The Brothers, by Terence


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!

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