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Enter MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus, from EROTIUM's house.
MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
at the door, to EROTIUM within . If you are ready to swear by your eyes, by my troth, not a bit the more for that reason, most vile woman, will you make it that I took away the mantle and the bracelet to-day. MESSENIO
Immortal Gods, what do I see? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
What do you see? MESSENIO
Your resemblance in a mirror. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
What's the matter? MESSENIO
'Tis your image; 'tis as like as possible. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
catching sight of the other . Troth, it really is not unlike, so far as I know my own form. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
to MESSENIO . O young man, save you, you who preserved me, whoever you are. MESSENIO
By my troth, young man, prithee, tell me your name, unless it's disagreable. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I' faith, you've not so deserved of me, that it should be disagreable for me to tell what you wish. My name is Menaechmus. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Why, by my troth, so is mine. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I am a Sicilian, of Syracuse. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Troth, the same is my native country. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
What is it that I hear of you? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
That which is the fact. MESSENIO
To MENAECHMUS SOSICLES, by mistake . I know this person myself pointing to the other MENAECHMUS ; he is my master, I really am his servant; but I did think I belonged to this other. To MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus, by mistake. I took him to be you; to him, too, did I give some trouble. To his master. Pray, pardon me if I have said aught foolishly or unadvisedly to you. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
You seem to me to be mad. Don't you remember that together with me you disembarked from board ship to-day? MESSENIO
Why, really, you say what's right--you are my master; to MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus do you look out for a servant. To his master. To you my greetings (to MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus) to you, farewell. This, I say, is Menaechmus. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
But I say I am. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
What story's this? Are you Menaechmus? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I say that I'm the son of Moschus, who was my father. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Are you the son of my father? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Aye, I really am, young man, of my own father. I don't want to claim your father, nor to take possession of him from you. MESSENIO
Immortal Gods, what unhoped-for hope do you bestow on me, as I suspect. For unless my mind misleads me, these are the two twin-brothers; for they mention alike their native country and their father. I'll call my master aside--Menaechmus. BOTH OF THE MENAECHMI.
What do you want? MESSENIO
I don't want you both. But which of you was brought here in the ship with me? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Not I. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
But 'twas I. MESSENIO
You, then, I want. Step this way. They go aside. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
I've stepped aside now. What's the matter? MESSENIO
This man is either an impostor, or he is your twin-brother. But I never beheld one person more like another person. Neither water, believe me, is ever more like to water nor milk to milk, than he is to you, and you likewise to him; besides, he speaks of the same native country and father. 'Tis better for us to accost him and make further enquiries of him. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
I' faith, but you've given me good advice, and I return you thanks. Troth, now, prithee, do continue to lend me your assistance. If you discover that this is my brother, be you a free man. MESSENIO
I hope I shall. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
I too hope that it will be so. MESSENIO
to MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus . How say you? I think you said that you are called Menaechmus? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I did so indeed. MESSENIO
pointing to his master . His name, too, is Menaechmus. You said that you were born at Syracuse, in Sicily; he was born there. You said that Moschus was your father; he was his as well. Now both of you can be giving help to me and to yourselves at the same time. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
You have deserved that you should beg nothing but what you should obtain that which you desire. Free as I am, I'll serve you as though you. had bought me for money. MESSENIO
I have a hope that I shall find that you two are twin-born brothers, born of one mother and of one father on the same day. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
You mention wondrous things. I wish that you could effect what you've promised. MESSENIO
I can. But attend now, both of you, and tell me that which I shall ask. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Ask as you please, I'll answer you. I'll not conceal anything that I know. MESSENIO
Isn't your name Menaechmus? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I own it. MESSENIO
Isn't it yours as well? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
It is. MESSENIO
Do you say that Moschus was your father? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Truly, I do say so. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
And mine as well. MESSENIO
Are you of Syracuse? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
And you? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Why not the same? MESSENIO
Hitherto the marks agree perfectly well. Still lend me your attention. To MENAECHMUS. Tell me, what do you remember at the greatest distance of time in your native country? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
When I went with my father to Tarentum to traffic; and afterwards how I strayed away from my father among the people, and was carried away thence. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Supreme Jupiter, preserve me! MESSENIO
