previous next

Enter CHRYSALUS from the house of BACCHIS.

CHRYSALUS
The two brothers, the sons of Atreus, are said to have done a most famous deed, when, with arms, and horses, and an army, and with chosen warriors, and with ships a thousand in number, after the tenth year, they subdued Pergamus, the native land of Priam, founded by hands divine. Not more decidedly did it fall by the engine of war, than I shall storm my master here, without a fleet, and without an army and so great array of soldiers. I have won, I have taken by storm this gold from his father for my master's son, in his amour. Now, before the old man comes here, I wish to lament until he does come out. O Troy! O my country! O Pergamus! O Priam! old man, you are undone, you, who'll be wretchedly and shockingly choused out of four hundred golden Philippeans. For those tablets, sealed on the one side and on the other, they are not tablets, but the horse which the Greeks sent, of wood. Pistoclerus is the Epeus1; from him were these received. Mnesilochus is the Simon left behind. Behold him! not in Achilles' tomb, but on a couch he reclines: he has Bacchis with him; just as the other formerly had the fire with which to give the signal; so now does she inflame himself. I am Ulysses, by whose advice they do these things. Then, the characters which there are written, are the soldiers in this horse, armed and of high courage. So even thus far has the matter prospered with me. This horse, too, will be making his attack, not on a citadel, but on a coffer2 A ruin, a destruction, a cleaner-out of the old man's gold, will this horse prove this day. To this silly old man of ours, in fact, I give the name of Ilium; the Captain is Menelaüs; I, Agamemnon; I, too, am Ulysses, the son of Laërtes; Mnesilochus is Alexander3, who will be the destruction of his father's fortunes; he has borne off the Helen, on whose account I am now carrying on the siege of Ilium. For there I have heard say that Ulysses was both bold and full of mischief, just as I am. I have been detected in my tricks--he, discovered in a beggar's guise, had almost perished, while he was spying out there the doings of the Trojans. Similarly has it happened to myself to-day. I have been bound, but by my devices I have redeemed myself; he, too, preserved himself by artifice. I have heard that there were three destinies4 attending Troy, which were fatal to it; if the statue should be lost from the citadel; whereas the second was the death of Troilus; the third was when the upper lintel of the Phrygian gate5 should be demolished. Just so are there three fatalities for this Troy of ours, corresponding with those three; for, first of all, when, a short time since, as I told our old gentleman the lying story about his host, and the gold, and the bark, then, that instant, did I steal the statue6 from the citadel. And even then two fatalities were remaining, and no further had I taken this city. Afterwards, when I carried the letter to the old man, then I killed my Troilus. When he supposed, just now, that Mnesilochus was with the Captain's wife, from that, with difficulty, did I disengage myself. And that danger do I compare to what they say, how that Ulysses, recognized by Helen7, was betrayed to Hecuba. But as, in olden time, by his coaxing arts, he liberated himself from her, and persuaded her to let him go, so I, by my devices, have rescued myself from the danger, and have deceived the old man. Afterwards, I engaged with the blustering Captain, who, unarmed, takes cities with his words, and there I repulsed my man. Then I engaged in fight with the old gentleman; straightway by one lying device did I vanquish him; by one blow, in a moment, did I take the spoils away from him. He now will give the two hundred Philippean pieces to the Captain, which he has promised that he will give. ... Now, I have occasion for another two hundred, to be distributed when Ilium is taken, that there may be the usual draught of honeyed wine8 with which the soldiers may celebrate their triumph. But this Priam is far superior to him of old. Not fifty sons only has he, but four hundred, and all choice ones, without a blemish; all these this day will I cut off at two single blows. Now, if there were any purchaser for this Priam of ours, I would sell the old fellow in the lump9, whom I have on sale the moment that J shall have taken the city. But, lo! I see our Priam standing before the door; I'll go and speak to him.

1 Is the Epeus: Epeus was the builder of the wooden horse. When the treacherous Sinon was left behind, he lurked in the tomb of Achilles, or, according to some, in that of Palamedes.

2 Not on a citadel, but on a coffer: He puns on the resemblance of the words "arcem," a "citadel," and "arcam," a "chest" or "coffer."

3 Alexander: Alexander was one of the names of Paris, the son of Priam.

4 There were three destinies: He has omitted three of the circumstances by which the downfall of Troy was to be precipitated--namely: if the horses of Rhesus should be captured before they had tasted of the pastures of Troy and the waters of Xanthus; if the bow and arrow of Hercules should be employed in the siege; and if one of the posterity of Achilles should be present, in all which circumstances the Greeks were eventually favoured.

5 The Phrygian gate: This was the Scæan gate, near the tomb of King Laomedon

6 Steal the statue: The Palladium was stealthily carried off from Troy by Ulysses and Diomedes.

7 Recognized by Helen: He alludes here, and in l. 951, to the occasion when Ulysses entered Troy as a spy, in the disguise of a beggar, on which occasion he was recognized by Helen.

8 Draught of honeyed wine: "Mulsum." This was a mixture of wine and honey, flavoured with myrrh, cassia, nard, costum, or pepper. On the occasion of a triumph, the soldiers were treated to copious draughts of this mixture.

9 In the lump: "Coemptionalem senem." Those slaves were called "coemptionales" who, by reason of age or bad character, were so utterly worthless that they would fetch no price, and were consequently thrown into a lot with other slaves or property of real value.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (F. Leo, 1895)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (117 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: