This web edition published by eBooks@Adelaide.
Last updated Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 21:11.
To the best of our knowledge, the text of this
work is in the “Public Domain” in Australia.
HOWEVER, copyright law varies in other countries, and the work may still be under copyright in the country from which you are accessing this website. It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country before downloading this work.
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Parmeno, other Servants, etc.
Music-Girl, and other Mutes.
The Bard perceiving his piece cavil’d at
By partial critics, and his adversaries
Misrepresenting what we’re now to play,
Pleads his own cause: and you shall be the judges,
Whether he merits praise or condemnation.
The Synapothnescontes is a piece
By Diphilus, a comedy which Plautus,
Having translated, call’d Commorientes .
In the beginning of the Grecian play
There is a youth, who rends a girl perforce
From a procurer: and this incident,
Untouch’d by Plautus, render’d word for word,
Has our bard interwoven with his Brothers;
The new piece which we represent to-day.
Say then if this be theft, or honest use
Of what remain’d unoccupied. — For that
Which malice tells, that certain noble persons
Assist the Bard, and write in concert with him;
That which they deem a heavy slander, He
Esteems his greatest praise: that he can please
Those who please you, who all the people please;
Those who in war, in peace, in counsel, ever
Have render’d you the dearest services,
And ever borne their faculties so meekly.
Expect not now the story of the play:
Part the old men, who first appear, will open;
Part will in act be shown. — Be favorable;
And let your candor to the poet now
Increase his future earnestness to write!
Enter Micio .
Ho, Storax! — No reply? — Then Æschinus
Never return’d, it seems, last night from supper;
Nor any of the slaves, who went to meet him.
— ’Tis commonly — and oh how truly! — said,
If you are absent, or delay, ’twere best
That should befall you, which your wife declares
Or which in anger she supposes of you
Than that which kindest parents fear. — Your wife,
If you delay, suspects that you’re engag’d
In some intrigue, debauch, or entertainment;
Consulting your own happiness abroad,
While she, poor soul! is left to pine at home.
But what a world of fears possess me now!
How many ills I figure to myself,
As causes that my son is not return’d!
Lest he have taken cold, or had a fall,
Or broke a limb! — Good heavens! that a man
Shou’d doat so much, or suffer any one
To wind himself so close about his heart,
As to grow dearer to him than himself!
And yet he is not my son, but my brother’s,
Whose bent of mind is wholly different.
I, from youth upward even to this day,
Have led a quiet and serene town-life;
And, as some reckon fortunate, ne’er married.
He, in all points the opposite of this,
Has pass’d his days entirely in the country
With thrift and labor; married; had two sons;
The elder boy is by adoption mine;
I’ve brought him up; kept; lov’d him as my own;
Made him my joy, and all my soul holds dear,
Striving to make myself as dear to him.
I give, o’erlook, nor think it requisite
That all his deeds should be controll’d by me,
Giving him scope to act as of himself;
So that the pranks of youth, which other children
Hide from their fathers, I have us’d my son
Not to conceal from me. For whosoe’er
Hath won upon himself to play the false one,
And practice impositions on a father,
Will do the same with less remorse to others;
And ’tis, in my opinion, better far
To bind your children to you by the ties
Of gentleness and modesty, than fear.
And yet my brother don’t accord in this,
Nor do these notions nor this conduct please him.
Oft he comes open-mouth’d — “Why how now, Micio?
Why do you ruin this young lad of ours?
Why does he wench? why drink? and why do you
Allow him money to afford all this?
You let him dress too fine. ’Tis idle in you.”
— ’Tis hard in him, unjust and out of reason.
And he, I think, deceives himself indeed,
Who fancies that authority more firm
Founded on force, than what is built on friendship;
For thus I reason, thus persuade myself:
He who performs his duty driven to’t
By fear of punishment, while he believes
His actions are observ’d, so long he’s wary;
But if he hopes for secrecy, returns
To his own ways again: But he whom kindness,
Him also inclination makes your own:
He burns to make a due return, and acts,
Present or absent, evermore the same.
’Tis this then is the duty of a father,
To make a son embrace a life of virtue,
Rather from choice than terror or constraint.
