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Enter a CAPTAIN, with his SERVANT.
to his SERVANT . Take care not to pass by any house without asking where lives the old gentleman, Periphanes of Plothea1. Take care that you don't return to me without knowing it. PERIPHIANES
coming forward . Young man, if I point out to you the person whom you are in search of, what thanks shall I get of you? A CAPTAIN
In arms, by the might of war, I've deserved that all people ought to give me thanks. PERIPHIANES
You haven't found out, young man, a tranquil spot where to recount your virtues as you wish; for, if an inferior vaunts his battles to a superior, by his lips they become soiled; but this Periphanes of Plothea whom you are seeking, I am he, if you want him for anything. A CAPTAIN
Him, you mean, who in his youth among kings in arms, by his skill in war, gained vast wealth? PERIPHIANES
Aye, if you were to hear of my achievements, drop ping your hands you would run off home. A CAPTAIN
I' faith, I'm rather in search of one to whom to speak of my own, than of one to be speaking of his to me. PERIPHIANES
This is not the place for it. Do you then look out for another person, into whom to stuff your scraps of nonsense2. Aside. And yet this is folly, for me to impute that to him as a fault, which I myself used to do in my youth when I was a soldier; in recounting my battles I used to tear out men's ears by the roots, when I had once begun. A CAPTAIN
Lend your attention, that you may learn what I've come to you about. I've heard that you have purchased my mistress. PERIPHIANES
aside . Heyday! now at last I know who he is; the officer whom Epidicus was telling me about a short time since. To the OFFICER. Young man, it is as you say; I have purchased her. A CAPTAIN
I want a few words with you, if it is not inconvenient to you. PERIPHIANES
Upon my faith, I don't know whether it's convenient or not, until perhaps you say what you want. A CAPTAIN
I want you to transfer her to me, and take the ransom. PERIPHIANES
You may have her. A CAPTAIN
But why should I hesitate to speak out to you? I wish at once to make her my freed-woman, that she may be my mistress3. PERIPHIANES
I'll make short work with you; she was bought for me for fifty minæ of silver; if sixty minæ are paid down to me, I'll let the damsel employ your holidays4, and so assuredly so, that, if you like, you may remove her from this country. A CAPTAIN
Is she then purchased by me? PERIPHIANES
On those terms you may have her. You have made a good bargain. Going to the door of his house. Hallo there! bring out of doors the Music-girl you took in. The harp, too, as well, that was thrown in with her, I'll make you a present of it for nothing. MUSIC-GIRL. PERIPHIANES
taking her by the hand and leading her to the CAPTAIN . Come, take her, please. A CAPTAIN
What madness possesses you? What mystery are you devising for me? Why don't you order the Music-girl5 to be brought from in-doors? PERIPHIANES
Why, this is the Music-girl. There's no other one here. A CAPTAIN
You can't impose on me. Why don't you bring out here the Music-girl Acropolistis? PERIPHIANES
This, I tell you, is she. A CAPTAIN
This, I tell you, is not she. Do you suppose that I can't know my own mistress? PERIPHIANES
It was this Music-girl, I tell you, for whom my son was dying with love. A CAPTAIN
This is not she. PERT.
How, not she? A CAPTAIN
It is not. PERT.
Where in the world, then, does, she come from? For my part, i' faith, I certainly paid the money for her. A CAPTAIN
Foolishly paid, I guess, and a mighty mistake. PERIPHIANES
Nay, but this is she; for I sent the servant who is in the habit of attending my son; he himself this moment purchased the Music-girl. A CAPTAIN
Well then, this fellow has cut you up joint by joint, old gentleman, this servant of yours. PERIPHIANES
How, cut me up? A CAPTAIN
Such is my suspicion; for she has been palmed upon you for that Music-girl. Old gentleman, you've been bubbled clearly and cleverly. I shall now go seek her wherever she is. Warrior, farewell! (Exeunt the OFFICER and SERVANT.) PERIPHIANES
stamnping with rage . Bravo, bravo! Epidicus You're a clever fellow! You have fought well--you're a man! you've wiped my nose when snivelling, worthless fellow that I am! To the MUSIC-GIRL. Did Apæcides purchase you to-day of the procurer? A pause. Come now, tell me. MUS.-G.
