Char. How, Byrrhia? Is she to be married, say you,
To Pamphilus to-day?
Byr. ’Tis even so.
Char. How do you know?
Byr. I had it even now
From Davus at the Forum.
Char. Woe is me!
Then I’m a wretch indeed: till now my mind
Floated ’twixt hope and fear: now, hope remov’d,
Stunn’d, and o’erwhelm’d, it sinks beneath its cares.
Byr. Nay, prithee master, since the thing you wish
Can not be had, e’en wish for that which may!
Char. I wish for nothing but Philumena.
Byr. Ah, how much wiser were it, that you strove
To quench this passion, than, with words like these
To fan the fire, and blow it to a flame?
Char. How readily do men at ease prescribe
To those who’re sick at heart! distress’d like me,
You would not talk thus.
Byr. Well, well, as you please.
Char. Ha! I see Pamphilus. I can resolve
On any thing, e’er give up all for lost.
Byr. What now?
Char. I will entreat him, beg, beseech him,
Tell him our course of love, and thus, perhaps,
At least prevail upon him to defer
His marriage some few days: meanwhile, I hope,
Something may happen.
Byr. Aye, that something’s nothing.
Char. Byrrhia, what think you? Shall I speak to him?
Byr. Why not? for though you don’t obtain your suit,
He will at least imagine you’re prepar’d
To cuckold him, in case he marries her.
Char. Away, you hang-dog, with your base suspicions!
Pam. Charinus, save you!
Char. Save you, Pamphilus!
Imploring comfort, safety, help, and counsel,
You see me now before you.
Pam. Help, and counsel!
I can afford you neither. — But what mean you?
Char. Is this your wedding-day?
Pam. Aye, so they say.
Char. Ah, Pamphilus, if so, this day
You see the last of me.
Pam. How so?
Char. Ah me!
I dare not speak it: prithee tell him, Byrrhia.
Byr. Aye, that I will.
Pam. What is’t?
Byr. He is in love
With your bride, Sir.
Pam. I’ faith so am not I.
Tell me, Charinus, has aught further passed
’Twixt you and her?
Char. Ah, no, no.
Pam. Would there had!
Char. Now by our friendship, by my love I beg
You would not marry her. —
Pam. I will endeavor.
Char. If that’s impossible, or if this match
Be grateful to your heart —
Pam. My heart!
Char. At least
Defer it some few days; while I depart,
That I may not behold it.
Pam. Hear, Charinus;
It is, I think, scarce honesty in him
To look for thanks, who means no favor. I
Abhor this marriage, more than you desire it.
Char. You have reviv’d me.
Pam. Now if you, or he,
Your Byrrhia here, can do or think of aught;
Act, plot, devise, invent, strive all you can
To make her yours; and I’ll do all I can
That she may not be mine.
Pam. I see
Davus, and in good time: for he’ll advise
What’s best to do.
Char. But you, you sorry rogue, (To Byrrhia)
Can give me no advice, nor tell me aught,
But what it is impertinent to know.
Hence, Sirrah, get you gone!
Byr. With all my heart.
Enter Davus hastily.
Davus. Good Heav’ns, what news I bring! what joyful news!
But where shall I find Pamphilus, to drive
His fears away, and make him full of joy?
Char. There’s something pleases him.
Pam. No matter what.
He has not heard of our ill fortune yet.
Davus. And he, I warrant, if he has been told
Of his intended wedding —
Char. Do you hear?
Davus. Poor soul, is running all about the town
In quest of me. But whither shall I go?
Or which way run?
Char. Why don’t you speak to him?
Davus. I’ll go.
Pam. Ho! Davus! Stop, come here!
Davus. Who calls?
O, Pamphilus! the very man. — Heyday!
Charinus too! — Both gentlemen, well met!
I’ve news for both.
Pam. I’m ruin’d, Davus.
Davus. Hear me!
Davus. I know your fears.
Char. My life’s at stake.
Davus. Yours I know also.
Pam. Matrimony mine.
Davus. I know it.
