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Enter MENEDEMUS, with CLITIPHO and SYRUS.
Prithee, is it really the fact, Menedemus, that my father can, in so short a space of time, have cast off all the natural affection of a parent for me? For what crime? What so great enormity have I, to my misfortune, committed? Young men generally do the same. MENEDEMUS
I am aware that this must be much more harsh and severe to you, on whom it falls; but yet I take it no less amiss than you. How it is so I know not, nor can I account for it, except that from my heart I wish you well. CLITIPHO
Did not you say that my father was waiting here? Enter CHREMES from his house. MENEDEMUS
See, here he is. MENEDEMUS goes into his house. CHREMES
Why are you blaming me, Clitipho? Whatever I have done in this matter, I had a view to you and your imprudence. When I saw that you were of a careless disposition, and held the pleasures of the moment of the first importance, and did not look forward to the future, I took measures that you might neither want nor be able to waste this which I have. When, through your own conduct, it was not allowed me to give it you, to whom I ought before all, I had recourse to those who were your nearest relations; to them I have made over and intrusted every thing.1 There you'll always find a refuge for your folly; food, clothing, and a roof under which to betake yourself. CLITIPHO
Ah me! CHREMES
It is better than that, you being my heir, Bacchis should possess this estate of mine. SYRUS
apart. I'm ruined irrevocably!--Of what mischief have I, wretch that I am, unthinkingly been the cause? CLITIPHO
Would I were dead! CHREMES
Prithee, first learn what it is to live. When you know that, if life displeases you, then try the other. SYRUS
Master, may I be allowed----? CHREMES
Say on. SYRUS
But may I safely? CHREMES
Say on. SYRUS
What injustice or what madness is this, that that in which I have offended, should be to his detriment? CHREMES
It's all over.2 Don't you mix yourself up in it; no one accuses you, Syrus, nor need you look out for an altar,3 or for an intercessor for yourself. SYRUS
What is your design? CHREMES
I am not at all angry either with you, to SYRUS , or with you to CLITIPHO ; nor is it fair that you should be so with me for what I am doing. He goes into his house. SYRUS
He's gone. I wish I had asked him---- CLITIPHO
What, Syrus? SYRUS
Where I am to get my subsistence; he has so utterly cast us adrift. You are to have it, for the present, at your sister's, I find. CLITIPHO
Has it then come to this pass, Syrus--that I am to be in danger even of starving? SYRUS
So we only live, there's hope---- CLITIPHO
What hope? SYRUS
That we shall be hungry enough. CLITIPHO
Do you jest in a matter so serious, and not give me any assistance with your advice? SYRUS
On the contrary, I'm both now thinking of that, and have been about it all the time your father was speaking just now; and so far as I can perceive---- CLITIPHO
It will not be wanting long. He meditates. CLITIPHO
What is it, then? SYRUS
It is this--I think that you are not their son. CLITIPHO
How's that, Syrus? Are you quite in your senses? SYRUS
I'll tell you what's come into my mind; be you the judge. While they had you alone, while they had no other source of joy more nearly to affect them, they indulged you, they lavished upon you. Now a daughter has been found, a pretense has been found in fact on which to turn you adrift. CLITIPHO
It's very probable. SYRUS
Do you suppose that he is so angry on account of this fault? CLITIPHO
I do not think so. SYRUS
Now consider another thing. All mothers are wont to be advocates for their sons when in fault, and to aid them against a father's severity; 'tis not so here. CLITIPHO
You say true; what then shall I now do, Syrus? SYRUS
Question them on this suspicion; mention the matter without reserve; either, if it is not true, you'll soon bring them both to compassion, or else you'll soon find out whose son you are. CLITIPHO
You give good advice; I'll do so. He goes into the house of CHREMES. SYRUS
to himself. Most fortunately did this come into my mind. For the less hope the young man entertains, the greater the difficulty with which he'll bring his father to his own terms. I'm not sure even, that he may not take a wife, and then no thanks for Syrus. But what is this? The old man's coming out of doors; I'll be off. What has so far happened, I am surprised at, that he didn't order me to becarried off from here: now I'll away to Menedemus here, I'll secure him as my intercessor; I can put no trust in our old man. Goes into the house of MENEDEMUS.
1 Intrusted every thing: This is an early instance of a trusteeship and a guardianship.
2 It's all over: "Ilicet," literally, "you may go away." This was the formal word with which funeral ceremonies and trials at law were concluded.
3 Look out for an altar: He alludes to the practice of slaves taking refuge at altars when they had committed any fault, and then suing for pardon through a "precator" or "mediator." See the Mostellaria of Plautus, 1. 1074, where Tranio takes refuge at the altar from the vengeance of his master, Theuropides.
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