I never heard of that person before to-day, nor, indeed, was any one able to purchase me for any money; I've been free now for more than five years. PERIPHIANES
What business have you, then, at my house? MUS.-G.
You shall hear; I came, being hired to perform for an old gentleman while he was sacrificing. PERIPHIANES
I do confess that I am the most worthless of all men in Athens of Attica. But do you know Acropolistis the Music-girl? MUS.-G.
As well as my own self. PERIPHIANES
Where does she live? MUS.-G.
Since she has been made free, I don't know for certain. PERIPHIANES
Well now, I should like to know who has made her free, if you know? MUS.-G.
That which I have heard, you shall hear; I heard that Stratippocles6, the son of Periphanes, had provided in his absence that she should be made free. PERIPHIANES
By heavens, I'm undone7, most clearly, if these things are true. Epidicus has disembowelled my purse! MUS.-G.
I've heard to that effect. Do you want me for anything else? PERIPHIANES
Away to perdition in the veriest torments, and off this instant! MUS.-G.
Won't you give me back my harp? PERT.
Neither harp nor pipes. Make haste, then, and escape from here, if the Gods love you! MUS.-G.
I'll be off. At a future time, however, you'll restore it, with the greater disgrace8 to yourself. (Exit.) PERIPHIANES
to himself . What now? Shall I, who have been placed before so many edicts9, allow him to get with impunity? No; even though as much again should be required to be lost, I'll lose it rather than allow myself to be held in derision with impunity and plundered by them. That I should have been thus cheated openly to my face, and that I should have been set at nought before this Apæcides, who is famed as being the framer and founder of all the laws and ordinances! He too declares that he is a wise man! that the hammer, forsooth, should be wiser than the handle10! He stands aside.
1 Periphanes of Plothea: "Plothenius." Most of the editions have here "Platænius" "of Platæa." As this was in Bœotia, the other is far more likely to be the right reading, Plothea being a Demus of Attica.
2 Your scraps of nonsense: "Centones." These were properly patchwork tales, or poems, made up of scraps from various works.
3 That she may be my mistress: The swaggering, careless character of the Captain, is admirably depicted here, as he does not hesitate to tell a perfect stranger, and him an aged man, his intentions, at the possible risk of shocking him.
4 Employ your holidays: The "feriæ," or "holidays," are mentioned in the Captivi, l. 473. See the Note to the passage.
5 Order the Music-girl: Periphanes has ordered the girl who has just come, and whom he takes to be Acropolistis, to be brought out; whereas the Captain is in love with the first, who is passing for the old gentleman's daughter and this mistake occasions the dispute
6 I heard that Stratippocles: She discloses to him what she has heard as the fact, and which is the real state of the case. Although Acropolistis is in his house, in the character of his daughter, he, not knowing who she really is, is alarmed at hearing that his son has procured her liberation, which he has just taken so much pains to prevent.
7 I'm undone: Having now detected this piece of roguery of which Epidicus has been guilty.
8 With the greater disgrace: Probably by being sued, and obliged to give it up, whether he will or no.
9 Before so many edicts: "Qui in tantis positus sum sententiis." This passage has been explained various ways; but Madame Dacier seems justified in thinking that Gronovius has found the right meaning, and that the allusion is to the custom of placing the name of the proposer at the head of the ψηφίσματα, or public edicts of the Greeks; this of course implied that the proposer was a man of standing, and of some fair pretensions to a reputation for wisdom.
10 Than the handle: He seems to compare Apæcides to the head of the hammer, and himself to the handle, and says that they are equally outwitted. He probably implies thereby that he has been in the habit of giving the impetus to Apæcides in the same way that the handle of the hammer does to the head.
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