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Enter CHAEREA on the other side of the stage, in haste.
to himself. I'm utterly undone! The girl is nowhere; nor do I know where I am myself, to have lost sight of her. Where to inquire for her, where to search for her, whom to ask, which way to turn, I'm at a loss. I have only this hope; wherever she is, she can not long be concealed. O what beauteous features! from this moment I banish all other women from my thoughts; I can not endure these every-day beauties. PARMENO
apart. Why look, here's the other one. He's saying something, I don't know what, about love. O unfortunate old man, their father! This assuredly is a youth, who, if he does begin, you will say that the other one was mere play and pastime, compared with what the madness of this one will cause. CHAEREA
to himself, aloud. May all the Gods and Goddesses confound that old fellow who detained me to-day, and me as well who stopped for him, and in fact troubled myself a straw about him. But see, here's Parmeno. Addressing him. Good-morrow to you. PARMENO
Why are you out of spirits, and why in such a hurry? Whence come you? CHAEREA
What, I? I'faith, I neither know whence I'm come, nor whither I'm going; so utterly have I lost myself. PARMENO
How, pray? CHAEREA
I'm in love. PARMENO
starting. Ha! CHAEREA
Now, Parmeno, you may show what sort of a man you are. You know that you often promised me to this effect: "Chaerea, do you only find some object to fall in love with; I'll make you sensible of my usefulness in such matters," when I used to be storing up my father's provisions for you on the sly in your little room.1 PARMENO
To the point, you simpleton. CHAEREA
Upon my faith, this is the fact. Now, then, let your promises be made good, if you please, or if indeed the affair is a deserving one for you to exert your energies upon. The girl isn't like our girls, whom their mothers are anxious to have with shoulders kept down, and chests well girthed,2 that they may be slender. If one is a little inclined to plumpness, they declare that she's training for a boxer,3 and stint her food; although their constitutions are good, by their treatment they make them as slight as bulrushes; and so for that reason they are admired, forsooth. PARMENO
What sort of a girl is this one of yours? CHAEREA
A new style of beauty. PARMENO
ironically. Astounding! CHAEREA
Her complexion genuine,4 her flesh firm and full of juiciness.5 PARMENO
Her age? CHAEREA
Her age Sixteen. PARMENO
The very flower of youth.6 CHAEREA
Do you make, it your care to obtain her for me either by force, stealth, or entreaty; so that I only gain her, it matters not how to me. PARMENO
Well, but to whom does the damsel belong? CHAEREA
That, i'faith, I don't know. PARMENO
Whence did she come? CHAEREA
That, just as much. PARMENO
Where does she live? CHAEREA
Nor yet do I know that. PARMENO
Where did you see her? CHAEREA
In the street. PARMENO
How did you come to lose her? CHAEREA
Why, that's what I was just now fretting myself about; and I do not believe that there is one individual to whom all good luck is a greater stranger than to myself. What ill fortune this is! I'm utterly undone! PARMENO
What's the matter? CHAEREA
Do you ask me? Do you know Archidemides, my father's kinsman and years'-mate? PARMENO
Why not? CHAEREA
He, while I was in full pursuit of her, met me. PARMENO
Unseasonably, upon my faith. CHAEREA
Aye, unhappily, rather; for other ordinary matters are to be called "unseasonable," Parmeno. It would be safe for me to make oath that I have not seen him for fully these six or seven months, until just now, when I least wanted, and there was the least occasion. Come now! isn't this like a fatality? What do you say? PARMENO
Extremely so. CHAEREA
At once he came running up to me, from a considerable distance, stooping, palsied, hanging his lip, and wheezing. "Halloo, Chaerea! halloo!" said he; "I've something to say to you." I stopped. "Do you know what it is I want with you?" said he. "Say on," said I. "To-morrow my cause comes on," said he. "What then?" "Be sure and tell your father to remember and be my advocate7 in the morning." In talking of this, an hour elapsed.8 I inquired if he wanted any thing else. "That's all," said he. I left him. When I looked in this direction for the damsel, she had that very instant turned this way down this street of ours. PARMENO
aside. It's a wonder if he doesn't mean her who has just now been made a present of to Thais here. CHAEREA
When I got here, she was nowhere to be seen. PARMENO
