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Enter PHORMIO and GETA.
And so you say1 that, dreading his father's presence, he has taken himself off? GETA
Exactly so. PHORMIO
That Phanium is left alone? GETA
Just so. PHORMIO
And that the old man is in a rage? GETA
Extremely so. PHORMIO
The whole business, Phormio, rests on yourself alone; you yourself have hashed it up;2 it must all be swallowed by yourself, so set about it. GETA
I entreat you---- PHORMIO
to himself. If he inquires. GETA
In you is all our hope. PHORMIO
to himself. Look at this, now:--What if he sends her back? GETA
It was you that urged us. PHORMIO
to himself. I think that will do. GETA
Do help us. PHORMIO
with alacrity. Let the old gentleman come; all my plans are now ready prepared in my mind. GETA
What will you do? PHORMIO
What would you have me? But that Phanium may continue with him, and that I may clear Antipho from this charge, and turn upon myself3 all the wrath of the old gentleman? GETA
O brave and kind man! But, Phormio, I often dread lest this courage may end in the stocks at last.4 PHORMIO
Oh, by no means; I've made trial, and have already pondered on the paths for my feet. How many men before to-day do you suppose I have beaten, even to death, strangers as well as citizens: the better I understand it, the oftener I try it. Just tell me, look you, did you ever hear of an action of damages being brought against me? GETA
How is that? PHORMIO
Because the net is never spread for the hawk or the kite, that do us the mischief; it is spread for those that do us none: because in the last there is profit, while with the others it is labor lost.- For persons, out of whom any thing can be got, there's risk from others; they know that I've got nothing. You will say: "They will take you,5 when sentenced, into their house;" they have no wish to maintain a devouring fellow; and, in my opinion, they are wise, if for an injury they are unwilling to return the highest benefits. GETA
It's impossible that sufficient thanks can be returned you by him for your kindness. PHORMIO
Why no; no person can return thanks sufficient to his patron6 for his kindness. For you to take your place at table at free cost,7 anointed and just washed at the bath, with your mind at ease, whereas he is devoured with the care and expense: while every thing is being done to give you delight, he is being vexed at heart; you are laughing away, first to drink,8 take the higher place; a banquet full of doubts9 is placed before you---- GETA
What is the meaning of that expression? PHORMIO
When you are in doubt which in especial to par-take of. When you enter upon a consideration how delicious these things are, and how costly they are, the person who provides them, must you not account him a very God--neither more nor less? GETA
The old man is coming; take care what you are about; the first onset is the fiercest; if you stand that, then, afterward, you may play just as you please. They retire to a distance.
1 And so you say)--Ver. 315. Donatus tells the following story with reference to this passage: "This Play being once rehearsed before Terence and some of his most intimate acquaintances, Ambivius, who acted the part of Phormio, came in drunk, which threw the author into a violent passion; but Ambivius had scarcely repeated a few lines, stammering and scratching his head, before Terence became pacified, declaring that when he was writing these very lines, he had exactly such a Parasite as Ambivius then represented, in his thoughts."
2 Have hashed it up)--Ver. 318. He is thought to allude here, figuratively, to the composition of a dish called "moretum," (in praise of which Virgil wrote a poem,) which was composed of garlic, onions, cheese, eggs, and other ingredients, beaten up in a mortar. The allusion to eating is appropriately used in an address to a Parasite.
3 Turn upon myself)--Ver. 323. Donatus observes that in this Scene Terence exhibits the lower order of Parasites, who ingratiated themselves by sharping and roguery, as in the Eunuchus he describes Parasites of a higher rank, and of a-newer species, who obtained their ends by flattery.
4 In the stock at last)--Ver. 325. "In nervum; crumpat denique." There are several interpretations suggested for these words. Some think they allude to the drawing of a bow till it breaks; but they are more generally thought to imply termination in corporal punishment. "Nervus" is supposed to have been the name of a kind of stocks used in torturing slaves, and so called from being formed, in part at least, of the sinews of animals.
6 To his patron)--Ver. 338. "Regi." The Parasites were in the habit of calling their patron "Rex," their "King."
7 At free cost)--Ver. 339. "Asymbolum." Without having paid his "symbola," or "club," for the entertainment. Donatus informs us that the whole of this passage is borrowed from one of Ennius, which is still preserved.
8 First to drink)--Ver. 342. To be the first to drink, and to take the higher place on the couch when eating, was the privilege of the most honored guests, who usually bathed, and were then anointed before the repast.
9 Banquet full of doubts)--Ver. 342. "Coena dubia." Horace, who borrows many of his phrases from Terence, uses the same expression.
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