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Enter TRANIO.

TRANIO
to himself . The man that shall prove timid in critical matters, will not be worth a nutshell. And, really, to say what that expression, "worth a nutshell," means, I don't know. But after my master sent me into the country to fetch his son hither, I went that way pointing slily through the lane to our garden. At the entrance to the garden that's in the lane, I opened the door; and by that road I led out all the troop, both men and women. After, from being in a state of siege, I had led out my troops to a place of safety, I adopted the plan of convoking a senate of my comrades, and when I had convoked it, they forthwith banished me from the senate. When I myself perceived that the matter must be decided by my own judgment, as soon as ever I could, I did the same as many others do, whose affairs are in a critical or a perplexed state; they proceed to render them more perplexed, so that nothing can be settled. But I know full well, that now by no means can this be concealed from the old man. But how's this, that our next neighbour's door makes a noise? Why, surely this is my master: I'd like to have a taste of his talk. Goes aside, out of sight of THEUROPIDES. house.

THEUROPIDES
in the doorway, speaking to SIMO'S SLAVES . Do you stand there, in that spot within the threshold; so that, the very instant I call, you may sally forth at once. Quickly fasten the handcuffs upon him. I'll wait before the house for this fellow that makes a fool of me, whose hide I'll make a fool of in fine style, if I live.

TRANIO
apart . The affair's all out. Now it's best for you, Tranio, to consider what you are to do.

THEUROPIDES
to himself . I must go to work to catch him cleverly and artfully when he comes here. I'll not disclose to him my feelings all at once; I'll throw out my line; I'll conceal the fact that I know anything of these matters.

TRANIO
apart . O cunning mortal! not another person in Athens can be pronounced more clever than he. One can no more this day deceive him than he can a stone. I'll accost the man; I'll address him.

THEUROPIDES
to himself . Now I do wish that he would come here.

TRANIO
apart . I' faith, if me indeed you want, here I am ready at hand for you. Comes forward.

THEUROPIDES
Bravo! Tranio, what's being done?

TRANIO
The country people are coming from the country Philolaches will be here in a moment.

THEUROPIDES
I' faith, he comes opportunely for me. This neighbour of ours I take to be a shameless and dishonest fellow.

TRANIO
Why so?

THEUROPIDES
Inasmuch as he denies that he knows you.

TRANIO
Denies it?

THEUROPIDES
And declares that you never gave him a single coin of money

TRANIO
Out with you, you are joking me, I do believe; he doesn't deny it.

THEUROPIDES
How so?

TRANIO
I am sure now that you are joking; for surely he doesn't deny it.

THEUROPIDES
Nay but, upon my faith, he really does deny it; or that he has sold this house to Philolaches.

TEA.
Well now, pray, has he denied that the money was paid him?

THEUROPIDES
Nay more, he offered to take an oath to me, if I desired it, that he had neither sold this house, nor had any money him paid been. I told him the same that you told me.

TRANIO
What did he say?

THEUROPIDES
He offered to give up all his servants for examination.

TRANIO
Nonsense! On my faith, he never will give them up.

THEUROPIDES
He really does offer them.

TRANIO
Why then, do you summon him to trial.

THEUROPIDES
Wait a bit; I'll make trial as I fancy. I'm determined on it.

TRANIO
Bring the fellow here to me.

THEUROPIDES
What then, if I go fetch some men?

TRANIO
It ought to have been done already; or else bid the young man to demand possession of the house.

THEUROPIDES
Why no, I want to do this first--to put the servants under examination1.

TRANIO
I' faith, I think it ought to be done. Meantime, I'll take possession of this altar2.Runs to the altar.

THEUROPIDES
Why so?

TRANIO
You can understand nothing. Why, that those may not be able to take refuge here whom he shall give up for examination, I'll keep guard here for you; so that the examination may not come to nothing.

THEUROPIDES
Get up from the altar.

TRANIO
By no means.

THEUROPIDES
Prithee, don't you take possession of the altar.

TRANIO
Why so?

THEUROPIDES
You shall hear; why, because I especially want this, for them to be taking refuge there. Do let them; so much the more easily shall I get him fined before the judge.

TRANIO
What you intend to do, do it. Why do you wish to sow further strife? You don't know how ticklish a thing it is to go to law.

THEUROPIDES
Just get up, beckoning this way; it's, then, to ask your advice upon something that I want you.

TRANIO
Still, as I am, I'll give my advice from this spot: my wits are much sharper when I'm sittings3. Besides, advice is given with higher sanction from holy places4.

THEUROPIDES
Get up; don't be trifling. Just look me in the face.

TRANIO
looking at him . I am looking.

THEUROPIDES
Do you see me?

TRANIO
I do see--that if any third person were to step in here, he would die of hunger.

THEUROPIDES
Why so?

TRANIO
Because he would get no profit; for, upon my faith, we are both artful ones.

THEUROPIDES
I'm undone!

TRANIO
What's the matter with you?

THEUROPIDES
You have deceived me.

TRANIO
How so, pray?

THEUROPIDES
You've wiped me clean5.

TRANIO
Consider, please, if it wasn't well done; is your nose running still?

THEUROPIDES
Aye, all my brains besides have you been wiping out of my head as well. For all your villanies I have discovered from their very roots; and not from the roots, indeed, i' faith, but even from beneath the very roots. Never this day, by my troth, will you have planned all this without being punished. I shall at once, you villain, order fire and faggots6 to be placed around you.

TRANIO
Don't do it; for it's my way to be sweeter boiled than roasted.

THEUROPIDES
Upon my faith, I'll make an example of you.

TRANIO
Because I please you, you select me for an example.

THEUROPIDES
Say now: what kind of a person did I leave my son, when I went away from here?

TRANIO
One with feet and hands, with fingers, ears, eyes, and lips.

THEUROPIDES
I asked you something else than that.

TRANIO
For that reason I now answer you something else. But look, I see Callidamates, the friend of your son, coming this way. Deal with me in his presence, if you want anything

1 Servants under examination: "Quæstioni." "Examination by torture;" which was the method used by the Romans for extracting confessions from slaves.

2 Take possession of this altar: When a person took refuge at an altar, he could not be brought to justice, or have violence offered to his person. According to some writers, there were always two altars on the stage of Comedy, one on the right hand, sacred to Apollo, and one on the left, devoted o that Divinity or Hero in honor of whom the Play was being acted.

3 Sharper when I'm sitting: Warner suggests that a little raillery is intended here, upon the custom of sitting when dispensing justice and paying adoration to the Gods.

4 With higher sanction from holy places: The ancients made use of sacred places for the purpose of debating on affairs of importance in, as being likely to add weight and authority to their judgment. The Roman Senate often met in the Temples, and there administered justice and gave audience to ambassadors.

5 You've wiped me clean: "Emungo," "to wipe the nose" for a person, also meant "to cheat" or "impose upon him;" probably, by reason of the state of helplessness it implied in the party who was so treated.

6 Order fire and faggots: Though a suppliant could not be removed from the altar by force, still it was allowable to burn him away, by surrounding him with fire.

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