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Enter HEGIO, at a distance.
to himself . The more that I revolve this matter in my breast, the more is my uneasiness of mind increased. That I should have been duped in this fashion to-day! and that I wasn't able to see through it! When this shall be known, then I shall be laughed at all over the city. The very moment that I shall have reached the Forum, all will be saying, "This is that clever old gentleman, who had the trick played him." But is this Ergasilus, that I see coming at a distance? Surely he has got his cloak gathered up; what, I wonder, is he going to do? ERGASILUS
advancing, and talking to himself . Throw aside from you all tardiness, Ergasilus, and speed on this business. I threaten, and I strictly charge no person to stand in my way, unless any one shall be of opinion that he has lived long enough. For whoever does come in my way, shall stop me upon his face. He runs along, flourishing his arms about. HEGIO
to himself . This fellow's beginning to box. ERGASILUS
to himself . I'm determined to do it; so that every one may pursue his own path, let no one be bringing any of his business in this street; for my fist is a balista, my arm is my catapulta, my shoulder a battering-ram; then against whomsoever I dart my knee, I shall bring him to the ground. I'll make all persons to be picking up their teeth1, whomsoever I shall meet with. HEGIO
to himself . What threatening is this? For I cannot wonder enough. ERGASILUS
I'll make him always to remember this day and place, and myself as well. Whoever stops me upon my road, I'll make him put a stop to his own existence. HEGIO
to himself . What great thing is this fellow preparing to do, with such mighty threats? ERGASILUS
I first give notice, that no one, by reason of his own fault, may be caught--keep yourselves in-doors at home, and guard yourselves from my attack. HEGIO
to himself . By my faith, 'tis strange if he hasn't got this boldness by means of his stomach. Woe to that wretched man, through whose cheer this fellow has become quite swaggering. ERGASILUS
Then the bakers, that feed swine, that fatten their pigs upon refuse bran, through the stench of which no one can pass by a baker's shop; if I see the pig of any one of them in the public way, I'll beat the bran out of the masters' themselves with my fists. HEGIO
to himself . Royal and imperial edicts does he give out. The fellow is full; he certainly has his boldness from his stomach. ERGASILUS
Then the fishmongers, who supply stinking fish to the public--who are carried about on a gelding, with his galloping galling pace2--the stench of whom drives all the loungers in the Basilica3 into the Forum, I'll bang their heads with their bulrush fish-baskets, that they may understand what annoyance they cause to the noses of other people. And then the butchers, as well, who render the sheep destitute of their young-who agree with you about killing lamb4, and then offer you lamb at double the price--who give the name of wether mutton to a ram--if I should only see that ram in the public way, I'll make both ram and owner most miserable beings. HEGIO
to hieiself . Well done! He really does give out edicts fit for an Ædile, and 'tis indeed a surprising thing if the Ætolians haven't made him inspector of markets5. ERGASILUS
No Parasite now am I, but a right royal king of kings; so large a stock of provision for my stomach is there at hand in the harbour. But why delay to overwhelm this old gentleman Hegio with gladness? With him, not a person among mankind exists equally fortunate. HEGIO
apart . What joy is this, that he, thus joyous, is going to impart to me? ERGASILUS
knocking at HEGIO'S door . Hallo, hallo!--where are you? Is any one coming to open this door? HEGIO
apart . This fellow's betaking himself to my house to dine. ERGASILUS
Open you both these doors6, before I shall with knocking cause the destruction, piecemeal, of the doors. HEGIO
apart . I'd like much to address the fellow. Aloud. Ergasilus! ERGASILUS
Who's calling Ergasilus? HEGIO
Turn round, and look at me. ERGASILUS
not seeing who it is . A thing that Fortune does not do for you, nor ever will do, you bid me to do. But who is it. HEGIO
Look round at me. 'Tis Hegio. ERGASILUS
turning round . O me! Best of the very best of men, as many as exist, you have arrived opportunely. HEGIO
You've met with some one at the harbour to dine with; through that you are elevated. ERGASILUS
Give me your hand. HEGIO
My hand? ERGASILUS
Give me your hand, I say, this instant. HEGIO
Take it. Giving him his hand. ERGASILUS
Why should I rejoice? ERGASILUS
Because I bid you; come now, rejoice. HEGIO
I' faith, my sorrows exceed my rejoicings. ERGASILUS
'Tis not so, as you shall find; I'll at once drive away every spot of sorrow7 from your body. Rejoice without restraint. HEGIO
I do rejoice, although I don't at all know why I should rejoice. ERGASILUS
You do rightly; now order---- HEGIO
Order what? ERGASILUS
A large fire to be made. HEGIO
A large fire? ERGASILUS
So I say, that a huge one it must be. HEGIO
What, you vulture, do you suppose that for your sake I'm going to set my house on fire? ERGASILUS
Don't be angry. Will you order, or will you not order, the pots to be put on, and the saucepans to be washed out, the bacon and the dainties to be made warm in the heated cooking-stoves, another one, too, to go purchase the fish? HEGIO
This fellow's dreaming while awake. ERGASILUS
Another to buy pork, and lamb, and pullets. HEGIO
You understand how to feed well, if you had the means. ERGASILUS
Gammons of bacon, too, and lampreys, spring pickled tunny-fish, mackerel, and sting-ray; large fish, too, and soft cheese. HEGIO
You will have more opportunity, Ergasilus, here at my house, of talking about these things than of eating them. ERGASILUS
Do you suppose that I'm saying this on my own account? HEGIO
You will neither be eating nothing here to-day, nor yet much more than usual, so don't you be mistaken. Do you then bring an appetite to my house for your every-day fare. ERGASILUS
Why, I'll so manage it, that you yourself shall wish to be profuse, though I myself should desire you not. HEA.