Here lies the mighty difference between
A father and a master. He who knows not
How to do this, let him confess he knows not
How to rule children. — But is this the man
Whom I was speaking of? Yes, yes, ’tis he.
He seems uneasy too, I know not why,
And I suppose, as usual, comes to wrangle.
Enter Demea .
Micio. Demea, I’m glad to see you well.
Well met: the very man I came to seek.
Micio. But you appear uneasy: What’s the matter?
Demea. Uneasy? well I may. — The matter, say you?
What can the matter be but Æschinus?
Micio. I said it wou’d be so. — What has he done?
Demea. What has he done! a wretch whom neither fear,
Nor modesty, nor any law can bind!
For not to speak of all his former pranks,
What has he been about but even now!
Micio. What has he done?
Demea. Burst open doors, and made
His way by force into another’s house;
Half-kill’d the master and his family,
And carried off a wench whom he was fond of.
All Athens cries out shame upon him for it.
I have been told of it a hundred times
Since my arrival. ’Tis the town-talk, Micio.
And if we needs must draw comparisons,
Does not he see his brother thrifty, sober,
Attentive to his business in the country?
Not given to these practices; and when
I say all this to him, to you I say it.
You are his ruin, Micio.
Micio. How unjust
Is he who wants experience! who believes
Nothing is right but what he does himself!
Demea. Why d’ye say that?
Micio. Because you, Demea,
Misjudge these matters. ’Tis no heinous crime
For a young man to wench or drink. — ’Tis not,
Believe me! — nor to force doors open. — This,
If neither you nor I have done, it was
That poverty allow’d us not. And now
You claim a merit to yourself, from that
Which want constrain’d you to. It is not fair.
For had there been but wherewithal to do’t,
We likewise should have done thus. Wherefore you,
Were you a man, would let your younger son,
Now, while it suits his age, pursue his pleasures;
Rather than, when it less becomes his years,
When, after wishing long, he shall at last
Be rid of you, he should run riot then.
Demea. Oh Jupiter! the man will drive me mad.
Is it no crime, d’ye say, for a young man
To take these courses?
Micio. Nay, nay; do but hear me,
Nor stun me with the self-same thing forever!
Your elder son you gave me for adoption:
He’s mine, then, Demea; and if he offends,
’Tis an offense to me, and I must bear
The burden. Does he treat? or drink? or dress?
’Tis at my cost. — Or wench? I will supply him,
While ’tis convenient to me; when ’tis not,
His mistresses perhaps will shut him out.
— Has he broke open doors? we’ll make them good.
Or torn a coat? it shall be mended. I,
Thank Heaven, have enough to do all this,
And ’tis as yet not irksome. — In a word,
Have done, or chuse some arbiter between us:
I’ll prove that you are more in fault than I.
Demea. Ah, learn to be a father; learn from those
Who know what ’tis to be indeed a parent!
Micio. By nature you’re his father, I by counsel.
Demea. You! do you counsel any thing?
Micio. Nay, nay;
If you persist, I’m gone.
Demea. Is’t thus you treat me?
Micio. Must I be plagued with the same thing so often?
Demea. It touches me.
Micio. And me it touches too.
But, Demea, let us each look to our own;
Let me take care of one, and mind you t’other.
For to concern yourself with both, appears
As if you’d redemand the boy you gave.
Demea. Ah, Micio!
Micio. So it seems to me.
Demea. Well, well;
Let him, if ’tis your pleasure, waste, destroy.
And squander; it is no concern of mine.
If henceforth I e’er say one word —
Angry again, good Demea?
Demea. You may trust me.
Do I demand him back again I gave you?
— It hurts me. I am not a stranger to him.
— But if I once oppose — Well, well, I’ve done.
You wish I should take care of one. I do
Take special care of him; and he, thank Heav’n,
Is as I wish he should be: which your ward,
I warrant, shall find out one time or other.
I will not say aught worse of him at present.
Though what he says be not entirely true,
There’s something in it, and it touches me.
But I dissembled my concern with him,
Because the nature of the man is such,
To pacify, I must oppose and thwart him;
And even thus I scarce can teach him patience.
