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(Before daybreak.) Enter at one side of the stage PHÆDROMUS, with a lighted torch, and followed by SLAVES with wine and provisions for an entertainment, and PALINURUS on the opposite side.
Whither away must I say that you are going out of doors at this time o' night, Phædromus, with that dress and with this train1? PHÆD.
Whither Venus and Cupid summon me, and Love persuades me; whether 'tis the midnight or whether the earliest twilight, if the day is fixed2 for pleading your cause with your antagonist, still must you go where they command you, whether you will or no. PALINURUS
But pray, pray---- PHÆD.
Pray ---- you are annoying to me. PALINURUS
Really that is neither pretty nor befitting you to say. You are your own servant3; in your fine garb you are showing the light with your waxen torch4. PHÆD.
And ought I not to carry that which is gathered by the labour of the little bees--which has its birth in sweets--to my own sweet one, my little honey? PALINURUS
But whither must I say that you are going? PHÆD.
If you ask me that, I'll tell, so that you may know. PALINURUS
If I make the enquiry, what would you answer me? PHÆD.
This is the Temple pointing to it of Æsculapius. PALINURUS
That I have known for more than a twelvemonth past. PHÆD.
Close to it is that door, dear as my very eyes. Points to the door of CAPPADOX. Hail to you! door, dear as my very eyes; have you been quite well of late? PALINURUS
Did a fever leave you5 but yesterday, or the day before, and did you take your dinner yesterday? PHÆD.
Are you laughing at me? PALINURUS
Why then, madman, are you enquiring whether the door is well or not? PHÆD.
I' faith, I've known it as a door most comely and most discreet: never one word does it whisper; when it is opened, it is silent; and when, by night, she secretly comes out to me, it holds its peace. PALINURUS
And are you not, Phædromus, doing, or contemplating the doing of, some deed which is unworthy of yourself or of your family? Are you not laying a snare for some modest fair one, or for one that should be modest? PHÆD.
For no one; and may Jupiter not permit me to do so. PALINURUS
I wish the same. Ever, if you are wise, so bestow your love, that if the public should know the object which you love, it may be no disgrace to you. Ever do you take care that you be not disgraced6. PHÆD.
What means that expression? PALINURUS
For you to proceed with caution on your path; the object that you love, love in the presence of witnesses. PHÆD.
Why, 'tis a Procurer that lives here. He points. PALINURUS
No one drives you away from there, nor yet forbids you, if you have the money, to buy what's openly on sale. No one forbids any person from going along the public road, so long as he doesn't make a path through the field that's fenced around; so long as you keep yourself away from the wife, the widow, the maiden, youthful age, and free-born children, love what you please. PHÆD.
This is the house of a Procurer. PALINURUS
A curse befall it. PHÆD.
Why so? PALINURUS
Because it serves in an infamous service. PHÆD.
You speak out. PALINURUS
Be it so, most especially. PHÆD.
Once more, will you hold your tongue? PALINURUS
You bade me speak out7, I thought. PHÆD.
Then, now I forbid you. But, as I had begun to say, he has a young female slave---- PALINURUS
This Procurer, you mean, who's living here? PHÆD.
You have hold of it exactly. PALINURUS
The less shall I be in dread of its falling. PHÆD.
You are impertinent. He wishes to make her a courtesan, while she is desperately in love with me; whereas I don't wish to have her upon loan. PALINURUS
Why so? PHÆD.
Because I'm for having her as my own; I love her equally as well. PALINURUS
Clandestine courtship is bad; 'tis utter ruin. PHÆD.
I' troth, 'tis so as you say. PALINURUS
Has she as yet submitted to the yoke of Venus? PHÆD.
For me she is as chaste as though she were my own sister, unless, indeed, she is any the more unchaste for some kissing. PALINURUS
Always, do you understand, flame follows very close on smoke; with smoke, nothing can be burnt, with flame, it can. He who wishes to eat the kernel8 of the nut, first breaks the nut; he who wishes to seduce, opens the dance9 with kisses. PHÆD.
