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Enter GETA, at a distance, followed by SLAVES with presents from DINARCHUS.
Get on, get on this way together with you, mules laden with money only to be squandered, you emptyers out of the house, you carriers off of property by waggon-loads! To the AUDIENCE. And can't he who is in love do without being good for nought, and cleaning himself out by his disgraceful practices? But how I know this, don't any one be asking that of me; we've a lover at home, who's engaged in disgraceful pursuits; who esteems property just as dung: he's in dread of the public officers1; most cleanly in his ways is he. He wishes his house to be cleaned out; whatever he has at home, it's swept completely "dehors2." Since he himself is sending his own self to ruin, for my part, i' faith, I'll help him by stealth, and not through my assistance, indeed, shall he be ruined e'en a bit the less speedily than he may. For now from these provisions, from the one mina I've just now abstracted five didrachms; I've deducted for myself the Herculean share3. But this is just like as though a person should turn off a stream for himself from a river; if it is not turned off into a channel, still all that water would go into the sea. For this is going into the sea, and is being utterly wasted to no good purpose whatever. When I see these things going on, I pilfer, I purloin, from plunder I plunder take. I take a harlot to be just like what the sea is; what you give her she swallows down, and yet never overflows. But this at least the sea does preserve; what's in it is seen. Give her as much as ever you please, it's never seen either by the giver or the acceptor. For instance, this harlot by her blandishments has reduced my poor master to poverty; has robbed him of fortune, life, honor, and friends. Catching sight of her. Heyday! why look, she's close by. I do think she has heard me saying all this. She's pale, as she has been delivered of a child. I'll address her, as though I didn't know her. Addressing PHRONESIUM. I present you my respects. PHRONESIUM
Our Geta, what is it you're about? How are you? GETA
I'm well, and I'm come to one who's not so well, and I'm bringing something with which she may get well. My master, the apple of your eye, bade me bring these presents to you, which you see those persons carrying, and these five minæ of silver. PHRONESIUM
I' faith, it's not thrown away, that I'm so very fond of him. GETA
He bade me beg that you would accept these in kind part. PHRONESIUM
I' troth, I do accept them kindly and thankfully. To CYAMUS, who comes out of the house. Go, Cyamus, and order them to be taken in-doors. Do you hear at all this which has been ordered? The SERVANTS take up the things. GETA
I don't want them to take away the vessels; I'd like to have them emptied. PHRONESIUM
An impudent fellow, i' faith, how busy he is. GETA
What? do you say that I'm impudent, you who yourself are a receptacle of villany? PHRONESIUM
Tell me, I beg of you, where is Dinarchus? GETA
At home. PHRONESIUM
Tell him, that, for these presents which he has sent me, I love him the most of all men, and that in return I hold him in the highest esteem of all, and entreat that he will come hither to me. GETA
This instant. But who's that person, pray (looking towards STRATOPHANES) , that's devouring himself4, scowling with malignant eyes I' faith, the man's distressed in his mind, whoever he is. PHRONESIUM
I' troth, he's deserving of it. GETA
What's the matter? PHRONESIUM
Prithee, don't you know? He that's yonder used to live with me; he, there, is the father of my child. He ordered it to be brought up till about a before-daylight breakfast5. I waited his coming, I listened to his injunctions; I attended to the child. GETA
The good-for-nothing fellow that I knew so well, prithee, is that he? PHRONESIUM
That's he. GETA
He looks at me as he groans. He heaved a sigh from the very bottom of his breast. Observe that now; he gnashes his teeth; he strikes his thigh. Prithee, is he deranged6, that he's beating his own self? STRATOPHANES
coming forward . Now will I at once summon up my ungovernable indignation and my wrath from my breast! To GETA. Say, whence are you? To whom do you belong? Why have you dared to speak rudely against me? GETA
It's my pleasure. STRATOPHANES