What, I? ERGASILUS
Yes, you. HEGIO
Then you are my master. ERGASILUS
Yes, and a kindly disposed one. Do you wish me to make you happy? HEGIO
Certainly I would, rather than miserable. ERGASILUS
Give me your hand. HEGIO
extending his hand . Here is my hand. ERGASILUS
All the Gods are blessing you. HEGIO
I don't feel it so. ERGASILUS
Why, you are not in a quickset hedge8, therefore you don't feel it; but order the vessels, in a clean state, to be got for you forthwith in readiness for the sacrifice, and one lamb to be brought here with all haste, a fat one. HEGIO
That you may offer sacrifice HEGIO
To which one of the Gods? ERGASILUS
To myself, i' faith, for now am I your supreme Jupiter. I likewise am your salvation, your fortune, your life, your delight, your joy. Do you at once, then, make this Divinity propitious to you by cramming him. HEGIO
You seem to me to be hungry. ERGASILUS
For myself am I hungry, and not for you. HEGIO
I readily allow of it at your own good will. ERGASILUS
I believe you; from a boy9 you were in the habit-- HEGIO
May Jupiter and the Gods confound you. ERGASILUS
I' troth, 'tis fair that for my news you should return me thanks; such great happiness do I now bring you from the harbour. HEGIO
Now you are flattering me. Begone, you simpleton; you have arrived behind time, too late. ERGASILUS
If I had come sooner, then for that reason you might rather have said that. Now, receive this joyous news of me which I bring you; for at the harbour I just now saw your son Philopolemus in the common fly-boat, alive, safe and sound, and likewise there that other young man together with him, and Stalagmus your slave, who fled from your house, who stole from you your little son, the child of four years old. HEGIO
Away with you to utter perdition! You are trifling with me. ERGASILUS
So may holy Gluttony10 love me, Hegio, and so may she ever dignify me with her name, I did see---- HEGIO
My son? ERGASILUS
Your son, and my good Genius. HEGIO
That Elean captive, too? ERGASILUS
Yes, by Apollo11 HEGIO
The slave, too? My slave Stalagmus, he that stole my son----? ERGASILUS
Yes, by Cora. HEGIO
So long a time ago? ERGASILUS
Yes, by Præneste! HEGIO
Is he arrived? ERGASILUS
Yes, by Signia! HEGIO
For sure? ERGASILUS
Yes, by Phrysinone! HEGIO
Have a care, if you please. ERGASILUS
Yes, by Alatrium! HEGIO
Why are you swearing by foreign cities? ERGASILUS
Why, because they are just as disagreable as you were declaring your fare to be. HEGIO
Woe be to you! ERGASILUS
Because that you don't believe me at all in what I say in sober earnestness. But of what country was Stalagmus, at the time when ne departed hence? HEGIO
A Sicilian. ERGASILUS
But now he is not a Sicilian--he is a Boian; he has got a Boian woman.12 A wife, I suppose, has been given to him for the sake of obtaining children. HEGIO
Tell me, have you said these words to me in good earnest? ERGASILUS
In good earnest. HEGIO
Immortal Gods, I seem to be born again, if you are telling the truth. ERGASILUS
Do you say so? Will you still entertain doubts, when I have solemnly sworn to you? In fine, Hegio, if you have little confidence in my oath, go yourself to the harbour and see. HEGIO
I'm determined to do so. Do you arrange in-doors what's requisite. Use, ask for, take from my larder what you like; I appoint you cellarman. ERGASILUS
Now, by my troth, if I have not prophesied truly to you, do you comb me out with a cudgel. HEGIO
I'll find you in victuals to the end, if you are telling me the truth. ERGASILUS
Whence shall it be? HEGIO
From myself and from my son. ERGASILUS
Do you promise that? HEGIO
I do promise it. ERGASILUS
But I, in return, promise13 you that your son has arrived. HEGIO
Manage as well as ever you can. ERGASILUS
A happy walk there to you, and a happy walk back. (Exit HEGIO.)
