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Enter EPIDICUS, from the house of CHÆRIBULUS, softly crossing the stage.

EPIDICUS
at the door, as he enters . Hist! hist! be silent, and have good courage; with a fair omen have I come out of doors, the bird upon the left hand1. Pointing to his head. I've got a sharp knife, with which to embowel the old man's purse; but see! here he is before the house of Apæcides, the two old fellows, just as I want. Now I shall change me into a leech, and suck out the blood of these who are called the pillars of the Senate.

PERIPHIANES
Let him be married at once.

APAECIDES
I approve of your design.

PERIPHIANES
For I've heard that he's entangled with love with a certain music-girl, I don't know who. At that I'm vexed to death.

EPIDICUS
apart . By my troth, all the Deities do aid, amplify, and love me; really, these men themselves are pointing out to me the way by means of which I'm to get the money out of them. Now then, come, equip yourself, Epidicus, and throw your cloak about your neck suiting the action to the word , and pretend as though you had been in search of the man all the city over. On with it, if you are going to do it! He hurries past the OLD MEN as though he didn't see them, and calls out aloud. Immortal Gods! I do wish I could meet with Periphanes at home, whom I'm tired with searching for all over the city, throughout the doctors' shops, throughout the barbers' shops, in the gymnasium, and in the Forum, at the perfumers' shops and the butchers' stalls2, and round about the bankers' shops. I'm become hoarse with enquiring; I've almost dropped down with running.

PERIPHIANES
Epidicus!

EPIDICUS
looking round . Who is it that's calling Epidicus back?

PERIPHIANES
It's I, Periphanes.

APAECIDES
And I, Apæcides.

EPIDICUS
And I, indeed, am Epidicus. But, master, I find that you've both met me at the nick of time.

PERIPHIANES
What's the matter?

EPIDICUS
Wait, wait! puffs and blows ; prithee, do let me get breath!

PERIPHIANES
By all means, rest yourself.

EPIDICUS
I'm quite faint; I must recover my breath.

APAECIDES
Do rest yourself at your leisure.

EPIDICUS
Lend me your attention. All the men of the army have been remanded home from Thebes3.

APAECIDES
Who knows for certain that this has been done?

EPIDICUS
I say that it has been done.

PERIPHIANES
Are you sure of that?

EPIDICUS
I am sure of it.

PERIPHIANES
Why are you sure of it?

EPIDICUS
Because I've seen the soldiers marching through the streets in shoals. They are bringing back their arms and their baggage-horses.

PERIPHIANES
Very good indeed!

EPIDICUS
Then, what prisoners they've got with them! boys, girls, in twos and threes; another one has got five; there's a crowd in the streets; they are looking out each for his son.

PERIPHIANES
I' troth, a business very well managed!

EPIDICUS
Then, filly as many of the courtesans as there are in the whole city were going decked out each to meet her lover; they were going to trap them; that's the fact, inasmuch as I gave especial attention to it; several of these had with them nets beneath their garments. When I came to the harbour, forthwith I espied her waiting there, and with her were four music-girls.

PERIPHIANES
With whom, Epidicus?

EPIDICUS
With her whom your son has been loving and doting on for years, with whom he's making all haste to ruin credit, property, himself, and yourself. She was on the lookout for him at the harbour.

PERIPHIANES
Just see the sorceress now!

EPIDICUS
But decked out, sparkling with gold, and adorned so splendidly! so nicely! so fashionably!

PERIPHIANES
What was she drest in? Was it a royal robe, or was it a plain dress?

EPIDICUS
A skylight one4, according as these women coin names for garments.

PERIPHIANES
What! was she dressed in a skylight?

EPIDICUS
What's there wonderful in that? As though many women didn't go through the streets decked out with farms upon them. But when the tax is demanded, they declare it cannot be paid5; while to these hussies, to whom a larger tax is paid, it can be paid. Why, what new names every year these women are finding for their clothing--the thin tunic, the thick tunic, your fulled linen cloth, chemises, bordered shifts' the marigold or saffron-coloured dress, the under-petticoat or else the light vermilion dress, the hood, the royal or the foreign robe, the wave pattern6 or the feather-pattern, the wax or the apple-tint. The greatest nonsense! From dogs, too, do they even take the names.

PERIPHIANES
How so?

EPIDICUS
They call one the Laconian7. These names compel men to make auctions.

PERIPHIANES
But do you say on as you commenced.

