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Enter SIMO and DAVUS from the house of the former. MYSIS and LESBIA are coming toward the house of GLYCERIUM.
not seeing SIMO and DAVUS. Upon my faith, the fact is really as you mentioned, Lesbia, you can hardly find a man constant to a woman. SIMO
apart to DAVUS. This maid-servant comes from the Andrian. DAVUS
apart to SIMO. What do you say? SIMO
apart to DAVUS. It is so. MYSIS
But this Pamphilus---- SIMO
apart to DAVUS. What is she saying? MYSIS
Has proved his constancy. SIMO
apart. Hah! DAVUS
apart to himself. I wish that either he were deaf, or she struck dumb. MYSIS
For the child she brings forth, he has ordered to be brought up. SIMO
apart. O Jupiter! What do I hear! It's all over, if indeed this woman speaks the truth. LESBIA
You mention a good disposition on the part of the young man. MYSIS
A most excellent one. But follow me in-doors, that you mayn't keep her waiting. LESBIA
I'll follow. MYSIS and LESBIA go into GLYCERIUM'S house. DAVUS
aside. What remedy now shall I find for this mishap? SIMO
to himself aloud. What does this mean? Is he so infatuated ? The child of a foreign woman? Now I understand; ah! scarcely even at last, in my stupidity, have I found it out. DAVUS
aside to himself. What does he say he has found out? SIMO
aside. This piece of knavery is being now for the first time palmed upon me by this fellow; they are pretending that she's in labor, in order that they may alarm Chremes. GLYCERIUM
exclaiming from within her house. Juno Lucina,1 grant me thine aid, save me, I do entreat thee! SIMO
Whew! so sudden? What nonsense! As soon as she has heard that I'm standing before the door, she makes all haste. These incidents, Davus, have not been quite happily adapted by you as to the points of time. DAVUS
By me? SIMO
Are your scholars forgetful? 2 DAY.
I don't know what you are talking about. SIMO
aside. If he at the real marriage of my son had taken me off my guard, what sport he would have made of me. Now it is at his own risk; I'm sailing in harbor.
Re-enter LESBIA from the house of GLYCERIUM.
speaking to ARCHYLIS at the door, and not seeing SIMO and DAVUS. As yet, Archylis, all the customary symptoms which ought to exist toward recovery, I perceive in her. Now, in the first place, take care and let her bathe;3 then, after that, what I ordered to be given her to drink, and as much as I prescribed, do you administer: presently I will return hither. To herself aloud. By all that's holy, a fine boy has been born to Pamphilus. I pray the Gods that he may survive, since the father himself is of a good disposition, and since he has hesitated to do an injustice to this most excellent young woman. (Exit.) SIMO
Even this, who is there that knows you that would not believe that it originated in you? DAVUS
Why, what is this? SIMO
She didn't order in their presence what was requisite to be done for the woman lying in; but after she has come out, she bawls from the street to those who are in the house. O Davus, am I thus trifled with by you? Or pray, do I seem to you so very well suited to be thus openly imposed upon by your tricks? At all events it should have been with pre-caution; that at least I might have seemed to be feared, if I should detect it. DAVUS
aside. Assuredly, upon my faith, it's he that's, now deceiving himself, not I. SIMO
I gave you warning, I forbade you with threats to do it. Have you been awed? What has it availed? Am I to believe you now in this, that this woman has had a child by Pamphilus? DAVUS
aside. I understand where he's mistaken; and I see what I must do. SIMO
Why are you silent? DAVUS
What would you believe? As though word had not been brought you that thus it would happen. SIMO
Any word brought to me? DAVUS
Come now, did you of your own accord perceive that this was counterfeited? SIMO
I am being trifled with. DAVUS
Word has been brought you; for otherwise how could this suspicion have occurred to you? SIMO
How? Because I knew you. DAVUS
As though you meant to say that this has been done by my contrivance. SIMO
Why, I'm sure of it, to a certainty. DAVUS
Not yet even do you know me sufficiently, Simo, what sort of person I am. SIMO
I, not know you! DAVUS
But if I begin to tell you any thing, at once you think that deceit is being practiced upon you in guile; therefore, upon my faith, I don't dare now even to whisper. SIMO
This one thing I am sure of, that no person has been delivered here. Pointing to GLYCERIUM'S house. DAVUS
You have discovered that? Still, not a bit the less will they presently be laying the child4 here before the door. Of this, then, I now warn you, master, that it will happen, that you may be aware of it. Don't you hereafter be saying that this was done through the advice or artifices of Davus. I wish this suspicion of yours to be entirely removed from myself. SIMO
How do you know that? DAVUS