But she is chaste, and never yet has bestowed her favours upon man. PALINURUS
That I could believe10, if any Procurer had any shame. PHÆD.
Well, but what think you of her? When she has any opportunity, she steals away to me; when she has given me a kiss, she's off again. This happens by reason of this, because this Procurer is lying a-bed ill in the Temple11 of Æsculapius; that fellow is my torturer. PALINURUS
How so? PHÆD.
At one time he asks me for thirty minæ for her, at another for a great talent; and from him I cannot obtain any fair and just dealing. PALINURUS
You are too exacting, in requiring that of him which no Procurer possesses. PHÆD.
Now, I've sent my Parasite hence to Caria12, to ask for money on loan from my friend; if he doesn't bring me this, which way to turn myself I know not. PALINURUS
If you salute the Deities, towards the right13 I think; now this is this altar of Venus before their door. PHÆD.
I have already vowed to bring me14 an early breakfast for my Venus15. PALINURUS
What? Will you then be giving up yourself as a breakfast to Venus? PHÆD.
Myself, and you, and all of these. Pointing to the SLAVES. PALINURUS
Then you would have Venus to be sick outright. PHÆD.
to an ATTENDANT . Here, boy, give me the bowl. PALINURUS
What are you going to do? PHÆD.
You'll know directly. An old hag is in the habit of sleeping here, as the keeper of the door; the name of the Procuress is "Much-bibber" and "Neat-bibber." PALINURUS
Just as you would speak of a flagon, in which Chian wine16 is wont to be. PHÆD.
What need is there of words? She is a most vinous soul; and the very moment that I've sprinkled this door with the wine, she knows by the smell that I'm here, and opens it forthwith. PALINURUS
Is it for her the bowl is brought with the wine? PHÆD.
Unless you object. PALINURUS
I' faith, I do object; for I'd rather have it broken about him who has brought it. I fancied it was brought for ourselves. PHÆD.
Why don't you hold your tongue? If any's left after her, it will be enough for ourselves. PALINURUS
What river is it, pray, that the sea does not receive? PHÆD.
Follow me this way, Palinurus, to the door; do you be obedient to me. PALINURUS
I'll do so. They advance to the door of the PROCURER'S house. PHÆD.
sprinkling the door with wine . Come, drink, you joyous door, quaff on, readily prove propitious unto me. PALINURUS
in an afected tone . Door, would you like some olives or a tit-bit, or some capers? PHÆD.
Arouse and send out here to me your portress. PALINURUS
You're spilling the wine; what matter is it that possesses you? Takes hold of his arm. PHÆD.
Let me alone. Don't you see? This most joyous door is opening; does the hinge make a bit of creaking? 'Tis a charming one. PALINURUS
Why don't you then give it a kiss? PHÆD.
Hold your tongue; let's keep back the light and our noise. PALINURUS
Be it so. They stand apart, leaving the bowl near the door.
Enter the PROCURESS, from the house of CAPPADOX.
The savour of aged wine has reached my nostrils; the love of it has brought me in my eagerness hither in the dark; wherever it is, it's near me. O capital, I've found it. Stooping, and smelling at the bowl. Hail to you, my soul, Joy of dear Bacchus; how enamoured am I of your old age. For in comparison with yours, the odour of all unguents were mere bilge-water; you are my myrrh, you my cinnamon, you my rose, you my saffron unguent and my cassia, you are my vine-palm17 scent. But, where you have been poured, there would I most earnestly hope to be buried. PALINURUS
apart . This old lady's thirsty; how limited is her thirst? PHÆD. apart . She's a moderate person; she swallows eight gallons18 only. PALINURUS
apart . I' faith, according to your account, this year's vintage is not enough for this old woman alone. PROC.
But since as yet you, fragrance, alone have penetrated to my nostrils, so in its turn afford some delight to my throat. Feels for the bowl on the ground, which PALINURUS draws away. I find you not; where is your own dear self? I'm longing to touch you; do let me pour your liquids into me by sip-sipping. But in this direction it has gone, this way I'll. follow it. Goes in the direction of PALINURUS, who has the bowl. PALINURUS
apart . It really had been more proper for her to be a dog; she has a good nose. PROC.
