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Enter NICOBULUS from his house.
to himself . To the Piræus will I go; I'll go see whether any merchant-ship has come into harbour from Ephesus. For my mind misgives me; my son lingers there so long, and does not return. CHRYSALUS
aside . Now, I'll finely unravel him, if the Gods are propitious. There must be no sleeping; gold is requisite1 for Chrysalus. I'll accost him, whom for sure this day I'll make a ram of Phryxus2 of; so, even to the quick3, will I shear him of his gold. Accosting him. His servant Chrysalus salutes Nicobulus. NICOBULUS
O, immortal Gods! where is my son? CHRYSALUS
Why don't you return the salutation first, which I gave you? NICOBULUS
Well, save you. But where on earth is Mnesilochus P CHRYSALUS
He is alive and well. Nico. Is he not come? CHRYSALUS
He is come. Nico. Hurra! you've brought me to4 my senses. And has he all along been well? CHRYSALUS
Aye, well as a boxer5 and an athlete. NICOBULUS
But what as to this--the business on account or which I sent him hence to Ephesus? Has he rot received the gold from his entertainer, Archidemides? CHRYSALUS
Alas! my heart and my brain are cleft, Nicobulus, whenever mention is made of that fellow. Why don't you call that entertainer of his your enemy? NICOBULUS
Troth now, prithee, why so? CHRYSALUS
Because, i' faith, I know for sure, that Vulcan, the Moon, the Sun, the Day, those four Divinities, never shone upon another more wicked. NICOBULUS
What, than Archidemides? Dear me! CHRYSALUS
Than Archidemides, I say. NICOBULUS
What has he done? CHRYSALUS
What has he not done? Why don't you ask me that? In the first place, then, he began to make denials to your son, and to assert that he didn't owe three obols6 to you. Forthwith, Mnesilochus summoned to himself there our ancient host, the old gentleman, Pelago; in his presence, he at once showed the fellow the token7, which you yourself had given to your son to deliver to him. NICOBULUS
Well--when he showed him the token? CHRYSALUS
He began to say that it was counterfeit, and that it was not a true token; and how many reproaches he did utter against him so undeserving of them! and he said that in other matters he had committed forgery. NICOBULUS
Have you not the gold? In the first place, I want that to be told me. CHRYSALUS
Yes, after the Prætor had appointed delegates8; being cast, at length compelled by force he paid down twelve hundred Philippeans. NICOBULUS
He owed that much. CHRYSALUS
Besides, listen to another struggle of his, as well, which he was desirous to enter on. NICOBULUS
What, besides, as well? Oho! this will turn out now a regular hawk's nest9. I've been deceived. I've entrusted my gold to an Autolycus10 for my host! CHRYSALUS
Nay, but do you listen---- NICOBULUS
Well, I wasn't aware of the disposition of my avaricious entertainer. CHRYSALUS
Afterwards, at last we had got the gold, and embarked on board ship, desirous for home. By chance, as I was sitting on the deck, while I was looking about me, at that moment I beheld a long bark being fitted out by this cheating knave. NICOBULUS
Troth, I'm undone; that bark breaks my heart11. CHRYSALUS
This was held in partnership by your host and some pirates. NICOBULUS
And that I should be such a blockhead as to trust him, when his very name of Archidemides12 cried aloud to me that he would deprive me of it, if I should entrust anything to him. CHRYSALUS
This bark was lying in wait for our ship. I began to watch them, to see what business they were about. Meanwhile, from harbour our ship set sail. When we had fully left the harbour, these fellows began to follow with their oars; nor birds, nor winds more swiftly. As I discovered what scheme was being carried out, at once we dropped anchor. As they beheld us stopping, they began to keep their vessel back in harbour. NICOBULUS
Wicked wretches, by my troth. What did you do at last? CHRYSALUS
We returned again into harbour. NICOBULUS
'Twas cleverly done by you. What after that? CHRYSALUS
At nightfall they returned ashore. NICOBULUS
Troth now, they intended to carry off the gold; they were attempting that plan, no doubt. CHRYSALUS
It didn't escape me; I discovered it: I was almost terrified to death by it. As I saw that a scheme was being laid against the gold, forthwith on this we came to this determination; the next day we carried away all the gold thence in their presence, openly and publicly, that they might know it was done. NICOBULUS
Skilfully managed, i' faith. Tell me, what did they? CHRYSALUS
Chopfallen at once,--soon as ever they saw us leaving the harbour with the gold, shaking their heads, they hauled their bark ashore. We deposited all the gold with Theotimus, who is a priest there13 of Ephesian Diana. NICOBULUS
Who is this Theotimus? CHRYSALUS
The son of Megalobyzus14, who is now living at Ephesus, a man most dear to the Ephesians. NICOBULUS
By my troth, he'll surely turn out very much more dear to me15 if he shall chouse me out of all that gold. CHRYSALUS
But it is stowed away in the very temple itself of the Goddess Diana; there they keep guard at the public expense16. NICOBULUS
You kill me outright; much more safely would it have been kept in private hands. But haven't you brought any of the gold home here? CHRYSALUS
O yes; but how much he has brought, I don't know. NICOBULUS
How's that?--not know? CHRYSALUS
Because Mnesilochus went privately by night to Theotimus; and didn't wish to entrust it to me, nor to any one in the ship. For that reason I don't know how much he has brought, but he hasn't brought very much. NICOBULUS
Do you think it was even a half? CHRYSALUS
By my troth, I know not; but I don't think it. NICOBULUS
Does he bring a third part? CHRYSALUS
Troth, I think not; but I do not know the truth. Indeed, I know nothing at all about the gold, except that I do know nothing about it. Now, you yourself must take a voyage there on board ship, to carry home this gold from Theotimus; and, hearkye---- Takes him by the arm. NICOBULUS
What do you want? CHRYSALUS
Take care and remember to carry your son's ring. NICOBULUS
What need is there of the ring? CHRYSALUS
Because that is the token agreed on with Theotimus, that the person who brings it to him, to him he is to give up the gold. NICOBULUS
I'll remember it, and you advise me well. But is this Theotimus rich? CHRYSALUS
What, do you ask that? Why, hasn't he the soles fastened to his shoes with gold? NICOBULUS
Why does he thus despise it? CHRYSALUS
He has such immense riches; he doesn't know what to do with his gold. NICOBULUS
I wish he'd give it me. But in whose presence was this gold delivered to Theotimus? CHRYSALUS
In presence of the people; there's not a person in Ephesus but what knows it. NICOBULUS
My son at least did wisely there, in entrusting that gold to a rich man to keep. From him it may be recovered even at a moment's notice. CHRYSALUS
Aye, and look here, he'll never keep you waiting even thus much shows his finger-nail from receiving it on the very day you arrive there. NICOBULUS
I thought that I had escaped a seafaring life, and that, at length, an old man of my years, I shouldn't be sailing about. But now I find that I'm not allowed to have the choice whether I would or no; 'tis my fine host Archidemides has done me this. Where, then, is my son, Mnesilochus, at present? CHRYSALUS
He has gone to the market-place to pay his respects to the Deities and his friends. NICOBULUS
Then I'll go hence to meet him as soon as I can. (Exit NICOBULUS.) CHRYSALUS
He's right well loaded, and carries more than his proper burden. Not so very badly has this web been commenced by me, that I may find means for the son of my master in his amour. I've managed it so, that he may take as much of the gold as he chooses, and give up to his father as much as he may like to give up. The old gentleman will be going hence to Ephesus to fetch his gold; here our life will be spent in a delicious manner, since the old man will leave me and Mnesilochus here, and not be taking us along with him. O! what a kick-up I shall be making here. But what's to be done, when the old gentleman shall have discovered this? When he shall have found out that he has made his journey thither to no purpose, and that we have misspent his gold, what will become of me after that? I' faith, I think upon his arrival he'll be changing my name, and at once be making me Crucisalus17 instead of Chrysalus. Troth, I'll run away, if there shall be a greater necessity for it. If I'm caught, I'll plague him for a punishment18; if his rods are in the fields, still my back's at home. Now I'll be off, and tell my master's son this contrivance about the gold, and about his mistress Bacchis who has been found. (Exit.)
2 Ram of Phryxus: The Ram with the golden fleece carried Phryxus in safety over the Hellespont; but his sister Helle fell off its back on the passage, from which that arm of the sea derived its name. Jason recovered the golden fleece by the aid of Medea. The story of Helle and Phryxus is related at length in the Fasti and the Metamorphoses of Ovid.
3 Even to the quick: "Ad vivam cutem"--literally, "to the living skin."
7 The token: "Symbolum" was some object which a person delivered to another, in order to serve as a mark, sign, or token to a third person, that he was to do something which had been previously agreed upon.
8 Appointed delegates: "Recuperatores" were certain commissioners or judges-delegate, who were usually named by the Prætor, at Rome and in the provinces, to decide matters in dispute, such as disagreements about money and property; also to assess the damages where a wrong had been done; to enquire whether a man was freeborn or not; or, to which of two claimants civic honours properly belonged.
10 An Autolycus: Autolycus was the son of Mercury and the grand-father of Ulysses. He was noted for his thievish propensities, and was in the habit of painting the cattle which he had stolen of another colour, in order that they might not be recognized.
12 Name of Archidemides: He puns upon the name of Archidemides, which was really derived from the Greek "ἄρχομαι," "to govern," and "δημὰς," "the people," To adapt his pun, however, to the taste of a Roman audience he would make out that it was in part a compound of the Latin word "demo," to filch" or "take away."
13 A priest there: St. Paul, when he visited Ephesus, found Diana still enthroned there in the full blaze of her glory. Her temple was esteemed one of the wonders of the world.
14 Son of Megalobyzus: The priests of Diana at Ephesus are supposed to have been eunuchs, and the priestesses virgins. Taubmann thinks that "Megabyzus," which ought to be read here, was a general name of the priests of Diana; and that the words "Megabyzi filius," "a son of Megabyzus," have the same import as the word "Megabyzus" itself. It may, however, mean that Theotimus was a priest, and not of necessity that his father was so.
15 More dear to me: The pun here perpetrated answers equally well in English.
16 At the public expense: The ancients used to place a guard, at the public expense, at the gates of their temples, as great quantities of property or value were there deposited as in places of safety.
17 Crucisalus: Anticipating the punishment of the cross, which was often inflicted on slaves, he coins an epithet, "crucisalus," "cross-struggler," for himself, and then compares it with his own name.
18 For a punishment: He means to say, that his master will not be able to chastise him without punishing himself, in some measure, by the loss of the rods that will be wasted on his back.
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