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Enter SCEPARNIO, from the Temple.
to himself, aloud . What to-do is this, I'd like to know, that two young women here in the Temple, in tears, are holding in their embrace the statue of Venus, dreading I know not what in their wretchedness? But they say that this last night they have been tossed about, and to-day cast on shore from the waves. LABRAX
overhearing . Troth now, young man, prithee, where are these young women that you are talking of? SCEPARNIO
Here pointing in the Temple of Venus. LABRAX
How many are there? SCEPARNIO
Just as many as you and I make. LABRAX
Surely, they are mine. SCEPARNIO
Surely, I know nothing about that. LABRAX
Of what appearance are they? SCEPARNIO
Good-looking; I could even fall in love with either of them, if I were well liquored. LABRAX
Surely, they are the damsels. SCEPARNIO
Surely, you are a nuisance; be off, go in and see, if you like. LABRAX
These must be my wenches in here, my dear Charmides. CHARMIDES
Jupiter confound you, both if they are and still if they are not. LABRAX
I'll straightway burst into this Temple of Venus here. CHARMIDES
Into the bottomless pit, I would rather. LABRAX rushes into the Temple, and shuts the door. Prithee, stranger, show me some spot where I may go to sleep. SCEPARNIO
Go to sleep there, wherever you please points to the ground ; no one hinders, it's free to the public. CHARMIDES
pointing to his clothes . But do you see me, in what wet clothes I'm dressed? Do take me under shelter; lend me some dry clothes, while my own are drying; on some occasion I'll return you the favour. SCEPARNIO
See, here's my outer coat, which alone is dry; that, if you like, I'll lend you. Takes it off and holds it out to him. In that same I'm wont to be clothed, by that same protected, when it rains. Do you give me those clothes of yours; I'll soon have them dried. CHARMIDES
How now, are you afraid that, as I've been washed bare1 last night at sea, I mayn't be made bare again here upon shore? SCEPARNIO
Wash you bare, or anoint you well, I don't care one fig2. I shall never entrust anything to you unless upon a pledge being taken. Do you either sweat away or perish with cold, be you either sick or well. I'll put up with no stranger-guest in my house; I've had disagreements enough. Puts on his coat again, and goes into the house of DÆMONES. CHARMIDES
What, are you off? A pause. He's a trafficker in slaves for money3; whoever he is, he has no bowels4 of compassion. But why in my wretchedness am I standing here, soaking? Why don't I rather go away from here into the Temple of Venus, that I may sleep off this debauch which I got with drinking last night against the bent of my inclination? Neptune has been drenching us with salt water as though we were G-reek wines5, and so he hoped that our stomachs might be vomited up with his salt draughts. What need of words? If he had persisted in inviting us a little longer, we should have gone fast asleep there; as it is, hardly alive has he sent us off home. Now I'll go see the Procurer, my boon companion, what he's doing within. Goes into the Temple.
1 Washed bare: The poor joke here turns on the double meaning of the word "eluo," which, in the passive, means "to be shipwrecked," and in the active, either "to bathe" or "to be ruined in one's fortunes." It is not very dissimilar to an expression common with us, and might be rendered, "I wasn't cleaned out enough at sea fast night, but you want to clean me out still more." Sceparnio takes the word in the sense of "to bathe," and says, "Bathe or anoint yourself; I don't care a fig." Anointing followed immediately after bathing,
2 One fig: "Ciccum." "Ciccum" was the thin skin in the pomegranate that divided the kernels.
3 For money: His meaning is, "he is so inhuman, that surely he is a slave-dealer, and nothing less."
4 Has no bowels: "Non est misericors." Literally, "he is not merciful."
5 Were Greek wines: He uses this comparison because it was the custom of the ancients to mix sea-water with all the Greek wines, except the Chian, which Horace styles "maris expers," "unmixed with the sea."
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