Prithee, whose voice is it that I hear at a distance. PHÆD.
apart . I think that this old hag should be accosted. I'll approach her. Aloud. Come back, Procuress, and look back towards me. PROC.
Who is it that gives his commands? PHÆD.
The all-powerful in wine, jolly Bacchus; he who, when you're hawking, parched, and half asleep, brings you a draught and comes to quench your thirst. PROC.
How far is he away from me? PHÆD.
holding up the torch . See this light. PROC.
Then, prithee, do quicken your pace towards me. PHÆD.
Health to you. PROC.
How can I have health, who am parched with thirst? PHÆD.
But you shall drink in a moment. PROC.
'Tis long a-coming. PHÆD.
extending the bowl . Here's for you, jolly old dame. PROC.
Health to you, gentleman dear as my very eyes. PALINURUS
Come, toss this off quickly into your abyss; scour out your sink right speedily. PHÆD.
Hold your tongue; I won't have her ill spoken to. PALINURUS
aside . In preference, then, I'll do her ill. PROC.
pouring some of the residue on the altar . Venus, of this little, this very little will I give to thee19--sore against my will; for all the lovers, in their cups, to propitiate thee, expend their wine upon thee: not such windfalls often fall to me. Drinks again. PALINURUS
Do look at that, please, how greedily the filthy hag swills down the pure wine into herself with distended gullet. PROC.
patting her stomach and chuckling . Ha, ha, ha PALINURUS
How is it? Do you like it? PROC.
I do like it. PALINURUS
And I, too, should like to goad with a spur as well. PHÆD.
aside to PALINURUS . Don't you--do hold your tongue. PALINURUS
I'll hold my tongue; the old woman drinks but see, the rainbow's drinking20; I' faith, I do believe it will rain to-day. PHÆD.
Troth now, I'm quite undone; what first to say to her I know not. PALINURUS
Why, the same thing that you said to me. PHÆD.
What's that? PALINURUS
Say that you're quite undone. PHÆD.
May the Gods confound you. PALINURUS
Say so to her. PHÆD.
Am I to say then to her----? PALINURUS
Say what? PHÆD.
That I'm quite undone. PALINURUS
Well then, say so. PHÆD.
Old lady, do listen. I wish you to know this; to my sorrow, I'm quite undone. PROC.
But, i' faith, for my part, I'm altogether brought to life. But why is it that you are pleased to say you are quite undone? PHÆD.
Because I'm deprived of the object which I love. Pretends to weep PROC.
My dear Phædromus, prithee, do not weep; do you take care that I'm not thirsty, I'll at once bring out here for you the object which you love. Goes into the house. PHÆD.
Assuredly, if you keep faith with me, in place of a golden statue, I'll erect for you one of wine21, which shall be a memorial of your gullet Palinurus, who on earth will be so blest as myself, if she comes to me? PALINURUS
By my faith, he who is in love, if he is in want as well, is afflicted with a dreadful malady. PHÆD.
Such is not the case with me; for I feel sure that this very day my Parasite will come hither to me with the money. PALINURUS
You attempt something mighty, if you expect that which nowhere exists. PHÆD.
What if I approach the door, and trill a carol22? PALINURUS
If you choose; I neither bid nor request you, since, my master, I see that you are of manners and disposition thus changed. PHÆD.
sings . Bolts, O ye bolts, with pleasure do I salute you. I love you, I court you, I seek you, and you entreat; most kindly lend your aid to me in love; become, for my sake, as though play-actors23 from foreign climes; leap upwards pray, and send out of doors this fair one, who drains my blood for me distractedly in love. Addressing PALINURUS. Look at that, how those most accursed bolts sleep on, and none the quicker for my sake do they bestir themselves. Addressing the door. I see quite clearly that you don't value my esteem at all. Hist! hush, hush! PALINURUS
I' troth, for my part I'm silent enough. PHÆD.
