Phormio, by Terence

Act the Second.

Scene I.

Phormio, Geta .

Phor. And Antipho, you say, has slunk away,
Fearing his father’s presence?

Geta. Very true.

Phor. Poor Phanium left alone?

Geta. ’Tis even so.

Phor. And the old gentleman enrag’d!

Geta. Indeed.

Phor. The sum of all then, Phormio, rests on you:
On you, and you alone. You’ve bak’d this cake;
E’en eat it for your pains. About it then!

Geta. I do beseech you.

Phor. (to himself.) What if he inquire? —

Geta. Our only hope’s in you.

Phor. (to himself). I have it! — Then,
Suppose he offer to return the girl? —

Geta. You urg’d us to it.

Phor. (to himself). Aye! it shall be so.

Geta. Assist us!

Phor. Let him come, old gentleman!
’Tis here: it is engender’d: I am arm’d
With all my counsels.

Geta. What d’ye mean to do?

Phor. What would you have me do, unless contrive
That Phanium may remain, that Antipho
Be freed from blame, and all the old man’s rage
Turn’d upon me?

Geta. Brave fellow! friend indeed!
And yet I often tremble for you, Phormio,
Lest all this noble confidence of yours
End in the stocks at last.

Phor. Ah, ’tis not so.
I’m an old stager too, and know my road.
How many men d’ye think I’ve bastinadoed
Almost to death? Aliens and citizens?
The oft’ner, still the safer. — Tell me then,
Didst ever hear of actions for assault
And batt’ry brought against me?

Geta. How comes that?

Phor. Because the net’s not stretch’d to catch the hawk,
Or kite, who do us wrong; but laid for those
Who do us none at all: In them there’s profit,
In these mere labor lost. Thus other men
May be in danger who have aught to lose;
I, the world knows, have nothing. — You will say,
They’ll seize my person. — No, they won’t maintain
A fellow of my stomach. — And they’re wise,
In my opinion, if for injuries
They’ll not return the highest benefit.

Geta. It is impossible for Antipho
To give you thanks sufficient.

Phor. Rather say,
No man sufficiently can thank his patron.
You at free cost to come! anointed, bath’d,
Easy and gay! while he’s eat up with care
And charge, to cater for your entertainment!
He gnaws his heart, you laugh; eat first, sit first,
And see a doubtful banquet plac’d before you!

Geta. Doubtful! what phrase is that?

Phor. Where you’re in doubt,
What you shall rather choose. Delights like these
When you but think how sweet, how dear, they are;
Him that affords them must you not suppose
A very deity?

Geta. The old man’s here.
Mind what you do! the first attack’s the fiercest:
Sustain but that, the rest will be mere play. (They retire.)

Scene II.

Enter at a distance DemiphoHegio, Cratinus, Crito, following.

Dem. Was ever man so grossly treated, think ye?
— This way, Sirs, I beseech you.

Geta. He’s enrag’d!

Phor. Hist! mind your cue: I’ll work him. — (Coming forward, and speaking loud.) Oh, ye Gods!
Does he deny that Phanium’s his relation?
What, Demipho! does Demipho deny
That Phanium is his kinswoman?

Geta. He does.

Phor. And who her father was, he does not know?

Geta. No.

Dem. (to the Lawyers). Here’s the very fellow, I believe,
Of whom I have been speaking. — Follow me!

Phor. (aloud). And that he does not know who Stilpho was?

Geta. No.

Phor. Ah! because, poor thing, she’s left in want,
Her father is unknown, and she despis’d.
What will not avarice do?

Geta. If you insinuate
My master’s avaricious, woe be to you!

Dem. (behind). Oh impudence! he dares accuse me first.

Phor. As to the youth, I can not take offense,
If he had not much knowledge of him; since,
Now in the vale of years, in want, his work
His livelihood, he nearly altogether
Liv’d in the country: where he held a farm
Under my father. I have often heard
The poor old man complain that this his kinsman
Neglected him. — But what a man! A man
Of most exceeding virtue.

Geta. Much at one:
Yourself and he you praise so much.

Phor. Away!
Had I not thought him what I’ve spoken of him,
I would not for his daughter’s sake have drawn
So many troubles on our family,
Whom this old cuff now treats so scandalously.

Geta. What, still abuse my absent master, rascal!

Phor. It is no more than he deserves.

Geta. How, villain!

Dem. Geta! (Calling.)

Geta. Rogue, robber, pettifogger! (To Phormio pretending not to hear Demipho .)

Dem. Geta!

Phor. Answer. (Apart to Geta .)

Geta (turning). Who’s that? — Oh!

Dem. Peace!

Geta. Behind your back
All day without cessation has this knave
Thrown scurvy terms upon you, such as none
But men like him can merit.

Dem. Well! have done.

