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Enter LYDUS and PHILOXENUS.
I'll now make trial, whether your heart is sharpened by wisdom in your breast. Follow me. PHILOXENUS
Whither shall I follow? Whither are you now leading me? LYDUS
To her who has undone, utterly destroyed your single, only son. PHILOXENUS
How now, Lydus; those are the wiser who mode-rate their passion. 'Tis less to be2 wondered at if this age does some of these things than if it does not do so; I, as well, did the same in my youth. LYDUS
Ah me! ah me! this over-indulgence has proved his ruin. For had he been without you, I should have had him trained up to moral rectitude; now, by reason of you and your trusting disposition, Pistoclerus has become abandoned. MNESILOCHUS
aside . Immortal Gods! he names my friend. What means this, that Lydus is thus exciting his master, Pistoclerus? PHILOXENUS
'Tis but a little time, Lydus, that a man has a desire to indulge his inclinations; the time will soon come, when he will hate himself even. Humour him; so that care is taken that he offends not beyond the line of honor, e'en suffer him. LYDUS
I'll suffer him not, nor, for my part, while I'm alive, will I allow him to be corrupted. But you, who are pleading his cause for a son so profligate, was this same your own training, when you were a young man? I declare that for your first twenty years you had not even this much liberty, to move your foot out of the house even a finger's length away from your tutor. When it did happen so, this evil, too, was added to the evil; both pupil and preceptor were esteemed disgraced. Before the rising of the sun had you not come to the school for exercise3, no slight punishment would you have had at the hands of the master of the school. There did they exercise themselves rather with running, wrestling, the quoit, the javelin, boxing, the ball, and leaping, rather than with harlots or with kissing; there did they prolong their lives4, and not in secret-lurking holes. Then, when from the hippodrome5 and school of exercise you had returned home, clad in your belted frock6, upon a stool by your masters7 would you sit; and there, when you were reading your book, if you made a mistake in a single syllable, your skin would be made as spotted as your nurse's gown8. MNESILOCHUS
(aside). I'm sorely vexed, to my sorrow, that on my account these things should be said about my friend. In his innocence he incurs this suspicion for my sake. PHILOXENUS
The manners, Lydus, now are altered. LYDUS
That, for my part, I know full well. For formerly, a man used to receive public honors by the votes of the people, before he ceased to be obedient to one appointed his tutor. But now-a-days, before he is seven years old, if you touch a boy with your hand, at once the child breaks his tutor's head with his tablet. When you go to complain to the father, thus says the father to the child: "Be you my own dear boy, since you can defend yourself from an injury." The tutor then is called for; "Hallo! you old good-for-nothing9, don't you be touching the child for this reason, that he has behaved so boldly;" and thus the despised tutor becomes just like a lantern10 with his oiled linen rags. Judgment pronounced, they go away thence. Can this preceptor then, on these terms, keep up his authority, if he himself is to be beaten the first? MNESILOCHUS
aside . This is a severe accusation. So far as I understand his words, 'tis strange if Pistoclerus has never thumped Lydus with his fists. LYDUS
seeing MNESILOCHUS . But who is it that I see standing here before the door? O Philoxenus, I would not prefer for myself to behold even the propitious Gods rather than him. PHILOXENUS
Who's this? LYDUS
Why, he's Mnesilochus, the friend of your son. He is not of a like turn of mind with him who reclines and takes his meals in brothels. Fortunate Nicobulus! who begot him for himself. PHILOXENUS
(advancing). My greetings to you, Mnesilochus; I'm glad that you have arrived safe. MNESILOCHUS
May the Gods favour you, Philoxenus. LYDUS
He, now, was born at a lucky moment for his father; he goes to sea, attends to the interests of his family, takes care of the house, is obedient and attentive to the wish and commands of his father. He, when but a boy, was the companion of Pistoclerus in his boyhood; 'tis not by three days that he is the older in age, but his disposition is more improved by thirty years than that of the other. PHILOXENUS
Beware of a mischief11, and forbear to speak of him unjustly. LYDUS
Hold your peace. You're a foolish man, who cannot bear to have him badly spoken of who does badly. But I would rather have him draw upon my mishaps than upon my savings12. PHILOXENUS
