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Enter TRACHALIO, in haste, from the Temple.
aloud . O citizens of Cyrene, I implore your aid, countrymen, you who are near neighbours to these spots, bring aid to helplessness, and utterly crush a most vile attempt. Inflict vengeance, that the power of the wicked, who wish themselves to be distinguished by crimes, may not be stronger than of the guiltless. Make an example for the shameless man, give its reward to modest virtue; cause that one may be allowed to live here rather under the control of the laws than of brute force. Hasten hither into the Temple of Venus; again do I implore your aid, you who are here at hand and who hear my cries. Bring assistance to those who, after the recognized usage, have entrusted their lives to Venus and to the Priestess of Venus, under their protection. Wring ye the neck of iniquity before it reaches yourselves. DÆM.
What's all this to-do? TRACHALIO
embracing his knees . By these knees of yours, I do entreat you, old gentleman, whoever you are---- DÆM.
Nay, but do you let go my knees, then, and tell me why it is that you are making a noise? TRACHALIO
I do beg and entreat you, that if you hope this year that you will have abundance of laserwort and silphium1, and that that export will arrive at Capua2 safe and sound, and that you may ever enjoy freedom from diseased eyes---- DÆM.
Are you in your senses? TRACHALIO
----Or whether you trust that you will have plenty of juice of silphium3, that you will not hesitate to give me the aid which I shall entreat of you, aged sir. DÆM.
And I, by your legs, and ancles, and back, do entreat you that, if you hope that you will have a crop of elm-twigs, and that a fruitful harvest of beatings will this year be your lot, you will tell me what's the matter here, by reason of which you are making this uproar. TRACHALIO
Why do you choose to speak me ill? For my part, I wished you everything that's good. DÆM.
And for my part, I'm speaking you well, in praying that things which you deserve may befall you. TRACHALIO
Prithee, do prevent this. DÆM.
What's the matter, then? TRACHALIO
pointing to the Temple . Two innocent women are inside here, in need of your aid, on whom, against law and justice, an injury has been, is being, glaringly committed here in the Temple of Venus. Besides, the Priestess of Venus is being disgracefully insulted. DÆM.
What person is there of effrontery so great as to dare to injure the Priestess? But these women, who are they? Or what injury is being done to them? TRACHALIO
If you give me your attention, I'll tell you. They have clung to the statue of Venus; a most audacious fellow is now trying to tear them away. They ought, by rights, both of them to be free. DÆM.
What fellow is it that so lightly holds the Gods? In a few words tell me. TRACHALIO
One most full of fraud, villany, parricide, and perjury; a lawbreaker, an immodest, unclean, most shameless fellow; to sum up all in one word, he is a Procurer; why need I say more about him? DÆM.
Troth now, you tell of a man that ought to be handed over to retribution. TRACHALIO
A villain, to seize the Priestess by the throat. DÆM.
By my troth, but he has done it at his own great peril. Calls aloud at his door. Come you out of doors here, Turbalio and Sparax; where are you? TRACHALIO
Prithee, do go in, and hasten to their rescue. DÆM.
impatiently . And am I to call for them once more? from the cottage. DÆM.
Follow me this way. TRACHALIO
Come on now this instant, bid them tear his eyes out, just in the way that cooks do cuttle-fish4. DÆM.
Drag the fellow out here by his legs, just like a slaughtered pig. DÆMONES and his SERVANTS go into the Temple. TRACHALIO
listening at the door . I hear a scuffling; the Procurer, I guess, is being belaboured with their fists; I'd very much like them to knock the teeth out of the jaws of the most villanous fellow. But see, here are the women themselves coming out of the Temple in consternation.
1 Laserwort and silphium: "Sirpe" and "laserpitium" seem to be different names for the same plant, "laserwort," from which assafœtida is distilled. It grew abundantly in Cyrene, which region Catullus calls "Laserpitiferæ Cyrenæ." The juice of this plant seems to have been used in making certain perfumes, for which reason it was exported to Capua.
2 At Capua--Ver. 631. Capua was the chief city of Campania, in Italy, and was famed for its luxury. It was celebrated for its choice perfumes; and in it there was one great street called "Seplasia," which consisted entirely of shops, in which unguents and perfumes were sold.
3 Juice of silphium: "Magudaris" is the root or juice of the plant called "laserpicium."
4 Cooks do cuttle- fish: This, probably, was a practice of ancient cookery, which, happily, has not come down to our times.
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