting her by chance,
As she was sent from hence to call a midwife,
I ran, and ask’d her of my Pamphila.
— “Is she in labor? are you going now
To call a midwife?” — “Go, go, Æschinus!
Away, you have deceiv’d us long enough,
Fool’d us enough with your fine promises,”
Cried she. — “What now?” says I. — “Farewell, enjoy
The girl that you’re so taken with!” — I saw
Immediately their cause of jealousy:
Yet I contain’d myself, nor would disclose
My brother’s business to a tattling gossip,
By whom the knowledge on’t might be betray’d.
— But what shall I do now? shall I confess
The girl to be my brother’s; an affair
Which should by no means be reveal’d? — But not
To dwell on that. — Perhaps they’d not disclose it.
Nay, I much doubt if they would credit it:
So many proofs concur against myself. —
I bore her off: I paid the money down;
She was brought home to me. — All this, I own,
Is my own fault. For should I not have told
My father, be it as it might, the whole?
I should, I doubt not, have obtain’d his leave
To marry Pamphila. — What indolence,
Ev’n, till this hour! now, Æschinus, awake!
— But first I’ll go and clear myself to them.
I’ll to the door. (Goes up.) Confusion! how I tremble!
How guilty like I seem when I approach
This house! (Knocks.) Holloa! within! ’Tis I;
’Tis Æschinus. Come, open somebody
The door immediately! — Who’s here? A stranger!
I’ll step aside. (Retires.)
Enter Micio .
Micio (to Sostrata, within). Do as I have told you, Sostrata.
I’ll find out Æschinus, and tell him all.
— But who knock’d at the door? (Coming forward.)
Æsch. (behind). By Heav’n, my father!
Micio (seeing him). Æschinus!
Æsch. What does he here? (Aside.)
Micio. Was’t you that knock’d? What, not a word! Suppose
I banter him a little. He deserves it,
For never trusting this affair to me. (Aside.)
— Why don’t you speak?
Æsch. Not I, as I remember. (Disordered.)
Micio. No, I dare say, not you: for I was wond’ring
What business could have brought you here. — He blushes.
All’s safe, I find. (Aside.)
Æsch. (recovering.) But prithee, tell me, Sir,
What brought you here?
Micio. No business of my own.
But a friend drew me hither from the Forum,
To be his advocate.
Æsch. In what?
Micio. I’ll tell you.
This house is tenanted by some poor women,
Whom, I believe, you know not; — Nay, I’m sure on’t,
For ’twas but lately they came over hither.
Micio. A young woman and her mother.
Micio. The father’s dead. — This friend of mine, it seems,
Being her next relation, by the law
Is forc’d to marry her.
Æsch. Confusion! (Aside.)
Æsch. Nothing. — Well? — pray go on, Sir! —
Micio. He’s now come
To take her home, for he is of Miletus.
Æsch. How! take her home with him?
Micio. Yes, take her home.
Æsch. What, to Miletus?
Æsch. Oh torture! (Aside.) — Well?
What say the women?
Micio. Why, what should they? Nothing.
Indeed the mother has devis’d a tale
About her daughter’s having had a child
By some one else, but never mentions whom:
His claim, she says, is prior; and my friend
Ought not to have her.
Æsch. Well? and did not this
Seem a sufficient reason?
Æsch. No, Sir?
And shall this next relation take her off?
Micio. Aye, to be sure: why not?
Æsch. Oh barbarous, cruel!
And to speak plainly, Sir — ungenerous!
Micio. Why so?
Æsch. Why so, Sir? — What d’ye think
Will come of him, the poor unhappy youth
Who was connected with her first — who still
Loves her, perhaps, as dearly as his life; —
When he shall see her torn out of his arms,
And borne away forever? — Oh shame, shame!
Micio. Where is the shame on’t? — Who betroth’d, who gave her?
When was she married? and to whom? Where is he,
And wherefore did he wed another’s right?
