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Enter CHARINUS and BYRRHIA.1

CHARINUS
How say you, Byrrhia? Is she to be given in marriage to Pamphilus to-day?

BYRRHIA
It is so.

CHARINUS
How do you know?

BYRRHIA
I heard it just now from Davus at the Forum.

CHARINUS
Woe unto wretched me! As, hitherto, until now, my mind has been racked amid hope and fear; so, since hope has been withdrawn, wearied with care, it sinks overwhelmed.

BYRRHIA
By my troth, Charinus, since that which you wish can not come to pass, prithee, do wish that which can.

CHARINUS
I wish for nothing else but Philumena.

BYRRHIA
Alas! How much better were it for you to endeavor to expel that passion from your mind, than to be saying that by which your desire is to no purpose still more inflamed.

CHARINUS
We all, when we are well, with ease give good advice to the sick. If you were in my situation, you would think otherwise.

BYRRHIA
Well, well, just as you like.

CHARINUS
looking down the side scene. But I see Pamphilus; I'm determined I'll try every thing before I despair.

BYRRHIA
aside. What does he mean?

CHARINUS
I will entreat his own self; I will supplicate him; I will disclose to him my love. I think that I shall prevail upon him to put off the marriage for some days at least; in the mean time, something will turn up, I trust.

BYRRHIA
That something is nothing.

CHARINUS
Byrrhia, how seems it to you ? Shall I accost him ?

BYRRHIA
Why not ? Should you not prevail, that at least he may look upon you as a gallant ready provided for him, if he marries her.

CHARINUS
Away with you to perdition with that vile suggestion, you rascal! Enter PAMPHILUS.

PAMPHILUS
I espy Charinus. Accosting him. Good-morrow!

CHARINUS
O, good-morrow. Pamphilus, I'm come to you, seeking hope, safety, counsel, and assistance.

PAMPHILUS
I'faith, I have neither time for counsel, nor resources for assistance. But what's the matter now?

CHARINUS
To-day you are going to take a wife ?

PAMPHILUS
So they say.

CHARINUS
Pamphilus, if you do that, you behold me this day for the last time.

PAMPHILUS
Why so

CHARINUS
Ah me! I dread to tell it; prithee, do you tell it, Byrrhia.

BYRRHIA
I'll tell it.

PAMPHILUS
What is it?

BYRRHIA
He's in love with your betrothed.

PAMPHILUS
Assuredly he's not of my way of thinking. Come now, tell me, have you had any more to do with her, Charinus?

CHARINUS
Oh Pamphilus, nothing.

PAMPHILUS
How much I wish you had.

CHARINUS
Now, by our friendship and by my affection, I do beseech you, in the first place, not to marry her.

PAMPHILUS
For my own part I'll use my endeavors.

CHARINUS
But if that can not be, or if this marriage is agreeable to you----

PAMPHILUS
Agreeable to me?

CHARINUS
Put it off for some days at least, while I go elsewhere, that I may not be witness.

PAMPHILUS
Now listen, once for all: I think it, Charinus, to be by no means the part of an ingenuous man, when he confers nothing, to expect that it should be considered as an obligation on his part. I am more desirous to avoid this match, than you to gain it.

CHARINUS
You have restored me to life.

PAMPHILUS
Now, if you can do any thing, either you yourself, or Byrrhia here, manage, fabricate, invent, contrive some means, whereby she may be given to you; this I shall aim at, how she may not be given to me.

CHARINUS
I am satisfied.

PAMPHILUS
Most opportunely I perceive Davus, on whose advice I have depended.

CHARINUS
turning to BYRRHIA. But you, i'faith, tell me nothing,2 except those things which there is no need for knowing. Pushing him away. Get you gone from here.

BYRRHIA
Certainly I will, and with all my heart. (Exit.)

1 We learn from Donatus that the characters of Charinus and Byrrhia were not introduced in the work of Menander, but were added to the Play of Terence, lest Philumena's being left without a husband, on the marriage of Pamphilus to Glycerium, should appear too tragical a circumstance. Diderot is of opinion that Terence did not improve his Play by this addition.

2 Tell me nothing: It has been suggested that this refers to Byrrhia's dissuading his master from addressing Pamphilus, or else to what he has told him concerning the intended marriage. Westerhovius thinks that Byrrhia is just then whispering some trifling nonsense in his master's ear, which he, occupied with more important cares, is unwilling to attend to.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (4):
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 63
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 64
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 73
    • Frank Frost Abbott, Commentary on Selected Letters of Cicero, Letter XLV: ad Atticum 8.3
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