But Machon has also collected the witty sayings of other courtesans too; and it will not be unseasonable to enumerate some of them now. Accordingly he mentions Gnathæna thus:—
Diphilus once was drinking with Gnathæna.
Said he, “Your cup is somewhat cold, Gnathæna;”
And she replied, "'Tis no great wonder, Diphilus,
For we take care to put some of your Plays in it."
Diphilus was once invited to a banquet
At fair Gnathæna's house, as men do say,
On the holy day of Venus' festival—
(He being a man above her other lovers
Beloved by her, though she conceal'd her flame).
He came accordingly, and brought with him
Two jars of Chian wine, and four, quite full,
Of wine from Thasos; perfumes, too, and crowns
Sweetmeats and venison; fillets for the head;
Fish, and a cook, and a female flute-player.
In the meantime a Syrian friend of hers
Sent her some snow, and one saperdes; she
Being ashamed lest any one should hear
She had received such gifts, and, above all men,
Fearing lest Diphilus should get at them,
And show her up in one of his Comedies,
She bade a slave to carry off at once
The salt fish to the men who wanted salt,
As every one did know; the snow she told him
To mix with the wine unseen by any one.
And then she bade the boy to fill the cup
With ten full cyathi of wine, and bear it
At once to Diphilus. He eagerly
Received the cup, and drain'd it to the bottom,
And, marvelling at the delicious coolness,
Said—"By Minerva, and by all the gods,
You must, Gnathæna, be allow'd by all
To have a most deliciously cool well."
“Yes,” said she, "for we carefully put in,
From day to day, the prologues of your plays."
A slave who had been flogg'd, whose back was mark'd
With heavy weals, was once, as it fell out,
Reposing with Gnathæna:—then, as she
Embraced him, she found out how rough all over
His back did feel. “Oh wretched man,” said she,
“In what engagement did you get these wounds?”
He in a few words answered her, and said,
"That when a boy, once playing with his playmates,
He'd fallen backwards into the fire by accident."
“Well,” said she, "if you were so wanton then,
You well deserved to be flogg'd, my friend."
Gnathæna once was supping with Dexithea,
[p. 927] Who was a courtesan as well as she;
And when Dexithea put aside with care
Nearly all the daintiest morsels for her mother,
She said, "I swear by Dian, had I known
How you went on, Dexithea, I would rather
Have gone to supper with your mother than you"
When this Gnathæna was advanced in years,
Hastening, as all might see, towards the grave,
They say she once went out into the market,
And look'd at all the fish, and ask'd the price
Of every article she saw. And seeing
A handsome butcher standing at his stall,1
Just in the flower of youth,—"Oh, in God's name,
Tell me, my youth, what is your price (πῶς ἴστης) to-day?"
He laugh'd, and said, “Why, if I stoop, three obols.”
“But who,” said she, "did give you leave, you wretch,
To use your Carian weights in Attica?"
Stratocles once made all his friends a present
Of kids and shell-fish greatly salted, seeming
To have dress'd them carefully, so that his friends
Should the next morning be o'erwhelm'd with thirst,
And thus protract their drinking, so that he
Might draw from them some ample contributions.
Therefore Gnathæna said to one of her lovers,
Seeing him wavering about his offerings,
“After the kids Stratocles brings a storm.”
Gnathæna, seeing once a thin young man,
Of black complexion, lean as any scarecrow,
Reeking with oil, and shorter than his fellows,
Called him in jest Adonis. When the youth
Answer'd her in a rude and violent manner,
She looking on her daughter who was with her,
Said, “Ah! it serves me right for my mistake.”
They say that one fine day a youth from Pontus
Was sleeping with Gnathæna, and at morn
He ask'd her to display her beauties to him.
But she replied, "You have no time, for now
It is the hour to drive the pigs to feed."