Æsch. Was it for her, a girl of such an age,
To sit at home, expecting till a kinsman
Came, nobody knows whence, to marry her?
— This, Sir, it was your business to have said,
And to have dwelt on it.
Should I have pleaded against him to whom
I came an advocate? — But after all,
What’s this affair to us? or, what have we
To do with them? let’s go! — Ha! why those tears?
Æsch. Father, beseech you, hear me!
I have heard all, and I know all, already:
For I do love you; wherefore all your actions
Touch me the more.
Æsch. So may you ever love me,
And so may I deserve your love, my father,
As I am sorry to have done this fault,
And am asham’d to see you!
Micio. I believe it;
For well I know you have a liberal mind:
But I’m afraid you are too negligent,
For in what city do you think you live?
You have abus’d a virgin, whom the law
Forbade your touching. — ’Twas a fault, a great one;
But yet a natural failing. Many others,
Some not bad men, have often done the same.
— But after this event, can you pretend
You took the least precaution? or consider’d
What should be done, or how? — If shame forbade
Your telling me yourself, you should have found
Some other means to let me know of it.
Lost in these doubts, ten months have slipp’d away.
You have betray’d, as far as in you lay,
Yourself, the poor young woman, and your child.
What! did you think the Gods would bring about
This business in your sleep; and that your wife,
Without your stir, would be convey’d to you
Into your bed-chamber? — I would not have you
Thus negligent in other matters. — Come,
Cheer up, son! you shall wed her.
Micio. Cheer up,
Æsch. Nay, prithee, do not mock me, father!
Micio. Mock you? I? wherefore?
Æsch. I don’t know; unless
That I so much desire it may be true,
I therefore fear it more.
Micio. — Away; go home;
And pray the Gods, that you may call your wife
Æsch. How’s that? my wife? what! now?
Micio. Ev’n now, as soon as possible.
Æsch. May all
The Gods desert me, Sir, but I do love you,
More than my eyes!
Micio. Than her?
Æsch. As well.
Micio. That’s much.
Æsch. But where is that Milesian?
Vanish’d: on board the ship. — But why d’ye loiter?
Æsch. Ah, Sir, you rather go, and pray the Gods;
For, being a much better man than I,
They will the sooner hear your pray’rs.
Micio. I’ll in,
To see the needful preparations made.
You, if you’re wise, do as I said.
Is this to be a father? Or is this
To be a son? — Were he my friend or brother,
Could he be more complacent to my wish?
Should I not love him? bear him in my bosom!
Ah! his great kindness has so wrought upon me,
That it shall be the study of my life
To shun all follies, lest they give him pain.
But wherefore do I loiter here, and thus
Retard my marriage by my own delay?
I’ve walk’d, and walk’d, till I’m quite tir’d with walking.
— Almighty Jove confound you, Syrus, I say;
You and your blind directions! I have crawl’d
All the town over: to the gate; the pond;
Where not? No sign of any shop was there,
Nor any person who had seen my brother.
— Now I’ll in, therefore, and set up my rest
In his own house, till he comes home again. (Going.)
Enter Micio .
Micio. I’ll go and let the women know we’re ready.
Dem. But here he is. — I have long sought you, Micio.
Micio. What now?
Dem. I bring you more offenses: great ones;
Of that sweet youth —
Micio. See there!
Dem. New; capital!
Micio. Nay, nay, no more!
Dem. Ah, you don’t know —
Micio. I do.
Dem. O fool, you think I mean the Music-Girl.
This is a rape upon a citizen.
Micio. I know it.
Dem. How? d’ye know it, and endure it?
Micio. Why not endure it?
Dem. Tell me, don’t you rave?
Don’t you go mad?
Micio. No: to be sure I’d rather —
Dem. There’s a child born.
Micio. Heav’n bless it!
Dem. And the girl
Micio. I have heard so.
Dem. And is he
To marry her without a fortune?
