The Comedies of Terence


Translated into familiar blank verse by George Colman

This web edition published by eBooks@Adelaide.

Last updated Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 21:16.

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The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Table of Contents

Persons Represented.


Act the First.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.
  7. Scene VII.

Act the Second.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.

Act the Third.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.

Act the Fourth.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.
  3. Scene III.
  4. Scene IV.
  5. Scene V.
  6. Scene VI.
  7. Scene VII.
  8. Scene VIII.
  9. Scene IX.

Act the Fifth.

  1. Scene I.
  2. Scene II.

Persons Represented.











Geta. Davus, and other Servants.



Scene, Athens.


The Old Bard finding it impossible
To draw our Poet from the love of verse,
And bury him in indolence, attempts
By calumny to scare him from the stage;
Pretending that in all his former plays
The characters are low, and mean the style;
Because he ne’er describ’d a mad-brain’d youth,
Who in his fits of frenzy thought he saw
A hind, the dogs in full cry after her;
Her too imploring and beseeching him
To give her aid. — But did he understand
That, when the piece was first produc’d, it ow’d
More to the actor than himself its safety,
He would not be thus bold to give offense.
— But if there’s any one who says, or thinks,
“That had not the Old Bard assail’d him first,
Our Poet could not have devis’d a Prologue,
Having no matter for abuse;” — let such
Receive for answer, “that although the prize
To all advent’rers is held out in common,
The Veteran Poet meant to drive our Bard
From study into want: He therefore chose
To answer, though he would not first offend.
And had his adversary but have prov’d
A generous rival, he had had due praise;
Let him then bear these censures, and reflect
Of his own slanders ’tis the due return.
But henceforth I shall cease to speak of him,
Although he ceases not himself to rail.”
But now what I’d request of you, attend:
To-day I bring a new play, which the Greeks
Call Epidicazomenos; the Latins,
From the chief character, name Phormio:
Phormio, whom you will find a parasite,
And the chief engine of the plot. — And now,
If to our Poet you are well inclin’d,
Give ear; be favorable; and be silent!
Let us not meet the same ill fortune now
That we before encounter’d, when our troop
Was by a tumult driven from their place;
To which the actor’s merit, seconded
By your good-will and candor, has restor’d us.

Act the First.

Scene I.

Davus alone.

Geta, my worthy friend and countryman,
Came to me yesterday: for some time past
I’ve ow’d him some small balance of account:
This he desir’d I would make up: I have;
And brought it with me: for his master’s son,
I am inform’d, has lately got a wife:
So I suppose this sum is scrap’d together
For a bride-gift. Alack, how hard it is
That he, who is already poor, should still
Throw in his mite to swell the rich man’s heap!
What he scarce, ounce by ounce, from short allowance,
Sorely defrauding his own appetite,
Has spar’d, poor wretch! shall she sweep all at once,
Unheeding with what labor it was got?
Geta, moreover, shall be struck for more;
Another gift, when madam’s brought to bed;
Another too, when master’s birthday’s kept,
And they initiate him. — All this mamma
Shall carry off, the bantling her excuse.
But is that Geta?

Scene II.

Enter Geta .

Geta (at entering.) If a red-hair’d man
Inquire for me —

Davus. No more! he’s here.

Geta. Oh, Davus!
The very man that I was going after.

Davus. Here, take this! (Gives a purse.) ’Tis all told: you’ll find it right;
The sum I ow’d you.

Geta. Honest, worthy Davus!
I thank you for your punctuality.

Davus. And well you may, as men and times go now,
Things, by my troth, are come to such a pass,
If a man pays you what he owes, you’re much
Beholden to him. — But, pray, why so sad?

Geta. I? — You can scarce imagine in what dread.
What danger I am in.

Davus. How so?

Geta. I’ll tell you,
So you will keep it secret.

Davus. Away, fool!
The man whose faith in money you have tried,
D’ye fear to trust with words? — And to what end
Should I deceive you?

Geta. List, then!

Davus. I’m all ear.

Geta. D’ye know our old man’s elder brother, Chremes?

Davus. Know him? aye, sure.

Geta. You do? — And his son Phædria?

Davus. As well as I know you.

Geta. It so fell out,
Both the old men were forc’d to journey forth
At the same season. He to Lemnos, ours
Into Cilicia, to an old acquaintance
Who had decoy’d the old curmudgeon thither
By wheedling letters, almost promising
Mountains of gold.

Davus. To one that had so much
More than enough already?

Geta. Prithee, peace!
Money’s his passion.

Davus. Oh, would I had been
A man of fortune, I!

Geta. At their departure,
The two old gentlemen appointed me
A kind of governor to both their sons.

Davus. A hard task, Geta!

Geta. Troth, I found it so.
My angry Genius for my sins ordain’d it.
At first I took upon me to oppose:
In short, while I was trusty to th’ old man,
The young one made my shoulders answer for it.

Davus. So I suppose: for what a foolish task
To kick against the pricks!

Geta. I then resolv’d
To give them their own way in every thing.

Davus. Aye, then you made your market.

Geta. Our young spark
Play’d no mad pranks at first: but Phædria
Got him immediately a music-girl:
Fond of her to distraction! she belong’d
To a most avaricious, sordid pimp;
Nor had we aught to give; — th’ old gentleman
Had taken care of that. Naught else remain’d,
Except to feed his eyes, to follow her,
To lead her out to school, and hand her home.
We too, for lack of other business, gave
Our time to Phædria. Opposite the school,
Whither she went to take her lessons, stood
A barber’s shop, wherein most commonly
We waited her return. Hither one day
Came a young man in tears: we were amaz’d,
And ask’d the cause. Never (said he, and wept)
Did I suppose the weight of poverty
A load so sad, so insupportable,
As it appear’d but now. — I saw but now,
Not far from hence, a miserable virgin
Lamenting her dead mother. Near the corpse
She sat; nor friend, nor kindred, nor acquaintance,
Except one poor old woman, was there near
To aid the funeral. I pitied her:
Her beauty, too, was exquisite. — In short,
He mov’d us all: and Antipho at once
Cried, “Shall we go and visit her?” — Why, aye,
“I think so,” said the other; “let us go!”
“Conduct us, if you please.” — We went, arriv’d.
And saw her. — Beautiful she was indeed!
More justly to be reckon’d so, for she
Had no additions to set off her beauty.
Her hair dishevel’d, barefoot, woe-begone,
In tears, and miserably clad: that if
The life and soul of beauty had not dwelt
Within her very form, all these together
Must have extinguish’d it. — The spark, possess’d
Already with the music-girl, just cried,
“She’s well enough.” — But our young gentleman —

Davus. Fell, I suppose, in love.

Geta. In love, indeed.
But mark the end! next day, away he goes
To the old woman straight, beseeching her
To let him have the girl. — “Not she, indeed!
Nor was it like a gentleman,” she said,
“For him to think on’t: She’s a citizen,
An honest girl, and born of honest parents:—
If he would marry her indeed, by law
He might do that; on no account, aught else.”
— Our spark, distracted, knew not what to do:
At once he long’d to marry her, at once
Dreaded his absent father.

