SCENE: —The Orchestra represents a public square in Athens. In the background is the house of Chremylus. A ragged old blind man enters, followed by Chremylus and his slave Cario.
What an unhappy fate, great gods, to be the slave of a fool! A servant may give the best of advice, but if his master does not follow it,
the poor slave must inevitably have his share in the disaster; for fortune does not allow him to dispose of his own body, it belongs to his master who has bought it. Alas! 'tis the way of the world. But the god, Apollo,in tragic style whose oracles the Pythian priestess on her golden tripod makes known to us,
deserves my censure, for surely he is a physician and a cunning diviner; and yet my master is leaving his temple infected with mere madness and insists on following a blind man. Is this not opposed to all good sense?
It is for us, who see clearly, to guide those who don't; whereas he clings to the trail of a blind fellow and compels me to do the same without answering my questions with ever a word.To Chremylus Aye, master, unless you tell me why we are following this unknown fellow, I will not be silent,
but I will worry and torment you, for you cannot beat me because of my sacred chaplet of laurel.
No, but if you worry me I will take off your chaplets, and then you will only get a sounder thrashing.
That's an old song! I am going to leave you no peace till you have told me who this man is;
and if I ask it, it's entirely because of my interest in you.
Well, be it so. I will reveal it to you as being the most faithful and the most rascally of all my servants. I honored the gods and did what was right, and yet I was none the less poor and unfortunate.
I know it but too well.
Others amassed wealth —the sacrilegious, the demagogues, the informers, indeed every sort of rascal.
I believe you.
Therefore I came to consult the oracle of the god, not on my own account, for my unfortunate life is nearing its end,
but for my only son; I wanted to ask Apollo if it was necessary for him to become a thorough knave and renounce his virtuous principles, since that seemed to me to be the only way to succeed in life.
with ironic gravity
And with what responding tones did the sacred tripod resound?
You shall know. The god ordered me in plain terms to follow the first man I should meet upon leaving the temple and to persuade him to accompany me home.
And who was the first one you met?
This blind man.
And you are stupid enough not to understand the meaning of such an answer? Why, the god was advising you thereby, and that in the clearest possible way, to bring up your son according to the fashion of your country.
What makes you think that?
Is it not evident to the blind,
that nowadays to do nothing that is right is the best way to get on?