Enter Thraso and Gnatho .
Thraso. And Thais then returns me many thanks?
Gnat. Ten thousand.
Thra. Say, is she delighted with it?
Gnat. Not for the present’s sake so much, as that
From you it was presented: But therein
She truly triumphs.
Enter Parmeno behind.
Par. I’m upon the watch,
To mark a proper opportunity
To bring my presents. But behold the Captain!
Thra. It is, indeed, something, I know not how,
Peculiar to me, do whate’er I please,
It will appear agreeable.
Gnat. In truth
I always have observ’d it.
Thra. Ev’n the King
Held himself much obliged, whate’er I did:
Not so to others.
Gnat. Men of wit, like you,
The glory, got by others’ care and toil,
Often transfer unto themselves.
Thra. You’ve hit it.
Gnat. The king then held you —
Gnat. Most dear.
Thra. Most near. He trusted his whole army to me,
His counsels. —
Thra. And then whene’er
Satiety of company, or hate
Of business seiz’d him — when he would repose —
As if — you understand me.
When he would — in a manner — clear his stomach
Of all uneasiness.
Thra. The very thing.
On such occasions he chose none but me.
Gnat. Hui! there’s a king indeed! a king of taste!
Thra. No general man, I promise you.
Gnat. Oh no!
He must have been particular indeed,
If he convers’d with You.
Thra. The courtiers all
Began to envy me, and rail’d in secret:
I car’d not; whence their spleen increas’d the more.
One in particular, who had the charge
Of th’ Indian elephants; who grew at last
So very troublesome, “I prithee, Strato,
Are you so savage, and so fierce, (says I,)
Because you’re governor of the wild beasts?”
Gnat. Oh, finely said! and shrewdly! excellent!
Too hard upon him! — what said he to’t?
Gnat. And how the devil should he?
Par. Gracious Heav’n!
The stupid coxcomb! — and that rascal too! (Aside.)
Thra. Aye! but the story of the Rhodian, Gnatho!
How smart I was upon him at a feast —
Did I ne’er tell you?
Gnat. Never: but pray do!
— I’ve heard it o’er and o’er a thousand times. (Aside.)
Thra. We were by chance together at a feast —
This Rhodian, that I told you of and I. —
I, as it happen’d, had a wench: the spark
Began to toy with her, and laugh at me.
“Why how now, Impudence! (said I,) are you
A hare yourself, and yet would hunt for game?”
Gnat. Ha! ha! ha!
Thra. What’s the matter?
Gnat. Ha! ha! ha!
Witty! smart! excellent! incomparable!
Is it your own? I swear I thought ’twas old.
Thra. Why, did you ever hear it?
Gnat. Very often;
And reckon’d admirable.
Thra. ’Tis my own.
Gnat. And yet ’twas pity to be so severe
On a young fellow, and a gentleman.
Par. Ah! devil take you! (Aside.)
Gnat. What became of him?
Thra. It did for him. The company were all
Ready to die with laughing:— in a word,
They dreaded me.
Gnat. No wonder.
Thra. Harkye, Gnatho!
Thais, you know, suspects I love this girl.
Shall I acquit myself?
Gnat. On no account.
Rather increase her jealousy.
Thra. And why?
Gnat. Why? — do you ask? — as if you didn’t know! —
Whene’er she mentions Phædria, or whene’er
She praises him, to vex you —
Thra. I perceive.
Gnat. To hinder that, you’ve only this resource.
When she names Phædria, name you Pamphila.
If she should say, “come! let’s have Phædria
To dinner with us!” — “aye, and Pamphila
To sing to us!” — if she praise Phædria’s person,
Praise you the girl’s! so give her tit for tat,
And gall her in her turn.
Thra. Suppose she lov’d me,
This might avail me, Gnatho!
Gnat. While she loves
The presents which you give, expecting more,
So long she loves you; and so long you may
Have pow’r to vex her. She will always fear
To make you angry, lest some other reap
The harvest, which she now enjoys alone.
Thra. You’re right: and yet I never thought of it.
Gnat. Ridiculous! because you did not turn
Your thoughts that way; or with how much more ease
Would you have hit on this device yourself!
Enter Thais and Pythias .
Thais. I thought I heard the Captain’s voice: and see!
Good-day, my Thraso!
Thra. Oh my Thais, welcome!
How does my sweeting? — are you fond of me
For sending you that music-girl?
Par. Oh brave!
He sets out nobly!
Thais. For your worth I love you.
Gnat. Come, let’s to supper? why do you delay?
Par. Mark t’other! he’s a chip of the old block.
Thais. I’m ready when you please.
Par. I’ll up to her,
And seem as if but now come forth. — Ha! Thais,
Where are you gadding?
Thais. Well met, Parmeno!
I was just going —
Thais. Don’t you see
Par. Yes, I see him — to my sorrow.
The presents from my master wait your pleasure.
Thra. Why do we stop thus? wherefore go not hence? (Angrily.)
Par. Beseech you, Captain, let us, with your leave,
Produce our presents, treat, and parley with her!
