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Enter SIMO1, from his house.
The voice of a rascally fellow is calling me out of doors. He stares at PSEUDOLUS. But what's this? How's this? What is it I see in this guise? PSEUDOLUS
staggering towards him . Your own Pseudolus, drunk, with a chaplet on2. SIMO
to himself . By my troth, this is free and easy indeed. But see his attitude; is he on my account a bit the more afraid? I'm thinking whether I shall address him harshly or kindly. But this pointing to a purse in his hand that I'm carrying forbids me to use rough measures towards him just now; if there's any hope for me, centred in this. PSEUDOLUS
staggering up to SIMO . A worthless fellow is coming to meet the best of men. SIMO
May the Gods bless you, Pseudolus. PSEUDOLUS eructates. Foh! go to utter perdition. Pushes him away. PSEUDOLUS
But why should I have that mischance befal me? SIMO
Why, the plague, in your drunkenness, are you eructating in my face? PSEUDOLUS
Hold me up, steadily; take care that I don't fall. Don't you see me, how drenched and soaking I am? SIMO
What impudence is this, for you to be going about this way in broad daylight, drunk, with a chaplet on? PSEUDOLUS
Such is my pleasure. Eructates again. SIMO. Why your pleasure? Do you persist in eructating in my very face? PSEUDOLUS
An eructation is comforting to me; do indulge me in it; do but stand off. SIMO
For my part I really do believe, you villain, that you are able in a single hour to drink up four right plentiful vintages of the Massic hills3. PSEUDOLUS
A winter hour4, add. SIMO
You don't remind me amiss. But tell me, however, whence I am to say that you are bringing your deeply-laden bark? PSEUDOLUS
I've just been having a thorough bout with your son. That damsel is the cause of this; along with your son she is carousing, a free woman. SIMO
You are a most worthless fellow. PSEUDOLUS
But, Simo, wasn't Ballio nicely diddled? How well I carried what I told you into effect. SIMO
I know everything in its order, just as you managed each particular. PSEUDOLUS
Why, then, do you hesitate to pay me the money? SIMO
You ask what's just, I confess; take it. Gives him the money. PSEUDOLUS
But you declared that you wouldn't give it me; and still do you give it. SIMO
Are you laughing at me? What? Are you going to take this from your master, Pseudolus? PSEUDOLUS
With most willing heart and soul. SIMO
Prithee, can't you venture to make me an abatement of some portion of this money? PSEUDOLUS
No: you shall say that I really am a greedy fellow; for you shall never be richer by a single coin of this money. SIMO
Well, I really didn't suppose that it would ever come to pass with me that I should be begging of you. PSEUDOLUS
Load your shoulder with it, and follow me this way. Pointing. SIMO
I--load myself with that? PSEUDOLUS
You will load yourself, I'm sure. SIMO
What am I to do to this fellow? Doesn't he, contrary to my expectation, take my money, and then laugh at me? PSEUDOLUS
Woe to the conquered5: turn your back, then. Turns him round. SIMO
Oh! oh! desist. Let me alone--I'm in pain. PSEUDOLUS
Were you not in pain, I should be in pain; and no compassion would you have had for my back, if I hadn't this day managed this. SIMO
There will be an opportunity for me to be revenged on you, if I live. PSEUDOLUS
Why do you threaten? I've got a back of my own. SIMO
Very well, then. Moves as if going. PSEUD. Come you back then. SIMO
Why come back? PSEUDOLUS
Only come you back; you shall not be deceived. SIMO
turns round . I am come back. PSEUD. Come and have a drink with me. SIMO
What--I, come? PSEUDOLUS
Do as I ask you. If you do come, I'll let you take half of this, or even more. Points to the purse in his hand. SIMO
I'll come; take me where you like, Pseudolus. PSEUDOLUS
How now then? Are you at all angry with me or with your son, Simo, on account of these matters? SIMO
Certainly, not at all. PSEUDOLUS
going . Step this way now. SIMO
I follow you. But why don't you invite the Spectators as well? PSEUDOLUS
turning round . I' faith, they are not in the habit of inviting me; and, therefore, I don't invite them. But if you addressing the AUDIENCE are willing to applaud and approve of this company of players, and this Comedy, I invite you for to-morrow6.
1 All the former editions introduced Ballio in this scene, and put in his mouth much of what really belongs to Simo. The astute Ritschel saw the absurdity of this, and has rectified the text accordingly.
2 With a chaplet on: Pseudolus lays some stress on this, as slaves were not permitted to wear chaplets. He, however, presumes on the fact of Simo being in his debt.
3 The Massic hills: The Massic hills were situate in the Falernian district, in the territory of Naples. The Massic or Falernian wine held the second rank among the choice wines of the Romans. It was considered fit for drinking when ten years old, and might be used up to the twentieth year, but when kept anger was considered to be injurious to the nervous system.
4 A winter hour: The Romans divided the light part of the day. into twelve hours; consequently, the hours of the winter days were much shorter than the summer ones.
5 Woe to the conquered: The following was the origin of this expression. When the Romans capitulated to the Gauls under Brennus, a thousand pounds weight of gold were to be their ransom. When it was about to be weighed out, the Gauls brought false weights. On this the Roman officer refused to use them, whereupon Brennus threw his sword into the scale, and exclaimed "Væ victis!" "Woe to the conquered!" The expression afterwards became proverbial, as signifying that no mercy was to be expected.
6 Invite you for to-morrow: At the Megalensian games the third day was especially set apart for scenic representations. Probably, as the present Play was acted there, it was on that occasion announced for repetition on the succeeding day. It may not be inapposite here to remark that Cicero, in his Treatise on Old Age, informs us that Plautus entertained a very high opinion of this Play; while Aulus Gellius styles it "Comœdia festissima," "a most entertaining Comedy." Many of the modern Commentators have pronounced it to be the most meitorious of the Plays of Plautus.
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