I've heard so, and I believe it: many things combine for me to form this conjecture. In the first place then, she declared that she was pregnant by Pamphilus; that has been proved to be false. 5 Now, when she sees that preparations are being made for the wedding at our house, the maid-servant is directly sent to fetch the midwife to her, and to bring a child at the same time. 6 Unless it is managed for you to see the child, the marriage will not be at all impeded. SIMO
What do you say to this? When you perceived that they were adopting this plan, why didn't you tell Pamphilus immediately? DAVUS
Why, who has induced him to leave her, but myself? For, indeed, we all know how desperately he loved her. Now he wishes for a wife. In fine, do you intrust me with that affair; proceed however, as before, to celebrate these nuptials, just as you are doing, and I trust that the Gods will prosper this matter. SIMO
Very well; be off in-doors; wait for me there, and get ready what's necessary to be prepared. DAVUS goes into the house. He hasn't prevailed upon me even now altogether to believe these things, and I don't know whether what he has said is all true; but I deem it of little moment; this is of far greater importance to me--that my son himself has promised me. Now I'll go and find Chremes; I'll ask him for a wife for my son; if I obtain my request, at what other time rather than to-day should I prefer these nuptials taking place? For as my son has promised, I have no doubt but that if he should prove unwilling, I can fairly compel him. And look! here's Chremes himself, just at the very time.
I greet you, Chremes. CHREMES
O, you are the very person I was looking for. SIMO
And I for you. CHREMES
You meet me at a welcome moment. Some persons have been to me, to say that they had heard from you, that my daughter was to be married to your son to-day; I've come to see whether they are out of their senses or you. SIMO
Listen; in a few words you shall learn both what I want of you, and what you seek to know. CHREMES
I am listening; say what you wish. SIMO
By the Gods, I do entreat you, Chremes, and by our friendship, which, commencing with our infancy, has grown up with our years, and by your only daughter and by my own son (of preserving whom the entire power lies with you), that you will assist me in this matter; and that, just as this marriage was about to be celebrated, it may be celebrated. CHREMES
O, don't importune me; as though you needed to obtain this of me by entreaty. Do you suppose I am different now from what I was formerly, when I promised her? If it is for the advantage of them both that it should take place, order her to be sent for. But if from this course there would result more harm than advantage for each, this I do beg of you, that you will consult for their common good, as though she were your own daughter, and I the father of Pamphilus. SIMO
Nay, so I intend, and so I wish it to be, Chremes; and I would not ask it of you, did not the occasion itself require it. CHREMES
What is the matter? SIMO
There is a quarrel between Glycerium and my son. CHREMES
ironically. I hear you. SIMO
So munch so, that I'm in hopes they may be separated. CHREMES
It really is so. CHREMES
After this fashion, i'faith, I tell you, "the quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love." SIMO
Well--this I beg of you, that we may prevent it. While an opportunity offers, and while his passion is cooled by affronts, before the wiles of these women and their tears, craftily feigned, bring back his love-sick mind to compassion, let us give him a wife. I trust, Chremes, that, when attached by intimacy and a respectable marriage, he will easily extricate himself from these evils. CHREMES
So it appears to you; but I do not think 7 that either he can possibly hold to her with constancy, or that I can put up with it if he does not. SIMO
How then can you be sure of that, unless you make the experiment? CHREMES
But for that experiment to be made upon a daughter is a serious thing---- SIMO
Why look, all the inconvenience in fine amounts to this--possibly, which may the Gods forfend, a separation may take place. But if he is reformed, see how many are the advantages: in the first place, you will have restored a son to your friend; you will obtain a sure son-in-law 8 for yourself, and a husband for your daughter. CHREMES
What is one to say to all this? If you feel persuaded that this is beneficial, I don't wish that any advantage should be denied you. SIMO
With good reason, Chremes, have I always considered you a most valuable friend. CHREMES
But how say you----?" SIMO
How do you know that they are now at variance? SIMO
Davus himself, who is privy to all their plans, has told me so; and he advises me to expedite the match as fast as I can. Do you think he would do so, unless he was aware that my son desired it? You yourself as well shall presently hear what he says. Goes to the door of his house and calls. Halloo there! Call Davus out here. Look, here he is; I see him just coming out.
