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Enter PISTOCLERUS from the house of BACCHIS.
to the FIRST BACCHIS within . 'Tis strange that you are so earnestly begging me to return, who am able by no possible means to depart hence, if I were willing, so bound down1, and so enchained with love do you hold me. CHRYSALUS
O, ye immortal Gods, I espy Pistoclerus! O, Pistoclerus, hail! PISTOCLERUS
Hail, Chrysalus, to you! CHRYSALUS
I will at present compress many speeches for you in a small space. You are glad that I am come; I give you credit for it. You promise me lodging and an entertainment coming from my journey, as it is befitting, and I agree to come. I bring you the sincere greetings of your friend. Would you ask me where he is? He's come. PISTOCLERUS
Is he alive and well? CHRYSALUS
That I was wishful to enquire of yourself. PISTOCLERUS
How can I know? CHRYSALUS
No one better. PISTOCLERUS
Why, in what way? CHRYSALUS
Because if she has been found whom he so loves, he is alive and well. If she is not found, he is not well, and is like to die. His mistress is the very life of a lover. If she is away, he is non-existent; if she is with him, his property is non-existent, and himself worthless and wretched. But what have you done in respect of his commission? PISTOCLERUS
And ought I not to have his request complied with against his arrival, which his messenger brought to me from him? I'd sooner be dwelling in the realms of Acheron than not. CHRYSALUS
How now, have you found out this Bacchis? PISTOCLERUS
Yes, and a Samian one too. CHRYSALUS
Prithee, do take care that no one handles her carelessly: you know how soon a Samian vessel2 is wont to break. PISTOCLERUS
What now, your old habit? CHRYSALUS
Prithee, do tell me where she now is. PISTOCLERUS
Here, where you just now saw me coming out. CHRYSALUS
How capital that is! She's living almost next door. Does she at all remember Mnesilochus? PISTOCLERUS
Do you ask me that? Aye, him alone does she esteem at the very highest value. CHRYSALUS
Yes, and were you to believe her, distractedly in love--she quite longs for him. CHRYSALUS
That's good. PISTOCLERUS
Yes, Chrysalus; see, now; not even so small a space of time ever passes by as this3, out that she is uttering his name. CHRYSALUS
I' faith, so much the better. Moving, as if about to go. PISTOCLERUS
Yes; but--Holds him. CHRYS. Yes, faith4, I'd rather be off. PISTOCLERUS
And do you so unwillingly hear how your master's interests have prospered? CHRYSALUS
No, not the subject5, but the actor offends my feelings with his tediousness. Even "Epidicus," a play that I love quite as much as my own self, were Pollio to act it6, no play would I see so reluctantly. But, does Bacchis seem handsome, as well, to you? PISTOCLERUS
Do you ask the question? Had I not got a Venus, I should pronounce her a Juno. CHRYSALUS
I' faith, Mnesilochus, as I find these matters proceeding, there's something ready for you to love; 'tis needful that you find something to give her. But, perhaps you have need of gold for that other one? PISTOCLERUS
Yes, some Philippeans. CHRYSALUS
And you have need of it directly, perhaps? PISTOCLERUS
Aye, and even sooner than directly. For there's a Captain coming here just now---- CHRYSALUS
A Captain, indeed! PISTOCLERUS
Who is demanding some gold here for relinquishing Bacchis. CHRYSALUS
Let him come when he pleases, and so there be no delay. The money's at home; I fear not for myself, nor do I go begging to any man; so long, at least, as this heart of mine shall be armed with its inventiveness. Go in; I'll manage here. Do you tell them in-doors, that Mnesilochus is coming to Bacchis. PISTOCLERUS
I'll do as you request. Goes into the house of BACCHIS. CHRYSALUS
The money business belongs to me. From Ephesus we have brought twelve hundred golden Philippeans, which our entertainer owed to our old gentleman. Hence, some contrivance7 will I this day contrive, to procure gold for this son of my master thus in love. But there's a noise at our door--who's coming out of doors, I wonder? Stands aside.
2 A Samian vessel: He plays upon the word "Samian," as the isle of Samos was celebrated for the quality of its earthenware, which, as he here says, was very brittle.
4 Yes, faith: It has been suggested that Chrysalus is put out of patience here by the frequent repetition by Pistoclerus of the word "immo," "aye," or "yes;" on which he rejoins, "immo, &c.," "yes, and I'll be off."
5 No, not the subject: He seems to mean that he is not displeased with the subject. but at the tedious way in which Pistoclerus relates it to him.
6 Pollio to act it: It is clear from this that the Epidicus of Plautus was written before the Bacchides. With a rather unusual degree of license he seems to refer to an event that has recently happened, and it is not improbable that the "Epidicus," good play as it was, had suffered from the demerits of some contemptible actor of the day, known as Pollio. Plautus thus excuses his play, and excites a laugh by the quaintness of the remark. There is a passage in the Nigrinus of Lucian that throws light on this: "Friend, have you never seen a bad Tragic or Comic actor? some of those I mean who are hissed because they spoil a good play with their acting, and are at last driven off the stage; though the play itself be at other times applauded, and bear away the prize."
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