1 To be picking up their teeth: "Dentilegos." He says that he will knock their teeth out, and so make them pick them up from the ground. We must suppose that while he is thus hurrying on, he is walking up one of the long streets which were represented as emerging on the Roman stage, opposite to the audience.
2 Galling pace: "Crucianti" may mean either "tormenting" the spectator by reason of the slowness of its pace, or galling to the rider." "Quadrupedanti crucianti canterio" is a phrase, both in sound and meaning, much resembling what our song-books call the "galloping dreary dun."
3 In the Basilica: The "Basilica" was a building which served as a court of law, and a place of meeting for merchants and men of business. The name was perhaps derived from the Greek word βασιλεὺς, as the title of the second Athenian Archon, who had his tribunal or court of justice. The building was probably, in its original form, an insulated portico. The first edifice of this kind at Rome was erected B.C. 184; probably about the period when this Play was composed. It was situate in the Forum, and was built by Porcius Cato, from whom it was called the "Porcian Basilica." Twenty others were afterwards erected at different periods in the city. The loungers here mentioned, in the present instance, were probably sauntering about under the porticos of the Basilica, when their olfactory nerves were offended by the unsavoury smell of the fishermen's baskets.
4 About klling lamb: In these lines he seems to accuse the butchers of three faults--cruelty, knavery, and extortion. The general reading is "duplam," but Rost suggests "duplâ," "at double the price." If "duplam" is retained, might it not possibly mean that the butchers agree to kill lamb for you, and bring to you "duplam agninam," "double lamb," or, in other words, lamb twice as old as it ought to be? No doubt there was some particular age at which lamb, in the estimation of Ergasilus and his brother-epicures, was considered to be in its greatest perfection.
5 Inspector of markets: "Agoranomum." The Ædiles were the inspectors of markets at Rome, while the 'Agoranomi' had a similar office in the Grecian cities
6 Both these doors: The street-doors of the ancients were generally "bivalve," or "folding-doors."
7 Every spot of sorrow: He alludes, figuratively, to the art of the fuller or scourer, in taking the spots out of soiled garments.
8 In a quickset hedge: Here is a most wretched attempt at wit, which cannot be expressed in a literal translation. Hegio says, "Nihil sentio," I don't feel it." Ergasilus plays upon the resemblance of the verb "sentio" to "sentis" and "senticetum," a "bramble-bush" or quickset hedge;" and says "You don't feel it so" "non senis." "because You are not in a quickset bedge, "in senticeto."
9 From a boy: An indelicate allusion is covertly intended in this line.
10 So may holy Gluttony: The Parasite very appropriately deifies Gluttony: as the Goddess of Bellyful would, of course, merit his constant worship.
11 Yes, by Apollo: In the exuberance of his joy at his prospects of good eating, the Parasite gives this, and his next five replies, in the Greek language; just as the diner-out, and the man of bon-mots and repartee, might in our day couch his replies in French, with the shrug of the shoulder and the becoming grimace. He first swears by Apollo, and then by Cora, which may mean either a city of Campania so called, or the Goddess Proserpine, who was called by the Greeks, Κορὴ, "the maiden." He then swears by four places in Campania--Præneste, Signia, Phrysinone, and Alatrium. As the scene is in Greece, Hegio asks him why he swears by these foreign places; to which he gives answer merely because they are as disagreable as the unsavoury dinner of vegetables which he had some time since promised him. This is, probably, merely an excuse for obtruding a slighting remark upon these places, which would meet with a ready response from a Roman audience, as the Campanians had sided with Hannibal against Rome in the second Punic war. They were probably miserable places desides, on which the more refined Romans looked with supreme contempt.
12 Got a Boian woman: There is an indelicate meaning in the expression "Boiam terere." The whole line is intended as a play upon words. "Boia" means either "a collar," which was placed round a prisoner's neck, or a female of the nation of the Boii in Gaul. "Boiam terere" may mean either "to have the prisoner's collar on," or, paraphrastically, "to be coupled with a Boian woman." Ergasilus having seen Stalagmus in the packet-boat with this collar on, declares that Stalagmus is a Sicilian no longer, for he has turned Boian having a Boian helpmate.
13 I, in return, promise: Ergasilus says, "Do you really promise me this fine entertainment?" To which, Hegio answers, "Spondeo," "I do promise." On this, Ergasilus replies, "that your son really has returned, I answer you," "respondeo," or, as he intends it to be meant, "I promise you once again," or "in return for your promise."
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