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Enter SYRUS and DROMO, conversing at a distance.

SYRUS
Do you say so?

DROMO
'Tis as I told you,--but in the mean time, while we've been carrying on our discourse, these women have been left behind.

CLITIPHO
apart. Don't you hear, Clinia? Your mistress is close at hand.

CLINIA
apart. Why yes, I do hear now at last, and I see and revive, Clitipho.

DROMO
No wonder; they are so encumbered; they are bringing a troop of female attendants1 with them.

CLINIA
apart. I'm undone! Whence come these female attendants?

CLITIPHO
apart. Do you ask me?

SYRUS
We ought not to have left them; what a quantity of things they are bringing!

CLINIA
apart. Ah me!

SYRUS
Jewels of gold, and clothes; it's growing late too, and they don't know the way. It was very foolish of us to leave them. Just go back, Dromo, and meet them. Make haste--why do you delay? (Exit DROMO.

CLINIA
apart. Woe unto wretched me!--from what high hopes am I fallen!

CLITIPHO
apart. What's the matter? Why, what is it that troubles you?

CLINIA
apart. Do you ask what it is? Why, don't you see? Attendants, jewels of gold, and clothes. her too, whom I left here with only one little servant gil. Whence do you suppose that they come?

CLITIPHO
apart. Oh! now at last I understand you.

SYRUS
to himself. Good Gods! what a multitude there is! Our house will hardly hold them, I'm sure. How much they will eat! how much they will drink! what will there be more wretched than our old gentleman? Catching sight of CLINIA and CLITIPHO. But look, I espy the persons I Was wanting.

CLINIA
apart. Oh Jupiter! Why, where is fidelity gone? While I, distractedly wandering, have abandoned my country for your sake, you, in the mean time, Antiphila, have been enriching yourself, and have forsaken me in these troubles, you for whose sake I am in extreme disgrace, and have been disobedient to my father; on whose account I am now ashamed and grieved, that he who used to lecture me about the manners of these women, advised me in vain, and was not able to wean me away from her:--which, however, I shall now do; whereas when it might have been advantageous to me to do so, I was unwilling. There is no being more wretched than I.

SYRUS
to himself. He certainly has been misled by our words which we have been speaking here. Aloud. Clinia, you imagine your mistress quite different from what she really is. For both her mode of life is the same, and her disposition toward you is the same as it always was; so far as we could form a judgment from the circumstances themselves.

CLINIA
How so, prithee? For nothing in the world could I rather wish for just now, than that I have suspected this without reason.

SYRUS
This, in the first place, then (that you may not be ignorant of any thing that concerns her); the old woman, who was formerly said to be her mother, was not so.--She is dead: this I overheard by accident from her, as we came along, while she was telling the other one.

CLITIPHO
Pray, who is the other one?

SYRUS
Stay; what I have begun I wish first to relate, Clitipho; I shall come to that afterward.

CLITIPHO
Make haste, then.

SYRUS
First of all then, when we came to the house, Dromo knocked at the door; a certain old woman came out; when she opened the door, he directly rushed in; I followed; the old woman bolted the door, and returned to her wool. On this occasion might be known, Clinia, or else on none, in what pursuits she passed her life during your absence; when we thus came upon a female unexpectedly. For this circumstance then gave us an opportunity of judging of the course of her daily life; a thing which especially discovers what is the disposition of each individual. We found her industriously plying at the web; plainly clad in a mourning dress,2 on account of this old woman, I suppose, who was lately dead; without golden ornaments, dressed, besides, just like those who only dress for themselves, and patched up with no worthless woman's trumpery.3 Her hair was loose, long, and thrown back negligently about her temples. To CLINIA. Do you hold your peace.4

CLINIA
My dear Syrus, do not without cause throw me into ecstasies, I beseech you.

SYRUS
The old woman was spinning the woof:5 there was one little servant girl besides;--she was weaving6 together with them, covered with patched clothes, slovenly, and dirty with filthiness.

CLITIPHO
If this is true, Clinia, as I believe it is, who is there more fortunate than you? Do you mark this girl whom he speaks of, as dirty and drabbish? This, too, is a strong indication that the mistress is out of harm's way, when her confidant is in such ill plight; for it is a rule with those who wish to gain access to the mistress, first to bribe the maid.

CLINIA
to SYRUS. Go on, I beseech you; and beware of endeavoring to purchase favor by telling an untruth. What did she say, when you mentioned me?

SYRUS
When we told her that you had returned, and had requested her to come to you, the damsel instantly put away the web, and covered her face all over with tears; so that you might easily perceive that it really was caused by her affection for you.

CLINIA
So may the Deities bless me, I know not where I am for joy! I was so alarmed before.

CLITIPHO
But I was sure that there was no reason, Clinia. Come now, Syrus, tell me, in my turn, who this other lady is.

