This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Enter SIMO and SOSIA, followed by SERVANTS carrying provisions.
to the Servants. Do you carry those things away in-doors; begone. (Beckoning to SOSIA.) Sosia, just step here; I want a few words with you. SOSIA
Consider it as said; that these things are to be taken care of, I suppose.1 SIMO
No, it's another matter. SOSIA
What is there that my ability can effect for you more than this? SIMO
There's no need of that ability in the matter which I have in hand; but of those qualities which I have ever known as existing in you, fidelity and secrecy. SOSIA
I await your will. SIMO
Since I purchased you, you know that, from a little child, your servitude with me has always been easy and light. From a slave I made you my freedman ;2 for this reason, because you served me with readiness. The greatest recompense that I possessed, I bestowed upon you. SOSIA
I bear it in mind. SIMO
I am not changed. SOSIA
If I have done or am doing aught that is pleasing to you, Simo, I am glad that it has been done; and that the same has been gratifying to you, I consider sufficient thanks. But this is a cause of uneasiness to me; for the recital is, as it were, a censure3 to one forgetful of a kindness. But tell me, in one word, what it is that you want with me. SIMO
I'll do so. In the first place, in this affair I give you notice: this, which you suppose to be such, is not a real marriage. SOSIA
Why do you pretend it then ? SIMO
You shall hear all the matter from the beginning; by that means you'll be acquainted with both my son's mode of life and my own design, and what I want you to do in this affair. For after he had passed youthfulness,4 Sosia, and had obtained free scope of living, (for before, how could you know or understand his disposition, while youthful age, fear, and a master5 were checking him ?)---- SOSIA
That's true. SIMO
What all young men, for the most part, do,--devote their attention to some particular pursuit, either to training horses or dogs for hunting, or to the philosophers;6 in not one of these did he engage in particular beyond the rest, and yet in all of them in a moderate degree. I was pleased. SOSIA
Not without reason; for this I deem in life to be especially advantageous; that one do nothing to excess.7 SIMO
Such was his mode of life; readily to bear and to comply with all; with whomsoever he was in company, to them to resign himself; to devote himself to their pursuits; at variance with no one; never preferring himself to them. Thus most readily you may acquire praise without envy, and gain friends. SOSIA
He has wisely laid down his rule of life; for in these days obsequiousness begets friends; sincerity, dislike. SIMO
Meanwhile, three years ago,8 a certain woman from Andros removed hither into this neighborhood, driven by poverty and the neglect of her relations, of surpassing beauty and in the bloom of youth. SOSIA
Ah! I'm afraid that this Andrian will bring some mischief. SIMO
At first, in a modest way, she passed her life with thriftiness and in hardship, seeking a livelihood with her wool and loom. But after an admirer made advances, promising her a recompense, first one and then another; as the disposition of all mankind has a downward tendency from industry toward pleasure, she accepted their proposals, and then began to trade upon her beauty. Those who then were her admirers, by chance, as it often happens, took my son thither that he might be in their company. Forthwith I said to myself, " He is surely caught; he is smitten."9 In the morning I used to observe their servant-boys coming or going away; I used to make inquiry, "Here, my lad, tell me, will you, who had Chrysis yesterday?" for that was the name of the Andrian touching SOSIA on the arm . SOSIA
I understand. SIMO
Phaedrus, or Clinias, or Niceratus, they used to say; for these three then loved her at the same time. "Well now, what did Pamphilus do?" "What ? He gave his contribution;10 he took part in the dinner." Just so on another day I made inquiry, but I discovered nothing whatever that affected Pamphilus. In fact, I thought him sufficiently proved, and a great pattern of continence; for he who is brought into contact with dispositions of that sort, and his feelings are not aroused even under such circumstances, you may be sure that he is already capable of undertaking the governance of his own life. This pleased me, and every body with one voice began to say all kinds of flattering things, and to extol my good fortune, in having a son endowed with such a disposition. What need is there of talking? Chremes, influenced by this report, came to me of his own accord, to offer his only daughter as a wife to my son, with a very large portion. It pleased me; I betrothed him; this was the day appointed for the nuptials. SOSIA