But were I to inflame, or aid his anger,
I were as great a madman as himself.
Yet Æschinus, ’tis true, has been to blame.
What wench is there but he is her gallant?
Or tempts her with some gift? — But lately too
(Tir’d, I suppose, and sick of wantonness)
He told me he propos’d to take a wife.
I hop’d the heyday of the blood was over,
And was rejoic’d: but his intemperance
Breaks out afresh. — Well, be it what it may,
I’ll find him out; and know it instantly,
If he is to be met with at the Forum.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
Enter Syrus .
Syrus (to Æsch. within). Say no
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
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.
Will you remember me?
Syrus. Hold, hold a little! (Syrus and Sannio retire.)
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.
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
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 Æschinus — Syrus 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.
And since this business has turn’d out so well,
Let’s spend the day in mirth and jollity!
Sostrata, Canthara .
Sos. Prithee, good nurse, how will it go with her?
Can. How go with her? Why well, I warrant you.
Sos. Her pains begin to come upon her, nurse.
Can. You’re as much frighten’d at your time of day,
As if you ne’er was present at a labor,
Or never had been brought to bed yourself.
Sos. Alas, I’ve no soul here: we’re all alone.
Geta is absent; nor is there a creature
To fetch a midwife, or call Æschinus.
Can. He’ll be here presently, I promise you:
For he, good man, ne’er lets a single day
Go by, but he is sure to visit us.
Sos. He is my only comfort in my sorrows.
Can. Troth, as the case stands, madam, circumstances
Could not have happen’d better than they have:
And since your daughter suffer’d violence,
’Twas well she met with such a man as this;
A man of honor, rank, and family.
Sos. He is, indeed, a worthy gentleman:
The gods preserve him to us!
Enter Geta hastily at another part of the stage.
Geta. We are now
So absolutely lost, that all the world
Joining in consultation to apply
Relief to the misfortune that has fallen
On me, my mistress, and her daughter, all
Would not avail. — Ah me! so many troubles
Environ us at once, we sink beneath them.
Rape, poverty, oppression, solitude,
And infamy! oh, what an age is this!
O wicked, oh vile race! — oh impious man!
Sos. (to Canthara). Ah, why
should Geta seem thus terrified
Geta (to himself.) Wretch! whom neither honor,
Nor oaths, nor pity could control or move!
Nor her approaching labor; her, on whom
He shamefully committed violation!
Sos. I don’t well understand him.
Can. Prithee then
Let us draw nearer, Sostrata!
Geta (to himself.) Alas,
I’m scarcely in my perfect mind, I burn
With such fierce anger. — Oh, that I had all
That villain-family before me now,
That I might vent my indignation on them,
While yet it boils within me. — There is nothing
I’d not endure to be reveng’d on them.
First I’d tread out the stinking snuff his father,
Who gave the monster being. — And then, Syrus,
Who urg’d him to it, — how I’d tear him! — First
I’d seize him round the waist, and lift him high,
Then dash his head against the ground, and strew
The pavement with his brains. — For Æschinus,
I’d tear his eyes out, and then tumble him,
Head foremost down some precipice. — The rest
I’d rush on, drag, crush, trample under foot.
But why do I delay to tell my mistress
This heavy news as soon as possible! (Going.)
Sos. Let’s call him back. — Ho, Geta!
You are, excuse me.
Sos. I am Sostrata.
Geta. Where, where is Sostrata? (Turns about.) I sought you,
Impatiently I sought you: and am glad
To have encounter’d you thus readily.
Sos. What is the matter? why d’ye tremble thus?
Sos. Take breath! — But why thus mov’d, good Geta?
Geta. We’re quite —
Sos. Quite what?
Geta. Undone: We’re ruin’d, Madam.
Sos. Explain, for Heaven’s sake!
Geta. Ev’n now —
Sos. What now?
Geta. Æschinus —
Sos. What of Æschinus?
Geta. Has quite
Estrang’d himself from all our family.
Sos. How’s that? confusion! why?
Geta. He loves another.
Sos. Wretch that I am!