I hear a noise; at last, i' faith, these bolts have become complaisant to me.
Re-enter the PROCURESS, with PLANESIUM, from the house of CAPPADOX.
to PLANESIUM, while opening the door . Come softly out, and prevent the noise of the doors and the creaking of the hinges, my dear Planesium, that our master mayn't perceive that that is going on which we are doing here. Stay, I'll pour a little water24 on it. Pours water on the hinges. PALINURUS
to PHÆDROMUS . Do you see how the palsied hag is giving her dose? She herself has learnt right well to drink up the wine; to the door she's giving water for it to drink. PLANESIUM
looking around . Where are you--you who have summoned me on the recognizances of Venus25? To you do I present myself, and, in the same way do I call on you, on the other hand, to present yourself to me. PHÆD.
stepping forward . Here I am; for could I be absent, I wouldn't repine for any misfortune to befall me, my honey. PLAN. My life, it is not becoming for one thus in love to be at a distance. PHÆD.
Palinurus, Palinurus! PALINURUS
Say on; why is it that you call upon Palinurus? PHÆD.
aside . She is a charming one. PALINURUS
aside . Aye, too charming. PHÆD. I am a God. PALINURUS
Why, no--a mortal, of no great value. PHÆD.
What have you seen, or what will you see, more nearly to be compared with the Gods? PALINURUS
You are not in your senses, master; a thing that's grievous to me. PHÆD.
You are not sufficiently respectful to me: hold your tongue. PALINURUS
The person that sees26 the object which he loves, and enjoys not the opportunity while he may, is one who torments his own self. PHÆD.
Rightly does he rebuke me; really there's nothing which for this long time past I have more eagerly desired. PLANESIUM
Clasp me, embrace me then. PHÆD.
embracing her . This, too, is a reason for which I could wish to live; because your master restrains, you, in secret do I court you. PLANESIUM
Restrain me? He neither can restrain me, nor will he restrain me, unless death should separate my soul from you. PHÆD.
Let monarchs keep their kingdoms to themselves, the rich their riches to themselves, to themselves their honors, to themselves their prowess, to themselves their combats, to themselves their battles; so long as they abstain from envying me, let each one of them keep what is his own. PALINURUS
aside . Of a truth, I cannot refrain from giving a lecture to my master; for, really, it is good to love in a moderate degree; to distraction, it is not good; but to love to entire distraction, is the thing that my master's doing. Aloud. What say you, sir? Have you made a vow, Phædromus, you'd watch the night through for Venus? For really, upon my faith, before very long hence the dawn will be breaking. PRÆD.
Do hold your tongue. PALINURUS
Why hold my tongue? What, are you going to sleep? PHÆD.
I am asleep; don't you make a noise. PALINURUS
Why, but you're broad awake. PHÆD.
Age, but after my own fashion I'm asleep; this is my slumber. PALINURUS
to PLANESIUM . A word with you, madam; 'tis thoughtlessness to treat amiss one who deserves it not. PLANESIUM
You would be angry, if, when you are eating, he were to drive you away27 from your food. PALINURUS
aside . It's all over with him. I see that these two are equally in love to distraction; and both of them are mad. D'ye see how intensely they hug each other? They cannot embrace enough. Addressing them. Are you going to part yet? PLANESIUM
No human being has blessings that last28 for ever. To this pleasure, then, is that plague added. PALINURUS
What say you, you shocking hussy29? What, you little tipsy ninny30, are even you with your owlish eyes31 to be calling me a plague, you whipper-snapper? PHÆD.
What, you abusing my own Venus? And really, is a slave well trounced with the rod to be commencing a discussion with myself? But, by the powers, you've surely said that to your own misfortune. Strikes him. There, take that, by way of punishment for this abusive language, that you may be able to put a check upon your speech. PALINURUS
to PLANESIUM . Your aid, I pray, you night- watching Venus. PHÆD.
