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Enter LUXURY and POVERTY.1
Follow me this way, daughter, that you may perform your office. POVERTY.
I am following, but I know not what to say will be the end of our journey. LUXURY.
'Tis here. See, this is the house. Now go you in. (Exit POVERTY, who enters the house of CHARMIDES. ） LUXURY.
to the AUDIENCE . Now, that no one of you may be mistaken, in a few words I will conduct you into the right path, if, indeed, you promise to listen to me. First, then, I will now tell you who I am, and who she is who has gone in here pointing to the house , if you give your attention. In the first place, Plautus has given me the name of Luxury, and then he has willed that this Poverty should be my daughter. But why, at my suggestion, she has just entered here, listen and give attentive ear while I inform you. There is a certain young man who is living in this house; by my assistance he has squandered away his paternal estate. Since I see that there is nothing left for him to support me, I have given him my daughter, together with whom to pass his life. But expect nothing about the plot of this play: the old men who will come hither will disclose the matter to you. The name of this play in the Greek is "The Treasure" [Thesaurus]; Philemon wrote it2: Plautus translated it into Latin3, and gave it the name of "The Three Pieces of Money" [Trinummus]. Now, he begs this of you, that it may be allowed the play to keep that name. Thus much have I to say. Farewell. Attend in silence. (Exit.)
1 The Prologue: This Prologue is one of the few figurative ones to be found in the Comedies of Plautus. He appropriately represents Luxury as introducing her daughter Poverty to the abode of the dissipated Lesbonicus. Claudian has a somewhat similar passage in his poem to Rufinus:
“Et Luxus, populator opum, cui, semper adhærens,
Infelix humili gressu comitatur Egestas.
” "And Luxury, the waster of wealth, whom, ever attending, wretched Poverty accompanies with humble step." It has been justly observed, that Plautus here avoids a fault which he often falls into, of acquainting the audience with too much of the plot.
2 Philemon wrote it: Not only Philemon, but Menander also, wrote a play, entitled the "Treasure."
3 In Latin: "Barbare" We learn from Festus, and other authors, that the Greeks were in the habit of calling all nations, without exception, but themselves, "barbarians." Hence the present expression, which literally meant into barbarous language."
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