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Enter EPIGNOMUS and STICHUS, followed by some SLAVES.
Inasmuch as, my business prosperously carried on, I am returned safe home, thanks do I return to Neptune and to his tempests; to Mercury as well1, who in my traffic has aided me, and by my profits has rendered my property fourfold. Those whom formerly I affected with sorrow at my departure, the same shall I now make joyous at my arrival. But already have I met my connexion Antipho, and from bad terms have I returned to friendship with him. See, prithee, what money can effect. Since, my affairs prospering, he sees that I've returned, and brought home great wealth, without any mediators, there on board the ship, upon the deck, we have returned to friendship and good feeling. Both he and my brother dine with me this day; for yesterday we were both in the same harbour2 together; but to-day my ship weighed anchor a little the soonest. Take these people in-doors, Stichus, whom3 I've brought with me. STICHUS
Master, whether I'm silent or speak, I'm sure you know how many hardships I've endured in your service; now, on my arrival home, I wish to spend in freedom4 this one day after these many hardships. EPIGNOMUS
You ask what's just and right. Stlchus, you may take this day for yourself; I don't object to it. Go where you like. A cask, too, of old wine, I give you to drink. STICHUS
O, grand! I'll have my mistress this day. EPIGNOMUS
Even ten, so long as it is at your own expense STICHUS
What * * * * ? EPIGNOMUS
What * * * * ? STICHUS
I'll go and dine * * 'Tis thus it pleases me * * * * * EPIGNOMUS
Where do you dine to-day? STICHUS
This plan have I thus resolved upon. I have a mistress here in the neighbourhood, Stephanium, the servantmaid of your brother. I'm going to invite her; I'll take her to a pic-nic entertainment5 at her fellow- servant's, Sagarinus We both have the same mistress; we are rivals. EPIGNOMUS
Come then, conduct them in. I grant you this day. STICHUS
Hold me to blame if I don't make the most of it6. Troth now, I'll pass through the garden to my mistress, to engage her beforehand for me this evening; at the same time I'll give my contribution, and bid the dinner to be cooked at Sagarinus's, or else I'll go myself and make my marketing as caterer. Sagarinus, * * * * * * * a servant * * * for my * * * * * with stripes * * * * to take him home well thrashed, I'll make all things to be in readiness here; but I'm delaying myself. And don't you be surprised7 to the AUDIENCE that men, who are slaves, drink, court, and give invitations to dinner? This is allowed us at Athens. But when I think of it, rather than meet with censure, there's here, too, another door to the back buildings of our house. I'll go that way to market; by that way I'll bring back the provisions--through the garden there's a passage that communicates with both houses. To the SLAVES. Do you follow me this way. I surely will pull this day to bits8. Goes into the house of EPIGNOMUS.
1 To Mercury as well: Mercury was the God of traffic and gain, and the guardian of tradesmen He was said to receive his name from "merx," "traffic" or "merchandise." See the comical prayer of the cheating tradesman to his tutelar Divinity, in the Fasti of Ovid, B. 5, l. 675 et seq.
2 In the same harbour: He here alludes to the custom in those times of lying at anchor during the night, and sailing in the day-time only, as it is clear that reference cannot here be made to the harbour from which they originally set out, as that was in Asia, and they could not have reached Athens from Asia within twenty-four hours. Epignomus and his brother appear to have freighted two ships with the valuable property which they had acquired in partnership.
3 These people whom: He alludes to the female slaves which have been already mentioned, consisting of harpers and music-girls, one of whom we shall shortly find to have attracted the admiration of Antipho.
4 To spend in freedom: "Eleutheria." This is, originally, a Greek word. It was also the name of the Goddess of Liberty.
5 A pic-nic entertainment: "Symbola" was the name given to an entertainment to which each of the guests contributed in money or kind; similar in principle, to what we call a "pic-nic" entertainment.
6 Make the most of it: "Excruciavero." Literally, "torment it.' He seems to allude to the word "dedo," used by his master in the preceding line, "I surrender to you this day;" that word being especially applied to the surrender or giving-up of prisoners; on which Stichus rejoins, "As the day is surrendered to me, I'll torment it like a real prisoner"--meaning "I won't let it pass in quietness." He fully keens his word.
7 Don't you be surprised: He apologises for introducing slaves carousing on the Roman stage, by reminding the Spectators that the scene is at Athens. where greater freedom and indulgence was allowed to slaves than at Rome.
8 Pull this day to bits: "Hunc lacero diem." He seems here to continue the metaphor used in ver. 436: "I'll torture this day finely"--I'll get all I can out of it.
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