Davus. Would not he,
Had he return’d, have giv’n consent?

Geta. To wed
A girl of neither family nor fortune?

Davus. What then?

Geta. What then! There is a parasite,
One Phormio, a bold, enterprising fellow,
Who — all the Gods confound him! —

Davus. What did he?

Geta. Gave us the following counsel. — “There’s a law
That orphan Girls should wed their next of kin,
Which law obliges too their next of kin
To marry them.” — I’ll say that you’re her kinsman,
And sue a writ against you. I’ll pretend
To be her father’s friend, and bring the cause
Before the judges. Who her father was,
Her mother who, and how she’s your relation,
All this sham evidence I’ll forge; by which
The cause will turn entirely in my favor.
You shall disprove no tittle of the charge;
So I succeed. — Your father will return;
Prosecute me; — what then? — The girl’s our own.”

Davus. A pleasant piece of impudence!

Geta. It pleas’d
Our spark at least: he put it into practice;
Came into court; and he was cast; and married.

Davus. How say you?

Geta. Just as you have heard.

Davus. Oh Geta,
What will become of you?

Geta. I don’t know, faith.
But only this I know, what’er chance brings,
I’ll patiently endure.

Davus. Why, that’s well said,
And like a man.

Geta. All my dependence is
Upon myself.

Davus. And that’s the best.

Geta. I might
Beg one indeed to intercede for me,
Who may plead thus — “Nay, pardon him this once!
But if he fails again, I’ve not a word
To say for him.” — And well if he don’t add,
“When I go hence e’en hang him!”

Davus. What of him,
Gentleman-usher to the music-girl?
How goes he on?

Geta. So, so!

Davus. He has not much
To give, perhaps.

Geta. Just nothing, but mere hope.

Davus. His father too, is he return’d?

Geta. Not yet.

Davus. Nor your old man, when do you look for him?

Geta. I don’t know certainly: but I have heard
That there’s a letter from him come to port,
Which I am going for.

Davus. Would you aught else
With me, good Geta?

Geta. Nothing, but farewell!

Exit Davus .
Ho, boy! what, nobody at home! (Enter boy.) Take this
And give it Dorcium. (Gives the Purse, and Exit.)

Scene III.

Antipho, Phædria .

Ant. Is it come to this?
My father, Phædria! — my best friend! — That I
Should tremble, when I think of his return!
When, had I not been inconsiderate,
I, as ’tis meet, might have expected him.

Phæd. What now?

Ant. Is that a question? and from you?
Who know the atrocious fault I have committed?
Oh, that it ne’er had enter’d Phormio’s mind
To give such counsel! nor to urge me on,
In the extravagance of blind desire,
To this rash act, the source of my misfortunes!
I should not have possess’d her: that indeed
Had made me wretched some few days. — But then
This constant anguish had not torn my mind. —

Phæd. I hear you.

Ant. — While each moment I expect
His coming to divorce me.

Phæd. Other men,
For lack of what they love, are miserable;
Abundance is your grievance. You’re too rich
A lover, Antipho! For your condition
Is to be wish’d and pray’d for. Now, by Heaven,
Might I, so long as you have done, enjoy
My love, it were bought cheaply with my life.
How hard my lot, unsatisfied, unbless’d!
How happy yours, in full possession! — One
Of lib’ral birth, ingenuous disposition,
And honest fame, without expense, you’ve got:
The wife, whom you desir’d! — in all things bless’d,
But want the disposition to believe so.
Had you, like me, a scoundrel pimp to deal with,
Then you’d perceive — But sure ’tis in our nature
Never to be contented.

Ant. Now to me,
Phædria, ’tis you appear the happy man.
Still quite at large, free to consider still,
To keep, pursue, or quit her: I, alas!
Have so entangled and perplex’d myself,
That I can neither keep nor let her go.
— What now? isn’t that our Geta, whom I see
Running this way? — ’Tis he himself — Ah me,
How do I fear what news he brings!

Scene IV.

Enter at a distance Geta, running.

Geta. Confusion!
A quick thought, Geta, or you’re quite undone,
So many evils take you unprepar’d;
Which I know neither how to shun nor how
To extricate myself: for this bold stroke
Of ours can’t long be hid.

Ant. What’s this confusion?

Geta. Then I have scarce a moment’s time to think.
My master is arriv’d.

Ant. What mischief’s that?

Geta. Who, when he shall have heard it, by what art
Shall I appease his anger? — Shall I speak?
’Twill irritate him. — Hold my peace? — enrage him. —
Defend myself? — impossible? — Oh, wretch!
Now for myself in pain, now Antipho
Distracts my mind. — But him I pity most;
For him I fear; ’tis he retains me here:
For, were it not for him, I’d soon provide
For my own safety — aye, and be reveng’d
On the old graybeard — carry something off,
And show my master a light pair of heels.

Ant. What scheme to rob and run away is this?

Geta. But where shall I find Antipho? where seek him?

Phæd. He mentions you.

Ant. I know not what, but doubt
That he’s the messenger of some ill news.

Phæd. Have you your wits?

Geta. I’ll home: he’s chiefly there.

Phæd. Let’s call him back!

Ant. Holloa, you! stop!

Geta. Heyday!
Authority enough, be who you will.

Ant. Geta!

Geta (turning). The very man I wish’d to meet!

Ant. Tell us, what news? — in one word, if you can.

Geta. I’ll do it.

Ant. Speak!

Geta. This moment at the port —

Ant. My father?

Geta. Even so.

Ant. Undone!

Phæd. Heyday!

Ant. What shall I do?

Phæd. What say you? (To Geta .)

Geta. That I’ve seen
His father, Sir, — your uncle.

Ant. How shall I,
Wretch that I am! oppose this sudden evil!
Should I be so unhappy to be torn
From thee, my Phanium, life’s not worth my care.

Geta. Since that’s the case then, Antipho, you ought
To be the more upon your guard.

Ant. Alas!
I’m not myself.

Geta. But now you should be most so, Antipho.
For if your father should discern your fear,
He’ll think you conscious of a fault.

Phæd. That’s true.

Ant. I can not help it, nor seem otherwise.

Geta. How would you manage in worse difficulties?

Ant. Since I’m not equal to bear this, to those
I should be more unequal.

Geta. This is nothing.
Pooh, Phædria, let him go! why waste our time?
I will be gone. (Going.)

Phæd. And I. (Going.)

Ant. Nay, prithee, stay!
What if I should dissemble? — Will that do?

Endeavoring to assume another air.

Geta. Ridiculous!

Ant. Nay, look at me! will that

Geta. Not it.

Ant. Or this?

Geta. Almost.

Ant. Or this?

Geta. Aye! now you’ve hit it. Do but stick to that;
Answer him boldly; give him hit for dash,
Nor let him bear you down with angry words.

Ant. I understand you.

Geta. “Forc’d” — “against your will” —
“By law” — “by sentence of the court” — d’ye take me?
— But what old gentleman is that I see
Turning the corner of the street?

