Never did man lay down so fair a plan,
So wise a rule of life, but fortune, age,
Or long experience made some change in it;
And taught him that those things he thought he knew
He did not know, and what he held as best,
In practice he threw by. The very thing
That happens to myself. For that hard life
Which I have ever led, my race near run,
Now in the last stage, I renounce: and why?
But that by dear experience I’ve been told,
There’s nothing so advantages a man
As mildness and complacency. Of this
My brother and myself are living proofs:
He always led an easy, cheerful life;
Good-humor’d, mild, offending nobody,
Smiling on all; a jovial bachelor,
His whole expenses centred in himself.
I, on the contrary, rough, rigid, cross,
Saving, morose, and thrifty, took a wife:
— What miseries did marriage bring! — had children;
— A new uneasiness! — and then besides,
Striving all ways to make a fortune for them,
I have worn out my prime of life and health:
And now, my course near finish’d, what return
Do I receive for all my toil? Their hate.
Meanwhile my brother, without any care,
Reaps all a father’s comforts. Him they love,
Me they avoid: to him they open all
Their secret counsels; doat on him; and both
Repair to him; while I am quite forsaken.
His life they pray for, but expect my death.
Thus those, brought up by my exceeding labor,
He, at a small expense, has made his own:
The care all mine, and all the pleasure his.
— Well then, let me endeavor in my turn
To teach my tongue civility, to give
With open-handed generosity,
Since I am challeng’d to’t! — and let me too
Obtain the love and reverence of my children!
And if ’tis bought by bounty and indulgence,
I will not be behind-hand. — Cash will fail:
What’s that to me, who am the eldest born?
Enter Syrus .
Syrus. Oh Sir! your brother has dispatch’d me to you
To beg you’d not go further off.
Dem. Who’s there? —
What, honest Syrus! save you: how is’t with you?
How goes it?
Syrus. Very well, Sir.
Dem. (aside.) Excellent!
Now for the first time, I, against my nature,
Have added these three phrases, “Honest Syrus! —
How is’t? — How goes it?” — (To Syrus .) You have prov’d yourself
A worthy servant. I’ll reward you for it.
Syrus. I thank you, Sir.
Dem. I will, I promise you;
And you shall be convinc’d on’t very soon.
Enter Geta .
Geta (to Sostrata within). Madam, I’m going to look after them,
That they may call the bride immediately.
— But here is Demea. Save you!
Dem. Oh! your name?
Geta. Geta, Sir.
Dem. Geta, I this day have found you
To be a fellow of uncommon worth:
For sure that servant’s faith is well approv’d
Who holds his master’s interest at heart,
As I perceiv’d that you did, Geta! wherefore,
Soon as occasion offers, I’ll reward you.
— I am endeavoring to be affable,
And not without success. (Aside.)
Geta. ’Tis kind in you
To think of your poor slave, Sir.
Dem. (aside.) First of all
I court the mob, and win them by degrees.
Enter Æschinus .
Æsch. They murder me with their delays; and while
They lavish all this pomp upon the nuptials,
They waste the livelong day in preparation.
Dem. How does my son?
Æsch. My father! are you here?
Dem. Aye, by affection, and by blood your father,
Who love you better than my eyes. — But why
Do you not call the bride?
Æsch. ’Tis what I long for:
But wait the music and the singers.
Will you for once be rul’d by an old fellow?
Dem. Ne’er mind singers, company, lights, music;
But tell them to throw down the garden-wall,
As soon as possible. Convey the bride
That way, and lay both houses into one.
Bring too the mother, and whole family,
Over to us.
Æsch. I will. O charming father!
Dem. (aside). Charming! See there! he calls me charming now.
— My brother’s house will be a thoroughfare;
Throng’d with whole crowds of people; much expense
Will follow; very much: what’s that to me?
I am call’d charming, and get into favor.
— Ho! order Babylo immediately
To pay him twenty minæ. — Prithee, Syrus,
Why don’t you execute your orders?
Dem. Down with the wall! — (Exit Syrus .) You, Geta, go and bring
The ladies over.
Geta. Heaven bless you, Demea,
For all your friendship to our family!
Exit Geta .
Dem. They’re worthy of it. — What say you to this?
To Æschinus .
Æsch. I think it admirable.
Dem. ’Tis much better
Than for a poor soul, sick, and lying-in,
To be conducted through the street.
Æsch. I never
Saw any thing concerted better, Sir.
Dem. ’Tis just my way. — But here comes Micio.
Enter Micio .
Micio (at entering.) My brother order it, d’ye say? where is he?
— Was this your order, Demea?
Dem. ’Twas my order:
And by this means, and every other way,
I would unite, serve, cherish, and oblige,
And join the family to ours!
Æsch. Pray do, Sir! (To Micio .)
Micio. I don’t oppose it.
Dem. Nay, but ’tis our duty.
First, there’s the mother of the bride —
Micio. What then?
Dem. Worthy and modest.
Micio. So they say.
Dem. In years.
Dem. And so far advanc’d, that she is long
Past child-bearing, a poor lone woman too,
With none to comfort her.
Micio. What means all this?
Dem. This woman ’tis your place to marry, brother;
— And yours (to Æschinus) to bring him to’t.
