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Enter GRIPUS, from the cottage of DÆMONES, with a spit in his hand.

GRIPUS
calling to the PEOPLE within . By the powers, you shall never this day at nightfall behold Gripus alive, unless the wallet is restored to me.

LABRAX
behind . I'm ready to die; when I hear mentior made anywhere of a wallet, I'm thumped, as it were with a stake, upon the breast.

GRIPUS
at the door, continuing . That scoundrel is free; I, the person that held the net in the sea, and drew up the wallet, to him you refuse to give anything.

LABRAX
behind . O ye immortal Gods! by his talk this person has made me prick up my ears.

GRIPUS
continuing . By my troth, in letters a cubit long, I'll immediately post it up in every quarter, "If any person has lost a wallet with plenty of gold and silver, let him come to Gripus." You shan't keep it as you are wishing.

LABRAX
behind . I' faith, this person knows, as I think, who has got the wallet. This person must be accosted by me; ye Gods, aid me, I do entreat you. Some one calls GRIPUS, from within.

GRIPUS
Why are you calling me back in-doors? He rubs away at the spit. I want to clean this here before the door. But surely this, i' faith, has been made of rust, and not of iron; so that the more I rub it, it becomes quite red and more slender. Why surely this spit has been drugged1; it does waste away so in my hands.

LABRAX
accosting him . Save you, young man.

GRIPUS
May the Gods prosper you with your shorn pate2.

LABRAX
What's going on?

GRIPUS
A spit being cleaned.

LABRAX
How do you do?

GRIPUS
What are you? Prithee, are you a medicant3?

LABRAX
No, i' faith, I am more than a medicant by one letter.

GRIPUS
Then you are a "mendicant."

LABRAX
You've hit it to a nicety4.

GRIPUS
Your appearance seems suitable to it. But what's the matter with you?

LABRAX
Troth, this last night I was shipwrecked at sea the vessel was cast away, and to my misfortune I lost there everything that I had.

GRIPUS
What did you lose?

LABRAX
A wallet with plenty of gold and silver.

GRIPUS
Do you at all remember what there was in the wallet which was lost?

LABRAX
What matters for us now to be talking of it, if, in spite of it, it's lost?

GRIPUS
What if I know who has found it? I wish to learn from you the tokens.

LABRAX
Eight hundred golden pieces were there in a purse, besides a hundred Philippean minæ in a wash-leather bag apart.

GRIPUS
aside . Troth, it is a noble prize; I shall be getting a handsome reward. The Gods show respect to mortals; therefore I shall come off bounteously rewarded. No doubt, it is this man's wallet. To LABRAX. Do you proceed to relate the rest.

LABRAX
A large talent of silver of full weight was in a purse, besides a bowl, a goblet, a beaker, a boat, and a cup.

GRIPUS
Astonishing! you really did have some splendid riches.

LABRAX
A shocking expression is that, and a most abominable one. "You did have, and now have not."

GRIPUS
What would you be ready to give to one who should find these out for you, and give you information? Say, speedily and at once.

LABRAX
Three hundred didrachms.

GRIPUS
Rubbish.

LABRAX
Four hundred.

GRIPUS
Old thrums.

LABRAX
Five hundred.

GRIPUS
A rotten nut.

LABRAX
Six hundred.

GRIPUS
You are prating about mere tiny weevils.

LABRAX
I'll give seven hundred.

GRIPUS
Your mouth is hot, you are cooling it5 just now.

LABRAX
I'll give a thousand didrachms.

GRIPUS
You are dreaming.

LABRAX
I add no more; be off with you.

GRIPUS
Hear me then; if, i' faith, I should be off from here, I shan't be here.

LABRAX
Would you like a hundred as well as the thousand?

GRIPUS
You are asleep.

LABRAX
Say how much you ask.

GRIPUS
That you mayn't be adding anything against your inclination, a great talent; it's not possible for three obols to be bated thence; then do you say either "yes" or "no" at once.

LABRAX
aside . What's to be done here? It's a matter of necessity, I see: to GRIPUS the talent shall be paid.

GRIPUS
going towards the altar . Just step this way; I wish Venus here to put the question to you.

LABRAX
Whatever you please, that command me.

GRIPUS
Touch this altar of Venus.

LABRAX
touching it . I am touching it.

GRIPUS
By Venus here must you swear to me.

LABRAX
What must I swear?

GRIPUS
What I shall bid you.

LABRAX
Dictate in words just as you like. Aside. What I've got at home, I shall never beg6 of any one else.

GRIPUS
Take hold of this altar.

LABRAX
taking hold of it . I am taking hold of it.

GRIPUS
Swear that you will pay me the money on that same day on which you shall gain possession of the wallet.

LABRAX
Be it so.

GRIPUS
speaking, while LABRAX repeats after him . Venus of Cyrene, I invoke thee as my witness, if I shall find that wallet which I lost in the ship, safe with the gold and silver, and it shall come into my possession----

GRIPUS
"Then to this Gripus do I promise;" say so and place your hand upon me.

LABRAX
Then to this Gripus do I promise, Venus, do thou hear me----

GRIPUS
followed by LABRAX . "That I will forthwith give him a great talent of silver."

GRIPUS
If you defraud me, say, may Venus utterly destroy your body, and your existence in your calling. Aside. As it is, do you have this for yourself, when you've once taken the oath.

LABRAX
If, Venus, I shall do anything amiss against this oath, I supplicate thee that all Procurers may henceforth be wretched.

GRIPUS
aside . As it is, it shall be so, even if you do keep your oath. Do you wait here; going towards the cottage --I'll at once make the old gentleman come out; do you forthwith demand of him that wallet. Goes in.

LABRAX
to himself . If ever so much he shall restore to me this wallet, I'm not this day indebted to him three obols even. It's according to my own intention what my tongue swears. The door opens. But I'll hold my peace; see, here he's coming out, and bringing the old man.

1 Has been drugged: He alludes to the rust which has eaten into the spit and worn it away.

2 Your shorn pate: Madame Dacier suggests that Labrax has had his hair cut off in consequence of having escaped from shipwreck, which, indeed, was often done during the continuance of a storm by those at sea.

3 A medicant: He plays upon the resemblance of the words "medicus" and "mendicus." To give effect to the pun, we have, with Thornton, coined the word "medicant," in the sense of "doctor" or "physician."

4 Hit it to a nicety: "Tetigisti acu." Literally, "you've hit it with the point"--that is, "exactly."

5 You are cooling it: He is supposed here to allude to the act of drawing the breath into the mouth with the teeth half closed, which produces a sensation of coolness; meaning, that he doesn't speak out and offer with boldness.

6 I shall never beg: He says this to himself, meaning that he has a sufficient stock of perjury at home, without going to another person for it. See l. 558.

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