EPIDICUS
Two other women behind me began to speak thus between themselves; I, like my wont, went away a little distance from them; I pretended that I wasn't attending to their talk: I didn't quite hear all, and still I wasn't deceived in a word they said.

PERIPHIANES
I long to hear it.

EPIDICUS
Then one of them said to the other with whom she was talking----

PERIPHIANES
What?

EPIDICUS
Be quiet then, that you may hear. After they had caught sight of her whom your son is dying for: "Prithee, how happily and luckily has it befallen that woman for her lover to be wishing to set her free." "Who is he?" said the other. She mentioned Stratippocles.

PERIPHIANES
Troth now, I'm undone; what is it I hear of you?

EPIDICUS
That which really took place. After this, I myself, when I heard them talking, began again to draw closer towards them little by little, as though the crowd of people was pushing me, whether I would or no.

PERIPHIANES
I understand.

EPIDICUS
Then the one asked the other, "How do you know?" "Why, because a letter has been brought her to-day from Stratippocles; that he has borrowed money on interest from a banker at Thebes; that it is ready, and he himself has brought it for that purpose."

PERIPHIANES
Tell on--I'm undone!

EPIDICUS
She said that she had heard so from her and from the letter which she had seen.

PERIPHIANES
What am I to do now? I ask your advice, Apæcides.

APAECIDES
Let us find some clever, useful expedient; for he, indeed, will either be here just now, or is here already.

EPIDICUS
If it were right for me to be wiser than you, I could give you some good advice, which you will praise, I fancy, both of you----

PERIPHIANES
Then where is it, Epidicus?

EPIDICUS
Yes, and useful for this purpose,

APAECIDES
Why do you hesitate to mention it?

EPIDICUS
It's proper for yourselves, who are the wiser, to be the first to speak, and for me to speak afterwards.

PERIPHIANES
Aye, aye, of course--come, say on.

EPIDICUS
But you'll laugh at me.

APAECIDES
On my word, we will not do so.

EPIDICUS
Well then, if it pleases you, use my advice; if it doesn't please you, find better. There's neither sowing nor reaping8 for me in this matter; only that I do wish the same that you wish.

PERIPHIANES
I return you thanks. Make us partakers in your wisdom.

EPIDICUS
Let a wife at once be chosen for your son; and so take vengeance on this music-girl whom he wants to liberate, and who is corrupting him for you; and so let it be managed, that even until her dying day she may remain a slave.

APAECIDES
It ought to be so managed.

PERIPHIANES
I am ready to do anything, so long only as this may be brought about

EPIDICUS
Well then, now there's an opportunity of doing so, before he comes into the city, as to-morrow he will be here; to-day he will not have come.

PERIPHIANES
How do you know?

EPIDICUS
I do know, because another person told me, who came from there, that he would be here in the morning.

PERIPHIANES
Then say you what we are to do.

EPIDICUS
I'm of opinion that you ought to do thus: you must pretend as though you were desirous to give her liberty to the music-girl for your own whim, and as though you were violently in love with her.

PERIPHIANES
To what advantage does that tend?

EPIDICUS
Do you ask that? Why, that you may purchase her beforehand with money, before your son comes, and may say that you bought her to set her at liberty----

PERIPHIANES
I understand.

EPIDICUS
When she's bought, you must remove her somewhere out of the city; unless your own feelings are any way opposed.

PERIPHIANES
O no, skilfully suggested.

EPIDICUS
But what say you, Apæcides?

APAECIDES
Why, what should I? Except that I think you've contrived it very cleverly.

EPIDICUS
Then, in consequence, all thoughts of marriage with her will be removed from him, so that he will make no difficulties as to what you wish.

APAECIDES
Long life to you, wise as you are, it really does please us.

EPIDICUS
Do you then skilfully do whatever you are going to do.

PERIPHIANES
I' faith, you speak to the purpose.

EPIDICUS
I have found, too, how this suspicion may be removed from yourself.

PERIPHIANES
Let me know it.

EPIDICUS
You shall know it; just listen.

APAECIDES
He's come with a breast full of counsel.

EPIDICUS
There's need of a person to carry the money there for the music-girl; but there's no equal necessity for yourself to do it.

PERIPHIANES
Why so?

EPIDICUS
Lest he should think you are doing it for the sake of your son----

PERIPHIANES
Cleverly thought of!

EPIDICUS
By which means you'll keep him away from her; lest any difficulty might arise by reason of that suspicion.

