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Enter DÆMONES, from the Temple, with his two SERVANTS dragging out LABRAX.
Come out of the Temple, you most sacrilegious of men, as many as have ever been born. Do you go calling to the WOMEN and sit by the altar. Not seeing them near the door. But where are they? TRACHALIO
Look round here. DÆM.
looking round . Very good; I wanted that1. Now bid him come this way. To LABRAX. Are you attempting here among us to commit a violation of the laws against the Deities? To the SERVANTS, who obey with alacrity. Punch his face with your fists. LABRAX
I'm suffering these indignities at your own cost. DÆM.
Why, the insolent fellow's threatening even. LABRAX
I've been robbed of my rights; you are robbing me of my female slaves against my will. TRACHALIO
Do you then find some wealthy man of the Senate of Cyrene as judge, whether these women ought to be yours, or whether they oughtn't to be free, or whether it isn't right that you should be clapped into prison, and there spend your life, until you have worn the whole gaol out with your feet. LABRAX
I wasn't prepared to prophesy for this day that I should be talking with a hang-gallows2 like yourself. Turning to DÆMONES. You do I summon to judgment. DÆM.
pointing to TRACHALIO . In the first place, try it with him who knows you. LABRAX
to DÆMONES . My suit is with yourself. TRACHALIO
But it must be with myself. Pointing to the WOMEN. Are these your female slaves? LABRAX
They are. TRACL.
Just come then, touch either of them with your little finger only. LABRAX
What if I do touch them? TRACHALIO
That very instant, upon my faith, I'll make a hand-ball3 of you, and while you're in the air I'll belabour you with my fists, you most perjured villain. LABRAX
Am I not to be allowed to take away my female slaves from the altar of Venus? DÆM.
You may not; such is the law with us. LABRAX
I've no concern with your laws; for my part, I shall at once carry them both away from here4. If you are in love with them, old gentleman holding out his hand , you must down here with the ready cash. DÆM.
But these women have proved pleasing to Venus. LABRAX
She may have them, if she pays the money. DÆM.
A Goddess, pay you money? Now then, that you may understand my determination, only do you commence in mere joke to offer them the very slightest violence; I'll send you away from here with such a dressing, that you won't know your own self. You, therefore turning to his SERVANTS , when I give you the signal, if you don't beat his eyes out of his head, I'll trim you round about with rods just like beds of myrtle5 with bulrushes. LABRAX
You are treating me with violence. TRACHALIO
What, do you even upbraid us with violence, you flagrant specimen of flagitiousness? LABRAX
You, you thrice-dotted villain6, do you dare to speak abusively to me? TRACHALIO
I am a thrice-dotted villain; I confess it; you are a strictly honorable man; ought these women a bit the less to be free? LABRAX
Aye, and your mistresses, too, i' faith, and from genuine Greece7; for one of them was born at Athens of free-born parents. DÆM.
What is it I hear from you? TRACHALIO
That she pointing to PALÆSTRA was born at Athens, a free-born woman. DÆM.
to TRACHALIO . Prithee is she a countrywoman of mine? TRACHALIO
Are you not a Cyrenian? DÆM.
No; born at Athens in Attica, bred and educated there. TRACHALIO
Prithee, aged sir, do protect your countrywomen. DÆM.
aside . O daughter, when I look on her, separated from me you remind me of my miseries: aloud she who was lost by me when three years old; now, if she is living, she's just about as tall, I'm sure, as she. Pointing to PALÆSTRA. LABRAX
I paid the money down for these two, to their owners, of whatever country they were. What matters it to me whether they were born at Athens or at Thebes, so long as they are rightfully in servitude as my slaves? TRACHALIO
it so, you impudent fellow? What, are you, a cat prowling after maidens, to be keeping children here kidnapped from their parents and destroying them in your disgraceful calling? But as for this other one, I really don't know what her country is; I only know that she's more deserving than yourself, you most abominable rascal. LABRAX
Are these women your property? TRACHALIO
Come to the trial, then, which of the two according to his back is the more truthful; if you don't bear more compliments8 upon your back than any ship of war9 has nails, then I'm the greatest of liars. Afterwards, do you examine mine, when I've examined yours; if it shall not prove to be so untouched, that any leather flask maker10 will say that it is a hide most capital and most sound for the purposes of his business, what reason is there why I shouldn't mangle you with stripes, even till you have your belly full? Why do you stare at them? If you touch them I'll tear your eyes out. LABRAX
Yet notwithstanding, although you forbid me to do so, I'll at once carry them off both together with me. DÆM.
