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AGORASTOCLES and MILPHIO.
What now do you advise me to do, Milphio? MILPHIO
To give me a beating, and then have an auction1; for pointing to the house really, upon my faith, with utter impunity you might put up this house for sale. AGORASTOCLES
Why so? MILPHIO
For the greater part you make your dwelling in my mouth2. AGORASTOCLES
Do have done with those expressions. MILPHIO
What now do you wish? AGORASTOCLES
I just now gave three hundred Philippeans to the bailiff Collybiscus, before you called me out of doors. I now adjure you, Milphio, by this right hand, and by this left hand its sister, and by your eyes, and by my passion, and by my own Adelphasium, and by your liberty3---- MILPHIO
Why, now you adjure me by nothing at all. AGORASTOCLES
My dear little Milphio, my kind occasion, my safeguard, do what you promised me you would do, that I may prove the ruin of this Procurer. MILPHIO
Why, that's very easy to be done. Be off, bring here with you your witnesses; meanwhile, in-doors I'll forthwith provide your bailiff with my disguise and stratagems. Make haste and be off. AGORASTOCLES
I fly. MILPHIO
That's more my part4 than yours. AGORASTOCLES
Should I not, should I not, if you effect this adroitly5---- MILPHIO
Only do begone. AGORASTOCLES
Ought I not this very day---- MILPHIO
Only do be off. AGORASTOCLES
To give you freedom MILPHIO
Only do begone. AGORASTOCLES
By my troth, I should not deserve-ah! MILPHIO
Bah! Only do be off. AGORASTOCLES
As many as are the dead in Acheron---- MILPHIO
Will you, then, move off? AGORASTOCLES
Nor yet as many as there are waves in the sea---- MILPHIO
Are you going to move off? AGORASTOCLES
Nor as many as there are clouds---- MILPHIO
Do you persist in going on this way? AGORASTOCLES
Nor as there are stars in heaven---- MILPHIO
Do you persist in dinning my ears? AGORASTOCLES
Neither this thing nor that; nor yet, indeed, seriously speaking--nor, by my faith, indeed. What need is there of words? And why not?--a thing that in one word--here we may say anything we please--and yet, i' faith, not seriously in reality. D'ye see how 'tis? So may the Gods bless me!--do you wish me to tell you in honest truth? A thing that here we may between ourselves--so help me Jupiter---- Do you see how? Look you--do you believe what I tell you? MILPHIO
If I cannot make you go away, I shall go away myself: for really, upon my faith, there's need of an Œdipus6 as a diviner for this speech of yours, him who was the interpreter to the Sphinx. He goes into the house of AGORASTOCLES. AGORASTOCLES
He has gone off in a passion; now must I beware, lest, through my own fault, I place an impediment in the way of my love. I'll go and fetch the witnesses, since love commands me, a free man, to be obedient to my own slave. (Exit.)
1 Have an auction: Some Commentators have fancied that a play is intended upon the resemblance of the word "auctio" in this line and "anctor" in the preceding one.
2 Dwelling in my mouth: He says that his master may sell his own house, for he seems to have taken up his abode in his (Milphio's) mouth m reference to his having continually to speak of him or to him.
3 By your liberty: His liberty being a thing non-existent.
4 More my part: He alludes to the common trick of slaves taking to flight.
5 Effect this adroitly: Plautus designedly makes Agorastocles talk in this disjointed and unintelligible manner, both for the purpose of showing his own distraction and teasing Milphio. He does not, however, seem likely to hurt his own interest by his promises. Given connectedly, his words stand thus (as given in a Note to Warner's Translation): "Should I not give you your liberty to-day, if you do what you have promised--if you impose upon the pander, and deliver Adelphasium to me--I do not deserve so many Philippeans of gold as there are dead men in the shades, waves in the sea, or star in the sky."
6 Need of an Œdipus: Juno, in her displeasure against the city of Thebes, sent the Sphinx, in order to wreak her vengeance against the inhabitants. This was a monster with the face and speech of a woman, the wings of a bird, and the rest of the body resembling that of a dog or a lion. The monster proposed enigmatical questions to all with whom it met, and those who could not explain them it devoured. On the Oracle being consulted, they were informed that they would not get rid of the monster unless they could find out the meaning of a certain enigma, which was, "What is that animal that has four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?" Œdipus, at length, explained this as meaning a man, who crawls on all-fours during infancy, during manhood stands on two legs, and, when old, makes use of a stick as a third leg to support him. On hearing this, the monster, in despair, knocked out its brains against a rock.
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