Is this to be believ’d, or to be told?
Can then such inbred malice live in man,
To joy in ill, and from another’s woes
To draw his own delight? — Ah, is’t then so?
— Yes, such there are, the meanest of mankind,
Who, from a sneaking bashfulness, at first
Dare not refuse; but when the time comes on
To make their promise good, then force perforce
Open themselves and fear: yet must deny.
Then too, oh shameless impudence, they cry,
“Who then are you? and what are you to me?
Why should I render up my love to you?
Faith, neighbor, charity begins at home.”
— Speak of their broken faith, they blush not, they,
Now throwing off that shame they ought to wear,
Which they before assum’d without a cause.
— What shall I do? go to him? on my wrongs
Expostulate, and throw reproaches on him?
What will that profit, say you? — very much.
I shall at least imbitter his delight,
And gratify my anger.
To him Pamphilus and Davus.
Pam. Oh, Charinus,
By my imprudence, unless Heav’n forefend,
I’ve ruin’d both myself and you.
Paltry evasion! you have broke your faith.
Pam. What now?
Char. And do you think that words like these
Can baffle me again?
Pam. What means all this?
Char. Soon as I told you of my passion for her,
Then she had charms for you. — Ah, senseless fool,
To judge your disposition by my own!
Pam. You are mistaken.
Char. Was your joy no joy,
Without abusing a fond lover’s mind,
Fool’d on with idle hopes? — Well, take her.
Pam. Take her?
Alas, you know not what a wretch I am:
How many cares this slave has brought upon me,
My rascal here.
Char. No wonder if he takes
Example from his master.
Pam. Ah, you know not
Me, or my love, or else you would not talk thus.
Char. Oh yes, I know it all. You had but now
A dreadful altercation with your father:
And therefore he’s enrag’d, nor could prevail
On you, forsooth, to wed. (Ironically.)
Pam. To show you then,
How little you conceive of my distress,
These nuptials were mere semblance, mock’ry all,
Nor was a wife intended me.
Char. I know it:
You are constrain’d, poor man, by inclination.
Pam. Nay, but have patience! you don’t know —
Char. I know
That you’re to marry her.
Pam. Why rack me thus?
Nay hear! he never ceas’d to importune
That I would tell my father, I would wed;
So press’d, and urg’d, that he at length prevail’d.
Char. Who did this?
Pam. Davus all.
Pam. I know not: but I know the Gods
Meant in their anger I should listen to him.
Char. Is it so, Davus?
Davus. Even so.
Char. How, villain?
The Gods confound you for it! — Tell me, wretch
Had all his most inveterate foes desir’d
To throw him on this marriage, what advice
Could they have given else?
Davus. I am deceiv’d,
But not dishearten’d.
Char. True. (Ironically.)
Davus. This way has fail’d;
We’ll try another way: unless you think
Because the business has gone ill at first,
We can not graft advantage on misfortune.
Pam. Oh aye, I warrant you, if you look to ’t,
Out of one wedding you can work me two.
Davus. Pamphilus, ’tis my duty, as your slave,
To strive with might and main, by day and night
With hazard of my life, to do you service:
’Tis yours, if I am cross’d, to pardon me.
My undertakings fail indeed, but then
I spare no pains. Do better, if you can,
And send me packing.
Pam. Aye, with all my heart:
Place me but where you found me first.
Davus. I will.
Pam. But do it instantly.
Davus. Hist! hold a while:
I hear the creaking of Glycerium’s door.
Pam. Nothing to you.
Davus. I’m thinking.
Pam. What, at last?
Davus. Your business shall be done, and presently.
Mysis to Glycerium (within). Be where he will, I’ll find your Pamphilus,
And bring him with me. Meanwhile, you, my soul,
Forbear to vex yourself.
Mysis. Who’s there?
Oh Pamphilus, well met, Sir!
Pam. What’s the matter?
Mysis. My mistress, by the love you bear her, begs
Your presence instantly. She longs to see you.
Pam. Ah, I’m undone: This sore breaks out afresh.
Unhappy that we are, through your curs’d means,
To be tormented thus. (To Davus.) — She has been told
A nuptial is prepar’d and therefore sends.
Char. From which how safe you were, had he been quiet! (Pointing to Davus.)
Davus. Aye, if he raves not of himself enough,
Do, irritate him. (To Charinus.)
Mysis. Truly that’s the cause;
And therefore ’tis, poor soul, she sorrows thus.
Pam. Mysis, I swear to thee by all the Gods,
I never will desert her: though assur’d
That I for her make all mankind my foes.
