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Enter LEONIDA and LIBANUS.
Great praise and thanks we give deservedly to perfidy, when relying upon our tricks, our stratagems, and our devices, upon our confidence in our shoulder-blades and the hardihood resulting from the elm-twigs so oft applied, against the whips, the searing-irons, the crosses, and the fetters, the cords, the chains, the prisons, the stocks, the shackles, the collars, and taskmasters most cruel and well acquainted with our backs, who many a time before have imprinted1 scars upon our shoulder-blades; by conquering, now, these legions, troops and armies of thieves, by our prowess, through our perjuries, O brave, have we gained the victory. This, through the valour of this comrade of mine, and through my own courtesy, has been brought about. LIBANUS
What man is there more firm than myself at enduring stripes? LEONIDA
By the powers, you who can extol your exploits now, as I can do exploits, which in peace and in warfare you have so ---- villanously performed; verily, in troth, many in number may they be now recounted according to your deserts; where you have defrauded him that trusted you, where you have proved faithless to your master, where knowingly and wilfully you have on solemn oath been perjured, where you have bored through party walls, where you have been detected in theft, where you have full oft pleaded your cause, as you hung up, against eight clever, hardened fellows2, sturdy stripers. LIBANUS
Certainly I do admit, Leonida, that it is true as you say. But verily, in troth, your many misdeeds, too, may be recounted as well and truly; where wilfully you have proved faithless to the trusting, where you have been detected in theft and scourged in public, where you have proved forsworn, where you have laid hands on sacred things, where to your masters you have full oft proved a loss, a trouble, and a disgrace, where you have stoutly denied that that was given to you which had been entrusted to you, where you have proved more faithful to your wench than to your friend, where through your hardihood you have frequently reduced to weariness eight sturdy lictors, armed with pliant twigs of elm. To the AUDIENCE. Is the compliment ill repaid in the way that I've praised my comrade? LEONIDA
Just as befits both me and yourself, and our dispositions. LIBANUS
Now drop this, and answer me this that I ask. LEONIDA
Enquire of me what you please. LIBANUS
Have you got the twenty silver minæ? LEONIDA
Guess ---- Upon my word, the old gentleman Demænetus, has been very obliging to us. How cleverly he pretended that I was Saurea. With the greatest difficulty did I withhold my laughter, when he rebuked the stranger, because in his absence he had been unwilling to put confidence in me; and with what readiness did he call me Saurea the chamberlain. LIBANUS
Stop a moment. LEONIDA
What's the matter? LIBANUS
Isn't this Philenium that's coming from in-doors, and Argyrippus with her. LEONIDA
Keep silence, 'tis he; let's listen quietly to them. In tears, she holds him, weeping, by the lappet of his garment; what, I wonder, am I to say is the matter? LIBANUS
Let's listen in silence. LEONIDA
Dear me, a thought, I' faith, has just come into my mind; I very much wish I had a long stick here. LIBANUS
For what reason? LEONIDA
With which to beat these asses3, if perchance they should begin to bray out here, from within the bag. They stand apart.
1 Have imprinted: The sense of the passage seems to require a comma after "indiderunt," and not a period, as Richter's edition has it.
2 Eight clever, hardened fellows: These were probably the eight Lictors who attended the "Tresviri" or "Triumviri," which magistrates had especial jurisdiction over slaves with the power of ordering summary punishment.
3 To beat these asses: He means the money which was to have been paid for the asses.
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