Thais and Pythias .
Thais. Still, still, you, baggage, will you shuffle with me?
— “I know — I don’t know — he’s gone off — I’ve heard —
I was not present” — Be it what it may,
Can’t you inform me openly? — The Virgin,
Her clothes all torn, in sullen silence weeps.
The Eunuch’s fled. — What means all this? and what
Has happen’d? — Won’t you answer me?
What can I answer you? — He was, they say,
Thais. What then?
Pyth. Phædria’s younger brother.
What’s that, hag?
Pyth. I’ve discover’d it: I’m sure on’t.
Thais. Why, what had he to do with us? or why
Was he brought hither?
Pyth. That I can not tell;
Unless, as I suppose, for love of Pamphila.
Thais. Alas! I am undone; undone, indeed,
If that, which you have told me now, be true.
Is’t that the girl bemoans thus?
Pyth. I believe so.
Thais. How, careless wretch! was that the charge I gave you
At my departure?
Pyth. What could I do? She
Was trusted, as you bade, to him alone.
Thais. Oh, jade, you set the wolf to keep the sheep
— I’m quite asham’d to ’ve been so poorly bubbled.
Pyth. Who comes here? — Hist! peace, madam, I beseech you!
We’re safe: we have the very man.
Seeing Chærea at a distance.
Thais. Where is he?
Pyth. Here, on the left; d’ye see him, ma’am?
Thais. I see him.
Pyth. Let him be seiz’d immediately!
Thais. And what
Can we do to him, fool?
Pyth. Do to him, say you?
— See, what a saucy face the rogue has got!
Ha’nt he? — and then how settled an assurance?
Enter Chærea .
Chær. At Antipho’s, as if for spite, there were
His father and his mother both at home,
So that I could by no means enter, but
They must have seen me. Meanwhile, as I stood
Before the door, came by an old acquaintance,
At sight of whom I flew, with all my speed,
Into a narrow, unfrequented alley;
And thence into another, and another,
Frighten’d and flurried as I scampered on,
Lest any one should know me in this habit.
But is that Thais? She. I’m all aground.
What shall I do? — Pshaw! what have I to care?
What can she do to me?
Thais. Let’s up to him.
Oh, Dorus! good Sir, welcome! — And so, Sirrah,
You ran away.
Chær. Yes, madam!
Thais. And you think
It was a clever trick, I warrant you?
Chær. No, madam!
Thais. Can you believe that you shall go unpunish’d?
Chær. Forgive me this one fault! If I commit
Another, kill me!
Thais. Do you dread my cruelty?
Chær. No, ma’am!
Thais. What then?
Chær. I was afraid, lest She
Accuse me to you. (Pointing to Pythias .)
Thais. Of what crime?
Chær. A little matter.
Pyth. Rogue! a little matter?
Is it so little, think you, to abuse
A virgin, and a citizen!
Chær. I thought
She was my fellow-servant.
I can scarce hold from flying at his hair.
Monstrous! he’s come to make his sport of us.
Thais. Away! you rave.
Pyth. Not I. If I had done ’t,
I should have still been in the monster’s debt;
Particularly, as he owns himself
Thais. Well — no more of this. — Oh, Chærea,
You’ve done a deed unworthy of yourself:
For granting I, perhaps, might well deserve
This injury, it was not honorable
In you to do it. — As I live, I know not
What counsel to pursue about this girl;
You’ve so destroy’d my measures, that I can’t
Restore her, without blushing to her friends,
Nor so deliver her, as I propos’d,
To make them thank me for my kindness, Chærea!
Chær. Henceforth, I hope, eternal peace shall be
Betwixt us, Thais! Oft from things like these,
And bad beginnings, warmest friendships rise.
What if some God hath order’d this?
I’ll so interpret it, and wish it so.
Chær. I prithee do! — and be assured of this,
That naught I did in scorn, but all in love.
Thais. I do believe it; and, on that account,
More readily forgive you: for oh! Chærea,
I am not form’d of an ungentle nature,
Nor am I now to learn the pow’r of love.
