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Enter HEGIO, ARISTOPHONTES, and SLAVES, from the house
Whither am I to say, now, that this man has betaken himself from the house out of doors? TYNDARUS
apart . Now, for a very certainty, I'm done for; the enemies are coming to you, Tyndarus! What shall I say?--what shall I talk of? What shall I deny, or what confess? All matters are reduced to uncertainty. How shall I place confidence in my resources? I wish the Gods had destroyed you, before you were lost to your own country, Aristophontes, who, from a plot well concerted, are making it disconcerted. This plan is ruined outright, unless I find out for myself some extremely bold device. HEGIO
to ARISTOPHONTES . Follow me. See, there is the man; go to him and address him. TYNDARUS
aside, and turning away . What mortal among mortals is there more wretched than myself? ARISTOPHONTES
coming up to him . Why's this, that I'm to say that you are avoiding my gaze, Tyndarus? And why that you are slighting me as a stranger, as though you had never known me? Why, I'm as much a slave as yourself; although at home I was a free man, you, even from your childhood, have always served in slavery in Elis. HEGIO
I' faith, I'm very little surprised, if either he does avoid your gaze, or if he does shun you, who are calling him Tyndarus, instead of Philocrates. TYNDARUS
Hegio, this person was accounted a madman in Elis. Don't you give ear to what he prates about; for at home he has pursued his father and mother with spears, and that malady sometimes comes upon him which is spit out1 Do you this instant stand away at a distance from him. HEGIO
to the SLAVES . Away with him further off from me. ARISTOPHONTES
Do you say, you whipp'd knave, that I am mad, and do you declare that I have followed my own father with spears? And that I have that malady, that it's necessary for me to be spit upon2? HEGIO
Don't be dismayed; that malady afflicts many a person to whom it has proved wholesome to be spit upon, and has been of service to them. ARISTOPHONTES
Why, what do you say? Do you, too, credit him? HEGIO
Credit him in what? ARISTOPHONTES
That I am mad? TYNDARUS
Do you see him, with what a furious aspect he's looking at you? 'Twere best to retire, Hegio; it is as I said, his frenzy grows apace; have a care for yourself. HEGIO
I thought that he was mad, the moment that he called you Tyndarus. TYNDARUS
Why, he's sometimes ignorant of his own name, and doesn't know what it is. HEGIO
But he even said that you were his intimate friend. TYNDARUS
So far from that, I never saw him. Why, really, Alcmæon, and Orestes, and Lycurgus3 besides, are my friends on the same principle that he is. ARISTOPHONTES
Villain, and do you dare speak ill of me, as well? Do I not know you? HEGIO
I' faith, it really is very clear that you don't know him, who are calling him Tyndarus, instead of Philocrates. Him whom you see, you don't know; you are addressing him as the person whom you don't see. ARISTOPHONTES
On the contrary this fellow's saying that he is the person who he is not; and he says that he is not the person who he really is. TYNDARUS
You've been found, of course, to excel Philocrates in truthfulness. ARISTOPHONTES
By my troth, as I understand the matter, you've been found to brazen out the truth by lying. But i' faith, prithee, come then, look at me. TYNDARUS
looking at him . Well! ARIST. Say, now; do you deny that you are Tyndarus? TYNDARUS
I do deny it, I say. ARISTOPHONTES
Do you say that you are Philocrates? TYNDARUS
I do say so, I say. ARISTOPHONTES
to HEGIO . And do you believe him? HEGIO
More, indeed, than either you or myself. For he, in fact, who you say that he is pointing to TYNDARUS , has set out hence to-day for Elis, to this person's father. ARISTOPHONTES
What father, when he's a slave4. TYNDARUS
And so are you a slave, and yet you were a free man; and I trust that so I shall be, if I restore his son here to liberty. ARISTOPHONTES
How say you, villain? Do you say that you were born a free man [liber]? TYNDARUS
> I really do not say that I am Liber5, but that I am Philocrates. ARISTOPHONTES