Enter DAVUS from the house.
I was coming to you. SIMO
Why, what's the matter? DAVUS
Why isn't the bride sent for? 9 It's now growing late in the day. SIMO
Do you hear me? I've been for some time not a little apprehensive of you, Davus, lest you should do that which the common class of servants is in the habit of doing, namely, impose upon me by your artifices; because my son is engaged in an amour. DAVUS
What, I do that? SIMO
I fancied so; and therefore, fearing that, I concealed from you what I shall now mention. DAVUS
You shall know; for now I almost feel confidence in you. DAVUS
Have you found out at last what sort of a person I am? SIMO
The marriage was not to have taken place. DAVUS
How? Not to have taken place? SIMO
But I was making pretense, that I might test you all. DAVUS
affecting surprise. What is it you tell me? SIMO
Such is the fact. DAVUS
Only see! I was not able to discover that. Dear me! what a cunning contrivance! SIMO
Listen to this. Just as I ordered you to go from here into the house, he pointing to CHREMES most opportunely met me. DAVUS
aside. Ha! Are we undone, then? SIMO
I told him what you just now told me. DAVUS
aside. Why, what am I to hear? SIMO
I begged him to give his daughter, and with difficulty I prevailed upon him. DAVUS
aside. Utterly ruined! SIMO
overhearing him speaking. Eh--What was it you said? DAVUS
Extremely well done, I say. SIMO
There's no delay on his part now. CHREMES
I'll go home at once; I'll tell her to make due preparation, and bring back word here. (Exit.) SIMO
Now I do entreat you, Davus, since you by yourself have brought about this marriage for me---- DAVUS
I myself, indeed! 10 SIMO
Do your best still to reform my son. DAVUS
Troth, I'll do it with all due care. SIMO
Do it now, while his mind is agitated. DAVUS
You may be at ease. SIMO
Come then; where is he just now? DAVUS
A wonder if he isn't at home. SIMO
I'll go to him; and what I've been telling you, I'll tell him as well. Goes into his house. DAVUS
to himself. I'm a lost man! What reason is there why I shouldn't take my departure straightway hence for the mill? There's no room left for supplicating; I've upset every thing now; I've deceived my master; I've plunged my master's son into a marriage; I've been the cause of its taking place this very day, without his hoping for it, and against the wish of Pamphilus. Here's cleverness for you! But, if I had kept myself quiet, no mischief would have happened. Starting. But see, I espy him; I'm utterly undone! Would that there were some spot here for me, from which I might this instant pitch myself headlong! Stands apart.
Enter PAMPHILUS in haste from SIMO'S house.
