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Enter SCEPARNIO, from the cottage of DÆMONES.
Who is it so furiously making an attack upon our door? AMPELISCA
It's I. SCEPARNIO
Well now, what good news is there? Aside. Dear me, a lass of comely appearance, i' troth. AMPELISCA
Greeting to you, young man. SCEPARNIO
And many greetings to you, young woman. AMPELISCA
I'm come to you---- SCEPARNIO
I'll receive you with a welcome, if you come in the evening, by-and-by, just such as I could like; for just now I've no means1 to receive you, a damsel, thus early in the morning * * * But what have you to say, my smiling, pretty one. Chucks her under the chin. AMPELISCA
Oh, you're handling me too familiarly. Moves away. SCEPARNIO
O ye immortal Gods! she's the very image of Venus. What joyousness there is in her eyes, and, only do see, what a skin 'tis of the vulture's tint2,--rather, the eagle's, indeed, I meant to say. Her breasts, too, how beautiful; and then what expression on her lips! Takes hold of her. AMPELISCA
struggling . I'm no common commodity for the whole township3; can't you keep your hands off me? SCEPARNIO
patting her . Won't you let me touch you, gentle one, in this manner, gently and lovingly? * * * * * * * * AMPELISCA
When I have leisure, then I'll be giving my attention to toying and dalliance to please you; for the present, prithee, do either say me "Yes" or "No" to the matter for which I was sent hither. SCEPARNIO
What now is it that you wish? AMPELISCA
pointing to her pitcher . To a shrewd person, my equipment would give indications of what it is I want. SCEPARNIO
To a shrewd woman, this equipment, too, of mine, would give indication of what it is I want. AMPELISCA
pointing to the Temple . The Priestess there of Venus, requested me to fetch some water from your house here. ... SCEPARNIO
But I'm a lordly sort of person; unless you entreat me, you shan't have a drop. We dug this well with danger to ourselves, and with tools of iron. Not a drop can be got out of me except by means of plenty of blandishments. AMPELISCA
Prithee, why do you make so much fuss about the water--a thing that even enemy affords to enemy? SCEPARNIO
Why do you make so much fuss about granting a favour to me, that citizen grants to citizen? AMPELISCA
On the contrary, my sweet one, I'll even do everything for you that you wish. SCEPARNIO
O charming! I am favoured; she's now calling me her sweet one. The water shall be given you, so that you mayn't be coaxing me in vain. Give me the pitcher. AMPELISCA
Take it gives it to him : make haste and bring it out, there's a dear. SCEPARNIO
Stay a moment; I'll be here this instant, my sweet one. Goes into the cottage. * * * * * * * * * * * AMPELISCA
What shall I say to the Priestess for having delayed here so long a time? * * * * * * * How, even still, in my wretchedness do I tremble, when with my eyes I look upon the sea. She looks towards the shore. But what, to my sorrow, do I see afar upon the shore? My master, the Procurer, and his Sicilian guest. both of whom wretched I supposed to have perished in the deep. Still does thus much more of evil survive for us than we had imagined. But why do I delay to run off into the Temple, and to tell Palæstra this, that we may take refuge at the altar before this scoundrel of a Procurer can come hither and seize us here? I'll betake myself away from this spot; for the necessity suddenly arises for me to do so. Runs into the Temple.
1 For just now I've no means: This line has greatly puzzled the Commentators. Sceparnio, however, seems to mean that at present he is busy, and cannot attend to her, but that in the evening he will be at her service. It has been suggested that a double entendre is meant; and such may possibly be the case, though the pungency of the passage is lost by reason of the hiatus in the next line. The meaning may, however, be harmless, and he may intend to say that at present he is busy thatching the house, but that at nightfall he will have finished, when she may count upon being hospitably entertained.
2 Of the vulture's tint: There is a poor joke here upon the words "subaquilum" and "subvulturium." Sceparnio means to describe the complexion of Ampelisca as somewhat resembling the colour of an eagle. By mistake, he happens to mention "a vulture," and immediately corrects himself, as, from its sordid habits, he may be deemed to be paying her an ill compliment.
3 No common commodity for the whole township: "Pollucta pago." The portion of the sacrifice to Hercules which was given to the common people was said to be "pollucta," whence the present adaptation of the epithet. Echard seems to have contemplated translating this, "I'm no pie for every one's cutting up!"
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