Dem. What’s to be done then?
Micio. What the case requires.
The girl shall be brought over here.
Dem. Oh Jove!
Can that be proper?
Micio. What can I do else?
Dem. What can you do! — If you’re not really griev’d,
It were at least your duty to appear so.
Micio. I have contracted the young woman to him:
The thing is settled: ’tis their wedding-day:
And all their apprehensions I’ve remov’d.
This is still more my duty.
Dem. Are you pleas’d then
With this adventure, Micio?
Micio. Not at all,
If I could help it: now ’tis past all cure,
I bear it patiently. The life of man
Is like a game at tables. If the cast
Which is most necessary be not thrown,
That which chance sends you must correct by art.
Dem. Oh rare Corrector! — By your art no less
Than twenty minæ have been thrown away
On yonder Music-wench; who out of hand,
Must be sent packing; if no buyer, gratis.
Micio. Not in the least; nor do I mean to sell her.
Dem. What will you do, then?
Micio. Keep her in my house.
Dem. Oh Heav’n and earth! a harlot and a wife
In the same house!
Micio. Why not?
Dem. Have you your wits?
Micio. Truly I think so.
Dem. Now, so help me Heav’n,
Seeing your folly, I believe you keep her
To sing with you.
Micio. Why not?
Dem. And the young bride
Shall be her pupil?
Micio. To be sure.
Dem. And you
Dance hand in hand with them?
Micio. And you
Make one among us too upon occasion.
Dem. Ah! are you not asham’d on’t?
Micio. Patience, Demea!
Lay by your wrath, and seem, as it becomes you,
Cheerful and free of heart at your son’s wedding.
— I’ll go and warn the bride and Sostrata,
And then return to you immediately.
Jove, what a life! what manners! what distraction!
A bride just coming home without a portion;
A Music-Girl already there in keeping:
A house of waste; the youth a libertine;
Th’ old man a dotard! — ’Tis not in the pow’r
Of Providence herself, howe’er desirous,
To save from ruin such a family.
Enter at a distance Syrus, drunk.
Syrus. (to himself). Faith, little Syrus, you’ve ta’en special care
Of your sweet self, and play’d your part most rarely.
— Well, go your ways:— but having had my fill
Of ev’ry thing within, I’ve now march’d forth
To take a turn or two abroad.
Dem. (behind). Look there!
A pattern of instruction!
Syrus. (seeing him). But see there:
Yonder’s old Demea. (Going up to him.) What’s the matter now?
And why so melancholy?
Dem. Oh thou villain!
Syrus. What! are you spouting sentences, old wisdom?
Dem. Were you my servant —
Syrus. You’d be plaguy rich,
And settle your affairs most wonderfully.
Dem. I’d make you an example.
Syrus. Why? for what?
Dem. Why, Sirrah? — In the midst of the disturbance,
And in the heat of a most heavy crime,
While all is yet confusion, you’ve got drunk,
As if for joy, you rascal!
Syrus. Why the plague
Did not I keep within? (Aside.)
Enter Dromo, hastily.
Dromo. Here! hark ye, Syrus!
Ctesipho begs that you’d come back.
Syrus. Away! (Pushes him off.)
Dem. What’s this he says of Ctesipho?
Syrus. Pshaw! nothing.
Dem. How! dog, is Ctesipho within?
Syrus. Not he.
Dem. Why does he name him then?
Syrus. It is another.
Of the same name — a little parasite —
D’ye know him?
Dem. But I will immediately. (Going.)
Syrus. (stopping him). What now? where now?
Dem. Let me alone. Struggling.
Syrus. Don’t go!
Dem. Hands off! what won’t you? must I brain you, rascal?
Disengages himself from Syrus, and Exit.
He’s gone — gone in — and faith no welcome roarer —
— Especially to Ctesipho. — But what
Can I do now; unless, till this blows over,
I sneak into some corner, and sleep off
This wine that lies upon my head? — I’ll do’t.
