This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Enter DEMEA, on the other side of the stage.
to himself. I certainly am an unfortunate man. In the first place, I can find my brother nowhere; and then, in the next place, while looking for him, I met a day-laborer1 from the farm; he says that my son is not in the country, and what to do I know not---- CTESIPHO
apart. Syrus! SYRUS
apart. What's the matter? CTESIPHO
apart. Is he looking for me? SYRUS
apart. Yes. CTESIPHO
apart. Undone! SYRUS
apart. Nay, do be of good heart. DEMEA
to himself. Plague on it! what ill luck is this? I can not really account for it, unless I suppose myself only born for the purpose of enduring misery. I am the first to feel our misfortunes; the first to know of them all; then the first to carry the news; I am the only one, if any thing does go wrong, to take it to heart. SYRUS
apart. I'm amused at him; he says that he is the first to know of every thing, while he is the only one ignorant of every thing. DEMEA
to himself. I've now come back; and I'll go see whether perchance my brother has yet returned. CTESIPHO
apart. Syrus, pray do take care that he doesn't suddenly rush in upon us here. SYRUS
apart. Now will you hold your tongue? I'll take care. CTESIPHO
apart. Never this day will I depend on your management for that, upon my faith; for I'll shut myself up with her in some cupboard 2--that's the safest. Goes into the house. SYRUS
apart. Do so, still I'll get rid of him. DEMEA
seeing SYRUS. But see! there's that rascal, Syrus. SYRUS
aloud, pretending not to see DEMEA. Really, upon my faith, no person can stay here, if this is to be the case! ]For my part, I should like to know how many masters I have--what a cursed condition this is DEMEA
What's he whining about? What does he mean? How say you, good sir, is my brother at home? SYRUS
What the plague do you talk to me about, 'good sir"? I'm quite distracted! DEMEA
What's the matter with you? SYRUS
Do you ask the question Ctesipho has been beating me, poor wretch, and that Music-girl, almost to death. DEMEA
Ha! what is it you tell me? SYRUS
Aye, see how he has cut my lip. Pretends to point to it. DEMEA
For what reason? SYRUS
He says that she was bought by my advice. DEMEA
Did not you tell me, a short time since, that you had seen him on his way into the country? SYRUS
I did; but he afterward came back, raving like a madman; he spared nobody--ought he not to have been ashamed to beat an old man? Him whom, only the other day, I used to carry about in my arms when thus high? Showing. DEMEA
I commend him; O Ctesipho, you take after your father. Well, I do pronounce you a man. SYRUS
Commend him? Assuredly he will keep his hands to himself in future, if he's wise. DEMEA
'Twas done with spirit. SYRUS
Very much so, to be beating a poor woman, and me, a slave, who didn't dare strike him in return; heyday! very spirited indeed! DEMEA
He could not have done better; he thought the same as I did, that you were the principal in this affair. But is my brother within? SYRUS
He is not. DEMEA
I'm thinking where to look for him. SYRUS
I know where he is--but I shall not tell you at present. DEMEA
Ha! what's that you say? SYRUS
I do say so. DEMEA
Then I'll break your head for you this instant. SYRUS
I can't tell the person's name he's gone to, but I know the place where he lives. DEMEA
Tell me the place then. SYRUS
Do you know the portico down this way, just by the shambles? Pointing in the direction. DEMEA
How should I but know it? SYRUS
Go straight along, right up that street; when you come there, there is a descent right opposite that goes down-ward, go straight down that; afterward, on this side extending one hand , there is a chapel: close by it is a narrow lane, where there's also a great wild fig-tree. DEMEA
I know it. SYRUS
Go through that---- DEMEA
But that lane is not a thoroughfare. SYRUS
I' faith, that's true; dear, dear, would you take me to be in my senses? 3 I made a mistake. Return to the portico; indeed that will be a much nearer way, and there is less going round about you know the house of Cratinus, the rich man? DEMEA
I know it. SYRUS
When you have passed that, keep straight along that street on the left hand; 4 when you come to the Temple of Diana, turn to the right; before you come to the city gate,5 just by that pond, there is a baker's shop, and opposite to it a joiner's; there he is. DEMEA
What is he doing there? SYRUS
He has given some couches to be made, with oaken legs, for use in the open air. 6 DEMEA
For you to carouse upon! Very fine ! But why do I delay going to him? (Exit.) SYRUS
Go, by all means. I'll work you to day, you skeleton, 7 as you deserve. Aeschinus loiters intolerably; the breakfast's spoiling; arid as for Ctesipho, he's head and ears in love. 8 I shall now think of myself, for I'll be off at once, and pick out the very nicest bit, and, leisurely sipping my cups, 9 I'll lengthen out the day. Goes into the house.
1 Met a day-laborer: Donatus remarks that the Poet artfully contrives to detain Demea in town, his presence being necessary in the latter part of the Play.
2 With her in some cupboard: Donatus observes that the young man was silly in this, for if discovered to be there he would be sure to be-caught. His object, however, for going there would be that he might not be discovered.
4 Street on the left hand: Theobald, in his edition of Shakspeare, observes that the direction given by Lancelot in the Merchant of Venice seems to be copied from that given here by Syrus: “"Turn up on your right hand at the next turning, but at the next turning of all on your left; marry, at the very next turning of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house."” (2.2)
5 Come to the city gate: From this we discover that Demea is being sent to the very extremity of the town, as Donatus informs us that ponds of water were always close to the gates of towns, for the purpose of watering the beasts. of burden, and of having a supply at hand in case the enemy should set fire to the city gates.
6 The open air: Donatus remarks that it was usual for the Greeks to sit and drink in the sun; and that Syrus being suddenly asked this question shows his presence of mind by giving this circumstantial answer, that he may the better impose upon Demea. The couches used on such occasions may be presumed to have required stout legs, and to be made of hard wood, such as oak, to prevent them from splitting. Two instances of couches being used for carousing in the open air will be found in the last Scenes of the Asinaria and Stichus of Plautus.
7 You skeleton: "Silicernium." This was said to be the name of a funeral entertainment or dish of meats offered up to the "umbras" or "manes," in silence. The word is also said to have been applied to an old man from his stooping postures, "silices cernit," "he looks at the stones."
9 Sipping my cups: As to the "cyathi" and cups of the ancients, see the last Scene of the Stichus of Plautus, which is a perfect specimen of a carousal among the lower classes in ancient times. See also the last Scene of the Asinaria. The slaves generally appear to have taken part in the entertainments with their young masters.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.