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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.
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."
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