Geta. Nor that clandestinely;
But snatch’d her in the face of all the world
From a procurer.
Sos. Are you sure of this?
Geta. Sure? With these very eyes I saw it, Madam.
Sos. Alas, alas! What then can we believe?
To whom give credit? — What? our Æschinus!
Our very life, our sole support and hope!
Who swore he could not live one day without her,
And promis’d he would place the new-born babe
Upon his father’s lap, and in that way
Wring from him his consent to marry her!
Geta. Nay, weep not, mistress; but consider rather
What course were best to follow: to conceal
This wrong, or to disclose it to some friend?
Can. Disclose it! Are you mad? Is this a thing
To be disclos’d, d’ye think?
Geta. I’d not advise it.
For first, that he has quite abandon’d us,
The thing itself declares. If we then make
The story known, no doubt but he’ll deny it.
Your reputation, and your daughter’s life
Will be endanger’d: or if he confess,
Since he affects another, ’twere not good
That he should wed your daughter. — For which reasons,
Silence is requisite.
Sos. Ah, no: not I.
Geta. What mean you?
Sos. To disclose the whole.
Geta. How, Madam!
Think what you are about.
Sos. Whatever happens,
The thing can’t be in a worse state than now.
In the first place my daughter has no portion,
And that which should have been her second dowry
Is also lost; and she can ne’er be giv’n
In marriage as a virgin. For the rest,
If he denies his former commerce with her,
I have the ring he lost to vouch the fact.
In short, since I am conscious to myself.
That I am not to blame in this proceeding,
And that no sordid love of gain, nor aught
Unworthy of my daughter or myself,
Has mix’d in this affair, I’ll try it, Geta.
Geta. Well, I agree, ’twere better to disclose it.
Sos. You then away, as fast as possible,
And run to Hegio our good friend and kinsman,
To let him know the whole affair: for he
Was the chief friend of my dear Simulus,
And ever show’d a great regard for us.
Geta. And well he does, for no one else cares for us.
Sos. And you, good Canthara, away with haste,
And call a midwife; that we may be sure
Of her assistance in the time of need.
Enter Demea .
Dem. Confusion! I have heard that Ctesipho
Was present with his brother at this riot.
This is the sum of all my miseries,
If he, even he, a sober, hopeful lad,
May be seduc’d into debaucheries.
— But where shall I inquire for him? I warrant
They have decoy’d him into some vile brothel.
That profligate persuaded him, I’m sure.
— But here comes Syrus. — I shall know from him
What is become of Ctesipho. — And yet
This rascal’s of the gang; and if he once
Perceives that I’m enquiring after him,
He’ll never tell, a villain! — I’ll take care
To cover my design.
Enter Syrus at another part of the stage.
Syrus (to himself). We’ve just disclos’d
The whole of this affair to Micio,
Exactly as it happen’d. I ne’er saw
The good old gentleman more pleas’d.
Dem. Oh Heav’n,
The folly of the man! (Listening.)
Syrus (to himself). He prais’d his son;
Me, who concerted the whole scheme, he thank’d.
Dem. I burst with rage. (Listening.)
Syrus (to himself). He told the money down
Immediately, and threw us in beside,
To make an entertainment, a half-mina:
Which I’ve laid out according to my liking.
Dem. So! if you’d have your business well discharg’d,
Commit it to this fellow!
Syrus (overhearing). Who’s there? Demea!
I did not see you, Sir. How goes it?
I can’t sufficiently admire your conduct.
Syrus (negligently). Silly enough, to say the truth, and
(To servants within). Here! Hark ye, Dromo! see you gut and scale
The other fish immediately: But let
That large eel play a little in the water.
When I return it shall be bon’d; till then
It must not be.
Dem. Are crimes like these —
Syrus (to Demea). Indeed
I like them not, and oft cry shame upon them.
— (To servants within.) See that those salt fish are well soak’d, Stephanio.
Dem. Gods! is this done on purpose? Does he think
’Tis laudable to spoil his son? Alas!
I think I see the day when Æschinus
Shall fly for want, and list himself a soldier.
Syrus. O Demea! that is to be wise: to see,
Not that alone which lies before your feet,
But ev’n to pry into futurity.
