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Enter GRIPUS, dragging a net enclosing a wallet, by a rope.
to himself . These thanks do I return to Neptune, my patron, who dwells in the salt retreats, the abode of fishes, inasmuch as he has despatched me finely laden on my return from his retreats, and from his Temples, laden with most abundant booty, with safety to my boat, which in the stormy sea made me master of a singular and rich haul. In a wondrous and incredible manner has this haul turned out prosperously for me, nor yet have I this day taken a single ounce weight of fish, but only that which I am here bringing with me in my net. For when I arose in the middle of the night, and without sloth, I preferred profit to sleep and rest; in the raging tempest, I determined to try how I might lighten the poverty of my master and my own servitude, not sparing of my own exertions. Most worthless is the man that is slothful, and most detestably do I hate that kind of men. It behoves him to be vigilant who wishes to do his duty in good time; for it befits him not to be waiting until his master arouses him to his duties. For those who sleep on for the love of it, rest without profit to themselves and to their own cost. But now I, who have not been slothful, have found that for myself through which to be slothful if I should choose. Points to the wallet. This have I found in the sea to-day; whatever's in it, it's something heavy that's in it; I think it's gold that's in it. And not a single person is there my confidant in the matter. Now, Gripus, this opportunity has befallen you, that the Prætor1 might make you a free man from among the multitude. Now, thus shall I do, this is my determination; I'll come to my master cleverly and cunningly, little by little I'll promise money for my freedom, that I may be free. Now, when I shall be free, then, in fine, I'll provide me land and houses2 and slaves: I'll carry on merchandize with large ships: among the grandees I shall be considered a grandee. Afterwards, for the sake of pleasing myself, I'll build me a ship and I'll imitate Stratonicus3, and I'll be carried about from town to town. When my greatness is far-spread, I shall fortify some great city: to that city I shall give the name of "Gripus," a memorial of my fame and exploits, and there I'll establish a mighty kingdom. I am resolving here in my mind to prepare for mighty matters. At present I'll hide this booty. But this grandee pointing to himself is about to breakfast upon vinegar4 and salt, without any good substantial meat. Gathers up the net, and drags it after him.
1 The Prætor: The slave about to be manumitted, or to receive his freedom, was taken before the Prætor, whose lictor laid the "vindicta" or "festuca," "the rod of liberty," on the head of the slave, on which he received his freedom.
2 Land and houses: Is not this wonderfully like Alnaschar's reverie in the Arabian Nights, so aptly quoted in the Spectator?
4 Upon vinegar: He alludes to the "posca," or vinegar and water, which formed the beverage of the slaves, and which is mentioned by Palæstrio in the Miles Gloriosus, l. 836.
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