Ant. ’Tis he.
I dare not face him. (Going.)

Geta. Ah! what is’t you do?
Where d’ye run, Antipho! stay, stay, I say.

Ant. I know myself and my offense too well:
To you, then, I commend my life and love.


Scene V.

Manent Phædria and Geta .

Phæd. Geta, what now?

Geta. You shall be roundly chid;
I soundly drubb’d; or I am much deceiv’d.
— But what e’en now we counsel’d Antipho,
It now behooves ourselves to practice, Phædria.

Phæd. Talk not of what behooves, but say at once
What you would have me do.

Geta. Do you remember
The plea whereon you both agreed to rest,
At your first vent’ring on this enterprise?
“That Phormio’s suit was just, sure, equitable,
Not to be controverted.” —

Phæd. I remember.

Geta. Now then that plea! or, if it’s possible,
One better or more plausible.

Phæd. I’ll do’t.

Geta. Do you attack him first! I’ll lie in ambush,
To reinforce you, if you give ground.

Phæd. Well. (They retire.)

Scene VI.

Enter Demipho at another part of the stage.

Dem. How’s this? a wife! what, Antipho! and ne’er
Ask my consent? — nor my authority —
Or, grant we pass authority, not dread
My wrath at least? — To have no sense of shame?
— Oh, impudence! — Oh, Geta, rare adviser!

Geta. Geta at last.

Dem. What they will say to me,
Or what excuse they will devise, I wonder.

Geta. Oh, we have settled that already: think
Of something else.

Dem. Will he say this to me,
— “Against my will I did it” — “Forc’d by law” —
— I hear you: I confess it.

Geta. Very well.

Dem. But conscious of the fraud, without a word
In answer or defense, to yield the cause
Tamely to your opponents — did the law
Force you to that too?

Phæd. That’s home.

Geta. Give me leave.
I’ll manage it.

Dem. I know not what to do:
This stroke has come so unawares upon me,
Beyond all expectation, past belief.
— I’m so enrag’d, I can’t compose my mind
To think upon it. — Wherefore ev’ry man,
When his affairs go on most swimmingly,
Ev’n then it most behooves to arm himself
Against the coming storm: loss, danger, exile,
Returning ever let him look to meet;
His son in fault, wife dead, or daughter sick —
All common accidents, and may have happen’d;
That nothing should seem new or strange. But if
Aught has fall’n out beyond his hopes, all that
Let him account clear gain.

Geta. Oh, Phædria,
’Tis wonderful how much a wiser man
I am than my old master. My misfortunes
I have consider’d well. — At his return
Doom’d to grind ever in the mill, beat, chain’d,
Or set to labor in the fields; of these
Nothing will happen new. If aught falls out
Beyond my hopes, all that I’ll count clear gain.
— But why delay t’accost th’ old gentleman,
And speak him fair at first? (Phædria goes forward.)

Dem. Methinks I see
My nephew Phædria.

Phæd. My good Uncle, welcome!

Dem. Your servant! — But where’s Antipho?

Phæd. I’m glad
To see you safe —

Dem. Well, well! — But answer me.

Phæd. He’s well: hard by. — But have affairs turn’d out
According to your wishes?

Dem. Would they had!

Phæd. Why, what’s the matter?

Dem. What’s the matter, Phædria?
You’ve clapp’d up a fine marriage in my absence.

Phæd. What! are you angry with him about that?

Geta. Well counterfeited!

Dem. Should I not be angry?
Let me but set eyes on him, he shall know
That his offenses have converted me
From a mild father to a most severe one.

Phæd. He has done nothing, Uncle, to offend you.

Dem. See, all alike! the whole gang hangs together:
Know one, and you know all.

Phæd. Nay, ’tis not so.

Dem. One does a fault, the other’s hard at hand
To bear him out: when t’other slips, he’s ready:
Each in their turn!

Geta. I’ faith th’ old gentleman
Has blunder’d on their humors to a hair.

Dem. For, were’t not so, you’d not defend him, Phædria.

Phæd. If, Uncle, Antipho has done a wrong,
Or to his interest or reputation,
I am content he suffer as he may:
But if another, with malicious fraud,
Has laid a snare for unexperienced youth,
And triumph’d o’er it; can you lay the blame
On us, or on the judges, who oft take
Through envy from the rich, or from compassion
Add to the poor?

Geta. Unless I knew the cause,
I should imagine this was truth he spoke.

Dem. What judge can know the merits on your side,
When you put in no plea; as he has done?

Phæd. He has behav’d like an ingenuous youth.
When he came into court, he wanted pow’r
To utter what he had prepar’d, so much
He was abash’d by fear and modesty.

Geta. Oh brave! — But why, without more loss of time,
Don’t I accost th’ old man! (Going up.) My master, welcome!
I am rejoic’d to see you safe return’d.

Dem. What! my good master Governor! your slave!
The prop! the pillar of our family!
To whom, at my departure hence, I gave
My son in charge.

Geta. I’ve heard you for some time
Accuse us all quite undeservedly,
And me, of all, most undeservedly.
For what could I have done in this affair?
A slave the laws will not allow to plead;
Nor can he be an evidence.

Dem. I grant it.
Nay more — the boy was bashful — I allow it.
— You but a slave. — But if she had been prov’d
Ever so plainly a relation, why
Needed he marry her? and why not rather
Give her, according to the law, a portion,
And let her seek some other for a husband?
Why did he rather bring a beggar home?

Geta. ’Twas not the thought, but money that was wanting.

Dem. He might have borrow’d it!

Geta. Have borrow’d it!
Easily said.

Dem. If not to be had else,
On interest.

Geta. Nay, now indeed you’ve hit it!
Who would advance him money in your life?

Dem. Well, well, it shall not, and it can not be,
That I should suffer her to live with him
As wife a single day. There is no cause.
— Would I might see that fellow, or could tell
Where he resides!

Geta. What, Phormio!

Dem. The girl’s Patron.

Geta. He shall be with you straight.

Dem. Where’s Antipho?

Phæd. Abroad.

Dem. Go, Phædria; find him, bring him here.

Phæd. I’ll go directly.


Geta (aside). Aye, to Pamphila.


Scene VII.

Demipho alone.

I’ll home, and thank the Gods for my return:
Thence to the Forum, and convene some friends,
Who may be present at this interview,
That Phormio may not take me unprepar’d.


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!


Act the Third.

Scene I.

Enter Demipho and Chremes .

Dem. Well, Chremes, have you brought your daughter with you,
On whose account you went to Lemnos?

Chrem. No.

Dem. Why not?

Chrem. Her mother grown, it seems, impatient,
Perceiving that I tarried here so long,
And that the girl’s age brook’d not my delays,
Had journeyed here, they said, in search of me,
With her whole family.

Dem. Appris’d of this,
What kept you there so long then?

Chrem. A disease.

Dem. How came it? what disease?

