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to himself . I've consulted my books; I'm as sure as possible, that by my funny bon mots I shall recover my patron1. Now I'm going to see whether he has arrived by this from the harbour, that when he comes I may smooth him down with my speeches. EPIGNOMUS
Surely, this is Gelasimus, the Parasite, that's coming. GELASIMUS
to himself . With lucky auspices, by my troth, this day did I come out of doors; since an omen auspiciously befel me2. This was beheld by me; how a weasel carried off a mouse close at my feet. For as she found sustenance for herself this day, so do I hope that I shall do, as the augury predicts. Sees EPIGNOMUS. Surely this is Epignomus that's standing here; I'll go and address him. My dear Epignomus, how pleased I am to see you now; how my tears are starting forth for very joy. Have you all along enjoyed your health? EPIGNOMUS
With care it has been preserved. GELASIMUS
Right heartily I wish you health3. EPIGNOMUS
You speak kindly, and like a friend. May the Gods grant what you wish. GELASIMUS
* * * EPIGNOMUS
I, sup there with you? GELASIMUS
Since you are returned safe. EPIGNOMUS
Really, an engagement has been made already; but I give you thanks. GELASIMUS
Do promise me. EPIGNOMUS
It's settled. GELASIMUS
But do, I say. EPIGNOMUS
The thing's agreed on. GELASIMUS
By my troth, you'd do it with much pleasure to me. EPIGNOMUS
I know that well. When an opportunity shall come, it shall be so. GELASIMUS
Now, then, is the opportunity. EPIGNOMUS
I' faith, I cannot. GELASIMUS
Why make difficulties? Do consider; I have I know not what luxuries at hand4. EPIGNOMUS
Do be off, now; seek for yourself another guest for to-day. GELASIMUS
You promise, then? EPIGNOMUS
I would make no difficulty if I could. GELASIMUS
Really, on my word, one thing, for sure, I Promise you, I'd entertain you with pleasure, beyond a doubt, if you would promise. EPIGNOMUS
Adieu! Moving. GELASIMUS
Have you resolved? EPIGNOMUS
I have resolved. I shall dine at home. GELASIMUS
aside . Since nothing has been effected this way, I'll therefore approach him by a more open path, and I'll speak plainly out. To EPIGNOMUS. Since you, yourself, are not willing to promise to come to me, should you like that I should come to dine with you? EPIGNOMUS
If it were possible, I should like it; but here are nine other people5 coming to dine at my house. GELASIMUS
For my part, I don't ask that I should recline on the couch; you know that I'm a man for the lower seats. EPIGNOMUS
But these are deputies of a people, tip-top men they come here as public ambassadors from Ambracia6. GELASIMUS
Let then the deputies of a people, your tip-top men, recline at the tip-top place; I, the lowest, in the lowest quarter. EPIGNOMUS
It isn't proper for you to be entertained among deputies. GELASIMUS
I 'faith, and I--I'm a deputy, too7, but little it does avail me. EPIGNOMUS
I intend that to-morrow we shall dine upon the scraps. Sincerely, farewell. Goes into his house. GELASIMUS
By my troth, 'tis clear that I'm undone, and by no fault of my owns8. The number is less than it was before by one Gelasimus. I'm resolved, hereafter, never to believe in a weasel, for I know of no beast more uncertain than her. She who herself is ten times a day shifting her place, from her have I taken my omens in matters of life and death to me! I'm determined to call my friends together, to take counsel how by rule I must starve henceforth. (Exit.)
1 Recover my patron: "Regem." In common parlance, rich men were often styled by their dependents and flatterers, "rex," "my king."
2 Auspiciously befel me: "Quum strena mi obscævavit." This passage is very obscure, and has puzzled the Commentators, who have generally taken refuge in a various reading, "Eum strenue obcænavit," which seems to make but very poor sense. The research, however, of the indefatigable Ritschel has set that mode of escape entirely at rest. "Strena" was the name of a New Year's gift, which was given and received on the Calenus of January, that the year might be commenced under good auspices. Probably from that circumstance, it became synonymous with a good or "auspicious omen." "Obscævo" is rendered in the Dictionaries, "to give a bad omen" Such, however, is not necessarily its meaning, in all instances. "Scæva" is an "omen" or "augury," whether fortunate or not. Consequently, "obscævo" may very reasonably mean, "to fall in one's way as an omen;" if so, the expression, as here used, will mean "a lucky omen fell in my way.
3 I wish you health: "Propino tibi salutem plenis faucibus." Literally, "I drink your health with my jaws crammed full," a very apt mode of expression for a Parasite.
4 Luxuries at hand: "In mundo." Literally," in the world."
5 Nine other people: Aulus Gellius and Macrobius tell us that the ancients never admitted to a feast more than nine, the number of the Muses, or less than three, the number of the Graces. The true reason, however, was that the three "triclinia," or couches, made three parts of the square around the table; and each containing but three, nine was as great a number as could be accommodated. Epignomus mentions that number here, by way of assuring Gelasimus that there is really no room for him. On this, the Parasite says that he is "imi subsellii vir," "a man for the lowest stool" or "bench," which he can very well manage with. "Subsellia" was the name of the seats of the Tribunes, Triumvirs, and Quæstors, who were not honoured with Curule chairs.
7 I'm a deputy, too: He puns on the word "orator," which signifies "a pleader" or "orator," as well as an "ambassador" or "deputy." He says that he is a pleader too (for the cause of his own stomach), but all to no purpose.
8 By no fault of my own: "Nihil obnoxie," "by reason of no fault or offence of my own;" thus consoling himself for his rebuff. It has been observed by various Critics, that this passage is very obscure; but the above translation, which is sanctioned by the learned Rost, is most probably the correct one Warner renders it "out of doubt," which, out of doubt, is not the meaning.
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