Micio. I marry her?
Dem. Yes, you I say.
Dem. (to Æschinus). If you’re a man, he’ll do’t.
Æsch. (to Micio). Dear father!
Do you then join him, fool?
Dem. Nay, don’t deny.
It can’t be otherwise.
Micio. You’ve lost your senses!
Æsch. Let me prevail upon you, Sir!
Micio. You’re mad.
Dem. Oblige your son.
Micio. Have you your wits?
I a new married man at sixty-five!
And marry a decrepit poor old woman!
Is that what you advise me!
Æsch. Do it, Sir!
I’ve promis’d them.
Micio. You’ve promis’d them, indeed!
Prithee, boy, promise for yourself.
Dem. Come, come!
What if he ask’d still more of you?
Micio. As if
This was not ev’n the utmost.
Dem. Nay, comply!
Æsch. Be not obdurate!
Dem. Come, come, promise him.
Micio. Won’t you desist?
Æsch. No, not till I prevail.
Micio. This is mere force.
Dem. Nay, nay, comply, good Micio!
Micio. Though this appears to me absurd, wrong, foolish,
And quite repugnant to my scheme of life,
Yet, if you’re so much bent on’t, let it be!
Æsch. Obliging father, worthy my best love!
Dem. (aside). What now? — This answers to my wish. — What more?
— Hegio’s their kinsman (to Micio), our relation too,
And very poor. We should do him some service.
Micio. Do what?
Dem. There is a little piece of ground,
Which you let out near town. Let’s give it him
To live upon.
Micio. So little, do you call it?
Dem. Well, if ’tis large, let’s give it. He has been
A father to the bride; a worthy man;
Our kinsman too. It will be well bestow’d.
In short, that saying I now make my own,
Which you but now so wisely quoted, Micio;
“It is the common failing of old men
To be too much intent on worldly matters.”
Let us wipe off that stain. The saying’s true,
And worthy notice.
Micio. Well, well; be it so,
If he requires it. (Pointing to Æschinus .)
Æsch. I beseech it, father.
Dem. Now you’re indeed my brother, soul and body.
Micio. I’m glad to find you think me so.
Dem. I foil him
At his own weapons. (Aside.)
To them Syrus .
Syrus. I have executed
Your orders, Demea.
Dem. A good fellow! — Truly
Syrus, I think, should be made free to-day.
Micio. Made free! He! — Wherefore?
Dem. Oh, for many reasons.
Syrus. Oh Demea, you’re a noble gentleman.
I’ve taken care of both your sons from boys;
Taught them, instructed them, and given them
The wholesomest advice that I was able.
Dem. The thing’s apparent: and these offices,
To cater; — bring a wench in, safe and snug;
— Or in mid-day prepare an entertainment; —
All these are talents of no common man.
Syrus. Oh most delightful gentleman!
He has been instrumental too this day
In purchasing the Music-Girl. He manag’d
The whole affair. We should reward him for it.
It will encourage others. — In a word,
Your Æschinus would have it so.
Micio. Do you
Æsch. Yes, Sir.
Micio. Well, if you desire it —
Come hither, Syrus! — Be thou free! (Syrus kneels; Micio strikes him, being the ceremony of manumission, or giving a slave his freedom.)
Syrus. I thank you:
Thanks to you all; but most of all, to Demea!
Dem. I’m glad of your good fortune.
Æsch. So am I.
Syrus. I do believe it; and I wish this joy
Were quite complete, and I might see my wife,
My Phrygia too, made free, as well as I.
Dem. The very best of women!
Syrus. And the first
That suckled my young master’s son, your grandson.
Dem. Indeed! the first who suckled him! — Nay then,
Beyond all doubt, she should be free.
Micio. For what?
Dem. For that. Nay, take the sum, whate’er it be,
Syrus. Now all the powers above grant all
Your wishes, Demea!
Micio. You have thriv’d to-day
Most rarely, Syrus.
Dem. And besides this, Micio,
It would be handsome to advance him something
To try his fortune with. He’ll soon return it.
Micio. Not that. (Snapping his fingers.)
Æsch. He’s honest.
Syrus. Faith I will return it.
Do but advance it.
Æsch. Do, Sir!
Micio. Well, I’ll think on’t.
Dem. I’ll see that he shall do’t. (To Syrus .)
Syrus. Thou best of men!
Æsch. My most indulgent father!
Micio. What means this?
Whence comes this hasty change of manners, brother?
Whence flows all this extravagance? and whence
This sudden prodigality?
Dem. I’ll tell you:
To show you, that the reason why our sons
Think you so pleasant and agreeable,
Is not from your deserts, or truth, or justice,
But your compliance, bounty, and indulgence.
— Now, therefore, if I’m odious to you, son,
Because I’m not subservient to your humor
In all things, right or wrong; away with care!
Spend, squander, and do what you will! — but if,
In those affairs where youth has made you blind,
Eager, and thoughtless, you will suffer me
To counsel and correct — and in due season
Indulge you — I am at your service.
In all things we submit ourselves to you.
What’s fit and proper, you know best. — But what
Shall come of my poor brother?
Dem. I consent
That he shall have her: let him finish there.
Æsch. All now is as it should be. — (To the audience.) Clap your hands!
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University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:14