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Enter the PROCURESS, from the house of CAPPADOX.
The savour of aged wine has reached my nostrils; the love of it has brought me in my eagerness hither in the dark; wherever it is, it's near me. O capital, I've found it. Stooping, and smelling at the bowl. Hail to you, my soul, Joy of dear Bacchus; how enamoured am I of your old age. For in comparison with yours, the odour of all unguents were mere bilge-water; you are my myrrh, you my cinnamon, you my rose, you my saffron unguent and my cassia, you are my vine-palm1 scent. But, where you have been poured, there would I most earnestly hope to be buried. PALINURUS
apart . This old lady's thirsty; how limited is her thirst? PHÆD. apart . She's a moderate person; she swallows eight gallons2 only. PALINURUS
apart . I' faith, according to your account, this year's vintage is not enough for this old woman alone. PROC.
But since as yet you, fragrance, alone have penetrated to my nostrils, so in its turn afford some delight to my throat. Feels for the bowl on the ground, which PALINURUS draws away. I find you not; where is your own dear self? I'm longing to touch you; do let me pour your liquids into me by sip-sipping. But in this direction it has gone, this way I'll. follow it. Goes in the direction of PALINURUS, who has the bowl. PALINURUS
apart . It really had been more proper for her to be a dog; she has a good nose. PROC.
Prithee, whose voice is it that I hear at a distance. PHÆD.
apart . I think that this old hag should be accosted. I'll approach her. Aloud. Come back, Procuress, and look back towards me. PROC.
Who is it that gives his commands? PHÆD.
The all-powerful in wine, jolly Bacchus; he who, when you're hawking, parched, and half asleep, brings you a draught and comes to quench your thirst. PROC.
How far is he away from me? PHÆD.
holding up the torch . See this light. PROC.
Then, prithee, do quicken your pace towards me. PHÆD.
Health to you. PROC.
How can I have health, who am parched with thirst? PHÆD.
But you shall drink in a moment. PROC.
'Tis long a-coming. PHÆD.
extending the bowl . Here's for you, jolly old dame. PROC.
Health to you, gentleman dear as my very eyes. PALINURUS
Come, toss this off quickly into your abyss; scour out your sink right speedily. PHÆD.
Hold your tongue; I won't have her ill spoken to. PALINURUS
aside . In preference, then, I'll do her ill. PROC.
pouring some of the residue on the altar . Venus, of this little, this very little will I give to thee3--sore against my will; for all the lovers, in their cups, to propitiate thee, expend their wine upon thee: not such windfalls often fall to me. Drinks again. PALINURUS
Do look at that, please, how greedily the filthy hag swills down the pure wine into herself with distended gullet. PROC.
patting her stomach and chuckling . Ha, ha, ha PALINURUS
How is it? Do you like it? PROC.
I do like it. PALINURUS
And I, too, should like to goad with a spur as well. PHÆD.
aside to PALINURUS . Don't you--do hold your tongue. PALINURUS
I'll hold my tongue; the old woman drinks but see, the rainbow's drinking4; I' faith, I do believe it will rain to-day. PHÆD.
Troth now, I'm quite undone; what first to say to her I know not. PALINURUS
Why, the same thing that you said to me. PHÆD.
What's that? PALINURUS
Say that you're quite undone. PHÆD.
May the Gods confound you. PALINURUS
Say so to her. PHÆD.
Am I to say then to her----? PALINURUS
Say what? PHÆD.
That I'm quite undone. PALINURUS
Well then, say so. PHÆD.
Old lady, do listen. I wish you to know this; to my sorrow, I'm quite undone. PROC.
But, i' faith, for my part, I'm altogether brought to life. But why is it that you are pleased to say you are quite undone? PHÆD.
Because I'm deprived of the object which I love. Pretends to weep PROC.
My dear Phædromus, prithee, do not weep; do you take care that I'm not thirsty, I'll at once bring out here for you the object which you love. Goes into the house. PHÆD.
Assuredly, if you keep faith with me, in place of a golden statue, I'll erect for you one of wine5, which shall be a memorial of your gullet Palinurus, who on earth will be so blest as myself, if she comes to me? PALINURUS
By my faith, he who is in love, if he is in want as well, is afflicted with a dreadful malady. PHÆD.
Such is not the case with me; for I feel sure that this very day my Parasite will come hither to me with the money. PALINURUS
You attempt something mighty, if you expect that which nowhere exists. PHÆD.
What if I approach the door, and trill a carol6? PALINURUS
If you choose; I neither bid nor request you, since, my master, I see that you are of manners and disposition thus changed. PHÆD.
sings . Bolts, O ye bolts, with pleasure do I salute you. I love you, I court you, I seek you, and you entreat; most kindly lend your aid to me in love; become, for my sake, as though play-actors7 from foreign climes; leap upwards pray, and send out of doors this fair one, who drains my blood for me distractedly in love. Addressing PALINURUS. Look at that, how those most accursed bolts sleep on, and none the quicker for my sake do they bestir themselves. Addressing the door. I see quite clearly that you don't value my esteem at all. Hist! hush, hush! PALINURUS
I' troth, for my part I'm silent enough. PHÆD.
I hear a noise; at last, i' faith, these bolts have become complaisant to me.
1 Vine-palm: "Bdellium" was a gum of fragrant smell and bitter aste, which exuded from a tree that grew in Arabia. It is described by the Elder Pliny, in his Twelfth Book.
2 Eight gallons: "Quadrantal." This was a measure which held forty-eight "sextarii," of about a pint and a half each.
3 Will I give to thee: As a libation. It was the custom to pour out wine or other liquors, as libations in honor of the Gods, either upon an altar, on the ground, into the sea, or on a table, according to the circumstances of the case.
4 The rainbow's drinking: This is said in allusion to an absurd belief which prevailed among the ancients, that the rainbow drank up water from be surface of the earth.
5 One of wine: "Vineam." There is more humour in taking this to mean "a statue of wine," than merely "a vine-tree," as Warner has transated it.
6 Trill a carol: "Occentem." This word has probably much the time meaning here as our word "serenade."
7 Play-actors: The Lydians, or rather their descendants, the Etrurians, were the earliest actors at Rome; hence the term used here, "barbari," "foreigners." The metaphor is borrowed from the fact that dancing, leaping, and gestures, were the especial features of their performances.
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