This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Enter GETA, from the house of DEMIPHO.
at the door, to those within. If any red-haired man should inquire for me---- DAVUS
stepping forward. Here he is, say no more. GETA
starting. Oh! Why I was trying to come and meet you, Davus. DAVUS
giving the money to GETA. Here, take it; it's all ready counted out;1 the number just amounts to the sum I owed you.' GETA
I am obliged to you; and I return you thanks for not having forgotten me. DAVUS
Especially as people's ways are nowadays; things are come to such a pass, if a person repays you any thing, you must be greatly obliged to him. But why are you out of spirits? GETA
What, I? You little know what terror and peril I am in. DAVUS
What's the matter? GETA.
You shall know, if you can only keep it secret. DAVUS
Out upon you, simpleton; the man, whose trustworthiness you have experienced as to money, are you afraid to intrust with words? In what way have I any interest in deceiving you? GETA
Well then, listen. DAVUS
I give you my best attention. GETA
Davus, do you know Chremes, the elder brother of our old gentleman? DAVUS
Why should I not? GETA
Well, and his son Phaedria? DAVUS
As well as your own self. GETA
It so happened to both the old gentlemen, just at the same period, that the one had to take a journey to Lemnos, and our old man to Cilicia, to see an old acquaintance; he tempted over the old man by letters, promising him all but mountains of gold. DAVUS
To one who had so much property, that he had more than he could use? GETA
Do have done; that is his way. DAVUS
Oh, as for that, I really ought to have been a man of fortune. GETA
When departing hence, both the old gentlemen left ne as a sort of tutor to their sons. DAVUS
Ah, Geta, you undertook a hard task there. GETA
I came to experience it, I know that. I'm quite sure that I was forsaken by my good Genius, who must have been angry with me.2 I began to oppose them at first; but what need of talking? As long as I was trusty to the old men, I was paid for it in my shoulder-blades. This, then, occurred to my mind: why, this is folly to kick against the spur.3 I began to do every thing for them that they wished to be humored in. DAVUS
You knew how to make your market.4 GETA
Our young fellow did no mischief whatever at first; that Phaedria at once picked up a certain damsel, a Music-girl, and fell in love with her to distraction. She belonged to a most abominable Procurer; and their fathers had taken good care that they should have nothing to give him.. There remained nothing for him then but to feed his eyes, to follow her about, to escort her to the school,5 and to escort her back again. We, having nothing to do, lent our aid to Phaedria. Near the school at which she was taught, right opposite the place, there was a certain barber's shop: here we were generally in the habit of waiting for her, until she was coming home again. In the mean time, while one day we were sitting there, there came in a young man in tears;6 we were surprised at this. We inquired what was the matter? "Never," said he, "has poverty appeared to me a burden so grievous and so insupportable as just now. I have just seen a certain poor young woman in this neighborhood lamenting her dead mother. She was laid out before her, and not a single friend, acquaintance, or relation was there with her, except one poor old woman, to assist her in the funeral: I pitied her. The girl herself was of surpassing beauty." What need of a long story? She moved us all. At once Antipho exclaims, "Would you like us to go and visit her?" The other said, "I think awe ought--let us go--show us the way, please." We went, and arrived there; we saw her; the girl was beautiful, and that you might say so the more, there was no heightening to her beauty; her hair disheveled, her feet bare, herself neglected, and in tears; her dress:mean, so 'that, had there not been an excess of beauty in her very charms, these circumstances must have extinguished those charms. The one who had lately fallen in love with the Music-girl said: "She is well enough;" but our youth---- DAVUS
I know it already-fell in love with her. GETA
Can you imagine to what an extent? Observe the consequence. The day after, he goes straight to the old woman; entreats her to let him have her: she, on the other hand, refuses him, and says that he is not acting properly; that,she is a citizen of Athens, virtuous, and born of honest parents: that if he wishes to make her his wife, he is at liberty to do so according to law; but if otherwise, she gives him a refusal. Our youth was at a loss what to. do. He was both eager to marry her, and he dreaded his absent father. DAVUS
