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Enter CLITIPHO from the house of CHREMES.

CLITIPHO
If there ever was any time, mother, when I caused you pleasure, being called your son by your own desire, I beseech: you to remember it, and now to take compassion on me in my distress. A thing I beg and request--do discover to me my parents.

SOSTRATA
I conjure you, my son, not to entertain that notion in your mind, that you are another person's child.

CLITIPHO
I am.

SOSTRATA
Wretch that I am! Turning to CHREMES. Was it this that you wanted, pray? To CLITIPHO. So may you be the survivor of me and of him, you are my son and his; and henceforth, if you love me,take care that I never hear that speech from you again.

CHREMES
But I say, if you fear me, take care how I find these propensities existing in you.

CLITIPHO
What propensities?

CHREMES
If you wish to know, I'll tell you; being a trifler, an idler, a cheat, a glutton, a debauchee, a spendthrift--Believe me, and believe that you are our son.

CLITIPHO
This is not the language of a parent.

CHREMES
If you had been born from my head, Clitipho,just as they say Minerva was from Jove's, none the more on that account would I suffer myself to be disgraced by your profligacy.1

SOSTRATA
May the Gods forbid it.

CHREMES
I don't know as to the Gods;2 so far as I shall be enabled, I will carefully prevent it. You are seeking that which you possess--parents; that which you are in want of you don't seek--in what way to pay obedience to a father, and to preserve what he acquired by his industry. That you by trickery should bring before my eyes----I am ashamed to mention the unseemly word in her presence pointing to SOSTRATA , but you were not in any degree ashamed to act thus.

CLITIPHO
aside. Alas! how thoroughly displeased I now am with myself! How much ashamed! nor do I know how to make a beginning to pacify him.

1 By your profligacy: It is probably this ebullition of Comic anger which is referred to by Horace, in his

Interdum tamen et vocem Comoedia tollit,
Iratusque Chremes tumido delitigat ore.

"Yet sometimes Comedy as well raises her voice, and enraged Chremes censures in swelling phrase."

2 I don't know as to the Gods: "Deos nescio." The Critic Lambinus, in his letter to Charles the Ninth of France, accuses Terence of impiety in this passage. Madame Dacier has, however, well observed, that the meaning is not "I care not for the Gods," but "I know not what the Gods will do."

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 56
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Horace, Ars Poetica, 93
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