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Enter CLEÆRETA and PHEILENIUM, from the house of the former.
And am I unable to render you obedient to my injunctions? Or are you so disposed as to be free from the control of your mother? PHILENIUM
How could I propitiate Piety1, if I could desire to please you, being endowed with these manners, after the fashion, mother, that you enjoin upon me? CLEAERETA
Is it consistent with propriety for you to oppose my precepts? PHILENIUM
How so? CLEAERETA
Is this worshipping Piety, to lessen the authority of a mother? PHILENIUM
Those who act right I blame not, nor do I love those who do wrong. CLEAERETA
You are a very prating, lovesick girl. PHILENIUM
Mother, that is my living2. His tongue woos me, his person seeks me, his passion pleads, opportunity prompts. CLEAERETA
I was purposing to convince you. Are you come as my accuser? PHILENIUM
By my troth, I neither do accuse you, nor do I think it right I should do so; but I do complain of my lot, when I am separated from him whom I love. CLEAERETA
Will then one bit of the whole day's talk be left for myself? PHILENIUM
Both my share of the speaking and your own do I give up to you. Do you yourself keep the signal3 both for speaking and for being silent. But, i' faith, if I only put up my oars in the boat-house4 while I'm resting, all the welfare of the household is at a standstill for you. CLEAERETA
How say you, the out and out most insolent woman that ever I saw? How often have I forbidden you to speak to Argyrippus, the son of Demænetus, or to touch him, or to hold discourse with him, or to look at him? What has he ever given? What has he ordered to be brought to our house? Or do you fancy to yourself that smooth words are gold?--that clever speeches are as good as presents? Of your own accord you fell in love with him; of your own accord you go after him; of your own accord you request him to be sent for to you. Those who are givers, those same you laugh at; those who are cheating us, you are dying for. If any one promises you that he'll make you rich when his mother dies, ought you to be waiting for that? I' faith, a great risk impends over ourselves and the household, that we may die of hunger while we are awaiting her death. Now therefore, unless he brings me here twenty minæ of silver, upon my word, though profuse of his tears, he shall certainly be turned from here out of doors. This day's the end of5 excuses for poverty at my house. PHILENIUM
If, my mother, you were to order me to go without victuals, I would submit. CLEAERETA
I don't forbid you to love those who give that for the sake of which they ought to be loved. PHILENIUM
What, mother, if this inclination of mine is fixed? What am I to do? Tell me. CLEAERETA
Oh dear--look at my head6, if, indeed, you consider your own interest. PHILENIUM
Even the shepherd, mother, that feeds the sheep of another, has a certain one of his own to be the consoler of his hopes. For the sake of my affection, do allow me to love Argyrippus only, who is my choice. CLEAERETA
Go in-doors, for, upon my word, there is really nothing more impudent than yourself. PHILENIUM
Mother, you have given birth to a daughter obedient to your commands. They go into the house.
1 Could I propitiate Piety: She thinks that the Goddess "Pietas" will be shocked at her want of kind and grateful feeling, if she consents to turn Argyrippus out of doors.
2 That is my living: It is hard to say which she means as the source of her profit--whether her loving propensities, or her fund of talkativeness, for which her mother is censuring her. The next line is spoken with reference to her passion for Argyrippus.
3 Keep the signal: Portisculum." According to some writers portisculus" was a name of the "pausaurius" or "hortator," called by the Greeks κελευστὴς,, an officer whose duty it was to order the rowers to keep time. In the present passage, it seems rather to signify the hammer, or other instrument, which that officer held in his hand, for the purpose of beating time, to regulate the motion of the rowers; not unlike the baton of the conductor of a band.
4 In the boat-house: "In casteriâ." Nonius Marcellus informs us that "casteria" was a house, in which the oars, rudders, sails, and tackle, were sept, when the ship was laid up in dock.
5 The end of: "Summa" seems a preferable reading to "summæ.'
6 Look at my head: She tells her daughter to look at her grey hairs, meaning that she must make a provision against old age, when her admirers will forsake her and she will have no means of gaining a livelihood.
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