Putting Geta by, then addressing Phormio .
Young man! permit me first to ask one question.
And, if you please, vouchsafe to answer me.
— Who was this friend of yours? Explain! and how
Might he pretend that I was his relation?

Phor. So! you fish for’t, as if you did not know. (Sneeringly.)

Dem. Know! I!

Phor. Aye; you.

Dem. Not I: You that maintain
I ought, instruct me how to recollect.

Phor. What! not acquainted with your cousin?

Dem. Plague!
Tell me his name.

Phor. His name? aye!

Dem. Well, why don’t you?

Phor. Confusion! I’ve forgot the name. (Apart.)

Dem. What say you?

Phor. Geta, if you remember, prompt me. (Apart to Geta .) — Pshaw,
I will not tell. — As if you did not know,
You’re come to try me. (Loud to Demipho .)

Dem. How! try you?

Geta. Stilpho. (Whispering Phormio .)

Phor. What is’t to me? — Stilpho.

Dem. Whom say you?

Phor. Stilpho:
Did you know Stilpho, Sir?

Dem. I neither know him,
Nor ever had I kinsman of that name.

Phor. How! are you not asham’d? — But if, poor man,
Stilpho had left behind him an estate
Of some ten talents —

Dem. Out upon you!

Phor. Then
You would have been the first to trace your line
Quite from your grandsire and great grandsire.

Dem. True.
Had I then come, I’d have explain’d at large
How she was my relation: so do you!
Say, how is she my kinswoman?

Geta. Well said!
Master, you’re right. — Take heed! (Apart to Phormio .)

Phor. I have explain’d
All that most clearly, where I ought, in court.
If it were false, why did not then your son
Refute it?

Dem. Do you tell me of my son?
Whose folly can’t be spoke of as it ought.

Phor. But you, who are so wise, go seek the judge:
Ask sentence in the self-same cause again:
Because you’re lord alone, and have alone
Pow’r to obtain judgment of the court
Twice in one cause.

Dem. Although I have been wrong’d,
Yet, rather than engage in litigation,
And rather than hear you; as if she were
Indeed related to us, as the law
Ordains, I’ll pay her dowry: take her hence,
And with her take five minæ.

Phor. Ha! ha! ha!
A pleasant gentleman!

Dem. Why, what’s the matter?
Have I demanded any thing unjust?
Sha’n’t I obtain this neither, which is law?

Phor. Is’t even so, Sir? — Like a common harlot,
When you’ve abus’d her, does the law ordain
That you should pay her hire and whistle her off?
Or, lest a citizen through poverty
Bring shame upon her honor, does it order
That she be given to her next of kin
To pass her life with him? which you forbid.

Dem. Aye; to her next of kin: But why to us;
Or wherefore?

Phor. Oh! that matter is all settled:
Think on’t no more.

Dem. Not think on’t! I shall think
Of nothing else till there’s an end of this.

Phor. Words, words!

Dem. I’ll make them good.

Phor. But, after all,
With you I have no business, Demipho!
Your son is cast, not you: for at your age
The coupling-time is over.

Dem. Be assur’d
That all I’ve said he says: or I’ll forbid
Him and this wife of his my house.

Geta. He’s angry. (Apart.)

Phor. No; you’ll think better on’t.

Dem. Are you resolv’d,
Wretch that you are, to thwart me ev’ry way?

Phor. (Apart.) He fears, though he dissembles.

Geta. Well begun!

Phor. Well; but what can’t be cur’d must be endur’d:
’Twere well, and like yourself, that we were friends.

Dem. I! friend to you? or choose to see or hear you!

Phor. Do but agree with her, you’ll have a girl
To comfort your old age. Your years, consider!

Dem. Plague on your comfort! take her to yourself!

Phor. Ah! don’t be angry!

Dem. One word more, I’ve done.
See that you fetch away this wench, and soon,
Or I shall turn her headlong out o’doors.
So much for Phormio!

Phor. Offer but to touch her
In any other manner than beseems
A gentlewoman and a citizen,
And I shall bring a swinging writ against you.
So much for Demipho! — If I am wanted,
I am at home, d’ye hear? (Apart to Geta .)

Geta. I understand. (Apart.)

Exit Phormio .

Scene III.

Dem. With how much care, and what solicitude,
My son affects me, with this wretched match
Having embroil’d himself and me! nor comes
Into my sight, that I might know at least
Or what he says, or thinks of this affair.
Go you, and see if he’s come home or no.

Geta. I’m gone.


Dem. You see, Sirs, how this matter stands.
What shall I do? Say, Hegio!

Hegio. Meaning me?
Cratinus, please you, should speak first.

Dem. Say then,

Cra. Me d’ye question?

Dem. You.