How's this? How this scoundrel, Hegio, is making sport of you now. For he's a slave himself, and never, except his own self, had he a slave. TYNDARUS
Because you yourself are destitute in your own country, and haven't whereon to live at home, you wish all to be found like to yourself; you don't do anything surprising. 'Tis the nature of the distressed to be ill-disposed, and to envy the fortunate. ARISTOPHONTES
Hegio, take you care, please, that you don't persist in rashly placing confidence in this man; for so far as I see, he is certainly now putting some device in execution, in saying that he is redeeming your son from captivity; that is by no means satisfactory to me. TYNDARUS
I know that you don't wish that to be done; still I shall effect it, if the Gods assist me. I shall bring him back here, and he will restore me to my father, in Elis. For that purpose have I sent Tyndarus hence to my father. ARISTOPHONTES
Why, you yourself are he; nor is there any slave in Elis of that name, except yourself. TYNDARUS
Do you persist in reproaching me with being a slave--a thing that has befallen me through the fortune of war? ARISTOPHONTES
Really, now, I cannot contain myself. TYNDARUS
to HEGIO . Ha! don't you hear him? Why don't you take to flight? He'll be pelting us just now with stones there, unless you order him to be seized. ARISTOPHONTES
I'm distracted. TYNDARUS
His eyes strike fire; there's need of a rope, Hegio. Don't you see how his body is spotted all over with livid spots? Black bile6 is disordering the man. ARISTOPHONTES
And, by my faith, if this old gentleman is wise, black pitch7 will be disordering you with the executioner, and giving a light to your head. TYNDARUS
He's now talking in his fit of delirium; sprites are in possession of the man. HEGIO
By my troth, suppose I order him to be seized? TYNDARUS
You would be acting more wisely. ARISTOPHONTES
I'm vexed that I haven't a stone, to knock out the brains of that whip-scoundrel, who's driving me to madness by his taunts. TYNDARUS
Don't you hear that he's looking for a stone? ARISTOPHONTES
I wish to speak with you alone, separately, Hegio. HEGIO
Speak from where you are, if you want anything; though at a distance, I shall hear you. TYNDARUS
Yes, for, by my faith, if you approach nearer, he'll be taking your nose off with his teeth. ARISTOPHONTES
By heavens, Hegio, don't you believe that I am mad, or that I ever was so, or that I have the malady which that fellow avers. But if you fear anything from me, order me to be bound; I wish it, so long as that fellow is bound as well. TYNDARUS
Why really, Hegio, rather let him be bound that wishes it. ARISTOPHONTES
Now hold your tongue! I'll make you, you false Philocrates, to be found out this day to be a real Tyndarus. Why are you making signs8 at me? TYNDARUS
I, making signs at you? To HEGIO. What would he do, if you were at a greater distance off? HEGIO
What do you say? What if I approach this madman? TYNDARUS
Nonsense; you'll be made a fool of; he'll be prating stuff, to you, neither the feet nor the head of which will ever be visible. The dress only9 is wanting; in seeing this man, you behold Ajax himself. HEGIO
I don't care; still I'll approach him. Advances to ARISTOPHONTES. TYNDARUS
aside . Now am I utterly undone; now between the sacrifice and the stone10 do I stand, nor know I what to do. HEGIO
I lend you my attention, Aristophontes, if there is anything that you would wish with me. ARISTOPHONTES
From me you shall hear that truth, which now you think to be false, Hegio. But I wish, in the first place, to clear myself from this with you--that madness does not possess me, and that I have no malady, except that I am in captivity; and, so may the King of Gods and of men make me to regain my native land, that fellow there is no more Philocrates than either I or you. HEGIO
Come, then, tell me who he is? ARISTOPHONTES
He whom I've told you all along from the beginning. If you shall find him any other than that person, I show no cause why I shouldn't suffer the loss with you both of my parents and of my liberty for ever. HEGIO
to TYNDARUS . What say you to this? TYNDARUS
That I am your slave, and you my master. HEGIO