Pam. But to-day.
Davus. You stun me; plague!
I tell you I know ev’ry thing: you fear (To Charinus.)
You should not marry her. — You fear you should. (To Pam.)
Char. The very thing.
Pam. The same.
Davus. And yet that same
Is nothing. Mark!
Pam. Nay, rid me of my fear.
Davus. I will then. Chremes don’t intend his daughter
Shall marry you to-day.
Pam. No! How d’ye know?
Davus. I’m sure of it. Your Father but just now
Takes me aside, and tells me ’twas his will
That you should wed to-day; with much beside,
Which now I have not leisure to repeat.
I, on the instant, hastening to find you,
Run to the Forum to inform you of it:
There, failing, climb an eminence, look round:
No Pamphilus: I light by chance on Byrrhia;
Inquire; he hadn’t seen you. Vex’d at heart,
What’s to be done? thought I. Returning thence
A doubt arose within me. Ha! bad cheer,
The old man melancholy, and a wedding
Clapp’d up so suddenly! This don’t agree.
Pam. Well, what then?
Davus. I betook me instantly
To Chremes’ house; but thither when I came,
Before the door all hush. This tickled me.
Pam. You’re in the right. Proceed.
Davus. I watch’d a while:
Meantime no soul went in, no soul came out;
No matron; in the house no ornament;
No note of preparation. I approach’d,
Look’d in —
Pam. I understand: a potent sign!
Davus. Does this seem like a nuptial?
Pam. I think not,
Davus. Think not, d’ye say? you don’t conceive:
The thing is evident. I met beside,
As I departed thence, with Chremes’ boy,
Bearing some pot-herbs, and a pennyworth
Of little fishes for the old man’s dinner.
Char. I am deliver’d, Davus, by your means,
From all my apprehensions of to-day.
Davus. And yet you are undone.
Char. How so? Since Chremes
Will not consent to give Philumena
Davus. Ridiculous! As if,
Because the daughter is denied to him,
She must of course wed you. Look to it well;
Court the old Gentleman through friends, apply,
Or else —
Char. You’re right: I will about it straight,
Although that hope has often fail’d. Farewell.
Pam. What means my father then? Why counterfeit?
Davus. That I’ll explain. If he were angry now,
Merely that Chremes has refus’d his daughter,
He’d think himself in fault; and justly too,
Before the bias of your mind is known.
But granting you refuse her for a wife,
Then all the blame devolves on you, and then
Comes all the storm.
Pam. What course then shall I take?
Shall I submit —
Davus. He is your Father, Sir,
Whom to oppose were difficult; and then
Glycerium’s a lone woman; and he’ll find
Some course, no matter what, to drive her hence.
Pam. To drive her hence?
Pam. Tell me then,
Oh tell me, Davus, what were best to do?
Davus. Say that you’ll marry!
Davus. And where’s the harm?
Pam. Say that I’ll marry!
Davus. Why not?
Pam. Never, never.
Davus. Do not refuse!
Pam. Persuade not!
Davus. Do but mark
Pam. Divorcement from Glycerium.
And marriage with the other.
Davus. No such thing.
Your father, I suppose, accosts you thus.
I’d have you wed to-day; — I will, quoth you:
What reason has he to reproach you then?
Thus shall you baffle all his settled schemes,
And put him to confusion; all the while
Secure yourself: for ’tis beyond a doubt
That Chremes will refuse his daughter to you;
So obstinately too, you need not pause,
Or change these measures, lest he change his mind;
Say to your father then, that you will wed,
That, with the will, he may want cause to chide.
But if, deluded by fond hopes, you cry,
“No one will wed their daughter to a rake,
A libertine.” — Alas, you’re much deceiv’d.
For know, your father will redeem some wretch
From rags and beggary to be your wife,
Rather than see your ruin with Glycerium.
But if he thinks you bear an easy mind,
He too will grow indiff’rent, and seek out
Another match at leisure; the mean while
Affairs may take a lucky turn.
Pam. D’ye think so?
