previous next

Enter PHANOSTRATA, from her house.

PHANOSTRATA
to herself . I seemed just now to be hearing the voice of my servant Lampadiscus before the house.

LAMPADISCUS
stepping forward . You are not deaf, mistress, you heard aright.

PHANOSTRATA
What are you doing here?

LAMPADISCUS
A thing for you to rejoice at.

PHANOSTRATA
What's that?

LAMPADISCUS
pointing to the house of SILENIUM . A little while ago, I saw a woman coming out of that house there.

PHANOSTRATA
Her that took up my daughter?

LAMPADISCUS
You have the matter rgiht.

PHANOSTRATA
What after that?

LAMPADISCUS
I told her in what way I had seen her take up the daughter of my mistress from the Hippodrome. Then she was in a fright.

MELAENIS
apart . Now my body's in a shudder, my heart is throbbing; for I recollect that from the Hippodrome the little female infant was brought to me, and that I brought it up as my own.

PHANOSTRATA
Come, prithee, do go on; my soul's longing to hear how the matter proceeded.

MELAENIS
apart . I only wish you couldn't hear.

LAMPADISCUS
I proceed * * * saying1, "This old woman calls you her daughter wrongfully. * * * * * * * * For this woman here is your foster-mother, so don't think she is your mother. I'm to take you back and invite you to opulence, where you may be settled in a noble family, where your father may present you with twenty great talents for a portion. For this is not a place where after the Etrurian mode2 you are disgracefully to earn a dowry for yourself by prostitution of your person."

PHANOSTRATA
Is she, pray, a Courtesan, who took it up?

LAMPADISCUS
Yes, she was a Courtesan. But how it happened, I'll tell you about that matter. I was now winning her over to me by my persuasion. The old woman embraced her knees, weeping and entreating that she would not forsake her; saying that she was her own daughter; and she took a solemn oath to me that she herself had borne her. " Her," said she, "whom you are in search of, I gave to a friend of mine to bring her up as her own daughter; and she is alive," said she. "Where is she?" immediately said I.

PHANOSTRATA
Preserve me, ye Gods, I do entreat you.

MELAENIS
apart . But me you are undoing!

PHANOSTRATA
You ought to have enquired to whom she gave it.

LAMPADISCUS
I did enquire, and she said to the Courtesan Melænis.

MELAENIS
apart . He has mentioned my name? I'm utterly undone!

LAMPADISCUS
When she mentioned her, I straightway asked, "Where does she live?" said I; "take and show me." "She has been carried off hence," says she, "to live abroad."

MELAENIS
He's sprinkling3 a little cold water now.

LAMPADISCUS
"Wherever she has been carried off, thither we will follow. Do you trifle in this fashion? You are undone, if, i' faith, you don't disclose this."I insisted to such a degree, that the old woman swore that she would soon inform me.

PHANOSTRATA
But you oughtn't to have let her go.

LAMPADISCUS
She's all safe; but she said that she wished first to meet a certain woman, a friend of hers, with whom this was a matter of interest in common, and I'm sure she'll come.

MELAENIS
apart . She'll be discovering me, and adding her own distress to mine.

PHANOSTRATA
Make me acquainted what you now wish me to do.

LAMPADISCUS
Go in-doors, and be of good heart. If your husband shall come, bid him wait at home, lest he should be required by me, if I want him for anything. I'm going to run back to the old woman.

PHANOSTRATA
Lampadio, prithee, do take care.

LAMPADISCUS
I'll have this matter well managed.

PHANOSTRATA
I trust in the Gods and in yourself.

LAMPADISCUS
And I in the same.--that you'll now go home. PHANOSTRATA goes into her house.

MELAENIS
coming forward . Young man, stay and listen.

LAMPADISCUS
What, are you calling to me, woman?

MELAENIS
To you.

LAMPADISCUS
What's the matter? For I'm fully engaged.

MELAENIS
Pointing to the house of DEMIPHO . Who lives there?

LAMPADISCUS
Demipho, my master.

MELAENIS
It is he, I suppose, that has betrothed his daughter with such great wealth to Alcesimarchus?

LAMPADISCUS
It is he himself.

MELAENIS
How now, you? What other daughter, then, are you people now in search of?

LAMPADISCUS
I'll tell you; not his daughter by his wife, but his wife's daughter.

MELAENIS
What's the meaning of that speech?

LAMPADISCUS
By a former woman, I say, my master had a daughter born.

MELAENIS
Surely, just now you said you were in search of the daughter of her who has been talking here.

LAMPADISCUS
Her daughter I am in search of.

MELAENIS
In what way then, pray, is she a "former woman," who is now his wife?

LAMPADISCUS
Woman, whoever you are, you weary me with your prating. The middle woman4 whom he had for a wife, of her this maiden was born that's being given to Alcesimarchus. That wife is dead. Do you understand now?

MELAENIS
I understand that quite well; but it's this knotty point I'm enquiring about, how the first can be the last, the last be the first.

LAMPADISCUS
The fact is this; this woman he ravished before he took her home as his wife; before that she was pregnant, and before that she gave birth to a daughter: after she gave birth to her, she ordered the infant to be exposed; I myself exposed her; another woman took her away; I was on the look-out; after that, my master married her. That girl, her daughter, we are now in search of. MELÆNIS turns aside her head. Why now, with face upturned, are you looking up towards the heavens?

MELAENIS
Now, then, be off at once whither you were hastening; I won't detain you; I understand it now.

LAMPADISCUS
I' troth, to the Deities I do give thanks; for if you hadn't understood me, I do think you would never have let me go. (Exit.)

MELAENIS
to herself . Now it's necessary for me to be honest, whether I will or no, although I had rather not; I find the thing is discovered. Now will I myself lay them under an obligation to me, rather than she shall peach upon me. I'll go home, and I'll bring Silenium to her parents. (Exit.)

1 Saying: We are to suppose that on following the Procuress to her own house, he says this to Gymnasium, taking her for the young woman whom he is in search of. Probably a large portion of the Play is lost here.

2 The Etrurian mode: The Tuscans or Etrurians, who were said to have been originally a colony from Lydia, are by some writers stated to have forced their young women to gain their marriage-portions by prostitution. Herodotus alludes to this custom of the Lydians.

3 He's sprinkling: This metaphor, which is also used in the Trinummus, is take? from the custom of throwing cold water on persons when in a fainting state

4 The middle woman: "Medioxumam." The middle woman, although his first wife, and the mother of the daughter whom he had betrothed to Alcesimarchus; he having had Phanostrata the first, as a woman (when he ravished her), but not as a wife until after the death of his first wife.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Latin (F. Leo, 1895)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Lydia (Turkey) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (59 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: