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Enter SYRUS, drunk, and DEMEA, on the opposite side of the stage.
Upon my faith, my dear little Syrus, you have taken delicate care of yourself, and have done your duty1 with exquisite taste; be off with you. But since I've had my fill of every thing in-doors, I have felt disposed to take a walk. DEMEA
apart. Just look at that--there's an instance of their good training! SYRUS
to himself. But see, here comes our old man. Addressing him. What's the matter ? Why out of spirits? DEMEA
Oh you rascal! SYRUS
Hold now; are you spouting your sage maxims here? DEMEA
If you were my servant---- SYRUS
Why, you would be a rich man, Demea, and improve your estate. DEMEA
I would take care that you should be an example to all the rest. SYRUS
For what reason ? What have I done ? DEMEA
Do you ask me ? in the midst of this confusion, and during the greatest mischief, which is hardly yet set right, you have been getting drunk, you villain, as though things had been going on well. SYRUS
aside. Really, I wish I hadn't come out.
Enter DROMO in haste, from the house of MICIO.
Halloo, Syrus! Ctesipho desires you'll come back. SYRUS
Get you gone. Pushes him back into the house. DEMEA
What is it he says about Ctesipho? SYRUS
How now, you hang-dog, is Ctesipho in the house? SYRUS
He is not. DEMEA
Then why does he mention him? SYRUS
It's another person; a little diminutive Parasite. Don't you know him? DEMEA
I will know him before long. Going to the door. SYRUS
stopping him. What are you about? Whither are you going? DEMEA
struggling. Let me alone. SYRUS
holding him. Don't, I tell you. DEMEA
Won't you keep your hands off, whip-scoundrel? Or would you like me to knock your brains out this instant ? Rushes into the house. SYRUS
He's gone! no very pleasant boon-companion, upon my faith, particularly to Ctesipho. What am I to do now ? Why, even get into some corner till this tempest is lulled, and sleep off this drop of wine. That's my plan. Goes into the house, staggering.
Enter MICIO, from the house of SOSTRATA.
to SOSTRATA, within. Every thing's ready with us, as I told you, Sostrata, when you like.--Who, I wonder, is making my door fly open with such fury ? Enter DEMEA in haste, from the house of MICIO. DEMEA
Alas! what shall I do? How behave? In what terms exclaim, or how make my complaint? O heavens! O earth! O seas of Neptune ! MICIO
apart. Here's for you! he has discovered all about the affair; and of course is now raving about it; a quarrel is the consequence; I must assist him,2 however. DEMEA
See, here comes the common corrupter of my children. MICIO
Pray moderate your passion, and recover yourself. DEMEA
I have moderated it; I am myself; I forbear all reproaches; let us come to the point: was this agreed upon between us,--proposed by yourself, in fact,--that you were not to concern yourself about my son, nor I about yours? Answer me. MICIO
It is the fact,--I don't deny it. DEMEA
Why is he now carousing at your house? Why are you harboring my son ? Why do you purchase a mistress for him, Micio ? Is it at all fair, that I should have any less justice from you, than you from me? Since I do not concern myself about your son, don't you concern yourself about mine. MICIO
You don't reason fairly. DEMEA
No ? MICIO
For surely it is a maxim of old, that among themselves all things are common to friends. DEMEA
Smartly said; you've got that speech up for the occasion. MICIO
Listen to a few words, unless it is disagreeable, Demea. In the first place, if the extravagance your sons are guilty of distresses you, pray do reason with yourself. You formerly brought up the two suitably to your circumstances, thinking that your own property would have to suffice for them both; and, of course, you then thought that I should marry. Adhere to that same old rule of yours,--save, scrape together, and be thrifty for them; take care to leave them as much as possible, and take that credit to yourself: my fortune, which has come to them beyond their expectation, allow them to enjoy; of your capital there will be no diminution; what comes from this quarter, set it all down as so much gain. If you think proper impartially to consider these matters in your mind, Demea, you will save me and yourself, and them, considerable uneasiness. DEMEA
I don't speak about the expense; their morals---- MICIO
