This text is part of:
to himself . