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to herself. That nothing can be secure to any one! Ye Gods, by our trust in you ! I used to make sure that this Pamphilus was a supreme blessing for my mistress; a friend, a protector, a husband secured under every circumstance; yet what anguish is she, poor thing, now suffering through him? Clearly there's more trouble for her now than there was happiness formerly. But Davus is coming out. Enter DAVUS from the house of GLYCERIUM with the child. MYSIS
My good sir, prithee, what is that? Whither are you carrying the child? DAVUS
Mysis, I now stand in need of your cunning being brought into play in this matter, and of your address. MYSIS
Why, what are you going to do? DAVUS
holding out the child. Take it from me directly, and lay it down before our door. MYSIS
Prithee, on the ground? DAVUS
pointing. Take some sacred herbs 1 from the altar here, 2 and strew them under it. MYSIS
Why don't you do it yourself? DAVUS
That if perchance I should have to swear to my master that I did not place it there, I may be enabled to do so with a clear conscience. MYSIS
I understand; have these new scruples only just now occurred to you, pray? DAVUS
Bestir yourself quickly, that you may learn what I'm going to do next. MYSIS lays the child at SIMO'S door. Oh Jupiter! MYSIS
starting up. What's the matter? DAVUS
The father of the intended bride is coming in the middle of it all. The plan which I had first purposed I now give up. 3 MYSIS
I don't understand what you are talking about. DAVUS
I'll pretend too that I've come in this direction from the right. Do you take care to help out the conversation by your words, whenever there's necessity. 4 MYSIS
I don't at all comprehend what you are about; but if there's any thing in which you have need of my assistance, as you understand the best, I'll stay, that I mayn't in any way impede your success. DAVUS retires out of sight.
1 Take some sacred herbs: “"Verbena"” appears to have been a general term applied to any kind of herb used in honor of the Deities, or to the boughs and leaves of any tree gathered from a pure or sacred place. Fresh "verbenae" were placed upon the altars every day. See the Mercator of Plautus, 1. 672.
2 From the altar here: It was usual to have altars on the stage; when Comedy was performed, one on the left hand in honor of Apollo, and on the representation of Tragedy, one on the right in honor of Bacchus. It has been suggested that Terence here alludes to the former of these. As, however, at Athens almost every house had its own altar in honor of Apollo Prostaterius just outside of the street door, it is most probable that to one of these altars reference is here made. They are frequently alluded to in the Plays of Plautus.
3 Which I had first purposed, I now give up: His first intention no doubt was to go and inform Simo of the child being laid at the door.
4 Whenever there's necessity: He retires without fully explaining his intention to Mysis; consequently, in the next Scene she gives an answer to Chremes which Davus does not intend.
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