What then stands in the way? Why should they not take place ? SIMO
You shall hear. In about a few days after these things had been agreed on, Chrysis, this neighbor, dies. SOSIA
Bravo! You've made me happy. I was afraid for him on account of Chrysis. SIMO
Then my son was often there, with those who had admired Chrysis; with them he took charge of the funeral; sorrowful, in the mean time, he sometimes wept with them in condolence. Then that pleased me. Thus I reflected: "He by reason of this slight intimacy takes her death so much to heart; what if he himself had wooed her? What will he do for me his father?" All these things I took to be the duties of a humane disposition and of tender feelings. Why do I detain you with many words? Even I myself,11 for his sake, went forth to the funeral, as yet suspecting no harm. SOSIA
Ha! what is this? SIMO
You shall know. She is brought out; we proceed. In the mean time, among the females who were there present, I saw by chance one young woman of beauteous form. SOSIA
Very likely. SIMO
And of countenance, Sosia, so modest, so charming, that nothing could surpass. As she appeared to me to lament beyond the rest, and as she was of a figure handsome and genteel beyond the other women, I approached the female attendants ;12 I inquired who she was. They said that she was the sister of Chrysis. It instantly struck my mind: "Ay, ay, this is it; hence those tears, hence that sympathy." SOSIA
How I dread what you are coming to ! SIMO
The funeral procession meanwhile advances; we follow; we come to the burying-place.13 She is placed upon the pile; they weep. In the mean time, this sister, whom I mentioned, approached the flames too incautiously, with considerable danger. There, at that moment, Pamphilus, in his extreme alarm, discovers his well-dissembled and long-hidden passion; he runs up, clasps the damsel by the waist. "My Glycerium," says he, "what are you doing? Why are you going to destroy yourself?" Then she, so that you might easily recognize their habitual attachment, weeping, threw herself back upon him--how affectionately ! SOSIA
What do you say? SIMO
I returned thence in anger, and hurt at heart: and yet there was not sufficient ground for reproving him. He might say; " What have I done? How have I deserved this, or offended, father ? She who wished to throw herself into the flames, I prevented; I saved her." The defense is a reasonable one. SOSIA
You judge aright; for if you censure him who has assisted to preserve life, what are you to do to him who causes loss or misfortune to it? SIMO
Chremes comes to me next day, exclaiming: "Disgraceful conduct!"--that he had ascertained that Pamphilus was keeping this foreign woman as a wife. I steadfastly denied that to be the fact. He insisted that it was the fact. In short, I then left him refusing to bestow his daughter. SOSIA
Did not you then reprove your son? SIMO
Not even this was a cause sufficiently strong for censuring him. SOSIA
How so? Tell me. SIMO
" You yourself, father," he might say, "have prescribed a limit to these proceedings. The time is near, when I must live according to the humor of another; meanwhile, for the present allow me to live according to my own." SOSIA
What room for reproving him, then, is there left? SIMO
If on account of his amour he shall decline to take a wife, that, in the first place, is an offense on his part to be censured. And now for this am I using my endeavors, that, by means of the pretended marriage, there may be real ground for rebuking him, if lie should refuse; at the same time, that if that rascal Davus has any scheme, he may exhaust it now, while his knaveries can do no harm: who, I do believe, with hands, feet, and all his might, will do every thing; and more for this, no doubt, that he may do me an ill turn, than to oblige my son. SOSIA
For what reason ? SIMO
Do you ask? Bad heart, bad disposition. Whom, however, if I do detect ---- But what need is there of talking? If it should turn out, as I wish, that there is no delay on the part of Pamphilus, Chremes remains to be prevailed upon by me; and I do hope that all will go well. Now it's your duty to pretend these nuptials cleverly, to terrify Davus; and watch my son, what he's about, what schemes he is planning with him. SOSIA
'Tis enough; I'll take care; now let's go in-doors. SIMO
You go first; I'll follow. SOSIA goes into the house of SIMO. SIMO
to himself. There's no doubt but that my son doesn't wish for a wife; so alarmed did I perceive Davus to be just now, when he heard that there was going to be a marriage. But the very man is coming out of the house. Stands aside.
Enter DAVUS from the house of SIMO.