What, do you still persist, whip- scoundrel? Strikes hint. PLANESIUM
Don't, there's a dear, be beating a stone, lest you should hurt your hand. PALINURUS
You perpetrate, Phædromus, a flagitious and a shameful deed of great enormity; one who directs you aright, you pummel with your fists; her you are in love with, a mere nonentity. Is it right that you should behave yourself in this unreasonable manner? PHÆD.
Find me a reasonable lover against his weight in gold; here, take the gold of me. Holds out his purse. PALINURUS
Do you find me a person for me to serve in his sound senses against his weight in double-distilled gold. PLANESIUM
Kindly fare you well, apple of my eye, for I hear the sound and creaking of doors; I think the keeper32 is opening the temple. But, prithee, in this same manner shall we always enjoy our love by stealth? PHÆD.
Far from it; for I sent my Parasite four days since to Caria to fetch some money; he'll be here to-day. PLANESIUM
You are very long in your contriving. PHÆD.
So may Venus love me, I'll never allow you to be three days in this house here, before I procure your liberty. PLANESIUM
Take care to remember it. Once more, before I go hence, take this kiss. Kisses him. PHÆD.
By heavens, really if a kingdom now were offered me, I should not obtain it with greater pleasure. When shall I see you again? PLANESIUM
Why now, for that expression get ready the Prætor's rod33; if you love me, purchase my freedom; don't make any haggling. Take care to prevail with your offer. Kindly adieu! Goes into the house of the PROCURER. PHÆD.
And am I then left behind? Palinurus, I'm Lilled outright. PALINURUS
And I as well, who am dying with thumps and sleepiness. PHÆD.
Do you follow me. They go into the house of PHÆDROMUS.
1 And with this train: As it is supposed to be before daybreak, he is holding a lighted torch, and is attended by a train of slaves, who are carrying wine and other provisions for the entertainment, or early breakfast, which he is about to give. He has also a gay dress on for the occasion.
2 If the day is fixed: "Status condictus dies." This term properly applies to a day appointed for pleading a cause.
3 Your own servant: "Puer" may signify either "servant" or "boy" in this passage. In the former case, Palinurus would mean, "you are acting as your own servant, in carrying the torch;" in the latter, the allusion would probably be to the fact that boys, handsomely drest, used, at the nuptial ceremony, to carry lighted torches before the bride and bridegroom.
4 Your waxen torch: It is not improbable that the flambeaux, or torches, used by the higher classes, were of wax; while those in more common use were made of pine-wood, tow, and other inflammable substances.
5 A fever leave you: He asks his master this, as he is in doubt whether he is in his senses or not. It was a notion among the ancients that fasting was very apt to produce delirium.
6 Be not disgraced: "Intestabilis." One who is, infamous, and whose evidence cannot be taken as a witness in the courts of law. Lambinus suggests that here, as in other instances where the word is used by Plautus, an indelicate pun is intended.
7 Bade me speak out: Phædromus had said to Palinurus, "Obloquere," which may either mean "you are abusive" or "do you speak out." Phædromus intends it in the former sense, but Palinurus pretends to understand it in the latter; and when his master tells him to be quiet, he says, "Why, I thought you told me to speak out."
8 To eat the kernel: This is exactly our proverb, which implies that labour attends every pursuit--"To extract the kernel, you must crack the shell."
9 Opens the dance: There is an indecent allusion intended in this line, which is somewhat modified in the translation.
10 I could believe: Palinurus thinks it impossible that such a wretch as Cappadox would leave her untouched.
11 In the Temple: It was the custom of those who wished to ask anything of the Gods, to lie in their Temples, in order that they might receive their answers and instructions in their sleep.
12 To Caria: Caria was in Asia Minor. Schmieder justly observes, that the Parasite must have used the wings of Dædalus, to go from Epidaurus in the Peloponnesus, to Caria, and discharge his commission and return in four days only. A Roman audience would not, however, be likely to know much about the relative distance of places so far off.
13 Towards the right: Dextrovorsum. A quibble seems to be intended in the use of this word; Palinurus, in saying "turn to the right hand," probably meæis, sarcastically, "turn to a right course of life."