I didn't ask that--were you a free man? TYNDARUS
I was. ARISTOPHONTES
But he really wasn't; he is deceiving you. TYNDARUS
How do you know? Were you, perchance, the midwife of my mother, since you dare to affirm this so boldly? ARISTOPHONTES
When a boy, I saw yourself, a boy. TYNDARUS
But, grown up, I now see you grown up; so, there's for you, in return. If you did right, you wouldn't be troubling yourself about my concerns; do I trouble myself about yours? HEGIO
Was his father called Thesaurochrysonicocrœsides? ARISTOPHONTES
He was not; and I never heard that name before this day. Theodoromedes was the father of Philocrates. TYNDARUS
aside . I'm downright undone. Why don't you be quiet, heart of mine? Go and be stretched, and hang yourself; you are throbbing so, that unfortunate I can hardly stand up for my fear. HEGIO
Is a full assurance given me that this was a slave in Elis, and that he is not Philocrates? ARISTOPHONTES
So fully, that you will never find this to be otherwise; but where is he11 now? HEGIO
Where I the least, and he the most could wish himself. In consequence, then, I'm cut asunder12, disjointed, to my sorrow, by the devices of this scoundrel, who has bamboozled me by his tricks just as he has thought fit. But do, please, have a care that you are right. ARISTOPHONTES
Why, I assure you of this, as an ascertained and established fact. HEGIO
For certain? ARISTOPHONTES
Why, nothing, I say, will you find more certain than this certainty. Philocrates, from when a boy, has ever since that time been my friend. HEGIO
But of what appearance is your friend Philocrates? ARISTOPHONTES
I'll tell you: with a thin face, sharp nose, light hair, dark eyes, somewhat ruddy, with hair rather crisp and curling, HEGIO
The description is like. TYNDARUS
aside . Aye, so much so, indeed, that I've this day, much to my sorrow, got into the midst of this, i' faith. Woe to those unfortunate rods which this day will be meeting their end upon my back. HEGIO
I see that I've been imposed upon. TYNDARUS
aside . Why, fetters, do you delay to run towards me and to embrace my legs, that I may have you in custody? >HEG.
And have these two rascally captives really deceived me this day with their tricks? The other one pretended that he was the servant, and this one that he himself was the master. I've lost the kernel; for a security, I've left the shell. To such a degree have they imposed upon me13, both on this side and that, with their trickeries. Still, this fellow shall never have the laugh against me. Colaphus, Cordalio, Corax14 to the SLAVES , go you away and bring out the thongs. A SLAVE
Are we to be sent to gather faggots15? The SLAVES go and bring the thongs from the house.
1 Which is spit out: Some would render the words "qui sputatur" "which is spit upon," and fancy that they find authorities in the ancient writers for thinking that epilepsy was treated by spitting upon the patient. However, it seems much more probable, that the notion was that epilepsy was cured by the patient himself spitting out the noxious saliva; and that the word "sputatur" means, "is spit out," i. e. "is cured by spitting." Celsus thus describes the "comitialis morbus," "epilepsy," or "falling sickness:" "The person seized, suddenly falls down; foam drops from the mouth; then, after a little time, he comes to himself, and gets up again without any assistance." Pliny, in his Natural History, B. 38, c. 4, says: "Despuimus comitiales morbos, hoc est, contagia regerimus," "We spit out the epilepsy, that is, we avert the contagion." This is said, probably, in reference to a belief, that on seeing an epileptic person, if we spit, we shall avoid the contagion; but it by no means follows that the person so doing must spit upon the epileptic person. We read in the first Book of Samuel, ch. xxi., ver. 12: "And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish, the King of Gath. And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard." He probably pretended to be attacked with epileptic fits. In fact, after due examination, there seems little doubt that it was a common notion with the ancients that the distemper was discharged with the saliva.