aloud to himself. I was wondering if this matter was to go off thus; and was continually dreading where my master's good humor would end; for, after he had heard that a wife would not be given to his son, he never uttered a word to any one of us, or took it amiss. SIMO
apart, overhearing him. But now he'll do so: and that, I fancy, not without heavy cost to you. DAVUS
to himself: He meant this, that we, thus unsuspecting, should be led away by delusive joy; that now in hope, all fear being removed, we might during our supineness be surprised, so that there might be no time for planning a rupture of the marriage. How clever! SIMO
apart. The villain ! what does he say? DAVUS
overhearing him, to himself. It's my master, and I didn't see him. SIMO
Well, what is it ? SIMO
Just step this way to me. DAVUS
to himself. What does he want ? SIMO
What are you saying ? DAVUS
About what? SIMO
Do you ask the question? There's a report that my son's in love. DAVUS
The public troubles itself about that,14 of course. SIMO
Will you attend to this, or not? DAVUS
Certainly, I will, to that. SIMO
But for me to inquire now into these matters, were the part of a severe father. For what he has done hitherto, doesn't concern me at all. So long as his time of life prompted to that course, I allowed him to indulge his inclination: now this day brings on another mode of life, demands other habits. From this time forward, I do request, or if it is reasonable, I do entreat you, Davus, that he may now return to the right path. DAVUS
aside. What can this mean? SIMO
All who are intriguing take it ill to have a wife given them. DAVUS
So they say. SIMO
And if anyone has adopted a bad instructor in that course, he generally urges the enfeebled mind to pursuits still more unbecoming. DAVUS
I'faith, I do not comprehend. SIMO
No? Ha---- DAVUS
No--I am Davus, not OEdipus.15 SIMO
Of course then, you wish me to speak plainly in what further I have to say. DAVUS
Certainly, by all means. SIMO
If I this day find out that you are attempting any trickery about this marriage, to the end that it may not take place; or are desirous that in this matter it should be proved how knowing you are; I'll hand you over, Davus, beaten with stripes, to the mill,16 even to your dying day, upon this condition and pledge, that if ever I release you, I shall grind in your place. Now, do you understand this? Or not yet even this ? DAVUS
Yes, perfectly: you have now spoken so plainly upon the subject, you have not used the least circumlocution. SIMO
In any thing would I more willingly allow myself to be imposed upon than in this matter. DAVUS
Fair words, I entreat. SIMO
You are ridiculing me: you don't at all deceive me. I give you warning, don't act rashly, and don't say you were not warned. Take care. Shaking his stick, goes into the house.
to himself. Assuredly, Davus, there's no room for slothfulness or inactivity, so far as I've just now ascertained the old man's mind about the marriage; which if it is not provided against by cunning, will be bringing either myself or my master to ruin. What to do, I am not determined; whether I should assist Pamphilus or obey the old man. If I desert the former, I fear for his life; if I assist him, I dread the other's threats, on whom it will be a difficult matter to impose. In the first place, he has now found out about this amour; with hostile feelings he watches me, lest I should be devising some trickery against the marriage. If he discovers it, I'm undone; or even if he chooses to allege any pretext, whether rightfully or wrongfully, he will consign me headlong to the mill. To these evils this one is besides added for me. This Andrian, whether she is his wife, or whether his mistress, is pregnant by Pamphilus. It is worth while to hear their effrontery; for it is an undertaking worthy of those in their dotage, not of those who dote in love ;17 whatever she shall bring forth, they have resolved to rear ;18 and they are now contriving among themselves a certain scheme, that she is a citizen of Attica. There was formerly a certain old man of this place, a merchant; he was shipwrecked off the Isle of Andros; he died. They say that there, the father of Chrysis, on that occasion, sheltered this girl, thrown on shore, an orphan, a little child. What nonsense! To myself at least it isn't very probable; the fiction pleases them, however. But Mysis is coming out of the house. Now I'll betake myself hence to the Forum,19 that I may meet with Pamphilus, lest his father should take him by surprise about this matter. (Exit.)
Enter MYSIS from the house of GLYCERIUM.
speaking at the door to Archylis within. I've heard you already, Archylis; you request Lesbia to be fetched. Really, upon my faith, she is a wine-bibbing20 and a rash woman, and not sufficiently trustworthy for you to commit to her care a female at her first delivery; is she still to be brought? She receives an answer from within, and comes forward. Do look at the inconsiderateness of the old woman; because she is her pot-companion. Ye Gods, I do entreat you, give her ease in her delivery, and to that woman an opportunity of making her mistakes elsewhere in preference. But why do I see Pamphilus so out of spirits? I fear what it may be. I'll wait, that I may know whether this sorrow portends any disaster. Stands apart.
