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Enter STICHUS and SAGARINUS from the house of PAMPHILUS with provisions, a PIPER following.
Come, out of doors with you; lead on the procession1. Stichus, I appoint you commander of the cask. I'm resolved to prove our banquet in every fashion this day. So may the Gods love me, we are well entertained in being feasted in this place. I will that each person that passes by shall be invited to join the banquet. STICHUS
Agreed, so long only as, i' faith, each man comes with his own wine2; for of this, a mouthful shall be given to no person but ourselves, this day. Eating alone3, let's wait upon ourselves. SAGARINUS
This banquet, for our means, is quite sufficient, with its nuts, beans, figs4, a dish of olives, pounded lupines, and a cake. STICHUS
It better becomes a man who is a slave to bring his expenses within moderation than beyond. Each one to his own station; they, who have wealth at home, drink from cups, goblets, and bowls; we, if we are now drinking from our Samian jug5, still build our walls according to our means. SAGARINUS
But while she who is your mistress and mine is arranging her hair, and bedecking herself, I wish us to have some diversion among ourselves. I appoint you the commander6 of this feast. STICHUS
Very aptly does it suggest itself to your mind. SAGARINUS
Wouldn't we be more suitably entertained like Cynics7 on benches here, than upon couches? STICHUS
Aye, but this is far the most pleasant. SAGARINUS
On which side is each of us to recline by our mistress? STICHUS
Of course you go to the upper place. And, so that you may understand it, I make a division with you on these terms: consider, and take which province you would even like now to take. They take their places. SAGARINUS
But what's your meaning about this "province?" STICHUS
Whether you would choose to hold the command over the water or over Bacchus. SAGARINUS
Over Bacchus, most distinctly. But, in the meantime, general of ours, why stands this goblet here? See how many cups8 we have drunk. STICHUS
As many as there are fingers on your hand. The Greek song is, "Drink either your five cups9 or your three, but not your four." SAGARINUS
about to drink . I pledge you. Do you take for yourself the tenth part from the fountain10, if you are wise. Here's luck to you, luck to us; here's luck to thee, luck to me; luck to our Stephanium as well. STICHUS
'Tis bravely done. I pledge you in a goblet. Drinks. SAGARINUS
Keep your wine; I'd very much like something by way of a relish11. STICHUS
If you are not satisfied with what's here, there's nothing else. Take some water12. SAGARINUS
You say right; I care for no dainties. Drink away, Piper13; drink, if you do drink. I' faith, this must be drunk--don't shirk it. Holds the goblet to the PIPER. Why flinch at what you see must be done by you? Why don't you drink? Do it, if you are to do it. Take it, I tell you, for the public pays for this. That's not your way to shirk your drink. Take your pipes14 out of your mouth. The PIPER drinks. STICHUS
When he has drunk, either do you mind my rules15, or else I'll give up. I don't wish us to drink this straight out; we shall soon be about nothing16; for, by my faith, almost all in a moment, the cask might be turned head downwards17. SAGARINUS
to the PIPER . How now? Although you did make a fuss about it, still it didn't hurt you. Come, Piper, when you've done drinking, put back your pipes to your lips; quickly puff out your cheeks, just like a reptile serpent18. Come now, Stichus, whichever of the two breaks order, shall be fined a cup. STICHUS
You propose a good regulation. You ought to have your way, who only ask what's fair. SAGARINUS
Mind it then; if you offend, I'll forthwith take the forfeit on the spot. STICHUS
You ask what's quite right and just. SAGARINUS
pledging STICHUS . Here's to you first of all. STICHUS
'Tis a droll thing this, for two persons, rivals of each other, to be courting, to be drinking from one goblet, and to be kissing one wench. 'Tis worthy of remark this: I am you, you are I; of one accord are we. With one mistress are we both in love; when she's with me, still she's with you; and when she's with you, she's with me as well; neither of us envies the other. SAGARINUS
Come, come, there's enough of it; I don't want it overdone to weariness. I'd now like some other sport. STICHUS
Drink on, if you are drinking. SAGARINUS
There shall be no skulking in me. But, troth, I've had enough of the feast; would but our mistress come here. If she were here, nothing else would be away. STICHUS
Should you like us to invite our mistress out? She shall give us a dance. SAGARINUS
I agree. STICHUS
calling aloud . My sweet one, my lovely one, my pleasing one, Stephanium, do come out of doors to your sweethearts; to me you are quite charming. SAGARINUS
But to me, indeed, most charming. STICHUS
Make us jovial fellows more jovial by your assistance and your company. Returning from abroad, we want you, dear little Stephanium, my honey, that is, if our lovingness is pleasing to you, if we are acceptable to you.
