Simo, Sosia, and Servants with Provisions.
Simo. Carry those things in: go! (Ex. Servants.)
Sosia, come here;
A word with you!
Sosia. I understand: that these
Be ta’en due care of.
Simo. Quite another thing.
Sosia. What can my art do more for you?
Simo. This business
Needs not that art; but those good qualities,
Which I have ever known abide in you,
Fidelity and secrecy.
Sosia. I wait
Simo. Since I bought you, from a boy
How just and mild a servitude you’ve pass’d
With me, you’re conscious: from a purchas’d slave
I made you free, because you serv’d me freely:
The greatest recompense I could bestow.
Sosia. I do remember.
Simo. Nor do I repent.
Sosia. If I have ever done, or now do aught
That’s pleasing to you, Simo, I am glad,
And thankful that you hold my service good
And yet this troubles me: for this detail,
Forcing your kindness on my memory,
Seems to reproach me of ingratitude.
Oh tell me then at once, what would you? Sir!
Simo. I will; and this I must advise you first;
The nuptial you suppose preparing now,
Is all unreal.
Sosia. Why pretend it then?
Simo. You shall hear all from first to last: and thus
The conduct of my son, my own intent,
And what part you’re to act, you’ll know at once.
For my son, Sosia, now to manhood grown,
Had freer scope of living: for before
How might you know, or how indeed divine
His disposition, good or ill, while youth,
Fear, and a master, all constrain’d him?
Simo. Though most, as is the bent of youth, apply
Their mind to some one object, horses, hounds,
Or to the study of philosophy;
Yet none of these, beyond the rest, did he
Pursue; and yet, in moderation, all.
I was o’erjoy’d.
Sosia. And not without good cause.
For this I hold to be the Golden Rule
Of Life, too much of one thing’s good for nothing.
Simo. So did he shape his life to bear himself
With ease and frank good-humor unto all;
Mix’d in what company soe’er, to them
He wholly did resign himself; complied
With all their humours, checking nobody,
Nor e’er assuming to himself: and thus
With ease, and free from envy, may you gain
Praise, and conciliate friends.
Sosia. He rul’d his life
By prudent maxims: for, as times go now,
Compliance raises friends, and truth breeds hate.
Simo. Meanwhile, ’tis now about three years ago,
A certain woman from the isle of Andros,
Came o’er to settle in this neighborhood,
By poverty and cruel kindred driv’n:
Handsome and young.
Sosia. Ah! I begin to fear
Some mischief from this Andrian.
Simo. At first
Modest and thriftily, though poor, she liv’d,
With her own hands a homely livelihood
Scarce earning from the distaff and the loom.
But when a lover came, with promis’d gold,
Another, and another, as the mind
Falls easily from labor to delight,
She took their offers, and set up the trade.
They, who were then her chief gallants, by chance
Drew thither, as oft happen with young men
My son to join their company. “So, so!”
Said I within myself, “he’s smit! he has it!”
And in the morning as I saw their servants
Run to and fro, I’d often call, “here, boy!
Prithee now, who had Chrysis yesterday?”
The name of this same Andrian.
Sosia. I take you.
Simo. Phædrus they said, Clinia, or Niceratus,
For all these three then follow’d her. — “Well, well,
But what of Pamphilus?” — “Of Pamphilus!
He supp’d, and paid his reck’ning.” — I was glad.
Another day I made the like inquiry,
But still found nothing touching Pamphilus.
Thus I believ’d his virtue prov’d, and hence
Thought him a miracle of continence:
For he who struggles with such spirits, yet
Holds in that commerce an unshaken mind,
May well be trusted with the governance
Of his own conduct. Nor was I alone
Delighted with his life, but all the world
With one accord said all good things, and prais’d
My happy fortunes, who possess’d a son
So good, so lib’rally disposed. — In short
Chremes, seduc’d by this fine character,
Came of his own accord, to offer me
His only daughter with a handsome portion
In marriage with my son. I lik’d the match;
Betroth’d my son; and this was pitch’d upon,
By joint agreement, for the wedding-day.
Sosia. And what prevents it’s being so?
Simo. I’ll tell you.
In a few days, the treaty still on foot,
This neighbor Chrysis dies.