Why so? LYDUS
Because, if he were to draw upon my mishaps, he would each day be making them less. MNESILOCHUS
Why, Lydus, are you censuring your pupil, my friend? LYDUS
Your friend is ruined. MNESILOCHUS
May the Gods forbid it. LYDUS
'Tis so as I say. And further, I myself saw it when he was undone; I am not censuring him from hearsay. MNESILOCHUS
What has been done by him? LYDUS
He is disgracefully doting upon a harlot. MNESILOCHUS
Won't you be silent now? LYDUS
She, too, like a tide, most voraciously swallows all up, whenever she has touched any one. MNESILOCHUS
Where does this woman live? LYDUS
Here. (Points to the house.) MNESILOCHUS
Whence do they say she comes? LYDUS
From Samos. MNESILOCHUS
What's her name? LYDUS
You are wrong, Lydus; I know the whole affair, just as it is. You are blaming Pistoclerus without reason, and in his innocence. For he is carefully performing the business enjoined on him by his friend and companion, his sincere well-wisher. Neither is he himself in love, nor do you suppose him so. LYDUS
Is it necessary for him carefully to perform the business enjoined upon him by his friend in this fashion--for himself, sitting down, to hold a damsel in his lap who is kissing him? Can the business thus entrusted be in no way transacted unless ever and anon he is placing his hand upon the bosom of Bacchis, or never withdraws his lips from hers? But I'm ashamed to make mention of other things which I have seen him do; when, in my presence, I saw him take most unbecoming liberties with the person of Bacchis, and yet not be at all ashamed. What need of words is there? My pupil, your friend, his son pointing to PHILOXENUS , is ruined. For I say that he is ruined, whose modesty in fact is lost. What need of words is there? Had I been willing to wait only a little time, that I might have had a better opportunity of viewing him, I then should, I think, have seen more than would have been proper for me to see, and for him to do. MNESILOCHUS
(aside). Friend, you have undone me. And ought I not to punish this woman with death? I should prefer that I should perish after some dreadful fashion. Isn't it the fact, you know not whom to deem faithful to yourself, or in whom to put your trust? LYS.
Don't you see how much he grieves that your son, his friend, has been corrupted? and how he is afflicting himself with sorrow? PHILOXENUS
Mnesilochus, I beg this of you, that you will influence his feelings and his disposition. Preserve for yourself a friend as well as a son for me. MNESILOCHUS
I fain would do so. LYDUS
to PHILOXENUS . Much better, too, would you leave me here together with him. PHILOXENUS
Mnesilochus has cares, more than enough. LYDUS
Rate the man soundly, who disgraces me, yourself his friend, and others, by his excesses. PHILOXENUS
to MNESILOCHUS . Upon you do I impose all this responsibility. Lydus, follow me this way. LYDUS
I follow you. (Exeunt PHILOXENUS and LYDUS.)
1 Thornton suggests that Molière had in his eye this Scene when he wrote "Les Fourberies de Scapin," which Otway translated under the title of "The Cheats of Scapin."
2 'Tis less to be: After reading this, we shall be the less surprised at the conduct of Philoxenus in the last Scene.
3 The school for exercise: "Palaestram." This was the school for athletic exercise, probably for both youths and men; though it has been contended that the "palaestra" was devoted to the youths, and the "gymnasium" to the men.
8 Your nurse's gown: It is not known whether the words "maculosum pallium" refer here to a kind of spotted gown, perhaps of dark pattern, peculiar to nurses, or to the dirty, soiled appearance which, not improbably, their gowns usually presented. Some Commentators take a wider range, and think that the passage refers to the robe of Cybele, the Mother of the Gods, which was made of the skin of a panther.
9 You old good-for-nothing: That is, in his capacity as a slave, a purchaseable commodity.
10 Just like a lantern: This passage has been much discussed by various Commentators. It is, however, most probable that the Romans used lanterns made of oiled linen cloth; and that he is comparing his head, when it has been broken by the tablets, and plaistered over with oiled linen, to one of these lanterns. In his Epistles to Atticus, B. 4, Ep. 3, Cicero makes mention of "linen lanterns."
12 Upon my savings: He seems to mean, that he had rather put up with insult, or violence even, from his pupil, than be responsible for his misdeeds in which latter case, probably, some part of his "peculium," or "savings," would be taken away from him, in the shape of fines.
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