PERIPHIANES
What person shall we find suited to this purpose?

EPIDICUS
pointing to APÆCIDES. He will be the best; he will be able to take all due precautions, as he understands the laws and ordinances.

PERIPHIANES
Epidicus, receive my thanks. But I'll attend to this with all care.

EPIDICUS
I'll find him and bring him here to you, to whom the music-girl belongs; and I'll take the money along with him. Pointing to APÆCIDES.

PERIPHIANES
For how much, at the lowest, can she be bought?

EPIDICUS
What, she? Perhaps she might possibly be bought at the lowest for forty minæ; but if you give me more, I shall return it. There's no trickery in this matter. This money, too, of yours won't be locked up ten days.

PERIPHIANES
How so?

EPIDICUS
Why, because another young man is dying with love for this woman, one abounding in money, a great warrior, a Rhodian, a spoiler of his foes9, a boaster; he'll buy her of you, and give the money with pleasure. You only do it; there's a large profit for you here.

PERIPHIANES
I really pray the Gods it may be so.

EPIDICUS
You'll obtain your prayer.

APAECIDES
Why then, don't you go in-doors and bring the money out here? I'll go visit the Forum. Epidicus, do you come thither.

EPIDICUS
to APÆCIDES . Don't you go away from there before I come to you.

APAECIDES
I'll wait till then.

PERIPHIANES
to EPIDICUS . Do you follow me in- doors.

EPIDICUS
Go and count it out; I'll not detain you at all. (Exit APÆCIDES, and PERIPHANES goes into his house.)

1 Bird upon the left hand: Among the Romans the Augur looked to the South, having the East on his left hand, which was considered the auspicious quarter. The Greeks considered birds on the left hand an ill omen.

2 Butchers' stalls: "Lanienas." Madame Dacier thinks that this means a place where arms were sold, and the "lanistæ," or "gladiators" exercised themselves.

3 Remanded home from Thebes: Madame Dacier supposes, and with fair reason, that in this Epidicus tells what really is the fact.

4 A skylight one: "Impluviatam." Echard's Note to this passage is much to the purpose. "The word 'impluvium' signifies a square open place which the Romans had in their houses to receive rain for their use; or a square courtyard, that received the rain at four water-spouts; from whence a habit they had, made with four sides or four pieces, was called 'vestimentum impluviatum.' Here Epidicus takes occasion from this to admire at a woman's being able to wear a courtyard on her back. Periphanes, carrying on the humour, tells him 'tis no wonder, since they frequently wear whole houses and lands, meaning the value of them." The word "impluvium" has been previously rendered "skylight," in the present Translation. See the Notes to the Miles Gloriosus, l. 159, where Periplecomenus complains of Sceledrus looking down his "impluvium" from the top of the house. The garment may, however, not improbably have been called "impluviatum," from its being of a greyish, or rain colour.

5 They declare it cannot be paid: He means that their dupes or lovers cannot pay their taxes.

6 The wave pattern: "Cumatile," from the Greek κῦμα, "a wave." These dresses were so called, probably, from their being undulated, or, as we call it, "watered." Ovid, in the Art of Love, B. 8, l. 177, speaks of dresses called "undulatæ," "resembling the waves;" as also does Varro. Some Commentators think that "undulatæ" means "sea-green," and Schmieder takes "cumatile" to mean the same. From its juxtaposition with "plumatile," "feather-pattern," it would seem that the pattern rather than the colour is alluded to. "Plumatile" is considered by some simply to mean embroidered; and "plumata" is clearly used in that sense by Lucan in the Pharsalia, B. 10, l. 125. For a list of the Roman ladies' dresses, see the Aulularia, l. 463, et seq.

7 The Laconian: Probably the garments had their name from their resemblance to the colour of this breed of dogs. They were imported from Laconia, and hence called "Laconici." From an expression in the Epodes of Horace, Ode VI., l. 5-6, they appear to have been used as shepherds' dogs; but Warner in a Note to his Translation, supposes them to have been of the greyhound species, So, in Shakspeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Act IV., Sc. 1, Theseus says: “My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
So flewed, so, sanded

8 Neither sowing nor reaping: "Mihi istic nec seritur nec metitur." This proverbial saying (so well known to every student of the Eton Grammar) merely means, "I have no interest whatever in the matter."

9 A Rhodian, a spoiler of his foes: The Rhodians were considered wealthy, proud, and boastful.

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