Some attendants, I suppose, were accompanying the girl? CHAEREA
Yes; a Parasite, and a female servant. PARMENO
apart. It's the very same. To CHAEREA. It's all over with you; make an end of it; you've said your last.9 CHAEREA
You are thinking about something else. PARMENO
Indeed I'm thinking of this same matter. CHAEREA
Pray, tell me, do you know her, or did you see her? PARMENO
I did see, and I do know her, I am aware to what house she has been taken. CHAEREA
What, my dear Parmeno, do you know her, and are you aware where she is? PARMENO
She has been brought here pointing to the house of Thais the Courtesan.10 She has been made a present to her. CHAEREA
What opulent person is it, to be presenting a gift so precious as this? PARMENO
The Captain Thraso, Phaedria's rival. CHAEREA
An unpleasant business for my brother, it should seem. PARMENO
Aye, and if you did but know what present he is pitting against this present, you would say so still more. CHAEREA
Troth now, what is it, pray? PARMENO
A Eunuch.11 CHAEREA
What! that unsightly creature, pray, that he purchased yesterday, an old woman? PARMENO
That very same. CHAEREA
To a certainty, the gentleman will be bundled out of doors, together with his present; but I wasn't aware that this Thais is our neighbor. PARMENO
It isn't long since she came. CHAEREA
Unhappy wretch that I am! never to have seen her, even. Come now, just tell me, is she as handsome as she is reported to be?12 PARMENO
But nothing in comparison with this damsel of mine? PARMENO
Another thing altogether. CHAEREA
Troth now, Parmeno, prithee do contrive for me to gain possession of her. PARMENO
I'll do my best, and use all my endeavors; I'll lend you my assistance. Going. Do you want any thing else with me? CHAEREA
Where are you going now? PARMENO
Home; to take those slaves to Thais, as your brother ordered me. CHAEREA
Oh, lucky Eunuch that! really, to be sent as a present to that house! PARMENO
Why so? CHAEREA
Do you ask? He will always see at home a fellow-servant of consummate beauty, and be conversing with her; he will be in the same house with her; sometimes he will take his meals with her; sometimes sleep near her. PARMENO
What now, if you yourself were to be this fortunate person? CHAEREA
By what means, Parmeno? Tell me. PARMENO
Do you assume his dress. CHAEREA
His dress! Well, what then? PARMENO
I'll take you there instead of him. CHAEREA
musing. I hear you. PARMENO
I'll say that you are he. CHAEREA
I understand you. PARMENO
You may enjoy those advantages which you just now said lie would enjoy; you may take your meals together with her, be in company with her, touch her, dally with her, and sleep by her side; as not one of these women is acquainted with you, nor yet knows who you are. Besides, you are of an age and figure that you may easily pass for a eunuch. CHAEREA
You speak to the purpose; I never knew better counsel given. Well, let's go in at once; dress me up, take me away, lead me to her, as fast as you can. PARMENO
What do you mean? Really, I was only joking. CHAEREA
You talk nonsense. PARMENO
I'm undone! Wretch that I am! what have I done? CHAEREA pushes him along. Whither are you pushing me? You'll throw me down presently. I entreat you, be quiet. CHAEREA
Let's be off. Pushes him. PARMENO
Do you still persist? CHAEREA
I am resolved upon it. PARMENO
Only take care that this isn't too rash a project. CHAEREA
Certainly it isn't; let me alone for that. PARMENO
Aye, but I shall have to pay the penalty13 for this? CHAEREA
We shall be guilty of a disgraceful action. CHAEREA
What, is it disgraceful14 to be taken to the house of a Courtesan, and to return the compliment upon those tormentors who treat us and our youthful age so scornfully, and who are always tormenting us in every way;--to dupe them just as we are duped by them? Or is it right and proper that in preference my father should be wheedled out of his money by deceitful pretexts? Those who knew of this would blame me; while all would think the other a meritorious act. PARMENO
What's to be done in such case? If you are determined to do it, you must do it: but don't you by-and-by be throwing the blame upon me. CHAEREA
I shall not do so. PARMENO
Do you order me, then? CHAEREA
I order, charge, and command you; I will never disavow my authorizing you. PARMENO
Follow me; may the Gods prosper it! They go into the house of LACHES.
1 In your little room)--Ver. 310. Though “"cellulam"” seems to be considered by some to mean "cupboard" or "larder," it is more probable that it here signifies the little room which was appropriated to each slave in the family for his own use.
