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Enter ASTAPHIUM, from the house of PHRONESIUM.

ASTAPHIUM
speaking to the SERVANTS within . Listen at the door and guard the house, that no one who comes may go away more loaded than he came, or who has brought empty hands into our house may take them full out of it. To herself. I know the ways of people; of such habits are the young men now-a-days. For as soon as ever the jolly companions have arrived at the courtesans' houses, their plans are formed. When they've arrived in-doors, some one of them is incessantly bestowing kisses on his mistress. While they are engaged, the others are pilfering1. But if they see that any one is observing them, they play some trick, by which to amuse the observer with pleasantry and sport. Full oft do they devour that belonging to us just as the sausage-makers2 do. Upon my faith, this is the case, and some of the Spectators to the AUDIENCE , i' faith, you know full well that I tell no lie in this. There with them is the struggle and the valour, to carry oft a booty from the plunderers. But we again nicely give a like return to these robbers of us; for they themselves look on, while we are heaping up their property; indeed, of their own accord even do they themselves bring it to us.

DINARCHUS
apart . In those words she's surely lashing myself; for I've been heaping up presents there.

ASTAPHIUM
in answer to some one who calls from PHRONESIUM'S house . I well recollect it. I' troth, his own self, if he's at home, I'll at once bring here with me. Runs on.

DINARCHUS
calling out . Hallo! Astaphium, do stop a moment, before you go away.

ASTAPHIUM
Who's calling me back?

DINARCHUS
You shall know; look back this way.

ASTAPHIUM
Who is it?

DINARCHUS
One who wishes many a blessing to yourselves.

ASTAPHIUM
Give them then, if you wish us to have them.

DINARCHUS
I'll let you have them. Only do look back this way.

ASTAPHIUM
O dear, you're teazing wretched me to death, whoever you are. Runs on.

DINARCHUS
Worst of women, stop.

ASTAPHIUM
Best of men, go on; you are troublesome. Turns round. Is that Dinarchus? Why, it is he.

DINARCHUS
He's going to your house; and do you give me your hand holding out his in return, and walk together with me.

ASTAPHIUM
I am your servant, and am obedient to your command. Gives her hand.

DINARCHUS
Yourself, how are you?

ASTAPHIUM
I'm well, and am holding by the hand one who's well. Since you've arrived from abroad, a dinner must be given3.

DINARCHUS
You speak obligingly.

ASTAPHIUM
But, prithee, do let me go whither she ordered me. Withdrawing her hand.

DINARCHUS
lets go her hand . Be off then. But how say you- -?

ASTAPHIUM
What do you want?

DINARCHUS
He, that you are on your road to, who is it that you're going to fetch?

ASTAPHIUM
Achiva, the midwife.

DINARCHUS
You are an artful damsel.

ASTAPHIUM
I'm as usual then; that's my practice.

DINARCHUS
You deceitful hussy, I've caught you detected in a lie.

ASTAPHIUM
How so, pray?

DINARCHUS
Because you said that you were going to bring "his own self," and not "herself." A woman, then, has been made out of a man. You are an artful one.

ASTAPHIUM
A conjurer!

DINARCHUS
But, pray, tell me, Astaphium who is this person? A new lover?

ASTAPHIUM
I think that you are a gentleman too much at his ease.

DINARCHUS
Why now do you think so?

ASTAPHIUM
Because you trouble yourself about things that don't concern your own clothing and food.

DINARCHUS
It's yourselves have made me a gentleman at ease.

ASTAPHIUM
Why so?

DINARCHUS
I'll explain it to you. I've lost my property; with my property you've robbed me of occupation. If I had preserved my property, there had been something with which I might have been occupied.

ASTAPHIUM
And do you suppose that you can possibly well manage the affairs of state, or those of love, on any other terms without being a gentleman at ease?

DINARCHUS
It was she held a public employment, not I; you misinterpret me. But, against the law, in spite of my tax paid for pasturage4, she has received other cattle beside myself.

ASTAPHIUM
Most persons who manage their property badly, do the same as you are doing; when they haven't wherewith to pay the tax, they blame the farmers of the taxes.

DINARCHUS
My pasturage contract with you turns out but badly; now in its turn, I wish to have, according to my narrow circumstances, a little bit of arable land here with you.

ASTAPHIUM
Here is no arable, but the field is pasture land. If you desire some ploughing, you had better go to those5 who are in the habit of ploughing; we hold this public emolument, the right of pasturage; those are farmers of other taxes.

DINARCHUS
Full well enough do I know both sides.

ASTAPHIUM
I' troth, it's that way you are a gentleman at ease, since you've been going wrong both in that direction and in this. But the acquaintance of which do you like the best?

DINARCHUS
You are the more exacting, but they are perjured. Whatever's given to them is lost outright, nor with themselves is there any show at all of it; you, if you gain anything, do at least drink and feast it away. In short, they are unprincipled; you are good-for-nothings, and full of airs.

ASTAPHIUM
All this abuse which, Dinarchus, you are uttering against us and them, you utter against yourself, both as respects us and them.

DINARCHUS
How's that?

ASTAPHIUM
I'll tell the reason; because he who accuses another of dishonesty, him it behoves to look into himself. You who are so prudent, have got nothing from us; we, who are good-for-nothings, have got all out of you.

DINARCHUS
O Astaphium! you were not in the habit of speaking to me in that fashion formerly, but courteously, when I myself possessed that which is now in your possession.

ASTAPHIUM
While he's alive, you may know a person; when he's dead, you may keep yourself quiet. I used to know you when you were alive.

DINARCHUS
Do you consider me to be dead?

ASTAPHIUM
Prithee, how can it be plainer? He who formerly was esteemed a first-rate lover, for him to be bringing to his mistress nought but lamentations6.

