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Enter PAMPHILUS in haste from SIMO'S house.

PAMPHILUS
Where is he? The villain, who this day----I'm ruined; and I confess that this has justly befallen me, for being such a dolt, so devoid of sense; that I should have in-trusted my fortunes to a frivolous slave! 1 I am suffering the reward of my folly; still he shall never get off from me un-punished for this.

DAVUS
apart. I'm quite sure that I shall be safe in future, if for the present I get clear of this mishap.

PAMPHILUS
But what now am I to say to my father? Am I to deny that I am ready, who have just promised to marry? With what effrontery could I presume to do that? I know not what to do with myself.

DAVUS
apart. Nor I with myself, and yet I'm giving all due attention to it. I'll tell him that I will devise something, in order that I may procure some respite in this dilemma.

PAMPHILUS
catching sight of him. Oho!

DAVUS
apart. I'm seen.

PAMPHILUS
sneeringly. How now, good sir, what are you about? Do you see how dreadfully I am hampered by your devices?

DAVUS
Still, I'll soon extricate you.

PAMPHILUS
You, extricate me?

DAVUS
Assuredly, Pamphilus.

PAMPHILUS
As you have just done, I suppose.

DAVUS
Why no, better, I trust.

PAMPHILUS
What, am I to believe you, you scoundrel? 2 You, indeed, make good a matter that's all embarrassment and ruin! Just see, in whom I've been placing reliance--you who this day from a most happy state have been and plunged me into a marriage. Didn't I say that this would be the case?

DAVUS
You did say so.

PAMPHILUS
What do you deserve? 3

DAVUS
The cross. 4 But allow me a little time to recover myself; I'll soon hit upon something.

PAMPHILUS
Ah me! not to have the leisure to inflict punishment upon you as I desire ! for the present conjuncture warns me to take precautions for myself, not to be taking vengeance on you. (Exeunt.)

1 To a frivolous slave: “"Servo futili."” According to the Scholiast on the Thebais of Statius, B. viii. 1. 297, "was futile" was a kind of vessel with a broad mouth and narrow bottom, used in the rites of Vesta. It was made of that peculiar shape in order that the priest should be obliged to hold it during the sacrifices, and might not set it on the ground, which was considered profane; as, if set there, the contents must necessarily fall out. From this circumstance, men who could not contain a secret were sometimes called "futiles."

2 You scoundrel: “"Furcifer;"” literally, wearer of the "furca," or wooden collar. This method of punishment has been referred to in the Notes to the Translation of Plautus.

3 What do you deserve?: Madame Dacier remarks that this question is taken from the custom of the Athenians, who never condemned a criminal without first asking him what punishment he thought he deserved; and according to the nature of his answer they mitigated or increased his punishment. The Commentators quote a similar passage from the Frogs of Aristophanes.

4 The cross: The "cross," "crux," as a punishment for refractory slaves has been remarked upon in the Notes to the Translation of Plautus.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 39
    • Maurus Servius Honoratus, Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil, Serv. A. 1.519
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