The Self-Tormentor, by Terence

Act the Second.

Scene I.

Enter Clinia .

Clin. Had my affairs in love been prosperous,
They had, I know, been here long since: but, ah,
I fear she’s fall’n from virtue in my absence:
So many things concur to prove it so,
My mind misgives me; opportunity,
The place, her age, an infamous old mother,
Under whose governance she lives, to whom
’Naught but gain’s precious.

To him Clitipho .

Clit. Clinia!

Clin. Woe is me! (To himself.)

Clit. Take heed, lest some one issue from your father’s,
And chance to see you here.

Clin. I will: but yet
My mind forebodes I know not what of ill.

Clit. What, still foreboding, ere you know the truth?

Clin. Had there been no untoward circumstance,
They had return’d already

Clit. Patience, Clinia!
They’ll be here presently.

Clin. Presently! but when?

Clit. Consider, ’tis a long way off: and then
You know the ways of women; to set off,
And trick their persons out, requires an age.

Clin. Oh Clitipho, I fear —

Clit. Take courage; see,
Dromo and Syrus!

Scene II.

Enter Syrus and Dromo, conversing at a distance.

Syrus. Say you?

Dromo. Even so.

Syrus. But while we chat, the girls are left behind.

Clit. (listening.) Girls, Clinia! do you hear?

Clin. I hear, I see,
And now, at last, I’m happy, Clitipho.

Dromo (to Syrus). Left behind! troth, no wonder: so encumber’d;
A troop of waiting-women at her heels!

Clin. (listening). Confusion! Whence should she have waiting-women?

Clit. How can I tell?

Syrus (to Dromo). We ought not to have dropp’d them.
They bring a world of baggage!

Clin. (listening). Death!

Syrus. Gold, clothes!
It grows late too, and they may miss their way.
We’ve been to blame: Dromo, run back, and meet them.
Away! quick, quick! don’t loiter.

Exit Dromo .

Clin. What a wretch!
All my fair hopes quite blasted!

Clit. What’s the matter?
What is it troubles you?

Clin. What troubles me?
D’ye hear? She waiting-women, gold, and clothes!
She, whom I left with one poor servant-girl!
Whence come they, think you?

Clit. Oh, I take you now.

Syrus (to himself). Gods, what a crowd! our house will hardly hold them.
What eating, and what drinking will there be!
How miserable our old gentleman!
But here are those I wish’d to see!

Seeing Clit. and Clin .

Clin. Oh Jove!
Where then are truth, and faith, and honor fled?
While I a fugitive, for love of you,
Quit my dear country, you, Antiphila,
For sordid gain desert me in distress!
You, for whose sake I courted infamy,
And cast off my obedience to my father.
He, I remember now with grief and shame,
Oft warn’d me of these women’s ways; oft tried
In vain by sage advice to wean me from her.
But now I bid farewell to her forever;
Though, when ’twere good and wholesome, I was froward.
No wretch more curs’d than I!

Syrus. He has misconstrued
All our discourse, I find — You fancy, Clinia,
Your mistress other than she is. Her life,
As far as we from circumstance could learn,
Her disposition tow’rd you, are the same.

Clin. How! tell me all: for there is naught on earth
I’d rather know than that my fears are false.

Syrus. First then, that you may be appris’d of all,
Th’ old woman, thought her mother, was not so:
That beldam also is deceas’d; for this
I overheard her, as we came along,
Telling the other.

Clit. Other! who? what other?

Syrus. Let me but finish what I have begun,
And I shall come to that.

Clit. Dispatch then.

Syrus. First,
Having arriv’d, Dromo knocks at the door:
Which an old woman had no sooner open’d,
But in goes Dromo, and I after him.
Th’ old woman bolts the door, and spins again,
And now, or never, Clinia, might be known,
Coming thus unexpectedly upon her,
Antiphila’s employments in your absence:
For such, as then we saw, we might presume
Her daily practice, which of all things else,
Betrays the mind and disposition most.
Busily plying of the web we found her,
Decently clad in mourning, — I suppose,
For the deceas’d old woman. — She had on
No gold or trinkets, but was plain and neat,
And dress’d like those who dress but for themselves.
No female varnish to set off her beauty:
Her hair dishevel’d, long, and flowing loose
About her shoulders. — Peace! (To Clinia .)