Chrem. Is that a question?
Old age itself is a disease. — However,
The master of the ship, who brought them over,
Inform’d me of their safe arrival hither.

Dem. Have you heard, Chremes, of my son’s misfortune
During my absence?

Chrem. Aye; and it confounds me.
For to another should I tender her,
I must relate the girl’s whole history,
And whence arises my connection with her.
You I can trust as safely as myself:
But if a stranger courts alliance with me,
While we’re new friends, he’ll hold his peace perhaps,
But if he cools, he’ll know too much of me.
Then I’m afraid my wife should know of this;
Which if she does, I’ve nothing else to do
But shake myself, and leave my house directly:
For I’ve no friend at home except myself.

Dem. I know it; and ’tis that which touches me.
Nor are there any means I’ll leave untried,
Till I have made my promise to you good.

Scene II.

Enter, at another part of the stage, Geta .

Geta (to himself). I never saw a more shrewd rogue than Phormio.
I came to let him know we wanted money,
With my device for getting it; and scarce
Had I related half, but he conceiv’d me.
He was o’erjoy’d; commended me; demanded
To meet with Demipho; and thank’d the god;
That it was now the time to show himself
As truly Phædria’s friend as Antipho’s.
I bade him wait us at the Forum; whither
I’d bring th’ old gentleman. — And there he is!
— But who’s the furthermost? Ha! Phædria’s father.
— Yet what was I afraid of, simpleton?
That I have got two dupes instead of one?
Is it not better that my hopes are doubled?
— I’ll attack him, I first propos’d. If he
Answers my expectation, well: if not,
Why then have at you, uncle!

Scene III.

Enter behind, Antipho .

Ant. (to himself). I expect
Geta’s arrival presently. — But see!
Yonder’s my uncle with my father. — Ah!
How do I dread his influence!

Geta. I’ll to them.
Oh, good Sir Chremes! (Going up.)

Chrem. Save you, save you, Geta!

Geta. I’m glad to see you safe arriv’d.

Chrem. I thank you.

Geta. How go affairs?

Chrem. A world of changes here,
As usual at first coming home again.

Geta. True. Have you heard of Antipho’s affair?

Chrem. The whole.

Geta (to Demipho). Did you inform him, Sir? — ’Tis monstrous, Chremes,
To he so shamefully impos’d upon!

Dem. ’Twas on that point I was just talking with him.

Geta. And I too, having turn’d it in my thoughts,
Have found, I think, a remedy.

Dem. How, Geta?
What remedy?

Geta. On leaving you, by chance
I met with Phormio.

Chrem. Who is Phormio?

Geta. The girl’s solicitor.

Chrem. I understand.

Geta. I thought within myself, “suppose I found him!”
And taking him aside, “Now prithee, Phormio,
Why don’t you try to settle this affair
By fair means rather than by foul?” said I.
“My master is a generous gentleman,
And hates to go to law. For I assure you
His other friends advis’d him, to a man,
To turn this girl directly out o’ doors.”

Ant. (behind). What does he mean? or where will all this end?

Geta. “The law, you think, will give you damages
If he attempts to turn her out. — Alas!
He has good counsel upon that. — I’ faith,
You’ll have hot work if you engage with him;
He’s such an orator! — But ev’n suppose
That you should gain your lawsuit, after all
The trial is not for his life, but money.”
Perceiving him a little wrought upon,
And soften’d by this style of talking with him,
“Come now,” continued I, “we’re all alone.
Tell me, what money would you take in hand
To drop your lawsuit, take away the girl,
And trouble us no farther!”

Ant. (behind). Is he mad?

Geta. — “For I am well convinc’d, that if your terms
Are not extravagant and wild indeed,
My master’s such a worthy gentleman,
You will not change three words between you.”

Dem. Who
Commission’d you to say all this?

Chrem. Nay, nay,
Nothing could be more happy to effect
The point we labor at.

Ant. (behind). Undone!

Chrem. (to Geta). Go on.

Geta. At first he rav’d.

Dem. Why, what did he demand?

Geta. Too much: as much as came into his head.

Chrem. Well, but the sum?

Geta. He talk’d of a great talent.

Dem. Plague on the rascal! what! has he no shame?

Geta. The very thing I said to him. — “Suppose
He was to portion out an only daughter,
What could he give her more? — He profits little,
Having no daughter of his own; since one
Is found to carry off a fortune from him.”
— But to be brief, and not to dwell upon
All his impertinences, he at last
Gave me this final answer. — “From the first,
I wish’d,” said he, “as was indeed most fit,
To wed the daughter of my friend myself.
For I was well aware of her misfortune;
That, being poor, she would be rather given
In slavery, than wedlock, to the rich.
But I was forc’d, to tell you the plain truth,
To take a woman with some little fortune,
To pay my debts: and still, if Demipho
Is willing to advance as large a sum
As I’m to have with one I’m now engag’d to.
There is no wife I’d rather take than her.”

Ant. (behind). Whether through malice or stupidity,
He is rank knave or fool, I can not tell.

Dem. (to Geta). What, if he owes his soul?

Geta. “I have a farm,”
Continued he, “that’s mortgag’d for ten minæ.”

Dem. Well, let him take her then: I’ll pay the money.

Geta. "A house for ten more.”

Dem. Huy! huy! that’s too much.

Chrem. No noise! demand those ten of me.

Geta. “My wife
Must buy a maid; some little furniture
Is also requisite; and some expense
To keep our wedding: all these articles,”
Continues he, “we’ll reckon at ten minæ.”

Dem. No; let him bring ten thousand writs against me.
I’ll give him nothing. What! afford the villain
An opportunity to laugh at me?

Colman’s note on this passage says in part: “I have . . . rendered the sexcentas of Terence by Ten Thousand, as being most agreeable to the English idiom, as well as the Greek.”

Chrem. Nay, but be pacified! I’ll pay the money.
Only do you prevail upon your son
To marry her whom we desire.

Ant. (behind). Ah me!
Geta, your treachery has ruin’d me.

Chrem. She’s put away on my account: ’tis just
That I should pay the money.

Geta. “Let me know,”
Continues he, “as soon as possible,
Whether they mean to have me marry her;
That I may part with t’other, and be certain.
For t’other girl’s relations have agreed
To pay the portion down immediately.”

Chrem. He shall be paid this too immediately.
Let him break off with her, and take this girl!

Dem. Aye, and the plague go with him!

Chrem. Luckily
It happens I’ve some money here; the rents
Of my wife’s farms at Lemnos. I’ll take that; (to Demipho)
And tell my wife that you had need of it.


Scene IV.

Manent Antipho, Geta .

Ant. (coming forward). Geta!

Geta. Ha, Antipho!

Ant. What have you done!

Geta. Trick’d the old bubbles of their money.

Ant. Well,
Is that sufficient, think ye?

Geta. I can’t tell.
’Twas all my orders.

Ant. Knave, d’ye shuffle with me? (Kicks him.)

Geta. Plague! what d’ye mean?

