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Enter STROBILUS 1.
This is the duty of a good servant, to do what I'm intending, not to consider the commands of his master a bore or trouble to him. For that servant who resolves to serve his master with hearty goodwill, him it behoves to act expeditiously for his master, slowly for himself; but if he sleeps, let him so sleep as to bethink himself that he is a servant. But he who lives in servitude to one in love, as I am serving, if he sees love overcoming his master, this I think to be the duty of the servant; to restrain him for his safety, not to impel him onwards towards his own inclination. Just as a float of bulrushes is placed beneath boys who are learning to swim, by means of which they may labour less, so as to swim more easily and move their hands; in the same way do I consider that it is proper for the servant to be a buoy to his master thus in love, so as to bear him up lest he should go to the bottom; and so * * * * should he learn the will of his master, that his eyes should know what his mouth chooses not to speak. What he orders, he should hasten to perform more swiftly than the swift steeds. He who shall have a care for these things, will escape the castigation of the ox's hide, nor by his own means will he ever bring the fetters to brightness. Now, my master's in love with the daughter of this poor man, Euclio; word has just now been brought to my master that she is given to Megadorus here: he has sent me here to spy out, that he may be made acquainted with the things that are going on. Now, without any suspicion, I'll sit here by the sacred altar2. From this spot I shall be able, in this direction and that, to witness what they are about. He sits by the altar, and on seeing EUCLIO, hides behind it.
1 Strobilus: It is a curious fact that all of the editions make this to be a different person from the Strobilus, the servant of Megadorus, whom we have already seen hiring Congrio, Anthrax, and the "tibicinæ." In the "dramatis personæ" they style this one, Strobilus, "the servant of Lyconides," and the other Strobilus, in some instances, as "the servant of Megadorus," and in others (evidently by mistake) as "the servant of Euclio." On examination we shall find there is no ground for this. Eunomia (most probably a widow) is living, together with her son Lyconides, in the house of her brother Megadorus. This is clear from what Lyconides says in l. 684, where, speaking of the house of his uncle, he calls it "ædes nostras," "our house," which he would not have said had he not been residing there. By the indulgence of his uncle, who has no children, we may presume that Strobilus has been permitted to consider him as "his young master." After hiring the cooks, he has communicated the bad news to Lyconides, who tells him to keep a good look-out, and inform him of any chance that may possibly happen for breaking off the marriage.
2 By the sacred altar: The Athenians often raised altars to Apollo or Bacchus at their doors. The Romans also had altars in their public streets. On the stage of Comedy there was generally an altar erected in honor of Apollo, προστατηριὸς, "that presides."
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