Enter Micio from Sostrata .
Micio. (to Sostrata within).
All is prepar’d: and we are ready, Sostrata,
As I have already told you, when you please. (Comes forward.)
But who’s this forces open our street door
With so much violence?
Enter Demea on t’other side.
Dem. Confusion! death!
What shall I do? or how resolve? where vent
My cries and exclamations? Heav’n! Earth! Sea!
Micio (behind.) So! all’s discover’d: that’s the thing he raves at.
— Now for a quarrel! — I must help the boy.
Dem. (seeing him.) Oh, there’s the grand corrupter of our children!
Micio. Appease your wrath, and be yourself again!
Dem. Well, I’ve appeas’d it; I’m myself again;
I spare reproaches; let us to the point!
It was agreed between us, and it was
Your own proposal too, that you should never
Concern yourself with Ctesipho, nor I
With Æschinus. Say, was’t not so?
Micio. It was.
I don’t deny it.
Dem. Why does Ctesipho
Revel with you then? Why do you receive him?
Buy him a mistress, Micio? — Is not justice
My due from you, as well as yours from me?
Since I do not concern myself with yours,
Meddle not you with mine!
Micio. This is not fair;
Indeed it is not. Think on the old saying,
“All things are common among friends.”
Dem. How smart!
Put off with quips and sentences at last!
Micio. Nay, hear me, if you can have patience, Demea.
— First, if you’re griev’d at their extravagance,
Let this reflection calm you! Formerly,
You bred them both according to your fortune,
Supposing it sufficient for them both:
Then too you thought that I should take a wife.
Still follow the old rule you then laid down:
Hoard, scrape, and save; do ev’ry thing you can
To leave them nobly! Be that glory yours.
My fortune, fall’n beyond their hopes upon them,
Let them use freely! As your capital
Will not be wasted, what addition comes
From mine, consider as clear gain: and thus,
Weighing all this impartially, you’ll spare
Yourself, and me, and them, a world of trouble.
Dem. Money is not the thing: their morals —
I understand; and meant to speak of that.
There are in nature sundry marks, good Demea,
By which you may conjecture of men’s minds;
And when two persons do the self-same thing,
May oftentimes pronounce, that in the one
’Tis dangerous, in t’other ’tis not so:
Not that the thing itself is different,
But he who does it. — In these youths I see
The marks of virtue; and, I trust, they’ll prove
Such as we wish them. They have sense, I know;
Attention; in its season, liberal shame;
And fondness for each other; all sure signs
Of an ingenuous mind and noble nature:
And though they stray, you may at any time
Reclaim them. — But perhaps you fear they’ll prove
Too inattentive to their interest.
Oh my dear Demea, in all matters else
Increase of years increases wisdom in us:
This only vice age brings along with it;
“We’re all more worldly-minded than there’s need:”
Which passion age, that kills all passions else,
Will ripen in your sons too.
Dem. Have a care
That these fine arguments and this great mildness
Don’t prove the ruin of us, Micio.
It shall not be: away with all your fears!
This day be rul’d by me: come, smooth your brow.
Dem. Well, since at present things are so, I must,
But then I’ll to the country with my son
To-morrow, at first peep of day.
Micio. At midnight,
So you’ll but smile to-day.
Dem. And that wench too
I’ll drag away with me.
Micio. Aye; there you’ve hit it.
For by that means you’ll keep your son at home;
Do but secure her.
Dem. I’ll see that: for there
I’ll put her in the kitchen and the mill,
And make her full of ashes, smoke, and meal:
Nay at high noon too she shall gather stubble.
I’ll burn her up, and make her black as coal.
Micio. Right! now you’re wise. — And then I’d make my son
Go to bed to her, though against his will.
Dem. D’ye laugh at me? how happy in your temper!
I feel —
Micio. Ah! that again?
Dem. I’ve done.
Micio. In then!
And let us suit our humor to the time.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01