Sosia. In happy hour:
Happy for you! I was afraid of Chrysis.
Simo. My son, on this event, was often there
With those who were the late gallants of Chrysis;
Assisted to prepare the funeral,
Ever condol’d, and sometimes wept with them.
This pleas’d me then; for in myself I thought,
“Since merely for a small acquaintance-sake
He takes this woman’s death so nearly, what
If he himself had lov’d? What would he feel
For me, his father?” All these things, I thought;
Were but the tokens and the offices
Of a humane and tender disposition.
In short, on his account, e’en I myself
Attend the funeral, suspecting yet
Sosia. And what —
Simo. You shall hear all. The Corpse
Borne forth, we follow: when among the women
Attending there, I chanc’d to cast my eyes,
Upon one girl, in form —
Sosia. Not bad, perhaps —
Simo. And look; so modest, and so beauteous, Sosia!
That nothing could exceed it. As she seem’d
To grieve beyond the rest; and as her air
Appear’d more liberal and ingenuous,
I went and ask’d her women who she was.
Sister, they said, to Chrysis: when at once
It struck my mind; “So! so! the secret’s out;
Hence were those tears, and hence all that compassion!”
Sosia. Alas! I fear how this affair will end!
Simo. Meanwhile the funeral proceeds: we follow;
Come to the sepulchre: the body’s plac’d
Upon the pile, lamented: whereupon
This sister I was speaking of, all wild,
Ran to the flames with peril of her life.
Then! there! the frighted Pamphilus betrays
His well-dissembled and long-hidden love:
Runs up, and takes her round the waist, and cries,
“Oh my Glycerium! what is it you do?
Why, why endeavor to destroy yourself?”
Then she, in such a manner, that you thence
Might easily perceive their long, long, love,
Threw herself back into his arms, and wept,
Oh how familiarly!
Sosia. How say you!
Return in anger thence, and hurt at heart,
Yet had no cause sufficient for reproof.
“What have I done? he’d say; or how deserv’d
Reproach? or how offended, Father? — Her
Who meant to cast herself into the flames,
I stopped.” A fair excuse!
Sosia. You’re in the right;
For him, who sav’d a life, if you reprove,
What will you do to him that offers wrong?
Simo. Chremes next day came open-mouth’d to me:
Oh monstrous! he had found that Pamphilus
Was married to this stranger woman I
Deny the fact most steadily, and he
As steadily insists. In short we part
On such bad terms, as let me understand
He would refuse his daughter.
Sosia. Did not you
Then take your son to task?
Simo. Not even this
Appear’d sufficient for reproof.
Sosia. How so?
Simo. “Father, (he might have said) You have, you know,
Prescrib’d a term to all these things yourself.
The time is near at hand, when I must live
According to the humor of another.
Meanwhile, permit me now to please my own!”
Sosia. What cause remains to chide him then?
Simo. If he
Refuses, on account of this amour,
To take a wife, such obstinate denial
Must be considered as his first offense.
Wherefore I now, from this mock-nuptial,
Endeavor to draw real cause to chide:
And that same rascal Davus, if he’s plotting,
That he may let his counsel run to waste,
Now, when his knaveries can do no harm:
Who, I believe, with all his might and main
Will strive to cross my purposes; and that
More to plague me, than to oblige my son.
Sosia. Why so?
Simo. Why so! Bad mind, bad heart: But if
I catch him at his tricks! — But what need words?
— If, as I wish it may, it should appear
That Pamphilus objects not to the match,
Chremes remains to be prevail’d upon,
And will, I hope, consent. ’Tis now your place
To counterfeit these nuptials cunningly;
To frighten Davus; and observe my son,
What he’s about, what plots they hatch together.
Sosia. Enough; I’ll take due care. Let’s now go in!
Simo. Go first: I’ll follow you. Exit Sosia.
Beyond all doubt
My son’s averse to take a wife: I saw
How frighten’d Davus was, but even now,
When he was told a nuptial was preparing.
But here he comes.
Davus. (to himself). I thought ’twere wonderful
If this affair went off so easily;
And dreaded where my master’s great good-humor
Would end at last: who, after he perceiv’d
The Lady was refus’d, ne’er said a word
To any of us, nor e’er took it ill.