Clin. Nay, prithee, Syrus,
Do not transport me thus without a cause.

Syrus. Th’ old woman spun the woof; one servant-girl,
A tatter’d dirty dowdy, weaving by her.

Clit. Clinia, if this be true, as sure it is,
Who is more fortunate than you? D’ye mark
The ragged dirty girl that he describ’d?
A sign the mistress leads a blameless life,
When she maintains no flaunting go-between:
For ’tis a rule with those gallants, who wish
To win the mistress, first to bribe the maid.

Clin. Go on, I beg you, Syrus; and take heed
You fill me not with idle joy. — What said she
When you nam’d me?

Syrus. As soon as we inform’d her
You was return’d, and begg’d her to come to you,
She left her work immediately, and burst
Into a flood of tears, which one might see
Were shed for love of you.

Clin. By all the Gods,
I know not where I am for very joy.
Oh, how I trembled!

Clit. Without cause, I knew.
But come; now, Syrus, tell us, who’s that other?

Syrus. Your mistress, Bacchis.

Clit. How! what! Bacchis?
Where d’ye propose to carry her, rogue?

Syrus. Where?
To our house certainly.

Clit. My father’s?

Syrus. Aye.

Clit. Oh monstrous impudence!

Syrus. Consider, Sir;
More danger, the more honor.

Clit. Look ye, Sirrah,
You mean to purchase praise at my expense,
Where the least slip of yours would ruin me.
What is’t you drive at?

Syrus. But —

Clit. But what?

Syrus. I’ll tell you,
Give me but leave!

Clin. Permit him.

Clit. Well, I do.

Syrus. This business — now — is just as if — (Drawling.)

Clit. Confusion!
What a long roundabout beginning!

Clin. True.
To the point, Syrus!

Syrus. I’ve no patience with you.
You use me ill, Sir, and I can’t endure it.

Clin. Hear him: peace, Clitipho! (To Clitipho .)

Syrus. You’d be in love;
Possess your mistress; and have wherewithal
To make her presents: but to gain all this
You’d risk no danger. By my troth, you’re wise,
If it be wise to wish for what can’t be.
Take good and bad together; both, or none;
Choose which you will; no mistress, or no danger.
And yet, the scheme I’ve laid is fair and safe;
Your mistress may be with you at your father’s
Without detection; by the self-same means
I shall procure the sum you’ve promis’d her,
Which you have rung so often in my ears,
You’ve almost deafen’d them. — What would you more?

Clit. If it may be so —

Syrus. If! the proof shall show.

Clit. Well, well then, what’s this scheme?

Syrus. We will pretend
That Bacchis is his mistress.

Clit. Mighty fine!
What shall become then of his own? Shall she
Pass for his too, because one’s not enough
To answer for?

Syrus. No. She shall to your mother.

Clit. How so?

Syrus. ’Twere tedious, Clitipho, to tell:
Let it suffice, I’ve reason for it.

Clit. Nonsense!
I see no ground to make me hazard this.

Syrus. Well; if you dread this, I’ve another way,
Which you shall both own has no danger in’t.

Clit. Aye, prithee, find that out.

Syrus. With all my heart.
I’ll run and meet the woman on the road,
And order them to go straight home again.

Clit. How! what!

Syrus. I mean to ease you of your fear,
That you may sleep in peace on either side. (Going.)

Clit. What shall I do?

Clin. E’en profit of his scheme.

Clit. But, Syrus, tell me then —

Syrus. Away, away!
This day too late you’ll wish for her in vain. (Going.)

Clin. This is your time: enjoy it, while you may:
Who knows if you may have the like again?

Clit. Syrus, I say.

Syrus. Call as you please, I’ll on.

Clit. Clinia, you’re right. — Ho, Syrus! Syrus, ho!
Syrus, I say.

Syrus. So, he grows hot at last. (To himself.)
What would you, Sir? (Turning about.)