Dem. What! is the Music-Girl at your house?
Dem. What! and is Æschinus
To keep her at home with him?
Syrus. I believe so;
Such is their madness.
Dem. Is it possible?
Syrus. A fond and foolish father!
Dem. I’m asham’d
To own my brother; I’m griev’d for him.
There is a deal of diff’rence, Demea,
— Nor is’t because you’re present that I say this —
There is a mighty difference between you!
You are, from top to toe, all over wisdom:
He a mere dotard. — Would you e’er permit
Your boy to do such things?
Dem. Permit him? I?
Or should I not much rather smell him out
Six months before he did but dream of it?
Syrus. Pshaw! do you boast your vigilance to me?
Dem. Heav’n keep him ever as he is at present!
Syrus. As fathers form their children, so they prove.
Dem. But, prithee, have you seen the lad to-day? (With an affected carelessness.)
Syrus. Your son, d’ye mean? — I’ll drive him out of town.
He’s hard at work upon your grounds by this time.
Dem. Ay? Are you sure he’s gone into the country?
Syrus. Sure? I set out with him myself.
Dem. Good! good!
I was afraid he loiter’d here. (Aside.)
Syrus. And much
Enrag’d, I promise you.
Dem. On what account?
Syrus. A quarrel with his brother at the Forum,
About the Music-Girl.
Syrus. Aye, faith:
He did not mince the matter: he spoke out;
For as the cash was telling down, in pops,
All unexpected, Master Ctesipho:
Cries out — “Oh Æschinus, are these your courses?
These your persuits? enormities like these?
Oh shame! oh scandal to our family!”
Dem. Oh, oh, I weep for joy.
Syrus. — “You squander not
The money only, but your life, your honor.”
Dem. Heav’n bless him; he is like his ancestors. (Weeping.)
Syrus. Father’s own son, I warrant him.
Dem. Oh, Syrus!
He’s full of all those precepts, he!
Syrus. No doubt on’t:
He need not go from home for good instruction.
Dem. I spare no pains; neglect no means; I train him.
— In short, I bid him look into the lives
Of all, as in a mirror, and thence draw
From others an example for himself.
— “Do this.” —
Dem. “Fly that.”
Syrus. Very good!
Dem. “This deed
Is highly commendable.”
Syrus. That’s the thing!
Dem. “That’s reprehensible.”
Syrus. Most excellent!
Dem. “And then moreover — ”
Syrus. Faith, I have not time
To give you further audience just at present,
I’ve got an admirable dish of fish;
And I must take good care they are not spoil’d.
For that were an offense as grievous, Demea,
In us, as ’twere in you to leave undone
The things you just now mentioned: and I try,
According to my weak abilities,
To teach my fellow-slaves the self-same way.
— “This is too salt. — This is burnt up too much.
That is not nice and cleanly. — That’s well done.
Mind, and do so again.” — I spare no pains,
And give them the best precepts that I can.
In short, I bid them look into the dishes,
As in a mirror, Demea, and thence learn
The duty of a cook. — This school of ours,
I own, is idle: but what can you do?
According to the man must be the lesson.
— Would you aught else with us?
Dem. Your reformation.
Syrus. Do you go hence into the country?
Syrus. For what should you do here, where nobody,
However good your precepts, cares to mind them?
I then will hence, since he, on whose account
I hither came, is gone into the country.
He is my only care, He’s my concern.
My brother, since he needs will have it so,
May look to Æschinus himself. — But who
Is coming yonder? Hegio, of our tribe?
If I see plainly, beyond doubt ’tis he.
Ah, we’ve been old acquaintance quite from boys;
And such men nowadays are wondrous scarce.
A citizen of ancient faith and virtue!
The commonwealth will ne’er reap harm from him.
How I rejoice to see but the remains
Of this old stock! Ah, life’s a pleasure now.
I’ll wait, that I may ask about his health,
And have a little conversation with him.
Enter Hegio, Geta conversing at a distance.
Hegio. Can it be true?
Geta. Ev’n so.
Hegio. A deed so base
Sprung from that family? — Oh Æschinus,
This was not acting like your father.