Ant. What do I mean, Sirrah!
You’ve driven me to absolute perdition.
All pow’rs of heav’n and hell confound you for’t,
And make you an example to all villains!
— Here! would you have your business duly manag’d,
Commit it to this fellow! — What could be
More tender than to touch upon this sore,
Or even name my wife? my father’s fill’d
With hopes that she may be dismiss’d. — And then,
If Phormio gets the money for the portion,
He, to be sure, must marry her. — And what
Becomes of me then?

Geta. He’ll not marry her.

Ant. Oh, no: but when they redemand the money,
On my account he’ll rather go to jail! (Ironically.)

Geta. Many a tale is spoiled in telling, Antipho.
You take out all the good, and leave the bad.
— Now hear the other side — If he receives
The money, he must wed the girl: I grant it.
But then some little time must be allow’d
For wedding-preparation, invitation,
And sacrifices. — Meanwhile, Phædria’s friends
Advance the money they have promis’d him:
Which Phormio shall make use of for repayment.

Ant. How so? what reason can he give?

Geta. What reason?
A thousand. — “Since I made this fatal bargain,
Omens and prodigies have happen’d to me.
There came a strange black dog into my house!
A snake fell through the tiling! a hen crow’d!
The Soothsayer forbade it! The Diviner
Charg’d me to enter on no new affair
Before the winter.” — All sufficient reasons.
Thus it shall be.

Ant. Pray Heav’n it may be!

Geta. It shall.
Depend on me:— But here’s your father. — Go;
Tell Phædria that the money’s safe.

Exit Antipho .

Scene V.

Re-enter Demipho and Chremes .

Dem. Nay, peace!
I’ll warrant he shall play no tricks upon us:
I’ll not part rashly with it, I assure you;
But pay it before witnesses, reciting
To whom ’tis paid, and why ’tis paid.

Geta. How cautious,
Where there is no occasion! (Aside.)

Chrem. You had need.
But haste, dispatch it while the fit’s upon him:
For if the other party should be pressing,
Perhaps he’ll break with us.

Geta. You’ve hit it, Sir.

Dem. Carry me to him then.

Geta. I wait your pleasure.

Chrem. (to Demipho). When this is done, step over to my wife,
That she may see the girl before she goes;
And tell her, to prevent her being angry,
“That we’ve agreed to marry her to Phormio,
Her old acquaintance, and a fitter match;
That we have not been wanting in our duty,
But giv’n as large a portion as he ask’d.”

Dem. Pshaw! what’s all this to you?

Chrem. A great deal, brother.

Dem. Is’t not sufficient to have done your duty,
Unless the world approves it?

Chrem. I would choose
To have the whole thing done by her consent,
Lest she pretend we turn’d her out o’ doors.

Dem. Well, I can say all this to her myself.

Chrem. A woman deals much better with a woman.

Dem. I’ll ask your wife to do it then.

Exeunt Demipho and Geta .

Chrem. I’m thinking
Where I shall find these women now.

Scene VI.

Enter Sophrona at a distance.

Soph. (to herself). Alas!
What shall I do, unhappy as I am?
Where find a friend? to whom disclose this story?
Of whom beseech assistance? — For I fear
My mistress will sustain some injury
From following my counsel: the youth’s father,
I hear, is so offended at this marriage.

Chrem. Who’s this old woman, coming from my brother’s,
That seems so terrified?

Soph. (to herself). ’Twas poverty
Compell’d me to this action: though I knew
This match would hardly hold together long,
Yet I advis’d her to it, that meanwhile
She might not want subsistence.

Chrem. Surely, surely,
Either my mind deceives me, or my eyes fail me,
Or that’s my daughter’s nurse.

Soph. Nor can we find —

Chrem. What shall I do?

Soph. — Her father out.

Chrem. Were’t best
I should go up to her, or wait a little,
To gather something more from her discourse?

Soph. Could he be found, my fears were at an end.

Chrem. ’Tis she. I’ll speak with her.

Soph. (overhearing). Whose voice is that?

Chrem. Sophrona!

Soph. Ha! my name too?

Chrem. Look this way.

Soph. (turning). Good Heav’n have mercy on us! Stilpho!

Chrem. No.

Soph. Deny your own name?

Chrem. (in a low voice). This way, Sophrona! —
— A little further from that door! — this way! —
And never call me by that name, I charge you.

Soph. What, ar’n’t you then the man you said you was? (Aloud.)

Chrem. Hist! hist!

Soph. What makes you fear those doors so much?

Chrem. I have a fury of a wife within:
And formerly I went by that false name,
Lest she should indiscreetly blab it out,
And so my wife might come to hear of this.

Soph. Ah! thus it was, that we, alas! poor souls,
Could never find you out here.

Chrem. Well, but tell me,
What business have you with that family? (Pointing.)
— Where is your mistress and her daughter?

Soph. Ah!

Chrem. What now? are they alive?

Soph. The daughter is:
The mother broke her heart with grief.

Chrem. Alas!

Soph. And I a poor, unknown, distress’d old woman,
Endeavoring to manage for the best,
Contriv’d to match the virgin to a youth,
Son to the master of this house.

Chrem. To Antipho?

Soph. The very same.

Chrem. What! has he two wives then?

Soph. No, mercy on us! he has none but her.

Chrem. What is the other then, who, they pretend,
Is a relation to him?

Soph. This is she.

Chrem. How say you?

Soph. It was all a mere contrivance:
That he, who was in love, might marry her
Without a portion.

Chrem. O ye powers of heav’n,
How often fortune blindly brings about
More than we dare to hope for! Coming home,
I’ve found my daughter, even to my wish,
Match’d to the very person I desir’d.
What we have both been laboring to effect,
Has this poor woman all alone accomplish’d.

Soph. But now consider what is to be done!
The bridegroom’s father is return’d; and he,
They say, is much offended at this marriage.

Chrem. Be of good comfort: there’s no danger there.
But, in the name of heav’n and earth, I charge you,
Let nobody discover she’s my daughter.

Soph. None shall discover it from me.

Chrem. Come then!
Follow me in, and you shall hear the rest.


Act the Fourth.

Scene I.

Demipho, Geta .

Dem. ’Tis our own fault that we encourage rogues,
By overstraining the due character
Of honesty and generosity.
“Shoot not beyond the mark,” the proverb goes.
Was’t not enough that he had done us wrong,
But we must also throw him money too,
To live till he devises some new mischief?

Geta. Very right!

Dem. Knavery’s now its own reward.

Geta. Very true!

Dem. How like fools have we behav’d!

Geta. So as he keeps his word, and takes the girl,
’Tis well enough.

Dem. Is that a doubt at present?

Geta. A man, you know, may change his mind.

Dem. How! change?

Geta. That I can’t tell: but, if perhaps, I say.

Dem. I’ll now perform my promise to my brother,
And bring his wife to talk to the young woman.
You, Geta, go before, and let her know
Nausistrata will come and speak with her.

Exit Demipho .

Scene II.

Geta alone.

