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THE PROLOGUE.

PROLOGUS
A VERY small portion of room does Plautus ask from out of your vast and pleasant city within the walls, whither, without builders, he may transport Athens. What then? Will you give it or not? They nod assent. I fancied, indeed, that I should obtain it of you without hesitation. What if I were to ask something of your private means? They shake their heads. Only see, i' faith, how the ancient habit still indwells among you, to keep your tongues ever ready for a denial. But let's to the point, on account of which I came hither. Let this be Athens, just as this is our stage, only for the while that we perform this Play. Here pointing to her house dwells a female whose name is Phronesium; she has in herself the manners of the present age; she never asks of her lover that which has been given; but what is left, she does her best that it mayn't be left, by begging for it and carrying it off, as is the habit of the women; for all of them do this when they discover that they are loved. She is pretending to a Captain that she has been brought to bed, that the more speedily she may sweep away his property from him every atom. Why say more? If the life of this woman should only last, he will be sweeping off his substance with his very life into her hands. * * * * * * * * * *

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