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Enter LABRAX, dripping wet, followed by CHARMIDES, at a distance, in the same plight.
grumbling to himself . The person that chooses himself to be wretched and a beggar, let him trust himself and his life to Neptune. For if any one has any dealings at all with him, he sends him back home equipped in this guise. Surveying himself. By my troth, Liberty, you were a clever one, who were never willing1 to put even a foot, i' faith, on board ship with me. But looking round where's this guest of mine that has proved my ruin? Oh, see, here he comes. CHARMIDES
Where the plague are you hurrying to, Labrax? For really I cannot follow you so fast. LABRAX
I only wish that you had perished by direful tornments in Sicily before I had looked upon you with my eyes, you on whose account this misfortune has befallen me. CHARMIDES
I only wish that on the day on which you admitted me into your house, I had laid me down in a prison sooner. I pray the immortal Gods, that so long as you live, you may have all your guests just like your own self. LABRAX
In your person I admitted misfortune into my house. What business had I to listen to a rogue like you, or what to depart hence? Or why to go on board ship, where I have lost even more wealth2 than I was possessor of? CHARMIDES
Troth, I'm far from being surprised if your ship has been wrecked, which was carrying yourself, a villain, and your property villanously acquired. LABRAX
You've utterly ruined me with your wheedling speeches. CHARMIDES
A more accursed dinner of yours have I been dining upon than the ones that were set before Thyestes and Tereus3. LABRAX
I'm dying; I'm sick at heart. Prithee, do hold up my head. CHARMIDES
By my troth, I could very much wish that you would vomit up your lungs. LABRAX
Alas! Palæstra and Ampelisca, where are you now? CHARMIDES
Supplying food for the fishes at the bottom, I suppose. LABRAX
You have brought beggary upon me by your means, while I was listening to your bragging lies. CHARMIDES
You have reason deservedly to give me many hearty thanks, who from an insipid morsel by my agency have made you salt4. LABRAX
Nay, but do you get out from me to extreme and utter perdition. CHARMIDES
You be off; I was just going to do that very thing. LABRAX
Alas! what mortal being is there living more wretched than I? CHARMIDES
I am by very far much more wretched, Labrax, than yourself. LABRAX
How so? CHARMIDES
Because I am not deserving of it, whereas you are deserving. LABRAX
O bulrush, bulrush, I do praise your lot, who always maintain your credit for dryness. CHARMIDES
his teeth chattering . For my part, I'm exercising myself for a skirmishing fight5, for, from my shivering, I utter all my words in piecemeal flashes. LABRAX
By my troth, Neptune, you are a purveyor of chilly baths; since I got away from you with my clothes, I've been freezing. No hot liquor-shop6 at all for sure does he provide; so salt and cold the potions that he prepares. CHARMIDES
How lucky are the blacksmiths who are always sitting among hot coals; they are always warm. LABRAX
I only wish that I were now enjoying the lot of the duck, so as, although I had just come from out of the water, still to be dry. CHARMIDES
What if I some way or other let myself out at the games for a hobgoblin7? LABRAX
For what reason? CHARMIDES
Because, i' faith, I'm chattering aloud with my teeth. But I'm of opinion that, with very good reason, I've had this ducking. LABRAX
How so? CHARMIDES
Why, haven't I ventured to go on board ship with yourself, who have been stirring up the ocean for me from the very bottom? LABRAX
I listened to you when advising me; you assured me that there in Sicily was very great profit from courtesans; there, you used to say, I should be able to amass wealth. CHARMIDES
Did you expect, then, you unclean beast, that you were going to gobble up the whole island of Sicily? LABRAX
What whale, I wonder, has gobbled up my wallet where all my gold and silver was packed up? CHARMIDES
That same one, I suppose, that has swallowed my purse, which was full of silver in my travelling-bag. LABRAX
Alas! I'm reduced even to this one poor tunic stretching it out and to this poor shabby cloak; I'm done for to all intents. CHARMIDES
Then you may even go into partnership with me; we have got equal shares. LABRAX
If at least my damsels had been saved, there would have been some hope. Now, if the young man Plesidippus should be seeing me, from whom I received the earnest for Palæstra, he'll then be causing me some trouble in consequence. He begins to cry. CHARMIDES
Why cry, you fool? Really, by my troth, so long as your tongue shall exist, you have abundance with which to make payment to everybody8.
1 Who were never wiling: He probably alludes to some current proverb of the day, which may, with considerable truth, have said that liberty forsakes a man when he goes or board ship.
2 Even more wealth: He means that he has not only lost his existing property by the shipwreck, but his hopes of profit as well on his arrival at Sicily, by means of his traffic with Palæstra and Ampelisca.
3 Thyestes and Tereus: Atreus killed the children of his brother Thyestes, and served them up to their father. Progne slew her son Itys, and set him before his father Tereus, who had ravished and mutilated her sister Philomela.
4 Have made you salt: " Ex insulso salsum." The humour in this passage depends on the double meaning of the word "salsus," which signifies "saited," and, figuratively, "sharp," "clever." "witty."
5 For a skirmishing fight: Thornton has this Note on this passage: "'Velitatio' signifies 'a skirmish,' which was. usually made by the 'velites,' that is, 'the light-harnessed soldiers;' and these men always made use of darts, whose points would glitter at a distance, sometimes one way, and sometimes another. Now Charmides, trembling with cold, compares himself to these 'velites,' or 'skirmishers,' who never keep their places; and his words, which came out broken and by piecemeal, to the unequal glimmerings or flashes of their darts"
6 Hot-liquor shop: See the Trinummus, l. 1013, and the Note.
7 For a hobgoblin: "Manducus" was a huge figure exhibited on the stage and at public shows, with huge teeth craunching, and a wide mouth--probably not unlike some of the idols of the South Sea Islanders.
8 Payment to everybody: He means, that his readiness to commit perjury will save him the trouble of finding money to pay with as he can always swear that he has paid already.
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