DINARCHUS
I' faith, through your own faults it was done, who in former days were in haste to plunder me. You ought to have done it leisurely, that, unscathed, I might last the longer for you.

ASTAPHIUM
A lover is like an enemy's fortress.

DINARCHUS
On what ground?

ASTAPHIUM
The sooner the lover can be taken by storm, the better it is for the mistress.

DINARCHUS
I confess it; but far different is the friend from the lover. I' faith, for sure, the oldest friend's the best one possible for a man. I' faith, my lands and tenements are not yet all gone.

ASTAPHIUM
Why then, prithee, are you standing before the door as a stranger and an alien? Do go in-doors. Really you are no stranger; for, upon my faith, not one person this day does she more love in her heart and soul--aside if, indeed, you've got land and tenements.

DINARCHUS
Your tongues and talk are steeped in honey; your doings and dispositions are steeped in gall and sour vinegar. From your tongues you utter sweet words; you make your lovers of bitter heart if any don't give you presents.

ASTAPHIUM
I've not learnt to say what's false.

DINARCHUS
It was not this liberality of mine that taught you to say what's false, but those niggardly fellows who are struggling against their appetites. You are a sly one, and the same artful coaxer that you used to be.

ASTAPHIUM
How ardently longed for have you returned from abroad! But, prithee, do come, my mistress wants to see you.

DINARCHUS
How so, pray?

ASTAPHIUM
You alone of all mankind does she love.

DINARCHUS
aside . Well done, lands and tenements; you have come to my aid in good time. To ASTAPHIUM. But how say you, Astaphium----?

ASTAPHIUM
What do you want?

DINARCHUS
Is Phronesium in-doors just now?

ASTAPHIUM
To you at all events she's in-doors.

DINARCHUS
Is she well?

ASTAPHIUM
Aye, faith, and I do believe she'll be still better when she sees you.

DINARCHUS
This is our greatest fault: when we're in love, then we are undone; if that which we wish is told us, when manifestly they are telling lies, in our folly we believe it to be true; verily as though with a tide we fluctuate.

ASTAPHIUM
Heyday now--such is not the fact.

DINARCHUS
Do you say that she loves me?

ASTAPHIUM
Aye, you only, alone.

DINARCHUS
I heard that she was brought to bed.

ASTAPHIUM
Oh, prithee, Dinarchus, do hold your tongue.

DIN,
Why so?

ASTAPHIUM
I shudder in my alarm, as often as mention is made of childbirth, with such difficulty has Phronesium survived for you. Prithee, do come in-doors now; do go to see her and wait there a little. She'll be out just now; for she was at the bath.

DINARCHUS
What do you say? She who was never pregnant, how could she be brought to bed? For really, I never, that I am aware of, perceived her to be in a breeding state.

ASTAPHIUM
She concealed it from you and was afraid, lest you should persuade her to have recourse to abortion7, and so destroy the child.

DINARCHUS
Troth then, who's the father of this child?

ASTAPHIUM
A Babylonian Captain, whose arrival she is now expecting. So much so, indeed, that, according as was reported, they say that he'll be here just now. I wonder he has not arrived by this.

DINARCHUS
Shall I go in, then?

ASTAPHIUM
Why not? As boldly as at home, into your own house; for even still are you now one of us, Dinarchus.

DINARCHUS
How soon are you on your return?

ASTAPHIUM
I'll be there this instant; it's close at hand where I was going.

DINARCHUS
But do return directly; meanwhile I'll wait for you at your house. He goes into the house of PHRONESIUM.

1 Others are pilfering: This is somewhat similar to a passage in Ovid's Art of Love, B. 3, l. 449, where he speaks of the habit of well-dressed thieves getting into the houses of the courtesans, and the consequences. "Perhaps the best dressed of the number of these may be some thief, and he may be attracted by a desire for your clothes. 'Give me back my property!' full oft do the plundered damsels cry; 'give me back my property!' the whole Forum resounding with their cries."

2 The sausage-makers: It would appear from this passage that it was the custom to send the ingredients to the sausage-makers to be made up into sausages; and that these worthies gave occasion to complain of their dishonesty, by purloining a portion of what was entrusted to them.

3 A dinner must be given: Allusion is here made to the custom of providing an entertainment of welcome, "cæna viatica," for a friend on his arrival from abroad See the Bacchides, l. 94

4 Tax paid for pasturage: "Scripturam." This passage is somewhat difficult to be understood. Dinarchus seems to say that he is reduced to idleness from having squandered his property upon Phronesium, and retorts upon Astaphium, by saying that he himself has no public office, but that Phronesium is a publican, alluding to her calling as a public courtesan; and he then proceeds to accuse her of letting the public pasture, for which he had paid the rent or tax ("scripturam"), to another. Part of the Roman revenue arose from the letting of the uncultivated lands, through the medium of "publicani," or "farmers of the public revenue," who used to sublet them to private persons. He therefore means to say, that Phronesium has undertaken the duties of a publican, but has failed in duly performing them. It is possible that a pun may be intended on the word "scriptura," which also signifies a "writing" or "deed," and may allude to some preceding compact which had been made between Phronesium and himself.

5 Go to those: The whole of this passage has been somewhat modified in the translation, as the meaning of Astaphium is gross in the extreme, and so much to the discredit of Dinarchus, that any compassion for the ill-treatment he afterwards experiences would be quite thrown away upon him.

6 Nought but lamentations: "Meras querimonias" Literally, mere complaints."

7 Recourse to abortion: The practice of procuring abortion was not deemed criminal either at Rome or Athens; though at the latter place there was a law which imposed a penalty on any person who administered a potion to a woman for that purpose.

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