Hold; I understand you; that point I was coming to.3 There are in men, Demea, many signs from which a conjecture is easily formed; so that when two persons do the same thing, you may often say, this one may be allowed to do it with impunity, the other may not; not that the thing itself is different, but that he is who does it. I see signs in them, so as to feel confident that they will turn out as we wish. I see that they have good sense and understanding, that they have modesty upon occasion, and are affectionate to each other; you may infer that their bent and disposition is of a pliant nature; at any time you like you may reclaim them. But still, you may be apprehensive that they will be somewhat too apt to neglect their interests. O my dear Demea, in all other things we grow wiser with age; this sole vice does old age bring upon men: we are all more solicitous about our own interests than we need be; and in this respect age will make them sharp enough. DEMEA
Only take care, Micio, that these fine reasonings of yours, and this easy disposition of yours, do not ruin us in the end. MICIO
Say no more; there's no danger of that. Now think no further of these matters. Put yourself to-day into my hands; smooth your brow. DEMEA
Why, as the occasion requires it, I must do so; but to-morrow I shall be off with my son into the country at day-break. MICIO
Aye, to-night, for my share; only keep yourself in good-humor for the day. DEMEA
I'll carry off that Music-girl along with me as well. MICIO
You will gain your point; by that means you will keep your son fast there; only take care to secure her. DEMEA
I'll see to that; and what with cooking and grinding, I'll take care she shall be well covered with ashes, smoke, and meal; besides all this, at the very mid-day4 I'll set her gathering stubble; I'll make her as burned and as black as a coal. MICIO
You quite delight me; now you seem to me to be wise; and for my part I would then compel my son to go to bed with her, even though he should be unwilling. DEMEA
Do you banter me? Happy man, to have such a temper! I feel---- MICIO
Ah ! at it again! DEMEA
I'll have done then at once. MICIO
Go in-doors then, and let's devote this day to the object5 to which it belongs. Goes into the house.
Never was there any person of ever such well-trained habits of life, but that experience, age, and custom are always bringing him something new, or suggesting something; so much so, that what you believe you know you don't know, and what you have fancied of first importance to you, on making trial you reject; and this is my case at present: for the rigid life I have hitherto led, my race nearly run, I now renounce. Why so ?--I have found, by experience, that there is nothing better for a man than an easy temper and complacency. That this is the truth, it is easy for any one to understand on comparing me with my brother. He has always spent his life in ease and gayety; mild, gentle, offensive to no one, having a smile for all, he has lived for himself, and has spent his money for himself; all men speak well of him, all love him. I, again, a rustic, a rigid, cross, self-denying, morose and thrifty person, married a wife; what misery I entailed in consequence! Sons were born--a fresh care. And just look, while I have been studying to do as much as possible for them, I have worn out my life and years in saving; now, in the decline of my days, the return I get from them for my pains is their dislike. He, on the other hand, with out any trouble on his part, enjoys a father's comforts; they love him; me they shun; him they trust with all their secrets, are fond of him, are always with him. I am forsaken; they wish him to live; but my death, forsooth, they are longing for. Thus, after bringing them up with all possible pains, at a trifling cost he has made them his own; thus I bear all the misery, he enjoys the pleasure. Well, then, henceforward let us try, on the other hand, whether I can't speak kindly and act complaisantly, as he challenges me to it: I also want myself to be loved and highly valued by my friends. If that is to be effected by giving and indulging, I will not be behind him. If our means fail, that least concerns me, as I am the eldest.6
Hark you, Demea, your brother begs you will not go out of the way. DEMEA
Who is it?--O Syrus, my friend,7 save you! how are you? How goes it with you? SYRUS
Very well. DEMEA
Very good. Aside. I have now for the first time used these three expressions contrary to my nature,--"O Syrus, my friend, how are you ?--how goes it with you?" To SYRUS. You show yourself far from an unworthy servant, and I shall gladly do you a service. SYRUS
I thank you. DEMEA
Yes, Syrus, it is the truth; and you shall be convinced of it by experience before long.