Chær. Now, Thais, by my life, I love thee too.
Pyth. Then, by my troth, you must take care of him.
Chær. I durst not —
Pyth. I don’t mind a word you say.
Thais. Have done!
Chær. But now, in this one circumstance,
Let me beseech you to assist me, Thais!
I trust myself entirely to your care:
Invoke you, as my patroness; implore you.
Perdition seize me, but I’ll marry her!
Thais. But if your father —
Chær. What of him? I know
He’ll soon consent, provided it appears
That she’s a citizen.
Thais. If you will wait
A little while, her brother will be here:
He’s gone to fetch the nurse that brought her up;
And you shall witness the discovery.
Chær. I will remain then.
Thais. But, in the mean time,
Had you not rather wait within, than here
Before the door?
Chær. Much rather.
Pyth. What the plague
Are you about?
Thais. What now?
Pyth. What now, indeed?
Will you let him within your doors again?
Thais. Why not?
Pyth. Remember that I prophesy,
He’ll make some fresh disturbance.
Thais. Prithee, peace!
Pyth. It seems, you have not had sufficient proof
Of his assurance.
Chær. I’ll do no harm, Pythias!
Pyth. I’ll not believe it, till I see it, Chærea.
Chær. But you shall keep me, Pythias!
Pyth. No, not I.
For, by my troth, I would trust nothing with you,
Neither to keep, nor be kept by you. — Hence!
Thais. Oh brave! the brother’s here! (Looking out.)
Let’s in, dear Thais! I’d not have him see me
Here in this dress.
Thais. Why so? Are you asham’d?
Chær. I am indeed.
Pyth. Indeed! asham’d! oh dear!
Think of the girl!
Thais. Go in! I’ll follow you.
Pythias, do you stay here to bring in Chremes.
Exeunt Thais and Chærea .
Pythias, Chremes, Sophrona .
Pyth. What can I think of? what can I devise?
Some trick now to be even with that rogue
Who palm’d this young spark on us.
Chrem. (leading the nurse). Nay, but stir
Your stumps a little faster, nurse!
Soph. I come.
Chrem. Aye, marry; but you don’t come on a jot.
Pyth. Well! have you shown the tokens to the nurse?
Chrem. I have.
Pyth. And pray what says she? Did she know them?
Chrem. At first sight.
Pyth. Oh brave news! I’m glad to hear it;
For I’ve a kindness for the girl. Go in;
My mistress is impatient for your coming.
Exeunt Chremes and Sophrona .
See, yonder’s my good master Parmeno,
Marching this way: How unconcern’d, forsooth,
He stalks along! — But I’ve devis’d, I hope,
The means to vex him sorely. — First I’ll in,
To know the truth of this discovery,
And then return to terrify this rascal.
Enter Parmeno .
Par. I’m come to see what Chærea has been doing:
Who, if he has but manag’d matters well,
Good Heav’ns, how much, and what sincere applause
Shall Parmeno acquire! — For not to mention,
In an intrigue so difficult as this,
Of so much probable expense at least,
Since with a griping harlot he’d have bargain’d,
That I’ve procur’d for him the girl he lov’d,
Without cost, charge, or trouble; t’other point,
That, that I hold my master-piece, there think
I’ve gain’d the prize, in showing a young spark
The dispositions and the ways of harlots:
Which having early learn’d, he’ll ever shun.
Enter Pythias behind.
When they’re abroad, forsooth, there’s none so clean,
Nothing so trim, so elegant, as they;
Nor, when they sup with a gallant, so nice!
To see these very creatures’ gluttony,
Filth, poverty, and meanness, when at home;
So eager after food, that they devour
From yesterday’s stale broth the coarse black bread:—
All this to know is safety to young men.
Pythias, Parmeno .
Pyth. (behind). ’Faith, Sirrah, I’ll be handsomely revenged
For all you’ve done and said. You shall not boast
Your tricks on us without due punishment.
Aloud, coming forward.