SYRUS
Your Bacchis, whom we are bringing.7

CLITIPHO
Ha! What! Bacchis? How now, you rascal! whither are you bringing her?

SYRUS
Whither am I bringing her? To our house, to be sure.

CLITIPHO
What! to my father's?

SYRUS
To the very same.

CLITIPHO
Oh, the audacious impudence of the fellow!

SYRUS
Hark'ye, no great and memorable action is done without some risk.

CLITIPHO
Look now; are you seeking to gain credit for yourself, at the hazard of my character, you rascal, in a point, where, if you only make the slightest slip, I am ruined? What would you be doing with her?

SYRUS
But still----

CLITIPHO
Why "still?"

SYRUS
If you'll give me leave, I'll tell you.

CLINIA
Do give him leave.

CLITIPHO
I give him leave then.

SYRUS
This affair is now just as though when----

CLITIPHO
Plague on it, what roundabout story is he beginning to tell me?

CLINIA
Syrus, he says what's right--do omit digressions; come to the point.

SYRUS
Really I can not hold my tongue. Clitipho, you are every way unjust, and can not possibly be endured.

CLINIA
Upon my faith, he ought to have a hearing. To CLITIPHO. Do be silent.

SYRUS
You wish to indulge in your amours; you wish to possess your mistress; you wish that to be procured where-withal to make her presents; in getting this, you do not wish the risk to be your own. You are not wise to no purpose,--if indeed it is being wise to wish for that which can not happen. Either the one must be had with the other, or the one must be let alone with the other. Now, of these two alternatives, consider which one you would prefer; although this project which I have formed, I know to be both a wise and a safe one. For there is an opportunity for your mistress to be with you at your father's house, without fear of a discovery; besides, by these self-same means, I shall find the money which you have promised her--to effect which, you have already made my ears deaf with entreating me. What would you have more?

CLITIPHO
If, indeed, this could be brought about----

SYRUS
If, indeed? You shall know it by experience.

CLITIPHO
Well, well, disclose this project of yours. What is it?

SYRUS
We will pretend that your mistress is his (pointing to CLINIA).

CLITIPHO
Very fine! Tell me, what is he to do with his own? Is she, too, to be called his, as if one was not a sufficient discredit?

SYRUS
No--she shall be taken to your mother.

CLITIPHO
Why there?

SYRUS
It would be tedious, Clitipho, if I were to tell you why I do so; I have a good reason.

CLITIPHO
Stuff! I see no grounds sufficiently solid why it should be for my advantage to incur this risk.8 Turning as if going.

SYRUS
Stay; if there is this risk, I have another project, which you must both confess to be free from danger.

CLITIPHO
Find out something of that description, I beseech you.

SYRUS
By all means; I'll go meet her, and tell her to return home.

CLITIPHO
Ha! what was it you said?

SYRUS
I'll rid you at once of all fears, so that you may sleep at your ease upon either ear.9

CLITIPHO
What am I to do now?

CLINIA
What are you to do? The goods that----

CLITIPHO
Only tell me the truth, Syrus.

SYRUS
Dispatch quickly; you'll be wishing just now too late and in vain. Going.

CLINIA
The Gods provide, enjoy while yet you may; for you know not----

CLITIPHO
calling. Syrus, I say!

SYRUS
moving on. Go on; I shall still do that which 1 said.10

CLINIA
Whether you may have another opportunity hereafter or ever again.

CLITIPHO
I'faith, that's true. Calling. Syrus, Syrus, I say, harkye, harkye, Syrus!

SYRUS
aside. He warms a little. To CLITIPHO. What is it you want?

CLITIPHO
Come back, come back.

SYRUS
coming back to him. Hero I am; tell me what you would have. You'll be presently saying that this, too, doesn't please you.

CLITIPHO
Nay, Syrus, I commit myself, and my love, and my reputation entirely to you: you are the seducer; take care you don't deserve any blame.

SYRUS
It is ridiculous for you to give me that caution, Clitipho, as if my interest was less at stake in this affair than yours. Here, if any ill luck should perchance befall us, words will be in readiness for you, but for this individual blows pointing to himself . For that reason, this matter is by no means to be neglected on my part: but do prevail upon him pointing to CLINIA to pretend that she is his own mistress.

CLINIA
You may rest assured I'll do so. The matter has now come to that pass, that it is a case of necessity.

CLITIPHO
'Tis with good reason that I love you, Clinia.

CLINIA
But she mustn't be tripping at all.

SYRUS
She is thoroughly tutored in her part.

CLITIPHO
But this I wonder at, how you could so easily prevail upon her, who is wont to treat such great peoplel11 with scorn.

SYRUS
I came to her at the proper moment, which in all things is of the first importance: for there I found a certain wretched captain soliciting her favors: she artfully managed the man, so as to inflame his eager passions by denial; and this, too, that it might be especially pleasing to yourself. But hark you, take care, will you, not to be imprudently impetuous. You know your father, how quick-sighted he is in these matters; and I know you, how unable you are to command yourself. Keep clear of words of double meaning,12 your sidelong looks, sighing, hemming, coughing, tittering.