Enter GETA, from the house of SOSTRATA.
to SOSTRATA, within . Mistress, I am going to see after them, that they may send for the damsel as soon as possible; but see, here's Demea. Accosting him. Save you! DEMEA
O, what's your name? GETA
Geta, I have this day come to the conclusion that you are a man of very great worth, for I look upon him as an undoubtedly good servant who has a care for his master; as I have found to be your case, Geta; and for that reason, if any opportunity should offer, I would gladly do you a service. Aside. I am practicing the affable, and it succeeds very well. GETA
You are kind, sir, to think so. DEMEA
aside. Getting on by degrees--I'll first make the lower classes my own.
Enter AESCHINUS, from the house of MICIO.
to himself. They really are killing me while too intent on performing the nuptials with all ceremony; the whole day is being wasted in their preparations. DEMEA
Aeschinus ! how goes it? AESCHINUS
Ha, my father! are you here ? DEMEA
Your father, indeed, both by affection and by nature; as I love you more than my very eyes; but why don't you send for your wife ? AESCHINUS
So I wish to do; but I am waiting for the music-girl8 and people to sing the nuptial song. DEMEA
Come now, are you willing to listen to an old fellow like me? AESCHINUS
What is it? DEMEA
Let those things alone, the nuptial song, the crowds, the torches,9 and the music-girls, and order the stone wall in the garden10 here to be pulled down with all dispatch, and bring her over that way; make but one house of the two; bring the mother and all the domestics over to our house. AESCHINUS
With all my heart, kindest father. DEMEA
aside. Well done! now I am called " kind." My brother's house will become a thoroughfare; he will be bringing home a multitude, incurring expense in many ways: what matters it to me ? I, as the kind Demea, shall get into favor. Now then, bid that Babylonian11 pay down his twenty minae. To SYRUS. Syrus, do you delay to go and do it ? SYRUS
What am I to do? DEMEA
Pull down the wall: and you, Geta, go and bring them across. GETA
May the Gods bless you, Demea, as I see you so sincere a well-wisher to our family. GETA and SYRUS go into MICIO'S house. DEMEA
I think they deserve it. What say you, Aeschinus, as to this plan ? AESCHINUS
I quite agree to it. DEMEA
It is much more proper than that she, being sick and lying-in, should be brought hither through the street. AESCHINUS
Why, my dear father, I never did see any thing better contrived. DEMEA
It's my way; but see, here's Micio coming out.
Enter MICIO, from his house.
speaking to GETA, within. Does my brother order it? Where is he? To DEMEA. Is this your order, Demea? DEMEA
Certainly, I do order it, and in this matter, and in every thing else, wish especially to make this family one with ourselves, to oblige, serve, and unite them. AESCHINUS
Father, pray let it be so. MICIO
I do not oppose it. DEMEA
On the contrary, i' faith, it is what we ought to do: in the first place, she is the mother of his wife pointing to AESCHINUS . MICIO
She is. What then? DEMEA
An honest and respectable woman. MICIO
So they say. DEMEA
Advanced in years. MICIO
I am aware of it. DEMEA
Through her years, she is long past child-bearing; there is no one to take care of her; she is a lone woman. MICIO
aside. What can be his meaning ? DEMEA
It is right you should marry her; and that you, Aeschinus, should use your endeavors to effect it. MICIO
I, marry her, indeed ? DEMEA
You, I say. MICIO
You are trifling ! DEMEA
Aeschinus, if you are a man, he'll do it AESCHINUS
My dear father---- MICIO
What, ass! do you attend to him? DEMEA
'T is all in vain; it can not be otherwise. MICIO
You are mad! AESCHINUS
Do let me prevail on you, my father. MICIO
Are you out of your senses? Take yourself off.12 DEMEA
Come, do oblige your son. MICIO
Are you quite in your right mind? Am I, in my five-and-sixtieth year, to be marrying at last? A decrepit old woman too ? Do you advise me to do this? AESCHINUS
Do; I have promised it.13 MICIO
Promised, indeed; be generous at your own cost, young man. DEMEA
Come, what if he should ask a still greater favor ? MICIO
As if this was not the greatest ! DEMEA
Do comply. AESCHINUS
Don't make any difficulty. DEMEA
Do promise. MICIO
Will you not have done? AESCHINUS
Not until I have prevailed upon you. MICIO
Really, this is downright force.14 DEMEA
Act with heartiness, Micio. MICIO
Although this seems to me15 to be wrong, foolish, absurd, and repugnant to my mode of life, yet, if you so strongly wish it, be it so. AESCHINUS
You act obligingly. DEMEA
With reason I love you; but---- MICIO
What ? DEMEA
I will tell you, when my wish has been complied with. MICIO
What now ? What remains to be done? DEMEA
Hegio here is their nearest relation; he is a connection of ours and poor; we ought to do some good for him. MICIO
Do what? DEMEA
There is a little farm here in the suburbs, which you let out; let us give it him to live upon. MICIO
But is it a little one ? DEMEA
If it were a large one, still it ought to be done; he has been as it were a father to her; he is a worthy man, and connected with us; it would be properly bestowed. In fine, I now adopt that proverb which you, Micio, a short time ago repeated with sense and wisdom--it is the common vice of all, in old age, to be too intent upon our own interests. This stain we ought to avoid: it is a true maxim, and ought to be observed in deed. MICIO
What am I to say to this? Well then, as he desires it pointing to AESCHINUS , it shall be given him. AESCHINUS
My father! DEMEA
Now, Micio, you are indeed my brother, both in spirit and in body. MICIO
I am glad of it. DEMEA
aside. I foil him at his own weapon.16
Enter SYRUS, from the house.