Clit. Come back, come back!

Syrus. I’m here. (Returns.)
You’re pleasure, Sir! — What, will not this content you?

Clit. Yes, Syrus; me, my passion, and my fame
I render up to you: dispose of all;
But see you’re not to blame.

Syrus. Ridiculous!
Spare your advice, good Clitipho! you know
Success is my concern still more than yours:
For if perchance we fail in our attempt,
You shall have words; but I, alas! dry blows.
Be sure then of my diligence; and beg
Your friend to join, and countenance our scheme.

Clin. Depend on me: I see it must be so.

Clit. Thanks, my best Clinia!

Clin. But take heed she trip not.

Syrus. Oh, she is well instructed.

Clit. Still I wonder
How you prevail’d so easily upon her:
Her, who’s so scornful.

Syrus. I came just in time,
Time, that in most affairs is all in all:
For there I found a certain wretched captain,
Begging her favors. She, an artful baggage,
Denied him, to inflame his mind the more,
And make her court to you. — But hark ye, Sir,
Be cautious of your conduct! no imprudence!
You know how shrewd and keen your father is;
And I know your intemperance too well.
No double-meanings, glances, leers, sighs, hems,
Coughing, or titt’ring, I beseech you, Sir!

Clit. I’ll play my part —

Syrus. Look to’t!

Clit. To your content.

Syrus. But see, the women! they’re soon after us. (Looking out.)

Clit. Where are they? — (Syrus stops him.) Why d’ye hold me?

Syrus. She is not
Your mistress now.

Clit. True: not before my father.
But now, meanwhile —

Syrus. Nor now, meanwhile,

Clit. Allow me!

Syrus. No.

Clit. But a moment!

Syrus. No.

Clit. A single kiss!

Syrus. Away, if you are wise!

Clit. Well, well, I’m gone.
— What’s he to do?

Syrus. Stay here.

Clit. O happy —

Syrus. March! (Pushes off Clitipho .)

Scene III

Enter Bacchis, and Antiphila at a distance.

Bacch. Well, I commend you, my Antiphila:
Happy, that you have made it still your care,
That virtue should seem fair as beauty in you!
Nor Gracious Heav’n so help me, do I wonder
If ev’ry man should wish you for his own;
For your discourse bespeaks a worthy mind.
And when I ponder with myself, and weigh
Your course of life, and all the rest of those
Who live not on the common, ’tis not strange,
Your morals should be different from ours.
Virtue’s your int’rest; those, with whom we deal,
Forbid it to be ours: For our gallants,
Charm’d by our beauty, court us but for that;
Which fading, they transfer their love to others.
If then meanwhile we look not to ourselves,
We live forlorn, deserted, and distress’d.
You, when you’ve once agreed to pass your life
Bound to one man, whose temper suits with yours,
He too attaches his whole heart to you:
Thus mutual friendship draws you each to each;
Nothing can part you, nothing shake your love.

Anti. I know not others’; for myself I know,
From his content I ever drew my own.

Clin. (overhearing). Excellent maid! my best Antiphila!
Thou too, thy love alone is now the cause
That brings me to my native land again.
For when away, all evils else were light
Compar’d to wanting thee.

Syrus. I do believe it.


Clin. O Syrus, ’tis too much: I can not bear it.
Wretch that I am! — and must I be debarr’d
To give a loose to love, a love like this?

Syrus. And yet if I may judge your father’s mind,
He has more troubles yet in store for you.


Bacch. Who is that youth that eyes us? (Seeing Clinia .)

Anti. Ha! (seeing him.) — Support me!

Bacch. Bless me, what now?

Anti. I faint.

Bacch. Alas, poor soul!
What is’t surprises you, Antiphila?

Anti. Is’t Clinia that I see, or no?

Bacch. Whom do you see?

Clin. Welcome my soul! (Running up to her.)

Anti. My wish’d-for Clinia, welcome!

Clin. How fares my love?

Anti. O’erjoyed at your return.

Clin. And do I hold thee, my Antiphila,
Thou only wish and comfort of my soul!

Syrus. In, in, for you have made our good man wait.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01