Simo. (behind). But now he will; to your cost too, I warrant you!
Davus. This was his scheme; to lead us by the nose
In a false dream of joy; then all agape
With hope, even then that we were most secure,
To have o’erwhelm’d us, nor allow’d us time
To cast about which way to break the match.
Cunning old Gentleman!
Simo. What says the rogue?
Davus. My master and I did not see him!
Davus. Well! what now? (Pretending not to see him.)
Simo. Here! this way!
Davus. What can he want? (To himself.)
Simo. (overhearing). What say you?
Davus. Upon what? Sir.
Simo. Upon what!
The world reports that my son keeps a mistress.
Davus. Oh, to be sure, the world cares much for that.
Simo. D’ye mind what I say? Sirrah!
Davus. Nothing more, Sir.
Simo. But for me now to dive into these matters
May seem perhaps like too severe a father:
For all his youthful pranks concern not me.
While ’twas in season, he had my free leave
To take his swing of pleasure. But to-day
Brings on another stage of life, and asks
For other manners: wherefore I desire,
Or, if you please, I do beseech you, Davus,
To set him right again.
Davus. What means all this?
Simo. All, who are fond of mistresses, dislike
The thoughts of matrimony.
Davus. So they say.
Simo. And then, if such a person entertains
An evil counselor in those affairs,
He tampers with the mind, and makes bad worse.
Davus. Troth, I don’t comprehend one word of this.
Davus. No. I’m Davus, and not Oedipus.
Simo. Then for the rest I have to say to you,
You choose I should speak plainly.
Davus. By all means.
Simo. If I discover then, that in this match
You get to your dog’s tricks to break it off,
Or try to show how shrewd a rogue you are,
I’ll have you beat to mummy, and then thrown
In prison, Sirrah! upon this condition,
That when I take you out again, I swear
To grind there in your stead. D’ye take me now?
Or don’t you understand this neither?
You have spoke out at last: the very thing!
Quite plain and home; and nothing round about.
Simo. I could excuse your tricks in any thing,
Rather than this.
Davus. Good words! I beg of you.
Simo. You laugh at me: well, well! — I give you warning
That you do nothing rashly, nor pretend
You was not advertis’d of this — take heed!
Troth Davus, ’tis high time to look about you;
No room for sloth, as far as I can sound
The sentiments of our old gentleman
About this marriage, which if not fought off,
And cunningly, spoils me, or my poor master.
I know not what to do; nor can resolve
To help the son, or to obey the father.
If I desert poor Pamphilus, alas!
I tremble for his life; if I assist him,
I dread his father’s threats: a shrewd old Cuff,
Not easily deceiv’d. For first of all,
He knows of this amour; and watches me
With jealous eyes, lest I devise some trick
To break the match. If he discovers it,
Woe to poor Davus! nay, if he’s inclin’d
To punish me, he’ll seize on some pretense
To throw me into prison, right or wrong.
Another mischief too, to make bad worse,
This Andrian, wife or mistress, is with child
By Pamphilus. And do but mark the height
Of their assurance! for ’tis certainly
The dotage of mad people, not of lovers.
Whate’er she shall bring forth, they have resolv’d
To educate: and have among themselves
Devis’d the strangest story! that Glycerium
Is an Athenian citizen. “There was
Once on a time a certain merchant, shipwreck’d
Upon the isle of Andros; there he died:
And Chrysis’ father took this orphan-wreck,
Then but an infant, under his protection.”
Ridiculous! ’tis all romance to me:
And yet the story pleases them. And see!
Mysis comes forth. But I must to the Forum
To look for Pamphilus, for fear his father
Should find him first, and take him unawares.
Enter Mysis. (Speaking to a servant within.)
I hear, Archyllis; I hear what you say:
You beg me to bring Lesbia. By my troth
That Lesbia is a drunken wretch, hot-headed,
Nor worthy to be trusted with a woman
In her first labor. Well, well! she shall come.
— Observe how earnest the old gossip is, (Coming forward)
Because this Lesbia is her pot-companion.
— Oh grant my mistress, Heav’n, a safe delivery,
And let the midwife trespass any where
Rather than here! — But what is it I see?