I sought her, carried her: our hearts are one,
And farewell they that wish us put asunder!
Death, naught but death shall part us.
Mysis. I revive.
Pam. Apollo’s oracles are not more true.
If that my father may be wrought upon,
To think I hinder’d not the match, ’tis well:
But if that can not be, come what come may,
Why let him know, ’twas I— What think you now? (To Charinus.)
Char. That we are wretches both.
Davus. My brain ’s at work.
Char. O brave!
Pam. I know what you’d attempt.
Davus. Well, well!
I will effect it for you.
Pam. Aye, but now.
Davus. E’en now.
Char. What is’t?
Davus. For him, Sir, not for you.
Be not mistaken.
Char. I am satisfied.
Pam. Say, what do you propose?
Davus. This day, I fear,
Is scarce sufficient for the execution,
So think not I have leisure to relate.
Hence then! you hinder me: hence, hence I say.
Pam. I’ll to Glycerium.
Davus. Well, and what mean you?
Whither will you, Sir?
Char. Shall I speak the truth?
Davus. Oh to be sure: now for a tedious tale!
Char. What will become of me?
Davus. How! not content!
Is it not then sufficient, if I give you
The respite of a day, a little day,
By putting off his wedding?
Char. Aye, but Davus, —
Davus. But what?
Char. That I may wed —
Char. If you succeed, come to me.
Davus. Wherefore come?
I can’t assist you.
Char. Should it so fall out —
Davus. Well, well, I’ll come.
Char. If aught, I am at home.
Manent Davus, Mysis.
Davus. Mysis, wait here till I come forth.
Mysis. For what?
Davus. It must be so.
Mysis. Make haste then.
Davus. In a moment.
Exit to Glycerium’s.
Can we securely then count nothing ours?
Oh all ye Gods! I thought this Pamphilus
The greatest good my mistress could obtain,
Friend, lover, husband, ev’ry way a blessing:
And yet what woe, poor wretch, endures she not
On his account? Alas, more ill than good.
But here comes Davus.
Re-enter Davus with the child.
Mysis. Prithee, man, what now?
Where are you carrying the child?
Davus. Oh, Mysis,
Now have I need of all your ready wit,
And all your cunning.
Mysis. What are you about?
Davus. Quick, take the boy, and lay him at our door.
Mysis. What, on the bare ground?
Davus. From the altar then
Take herbs and strew them underneath.
Mysis. And why
Can’t you do that yourself?
Davus. Because, supposing
There should be need to swear to my old master
I did not lay the bantling there myself
I may with a safe conscience.
Mysis. I conceive.
But pray how came this sudden qualm upon you?
Davus. Nay, but be quick, that you may comprehend
What I propose. — (Mysis lays the child at Simo’s door.)
Oh Jupiter! (Looking out.)
Mysis. What now?
Davus. Here comes the father of the bride! — I change
My first-intended purpose.
Mysis. What you mean
I can’t imagine.
Davus. This way from the right,
I’ll counterfeit to come:— And be’t your care
To throw in aptly now and then a word,
To help out the discourse as need requires.
Mysis. Still what you’re at, I can not comprehend.
But if I can assist, as you know best,
Not to obstruct your purposes, I’ll stay. (Davus retires.)
Enter Chremes going toward Simo’s.
Chremes. Having provided all things necessary.
I now return to bid them call the bride.
What’s here? (seeing the child) by Hercules, a child! Ha, woman,
Was’t you that laid it here?
Mysis. Where is he gone? (Looking after Davus.)
Chremes. What, won’t you answer me?
Mysis. (Looking about.) Not here: Ah me!
The fellow’s gone, and left me in the lurch.
Davus coming forward and pretending not to see them.
Davus. Good Heavens, what confusion at the Forum!
The people all disputing with each other!
The market-price is so confounded high. (Loud.)
What to say else I know not. (Aside.)
Mysis (to Davus). What d’ye mean,
Chremes retires and listens to their conversation.
By leaving me alone?
Davus. What farce is this?
Ha, Mysis, whence this child? Who brought it here?
Mysis. Have you your wits, to ask me such a question?
Davus. Whom should I ask, when no one else is here?
Chremes (behind). I wonder whence it comes. (To himself.)
Davus. Wilt answer me! (Loud.)
Mysis. Ah! (Confused.)
Davus. This way to the right! (Apart to Mysis.)
Mysis. You’re raving mad.
Was ’t not yourself!
Davus. I charge you not a word,
But what I ask you. (Apart to Mysis.)
Mysis. Do you threaten me?
Davus. Whence comes this child? (Loud.)