2 Shoulders kept down and chests well girthed: Ovid, in the Art of Love, B. iii., 1. 274, alludes to the "strophium" or "girth" here referred to: "For high shoulders, small pads are suitable; and let the girth encircle the bosom that is too prominent." Becker thinks that the "strophium" was different from the "fascia" or "stomacher," mentioned in the Remedy of Love, 1. 338: "Does a swelling bosom cover all her breast, let no stomacher conceal it." From Martial we learn that the "strophium" was made of leather.
3 Training for a boxer: “"Pugilem."” This means "robust as a boxer," or "athlete." These persons were naturally considered as the types of robustness, being dieted for the purpose of increasing their flesh and muscle.
4 Complexion genuine: "Color verus." The same expression is used by Ovid, in the Art of Love, B. iii., 1. 164: "Et melior vero quaeritur arte color:" "And by art a color is sought superior to the genuine one."
5 Full of juiciness: “"Succi plenum."” A similar expression occurs in the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus, 1. 787, where Periplecoimenus wishes inquiry to be made for a woman who is "siccam, at succidam," "sober, but full of juice:" i. e. replete with the plumpness and activity of youth.
6 The very flower of youth)--Ver. 319. Ovid makes mention of the "flos" or "bloom" of youth, Art of Love, B. ii., 1. 663: "And don't you inquire what year she is now passing, nor under what Consulship she was born; a privilege which the rigid Censor possesses. And this, especially, if she has passed the bloom of youth, and her best years are fled, and she now pulls out the whitening hairs."
7 Be my advocate)--Ver. 340. “"Advocatus."” It must be remembered that this word did not among the Romans bear the same sense as the-word "advocate" does with us. The "advocati" were the friends of a man who accompanied him when his cause was pleaded, and often performed the part of witnesses; those who assisted a person in a dispute or difficulty were also his "advocati," and in this respect distantly resembled the "second" or "friend" of a party in the modern duel. In the Phormio, Hegio, Cratinus, and Crito are introduced as the "advocati" of Demipho. See also the Paenulus of Plautus, and the Notes to that Play in Bohn's Translation.
9 It's all over with you,--you've said your last)--Ver. 347. "Ilicet" and "conclamatum est," are words of mournful import, which were used with regard to the funeral rites of the Romans. "Ilicet," "you may begone," was said aloud when the funeral was concluded. "Conclamare," implied the ceremony of calling upon the dead person by name, before light was set to the funeral pile; on no answer being given, he was concluded to be really dead, and the pile was set fire to amid the cries of those present: "conclamatum est" would consequently signify that all hope has gone.
10 Thais the Courtesan)--Ver. 352. Cooke remarks here, somewhat hypercritically as it would seem: "Thais is not called 'meretrix' here opprobriously, but to distinguish her from other ladies of the same name, who were not of the same profession."
11 A Eunuchl: Eunuchs formed part of the establishment of wealthy persons, who, in imitation of the Eastern nobles, confided the charge of their wives, daughters, or mistresses to them. Though Thais would have no such necessity for his services, her wish to imitate the "reginae," or "great ladies," would. make him a not unacceptable present. See the Addresses of Ovid to the Eunuch Bagous in the Amours, B. ii., El. 2, 3.
12 As she is reported to be)--Ver. 361. Donatus remarks this as an instance of the art of Terence, in preserving the probability of Chaerea's being received for the Eunuch. He shows hereby that he is so entirely a stranger to the family that he does not even know the person of Thais. It is also added that she has not been long in the neighborhood, and he lias been on duty at the Piraeus. The meaning of his regret is, that, not knowing Thais, he will not have an opportunity of seeing the girl.
13 Have to pay the penalty)--Ver. 381. "In me cudetur faba," literally, "the bean will be struck" or "laid about me;" meaning, "I shall have to smart for it." There is considerable doubt what is the origin of this expression, and this doubt existed as early as the time of Donatus. He says that it was a proverb either taken from the threshing of beans with a flail by the countrymen; or else from the circumstance of the cooks who have dressed the beans, but have not moistened them sufficiently, being sure to have them thrown at their heads, as though for the purpose of softening them. Neither of these solutions seems so probable as that suggested by Madame Dacier, that dried beans were inserted in the thongs of the "scuticae," or "whips," with which the slaves were beaten. According to others the knots in the whips were only called "fabae," from their resemblance to beans.
14 Is it disqraceful)--Ver. 382. Donatus remarks that here Terence obliquely defends the subject of the Play.
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