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Enter STRATILAX, from the house of the FATHER of STRABAX.

STRATOPHANES
Who's this1, that's so sturdily plying his batteringram against our door?

ASTAPHIUM
It's I. Look round at me.

STRATOPHANES
Who's I?

ASTAPHIUM
Am I not seen by you?

STRATOPHANES
turning to her . Woe worth thee! What mean you by this coming so near this door, or why's this knocking?

ASTAPHIUM
Health to you.

STRATOPHANES
Enow of thy health have I; I care nought for't, I've got no health; I'd rather be sick, than be a bit the sounder with health from thee. This I want to know, what's owing thee here in our house?

ASTAPHIUM
Do keep close----

STRATOPHANES
Yea, faith, to my own good woman I trust; let him keep close to thee whose habit 'tis. A rare fine joke! a silly hussy to be tempting a countryman to naughty tricks.

ASTAPHIUM
Keep close your anger, I meant.

STRATOPHANES
As thee'st begun with me, so I'd e'en lay a wager2 there's not another like thee.

ASTAPHIUM
half to herself . Really this fellow's very churlish.

STRATOPHANES
Woman, dost thee go on abusing me?

ASTAPHIUM
Why, what did I say to you?

STRATOPHANES
Why, because thee dost call me churlish. Therefore now, if thee doesn't be off this instant, and tell me quickly what thee want'st, adzookers, woman, I'll be, here this very instant, trampling thee beneath my feet like a sow her piglings.

ASTAPHIUM
This is indeed right country, and no mistake; 'tis an abominable and truly a monkey race.

STRATOPHANES
holding up his fist . Dost thee throw the country in my teeth, when thee hast found a man who's ashamed of what's foul? Hast thee come hither to tempt me with thy decked out bones3? Was it for that, shameless slut, thee dyed thy mantle of its smoke-dried colour, or art thee so fine because that thee's been a stealing? Come thee towards me then.

ASTAPHIUM
Now you charm me.

STRATOPHANES
How much I wish I could charm thee.

ASTAPHIUM
You tell a lie.

STRATOPHANES
Tell me----

ASTAPHIUM
What?

STRATOPHANES
What I ask thee. Dost thee wish to be taken for a bondswoman, who dost carry on thee those rings? Pointing to her fingers.

ASTAPHIUM
They give them to those who are worthy.

STRATOPHANES
These are the spoils of Laverna4 which thee dost possess. Lays hold of her.

ASTAPHIUM
Don't be touching me. Moving away.

STRATOPHANES
I, touch thee? So help me my weeding-hoe, I'd rather i' the country for me to be harnessed like an ox with crumpled horns, and with it spend the livelong night upon the straw, than that a hundred nights with thee, with a dinner apiece, were given me for nothing! But what business, woman, hast thee at our house? Why dost thee come running this way as often as we come to town?

ASTAPHIUM
I want to meet with your women.

STRATOPHANES
What women art thee talking to me about, when there's not even a single woman-fly within the house?

ASTAPHIUM
What, does no woman live here?

STRATOPHANES
They've gone into the country, I say. Be off.

ASTAPHIUM
Why are you bawling out, you lunatic?

STRATOPHANES
If thee doesn't make haste to get away from this with prodigious speed, I'll forthwith be separating even from thy brains those falsified, daintily arranged, corkscrew curls of thine, with all their grease as well.

ASTAPHIUM
For what reason, pray?

STRATOPHANES
Why, because thee hast even presumed to approach our door anointed up with thine unguents, and because thee hast those cheeks so nicely, painted pink.

ASTAPHIUM
I' troth, it was by reason of your clamour that I coloured in my alarm.

STRATOPHANES
And is it so? Thee coloured? As though, hussy, thee really hadst left to thy skin the power of receiving any colour. Redden up thy cheeks, thee hast given all thy skin its colour with chalk5. Ye are scoundrelly jades. What's the reason, abominable hussies, that this way * * * * * ? I know more than thee think'st I know.

ASTAPHIUM
Prithee, what's this that you know?

STRATOPHANES
How Strabax, my master's son, is ruining himself at your house; how you are all enticing him to fraud and present-making.

ASTAPHIUM
If you appeared in your senses, I'd tell you. You're uttering abuse only; not a person is in the habit of being ruined here at our house; they waste their property; when they've wasted their property, they may go bare thence, if they choose. I don't know this young man of yours.

STRATOPHANES
Indeed so.

ASTAPHIUM
In sober truth.

STRATOPHANES
Aye, but that garden wall6 that's in our garden says so, which is becoming every night less by a brick, over which he travels to your house on the road to destruction.

ASTAPHIUM
The wall's an old one; it isn't wonderful if the bricks, being old, do tumble down.

STRATOPHANES
And says thee, hussy, that old bricks do tumble down? By my fakes, may never any mortal man henceforth trust me upon the two grand points7, if I don't inform of these goings on of yours to my elder master.

ASTAPHIUM
Is he a savage as well?

STRATOPHANES
Why, he didn't get his money by enriching harlots, but by thriftiness, and living hard; which now, however, is being carried off to you, abominable jades. Takes her by the shoulders and shakes her. There's for thee, six-clawed hussy; a wretched life to both of ye. Am I to keep mum about these matters? But, lookye now, I'll be off to the Forum at once and tell these goings on to the old gentleman, that he mayn't somehow be cherishing within this matting8 a whole swarm of misfortunes. (Exit.)

ASTAPHIUM
to herself . Upon my faith, if this fellow were living on mustard, I don't think he could possibly be as snappish. But, i' troth, how much a well-wisher to his master he is. Still, although he is a savage, I trust that he can be changed by coaxing, allurements, and other arts of the courtesan. I've seen a horse from unruly become tamed, and other brutes as well. Now I'll go back to see my mistress. But see, my plague's coming out. The door of PHRONESIUM'S house is opened. He's coming out with a sad air; he hasn't even yet had a meeting with Phronesium.

1 Who's this: Except that in one or two instances he coins words, there is no proof, so far as the language of the original is concerned, that Stratilax, the churl or clodhopper, speaks in any peculiar manner. But from the fact of his being introduced as a perfect specimen of a rude clown, there can be little doubt that on the stage he speaks the Latin language with the burr or patois of a countryman. In the translation, an attempt has been made to denote this probable peculiarity of speech, by making him to substitute "thee "for "thou," before verbs in the second person singular. Warner, in his version, represents him throughout as speaking in a sort of Somersetshire dialect.

2 Lay a wager: The meaning of this passage seems to be, "according to the way you have begun, I'd lay a wager your equal can't be found;" but the passage seems hopelessly corrupt, though a dozen different readings have been suggested.

3 Decked out bones: "Ossibus," "with your bones." Probably, in allusion to her thinness, he insinuates that she is "a skeleton." "Exornatis" may apply either to her dress or to the paint upon her face.

4 Spoils of Laverna: Laverna was the tutelary Divinity of thieves and he intends to insinuate that she has stolen the rings.

5 Its colour with chalk: Chalk was much used by the Roman females for the purposes of a cosmetic.

6 That garden wall: "Maceria." This was a wall made of loose tiles or bricks, laid on each ether without mortar.

7 The two grand points: Alciatus thinks that the "two things" here mentioned are "yes" and "no." Turnebus thinks that they mean "things human and divine."

8 Within this matting: "In segestro." He seems to derive his metaphor from the usage in gardening of covering up trees with straw or bass matting, and of insects getting into the folds and hatching their eggs and swarming there.

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