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Enter PINACIUM at a distance, with a fishing-rod, hooks, and a basket in his hand.
to himself . Mercury, who is said to be the messenger of Jove, never bore such pleasing tidings to his father, as I shall e'en now be telling to my mistress. So loaded do I bear my breast with joy and with delight; and really I don't care to speak a syllable but in a highflown style. The charms of all the loves and graces do I bring; my heart, too, is overleaping its banks, and overflowing with joyousness. Now have you the means of acquiring glory, fame, and honor; make haste, Pinacium, exhort your feet to swiftness, grace your message by your deeds, and come to the rescue of your mistress in her need * * * * * * who is so wretched in awaiting the arrival of her husband, Epignomus; just as becomes her does she dote upon her husband, and anxiously long for him. Now, Pinacium, do as pleases you, run on, just as you like; take care and regard no person at the value of a straw; thrust them from the path with your elbows; make right smooth your way. If a, king shall come in your way, upset the king himself forthwith. GELASIMUS
apart . Why, I wonder1, is Pinacium running so overladen with baggage2? He's carrying a rod, and a basket, and a fish-hook. PINACIUM
to himself . But yet, I think 'tis proper that my mistress should come with entreaty to me, and that she should send envoys to me, and gifts of gold, and chariots in which for me to be borne, for I can't go on foot. Therefore I shall now go back. Turns back. I think it is only proper that I should be approached and addressed with entreaties. And do you really think that it's mere nonsense or nothing at all that I am now acquainted with? Blessings so great am I carrying from the harbour, joys so extensive am I bringing, that hardly could my mistress herself presume to wish this of the Gods, if she were to know it. And am I to carry it, then, of my own accord? It pleases me not, nor do I think that the duty of a man. This way does it seem to be better suited to this news of mine; let her come to meet me, let her entreat me to communicate to her this news. Haughtiness and pride befit prosperous fortunes. But, at last, when I reconsider it, how could she know that I know this? Turning round. Well, I can't do otherwise than return, than speak, than relate it at length, and relieve my mistress of her grief, and both mightily increase the good deeds of my ancestors, and present her with a comfort unhoped for and opportune. I'll outdo the deeds of Talthybius3, and I'll set all messengers at nought, and at the same time I'll think about the running at the Olympic games. But this distance4 is far too short for the course; how sorry for it I am. How's this? I see the door's closed. I'll go and knock at the door. Knocks at the door of PHILUMENA'S house. Open, and make haste, cause the door to be thrown open; away with all delay. This matter is attended to too carelessly; see how long I've been standing here and knocking. Are you indulging yourselves with a nap? I'll try whether the door or my arms and feet are the stronger. Knocks and kicks. I wish much that this door would run away from its master, that for that reason it might meet with a heavy punishment5. I'm tired of knocking. Well, be this the last for you. Knocks again. GELASIMUS
apart . I'll go and accost him. Accosts PINACIUM. Good day to you. PINACIUM
And good day to you. GELASIMUS
Are you turned fisherman, then? PINACIUM
How long is it since you ate? GELASIMUS
Whence come you? What are you carrying? Why are you in a hurry? PINACIUM
About that which is no business of yours, don't you trouble yourself. GELASIMUS
What's there in that? Taking up the lid of the basket. PIN. Snakes, for you to eat. GELASIMUS
Why are you so pettish? PINACIUM
If you had any shame, you wouldn't address me. GELASIMUS
May I learn the truth from you? PINACIUM
You may; this day you'll get no dinner.
1 Why I wonder: "Quidnam dicam." Literally, "what shall I" or "must I say;" exactly corresponding to our phrase "I wonder why."
2 Overladen with baggage: "Lixabundum." The "lixæ" were the free suttlers or dealers, who followed the Roman armies. Their name is said to have been derived from the old Latin word "lixa," "water," probably because they originally supplied the army with water. "Lixabundus" here means "laden with baggage," in allusion to the fishing-tackle which the lad is carrying.
3 Talthybius: Talthybius was the Grecian herald, who, with Eurybates, was sent by Agamemnon to Achilles, to fetch away Hippodamia or Briseis.
4 But this distance: He here alludes to the comparative narrowness of the stage, which would not allow him room to practise for the "cursura," or "running" at the Olympic games. The "stadium," or place for running at these games, was about a furlong in length.
5 A heavy punishment: He wishes that the door was in the condition of a slave, and that it had run away from its master, and then it would receive a severe punishment for its obduracy--"malum magnum."
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