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to himself Not a whole life is sufficient for a lover thoroughly to learn, until he has become full well aware of this, in how many modes he may come to ruin; nor does Venus herself, in whose hands lie the sum and substance of lovers, ever instruct us in that art of reckoning--in how many ways one in love may be deluded, in how many modes he may come to ruin, and with how many modes of entreaty he may be entreated. How many blandishments are there in it, how many pettish ways in it, how many perils must be courted! Ye Gods! by our trust in you! Hey! what ground for perjury as well, besides the everlasting presents! In the first place then, there's the yearly allowance; that's her first haul1. For that the favour of three nights is granted. In the meantime she's trying for either money, or wine, or oil, or corn, to prove whether you are lavish or thrifty. Just like the person that throws a casting-net into a fish-pond; when the net has gone and sunk, then he contracts the folds; but if he has rightly thrown it, he takes care that the fish may not escape; then in this direction and that does he enfold the fish netted well, until he has taken them out of the water: just so is the lover. If he gives that which is asked for, and is lavish rather than thrifty, nightly favours are given in addition. Meanwhile he swallows down the hook. If once he has partaken of the cup of love unmixed, and that draught has made its way within his breast, forthwith both himself is ruined, and his fortune, and his credit. If the mistress is angry with her lover perchance, doubly is the lover ruined, both in fortune and in mind; but if one man is preferable to another in her eyes, just as much is he ruined; if he enjoys but few of her favours, in mind is he ruined; if he enjoys them in abundance, he himself is joyous, his fortunes are ruined. * * * Thus is it in the houses kept by procurers; before you've given a single thing, she's preparing a hundred to ask for; either a golden trinket's lost, or a mantle has been torn, or a female servant bought; or some silver vessel, or some vessel of brass, or expensive couch, or a Grecian cabinet, or there's always something to be lost and for the lover to be replacing for his mistress. And with one common earnestness do we conceal these losses while we are losing our fortunes, and our credit, and ourselves, lest our parents or our relatives should know something; whom, while we conceal it from them, if we were to make acquainted with it, for them in time to restrain our youthful age, we should be giving what has been received from them before to our descendants in reversion; I'd be for causing, that as there are now more procurers and harlots, there should be fewer and fewer of spendthrift fellows than there are at present; for now-a-days there are almost more procurers and harlots than flies at the time when it is most hot. For, if they are nowhere else, the procurers with their harlots are around the bankers' shops each day as though on siege. That score is the principal one; inasmuch as I know for certain, that now-a-days there are more harlots ready for the money than there are weights for weighing it. And I really don't know what purpose to say it is to serve that these procurers are thus keeping them at the bankers' shops, except as in the place of account-books, where the sums lent on loan may be set down--the sums received I mean, those expended let no one take count of. In fine, in a great nation, amid numberless persons, the state being tranquil and in quiet, the enemy vanquished, it befits all to be in love who have anything to give. Now, this Courtesan pointing to the house Phronesium, who dwells here, has totally expelled from my breast her own name. Phronesium, for Phronesis is wisdom2. For I confess that I was with her first and foremost; a thing that's very disastrous to a lover's cash. The same woman, after she had found another out, a greater spendthrift, who would give more, a Babylonian Captain3, whom the hussy said was troublesome and odious to her, forthwith banished me from the spot. He now is said to be about to arrive from abroad. For that reason has she now cooked up this device; she pretends that she has been brought to bed. That she may push me out of doors, and with the Captain alone live the life of a jovial Greek, she pretends that this Captain is the father of the child; for that reason does this most vile hussy need a palmed-off child. She fancies that she's deceiving me! Does she suppose that she could have concealed it from me, if she had been pregnant? Now I arrived at Athens the day before yesterday from Lemnos, whither I have been on an embassy from this place on the public service. But who's this woman? It's her servant-maid Astaphium. With her too as well I've had some acquaintanceship. Stands aside.
1 Her first haul: "Bolus." This is a metaphorical expression alluding to the casting of the net in fishing.
2 Phronesis is wisdom: He alludes to the resemblance of the name of Phronesium to the Greek word φρονηδὶς, "prudence," or "forethought." This line, however, is thought by some to be spurious, and to be a mere gloss or explanation.
3 Babylonian Captain: He does not mean an officer, a native of Babylon, but probably a Greek, serving for pav in the Babylonian army. Thus Xenophon and the Ten Thousand were Greeks in the pay of the Younger Cyrus.
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