Enter PAMPHILUS, wringing his hands.
to himself. Is it humane to do or to devise this? Is this the duty of a father? MYSIS
apart. What does this mean? PAMPHILUS
to himself. O, by our faith in the Gods! what is, if this is not, an indignity? He had resolved that he himself would give me a wife to-day; ought I not to have known this beforehand? Ought it not to have been mentioned previously? MYSIS
apart. Wretched me! What language do I hear? PAMPHILUS
to himself. What does Chremes do? He who had declared that he would not intrust his daughter to me as a wife; because he himself sees me unchanged he has changed. Thus perversely does he lend his aid, that he may withdraw wretched me from Glycerium. If this is effected, I am utterly undone. That any man should be so unhappy in love, or so unfortunate as I am! Oh, faith of Gods and men! shall I by no device be able to escape this alliance with Chremes? In how many ways am I contemned, and held in scorn? Every thing done, and concluded! Alas! once rejected I am sought again; for what reason? Unless perhaps it is this, which I suspect it is: they are rearing some monster,21 and as she can not be pushed off upon any one else, they have recourse to me. MYSIS
apart. This language has terrified wretched me with apprehension. PAMPHILUS
to himself. But what am I to say about my father? Alas! that he should so thoughtlessly conclude an affair of such importance! Passing me in the Forum just now, he said, "Pamphilus, you must be married to-day: get ready; be off home." He seemed to me to say this: "Be off this instant, and go hang yourself." I was amazed; think you that I was able to utter a single word, or any excuse, even a frivolous, false, or lame one? I was speechless. But if any one were to ask me now what I would have done, if I had known this sooner, why, I would have done any thing rather than do this. But now, what course shall I first adopt? So many cares beset me, which rend my mind to pieces; love, sympathy for her, the worry of this marriage; then, respect for my father, who has ever, until now, with such an indulgent disposition, allowed me to do whatever was agreeable to my feelings. Ought I to oppose him ? Ah me! I am in uncertainty what to do. MYSIS
apart. I'm wretchedly afraid how this uncertainty is to terminate. But now there's an absolute necessity, either for him to speak to her, or for me to speak to him about her. While the mind is in suspense, it is swayed by a slight impulse one way or the other. PAMPHILUS
overhearing her. Who is it speaking here ? Seeing her. Mysis? Good-morrow to you. MYSIS
Oh ! Good-morrow to you, Pamphilus. PAMPHILUS
How is she? MYSIS
Do you ask ? She is oppressed with grief,22 and on this account the poor thing is anxious, because some time ago the marriage was arranged for this day. Then, too, she fears this, that you may forsake her. PAMPHILUS
Ha! could I attempt that? Could I suffer her, poor thing, to be deceived on my account? She, who has confided to me her affection, and her entire existence? She, whom I have held especially dear to my feelings as my wife? Shall I suffer her mind, well and chastely trained and tutored, to be overcome by poverty and corrupted? I will not do it. MYSIS
I should have no fear if it rested with yourself alone; but whether you may be able to withstand compulsion---- PAMPHILUS
Do you deem me so cowardly, so utterly ungrateful, inhuman, and so brutish, that neither intimacy, nor affection, nor shame, can move or admonish me to keep faith ? MYSIS
This one thing I know, that she is deserving that you should not forget her. PAMPHILUS
Forget her? Oh Mysis, Mysis, at this moment are those words of Chrysis concerning Glycerium written on my mind. Now at the point of death, she called me; I went to her; you had withdrawn; we were alone; she began: " My dear Pamphilus, you see her beauty and her youth; and it is not unknown to you to what extent both of these are now of use to her, in protecting both her chastity and her interests. By this right hand I do entreat you, and by your good Genius,23 by your own fidelity, and by her bereft condition, do not withdraw yourself from her, or forsake her; if I have loved you as my own brother, or if she has always prized you above all others, or has been obedient to you in all things. You do I give to her as a husband, friend, protector, father. This property of mine do I intrust to you, and commit to your care." She placed her in my hands; that instant, death came upon her. I accepted her; having accepted, I will protect her. MYSIS
So indeed I hope. Moving. PAMPHILUS
But why are you leaving her? MYSIS
I'm going to fetch the midwife.24 PAMPHILUS
Make all haste. And--do you hear?--take care, and not one word about the marriage, lest that too should add to her illness. MYSIS
I understand. (Exeunt severally.)
1 Are to be taken care of, I suppose: “"Nempe ut curentur recte haec."” Colman here remarks; "Madame Dacier will have it that Simo here makes use of a kitchen term in the word 'curentur.' I believe it rather means 'to take care of' any thing generally; and at the conclusion of this very scene, Sosia uses the word again, speaking of things very foreign to cookery, 'Sat est, curabo.'"
3 As it were a censure: Among the Greeks (whose manners and sentiments are supposed to be depicted in this Play) it was a maxim that he who did a kindness should forget it, while he who received it should keep it in memory. Sosia consequently feels uneasy, and considers the remark of his master in the light of a reproach.