to MENAECHMUS SOSICLES . Why do you exclaim? Why don't you hold your peace? To MENAECHMUS. How many years old were you when your father took you from your native country? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Seven years old; for just then my teeth were changing for the first time. And never since then have I seen my father. MESSENIO
Well, how many sons of you had your father then? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
As far as I now remember, two. MESSENIO
Which of the two was the older--you or the other? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Both were just alike in age. MESSENIO
How can that be? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
We two were twins. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
The Gods wish to bless me. MESSENIO
to MENAECHMUS SOSICLES . If you interrupt, I shall hold my tongue. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Rather than that, I'll hold my tongue. MESSENIO
Tell me, were you both of the same name? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
By no means; for my name was what it is now Menaechmus; the other they then used to call Sosicles. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
embracing his brother . I recognize the proofs, I cannot refrain from embracing him. My own twin-brother, blessings on you; I am Sosicles. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
How then was the name of Menaechmus afterwards given to you? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
After word was brought to us that you ... and that my father was dead, my grandfather changed it; the name that was yours he gave to me. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I believe that it did so happen as you say. But answer me this. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Ask it of me. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
What was the name of our mother? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Teuximarcha. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
That quite agrees. He again embraces him. O welcome, unhoped-for brother, whom after many years I now behold. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
And you, whom with many and anxious labours I have ever been seeking up to this time, and whom I rejoice at being found. MESSENIO
to his master . It was for this reason that this Courtesan called you by his name; she thought that you were he, I suppose, when she invited you to breakfast. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Why, faith, to-day I ordered a breakfast to be got ready here pointing to EROTIUM'S house for me, unknown to my wife; a mantle which a short time since I filched from home, to her I gave it. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Do you say, brother, that this is the mantle which I'm wearing? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
How did this come to you? MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
The Courtesan who took me here pointing to EROTIUM'S house to breakfast, said that I had given it to her. I breakfasted very pleasantly; I drank and entertained myself with my mistress; she gave me the mantle and this golden trinket. Showing the bracelet. ... MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I' faith, I'm glad if any luck has befallen you on my account; for when she invited you to her house, she supposed it to be me. MESSENIO
Do you make any objection that I should be free as you commanded? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
He asks, brother, what's very fair and very just Do it for my sake. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
touching MESSENIO'S shoulder . Be thou a free man. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
I am glad, Messenio, that you are free. MESSENIO
Why, better auspices1 were required that I should be free for life. ... MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Since these matters, brother, have turned out to our wishes, let us both return to our native land. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
Brother, I'll do as you wish. I'll have an auction here, and sell whatever I have. In the meantime, brother, let's now go in-doors. MENAECHMUS SOSICLES
Be it so. MESSENIO
Do you know what I ask of you? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
To give me the place of auctioneer. MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
It shall be given you. MESSENIO
Would you like the auction, then, to be proclaimed at once? For what day? MENAECHMUS of Epidamnus.
On the seventh day hence. MESSENIO
coming forward, and speaking in a loud voice . An auction of the property of Menaechmus will certainly take place on the morning of the seventh day hence. His slaves, furniture, house, and farms, will be sold. All will go for whatever they'll fetch at ready money prices. His wife, too, will be sold as well, if any purchaser shall come. I think that by the entire sale Menaechmus will hardly get fifty hundred thousand2 sesterces. To the SPECTATORS. Now, Spectators, fare you well, and give us loud applause3.
1 Better auspices: He alludes to the pretended manumission which he has already received from Menaechmus of Epidamnus, when he took him to be his master
2 Fifty hundred thousand: The sestertius, before the time of Augustus, was a silver coin of the value of twopence and one-half of a farthing; while after that period, its value was one penny three-farthings and a half. The large sum here mentioned, at the former value, amounts to 44,370£. 16s. 8d. He. says "vix," it will "hardly" amount, by way of a piece of boasting.
3 Give us loud applause: This Comedy, which is considered to be one of the best, if not the very best, of all the plays of Plautus, is thought by some to have been derived from one of Menander's, as there are some fragments of a play by that Poet, called Διδυμοί, "the Twins." It is, however, very doubtful if such is the fact. It is rendered doubly famous from the fact that Shakespeare borrowed the plot of his Comedy of Errors from it, through the medium of the old translation of the Play, published in the year 1595, which is in some parts a strict translation, though in others only an abridgment of the original work. It is thought to have been made by William Warner, who wrote a poem called "Albion's England," which he dedicated to Henry Cary, Lord Hunsdon, who was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Anne the wife of James the First.
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