Where is he? The villain, who this day----I'm ruined; and I confess that this has justly befallen me, for being such a dolt, so devoid of sense; that I should have in-trusted my fortunes to a frivolous slave! 11 I am suffering the reward of my folly; still he shall never get off from me un-punished for this. DAVUS
apart. I'm quite sure that I shall be safe in future, if for the present I get clear of this mishap. PAMPHILUS
But what now am I to say to my father? Am I to deny that I am ready, who have just promised to marry? With what effrontery could I presume to do that? I know not what to do with myself. DAVUS
apart. Nor I with myself, and yet I'm giving all due attention to it. I'll tell him that I will devise something, in order that I may procure some respite in this dilemma. PAMPHILUS
catching sight of him. Oho! DAVUS
apart. I'm seen. PAMPHILUS
sneeringly. How now, good sir, what are you about? Do you see how dreadfully I am hampered by your devices? DAVUS
Still, I'll soon extricate you. PAMPHILUS
You, extricate me? DAVUS
Assuredly, Pamphilus. PAMPHILUS
As you have just done, I suppose. DAVUS
Why no, better, I trust. PAMPHILUS
What, am I to believe you, you scoundrel? 12 You, indeed, make good a matter that's all embarrassment and ruin! Just see, in whom I've been placing reliance--you who this day from a most happy state have been and plunged me into a marriage. Didn't I say that this would be the case? DAVUS
You did say so. PAMPHILUS
What do you deserve? 13 DAVUS
The cross. 14 But allow me a little time to recover myself; I'll soon hit upon something. PAMPHILUS
Ah me! not to have the leisure to inflict punishment upon you as I desire ! for the present conjuncture warns me to take precautions for myself, not to be taking vengeance on you. (Exeunt.)
1 Juno Lucina: Juno Lucina had the care of women in childbed. Under this name some suppose Diana to have been worshiped. A similar incident to the present is found in the Adelphi, l. 486; and in the Aulularia of Plautus, l. 646.
2 Are your scholars forqetful?: He alludes under this term to Mysis, Lesbia, and Pamphilus, whom he supposes Davus to have been training to act their parts in the plot against him.
3 Let her bathe: It was the custom for women to bathe immediately after childbirth. See the Amphitryon of Plautus, 1. 669, and the Note to the passage in Bohn's Translation.
4 Be laying the child: Colman has the following remark on this line:--"The art of this passage is equal to the pleasantry, for though Davus runs into this detail merely with a view to dupe the old man still further by flattering him on his fancied sagacity, yet it very naturally prepares us for an incident which, by another turn of circumstances, afterward becomes necessary."
5 Proved to be false: That is, according to Simo's own notion, which Davus now thinks proper to humor.
6 To bring a child at the same time: This is a piece of roguery which has probably been practiced in all ages, and was some-what commonly perpetrated in Greece. The reader of English history will remember how the unfortunate son of James II. was said, in the face of the strongest evidence to the contrary, to have been a supposititious child brought into the queen's chamber in a silver warming-pan.
7 But I do not think: -4. “"At ego non posse arbitror neque illum hanc perpetuo habere."” Chremes uses an ambiguous expression here, perhaps purposely. It may mean, "I do not think that he can possibly be constant to her," or, "that she will continue to live with him."
9 Why isn't the bride sent for?: Among the Greeks the bride was conducted by the bridegroom at nightfall from her father's house, in a chariot drawn by a pair of mules or oxen, and escorted by persons carrying the nuptial torches. Among the Romans, she proceeded in the evening to the bridegroom's house; preceded by a boy carrying a torch of white thorn, or, according to some, of pine-wood. To this custom reference is indirectly made in the present passage.
10 I myself, indeed!: No doubt Davus says these words in sorrow and regret; Simo, however, supposes them to be uttered in exultation at the apparent success of his plans. Consequently “"vero"” is intended by Davus to have the sense here of "too truly."
11 To a frivolous slave: “"Servo futili."” According to the Scholiast on the Thebais of Statius, B. viii. 1. 297, "was futile" was a kind of vessel with a broad mouth and narrow bottom, used in the rites of Vesta. It was made of that peculiar shape in order that the priest should be obliged to hold it during the sacrifices, and might not set it on the ground, which was considered profane; as, if set there, the contents must necessarily fall out. From this circumstance, men who could not contain a secret were sometimes called "futiles."
13 What do you deserve?: Madame Dacier remarks that this question is taken from the custom of the Athenians, who never condemned a criminal without first asking him what punishment he thought he deserved; and according to the nature of his answer they mitigated or increased his punishment. The Commentators quote a similar passage from the Frogs of Aristophanes.
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