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Enter MERCURY, running, at the end of the stage.
Stand by and make room all of you, get you out of the way. And let not any person now be so presumptuous as to stand before me in the road. For surely, why, by my troth, should I, a God, be any less allowed to threaten the public, if it does not get out of my way, than a slave in Comedies1? He is bringing news that the ship is safe, or else the approach of some angry old blade; whereas I am obeying the bidding of Jove, and by his command do I now hie me. For this reason, it is more fitting to get out of the road and to make room for me. My father calls me, I am following him, to his orders so given am I obedient. As it befits a son to be dutiful to his father, just so am I to my father; in his amours I play second fiddle to him, I encourage him, assist him, advise him, rejoice with him. If anything is pleasing to my father, that pleasure is an extremely great one for myself. Is he amorously disposed? He is wise; he does right, inasmuch as he follows his inclination; a thing that all men ought to do, so long as it is done in a proper manner. Now, my father wishes Amphitryon to be cajoled; I'll take care, Spectators, that he shall be rarely cajoled, while you look on. I'll place a chaplet on my head, and pretend that I am drunk. And up there pointing to the top of the house will I get; from that spot, at the top of the house, I'll cleverly drive this person off when he comes hither: I'll take care that, sober, he shall be drenched. Afterwards, his own servant Sosia will presently be suffering the punishment for it; he'll be accusing him of doing, this day, the things which I myself have done what's that to me? It's proper for me to be obedient to my father; it's right to be subservient to his pleasure. But see! here is Amphitryon; he's coming. Now shall he be rarely fooled, if, indeed, to the AUDIENCE you are willing, by listening, to lend your attention. I'll go in-doors, and assume a garb2 that more becomes me; then I'll go up upon the roof, that I may drive him off from hence. Goes into the house, and fastens the door.
1 Slave in Comedies: In reference to this passage, Thornton says, "It is remarkable that this circumstance, which appears to be here ridiculed, is introduced in no less than three of our author's Plays. In the Mercator, Acanthio runs to his master Charinus, to tell him that his mistress Pasicompsa has been seen in the ship by his father Demipho; in the Stichus, Dinacium (Pinacium), a slave, informs his mistress Panegyris (Philumena) that her husband has put into port on his return from Asia; and in the Mostellaria, Tranio brings information of the unexpected coming of Theuropides, an old gentleman. Terence has censured the like practice, in the Prologue to the Self-Tormentor."
2 Assume a garb: He perhaps means not only the chaplet worn by the reveller on his head, but the garb of a slave also.
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