Cra. Then I,
Whatever steps are best I’d have you take.
Thus it appears to me. Whate’er your son
Has in your absence done is null and void,
In law and equity. — And so you’ll find.
That’s my opinion.

Dem. Say now, Hegio!

Hegio. He has, I think, pronounc’d most learnedly.
But so ’tis: many men, and many minds!
Each has his fancy: Now, in my opinion,
Whate’er is done by law can’t be undone.
’Tis shameful to attempt it.

Dem. Say you, Crito!

Crito. The case, I think, asks more deliberation.
’Tis a nice point.

Hegio. Would you aught else with us?

Dem. You’ve utter’d oracles. (Exeunt Lawyers.) I’m more uncertain
Now than I was before.

Re-enter Geta .

Geta. He’s not return’d.

Dem. My brother, as I hope, will soon arrive:
Whate’er advice he gives me, that I’ll follow.
I’ll to the Port, and ask when they expect him. (Exit.)

Geta. And I’ll go find out Antipho, and tell him
All that has pass’d. — But here he comes in time.

Scene IV.

Enter at a distance Antipho .

Ant. (to himself). Indeed, indeed, my Antipho,
You’re much to blame, to be so poor in spirit.
What! steal away so guilty-like! and trust
Your life and safety to the care of others!
Would they be touch’d more nearly than yourself?
Come what come might of ev’ry thing beside,
Could you abandon the dear maid at home?
Could you so far deceive her easy faith,
And leave her to misfortune and distress?
Her, who plac’d all her hopes in you alone?

Geta (coming forward). I’ faith, Sir, we have thought you much to blame
For your long absence. —

Ant. You’re the very man
That I was looking for.

Geta. — But ne’ertheless
We’ve miss’d no opportunity.

Ant. Oh, speak!
How go my fortunes, Geta? has my father
Any suspicion that I was in league
With Phormio?

Geta. Not a jot.

Ant. And may I hope?

Geta. I don’t know.

Ant. Ah!

Geta. Unless that Phædria
Did all he could do for you. —

Ant. Nothing new.

Geta. — And Phormio has on all occasions else.
Prov’d himself a brave fellow.

Ant. What did he?

Geta. Out-swagger’d your hot father.

Ant. Well said, Phormio!

Geta. — I did the best I could too.

Ant. Honest Geta,
I am much bounden to you all.

Geta. Thus, Sir,
Stand things at present. As yet all is calm.
Your father means to wait your uncle’s coming.

Ant. For what?

Geta. For his advice, as he propos’d;
By which he will be rul’d in this affair.

Ant. How do I dread my uncle’s coming, Geta.
Since by his sentence I must live or die!

Geta. But here comes Phædria.

Ant. Where?

Geta. From his old school. (They retire.)

Scene V.

Enter, from Dorio’s, Dorio, Phædria following.

Phæd. Nay, hear me, Dorio!

Dorio. Not I.

Phæd. But a word!

Dorio. Let me alone.

Phæd. Pray hear me!

Dorio. I am tir’d
With hearing the same thing a thousand times.

Phæd. But what I’d say you would be glad to hear.

Dorio. Speak then! I hear.

Phæd. Can’t I prevail on you
To stay but these three days? — Nay, where d’ye go?

Dorio. I should have wonder’d had you said aught new.

Ant. (behind). This pimp, I fear, will work himself no

Geta. I fear so too.

Phæd. Won’t you believe me?

Dorio. Guess.

Phæd. Upon my honor.

Dorio. Nonsense.

Phæd. ’Tis a kindness
Shall be repaid with interest.

Dorio. Words, words!

Phæd. You’ll be glad on’t; you will, believe me.

Dorio. Pshaw!

Phæd. Try; ’tis not long.

Dorio. You’re in the same tune still.

Phæd. My kinsman, parent, friend! —

Dorio. Aye, talk away.

Phæd. Can you be so inflexible, so cruel.
That neither pity nor entreaties touch you?

Dorio. And can you be so inconsiderate,
And so unconscionable, Phædria,
To think that you can talk me to your purpose,
And wheedle me to give the girl for nothing?

Ant. (behind). Poor Phædria!

Phæd. (to himself). Alas! he speaks the truth.

Geta (to Antipho). How well they each support their characters!

Phæd. (to himself). Then that this evil should have come
upon me,
When Antipho was in the like distress!

Ant. (going up). Ha! what now, Phædria?

Phæd. Happy, happy Antipho! —

Ant. I?

Phæd. Who have her you love in your possession,
Nor e’er had plagues like these to struggle with!

Ant. In my possession? yes, I have, indeed,
As the old saying goes, a wolf by th’ ears:
For I can neither part with her nor keep her.

Dorio. ’Tis just my case with him.

Ant. (to Dorio). Thou thorough bawd!
— (To Phædria .) What has he done?