Pamphilus all disorder’d: How I fear
The cause! I’ll wait a while, that I may know
If this commotion means us any ill.
Pamphilus, Mysis behind.
Pam. Is this well done? or like a man? — Is this
The action of a father?
Mysis. What’s the matter?
Pam. Oh all ye pow’rs of heav’n and earth, what’s wrong
If this is not so? — If he was determin’d
That I to-day should marry, should I not
Have had some previous notice? — ought not he
To have inform’d me of it long ago?
Mysis. Alas! what’s this I hear?
Pam. And Chremes too,
Who had refus’d to trust me with his daughter,
Changes his mind, because I change not mine.
Can he then be so obstinately bent
To tear me from Glycerium? To lose her
Is losing life. — Was ever man so cross’d,
So curs’d as I? — Oh pow’rs of heav’n and earth!
Can I by no means fly from this alliance
With Chremes’ family? — so oft contemn’d
And held in scorn! — all done, concluded all! —
Rejected, then recall’d:— and why? — unless,
For so I must suspect, they breed some monster,
Whom as they can obtrude on no one else,
They bring to me.
Mysis. Alas, alas! this speech
Has struck me almost dead with fear.
Pam. And then
My father! — what to say of him? — Oh shame!
A thing of so much consequence to treat
So negligently! — For but even now
Passing me in the forum, “Pamphilus!
To-day’s your wedding-day, said he: prepare;
Go, get you home!” — This sounded in my ears
As if he said, “go, hang yourself!” — I stood
Confounded. Think you I could speak one word?
Or offer an excuse, how weak soe’er?
No, I was dumb:— and had I been aware,
Should any ask what I’d have done, I would,
Rather than this, do any thing. — But now
What to resolve upon? — So many cares
Entangle me at once, and rend my mind,
Pulling it diff’rent ways. My love, compassion,
This urgent match, my rev’rence for my father,
Who yet has ever been so gentle to me,
And held so slack a rein upon my pleasures.
— And I oppose him? — Racking thought! — Ah me!
I know not what to do.
Mysis. Alas, I fear
Where this uncertainty will end. ’Twere best
He should confer with her; or I at least
Speak touching her to him. For while the mind
Hangs in suspense, a trifle turns the scale.
Pam. Who’s there? what, Mysis! Save you!
Mysis. Save you! Sir. (Coming forward.)
Pam. How does she?
Mysis. How! oppress’d with wretchedness.
To-day supremely wretched, as to-day
Was formerly appointed for your wedding.
And then she fears lest you desert her.
Desert her? Can I think on’t? or deceive
A wretched maid! who trusted to my care
Her life and honor. Her whom I have held
Near to my heart, and cherish’d as my wife?
Or leave her modest and well nurtur’d mind
Through want to be corrupted? Never, never.
Mysis. No doubt, did it depend on you alone;
But if constrain’d —
Pam. D’ye think me then so vile?
Or so ungrateful, so inhuman, savage,
Neither long intercourse, nor love, nor shame,
Can move my soul, or make me keep my faith?
Mysis. I only know, my mistress well deserves
You should remember her.
Pam. Remember her?
Oh Mysis, Mysis! even at this hour,
The words of Chrysis touching my Glycerium
Are written in my heart. On her death-bed
She call’d me. I approach’d her. You retir’d.
We were alone; and Chrysis thus began:
“My Pamphilus, you see the youth and beauty
Of this unhappy maid: and well you know,
These are but feeble guardians to preserve
Her fortune or her fame. By this right hand
I do beseech you, by your better angel,
By your tried faith, by her forlorn condition,
I do conjure you, put her not away,
Nor leave her to distress. If I have ever,
As my own brother, lov’d you; or if she
Has ever held you dear ’bove all the world,
And ever shown obedience to your will —
I do bequeath you to her as a husband,
Friend, Guardian, Father: all our little wealth
To you I leave, and trust it to your care.” —
She join’d our hands, and died. — I did receive her,
And once receiv’d will keep her.
Mysis. So we trust.
Pam. What make you from her?
Mysis. Going for a midwife.
Pam. Haste then! and hark, be sure take special heed,
You mention not a word about the marriage,
Lest this too give her pain.
Mysis. I understand.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01