Thra. Fine gifts, I warrant you, compar’d with mine!
Par. They’ll answer for themselves — Ho, there! within!
Order the slaves, I told you, to come forth.
Enter a Black Girl .
This way! do you stand forward! — This girl, ma’am,
Comes quite from Æthiopia.
Thra. Worth three Minæ.
Par. Ho! where are you, Dorus? — Oh, come hither!
Enter Chærea in the Eunuch’s habit.
An Eunuch, Madam! of a lib’ral air,
And in his prime!
Thais. Now as I live, he’s handsome!
Par. What say you, Gnatho? Is he despicable?
Or, Captain, what say you? — Dumb? — Praise sufficient;
Try him in letters, exercises, music:
In all the arts, a gentleman should know,
I’ll warrant him accomplish’d.
Thra. Troth, that Eunuch
Is well enough.
Par. And he, who sends these presents,
Requires you not to live for him alone,
And for his sake to shut out all mankind:
Nor does he tell his battles, show his wounds,
Or shackle your free will, as some folks do.
Looking at Thraso .
But when ’twill not be troublesome, or when
You’ve leisure, in due season, he’s content
If then he is admitted.
Thra. This poor fellow
Seems to belong to a poor wretched master.
Gnat. Beyond all doubt; for who that could obtain
Another, would endure a slave like this?
Par. Peace, wretch, that art below the meanest slave!
You that could bring your mind so very low,
As to cry aye and no at yon fool’s bidding,
I’m sure, might get your bread out o’the fire.
Thra. Why don’t we go? (Impatiently.)
Thais. Let me but introduce
These first, and give some orders in the house,
And I’ll attend you.
Exit with Chærea, and the Ethiopian.
Thra. I’ll depart from hence.
Gnatho, wait you for her!
Par. It ill beseems
The dignity of a renown’d commander,
T’ escort his mistress in the street.
Slave! you’re beneath my notice — like your master.
Exit Parmeno .
Gnat. Ha! ha! ha! ha!
Thra. What moves your laughter, Gnatho?
Gnat. Your speech but now: and then the Rhodian came
Across my mind. — But Thais comes.
Thra. Go run,
And see that ev’ry thing’s prepar’d at home!
Gnat. It shall be done.
Thais (entering with Pythias). Take care now, Pythias,
Great care, if Chremes come, to press him stay;
Or, if that’s inconvenient, to return:
If that’s impossible, then bring him to me!
Pyth. I’ll do so.
Thais. Hold! what else had I to say?
Take care, be sure, of yonder virgin! see,
You keep at home.
Thra. Let’s go.
Thais. Girls, follow me!
Exit, attended by Servants and Thraso .
In truth the more and more I think, the more
I am convinc’d that Thais means me ill:
So plain I see her arts to draw me in.
Ev’n when she first invited me, (and when
Had any ask’d, What business have you there?
The question would have stagger’d me,) she fram’d
Sev’ral excuses to detain me there.
Said she had made a sacrifice, and had
Affairs of consequence to settle with me.
— Oho! thought I immediately, I smell
A trick upon me! — down she sat, behav’d
Familiarly, and tried to beat about
For conversation. Being at a loss,
She ask’d, how long my parents had been dead?
— I told her, long time since:— on which she ask’d,
Whether I had a country-house at Sunium?
— And how far from the sea? — I half believe
She likes my villa, and would wheedle me
To give it her. — Her final questions were,
If I ne’er lost a little sister thence?
— Who was miss’d with her? — what she had when lost?
— If there was any body capable
Of recollecting her? — Why all these questions?
Unless perhaps she means, — a saucy baggage! —
To play the counterfeit, and feign herself
That sister, who was lost so long ago?
But she, if living, is about sixteen;
Not more: and Thais older than myself.
She sent beside to press me earnestly
To visit her again. — Or, let her say
What she would have; or, trouble me no more!
I’ll not return a third time. — Ho! who’s there?
Here am I! Chremes!
Enter Pythias .
Pyth. Oh, sweet, charming, Sir!
Chre. A coaxing hussy!
Pyth. Thais begs and prays
You’d come again to-morrow.
Chre. I am going
Into the country.
Pyth. Nay, now prithee come?
Chre. I can’t, I tell you.
Pyth. Walk in, then, and stay
Till she returns herself.
Chre. Not I.
Pyth. And why,
Chre. Off, you saucy slut!
Pyth. Well, Sir,
Since you’re so positive, shall I entreat you
To go to her?
Chre. I will.
Pyth. Here, Dorias! (A maid-servant enters.)
Conduct this gentleman to Captain Thraso’s.
Pythias re-enters. — Chremes goes out another way with Dorias .
But yesterday a knot of us young fellows
Assembled at Piræus, and agreed
To club together for a feast to-day.
Chærea had charge of all; the rings were given,
And time and place appointed. — The time’s past;
No entertainment’s at the place; and Chærea
Is no where to be met with. — For my part,
I’m quite to seek in this; and what to say,
Or guess, I know not. — Yet the company
Have all commission’d me to find him out.