What will you do? LABRAX
I'll bring Vulcan; he is an enemy to Venus11. Goes towards DÆMONES' cottage. TRACHALIO
Whither is he going? LABRAX
calling at the door . Hallo! Is there anybody here? Hallo! I say. DÆM.
If you touch the door, that very instant, upon my faith, you shall get a harvest upon your face with fists for your pitchforks12. SERV.
We keep no fire, we live upon dried figs. DÆM.
I'll find the fire, if only I have the opportunity of kindling it upon your head. LABRAX
Faith, I'll go somewhere to look for some fire. DÆM.
What, when you've found it? LABRAX
I'll be making a great fire here. DÆM.
What, to be burning13 a mortuary sacrifice for yourself? LABRAX
No, but I'll burn both of these alive here upon the altar. DÆM.
I'd like that. For, by my troth, I'll forthwith seize you by the head and throw you into the fire, and, half-roasted, I'll throw you out as food for the great birds. Aside. When I come to a consideration of it with myself, this is that ape, that wanted to take away those swallows from the nest against my will, as I was dreaming in my sleep. TPACH.
Aged sir, do you know what I request of you? That you will protect these females and defend them from violence, until I fetch my master. DÆM.
Go look for your master, and fetch him here. TRACHALIO
But don't let him---- DÆM.
At his own extreme peril, if he touches them, or if he attempts to do so. TRACHALIO
Take care. DÆM.
Due care is taken; do you be off. TRACHALIO
And watch him too, that he doesn't go away anywhere. For we have promised either to give the executioner a great talent, or else to produce this fellow this very day. DÆM.
Do you only be off. I'll not let him get away, while you are absent. TRACHALIO
I'll be back here soon. (Exit TRACHALIO.)
1 I wanted that: He means that the women have done as he wished them to do, in flying to the altar for refuge.
2 A hang-gallows: "Furcifero." He sneeringly alludes to Trachalio's position as a slave, and his liability to have the punishment of the "furca" inflicted on him.
3 A hand-ball: -2. These lines are thus rendered in one version: "Instantly I will make you a prize-fighting pair of bellows, and while you are drawing breath, will belabour you with my fists." The allusion, however, is clearly to a ball blown up like our footballs, and struck with the clenched fist, the merit of the game being not to let it come to the ground.
4 Away from here: "Foras." Probably in allusion to the court before the Temple
5 Beds of myrtle: "Myrteta." This may allude to bundles of myrtle (which was sacred to Venus), bound with rushes and hung about the Temple, or else to beds of myrtle in front of the Temple, with small fences round them, made of rushes.
6 Thrice-dotted villain: "Trifurcifer." Literally, "one punished with the 'furca' three times," meaning a "thief;" or "villain three times over." See the Aulularia, l. 281, and the Note (where read "punished with the 'furca'")
8 Compliments: "Offerumenta," according to Festus, signified an offering to the Gods; and as these were fixed to the walls of the Temples, Trachalio calls the lashes of the scourge or rod, when applied to the back of the delinquent slave, by the same term.
9 Ship of war: "Longa navis." Literally, "a long ship." Ships of war were thus called by the Greeks.
10 Leather flask maker: "Ampullarius." "A maker of ampullæ,' or leather bottles. They were of a big-bellied form, with a narrow neck.
11 An enemy to Venus: In so saying, he alludes to the intrigue of Venus with Mars, which was discovered by the device of Vulcan, her injured husband. For the story, see the Metamorphoses of Ovid, B. 4, l. 73, and the Art of Love, B. 2, l. 562.
12 Fists for your pitchforks: "Mergis pugneis." Echard, in his translation, explains this: "As they lift up their pitchforks to heap corn, so will I lift up my fists, and heap a whole harvest of cuffs on your face." "Merga' means 'a pitchfork;" and, according to Festus, it was so called from its resemblance when dipped into the hay to the action of the "mergus," or "didapper when dipping into the sea,
13 To be burning: Festus tells us that "humanum" was a "mortuary sacrifice," or "offering to the dead." In his question, therefore, Dæmones inplies a wish to know whether Labrax is about to put an end to himself. It was allowable to drive away those who fled to the altar by the agency of fire.
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