The money’s got for Phædria: all is hush’d:
And Phanium is not to depart as yet.
What more then? where will all this end at last?
— Alas! you’re sticking in the same mire still:
You’ve only chang’d hands, Geta. The disaster
That hung but now directly over you,
Delay perhaps will bring more heavy on you.
You’re quite beset, unless you look about.
— Now then I’ll home; to lesson Phanium,
That she mayn’t stand in fear of Phormio,
Nor dread this conf’rence with Nausistrata.


Scene III.

Enter Demipho and Nausistrata .

Dem. Come then, Nausistrata, afford us now
A little of your usual art, and try
To put this woman in good humor with us;
That what is done she may do willingly.

Naus. I will.

Dem. And now assist us with your counsel,
As with your cash a little while ago.

Naus. With all my heart: and I am only sorry
That ’tis my husband’s fault I can’t do more.

Dem. How so?

Naus. Because he takes such little care
Of the estate my father nurs’d so well:
For from these very farms he never fail’d
To draw two talents by the year. But ah!
What difference between man and man!

Dem. Two talents?

Naus. Aye — in worse times than these — and yet two talents?

Dem. Huy!

Naus. What, are you surpris’d?

Dem. Prodigiously.

Naus. Would I had been a man! I’d show —

Dem. No doubt.

Naus. — By what means —

Dem. Nay, but spare yourself a little
For the encounter with the girl: lest she,
Flippant and young, may weary you too much.

Naus. — Well, I’ll obey your orders: but I see
My husband coming forth.

Scene IV.

Enter Chremes, hastily.

Chrem. Ha! Demipho!
Has Phormio had the money yet?

Dem. I paid him

Chrem. I’m sorry for’t. — (Seeing Nausistrata .) — My wife!
I’d almost said too much. (Aside.)

Dem. Why sorry, Chremes?

Chrem. Nothing. — No matter.

Dem. Well, but hark ye, Chremes!
Have you been talking with the girl, and told her
Wherefore we bring your wife?

Chrem. I’ve settled it.

Dem. Well, and what says she?

Chrem. ’Tis impossible
To send her hence.

Dem. And why impossible?

Chrem. Because they are both so fond of one another.

Dem. What’s that to us?

Chrem. A great deal. And besides,
I have discover’d she’s related to us.

Dem. Have you your wits?

Chrem. ’Tis so. I’m very serious.
— Nay, recollect a little!

Dem. Are you mad?

Naus. Good now, beware of wronging a relation!

Dem. She’s no relation to us.

Chrem. Don’t deny it.
Her father had assum’d another name,
And that deceiv’d you.

Dem. What! not know her father?

Chrem. Perfectly.

Dem. Why did she misname him then?

Chrem. Won’t you be rul’d, nor understand me then?

Dem. What can I understand from nothing?

Chrem. Still? (Impatiently.)

Naus. I can’t imagine what this means.

Dem. Nor I.

Chrem. Would you know all? — Why then, so help me Heaven,
She has no nearer kindred in the world
Than you and I.

Dem. Oh, all ye powers of heaven!
— Let us go to her then immediately:
I would fain know, or not know, all at once. (Going.)

Chrem. Ah! (Stopping him.)

Dem. What’s the matter?

Chrem. Can’t you trust me then?

Dem. Must I believe it? take it upon trust?
— Well, be it so! — But what is to be done
With our friend’s daughter?

Chrem. Nothing.

Dem. Drop her?

Chrem. Aye.

Dem. And keep this?

Chrem. Aye.

Dem. Why then, Nausistrata,
You may return. We need not trouble you.

Naus. Indeed, I think, ’tis better on all sides,
That you should keep her here, than send her hence.
For she appear’d to me, when first I saw her,
Much of a gentlewoman.

Exit Nausistrata .

Scene V.

Manent Demipho and Chremes .

Dem. What means this?

Chrem. (looking after Nausistrata). Is the door shut?

Dem. It is.

Chrem. O Jupiter!
The Gods take care of us. I’ve found my daughter
Married to your son.

Dem. Ha! how could it be?

Chrem. It is not safe to tell you here.

Dem. Step in then.

Chrem. But hark ye, Demipho! — I would not have
Even our very sons inform’d of this.


Scene VI.

Antipho alone.

I’m glad, however my affairs proceed,
That Phædria’s have succeeded to his mind.
How wise to foster such desires alone,
As, although cross’d, are easily supplied!
Money, once found, sets Phædria at his ease;
But my distress admits no remedy.
For, if the secret’s kept, I live in fear;
And if reveal’d, I am expos’d to shame.
Nor would I now return, but in the hope
Of still possessing her. — But where is Geta?
That I may learn of him the fittest time
To meet my father.

Scene VII.

Enter, at a distance, Phormio .

Phor. (to himself). I’ve receiv’d the money;
Paid the procurer; carried off the wench;
Who’s free, and now in Phædria’s possession.
One thing alone remains to be dispatch’d;
To get a respite from th’ old gentlemen
To tipple some few days, which I must spend
In mirth and jollity.

Ant. But yonder’s Phormio. — (Goes up.)
What now?

Phor. Of what?

Ant. What’s Phædria about?
How does he mean to take his fill of love?

Phor. By acting your part in his turn.

Ant. What part?

Phor. Flying his father’s presence. — And he begs
That you’d act his, and make excuses for him;
For he intends a drinking-bout with me.
I shall pretend to the old gentlemen
That I am going to the fair at Sunium,
To buy the servant-maid that Geta mention’d:
Lest, finding I am absent, they suspect
That I am squandering the sum they paid me.
— But your door opens.

Ant. Who comes here?

Phor. ’Tis Geta.

Scene VIII.

Enter hastily, at another part of the stage, Geta .

Geta. O fortune, O best fortune, what high blessings,
What sudden, great, and unexpected joys
Hast thou shower’d down on Antipho to-day! —

Ant. What can this be he’s so rejoic’d about?

Geta. — And from what fears deliver’d us, his friends?
— But wherefore do I loiter thus? and why
Do I not throw my cloak upon my shoulder,
And haste to find him out, that he may know
All that has happen’d?

Ant. (to Phormio). Do you comprehend
What he is talking of?

Phor. Do you?

Ant. Not I.

Phor. I’m just as wise as you.

Geta. I’ll hurry hence
To the procurer’s. — I shall find them there. (Going.)

Ant. Ho, Geta!

Geta. Look ye there! — Is’t new or strange,
To be recall’d when one’s in haste? (Going.)

Ant. Here, Geta!

Geta. Again? bawl on! I’ll ne’er stop. (Going on.)

Ant. Stay, I say!

Geta. Go, and be drubb’d!

Ant. You shall, I promise you,
Unless you stop, you rascal!

Geta (stopping). Hold, hold, Geta!
Some intimate acquaintance this, be sure,
Being so free with you. — But is it he
That I am looking for, or not? — ’Tis he.

Phor. Go up immediately. (They go up to Geta .)

Ant. (to Geta). What means all this?

Geta. O happy man! the happiest man on earth!
So very happy, that, beyond all doubt,
You are the God’s chief fav’rite, Antipho.

