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Enter ALCESIMARCHUS and MELÆNIS.
I do believe that Love was the first to invent torture among mankind. This conjecture do I form from myself at home, not to go seek it out of doors; I, who surpass all men, exceed them in the pangs of my feelings. I'm tossed, tormented, agitated, goaded, whirled on the wheel of love in my misery, I'm deprived of sensation, carried one way, carried another way, I'm torn and rent asunder; such clouded faculties of mind have I, where I am, there I am not; where I am not, there my thoughts are; to such a degree have I now all kinds of feelings in me; what I like, then all at once I like not the same; so much does love trifle with me changing my mind, drive me, pursue, desire, and seize for itself, retain, trepan, and promise; what it gives, it gives not; it deludes me; what this moment it has persuaded me, it now dissuades me from; what it has dissuaded me from, it now points out to me that same. After the manner of the sea is it experienced by me; so much does it distract my enamoured feelings; and only in that, in my misery, I do not sink utterly, is there any evil removed from me thus ruined; in such a way has my father detained me these six days running in the country, at his house there; nor has it been allowed me in the meantime to visit my mistress. Isn't this dreadful to relate?1 MELAENIS
Are you joking for this reason, because you've got another wife engaged, a rich lady of Lemnos? Have her then! We are neither of a family so great as you are, nor is our wealth so substantial as yours; but still I have no fears that any one will impeach our oath; you then, if you shall feel any pain, will know for what reason you do feel pain. ALCESIMARCHUS
May the Gods confound me-- MELAENIS
Whatever you wish for, I desire it may befall you. ALCESIMARCHUS
If ever I'll marry that wife which my father has engaged for me. MELAENIS
And me, if ever I give you my daughter for a wife. ALCESIMARCHUS
Will you allow me to be forsworn? MELAENIS
Yes, and a little more easily than myself and my affairs to go to ruin, and my daughter to be trifled with. Begone! go seek where there is confidence enough in your oaths; here now, with us, Alcesimarchus, you've renounced your title2 to our friendship. ALCESIMARCHUS
Make trial of me but once. MELAENIS
I have made that trial full oft; which I lament has been so made. ALCESIMARCHUS
Give her back to me. MELAENIS
Under new circumstances I'll use an old proverb: "What I have given, I wish I had not given; what's left, that I shall not give." ALCESIMARCHUS
Won't you restore her again to me? MELAENIS
Answer yourself for me. ALCESIMARCHUS
You won't restore her then? MELAENIS
You know the whole of my resolution already. ALCESIMARCHUS
Is that quite resolved upon by you in your heart? MELAENIS
Why, in fact, I'm thinking about something else; i' faith, I don't at present catch these words of yours with my ears. ALCESIMARCHUS
Not hear? Why, what are you doing? MELAENIS
Then do you give heed at once, that you may know what you are doing. ALCESIMARCHUS
Then, so may the Gods and Goddesses of above and below, and of middle rank3, and so may Juno the queen and the daughter4 of supreme Jove, and so may Saturn his uncle---- MELAENIS
I' troth, his father---- ALCESIMARCHUS
And so may Ops the opulent, his grandam---- MELAENIS
Indeed, his mother, rather. ALCESIMARCHUS
Juno his daughter, and Saturn his uncle, supreme Jove--You are maddening me; it's through you I make these mistakes. MELAENIS
Go on saying so. ALCESIMARCHUS
Is it that I'm to know5 what conclusion you are going to come to? MELAENIS
Go on talking; I shall not send her back, that's resolved upon. ALCESIMARCHUS
Why then, so may Jupiter, and so may Juno and Saturn, to me, so may--I don't know what to say--Now I know--Yes, madam, listen, that you may know my mind; may all the Deities, great and small, and those honored with the platter6 * * * cause me not surviving to give a kiss this day to Silenium, if I don't this very day murder you and your daughter and myself, and after that, with the break of day, if I don't to-morrow kill you both, and indeed, by all the powers, if at the third onset I don't demolish you all, if you don't send her back to me. I've said what I intended. Farewell. Goes into his FATHER'S house. MELAENIS
to herself . He's gone in-doors in a rage. What shall I do now? If she comes back to him, matters will be just in the same position. When satiety begins to take possession; he'll be turning her out of doors, when he shall be bringing home this Lemnian wife. But still I'll go and follow him; there's necessity for caution, lest he, in love, should be doing some mischief. In fine, since with strict justice a poor person's not allowed to contend with a rich one, I'll lose my labour rather than lose my daughter. But who's this that straight along the street is directing his course this way? Both the other matter do I fear, and this do I dread; so utterly in trepidation am wretched I. She stands aside.
1 At this point editors of the Latin text generally insert several fragments quoted from other sources; this translation does not, but picks up again at line 492.
2 Renounced your title: "Confregisti tesseram." Literally, "you have broken your tally," or "ticket." These were pieces of wood cut in half, and fitting each other. They were exchanged by friends, and denoted their readiness, on the presenting thereof, to entertain each other with hospitality. She means that Alcesimarchus has broken his word, and has lost his right to be considered as a friend. See the Pœnulus, l. 1047.
3 Of middle rank: "Medioxumi." By these are meant the Demigods.
5 That I'm to know: According to the suggestion of Rost, the reading "sciam," "I may know," has been preferred to "scias," "you may know," in the present passage.
6 Honored with the platter: "Patellarii." These were the Lares and Penates, the household Gods, to whom offerings were made of victuals in small plates or platters. Ovid, in the Fasti, B. 2, l. 634, says: "Offer, too a share of the viands, that the presented platter, testimony of the pleasing honor, may feed the well-girl Lares."
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