Do you answer me in that way? GETA
In this way snaps his fingers ; I don't care one straw for you. STRATOPHANES
to PHRONESIUM. What say you? Why have you dared to say that you love another man? PHRONESIUM
I chose to. STRATOPHANES
Say you so, indeed? I'll first make trial of that. Do you, for the sake of such a shabby present, vegetables, and comestibles, and vinegar-water, bestow your love upon an effeminate, frizzle-pated, dark-haunt frequenting, drum-drubbing debauchee7, a fellow not worth a nutshell? GETA
What new thing's this? Do you dare, you rogue, to speak ill of my master, you spring-head of vice and perjury? STRATOPHANES
Add a single word to that; by the powers, I'll that instant here with this cut you up into mincemeat upon the spot. Shaking his sword at him. GETA
Only touch me; I'll that instant be making a lamb of you on the spot, and I'll slice you asunder in the middle. If you have the renown of a warrior with your troops, still I'm a Mars8 in the kitchen. PHRONESIUM
to STRATOPHANES. If you did the thing that's right, you'd not be abusing my visitors, whose gifts I hold as acceptable and pleasing, and your own which I have received of you as unacceptable. STRATOPHANES
Then, i' faith, I'm both deprived of my presents and undone as well! GETA
Clearly it is so. PHRONESIUM
Why then are you now here, with your annoyance, who confess that you are worsted in every point? STRATOPHANES
aside . I' faith, I'm this day undone, if I don't drive this fellow away from you. He approaches GETA. GETA
holding up his fist . Only approach this way; only step this way! STRATOPHANES
Scoundrelly fellow, threatening even? Whom this very, very, very instant I'll be chopping up into splinters. What business have you coming here? What business have you to approach her? Pointing to PHRONESIUM. What business have you, I say, to be knowing my mistress? You shall die this instant if you make the slightest movement with your hand. GETA
Why shouldn't I move my hand? STRATOPHANES
Do as I commanded; stop; I'll this instant cut you up into mincemeat on the spot. GETA
aside . I'm done for. STRAT. 'Twere best to be off. GETA
It's a ticklish point; you have a longer sword there than this is pointing to a knife in his girdle ; but just let me go seek a spit, if indeed I must be having a battle with you. I'll be off home. Warrior, for me and you I'll choose an impartial judge. Aside. But why am I delaying to betake myself off hence, while with a safe inside I may? (Exit.)
1 The public officers: "Publicos," "the public officers." He alludes to the Ædiles, whose duty it was to see that the streets and houses were kept clean and free from nuisances.
3 Herculean share: "Herculaneam." The share of Hercules, which was the tithe or tenth. From this passage it is clear, beyond all doubt, that "nummus" means a "didrachm," as he makes five of them the tenth part of a "mina," which consisted of one hundred drachmæ.
4 Devouring himself: Either he means, that, to judge from his looks, he is feeding upon his spleen; or else, the Captain is standing on one side, gnawing his finger-nails from vexation.
5 Before-daylight breakfast: This passage is probably in a corrupt state. If it is not, her meaning seems to be, that the Captain didn't care much about his child, but took care about its support for a very short period, and no longer. Perhaps, as "jentaculum" meant "an early meal, taken before daylight," she may intend to hint that the Captain, on hearing of her pregnancy, interested himself in her offspring, and contributed to her support and that of the child in the embryo state; but that after it came to light, and required a meal (to speak figuratively), beyond the period of the "jentaculum," he took no notice of it, but was ready to allow it to starve.
6 Is he deranged: "Hariolus." Literally, "a soothsayer," or "diviner." In their prophetic frenzy, these persons often had the appearance of being mad, and were so considered.
7 Drum-drubbing debauchee: "Typanotriba." Literally, "drum," or "tambourine beater." He alludes to the eunuch-priests of Cybele, who used to beat tambourines in her procession-probably in allusion to debauchees, emasculated by riot and dissipation.
8 A Mars: In the text "Ares." This was the Greek name of Mars the God of War.
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