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Enter SILENIUM, GYMNASIUM, and PROCURESS, from the house of SILENIUM.1
Inasmuch as hitherto I have loved you, and have deemed you to be my friend, my dear Gymnasium, and your mother as well; so have you shown it to me this day, both you and she. If you had been my own sister, how more you two could possibly have held me in esteem I know not; but, according as is my way of thinking, I conceive it could not possibly be, such ready assistance, all other things laid aside, have you given me. For this reason do I love you, and for it a vast obligation have you both conferred upon me. GYMNASIUM
I' faith, at such a price as this, indeed, it's easy for us to give you our attendance and to do you good offices; so handsomely and so elegantly have you entertained us at breakfast at your house, as we shall ever remember. SILENIUM
It has been done with hearty good will by me, and will be done, to get those things which I shall think you are desirous of. A PROCURESS
As the man said, who was borne by a prospering breeze on a calm sea: "I rejoice that we came2 to you;" in such a delightful manner have we been here this day received; nor except in the management, was there anything there at your house but what pleased me. SILENIUM
How so, prithee? A PROCURESS
Too seldom did the servant give me something to drink, and, as it was, it clouded the colour of the wine. GYMNASIUM
Pray, is that becoming to be mentioned here? A PROCURESS
It's both right and proper; there's no other person here. SILENIUM
With reason do I love you both, who esteem and honor me. A PROCURESS
I' faith, my dear Silenium, it befits this class to be kindly disposed among themselves, and carefully to keep up friendships, when you see these matrons of elevated rank, born of the noblest families, how they value friendship, and how carefully they keep it united between themselves. If we do that same thing, if we imitate the same example, still as it is, with difficulty do we exist with their extreme dislike. Of their own enjoyments they would have us to be in want, in resources of our own they would have us not to possess any power, and to stand in need of them in all matters, that we may be their humble servants3. If you wait upon them, you'd rather be giving your room than your company. So very kind are they before the world to our class; in private, if ever there's the opportunity, underhandedly they pour cold water4 upon us. They declare that we are in the habit of having commerce with their husbands; they say that we are their supplanters; they attempt to crush us. Because we are the free daughters of slaves5, both I and your mother, we became Courtesans; she brought up yourself, and I this girl pointing to GYMNASIUM , by chance-fathers. Nor yet for the sake of vanity have I driven her to the calling of a Courtesan, but that I mightn't starve. SILENIUM
But it had been better to give her in marriage to a husband in preference. A PROCURESS
Heyday, now! Surely, faith, she's married to a husband every day; she has both been married to one to-day, she'll be marrying again to-night. I've never allowed her to go to bed a widow. For if she weren't to be marrying, the household would perish with doleful famine. GYMNASIUM
It behoves me, mother, to be just as you wish I should be. A PROCURESS
I' troth, I don't regret it, if you will prove such as you say you'll be; for if, indeed, you shall be such as I intend, you'll never be a Hecale6 in your old age, and you'll ever keep that same tender age which you now have, and you'll prove a loss to many and a profit to myself full oft, without any outlay of my own. GYMNASIUM
May the Gods grant it. A PROCURESS
Without your own energies7, the Gods cannot possibly do anything in this. GYMNASIUM
I' faith, for my own part, I'll zealously devote my energies to it. But what mean you amid this conversation, apple of my eye, my own Silenium? (never did I see you more sad;) prithee, do tell me, why does mirth so shun you? And you are not so neat as you usually are. SILENIUM sighs. Do look at that, please, how deep a sigh she heaved. You are pale too. Tell us both what's the matter with you, and in what you want our aid; so that we may know. Prithee, don't by your tears be causing me anxiety. SILENIUM
My dear Gymnasium, I'm sadly affected; I feel ill, I am shockingly distrest; I am pained in spirits, I feel pain in my eyes, I am in pain from faintness. What shall I say, but that my own folly drives me to sadness? GYMNASIUM
Take you care, then, that you have your folly entombed in that very same place from which it takes its rise. SILENIUM
What shall I do? GYMNASIUM
Hide it in darkness, in the very deepest recesses of your breast. Take you care and have it so, that you yourself are alone sensible of your own folly, without any other witnesses. SILENIUM
But I've got the heart-ache. GYMNASIUM
Why so? For what reason have you the heartache, prithee, tell me, a thing that I neither have, nor any other woman whatever, according as the men say? SILENIUM
If there's any heart to feel pain, it does feel pain; but if there isn't, still this pains me here. Pointing to her left-side. A PROCURESS
This woman's in love. GYMNASIUM
Come now, to begin to be in love, is it bitter, prithee? A PROCURESS
Why, troth, love is most fruitful both in honey and in gall; inasmuch as it produces sweetness in a mere taste, but causes bitterness even to repletion. SILENIUM
Of that character is the malady that afflicts me, my dear Gymnasium. GYMNASIUM
Love is full of treachery. SILENIUM
He's taking his spoils of me, then. GYMNASIUM
Be of good courage, you'll get the better of this malady. SILENIUM
I trust it will be so, if the physician comes that can administer the medicine to this malady. GYMNASIUM