Dem. (behind.) So!
He has just heard about this Musick-Girl,
And is affected at it, though a stranger,
While his good father truly thinks it nothing.
Oh monstrous! would that he were somewhere nigh,
And heard all this!
Hegio. Unless they do you justice
They shall not carry off the matter thus.
Hegio. Unless they do what’s just,
They shall not carry off the matter thus.
Geta. Our only hope is in you, Hegio.
You’re our sole friend, our guardian, and our father,
On his death-bed, the good old Simulus
Bequeath’d us to your care. If you desert us,
We are undone indeed.
Hegio. Ah, name it not!
I will not, and with honesty, I can not.
Dem. I’ll go up to him. — Save you, Hegio!
Hegio. The man I look’d for. — Save you, Demea!
Dem. Your pleasure!
Hegio. Æschinus, your elder son,
Your brother’s by adoption, has committed
A deed unworthy of an honest man,
And of a gentleman.
Dem. How so?
Hegio. You knew
Our friend and good acquaintance, Simulus?
Dem. Aye, sure.
Hegio. He has debauch’d his daughter.
Hegio. Hold, Demea, for the worst is still to come.
Dem. Is there aught worse?
Hegio. Much worse: for this perhaps
Might be excus’d. The night, love, wine, and youth,
Might prompt him. ’Tis the frailty of our nature.
— Soon as his sense returning made him conscious
Of his rash outrage, of his own accord
He came to the girl’s mother, weeping, praying.
Entreating, vowing constancy, and swearing
That he would take her home. — He was forgiven;
The thing conceal’d; and his vows credited.
The girl from that encounter prov’d with child:
This is the tenth month. — He, good gentleman,
Has got a music-girl, Heav’n bless the mark!
With whom he means to live, and quit the other.
Dem. And are you well assur’d of this?
Hegio. The mother,
The girl, the fact itself, are all before you,
Joining to vouch the truth on’t. And besides,
This Geta here — as servants go, no bad one,
Nor given up to idleness — maintains them;
The sole support of all the family.
Here take him, bind him, force the truth from him.
Geta. Aye, torture me, if ’tis not so, good Demea!
Nay, Æschinus, I’m sure, will not deny it.
Bring me before him.
Dem. (aside). I’m asham’d: and what
To do, or what to say to him, I know not.
Pamphila (within). Ah me! I’m torn in pieces! — Racking
Juno Lucina, help me! save, I pray thee!
Hegio. Ha! Is she then in labor, Geta?
Geta. Yes, Sir.
Hegio. Hark! she now calls upon your justice, Demea!
Grant her then freely, what law else will claim.
And Heaven send, that you may rather do
What honor bids! but if you mean it not,
Be sure of this; that with my utmost force
I’ll vindicate the girl, and her dead father;
He was my kinsman; we were bred together
From children; and our fortunes twin’d together
In war, and peace, and bitter poverty.
Wherefore I’ll try, endeavor, strive, nay lose
My life itself, before I will forsake them.
— What is your answer?
Dem. I’ll find out my brother:
What he advises, I will follow, Hegio.
Hegio. But still remember, Demea, that the more
You live at ease; the more your pow’r, your wealth,
Your riches, and nobility; the more
It is your duty to act honorably,
If you regard the name of honest men.
Dem. Go to: we’ll do you justice.
Hegio. ’Twill become you.
Geta, conduct me in to Sostrata.
Exit with Geta .
This is no more than I foretold: and well
If his intemp’rance would stop here! — But this
Immoderate indulgence must produce
Some terrible misfortune in the end.
— I’ll hence, find out my brother, tell my news,
And empty all my indignation on him.
Re-enter Hegio, speaking to Sostrata at the door.
Be of good cheer, my Sostrata; and comfort,
As much as in your pow’r, poor Pamphila!
I’ll find out Micio, if he’s at the Forum,
And tell him the whole story: if he’ll act
With honor in it, why ’tis well; if not,
Let him but speak his mind to me, and then
I shall know how to act accordingly.
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
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
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
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
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
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
— 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.
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
— 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
— 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
— 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!
This web edition published by:
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005