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Enter PERISTRATA and LYCISSA, from the house of DEMIPHO.
The Goddess Astarte1 is the might of mortals and of the Gods, their life, their health; she, the same, who is likewise their death, destruction, downfall, the seas, the earth, the heaven, and the stars. Whatever Temples of Jove we inhabit, they are guided by her nod; her do they obey; to her do they pay regard; what displeases her, the other Deities do quickly put aside. Whatever pleases her, that, all things, which live and have sense, do pursue. Some she tortures, destroys; others, with her own milk does she nourish and raise aloft; but those whom she tortures, they live and enjoy their senses; those whom she hastens to rear and raise aloft, these last indeed do perish forthwith, and to their sorrow use their senses. Then, well-wishers, they lie prostrate, objects of dislike they bite the ground, grovel upon their faces, roar out, and make a riot; and when they think they live, then in especial do they rush on to ruin, then, then do they show eagerness in the pursuit of the object beloved; young men stumble, aged men likewise are led away. They love themselves; the object which they love, they wish to be loved and known. But if at that age they begin to fall in love, much more grievous is their madness. But if they do not love, then they hate, they are morose, too, and wayward; tattlers, haters, ill-disposed, passionate, envious for themselves and theirs. What they have formerly been shamelessly guilty of themselves, if it is done in a more quiet way, fathers do not tolerate as they ought to do; but they proclaim it, and indecently cry it out aloud. SYRA
apart . So far as I understand, Demipho is treating this lady badly too. PERISTRATA
This is the truth. My son is in love and is dying; when his father came to know of it, he was enraged beyond bounds. What insanity is this? This same husband of mine at one time packed my son off to Rhodes to traffic; now, according to the news Acanthio brings, he'll be betaking himself into banishment. O unjust father! O unfortunate son! whither will you betake yourself? Where will you leave your mother? Shall I pass my life bereft? Shall I lose my son? I will not endure it. Has his father sold her? Wherever she shall be found, the mother will redeem her. Do you tell me, Lycissa, do they suppose that she was brought into this neighbourhood? LYCISSA
pointing to the house of LYSIMACHUS . To that, I fancy; to the house of a certain old gentleman, a friend. PERISTRATA
Here, there is no one that 1 know of besides Lysimachus. SYRA
apart . They are mentioning Lysimachus. It's a wonder if the old fellows, who are neighbours, haven't been going halves in the same nest. PERISTRATA
I'll go look for Dorippa, his wife. The door of the house of LYSIMACHUS opens. LYCISSA
Why go look for her? Don't you see her? PERISTRATA
Indeed, I do see her. Let's listen; she's muttering something in a passion, I know not what, to herself. They stand aside.
1 The Goddess Astarte: Astarte. The author seems to allude to Venus under this name. Cicero tells us that Astarte was the Syrian Venus. This soliloquy of Peristrata is very obscure and confused, and couched in most crabbed language, but her intention seems to be to descant upon the supreme sway of love.
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