It has been done as you ordered, Demea. DEMEA
You are a worthy fellow. Upon my faith,--in my opinion, at least,--I think Syrus ought at once to be made free. MICIO
He free! For what reason? DEMEA
For many. SYRUS
O my dear Demea! upon my word, you are a worthy man! I have strictly taken care of both these sons of yours, from childhood; I have taught, advised, and carefully instructed them in every thing I could. DEMEA
The thing is evident; and then, besides all this, to cater for them, secretly bring, home a wench, prepare a morning entertainment;17 these are the accomplishments of no ordinary person. SYRUS
O, what a delightful man ! DEMEA
Last of all, he assisted to-day in purchasing this Music-wench--he had the management of it; it is right he should be rewarded; other servants will be encouraged thereby: besides, he pointing to AESCHINUS desires it to be so. MICIO
to AESCHINUS. Do you desire this to be done? AESCHINUS
I do wish it. MICIO
Why then, if you desire it, just come hither, Syrus, to me performing the ceremony of manumission ; be a free man.18 SYRUS
You act generously; I return my thanks to you all;--and to you, Demea, in particular. DEMEA
I congratulate you. AESCHINUS
And I. SYRUS
I believe you. I wish that this joy were made complete--that I could see my wife, Phrygia,19 free as well. DEMEA
Really, a most excellent woman. SYRUS
And the first to suckle your grandchild, his son, today pointing to AESCHINUS . DEMEA
Why really, in seriousness, if she was the first to do so, there is no doubt she ought to be made free. MICIO
What, for doing that? DEMEA
For doing that; in fine, receive the amount from me20 at which she is valued. SYRUS
May all the Gods always grant you, Demea, all you desire. MICIO
Syrus, you have thrived pretty well to-day. DEMEA
If, in addition, Micio, you will do your duty, and lend him a little ready money in hand for present use, he will soon repay you. MICIO
Less than this snapping his fingers . AESCHINUS
He is a deserving fellow. SYRUS
Upon my word, I will repay it; only lend it me. AESCHINUS
Do, father. MICIO
I'll consider of it afterward. DEMEA
He'll do it, Syrus. SYRUS
O most worthy man ! AESCHINUS
O most kind-hearted father! MICIO
How is this? What has so suddenly changed your disposition, Demea? What caprice is this? What means this sudden liberality?21 DEMEA
I will tell you:--That I may convince you of this, Micio, that the fact that they consider you an easy and kind-hearted man, does not proceed from your real life, nor, indeed, from a regard for virtue and justice; but from your humoring, indulging, and pampering them. Now therefore, Aeschinus, if my mode of life has been displeasing to you, because I do not quite humor you in every thing, just or unjust, I have done: squander, buy, do what you please. But if you would rather have one to reprove and correct those faults, the results of which, by reason of your youth, you can not see, which you pursue too ardently, and are thoughtless upon, and in due season to direct you; behold me ready to do it for you. AESCHINUS
Father, we leave it to you; you best know what ought to be done. But what is to be done about my brother? DEMEA
I consent. Let him have his mistress:22 with her let him make an end of his follies. MICIO
That's right. To the AUDIENCE. Grant us your applause.
