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Enter PAMPHILUS, wringing his hands.

PAMPHILUS
to himself. Is it humane to do or to devise this? Is this the duty of a father?

MYSIS
apart. What does this mean?

PAMPHILUS
to himself. O, by our faith in the Gods! what is, if this is not, an indignity? He had resolved that he himself would give me a wife to-day; ought I not to have known this beforehand? Ought it not to have been mentioned previously?

MYSIS
apart. Wretched me! What language do I hear?

PAMPHILUS
to himself. What does Chremes do? He who had declared that he would not intrust his daughter to me as a wife; because he himself sees me unchanged he has changed. Thus perversely does he lend his aid, that he may withdraw wretched me from Glycerium. If this is effected, I am utterly undone. That any man should be so unhappy in love, or so unfortunate as I am! Oh, faith of Gods and men! shall I by no device be able to escape this alliance with Chremes? In how many ways am I contemned, and held in scorn? Every thing done, and concluded! Alas! once rejected I am sought again; for what reason? Unless perhaps it is this, which I suspect it is: they are rearing some monster,1 and as she can not be pushed off upon any one else, they have recourse to me.

MYSIS
apart. This language has terrified wretched me with apprehension.

PAMPHILUS
to himself. But what am I to say about my father? Alas! that he should so thoughtlessly conclude an affair of such importance! Passing me in the Forum just now, he said, "Pamphilus, you must be married to-day: get ready; be off home." He seemed to me to say this: "Be off this instant, and go hang yourself." I was amazed; think you that I was able to utter a single word, or any excuse, even a frivolous, false, or lame one? I was speechless. But if any one were to ask me now what I would have done, if I had known this sooner, why, I would have done any thing rather than do this. But now, what course shall I first adopt? So many cares beset me, which rend my mind to pieces; love, sympathy for her, the worry of this marriage; then, respect for my father, who has ever, until now, with such an indulgent disposition, allowed me to do whatever was agreeable to my feelings. Ought I to oppose him ? Ah me! I am in uncertainty what to do.

MYSIS
apart. I'm wretchedly afraid how this uncertainty is to terminate. But now there's an absolute necessity, either for him to speak to her, or for me to speak to him about her. While the mind is in suspense, it is swayed by a slight impulse one way or the other.

PAMPHILUS
overhearing her. Who is it speaking here ? Seeing her. Mysis? Good-morrow to you.

MYSIS
Oh ! Good-morrow to you, Pamphilus.

PAMPHILUS
How is she?

MYSIS
Do you ask ? She is oppressed with grief,2 and on this account the poor thing is anxious, because some time ago the marriage was arranged for this day. Then, too, she fears this, that you may forsake her.

PAMPHILUS
Ha! could I attempt that? Could I suffer her, poor thing, to be deceived on my account? She, who has confided to me her affection, and her entire existence? She, whom I have held especially dear to my feelings as my wife? Shall I suffer her mind, well and chastely trained and tutored, to be overcome by poverty and corrupted? I will not do it.

MYSIS
I should have no fear if it rested with yourself alone; but whether you may be able to withstand compulsion----

PAMPHILUS
Do you deem me so cowardly, so utterly ungrateful, inhuman, and so brutish, that neither intimacy, nor affection, nor shame, can move or admonish me to keep faith ?

MYSIS
This one thing I know, that she is deserving that you should not forget her.

PAMPHILUS
Forget her? Oh Mysis, Mysis, at this moment are those words of Chrysis concerning Glycerium written on my mind. Now at the point of death, she called me; I went to her; you had withdrawn; we were alone; she began: " My dear Pamphilus, you see her beauty and her youth; and it is not unknown to you to what extent both of these are now of use to her, in protecting both her chastity and her interests. By this right hand I do entreat you, and by your good Genius,3 by your own fidelity, and by her bereft condition, do not withdraw yourself from her, or forsake her; if I have loved you as my own brother, or if she has always prized you above all others, or has been obedient to you in all things. You do I give to her as a husband, friend, protector, father. This property of mine do I intrust to you, and commit to your care." She placed her in my hands; that instant, death came upon her. I accepted her; having accepted, I will protect her.

MYSIS
So indeed I hope. Moving.

PAMPHILUS
But why are you leaving her?

MYSIS
I'm going to fetch the midwife.4

PAMPHILUS
Make all haste. And--do you hear?--take care, and not one word about the marriage, lest that too should add to her illness.

MYSIS
I understand. (Exeunt severally.)

1 Rearing some monster: “"Aliquid monstri alunt."” Madame Dacier and some other Commentators give these words the rather far-fetched meaning of "They are hatching some plot." Donatus, with much more probability, supposes him to refer to the daughter of Chremes, whom, as the young women among the Greeks were brought up in great seclusion, we may suppose Pamphilus never to have seen.

2 She is oppressed with grief: “"Laborat a dolore."” Colman has the following remark upon this passage: "Though the word 'laborat' has tempted Donatus and the rest of the Commentators to suppose that this sentence signifies Glycerium being in labor, I can not help concurring with Cooke, that it means simply that she is weighed down with grief. The words immediately subsequent corroborate this interpretation; and at the conclusion of the Scene, when Mysis tells him that she is going for a midwife, Pamphilus hurries her away, as he would naturally have done here had he understood by these words that her mistress was in labor."

3 By your good Genius: “"Per Genium tuum."” This was a common expression with the Romans, and is used by

Quod te per Genium dextramque Deosque Penates,
Obsecro, et obtestor----"

The word "Genius" signified the tutelary God who was supposed to attend every person from the period of his birth. The signification of the word will be found further referred to in the Notes to the Translation of Plautus.

4 To fetch the midwife: Cooke has the following remark here: "Methinks Mysis has loitered a little too much, considering the business which she was sent about; but perhaps Terence knew that some women were of such a temper as to gossip on the way, though an affair of life or death requires their haste." Colman thus takes him to task for this observation: "This two-edged reflection, glancing at once on Terence and the ladies, is, I think, very ill-founded. The delay of Mysis, on seeing the emotion of Pamphilus, is very natural; and her artful endeavors to interest Pamphilus on behalf of her mistress, are rather marks of her attention than neglect."

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 6.429
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    • Horace, Epistulae, 1.7
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