Phæd. Done? — The inhuman wretch
Has sold my Pamphila.

Geta. What! sold her?

Ant. Sold her?

Phæd. Yes; sold her.

Dorio (laughing). Sold her. — What a monstrous crime!
A wench he paid his ready money for.

Phæd. I can’t prevail upon him to wait for me,
And to stave off his bargain but three days;
Till I obtain the money from my friends,
According to their promise. — If I do not
Pay it you then, don’t wait a moment longer.

Dorio. You stun me.

Ant. ’Tis a very little time
For which he asks your patience, Dorio.
Let him prevail on you; your complaisance
Shall be requited doubly.

Dorio. Words; mere words!

Ant. Can you then bear to see your Pamphila
Torn from this city, Phædria? — Can you, Dorio,
Divide their loves

Dorio. Nor I, nor you.

Geta. Plague on you!

Dorio (to Phædria). I have, against my natural disposition,
Borne with you several months, still promising,
Whimpering, and ne’er performing any thing:
Now, on the contrary, I’ve found a spark,
Who’ll prove a ready-paymaster, no sniveler:
Give place then to your betters!

Ant. Surely, Phædria,
There was, if I remember, a day settled
That you should pay the money down.

Phæd. There was.

Dorio. Do I deny it?

Ant. Is the day past?

Dorio. No.
But this has come before it.

Ant. Infamous!
Ar’n’t you asham’d of such base treachery?

Dorio. Not I, while I can get by’t.

Geta. Scavenger!

Phæd. Is this just dealing, Dorio?

Dorio. ’Tis my way:
So, if you like me, use me.

Ant. Can you deceive him thus?

Dorio. Nay, Antipho,
’Tis he deceives me: he was well aware
What kind of man I was, but I believ’d
Him diff’rent. He has disappointed me,
But I am still the same to him as ever.
However, thus much I can do for him;
The Captain promis’d to pay down the money
To-morrow morning. But now, Phædria,
If you come first, I’ll follow my old rule,
“The first to pay shall be first serv’d.” Farewell.


Scene VI.

Phædria, Antipho, Geta .

Phæd. What shall I do? Unhappy that I am,
How shall I, who am almost worse than nothing,
Raise such a sum so suddenly? — Alas!
Had I prevail’d on him to wait three days,
I had a promise of it.

Ant. Shall we, Geta,
Suffer my Phædria to be miserable?
My best friend Phædria, who but now, you said,
Assisted me so heartily? — No — Rather
Let us, since there is need, return his kindness!

Geta. It is but just, I must confess.

Ant. Come then;
’Tis you alone can save him.

Geta. By what means?

Ant. Procure the money.

Geta. Willingly: but whence?

Ant. My father is arriv’d.

Geta. He is: what then?

Ant. A word to the wise, Geta!

Geta. Say you so?

Ant. Ev’n so.

Geta. By Hercules, ’tis rare advice.
Are you there with me? will it not be triumph,
So I but ’scape a scouring for your match,
That you must urge me to run risks for him?

Ant. He speaks the truth, I must confess.

Phæd. How’s that?
Am I a stranger to you, Geta?

Geta. No:
Nor do I hold you such. But is it nothing
That Demipho now rages at us all,
Unless we irritate him so much further
As to preclude all hopes to pacify him?

Phæd. Shall then another bear her hence? Ah me!
Now then, while I remain, speak to me, Antipho.
Behold me!

Ant. Wherefore? what is it you mean?

Phæd. Wherever she’s convey’d, I’ll follow her;
Or perish.

Geta. Heaven prosper your designs! —
Gently, Sir, gently!

Ant. See if you can help him.

Geta. Help him! but how?

Ant. Nay, think, invent, devise;
Lest he do something we repent of, Geta!

Geta. I’m thinking. (Pausing.) — Well then I believe, he’s safe.
But I’m afraid of mischief.

Ant. Never fear:
We’ll bear all good and evil fortune with you.

Geta. Tell me the sum you have occasion for.

Phæd. But thirty minæ.

Geta. Thirty! monstrous, Phædria!
She’s very dear.

Phæd. Dog-cheap.

Geta. Well, say no more.
I’ll get them for you.

Phæd. O brave fellow!

Geta. Hence!

Phæd. But I shall want it now.

Geta. You’ll have it now.
But Phormio must assist me in this business.

Ant. He’s ready: lay what load you will upon him,
He’ll bear it all; for he’s a friend indeed.

Geta. Let’s to him quickly then!

Ant. D’ye want my help?

Geta. We’ve no occasion for you. Get you home
To the poor girl, who’s almost dead with fear;
And see you comfort her. — Away! d’ye loiter?

Ant. There’s nothing I would do so willingly.


Phæd. But how will you effect this?

Geta. I’ll explain
That matter as we go along. — Away!


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