He will come. SILENIUM
A hard expression is that to one in love, "He will come," unless he does come. But by my own fault and foolishness, am I, wretched creature, more afflicted, because for him alone have I longed for myself, with whom to pass my life. A PROCURESS
That is more suitable to a married woman, my dear Silenium, to love but one, and with him to pass her life, to whom she has once been married; but, indeed, a Courtesan is most like a flourishing city; she cannot alone increase her fortunes without a multitude of men. SILENIUM
I want you to give heed to this matter; the thing on account of which you have been sent for to me, I'll disclose. Now, my mother, because I don't wish myself to be called a Courtesan, complied with my desire; in that matter she indulged myself who have been obedient to her; to allow me to live with him alone whom I so ardently loved. A PROCURESS
I' faith, she acted foolishly. But look, have you ever kept company with any man? SILENIUM
With no one, indeed, except Alcesimarchus; nor has any other person whatever committed an infringement on my chastity. A PROCURESS
Prithee, by what means did this man gain your good graces? SILENIUM
At the festival of Bacchus my mother took me to see the procession. While I was returning home, from a secret look-out he secretly traced me even to the door; after that, he insinuated himself into the friendship of my mother and myself as well, by endearments, presents, and gifts. A PROCURESS
I should like a man of that sort to be offered me. How I'd work him. SILENIUM
What need is there of words? Through intercourse, I on the other hand began to love him, and he myself. A PROCURESS
O my dear Silenium----! SILENIUM
What's the matter? A PROCURESS
You ought to pretend to be in love; for if you fall in love at once, you'll be much better consulting the interests of him whom you love than your own. SILENIUM
But in solemn form he took an oath before my mother that he would take me as his wife. Now, another woman is about to be taken home by him, a Lemnian lady, his relation, who is living here hard by pointing to DEMIPHO'S house ; for his father has compelled him. Now my mother is enraged with me, because I didn't return home to her, when I came to know of this matter, that he was about to take another as his wife. A PROCURESS
Nothing's unfair in love. SILENIUM
Now, I entreat you that you'll let her pointing to GYMNASIUM be here only for the next three days, and keep house for me; for I've been sent for to my mother's house. A PROCURESS
Although this will be a troublesome three days for me, and you'll be causing me a loss, I'll do so. SIL,
You act kindly and like a friend. But you, my dear Gymnasium, if in my absence Alcesimarchus shall come, don't you chide him roughly; however he has deserved of myself, still he has my affections; but, prithee, act gently, so that you mayn't say anything that may cause him pain. Take the keys giving them to her ; if you have need to take out anything for use, take it out. I wish to go---- GYMNASIUM
weeping . How you have drawn tears from me. SILENIUM
My dear Gymnasium, kindly, farewell. GYMNASIUM
Take care of yourself, there's a dear. Prithee, will you go in this dishabille? Pointing to her dress. SILENIUM
It's right that such neglect should attend upon my prospects thus disarranged. GYMNASIUM
At least do lift up that outer garment8. SILENIUM
Let it be dragged, while I myself am being dragged down. GYMNASIUM
Since so it pleases you, fare you well and prosper. SILENIUM
If I could, I would. (Exit.) GYMNASIUM
Mother, do you wish anything of me, before I go indoors? Upon my faith, to me she does seem to be in love. A PROCURESS
For this reason, then, it is, that I'm repeatedly dinning it into your ears, not to be in love with any man. Go in-doors. GYMNASIUM
Do you wish anything of me? A PROCURESS
That you may fare well. GYMNASIUM
Fare you well GYMNASIUM goes into the house of SILENTIUM.
The PROCURESS, alone.
to the AUDIENCE . It's the same fault with myself as with a great part of us women who are following this calling; who, as soon as ever we have got our load of food, are forthwith full of talk; more than is enough do.we say. Why, myself now, inasmuch as I'm filled to my heart's content, and because I've charged myself quite full of the choicest of wine, it pleases me to use my tongue more at freedom; to my misfortune I can't keep silent on that which it were necessary to be silent upon. But once upon a time, that girl, who has gone hence in tears, from a lane I carried off a little child exposed. There is here a certain youth, of the highest rank; his father, of a very high family, is living at Sicyon9; he is dying desperately in love for this young woman, who has just. now gone hence in tears; on the other hand, she is smitten with love. I made a present of her to my friend, this Courtesan: who had often made mention of it to me that somewhere I must find for her a boy or a girl, just born, that she herself might pass it off as her own. As soon as ever the opportunity befell me, I immediately granted her request in that which she had asked of me. After she had received this female child from me, at once she was brought to bed of the same female child which she had received from me, without the aid of a midwife and without pain, just as other women bring forth, who seek a trouble to themselves; but she said that her lover was a foreigner, and that by reason of that circumstance she was palming it off. This, we two alone are aware of, I who gave the child to her, and she who received it from me; to the AUDIENCE except yourselves, indeed. Thus was this affair managed; if any occasion should arise, I wish you to remember this circumstance. I'm off home. (Exit.)
Enter the GOD OF HELP10, who speaks the PROLOGUE.
THE GOD OF HELP
To the AUDIENCE. This old woman is both a much-talker and a much-tippler. Isn't it the fact that she has hardly left room to a Divinity for him to speak, so much has she forestalled him in talking about the substitution of this girl? But if she had held her tongue, still I was about to mention it--a God, who could do it better; for my name is Help. Now to the AUDIENCE lend your attention, that I may clearly explain this plot to you. Some time since, at Sicyon,: there was the Festival of Bacchus; a merchant of Lemnos11 came hither to the games, and he, an ungovernable young man, ravished a maiden12 in the dark, in the street, at the dead of night. He, as he knew that he was deserving of a heavy punishment, at once found shelter with his heels, and made off for Lemnos, where he then lived. She whom he had ravished, the ninth ensuing month completed, brought forth a daughter here13. Since she did not know the person guilty of this deed, who he was, she made the servant14 of her father partaker of her counsels, and gave to that servant the child to be exposed to death. He exposed it; this woman took up the child; that servant, who had exposed it, secretly took note whither or to what house she carried away the child. As you have heard her own self confess, she gave this child to the Courtesan Melænis; and she brought her up as being her own daughter, honestly and virtuously. But then, this Lemnian married a neighbour there, his relation, for his wife. She departed this life; there she was compliant to her husband. After he had performed the due obsequies to his wife, at once he removed hither; here he married for his wife that same woman15 whom formerly,when a maid, he ravished. When he understood that it was she whom he had ravished, she told him that, in consequence of the violation, she had brought forth a daughter, and had at once given her to a servant to be exposed. He forthwith ordered this same servant to make enquiries, if anyhow he could discover who had taken it up. Now to that task is the servant always assiduously devoting his attention, if he can find out that Courtesan, whom formerly, when he himself exposed her, he from his hidingplace had seen take her up. Now, what remains unpaid, I wish to discharge, that my name may be struck out, so that I mayn't remain a debtor. A young man16 is here at Sicyon, his father is alive; with affection he distractedly dotes upon this exposed girl, who just now went hence in tears unto her mother; and she loves him in return, which is the most delightful love of all. As human matters go, nothing is granted for everlasting: the father is wishful to give the young man a wife. When the mother17 came to know of this, she ordered her to be sent for home. Thus have these matters come to pass. Kindly fare you well, and conquer by inborn valour, as you have done before; defend your allies, both ancient ones and new; increase resources by your righteous laws; destroy your foes; laud and laurels gather; that, conquered by you, the Pœni18 may suffer the penalty. (Exit.)
2 That we came: "Ventum." There is probably a poor pun intended on the other meaning of this word, as the accusative case of "ventus," "wind."
3 May be their humble servants: "Ut simus sibi supplices." Literally, "that we may be suppliants to themselves."
4 Pour cold water: Meaning, in other words, "They try to do us all the mischief they can."
5 Free daughters of slaves: The "professæ," or "courtesans," at Rome, were mostly of the class of "libertinæ"--" children of slaves who had been made free," or else freed-women themselves, who had been the mistresses of their former owners. From this circumstance, "to lead a libertine life" came to mean the same as "to pass a loose" or "unchaste life."
6 A Hecale: "Hecala" seems a preferable reading here to "Hecata." Hecale was a very poor old woman, whom Plutarch mentions as having entertamed Theseus on one of his expeditions. "As poor as Hecale," became a proverb. Her poverty is mentioned by Ovid, in the Remedy of Love, in conjunction with that of the beggar Irus.
7 Without your own energies: This is very similar to our provert, that "Providence helps those who help themselves."
8 Outer garment: "Amiculum" was a general name for the outer garment, such as the "pallium," "toga," or "chlamys," in contradistinction to the "tunica," or "under-clothing."
10 God of Help: For the purposes of the Prologue, which is here introduced, "help," or "assistance," is personified as a Divinity, under the name of "Auxilium," who is to assist Silenium in the discovery of her parents.
12 A maiden: Phanostrata.
13 A daughter here: Silenium.
14 The servant: Lampadiscus.
15 That same woman: An exactly similar circumstance forms the groundwork of the plot in the Hecyra of Terence.
16 A young man: Alcesimarchus.
17 When the mother: Melænis.
18 The Pœni: This Play was probably written towards the end of the second Punic war
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