Mysis. From our house.
Davus. Ha! ha! ha!
No wonder that a harlot has assurance.
Chremes. This is the Andrian’s servant-maid, I take it.
Davus. Do we then seem to you such proper folks
To play these tricks upon? (Loud to Mysis.)
Chremes. I came in time. (To himself.)
Davus. Make haste, and take your bantling from our door. (Loud.)
Hold! do not stir from where you are, be sure. (Softly.)
Mysis. A plague upon you: you so terrify me!
Davus. Wench, did I speak to you or no? (Loud.)
Mysis. What would you?
Davus. What would I? Say, whose child have you laid here?
Tell me. (Loud.)
Mysis. You don’t know?
Davus. Plague of what I know:
Tell what I ask. (Softly.)
Davus. Ours? Whose? (Loud.)
Davus. How say you? Pamphilus’s? (Loud.)
Mysis. To be sure.
Chremes. I had good cause to be against this match. (To himself.)
Davus. O monstrous impudence! (Bawling.)
Mysis. Why all this noise?
Davus. Did not I see this child convey’d by stealth
Into your house last night?
Mysis. Oh rogue!
Davus. ’Tis true.
I saw old Canthara stuff’d out?
Mysis. Thank Heav’n,
Some free-women were present at her labor?
Davus. Troth, she don’t know the gentleman, for whom
She plays this game. She thinks, should Chremes see
The child laid here, he would not grant his daughter.
Faith, he would grant her the more willingly.
Chremes. Not he indeed. (To himself.)
Davus. But now, one word for all,
Take up the child; or I shall trundle him
Into the middle of the street, and roll
You, madam, in the mire.
Mysis. The fellow’s drunk.
Davus. One piece of knavery begets another:
Now, I am told, ’tis whisper’d all about,
That she’s a citizen of Athens — (Loud.)
Davus. And that by law he will be forc’d to wed her.
Mysis. Why prithee is she not a citizen?
Chremes. What a fine scrape was I within a hair
Of being drawn into! (To himself.)
Davus. What voice is that? (Turning about.)
Oh Chremes! you are come in time. Attend!
Chremes. I have heard all already.
Davus. You’ve heard all?
Chremes. Yes all, I say, from first to last.
Good lack, what knaveries! this lying jade
Should be dragg’d hence to torture. — This is he! (To Mysis.)
Think not ’twas Davus you impos’d upon.
Mysis. Ah me! — Good Sir, I spoke the truth indeed.
Chremes. I know the whole. — Is Simo in the house?
Davus. Yes, Sir.
Manent Davus, Mysis. Davus runs up to her.
Mysis. Don’t offer to touch me, you villain!
If I don’t tell my mistress every word —
Davus. Why you don’t know, you fool, what good we’ve done.
Mysis. How should I?
Davus. This is father to the bride:
Nor could it otherwise have been contriv’d
That he should know what we would have him.
You should have given me notice.
Davus. Is there then
No diff’rence, think you, whether all you say
Falls natural from the heart, or comes
From dull premeditation?
Crito. In this street
They say that Chrysis liv’d: who rather chose
To heap up riches here by wanton ways,
Than to live poor and honestly at home:
She dead, her fortune comes by law to me.
But I see persons to inquire of. (Goes up.) Save you!
Mysis. Good now, who’s that I see? is it not Crito,
Chrysis’s kinsman? Aye, the very same.
Crito. O Mysis, save you!
Mysis. Save you, Crito!
Is then — ha?
Mysis. Aye, she has left us, poor souls!
Crito. And ye; how go ye on here? — pretty well?
Mysis. We? — as we can, as the old saying goes,
When as we would we can not.
Crito. And Glycerium,
Has she found out her parents?
Mysis. Would she had!
Crito. Not yet! an ill wind blew me hither then.
For truly, had I been appris’d of that,
I’d ne’er have set foot here: for this Glycerium
Was always call’d and thought to be her sister.
What Chrysis left, she takes possession of:
And now for me, a stranger, to commence
A lawsuit here, how good and wise it were,
Other examples teach me. She, I warrant,
Has got her some gallant too, some defender:
For she was growing up a jolly girl
When first she journeyed hither. They will cry
That I’m a pettifogger, fortune-hunter,
A beggar. — And besides it were not well
To leave her in distress.
Mysis. Good soul! troth Crito,
You have the good old-fashion’d honesty.
Crito. Well, since I am arriv’d here, bring me to her,
That I may see her.
Mysis. Aye, with all my heart.
Davus. I will in with them: for I would not choose
That our old gentleman should see me now.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:14