Ant. Would I were! but your reason.

Geta. Is’t enough
To plunge you over head and ears in joy?

Ant. You torture me.

Phor. No promises! but tell us
What is your news?

Geta. Oh, Phormio! are you here?

Phor. I am: but why d’ye trifle?

Geta. Mind me then! (To Phormio .)
No sooner had we paid you at the Forum,
But we return’d directly home again.
— Arriv’d, my master sends me to your wife. (To Antipho .)

Ant. For what?

Geta. No matter now, good Antipho.
I was just entering the women’s lodging,
When up runs little Mida; catches me
Hold by the cloak behind, and pulls me back.
I turn about, and ask why he detains me.
He told me, “Nobody must see his mistress:
For Sophrona,” says he, “has just now brought
Demipho’s brother, Chremes, here; and he
Is talking with the women now within.”
— When I heard this, I stole immediately
On tip-toe tow’rd the door; came close; stood hush;
Drew in my breath; applied my ear; and thus,
Deep in attention, catch’d their whole discourse.

Ant. Excellent, Geta!

Geta. Here I overheard
The pleasantest adventure! On my life,
I scarce refrain’d from crying out for joy.

Ant. What?

Geta. What d’ye think? (Laughing.)

Ant. I can’t tell,

Geta. Oh! it was (laughing.)
Most wonderful! — most exquisite! — your uncle
Is found to be the father of your wife.

Ant. How! what?

Geta. He had a sly intrigue, it seems,
With Phanium’s mother formerly at Lemnos. (Laughing.)

Phor. Nonsense! as if she did not know her father!

Geta. Nay, there’s some reason for it, Phormio,
You may be sure. — But was it possible
For me, who stood without, to comprehend
Each minute circumstance that pass’d within?

Ant. I have heard something of this story too.

Geta. Then, Sir, to settle your belief the more,
At last out comes your uncle; and soon after
Returns again, and carries in your father.
Then they both said, they gave their full consent
That you should keep your Phanium. — In a word,
I’m sent to find you out, and bring you to them.

Ant. Away with me then instantly! D’ye linger?

Geta. Not I. Away!

Ant. My Phormio, fare you well!

Phor. Fare you well, Antipho!


Scene IX.

Phormio alone.

Well done, ’fore Heaven!
I’m overjoy’d to see so much good fortune
Fallen thus unexpectedly upon them:
I’ve now an admirable opportunity
To bubble the old gentlemen, and ease
Phædria of all his cares about the money;
So that he need not be oblig’d to friends.
For this same money, though it will be given,
Will yet come from them much against the grain;
But I have found a way to force them to’t.
— Now then I must assume a grander air,
And put another face upon this business.
— I’ll hence a while into the next by-alley,
And pop upon them as they’re coming forth.
— As for the trip I talk’d of to the fair,
I sha’n’t pretend to take that journey now.


Act the Fifth.

Scene I.

Enter Demipho and Chremes — and soon after, on t’other side, Phormio .

Dem. Well may we thank the gracious Gods, good brother,
That all things have succeeded to our wish.
— But now let’s find out Phormio with all speed,
Before he throws away our thirty minæ.

Phor. (pretending not to see him).
I’ll go and see if Demipho’s at home,
That I may —

Dem. (meeting him). — We were coming to you, Phormio.

Phor. On the old score, I warrant.

Dem. Aye.

Phor. I thought so.
— Why should you go to me? — ridiculous!
Was you afraid I’d break my contract with you?
No, no! how great soe’er my poverty,
I’ve always shown myself a man of honor.

Chrem. Apart. Has not she, as I said, a liberal air?

Dem. She has.

Phor. — And therefore I was coming, Demipho,
To let you know I’m ready to receive
My wife whene’er you please. For I postpon’d
All other business, as indeed I ought,
Soon as I found ye were so bent on this.

Dem. Aye, but my brother has dissuaded me
From going any further in this business.
“For how will people talk of it?” says he:
“At first you might have done it handsomely;
But then you’d not consent to it; and now,
After cohabitation with your son,
To think of a divorce is infamous.”
— In short, he urg’d almost the very things
That you so lately charg’d me with yourself.

Phor. You trifle with me, gentlemen.

Dem. How so?

Phor. How so? Because I can not marry t’other,
With whom I told you I was first in treaty.
For with what face can I return to her
Whom I have held in such contempt?

Chrem. Tell him
Antipho does not care to part with her. (Prompting Demipho .)

Dem. And my son too don’t care to part with her:
— Step to the Forum then, and give an order
For the repayment of our money, Phormio.

Phor. What! when I’ve paid it to my creditors?

Dem. What’s to be done then?

Phor. Give me but the wife
To whom you have betroth’d me, and I’ll wed her.
But if you’d rather she should stay with you,
The portion stays with me, good Demipho,
For ’tis not just I should be bubbled by you;
When, to retrieve your honor, I’ve refus’d
Another woman with an equal fortune.

Dem. A plague upon your idle vaporing,
You vagabond! — D’ye fancy we don’t know you?
You, and your fine proceedings?

Phor. You provoke me.

Dem. Why, would you marry her, if proffer’d?

Phor. Try me.

Dem. What! that my son may keep her privately
At your house? — That was your intention.

Phor. Ha!
What say you, Sir?

Dem. Give me my money, Sirrah!

Phor. Give me my wife, I say.

Dem. To justice with him!

Phor. To justice? Now, by Heaven, gentlemen,
If you continue to be troublesome —

Dem. What will you do?

Phor. What will I do? Perhaps
You think that I can only patronize
Girls without portion; but be sure of this,
I’ve some with portions too.

Chrem. What’s that to us?

Phor. Nothing. — I know a lady here whose husband —

Chrem. Ha! (Carelessly.)

Dem. What’s the matter?

Phor. — Had another wife
At Lemnos.

Chrem. (aside). I’m a dead man.

Phor. — By which other
He had a daughter; whom he now brings up
In private.

Chrem. (aside). Dead and buried.

Phor. This I’ll tell her. (Going toward the house.)

Chrem. Don’t, I beseech you!

Phor. Oh! are you the man?

Dem. Death! how insulting!

Chrem. (to Phormio). We discharge you.

Phor. Nonsense!

Chrem. What would you more? The money you have got
We will forgive you.

Phor. Well; I hear you now.
— But what a plague d’ye mean by fooling thus,
Acting and talking like mere children with me?
— I won’t; I will: I will; I won’t again:—
Give, take; say, unsay; do, and then undo.

Chrem. (to Demipho). Which way could he have learn’d this?

Dem. I don’t know;
But I am sure I never mention’d it.

Chrem. Good now! amazing!

Phor. I have ruffled them. (Aside.)

Dem. What! shall he carry off so large a sum,
And laugh at us so openly? — By Heaven,
I’d rather die. — Be of good courage, brother!
Pluck up the spirit of a man! You see
This slip of yours is got abroad; nor can you
Keep it a secret from your wife. Now, therefore,
’Tis more conducive to your peace, good Chremes,
That we should fairly tell it her ourselves,
Than she should hear the story from another.
And then we shall be quite at liberty
To take our own revenge upon this rascal.