4 After he had passed from youthfulness: "Ephebus" was the name given to a youth when between the ages of sixteen and twenty.
6 Or to the philosophers: It was the custom in Greece with all young men of free birth to apply themselves to the study of philosophy, of course with zeal proportioned to the love of learning in each. They each adopted some particular sect, to which they attached themselves. There is something sarcastic here, and indeed not very respectful to the "philosophers," in coupling them as objects of attraction with horses and hounds.
7 Nothing to excess: “"Ne quid nimis."” This was one of the three sentences which were inscribed in golden letters in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The two others were "Know thyself," and "Misery is the consequence of debt and discord." Sosia seems from the short glimpse we have of him to have been a retailer of old saws and proverbs. He is unfortunately only a Protatic or introductory character, as we lose sight of him after this Act.
8 Meanwhile, three years ago: The following remark of Donatus on this passage is quoted by Colman for its curiosity. " The Author has artfully said three years, when he might have given a longer or a shorter period; since it is probable that the woman might have lived modestly one year; set up the trade the next; and died the third. In the first year, therefore, Pamphilus knew nothing of the family of Chrysis; in the second, he became acquainted with Glycerium; and in the third, Glycerium marries Pamphilus, and finds her parents."
9 He is smitten: “"Habet,"” literally "He has it." This was the expression used by the spectators at the moment when a Gladiator was wounded by his antagonist. In the previous line, in the words “"captus est,"” a figurative allusion is made to the "retiarius," a Gladiator who was provided with a net, with which he endeavored to entangle his opponent.
11 Even I myself: Cooke remarks here: " A complaisant father, to go to the funeral of a courtesan, merely to oblige his son !"
13 To the burying-place: “"Sepulcrum"” strictly means, the tomb or place for burial, but here the funeral pile itself. When the bones were afterward buried on the spot where they were burned, it was called "bustum."
14 Troubles itself about that: He says this contemptuously, as if it was likely that the public should take any such great interest in his son as the father would imply by his remark. By thus saying, he also avoids giving a direct reply.
15 Davus, not OEdipus: Alluding to the circumstance of OEdipus alone being able to solve the riddle of the Sphynx.
18 They have resolved to rear: This passage alludes to the custom among the Greeks of laying new-born children on the ground, upon which the father, or other person who undertook the care of the child, lifted it from the ground, " tollebat." In case no one took charge of the child, it was exposed, which was very frequently done in the case of female children. Plato was the first to inveigh against this barbarous practice. It is frequently alluded to in the Plays of Plautus.
19 Hence to the Forum: Colman has the following remark: "The Forum is frequently spoken of in the Comic Authors; and from various passages in which Terence mentions it, it may be collected that it was a public place, serving the several purposes of a market, the seat of the courts of justice, a public walk, and an exchange."
20 Wine-bibbing: The nurses and midwives of antiquity seem to have been famed for their tippling propensities. In some of the Plays of Plautus we do not find them spared.
21 Rearing some monster: “"Aliquid monstri alunt."” Madame Dacier and some other Commentators give these words the rather far-fetched meaning of "They are hatching some plot." Donatus, with much more probability, supposes him to refer to the daughter of Chremes, whom, as the young women among the Greeks were brought up in great seclusion, we may suppose Pamphilus never to have seen.
22 She is oppressed with grief: “"Laborat a dolore."” Colman has the following remark upon this passage: "Though the word 'laborat' has tempted Donatus and the rest of the Commentators to suppose that this sentence signifies Glycerium being in labor, I can not help concurring with Cooke, that it means simply that she is weighed down with grief. The words immediately subsequent corroborate this interpretation; and at the conclusion of the Scene, when Mysis tells him that she is going for a midwife, Pamphilus hurries her away, as he would naturally have done here had he understood by these words that her mistress was in labor."
The word "Genius" signified the tutelary God who was supposed to attend every person from the period of his birth. The signification of the word will be found further referred to in the Notes to the Translation of Plautus.
24 To fetch the midwife: Cooke has the following remark here: "Methinks Mysis has loitered a little too much, considering the business which she was sent about; but perhaps Terence knew that some women were of such a temper as to gossip on the way, though an affair of life or death requires their haste." Colman thus takes him to task for this observation: "This two-edged reflection, glancing at once on Terence and the ladies, is, I think, very ill-founded. The delay of Mysis, on seeing the emotion of Pamphilus, is very natural; and her artful endeavors to interest Pamphilus on behalf of her mistress, are rather marks of her attention than neglect."
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.