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Enter THESPRIO, followed by EPIDICUS.1
pulling THESPRIO by the cloak . Harkye! young man. THESPRIO
Who pulls me by the cloak, when thus in haste? EPIDICUS
An intimate. THESPRIO
I confess it; for with your annoyance you are too intimate. EPIDICUS
But do look back, Thesprio! THESPRIO
looking round . What? Is it Epidicus that I see? EPIDICUS
Why surely you've the use of your eyes. THESPRIO
Greetings to you. EPIDICUS
May the Gods grant what you desire. I'm glad that you've got here safe. THESPRIO
What besides? EPIDICUS
According to the usage, a dinner shall be given you2. THESPRIO
I agree. EPIDICUS
What to do? THESPRIO
That I'll accept it, if you offer it. EPIDICUS
How are you? Fare you as you could wish? THESPRIO
The proof's before you. EPIDICUS
I understand. Eyeing him from top to toe. Marvellous! You seem quite plump and hearty. THESPRIO
pointing to his left hand . Thanks to this. EPIDICUS
Which, indeed, you ought to have parted with3 long ago. THESPRIO
I'm less of a pilferer now than formerly. EPIDICUS
How so? THESPRIO
I rob above-board4. EPIDICUS
May the immortal Gods confound you, with what huge strides you do walk! for when I caught sight of you at the harbour, I began to run at a rapid pace; I was hardly able to overtake you just now. THESPRIO
You are a town wit. EPIDICUS
I know that you, on the other hand, are a military gentleman. THESPRIO
Speak out as boldly as you please. EPIDICUS
How say you? Have you been well all along? THESPRIO
In a varied way. EPIDICUS
Those who are well in a varied way5, a race of men of the goat kind or of the panther kind, don't please me. THESPRIO
What do you wish me to tell you but that which is fact? EPIDICUS
To answer to these things fairly; how's our master's son? Is he well? THESPRIO
Stout as a boxer and an athlete. EPIDICUS
You've brought me joyous tidings on your arrival. But where is he? THESPRIO
I came here together with him. EPIDICUS
Where is he then? Unless, perchance, you've brought him in your wallet, or, perhaps, in your knapsack. THESPRIO
May the Gods confound you! EPIDICUS
I want to make enquiries of you. Lend me your attention; attention shall be lent you in return. THESPRIO
You say what's law6. EPIDICUS
It becomes me to do so. THESPRIO
But why now are you acting the Prætor over us? EPIDICUS
What other person in Athens will you say is more deserving of it than I? THESPRIO
But still, Epidicus, one thing is wanting for your Prætorship. EPIDICUS
What, pray? THESPRIO
You shall know; two lictors7 two osier bundles of twigs---- EPIDICUS
shaking his fist at him . Woe unto you! But how say you----? THES. What is it you ask? EPIDICUS
Where are the arms8 of Stratippocles? THESPRIO
I' faith, they've gone over to the enemy. EPIDICUS
What, his arms? THESPRIO
Aye, and quickly too. EPIDICUS
Do you say that seriously? THESPRIO
Seriously I say it; the enemy have got them. EPIDICUS
By my troth, a disgraceful affair. THESPRIO
Still, before now, other persons have done the same. This affair will turn out to his honor9. EPIDICUS
How so? THESPRIO
Because it has been so to others before. EPIDICUS
Mulciber, I suppose, made the arms which Stratippocles had; they flew over to the enemy10. THESPRIO
Why, then, e'en let this son of Thetis lose them; the daughters of Nereus will bring him others. EPIDICUS
Only this must be looked to, that material may be found for the armourers, if in each campaign he yields a spoil to the enemy. THESPRIO
Have done now with these matters. EPIDICUS
You yourself make an end of them when you please. THESPRIO
Cease your enquiries then. EPIDICUS
Say, where is Stratippocles himself? THESPRIO
There is a reason, for which reason he has been afraid to come together with me. EPIDICUS
Pray, what is it? THESPRIO
He doesn't wish to see his father as yet. EPIDICUS
For what reason? THESPRIO
You shall hear; because he has purchased out of the spoil a young female captive of charming and genteel figure. EPIDICUS
What is it I hear from you? THESPRIO
That which I'm telling you. EPIDICUS
Why has he purchased her? THESPRIO
To please his fancy. EPIDICUS
How many fancies has this man? For assuredly, before he went away from home to the army, he himself commissioned me, that a music-girl whom he was in love with should be purchased of a Procurer for him. That I have managed to accomplish for him. THESPRIO
Whichever way the wind is at sea, Epidicus, in that direction the sail is shifted. EPIDICUS
Woe unto wretched me! He has utterly undone me! THESPRIO
What's the meaning of this? What's the matter, pray? EPIDICUS
Well now--she whom he has bought, at what sum has he purchased her? THESPRIO
A very little. EPIDICUS
That I don't ask you. THESPRIO
What then? EPIDICUS
For how many minæ? THESPRIO
holding up all his fingers four times . For so many. EPIDICUS
Forty minæ? THESPRIO
For that purpose, he borrowed the money on interest of a Banker at Thebes, at a didrachm for each silver mina per day. EPIDICUS
This Banker, too, has come together with him, and is dunning for his money. EPIDICUS
Immortal Gods! now I'm fairly done for! THESPRIO
Why so, or.what's the matter, Epidicus? EPIDICUS
He has proved my ruin! THESPRIO
Who? He who lost his arms. THESPRIO
But why so? EPIDICUS
Because he himself was every day sending me letters from the army--but I shall hold my tongue; it's best to do so. It's best for a man in servitude to know more than he says; that's true wisdom. THESPRIO
On my faith, I don't understand why you are alarmed. You are frightened, Epidicus; I see it by your countenance. You seem here, in my absence, to have got into some scrape or other. EPIDICUS
Can't you cease annoying me? THESPRIO
I'll be off. Moves as if going. EPIDICUS
Stand still; I'll not let you go from here. Holds him. THES. Why do you hold me back? EPIDICUS
Is he in love with her whom he has purchased out of the spoil? THESPRIO
Do you ask me? He dotes to death upon her. EPIDICUS
The hide will be stripped from off my back. THESPRIO
He loves her, too, more than ever he loved you. EPIDICUS
May Jupiter confound you! THESPRIO
Let me go now; for he has forbidden me to go to our house; he ordered me to come here pointing to the house to our neighbour's, Chæribulus; there he bade me wait; he's about to come there himself. EPIDICUS
Why so? THESPRIO
I'll tell you; because he doesn't wish to meet with or see his father, before he has paid down this money which is owing for her. EPIDICUS
O dear! an involved business, i' faith. THESPRIO
Do let go of me, that I may now be off forthwith. EPIDICUS
When the old gentleman knows this, our ship will fairly founder. THESPRIO
What matters it to me in what way you come to your end? EPIDICUS
Because I don't wish to perish alone; I'd like you to perish with me, well-wisher with well-wisher. THESPRIO
tearing himself away from EPIDICUS . Away with you from me to utter and extreme perdition with those terms of yours! EPIDICUS
Be off, then, if you are in great haste about anything. THESPRIO
aside . I never met with any person from whom I parted with greater pleasure. Goes into the house of CHÆRIBULUS. EPIDICUS
to himself . He's gone away from here; you are now alone. In what plight this matter is, you now see, Epidicus. Unless you have some resources in your own self, you are done for. Ruination so great is impending over you--unless you support yourself stoutly, you cannot hold up; to such a degree are mountains of misfortune threatening to tumble on you. Neither does any plan just now please me by means of which to find myself disengaged from my entanglement. To my misfortune, by my trickeries I have forced the old man to imagine that he was making purchase of his own daughter; whereas he has bought for his own son a music-girl whom he was fond of, and whom on his departure he commissioned me about. He now, to please his fancy, has brought another one from the army. I've lost my hide, for when the old man finds out that he has been played tricks with, he'll be flaying my back with twigs. But still, do you take all precautions. He stands still and thinKs. That's of no use! clearly this head of mine is addled! You are a worthless fellow, Epidicus. In another tone. What pleasure have you in being abusive? Because you are forsaking yourself. What am I to do? Do you ask me the question? Why you yourself, in former days, were wont to lend advice to others. Well, well; something must be found out. But why delay to go meet the young man, that I may know how the matter stands? And here he is himself. He is in a grave mood. He's coming with Chæribulus, his year's-mate. I'll step aside here, whence at my leisure I'll follow their discourse. He steps aside.
Enter STRATIPPOCLES and CHÆRIBULUS.
I've told you all the matter, Chæribulus, and I have fully disclosed to you the sum of my griefs and loves. CHÆR.
You are foolish, Stratippocles, beyond your age and lineage. Does it shame you, because you have bought a captive girl, born of good family, from among the spoil? Who will there be to impute it as a fault to you? STRATIPPOCLES
Through doing this, I've found that those who are envious are all enemies to me; but I've never offered violence11 or criminal assault against her chastity. CHÆR.
Then, so far, in my opinion at least, you are a still more deserving man, inasmuch as you are temperate in your passion. STRATIPPOCLES
He effects nothing who consoles a desponding man with his words: he is a friend, who, in dubious circumstances, aids in deed when deeds are necessary. CHÆR.
What do you wish me to do? STRATIPPOCLES
To lend me forty minæ of silver, to be paid to the Banker from whom I borrowed it on interest. CHÆR.
On my word, if I had it, I would not deny you. STRATIPPOCLES
What then does it signify your being bounteous in talk, if all aid in the matter12 is dead outright. CHÆR.
Why faith, I myself am quite wearied and distracted with being dunned. STRATIPPOCLES
I had rather my friends of that sort were thrust into a furnace than into litigation13. But now I could wish to buy me the assistance of Epidicus at a weighty price, a fellow whom I'll hand over well-liquored with stripes to the baker14, unless he this day finds me forty minæ before I've mentioned to him the last syllable of the sum. EPIDICUS
apart . The matter's all right; he promises well; he'll keep faith, I trust. Ironically. Without any expenditure of my own, an entertainment15 is already provided for my shoulder-blades. I'll accost the man. He goes up to STRATIPPOCLES. The servant Epidicus wishes health to his master Stratippocles, on his arrival from abroad. STRATIPPOCLES
turning round . Where is he? EPIDICUS
Here he is; I'm delighted that you have returned safe. STRATIPPOCLES
I believe you as much in that as I do myself. EPIDICUS
Have you been well all along? STRATIPPOCLES
I've been free from disease; in mind I've been ailing. EPIDICUS
As regarded myself, I've taken care of what you entrusted to me; it has been obtained; the female captive has been bought, about which matter you were sending me letters so often. STRATIPPOCLES
You've lost all your labour. EPIDICUS
But why have I lost it? STRATIPPOCLES
Because she is not dear to my heart, nor does she please me. EPIDICUS
What means it, then, that you gave me such strict injunctions, and sent letters to me? STRATIPPOCLES
Formerly I did love her; but now another passion influences my heart. EPIDICUS
I' faith, it is a shocking thing for that to be unpleasant for a man which you have managed well for him; where I've done well, I've in reality done ill, since love has shifted sides. STRATIPPOCLES
I wasn't right in my mind when I sent those letters to you. EPIDICUS
Is it proper that I should be the atonement for your folly, so as for you to substitute my back as the scape-goat16 for your folly? STRATIPPOCLES
Why are we making words about that? This man pointing to himself has need of forty minæ, ready money, and in all haste, for him to pay a Banker, and speedily too. EPIDICUS
Only tell me from what quarter you wish me to get them. From what banker am I to seek them? STRATIPPOCLES
From where you like. But if I don't finger them before sunset, don't you enter my house; off with yourself to the mill. EPIDICUS
You easily say that without risk and concern, and with a gay heart. I know our floggers; I feel the pain when I'm beaten. STRATIPPOCLES
How say you now? Will you suffer me to destroy myself? EPIDICUS
Don't do that. I'll cope with this peril and bold attempt in preference. STRATIPPOCLES
Now you please me; now do I commend you. EPIDICUS
I'll submit to this in any way that's pleasing to you. STRATIPPOCLES
What then is to be done about this music-girl? EPIDICUS
Some method shall be found out; by some means I'll disengage myself; some way I shall get extricated. STRATIPPOCLES
You are full of scheming; I know you of old. EPIDICUS
There is a rich Captain of Eubœa17, abounding in plenty of gold, who, when he knows that that one was bought for you, and that this other one has been brought here, will forthwith be entreating you, of his own accord, to transfer that other one to him. But where is she whom you have brought with you? STRATIPPOCLES
I shall have her here just now. CHÆR.
What are we now doing here? STRATIPPOCLES
Let's go in-doors here at your house, that, for the present, we may pass this day merrily. They go into the house of CHÆRIBULUS. EPIDICUS
to himself . Go in-doors; I'll now call18 a council in my heart to adopt measures about this money business, against whom, in especial, war is to be declared, and out of whom I'm to get the money. Epidicus, consider what you are to do; thus suddenly has this business been thrown upon you. But now you must not be slumbering, nor have you any leisure for delay. Now must you be daring! 'Tis my fixed determination to lay siege to the old man. I'll go indoors; I'll tell the young man, my master's son, not to walk abroad here, or come anywhere in the way of the old gentleman. Goes into the house of CHÆRIBULUS.
1 Translator's subtitle The Fortunate Discovery: Plautus calls this Play by the name of Epidicus, from the slave, who is the principal actor in it. It will be seen that a fortunate discovery really does take place in the Fifth Act, where Periphanes not only finds his long-lost daughter, but Stratippocles is prevented from unknowingly being guilty of incest. That Plautus thought very highly of this Play, is evident from what is said in the Bacchides, l. 215, where Chrysalus is introduced as saying that he "loves the Epidicus as well as his own self."
2 A dinner shall be given you: The "cœna viatica," or "welcome entertainment," has been mentioned in the Notes to the Bacchides, Act I., So. 2.
3 To have parted with: The thieves of antiquity are said to have used the left hand for the purposes of their nefarious calling. The cutting off of the hand was a common punishment.
4 I rob above- board: It has been suggested that this is an imitation of a passage in Aristophanes, Act II., Sc. 3, where Blepsidemus says, "οὐ κεκλοφάς ἄλλ᾽ ἥρπακας." "You have not pilfered, but plundered." The thought, however, is quite natural, without resorting to a previous author for it.
5 In a varied way: He puns upon the different meanings of the word "varie;" and alludes to the checquered or striped state of the slave's back after whipping. By "varie," Thesprio simply means, "sometimes well, and sometimes ill."
6 What's law: The words "operam da" and "operam dabo," used by Epidicus, were terms used in the Roman courts of law: therefore Thesprio says, "jus dicis," meaning, "you talk like a judge."
7 Two lictors: The Prætors were attended by lictors As one part of their duty was to scourge refractory slaves, Thesprio means to joke Epidicus, by telling him that he requires the lictors -- not to do him honor, but to scourge him.
8 Where are the armns: As Thesprio was his armour-bearer, this question cannot be considered as an impertinent one.
9 Will turn out to his honor: Schmieder thinks that in these words there is a covert allusion to the conduct of Terentius Varro, by whose bad management the Romans lost the battle of Cannæ, when fighting against Hannibal. The Senate, however, received him with open arms, "because he had not despaired of the state."
10 Flew over to the enemy: Plautus seems here to fancy that the arms made by Mulciber or Vulcan, for Achilles, were taken by Hector from Patroclus, when, in fact, they were made at the request of Thetis, for the purpose of avenging his death. He probably did not care to represent a slave and A camp-follower as being particularly correct in their knowledge of Homer.
11 Never offered violence: This is a very important passage, as it relieves the Audience from the apprehension they might otherwise feel in the Fifth Act, that Stratippocles had unconsciously been guilty of incest.
12 If all aid in the matter: The same sentiment occurs in the Trinummus, l. 439.
13 Into litigation: "Quam Foro." Literally, "than in the Forum." He plays on the resemblance of the words "furno," "oven" or "furnace," and "Foro," the "Forum." He had rather see his friends dead outright, than worried by their creditors.
14 To the baker: For the purpose of taking his place at the hand-mill for grinding corn, which was probably done in the same building where the bread was baked, and was a most laborious operation.
15 An entertainment: As already mentioned, "symbola" was a club entertainment, or pic-nic (in the original sense of the word), where each provided his own share of the provisions.
16 As the scape-goat: "Succidanea" was a term applied to a victim, substituted in place of another which had not given favourable omens.
17 Captain of Eubœa: The Captain is elsewhere called a Rhodian. Probably it is meant that Rhodes was the place of his birth, and the island of Eubœa that of his residence.
18 I'll now call: -159. Echard's adaptation of these two lines is so quaint, that it is worth transcribing. "In the meantime must I have a committee of the whole house, to consider of ways and means for the raising supplies to carry on this vigorous war."
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