Oh Heav’ns! oh dreadful deed! oh hapless youth!
Oh wicked Parmeno, that brought him here!
Par. What now?
Pyth. It mov’d me so. I could not bear
To see it: therefore I flew out o’ doors.
What an example will they make of him!
Par. Oh Jupiter! What tumult can this be?
Am I undone, or no? — I’ll e’en inquire.
Pythias! (going up.) What now? what is’t you rave about?
Who’s to be made this terrible example?
Pyth. Who? most audacious monster! while you meant
To play your tricks on us, you have destroyed
The youth whom you brought hither for the Eunuch.
Par. How so? and what has happen’d? Prithee tell me!
Pyth. Tell you? D’ye know the virgin, that was sent
To-day to Thais, is a citizen?
Her brother too a man of the first rank?
Par. I did not know it.
Pyth. Aye, but so it seems.
The poor young spark abus’d the girl; a thing
No sooner known, than he, the furious brother —
Par. Did what?
Pyth. First bound him hand and foot —
Par. How! bound him!
Pyth. And now, though Thais begged him not to do it —
Par. How! what!
Pyth. Moreover threatens, he will serve him
After the manner of adulterers;
A thing I ne’er saw done, and ne’er desire.
Par. How durst he offer at an act so monstrous?
Pyth. And why so monstrous?
Par. Is it not most monstrous?
Who ever saw a young man seiz’d by force,
And punish’d for adultery in a brothel?
Pyth. I don’t know.
Par. Aye; but you must all know this.
I tell you, and foretell you, that young spark
Is my old master’s son.
Pyth. Indeed, is he?
Par. And let not Thais suffer any one
To do him any violence! — But why
Don’t I rush in myself?
Pyth. Ah! have a care
What you’re about; lest you do him no good,
And hurt yourself: for they imagine you,
Whatever has been done, the cause of all.
Par. What shall I do then? what resolve? Confusion!
— Oh! yonder’s my old master, just return’d
To town. Shall I tell him of it, or no?
I’ll tell him, tho’ I am well convinc’d, the blame
Will light on me, and heavily: And yet
It must be done to help poor Chærea.
I’ll in again; and you, in the mean while,
Tell the old gentleman the whole affair.
Enter Laches .
Laches. I’ve this convenience from my neighb’ring villa;
I’m never tir’d of country or of town.
For as disgust comes on, I change my place.
— But is not that our Parmeno? ’Tis he.
Parmeno, who is it you’re waiting for
Before that door?
Par. Who’s that? Oh, Sir! you’re welcome:
I’m glad to see you safe return’d to town.
Laches. Whom do you wait for?
Par. I’m undone: my tongue
Cleaves to my mouth through fear.
Laches. Ha! what’s the matter?
Why do you tremble so? Is all right? Speak!
Par. First be persuaded, Sir, — for that’s the case,
Whatever has befall’n has not befall’n
Through any fault of mine.
Laches. What is’t?
Par. That’s true.
Your pardon, Sir, I should have told that first.
— Phædria lately bought a certain Eunuch
By way of present to this gentlewoman.
Laches. What gentlewoman, sirrah?
Par. Madam Thais.
Laches. Bought? I’m undone! at what price?
Par. Twenty Minæ.
Laches. I’m ruin’d.
Par. And then Chærea’s fall’n in love
With a young music-girl.
Laches. How! what! in love!
Knows he already what a harlot is?
Is he in town? misfortune on misfortune!
Par. Nay, Sir! don’t look on me! it was not done
By my advice.
Laches. Leave prating of yourself.
As for you, rascal, if I live — But first
Whatever has befallen, tell me, quick!
Par. Chærea was carried thither for the Eunuch.
Laches. He for the Eunuch!
Par. Yes: since when, within
They’ve seiz’d and bound him for a ravisher.
Par. See the impudence of harlots!
Laches. Is there aught else of evil or misfortune
You have not told me yet?
Par. You know the whole.
Laches. Then why do I delay to rush in on them?
Par. There is no doubt but I shall smart for this.
But since I was oblig’d to ’t, I rejoice
That I shall make these strumpets suffer too:
For our old gentleman has long desir’d
Some cause to punish them; and now he has it.
Enter Pythias; Parmeno at a distance.
Pyth. Well! I was ne’er more pleas’d in all my life
Than when I saw th’ old man come blund’ring in.
I had the jest alone; for I alone
Knew what he was afraid of.
Par. Hey! what now?
Pyth. I’m now come forth t’ encounter Parmeno.
Where is he?
Par. She seeks me.
Pyth. Oh, there he is.
I’ll go up to him.
Par. Well, fool, what’s the matter? (Pythias laughs.)
What would you? what d’ye laugh at? Hey! what still?
Pyth. Oh, I shall die: I’m horribly fatigu’d
With laughing at you. (Laughing heartily.)
Par. For what cause?
Pyth. What cause?
I ne’er saw, ne’er shall see, a greater fool.
Oh, it’s impossible to tell what sport
You’ve made within. — I swear, I always thought
That you had been a shrewd, sharp, cunning fellow.
What! to believe directly what I told you!
Or was not you contented with the crime
You urg’d the youth to perpetrate, unless
You afterwards betray’d him to his father?
How d’ye suppose he felt when old gray-beard
Surpris’d him in that habit? — What! you find
That you’re undone. (Laughing heartily.)
Par. What’s this, impertinence?
Was it a lie you told me? D’ye laugh still?
Is’t such a jest to make fools of us, hag?
Pyth. Delightful! (Laughing.)
Par. If you don’t pay dearly for it! —
Pyth. Perhaps so. (Laughing.)
Par. I’ll return it.
Pyth. Oh, no doubt on’t. (Laughing.)
But what you threaten, Parmeno, is distant:
You’ll be truss’d up to-day; who first draw in
A raw young man to sin, and then betray him.
They’ll both conspire to make you an example. (Laughing.)
Par. I’m done for.
Pyth. Take this, slave, as a reward
For the fine gift you sent us; so, farewell!
Exit Pythias .
Par. I’ve been a fool indeed; and like a rat,
Betray’d myself to-day by my own squeaking.
Enter Thraso, Gnatho; Parmeno behind.
Gnat. What now? with what hope, or design, advance we?
What’s your intention, Thraso?
Thraso. My intention?
To Thais to surrender at discretion.
Gnat. How say you?
Thraso. Even so. Why should not I,
As well as Hercules to Omphale?
Gnat. A fit example. — Oh, that I could see her
Combing your empty noddle with her slipper!
But her door opens.
Creak, and fly open.
Thraso. ’Sdeath! what mischief now?
I ne’er so much as saw this face before.
Why bursts he forth with such alacrity?
Enter Chærea at another part of the stage.
Chær. Lives there, my countrymen, a happier man
To-day than I? — Not one. — For on my head
The gods have plainly emptied all their store,
On whom they’ve pour’d a flood of bliss at once.
Par. What’s he so pleas’d at?
Chær. (seeing him.) Oh my Parmeno
Inventor, undertaker, perfecter
Of all my pleasures, know’st thou my good fortunes?
Know’st thou my Pamphila’s a citizen?
Par. I’ve heard so.
Chær. Know’st thou she’s betroth’d my wife?
Par. Good news, by heaven!
Gnat. Hear you what he says? (To Thraso .)
Chær. Then I rejoice, my brother Phædria’s love
Is quietly secur’d to him forever:
We’re now one family: and Thais has
Found favor with my father, and resign’d
Herself to us for patronage and care.
Par. She’s then entirely Phædria’s!
Chær. Aye, entirely.
Par. Another cause of joy: the Captain routed!
Chær. See, Parmeno, my brother (wheresoe’er
He be) know this, as soon as possible!
Par. I’ll see if he’s at home.
Thraso. Hast any doubt,
Gnatho, but I’m entirely ruin’d?
Gnat. None at all.
Chær. What shall I mention first? whom praise the most!