2 To be spit upon: Aristophontes has understood the words, "qui sputatur," in the sense of "which is spit upon," and asks Tyndarus if he affirms that he is afflicted with a disease which requires such treatment. Hegio, to pacify him, and to show off his medical knowledge, tells him that it has proved beneficial in some diseases to be so treated; but he does not go so far as to say what those diseases were. One malady, called "herpes," or "spreading ulcer," was said to be highly contagious, but capable of being cured by applications of saliva. Some Commentators here quote the method which our Saviour adopted in curing the blind man at Bethsaida: "And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town: and when he had spat on his eyes and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw aught." St. Mark, ch. viii., ver. 23. And again, the account given in the ninth chapter of St. John, ver. 6: "When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay." It may be possible that our Saviour thought fit to adopt these forms, in imitation of some of the methods of treating diseases in those times; though, of course, his transcendant power did not require their agency Rost, in his Commentaries on Plautus, has a very learned disquisition on the meaning of the present passage.
3 Alcmæon, and Orestes, and Lycurgus: He alludes to these three persons as being three of the most celebrated men of antiquity that were attacked with frenzy. Orestes slew his mother, Clytemnestra; Alcmæon killed his mother, Eriphyle; and Lycurgus, King of Thrace, on slighting the worship of Bacchus, was afflicted with madness, in a fit of which he hewed off his own legs with a hatchet.
4 When he's a slave: Slaves were not considered to have any legal existence; and, therefore, to have neither parents or relations.
5 That I am Liber: Aristophontes asks him if he means to assert that he was born a free man, "liber." As "Liber" was also a name of Bacchus, Tyndarus quibbles, and says, "I did not assert that I am Liber, but that I am Philocrates." In consequence of the idiom of the Latin language, his answer (non equidem me Liberum, sed Philocratem esse aio) will admit of another quibble, and may be read as meaning, "I did not say that I am a free man, but that Philocrates is." This maybe readily seen by the Latin scholar, but is not so easily explained to the English reader.
7 Black pitch: He alludes to a frightful punishment inflicted upon malefactors by the Romans. They were either smeared over with burning pitch, or were first covered with pitch, which was then set fire to. This punishment is supposed to have been often inflicted upon the early Christians. Juvenal alludes to it in his First Satire,
Describe Tigellinus [an infamous minister of Nero], and you shall give a light by those torches, in which those stand and burn who send forth smoke with a stake driven into their throat."
8 Why are you making signs: Abnutas. The verb "abnuto" means, "to nod to a person that he may desist." Tyndarus thinks that by this time Aristophontes must surely understand the plan that has been devised for the escape of Philocrates; and, as he is about to step aside to speak with Hegio, he makes a sign, requesting him to stop short in his contradiction of what he has asserted.
9 The dress only: By "ornamenta" he means the dress of Tragedy. The dresses of Comedy were essentially different from those of Tragedy. He means to say, "the man is mad; if he had only the Tragic garb on, you might take him for Ajax Telamon in his frenzy." On being refused the arms of Achilles, Ajax became mad, and slaughtered a flock of sheep fancying that they were Ulysses and the sons of Atreus.
10 The sacrifice and the stone: We learn from Livy, that in the most ancient times the animal for sacrifice was killed by being struck with a stone; to stand between the victim and the stone, would consequently imply, to be in a position of extreme danger.
11 But where is he: Tyndarus has probably betaken himself to some corner of the stage, and Aristophontes misses him from his former position.
12 Cut asunder: "Deruncinatus" means, literally, cut asunder with a "runcina," or "saw."
13 Have they imposed upon me: "Os sublevere offuciis." Literally "painted my face with varnish." This expression is probably derived from the practice of persons concealing, their defects, by painting over spots or freckles in the face for the purpose of hiding them.
14 Colaphus, Cordalio, Corax: These are the names of slaves Colaphus" means, also, "a blow with the fist." "Corax" was the Greek name for a "crow," and was probably given to a black slave.
15 To gather faggots: He asks this question Because cords, "lora, were necessary for the purpose of binding up faggots.
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