14 To bring me: "Me inferre." These words may mean, according to the context, either "myself to bring" or "to bring myself." Phædromus means to use them in the former sense; but, in his quibbling mood, Palinurus chooses to understand them in the latter.
15 For my Venus: By his "Venus" he means Planesium, with whom he is desperately in love, and for whom and the Procuress he is carrying the "jentaculum." This was a meal which, we learn from Martial, was generally taken about three or four o'clock in the morning. It was, however, taken by few but invalids and children. The reason of Phædromus providing a "jentaculum' for his mistress is probably the circumstance of the Procurer not being likely to interfere, as he has determined to pass the night in the Temple of Æsculapius.
16 Chian wine: Chios, now Scio, in the Ægean Sea, produced the choicest wine, which was the only wine of Greece that did not requne to be mixed with sea-water, to correct acidity and increase its durability.
17 Vine-palm: "Bdellium" was a gum of fragrant smell and bitter aste, which exuded from a tree that grew in Arabia. It is described by the Elder Pliny, in his Twelfth Book.
18 Eight gallons: "Quadrantal." This was a measure which held forty-eight "sextarii," of about a pint and a half each.
19 Will I give to thee: As a libation. It was the custom to pour out wine or other liquors, as libations in honor of the Gods, either upon an altar, on the ground, into the sea, or on a table, according to the circumstances of the case.
20 The rainbow's drinking: This is said in allusion to an absurd belief which prevailed among the ancients, that the rainbow drank up water from be surface of the earth.
21 One of wine: "Vineam." There is more humour in taking this to mean "a statue of wine," than merely "a vine-tree," as Warner has transated it.
22 Trill a carol: "Occentem." This word has probably much the time meaning here as our word "serenade."
23 Play-actors: The Lydians, or rather their descendants, the Etrurians, were the earliest actors at Rome; hence the term used here, "barbari," "foreigners." The metaphor is borrowed from the fact that dancing, leaping, and gestures, were the especial features of their performances.
24 Pour a little water: To prevent their creaking, so that Cappadox may not hear them.
25 Recognizances of Venus: "Veneriis vadimoniis." She borrows a legal phrase here. "Vadimonium legere" was, "to call a person on his bail" or "recognizances." When the Prætor had granted an action, the plaintiff required the defendant to give security for his appearance on the day named. The defendant, on finding a surety, was said "vadem dare," or "vadimonium facere;" and the "vas," or "surety," was said "spondere." The plaintiff, if satisfied with the surety, was said "vadari reum," "to let the defendant go on his sureties." Planesium probably means that she considers herself summoned on pain of forfeiting the love of Phædromus.
26 Person that sees: He is censuring his master for his backwardness in not embracing Planesium instantly on her appearance.
27 To drive you away: As Palinurus wishes his master to withdraw against the wish of Planesium, she asks him how he would like his victuals to be taken away from him--implying that Phædromus is as dear to herself as her very sustenance.
28 Blessings that last: This is like the sentiment in
29 Shocking hussy: "Propudium." This was a very harsh term of reproach; and it is not to be wondered at that Phædromus is angry with Palinurus for using it.
30 Tipsy ninny: "Ebriola," and not "ebriolæ," seems to be the correct reading here. She has perhaps been taking her share of the wine, to which fact he alludes. "Persolla" means either "a little mask" or a "diminutive person;" much as we call a little interfering body a "whipper-snapper."
31 Owlish eyes: Though grey eyes were admired among the Greeks Palinurus does not intend this as a compliment to Planesium. He perhaps alludes to her intended vocation, as having eyes peculiarly adapted for the night- time.
32 The keeper: Ædituum. The "æditui" were persons who took care of the Temples, and attended to the cleaning of them. They, however, partook in some measure of the priestly character, and are sometimes called priests by the Greek Grammarians. They lived in or near to the Temples, and showed them to those persons who wished to see them.
33 The Prœtor's rod: Vindicta. This was the rod which was lats on the head of the person who received his freedom.
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