1 Lead on the procession: They are about to have their carousal in front of the house. Sagarinus puts on an air of importance, as if mustering all of a large company; whereas the only guests, besides himself, are Stichus and the Piper. Stephanium has gone to dress herself for the occasion.
2 With his own wine: It has been before remarked, that the symbola," or "ic-nic" was made on these terms.
4 Nuts, beans, figs: These articles formed the usual food of the Roman slaves.
5 Samian jug: A plain earthenware goblet, or cup. Reference has been already made to the Samian pottery. The Proverb in this line is similar to ours, of each "cutting his cloth according to his measure."
6 The commander: "Strategum." This is a Greek word, signifying the commander of an army. It was usual with the Greeks, Romans, and Jews, to appoint a master of the feast, who probably gave the toasts, looked to the comforts of the guests, and took care that the quality of the wine was satisfactory. See the second Chapter of St. John, v. 8.
7 Entertained like Cynics: The absurdities consequent on the unity of place in the Roman Comedy could not possibly be better illustrated than in the present instance. The servants not only carouse in front of their master's house, but absolutely bring out couches to recline upon. Persons of rigid manners, and especially the Cynic philosophers, persisted in retaining the old posture of sitting at meals; to that circumstance reference is here made.
8 How many cups: "Cyathos." The "cyathus" was a cup which contained a fixed and definite measure. It contained but a small quantity, one- twelfth part of a "sextarius," which was not quite an English pint. It seems most probable that the "cyathus" was used for the purpose of ladling the wine out of the bowl, or "cratera," in which it was mixed with water, into the goblets or cups. The question of Sagarinus here seems to apply to the number of "cyathi" of the pure wine which they had been drinking at each goblet-full that they took, as otherwise they would be making but slow inroads on the "cadus," five "cyathi" holding, perhaps, about as much as three of our ordinary wine-glasses. It is not improbable that a portion of the Play is lost here.
9 Either your five cups, &c.: These words are in Greek. Eustathius and Athenæus say that this Greek song bears reference to the proportions of water that should be mixed with the wine. It seems, however, here to mean that there's "luck in odd numbers" when you are drinking.
10 From the fountain: The "fons" in this case was probably a pitcher of water which they had on the table. Sagarinus seems to recommend him, in mixing, only to take one-tenth part of water. Sober people generally mixed in the proportion of three-fifths water and two-fifths wine.
11 By way of a relish: By "pulpamentum" Sagarinus seems to mean some dainty, by way of a relish; at least, Stichus so understands him, as he points to the nuts, beans, figs, lupines, and olives on the table, and tells him that he will get nothing else.
12 Take some water: He probably tells him to take some water if he feels queer, or, in our vernacular, "seedy," from taking too much wine; which he has some reason to suppose, from the other calling for a "pulpamentum." Anchovy toast is an item of our favorite "pulpamenta."
14 Take your pipes: The "Tibicines," "Pipers" or "flute-players," among the Greeks and Romans, were in the habit of playing upon two pipes at the same time. These were perfectly distinct, and were not even, as has been supposed by some, connected by a common mouth-piece. The Romans were particularly fond of this music, and it was introduced both at sacrifices, funerals, and entertainments. See a comical story about the Roman "Tibicines" in the Fasti of Ovid, B. 6, l. 670 et seq. From the present specimen they appear to have been merry souls, occupying much the same place as the country fiddlers of modern times.
15 Mind my rules: It is pretty clear, that in his zeal, and to show that there is no flagging in him, Sagarinus has been overdoing it, perhaps helping himself out of his turn; on this, the other threatens to resign his office of master of the ceremonies.
16 Soon be about nothing: "Nulli rei erimus posteà." This is the proper reading, which has been restored by the research of Ritschel. It is difficult to say precisely what he alludes to, but most probably he means, "at this rate our supply will soon be exhausted."
17 Turned head downwards: He says that the "cadus," or earthenware cask, will soon at this rate be capable of being turned upside down without any risk of spilling the wine
18 A reptile serpent: The head of the serpent is said to swell, or puff out, when it infuriated.
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