1 Have done your duty: His duty of providing the viands and drink for the entertainment. So Ergasilus says in the Captivi of Plautus, l. 912 "Now I will go off to my government (praefecturam), to give laws to the bacon."
2 I must assist him: Colman remarks on this passage: "The character of Micio appears extremely amiable through the first four Acts of this Comedy, and his behavior is in many respects worthy of imitation; but his conduct in conniving at the irregularities of Ctesipho, and even assisting him to support them, is certainly reprehensible. Perhaps the Poet threw this shade over his virtues on purpose to show that mildness and good-humor might be carried to excess."
3 That point I was coming to: Colman observes here: "Madame Dacier makes an observation on this speech, something like that of Donatus on one of Micio's above; and says that Micio, being hard put to it by the real circumstances of the case, thinks to confound Demea by a nonsensical gallimatia. I can not be of the ingenious lady's opinion on this matter, for I think a more sensible speech could not be made, nor a better plea offered in favor of the young men, than that of Micio in the present instance."
4 At the very mid-day: Exposed to the heat of a mid-day sun.
5 To the object: The marriage and its festivities.
6 Am the eldest: And therefore likely to be the first to die, and to avoid seeing such a time come.
7 O Syrus, my friend: The emptiness of his poor attempts to be familiar are very evident in this line.
8 The music-girl: "Tibicinae," or music-girls, attended at marriage ceremonials. See the Aulularia of Plautus, where Megadorus hires the music-girls on his intended marriage with the daughter of Euclio.
9 The crowds, the torches: See the Casina of Plautus, Act IV., Scenes 3 and 4, for some account of the marriage ceremonial. The torches, music-girls, processions, and hymeneal song, generally accompanied a wedding, but from the present passage we may conclude that they were not considered absolutely necessary.
11 Bid that Babylonian: This passage has much puzzled the Commentators; but it seems most probable that it is said aside, and that in consequence of his profuseness he calls his brother a Babylonian, (just as we call a wealthy man a nabob,) and says, "Well, let him, with all my heart, be paying twenty mine (between £70 and £80) for a music-girl."
12 Take yourself off: Aeschinus, probably, in his earnestness, has seized hold of him with his hand, which Micio now pushes away.
13 I have promised it: This is not the truth; the notion has only been started since he last saw them.
14 Really, this is downright force: "Vis est haec quidem." The same expression occurs in the Captivi of Plautus, l. 755. The expression seemed to be a common one with the Romans. According to Suetonius, Julius Caesar used it when attacked by his murderers in the senate-house. On Tullius Cimber seizing hold of his garments, he exclaimed, “Ita quidem vis est!” (82.1)--" Why, really, this is violence !"
15 This seems to me: Donatus informs us that in Menander's Play, the old man did not make any resistance whatever to the match thus patched up for him. Colman has the following observation on this fact: "It is surprising that none of the critics on this passage. have taken notice of this observation of Donatus, especially as our loss of Menander makes it rather curious. It is plain that Terence in the plan of his last Act followed Menander; but though he has adopted the absurdity of marrying Micio to the old lady, yet we learn from Donatus that his judgment rather revolted at this circumstance, and he improved on his original by making Micio express a repugnance to such a match, which it seems he did not in the Play of Menander."
16 At his own weapon: He probably means, by aping the kind feeling which is a part of Micio's character.
17 A morning entertainment: A banquet in the early part or middle of the day was considered by the Greeks a debauch.
18 Be a free man: He touches Syrus on the ear, and makes him free. The same occurs in the Epidicus of Plautus, Act V., Sc. 2, 1. 65.
19 My wife, Phrygia: The so-called marriage, or rather cohabitation, of the Roman slaves will be found treated upon in the Notes to Plautus. Syrus calls Phrygia his wife on anticipation that she will become a free woman.
20 Receive the amount from me: The only sign of generosity he has yet shown.
22 Let him have his mistress: It must be remembered that he has the notions of a Greek parent, and sees no such criminality in this sanction as a parent would be sensible of at the present day.
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