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Enter AMPELISCA, at a distance, on the other side of the stage, in a similar condition.
to herself . What is there better for me, what more to my advantage, than to shut out life from my body? So wretched am I in my existence, and so many deadening cares are there in my breast; so despicable is my lot; I care not for my life; I have lost the hope with which I used to comfort myself. All places have I now rambled about, and through each covert spot have I crawled along, to seek my fellow-slave with voice, eyes, ears, that I might trace her out. And still I find her nowhere, nor have I yet determined whither to go, nor where to seek her, nor, in the meantime, do I find any person here to give me an answer, of whom I might make enquiry. No place, too, is there on earth more solitary than are these spots and this locality. And yet, if she lives, never while I exist will I cease before I discover her alive. PALAESTRA
aloud . Whose voice is it that sounds close by me here? AMPELISCA
starting . I am alarmed. Who's speaking near me? PALAESTRA
Prithee, kind Hope, do come to my aid. AMPELISCA
It's a woman: a woman's voice reaches my ears. Will you not rescue wretched me from this alarm? PALAESTRA
Surely a woman's voice reached my ears. Prithee is it Ampelisca? AMPELISCA
Is it you, Palæstra, that I hear? PALAESTRA
But why don't I call her by her own name, that she may hear me? With a loud voice. Ampelisca! AMPELISCA
Ha! who's that? PALAESTRA
'Tis I. AMPELISCA
Is it Palæstra? PALAESTRA
It is. AMPELISCA
Tell me where1 you are. PALAESTRA
Troth, I'm now in the midst of a multitude of woes. AMPELISCA
I am your partner; and no less is my own share than yours. But I long to see you. PALAESTRA
In that wish you are my rival. AMPELISCA
Let's follow our voices with our steps; where are you? PALAESTRA
See, here am I. Step onward towards me, and come straight on to meet me. AMPELISCA
I'm doing so with care. They meet in front of the stage. PALAESTRA
Give me your hand. AMPELISCA
Take it. PALAESTRA
Are you still alive Prithee, tell me. AMPELISCA
You, indeed, make me now wish to live, since I'm empowered to touch you. How hardly can I persuade myself of this, that I am holding you. Prithee, do embrace me they embrace , my only hope; how you are now easing me of all my woes. PAL. You are beforehand with me in using expressions which belong to me. Now it befits us to be going hence. AMPELISCA
Prithee, whither shall we go? PALAESTRA
Let's keep along this sea-shore. Pointing to the shore. AMP. Wherever you please, I'll follow. PALAESTRA
Shall we go along thus with our wet clothing? AMPELISCA
That which exists, the same must of necessity be borne. Looking up at the Temple. But, pray, what's this? PALAESTRA
What is it? AMPELISCA
Prithee, don't you see this Temple? Pointing towards it. PALAESTRA
Where is it? AMPELISCA
On the right hand. PALAESTRA
I seem to be looking at a place becoming the Divinities. AMPELISCA
There must be people not far hence; it is so delightful a spot. Whoever the God is, I pray him to relieve us from these troubles, and to succour us females, wretched, helpless, and in distress. They advance towards the Temple, and kneel down before it.
1 Tell me where: It must be remembered that they are still separated by the crags upon the stage, though they are both visible to the Audience.
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