Him that advis’d this action? or myself
That durst to undertake it? — or extol
Fortune, the governess of all, who deign’d,
Events so many, of such moment too,
So happily to close within one day?
Or shall I praise my father’s frank good-humor,
And gay festivity? — Oh, Jupiter,
Make but these blessings permanent!
Enter Phædria .
Phæd. Good heavens!
What wondrous things has Parmeno just told me!
But where’s my brother?
Phæd. I’m quite transported.
Chær. I dare believe you are; and trust me, brother,
Naught can be worthier of your love than Thais:
Our family are all much bounden to her.
Phæd. So! you’d need sing her praise to me!
As my hope dies, my passion gathers strength.
Gnatho, your help! my only hope’s in you.
Gnat. What would you have me do?
Thraso. Accomplish this;
By pray’r, by purchase, that I still may have
Some little share in Thais.
Gnat. A hard task!
Thraso. Do but incline to do’t, you can, I know.
Effect it, and demand whatever gift,
Whate’er reward you please, it shall be yours.
Gnat. If I accomplish this,
I claim, that you agree to throw your doors,
Present or absent, always open to me;
A welcome, uninvited guest forever.
Thraso. I pawn my honor as the pledge.
Gnat. I’ll try.
Phæd. What voice is that? Oh, Thraso!
Phæd. Perhaps you’re not acquainted yet
With what has happen’d here?
Thraso. I am.
Phæd. Why then
Do I behold you in these territories?
Thraso. Depending on —
Phæd. Depend on naught but this!
Captain, I give you warning, if, henceforth,
I ever find you in this street, although
You tell me, “I was looking for another,
I was but passing through,” expect no quarter.
Gnat. Oh fie! that is not handsome.
Phæd. I have said it.
Gnat. You can not be so rude.
Phæd. It shall be so.
Gnat. First grant me a short hearing: if you like
What I propose, agree to’t.
Phæd. Let us hear!
Gnat. Do you retire a moment, Thraso! (Thraso retires.) First,
I must beseech you both, most firmly think,
That I, whate’er I do in this affair,
For my own sake I do it: but if that
Likewise advantage you, not to agree
In you were folly.
Phæd. What are your proposals?
Gnat. I think, ’twere not imprudent to admit
The Captain, as your rival.
Admit him, say you?
Gnat. Nay reflect a little.
Phædria, you live at a high rate with Thais,
Revel, and feast, and stick at no expense.
Yet what you give’s but little, and you know
’Tis needful Thais should receive much more
Now to supply your love without your cost,
A fitter person, one more form’d, can’t be
Than Thraso is: first, he has wherewithal
To give, and gives most largely: a fool too,
A dolt, a block, that snores out night and day;
Nor can you fear she’ll e’er grow fond of him;
And you may drive him hence whene’er you please.
Phæd. What shall we do? (To Chærea .)
Gnat. Moreover this; the which
I hold no trifle, no man entertains
More nobly or more freely.
Phæd. I begin
To think we’ve need of such a fool.
Chær. And I.
Gnat. Well judg’d! and let me beg one favor more;
Admit me into your fraternity!
I’ve roll’d this stone too long.
Phæd. We do admit you.
Chær. With all our hearts.
Gnat. And you, Sirs, in return,
Shall pledge me in the Captain; eat him; drink him:
And laugh at him.
Chær. A bargain!
Phæd. ’Tis his due.
Gnat. Thraso, whene’er you please, come forward!
How stands the case?
Gnat. Alas! they knew you not!
But when I drew your character, and prais’d
Your worth, according to your deeds and virtues,
I gain’d my point.
Thraso. ’Tis well: I’m much oblig’d;
I ne’er was any where, in all my life,
But all folks lov’d me most exceedingly.
Gnat. There, did I not assure you, gentlemen,
That he had all the Attick Elegance?
Phæd. He is the very character you drew.
Gnat. Retire then. — Ye, (to the audience) farewell, and clap your hands!
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University of Adelaide
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Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:14