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ASTAPHIUM, alone.

ASTAPHIUM
laughing . Ha, ha, ha! I'm at rest, since my plague has gone in-doors; now, indeed, I shall speak according to my own inclination, freely, as I please. My mistress has sung a funeral dirge1at our house for this fellow, her lover, over his estate; for his lands and tenements are mortgaged for his treats in his amour. But with him does my mistress speak freely upon the objects of her plans, and so he is rather a friend by way of counsel to her than by way of maintenance. While he had it, he gave; now he has got nothing; what he did have, we have got; what we had, he has now got the same. The common course of things has happened. For. tunes are wont to change upon the instant. Life is checquered. We remember him as rich, and he us as poor; our reminiscences have shifted places. He must be a fool to wonder at it. If he is in want, it's necessary that he should allow us to make a living; that's proper to be done. 'Twere a disgrace for us to have compassion on men that squander away their fortunes. A clever Procuress ought to have good teeth; to smile upon whoever comes, to address him in flattering terms; to design mischief in her heart, but to speak fairly with her tongue. A Courtesan it befits to be like a briar; whatever man she touches, for either mischief or loss certainly to be the result. A Courtesan ought never to listen to the plea of a lover, but, when he has nothing to give, do you pack him off home from service as a deserter2; and never is any gallant good for anything unless he's one who is the enemy of his own fortune. It's trifling, if, when he has just given, he doesn't take a pleasure in giving afresh. That person's esteemed with us who forgets that that has been given which he has given. As long as he has anything, so long let him go on loving; when he has got nothing, then let him look out another employment; if he himself has got nothing, let him, with a contented mind, make way for others who have. He's a proper lover who, neglecting his affairs, squanders away his property. But among themselves the men declare that we act ill, and are greedy. Prithee, do we in fact at all act ill? For, by my troth, never did any lover whatever give enough to his mistress; nor, i' faith, have we ever received enough, nor has any woman ever asked for enough. For when a gallant is barren with his gifts * * * * * If he denies that he has anything to give, alone * * * * * Nor do we receive enough, when a person has not enough to give us. It is ever our duty to look after fresh givers, who take from untouched treasures, and make presents to us. Just like this young man from the country, who dwells here pointing to the house where STRABAX lives , i' faith, a very pleasant creature, and a very bounteous giver. But he, without the knowledge of his father, even this very last night, leapt over the wall by way of the garden, and came to our house. I wish to meet with him. But one servant has he, a very great savage, who, when he sees any one of us near the door, if you approach that way, drives us off just as he scares the geese away with his noise from the corn; he's such a bumpkin. But come what may, I'll knock at the door. Knocks at the door, and calls. Who, I wonder, has the keeping of this door? Is anybody coming out from in-doors?

1 A funeral dirge: "Nænia" was a funeral song among the Romans, recited or chanted by hired female mourners, called "præficæ."

2 As a deserter: "Infrequente," a soldier "negligent of his duty"--"a deserter." She alludes to a custom among the Romans of dismissing bad soldiers from the service; sometimes, however, they merely secluded them from the other soldiers or as we say "sent them to Coventry."

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