Would not his father, if he had returned, have given him leave? GETA
He let him marry a girl with no fortune, and of obscure birth! He would never do so. DAVUS
What came of it at last? GETA
What came of it? There is one Phormio here, a Parasite, a fellow of great assurance; may all the Gods confound him! DAVUS
What has he done? GETA
He has given this piece of advice, which I will tell you of. "There is a law, that orphan girls are to marry those who are their next-of-kin; and the same law commands such persons to marry them. I'll say you are the next-of-kin, and take out a summons7 against you; I'll pretend that I am a friend of the girl's father; we will come before the judges: who her father was, who her mother, how she is related to you--all this I'll trump up, just as will be advantageous and suited to my purpose; on your disproving none of these things, I shall prevail, of course. Your father will return; a quarrel will be the consequence; what care I? She will still be ours." DAVUS
An amusing piece of assurance! GETA
He was, persuaded to this. It was carried out; they came into court: we were beaten. He has married her. DAVUS
What is it you tell me? GETA
Just what you have heard. DAVUS
0 Geta, what will become of you? GETA
Upon my faith, I don't know; this one thing I do know, whatever fortune may bring, I'll bear it with firmness. DAVUS
You please me; well, that is the duty of a man. GETA
All my hope is in myself. DAVUS
I commend you. GETA
Suppose I have recourse to some one to intercede for me, who will plead for: me in these terms: "Pray, do forgive him this time; but if after this he does any thing, I make no entreaty:" if only he doesn't add, "When I've gone, e'en kill him for my part." DAVUS
What of the one who was usher to the Music-girl?8 GETA
shrugging his shoulders. So so, but poorly. DAVUS
Perhaps he hasn't much to give. GETA
Why, really, nothing at all, except mere hopes. DAVUS
Is his father come back or not? GETA
Not yet. DAVUS
Well, when do you expect your old man? GETA
I don't know for certain; but I just now heard that a letter has been brought from him, and has been left with the officers of the customs: I'm going to fetch it. DAVUS
Is there any thing else that you want with me, Geta? GETA
Nothing, but that I wish you well. Exit DAVUS. Hark you, boy calling at the door . Is nobody coming out here? A LAD comes out. Take this, and give it to Dorcium. He gives the purse to the LAD, who carries it into DEMIPHO'S house and exit GETA.
1 Ready counted out: "Lectum," literally "picked out" or "chosen"--the coins being of full weight.
2 Have been angry with me: le alludes to the common belief that each person had a Genius or Guardian Deity; and that when misfortune overtook him, he had been abandoned by his Genius.
3 Kick against the spur: "To kick against the pricks," or "in spite of the spur," was a common Greek proverb.--The expression occurs in the New Testament, Acts ix. 5. "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
4 To make your market: This is a metaphorical expression taken from traffic, in which merchants suit themselves to the times, and fix a price on their commodities, according to the course of the market.
5 To the school: It was the custom for the "lenones," or "procurers," to send their female slaves to music-schools, in order to learn accomplishments. So in the Prologue to the Rudens of Plautus: "This Procurer brought the maiden to Cyrene hither. A-certain Athenian youth, a citizen of this city, beheld her as she was going home from the music-school."
6 Young man in tears)--Ver. 92. In the Play of Apollodorus, it was the barber himself that gave the account how he had just returned from cutting off the young woman's hair, which was one of the usual ceremonies in mourning among the Greeks. Donatus remarks, that Terence altered this circumstance that he might not shock a Roman audience by a reference to manners so different from their own.
7 Take out a summons: "Dica" was the writ or summons with which an action at law was commenced.
8 Usher to the Music-girl)-- Ver. 144. This is said satirically of Phaedria, who was in the habit of escorting the girl to the music-school. It was the duty of the "paedagogi," or "tutors," to lead the children to school, who were placed under their care. See the speech of Lydus, the paedagogus of Pistoclerus, in the Bacchides of Plautus, Act iii. Sc. 3, where, enlarging upon his duties, he mentions this among them.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.