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Enter THRASO and GNATHO.
Did Thais really return me many thanks? GNATHO
Exceeding thanks. THRASO
Was she delighted, say you? GNATHO
Not so much, indeed, at the present itself, as because it was given by you; really, in right earnest, she does exult at that. Enter PARMIENO unseen, from LACHES' house. PARMENO
apart. I've come here to be on the look-out, that when there is an opportunity I may take the presents. But see, here's the Captain. THRASO
Undoubtedly it is the case with me, that every thing I do is a cause for thankfulness. GNATHO
Upon my faith, I've observed it. THRASO
The most mighty King,1 even, always used to give me especial thanks for whatever I did; but not so to others. GNATHO
He who has the wit that you have, often by his words appropriates to himself the glory that has been achieved by the labor of others. THRASO
You've just hit it.2 GNATHO
The king, then, kept you in his eye.3 THRASO
Just so. GNATHO
To enjoy your society. THRASO
True; he intrusted to? me all his army, all his state secrets. GNATHO
Then if, on any occasion, a surfeit of society, or a dislike of business, came upon him, when he was desirous to take some recreation; just as though--you understand?4 GNATHO
I know; just as though on occasion he would rid his mind of those anxieties. THRASO
You have it. Then he used to take me aside as his only boon companion. GNATHO
Whew! You are telling of a King of refined taste. THRASO
Aye, he is a person of that sort; a man of but very few acquaintanceships. GNATHO
aside. Indeed, of none,5 I fancy, if he's on intimate terms with you. THRASO
All the people envied me, and attacked me privately. I don't care one straw. They envied me dreadfully; but one in particular, whom the King had appointed over the Indian elephants.6 Once, when he became particularly troublesome, "Prithee, Strato," said I, "are you so fierce because you hold command over the wild beasts?" GNATHO
Cleverly said, upon my faith, and shrewdly. Astounding! You did give the fellow a home thrust. What said he? THRASO
Dumfounded, instantaneously. GNATHO
How could he be otherwise? PARMENO
apart. Ye Gods, by our trust in you! a lost and miserable fellow the one, and the other a scoundrel. THRASO
Well then, about that: matter, Gnatho, the way in which I touched up the Rhodian at a banquet--did I never tell you? GNATHO
Never; but pray, do tell me. Aside. I've heard it more than a thousand times already. THRASO
There was in my company at a banquet, this young man of Rhodes, whom I'm speaking of. By chance I had a mistress there; he began to toy with her, and to annoy me. "What are you doing, sir impudence?" said I to the fellow; "a hare yourself, and looking out for game?"7 GNATHO
pretending to laugh very heartily. Ha, ha, ha! THRASO
What's the matter? GNATHO
How apt, how smart, how clever; nothing could be more excellent. Prithee, was this a saying of yours? I fancied it was an old one. THRASO
Did you ever hear it before? GNATHO
Many a time; and it is mentioned among the first-rate ones. THRASO
It's my own. GNATHO
I'm sorry though that it was said to a thoughtless young man, and one of respectability. PARMENO
apart. May the Gods confound you! GNATHO
Pray, what did he do? THRASO
. Quite disconcerted. All who were present were dying with laughter; in short, they were all quite afraid of me. GNATHO
[Not without reason. THRASO
But hark you, had I best clear myself of this to Thais, as to her suspicion that I'm fond of this girl? GNATHO
By no means: on the contrary, rather increase her jealousy. THRASO
Why so? GNATHO
Do you ask me? Don't you see, if on any occasion she makes mention of Phaedria or commends him, to provoke you---- THRASO
I understand. GNATHO
That such may not be the case, this method is the only remedy. When she speaks of Phaedria, do you instantly mention Pamphila. If at any time she says, "Let's invite Phaedria to make one," do you say, "Let's ask Pamphila to sing." If she praises his good looks, do you, on the other hand, praise hers. In short, do you return like for like, which will mortify her. THRASO
If, indeed, she loved me,8 this might be of some use, Gnatho. GNATHO
Since she is impatient for and loves that which you give her, she already loves you; as it is, then, it is an easy matter for her to feel vexed. She will be always afraid lest the presents which she herself is now getting, you may on some occasion be taking elsewhere. THRASO
Well said; that never came into my mind. GNATHO
Nonsense. You never thought about it; else how much more readily would you yourself have hit upon it, Thraso!
1 The most mighty King: It has been suggested that Darius III. is here alluded to, who was a contemporary of Menander. As however Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, is mentioned in this Play, there is no necessity to go out of the way to make Terence guilty of an anachronism. Madame Dacier suggests that Seleucus, king of part of Asia Minor, is meant; and as Thraso is called "a stranger" or "foreigner" toward the end of the Play, he probably was intended to be represented as a native of Asia and a subject of Seleucus. One of the Seleuci was also favored with the services of Pyrgopolinices, the "Braggart Captain" of Plautus, in the Miles Gloriosus. See 1. 75 in that Play: "For King Seleucus entreated me with most earnest suit that I would raise and enlist recruits for him."
2 You've just hit it)--Ver. 401. Colman here remarks, quoting the following passage from Shakspeare's "Love's Labor Lost," "That that Poet was familiarly acquainted with this Comedy is evident from the passage, 'Holofernes says, Novi hominem tanquam te. His humor is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general behavior vain, ridiculous, and Thrasonical.'" We may remark that the previous words of Gnatho, though spoken with reference to the King, contain a reproach against the Captain's boastfulness, though his vanity will not let him perceive it.
3 In his eye)--Ver. 401. "In oculis" is generally supposed to mean "as dearly in his eyes." As, however, the Satraps of the East were called "the king's eyes," those who suppose that Darius is alluded to, might with some ground consider the passage as meaning that the king ranked him in the number of his nobles. See the Paenulus of Plautus, 1. 693, and the Note in Bohn's Translation.
4 You understand: He says this at the very moment when lie is at a loss what to say next; the Parasite obligingly steps in to help him out with the difficulty.
5 Indeed, of none: "Immo, nullorum arbitror, si tecum vivit." This expression which is used "aside," has two meanings, neither of which is complimentary to the Captain. It may mean, "he has no society if he associates with you," making the Captain equivalent to nobody; or it may signify, "if he associates with you he'll be sure to drive all his other acquaintances away."
6 Over the Indian elephants: Here he shows his lofty position to perfection; he dares to take down the pride of one who commanded even the royal elephants. The Braggart Captain of Plautus comes into collision with the elephants themselves: l. 26. Artotrogus says to him, "In what a fashion it was you broke the fore-leg of even an elephant in India with your fist!"
7 Lookinq out for game?: "Pulmentum," more strictly speaking, "A nice bit." Patrick has the following Note on this passage: "'Lepus tute es, et pulmentum quaeris?' A proverbial expression in use at that time: the proper meaning of it, stripped of its figure, is, 'You are little more than a woman yourself, and do you want a mistress?'" We learn from Donatus and Vopiscus, that Livius Andronicus had used this proverb in his Plays before Terence. Commentators who enter into a minute explanation of it offer many conjectures rather curious than solid, and of a nature not fit to be mentioned here. Donatus seems to think that allusion is made to a story prevalent among the ancient naturalists that the hare was in the habit of changing its sex.
8 If, indeed, she loved me: Colman has the following Note upon this passage: "I am at a loss to determine whether it was in order to show the absurdity of the Captain or from inadvertence in the Poet, that Terence here makes Thraso and Gnatho speak in contradiction to the idea of Thais's wonderful veneration for Thraso, with which they opened the Scene."
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