CLITIPHO
You shall have to commend me.

SYRUS
Take care of that, please.

CLITIPHO
You yourself shall be surprised at me.

SYRUS
But how quickly the ladies have come up with us!

CLITIPHO
Where are they? SYRUS stands before him. Why do you hold me back?

SYRUS
For the present she is nothing to you.

CLITIPHO
I know it, before my father; but now in the mean time----

SYRUS
Not a bit the more.

CLITIPHO
Do let me.

SYRUS
I will not let you, I tell you.

CLITIPHO
But only for a moment, pray.

SYRUS
I forbid it.

CLITIPHO
Only to salute her.

SYRUS
If you are wise, get you gone.

CLITIPHO
I'm off. But what's he to do? Pointing at CLINIA.

SYRUS
He will stay here.

CLITIPHO
O happy man!

SYRUS
Take yourself off. (Exit CLITIPHO.)

1 Troop of female attendants: The train and expenses of a courtesan of high station are admirably depicted in the speech of Lysiteles, in the Trinummus of Plautus, 1. 252.

2 In a mourning dress: Among the Greeks, in general, mourning for the dead seems to have lasted till the thirtieth day after the funeral, and during that period black dresses were worn. The Romans also wore mourning for the dead, which seems, in the time of the Republic, to have been black or dark blue for either sex. Under the Empire the men continued to wear black, but the women wore white. No jewels or ornaments were worn upon these occasions.

3 With no worthless woman's trumpery: By "nullâ malâ re muliebri" he clearly means that they did not find her painted up with the cosmetics which some women were in the habit of using. Such preparations for the face as white-lead, wax, antimony, or vermilion, well deserve the name of" mala res." A host of these cosmetics will be found described in Ovid's Fragment "On the Care of the Complexion," and much information upon this subject is given in various passages in the Art of Love. In the Remedy of Love, l. 351, Ovid speaks of these practices in the following terms: "At the moment, too, when she shall be smearing her face with the cosmetics laid up on it, you may come into the presence of your mistress, and don't let shame prevent you. You will find there boxes, and a thousand colors of objects; and you will see 'oesypum,' the ointment of the fleece, trickling down and flowing upon her heated bosom. These drugs, Phineus, smell like thy tables; not once alone has sickness been caused by this to my stomach." Lucretius also, in his Fourth Book, l. 1168, speaks of a female who "covers herself with noxious odors, and whom her female attendants fly from to a distance, and chuckle by stealth." See also the Mostellaria of Plautus, Act I., Scene 3, l. 135, where Philematium is introduced making her toilet on the stage.

4 Do hold your peace: "Pax," literally "peace!" in the sense of "Hush!" "Be quiet!" See the Notes to the Trinummus of Plautus, ll. 889-891, in Bohn's Translation.

5 The woof: See an interesting passage on the ancient weaving, in the Metamorphoses of Ovid, B. vi., l. 54, et seq. See also the Epistle of Penelope to Ulysses, in the Heroides of Ovid, l. 10, and the Note in Bohn's English Translation.

6 She was weaving: This line and part of the next are supposed to have been translated almost literally from some lines, the composition of Menander, which are still extant.

7 Your Bacchis, whom we are bringing: Colman has the following remark: "Here we enter upon the other part of the table, which the Poet has most artfully complicated with the main subject by making Syrus bring Clitipho's mistress along with Antiphila. This part of the story, we know, was not in Menander."

8 Incur this risk: As to his own mistress.

9 Upon either ear: " In aurem utramvis," a proverbial expression, implying an easy and secure repose. It is also used by Plautus, and is found in a fragment of the Πλοκιὸν, or Necklace, a Comedy of Menander.

10 Still do that which I said: "Perge porro, tamen istuc ago." Stallbaum observes that the meaning is: "Although I'm going off, I'm still attending to what you're saying." According to Schmieder and others, it means: "Call on just as you please, I shall persist in sending Bacchis away."

11 Such great people: "Quos," literally, "What persons!"

12 Words of double meaning: "Inversa verba, eversas cervices tuas." "Inversa verba" clearly means, words with a double meaning, or substituted for others by previous arrangement, like correspondence by cipher. Lucretius uses the words in this sense, B. i., l. 643. A full account of the secret signs and correspondence in use among the ancients will be found in the 16th and 17th Epistles of the Heroides of Ovid, in his Amours, B. i., El. 4, and in various passages of the Art of Love. See also the Asinaria of Plautus, l. 780. It is not known for certain what " eversa cervix" here means; it may mean the turning of the neck in some particular manner by way of a hint or to give a side-long look, or it may allude to the act of snatching a kiss on the sly, which might lead to a discovery.

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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 30
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