I’ll see if he’s at home; — but who comes here
From Thais? — Is it he, or no? — ’Tis he. —
— What manner of man’s here? — what habit’s that?
— What mischief is the meaning of all this?
I’m all astonishment, and can not guess.
But I’ll withdraw a while, and try to learn. (Retires.)
Enter Chærea, in the Eunuch’s habit.
Chær. (looking about). Is any body here? — No, nobody.
Does any follow me? — No, nobody.
May I then let my ecstasy break forth!
O Jupiter! ’tis now the very time,
When I could suffer to be put to death,
Lest not another transport like to this,
Remain in life to come. — But is there not
Some curious impertinent to come
Across me now, and murder me with questions?
— To ask, why I’m so flutter’d? why so joyful?
Whither I’m going? whence I came? from whence
I got this habit? what I’m looking after?
Whether I’m in my senses? or stark mad?
Anti. I’ll go myself, and do that kindness to him.
Chærea, (advancing) what’s all this flutter? what’s this dress?
What is’t transports you? what d’ye want? art mad?
Why do ye start at me? and why not speak?
Chær. O happy, happy day! — Save you, dear friend!
There’s not a man on earth I’d rather see
This moment than yourself.
Anti. Come, tell me all!
Chær. Tell you! I will beseech you give me hearing.
D’ye know my brother’s mistress here?
Anti. I do:
Thais, I think.
Chær. The same.
Anti. I recollect.
Chær. To-day a girl was sent a present to her.
Why need I speak or praise her beauty now
To you, that know me, and my taste so well?
She set me all on fire.
Anti. Is she so handsome?
Chær. Most exquisite: Oh, had you but once seen her,
You would pronounce her, I am confident,
The first of womankind. — But in a word,
I fell in love with her. — By great good luck
There was at home an Eunuch, which my brother
Had bought for Thais, but not yet sent thither.
— I had a gentle hint from Parmeno,
Which I seiz’d greedily.
Anti. And what was that?
Chær. Peace, and I’ll tell you. — To change dresses with him,
And order Parmeno to carry me
Instead of him.
Anti. How? for an Eunuch, you?
Chær. E’en so.
Anti. What good could you derive from that?
Chær. What good! — why, see, and hear, and be with her
I languish’d for, my Antipho! — was that
An idle reason, or a trivial good?
— To Thais I’m deliver’d; she receives me,
And carries me with joy into her house;
Commits the charming girl —
Anti. To whom? — to you?
Chær. To me.
Anti. In special hands, I must confess.
Chær. — Enjoins me to permit no man come near her;
Nor to depart, myself, one instant from her;
But in an inner chamber to remain
Alone with her alone. I nod, and look
Bashfully on the ground.
Anti. Poor simple soul!
Chær. I am bid forth, says she; and carries off
All her maid-servants with her, save some few
Raw novices, who straight prepar’d the bath.
I bade them haste; and while it was preparing,
In a retiring-room the Virgin sat;
Viewing a picture, where the tale was drawn
Of Jove’s descending in a golden show’r
To Danaë’s bosom. — I beheld it too,
And because he of old the like game play’d,
I felt my mind exult the more within me,
That Jove should change himself into a man,
And steal in secret through a stranger-roof,
With a mere woman to intrigue. — Great Jove,
Who shakes the highest heav’ns with his thunder!
And I, poor mortal man, not do the same! —
I did it, and with all my heart I did it.
— While thoughts, like these, possess’d my soul, they call’d
The girl to bathe. She goes, bathes, then returns:
Which done, the servants put her into bed.
I stand to wait their orders. Up comes one,
“Here, harkye, Dorus! take this fan and mark
You cool her gently thus, while we go bathe.
When we have bath’d, you, if you please, bathe too,”
I, with a sober air, receive the fan.
Anti. Then would I fain have seen your simple face!
I should have been delighted to behold
How like an ass you look’d, and held the fan.
Chær. Scarce had she spoke, when all rush’d out o’ doors;
Away they go to bathe; grow full of noise,
As servants use, when masters are abroad.
Meanwhile sleep seiz’d the virgin: I, by stealth,
Peep’d through the fan-sticks thus; then looking round,
And seeing all was safe, made fast the door.
Anti. What then?
Chær. What then, fool!
Anti. I confess.
Chær. D’ye think,
Bless’d with an opportunity like this,
So short, so wish’d for, yet so unexpected,
I’d let it slip? No. Then I’d been, indeed,
The thing I counterfeited.
Anti. Very true.
But what’s become of our club-supper?
Anti. An honest fellow! where? at your own house?
Chær. At Freeman Discus’s.
Anti. A great way off.
Chær. Then we must make more haste.
Anti. But change your dress.
Chær. Where can I change it? I’m distress’d. From home
I must play truant, lest I meet my brother.
My father too, perhaps, is come to town.
Anti. Come to my house then! that’s the nearest place
Where you may shift.
Chær. With all my heart! let’s go!
And at the same time, I’ll consult with you
How to enjoy this dear girl.
Anti. Be it so.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01