Davus. Beyond all doubt.
Pam. See, what you lead me to.
Davus. Nay, peace!
Pam. I’ll say so then. But have a care
He knows not of the child, which I’ve agreed
Davus. O confidence!
Pam. She drew
This promise from me, as a firm assurance
That I would not forsake her.
Davus. We’ll take care.
But here’s your father: let him not perceive
Enter Simo at a distance.
Simo. I return to see
What they’re about, or what they meditate.
Davus. Now is he sure that you’ll refuse to wed.
From some dark corner brooding o’er black thoughts
He comes, and fancies he has fram’d a speech
To disconcert you. See, you keep your ground.
Pam. If I can, Davus.
Davus. Trust me, Pamphilus,
Your father will not change a single word
In anger with you, do but say you’ll wed.
Enter Byrrhia behind.
Byr. To-day my master bade me leave all else
For Pamphilus, and watch how he proceeds,
About his marriage; wherefore I have now
Followed the old man hither: yonder too
Stands Pamphilus himself, and with him Davus.
To business then!
Simo. I see them both together.
Davus. Now mind. (Apart to Pam.)
Simo. Here, Pamphilus!
Davus. Now turn about,
As taken unawares. (Apart.)
Pam. Who calls? my father!
Davus. Well said! (Apart.)
Simo. It is my pleasure, that to-day,
As I have told you once before, you marry.
Davus. Now on our part, I fear what he’ll reply. (Aside.)
Pam. In that, and all the rest of your commands,
I shall be ready to obey you, Sir!
Byr. How’s that! (Overhearing.)
Davus. Struck dumb. (Aside.)
Byr. What said he? (Listening.)
Simo. You perform
Your duty, when you cheerfully comply
With my desires.
Davus. There! said I not the truth? (Apart to Pam.)
Byr. My master then, so far as I can find,
May whistle for a wife.
Simo. Now then go in
That when you’re wanted you be found.
Pam. I go.
Byr. Is there no faith in the affairs of men?
’Tis an old saying and a true one too;
“Of all mankind each loves himself the best.”
I’ve seen the lady; know her beautiful;
And therefore sooner pardon Pamphilus,
If he had rather win her to his arms,
Than yield her to th’ embraces of my master.
I will go bear these tidings, and receive
Much evil treatment for my evil news.
Manent Simo and Davus.
Davus. Now he supposes I’ve some trick in hand,
And loiter here to practice it on him!
Simo. Well, what now, Davus?
Simo. Nothing, say you?
Davus. Nothing at all.
Simo. And yet I look’d for something.
Davus. So, I perceive, you did:— This nettles him. (Aside.)
Simo. Can you speak truth?
Davus. Most easily.
Simo. Say then,
Is not this wedding irksome to my son,
From his adventure with the Andrian?
Davus. No faith; or if at all, ’twill only be
Two or three days’ anxiety, you know;
Then ’twill be over: for he sees the thing
In its true light.
Simo. I praise him for’t.
Davus. While you
Restrain’d him not; and while his youth allow’d
’Tis true he lov’d; but even then by stealth,
As wise men ought, and careful of his fame.
Now his age calls for matrimony, now
To matrimony he inclines his mind.
Simo. Yet, in my eyes, he seem’d a little sad.
Davus. Not upon that account. He has he thinks
Another reason to complain of you.
Simo. For what?
Davus. A trifle.
Simo. Well, what is’t?
Davus. Nay, nothing.
Simo. Tell me, what is’t?
Davus. You are then, he complains,
Somewhat too sparing of expense.
A feast of scarce ten Drachms? Does this, says he,
Look like a wedding-supper for his son?
What friends can I invite? especially
At such a time as this? — and, truly, Sir,
You have been very frugal; much too sparing.
I can’t commend you for it.
Simo. Hold your peace.
Davus. I’ve ruffled him. (Aside.)
Simo. I’ll look to that. Away!
What now? What means the varlet? Precious rogue,
For if there’s any knavery on foot,
He, I am sure, is the contriver on’t.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:14