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Enter THRASO, followed by GNATHO, SANGA, and other Attendants.
Am I to submit, Gnatho, to such a glaring affront as this being put upon me? I'd die sooner. Simalio, Donax, Syriscus, follow me! First, I'll storm the house. GNATHO
Quite right. THRASO
I'll carry off the girl. GNATHO
Very good. THRASO
I'll give her own self a mauling. GNATHO
Very proper. THRASO
arranging the men. Advance hither to the main body, Donax, with your crowbar; you, Simalio, to the left wing; you, Syriscus, to the right. Bring up the rest; where's the centurion Sanga, and his maniple1 of rogues? SANGA
coming forward. See, here he is. THRASO
What, you booby, do you think of fighting with a dish-clout,2 to be bringing that here? SANGA
What, I? I knew the valor of the general, and the prowess of the soldiers; and that this could not possibly go on without bloodshed; how was I to wipe the wounds? THRASO
Where are the others? SANGA
Plague on you, what others? Sannio is the only one left on guard at home. THRASO
to GNATHO. Do you draw up your men in battle order; I'll be behind the second rank;3 from that position I'll give the word to all. Takes his place behind the second rank. GNATHO
aside. That's showing prudence; as soon as he has drawn them up, he secures a retreat for himself. THRASO
pointing to the arrangements. This is just the way Pyrrhus used to proceed.4 CHREMES and THAIS appear above at a window. CHREMES
Do you see, Thais, what plan he is upon? Assuredly, that advice of mine about closing the door was good. THAIS
He who now seems to you to be a hero, is in reality a mere vaporer; don't be alarmed. THRASO
to GNATHO. What seems best to you? GNATHO
I could very much5 like a sling to be given you just now, that you might pelt them from here on the sly at a distance; they would be taking to flight. THRASO
to GNATHO. But look pointing , I see Thais there herself. GNATHO
How soon are we to fall to? THRASO
Hold holding him back ; it behooves a prudent person to make trial of every thing before arms. How do you know but that she may do what I bid her without compulsion? GNATHO
Ye Gods, by our trust in you, what a thing it is to be wise! I never come near you but what I go away from you the wiser. THRASO
Thais, in the first place, answer me this. When I presented you that girl, did you not say that you would give yourself up to me alone for some days to come? THAIS
Well, what then? THRASO
Do you ask the question? You, who have been and brought your lover under my very eyes? What business had you with him? With him, too, you clandestinely betook yourself away from me. THAIS
I chose to do so. THRASO
Then give me back Pamphila; unless you had rather she were taken away by force. CHREMES
Give her back to you, or you lay hands upon her? Of all the---- GNATHO
Ha! What are you about? Hold your tongue. THRASO
What do you mean? Am I not to touch my own? CHREMES
Your own, indeed, you gallows-bird!6 GNATHO
to CHREMES. Have a care, if you please. You don't know what kind of man you are abusing now. CHREMES
to GNATHO. Won't you be off from here? Do you know how matters stand with you? If you cause any disturbance here to-day, I'll make you remember the place, and day, and me too, for the rest of your life. GNATHO
I pity you, who are making so great a man as this your enemy. CHREMES
I'll break your head this instant if you are not off. GNATHO
Do you really say so, puppy? Is it that you are at? THRASO
to CHREMES. What fellow are you? What do you mean? What business have you with her? CHREMES
I'll let you know: in the first place, I assert that she is a freeborn woman. THRASO
starting. Ha! CHREMES
A citizen of Attica. THRASO
My own sister. THRASO
Brazen face! CHREMES
Now, therefore, Captain, I give you warning; don't you use any violence toward her. Thais, I'm going to Sophrona, the nurse, that I may bring her here and show her these tokens. THRASO
What! Are you to prevent me from touching what's my own? CHREMES
I will prevent it, I tell you. GNATHO
to THRASO. Do you hear him? He is convicting himself of theft. Is not that enough for you? THRASO
Do you say the same, Thais? THAIS
Go, find some one to answer you. She and CHREMES go away from the window. THRASO
to GNATHO. What are we to do now? GNATHO
Why, go back again: she'll soon be with you, of her own accord, to entreat forgiveness. THRASO
Do you think so? GNATHO
Certainly, yes. I know the disposition of women: when you will, they won't; when you won't, they set their hearts upon you of their own inclination. THRASO
You judge right. GNATHO
Shall I dismiss the army then? THRASO
Whenever you like. GNATHO
Sanga, as befits gallant soldiers,7 take care in your turn to remember your homes and hearths. SANGA
My thoughts have been for some time among the sauce-pans. GNATHO
You are a worthy fellow. THRASO
putting himself at their head. You follow me this way. (Exeunt omnes.)
1 And his maniple: We learn from the Fasti of Ovid, B. iii., l. 117-8, that in early times the Roman armies carried bundles or wisps of hay upon poles by way of standards. "A long pole used to bear the elevated wisps, from which circumstance the manipular soldier derives his name." It appears from this passage, and from other authors, that to every troop of one hundred men a "manipulus" or wisp of hay (so called from "manum implere," to "fill the hand," as being "a handful"), was assigned as a standard, and hence in time the company itself obtained the name of "manipulus," and the soldier, a member of it, was called "manipularis." The "centurio," or "leader of a hundred," was the commanding officer of the "manipulus."
2 With a dish-clout: "Peniculo." This word meant a sponge fastened to a stick, or the tail of a fox or an ox, which was used as dusters or dish-clouts are at the present day for cleaning tables, dishes, or even shoes. See the Menaechmi of Plautus, ver. 77 and 391.
3 Be behind the second rank: "Post principia." The Captain, with that discretion which is the better part of valor, chooses the safest place in his army. The "principes" originally fought in the van, fronting the enemy, and behind them were the "hastati" and the "triarii." In later times the "hastati" faced the enemy, and the "principes" were placed in the middle, between them and the "triarii;" but though no longer occupying the front place, they still retained the name. Thraso, then, places himself behind the middle line.
4 Pyrrhus used to proceed: He attempts to defend his cowardice by the example of Pyrrhus, the powerful antagonist of the Romans, and one of the greatest generals of antiquity. He might have more correctly cited the example of Xerxes, who, according to Justin, did occupy that position in his army.
5 I could very much: Although Vollbehr gives these words to Gnatho, yet, judging from the context, and the words "ex occulto," and remembering that Thais and Chremes are up at the window, there is the greatest probability that these are really the words of Thais addressed aside to Chremes.
6 You gallows-bird: "Furcifer;" literally, "bearer of the furca."
7 As befits gallant soldiers: Beaumont and Fletcher not improbably had this scene in view in their picture of the mob regiment in Philaster. The ragged regiment which Shakspeare places under the commend of Falstaff was not very unlike it, nor that which owned the valiant Bombastes Furioso as its Captain.
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