Phor. Ha! — If I don’t take care I’m ruin’d still.
They’re growing desperate, and making tow’rd me
With a determin’d gladiatorial air.

Chrem. (to Demipho). I fear she’ll ne’er forgive me.

Dem. Courage, Chremes!
I’ll reconcile her to’t; especially
The mother being dead and gone.

Phor. Is this
Your dealing, gentlemen? You come upon me
Extremely cunningly. — But, Demipho,
You have but ill consulted for your brother,
To urge me to extremities. — And you, Sir (to Chremes),
When you have play’d the whoremaster abroad;
Having no reverence for your lady here,
A woman of condition; wronging her
After the grossest manner; come you now
To wash away your crimes with mean submission?
No. — I will kindle such a flame in her,
As, though you melt in tears, you sha’n’t extinguish.

Dem. A plague upon him! was there ever man
So very impudent? — A knave! he ought
To be transported at the public charge
Into some desert.

Chrem. I am so confounded,
I know not what to do with him.

Dem. I know.
Bring him before a judge!

Phor. Before a judge?
A lady-judge; in here, Sirs, if you please.

Dem. Run you and hold him, while I call her servants.

Chrem. I can not by myself; come up and help me.

Phor. I have an action of assault against you. (To Demipho .)

Chrem. Bring it!

Phor. Another against you too, Chremes!

Dem. Drag him away! (Both lay hold of him.)

Phor. (struggling). Is that your way with me!
Then I must raise my voice. — Nausistrata!
Come hither.

Chrem. Stop his mouth!

Dem. (struggling). A sturdy rogue!
How strong he is!

Phor. (struggling). Nausistrata, I say.

Chrem. (struggling). Peace, Sirrah!

Phor. Peace, indeed!

Dem. Unless he follows, strike him in the stomach!

Phor. Aye, or put out an eye! — But here comes one
Will give me full revenge upon you both.

Scene II.

To them Nausistrata .

Naus. Who calls for me?

Chrem. Confusion!

Naus. (to Chremes). Pray, my dear,
What’s this disturbance?

Phor. Dumb, old Truepenny!

Naus. Who is this man? — Why don’t you answer me? (To Chremes .)

Phor. He answer you! he’s hardly in his senses.

Chrem. Never believe him!

Phor. Do but go and touch him;
He’s in a shivering fit, I’ll lay my life.

Chrem. Nay —

Naus. But what means he then?

Phor. I’ll tell you, madam;
Do but attend!

Chrem. Will you believe him then?

Naus. What is there to believe, when he says nothing?

Phor. Poor man! his fear deprives him of his wits.

Naus. (to Chremes). I’m sure you’re not so much afraid
for nothing.

Chrem. What! I afraid? (Endeavoring to take heart.)

Phor. Oh, not at all! — And since
You’re in no fright, and what I say means nothing,
Tell it yourself.

Dem. At your desire, you rascal?

Phor. Oh, you’ve done rarely for your brother, Sir!

Naus. What! Won’t you tell me, husband?

Chrem. But —

Naus. But what?

Chrem. There’s no occasion for it.

Phor. Not for you:
But for the Lady there is much occasion.
In Lemnos —

Chrem. Ha! what say you?

Dem. (to Phormio). Hold your peace!

Phor. Without your knowledge —

Chrem. Oh dear!

Phor. He has had
Another wife.

Naus. My husband? Heav’n forbid!

Phor. ’Tis even so.

Naus. Ah me! I am undone.

Phor. — And had a daughter by her there; while you
Was left to sleep in ignorance alone.

Naus. Oh Heavens! — Baseness! — Treachery!

Phor. ’Tis fact.

Naus. Was ever any thing more infamous?
When they’re with us, their wives forsooth, they’re old.
— Demipho, I appeal to you: for him
I can not bear to speak to. — And were these
His frequent journeys and long stay at Lemnos?
Was this the cheapness that reduc’d our rents?

Dem. That he has been to blame, Nausistrata,
I don’t deny; but not beyond all pardon.

Phor. You’re talking to the dead.

Dem. It was not done
Out of aversion or contempt to you.
In liquor, almost fifteen years ago,
He met this woman, whence he had this daughter;
Nor e’er had commerce with her from that hour.
She’s dead: your only grievance is remov’d.
Wherefore I beg you’d show your wonted goodness,
And bear it patiently.

Naus. How! bear it patiently?
Alas! I wish his vices might end here.
But have I the least hope? can I suppose
That years will cure these rank offenses in him?
Ev’n at that time he was already old,
If age could make him modest. — Are my years
And beauty, think ye, like to please him more
At present, Demipho, than formerly?
— In short, what ground, what reason to expect
That he should not commit the same hereafter?

Phor. (aloud). Whoever would attend the funeral
Of Chremes, now’s the time! — See! that’s my way.
Come on then! provoke Phormio now, who dares!
Like Chremes, he shall fall a victim to me.
— Let him get into favor when he will!
I’ve had revenge sufficient. She has something
To ring into his ears his whole life long.

Naus. Have I deserv’d this? — Need I, Demipho,
Number up each particular, and say
How good a wife I’ve been?

Dem. I know it all.

Naus. Am I then justly treated?

Dem. Not at all.
But since reproaches can’t undo what’s done,
Forgive him! he begs pardon; owns his fault;
And promises to mend. — What would you more?

Phor. But hold; before she ratifies his pardon,
I must secure myself and Phædria. (Aside.)
— Nausistrata, a word! — Before you give
Your answer rashly, hear me!

Naus. What’s your pleasure?

Phor. I trick’d your husband there of thirty minæ,
Which I have giv’n your son; and he has paid them
To a procurer for a mistress.

Chrem. How!
What say you?

Naus. Is it such a heinous crime
For your young son, d’ye think, to have one mistress,
While you have two wives? — Are you not asham’d?
Have you the face to chide him? answer me!

Dem. He shall do ev’ry thing you please.

Naus. Nay, nay,
To tell you plainly my whole mind at once,
I’ll not forgive, nor promise any thing,
Nor give an answer, till I see my son.

Phor. Wisely resolv’d, Nausistrata.

Naus. Is that
Sufficient satisfaction for you?

Phor. Quite.
I rest contented, well pleas’d, past my hopes.

Naus. What is your name, pray?

Phor. My name? Phormio:
A faithful friend to all your family,
Especially to Phædria.

Naus. Trust me, Phormio,
I’ll do you all the service in my power.

Phor. I’m much oblig’d to you.

Naus. You’re worthy on’t.

Phor. Will you then even now, Nausistrata,
Grant me one favor that will pleasure me,
And grieve your husband’s sight?

Naus. With all my soul.

Phor. Ask me to supper!

Naus. I invite you.

Dem. In then!

Naus. We will. But where is Phædria, our judge?

Phor. He shall be with you. — (To the Audience .)
Farewell; Clap your hands!

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University of Adelaide
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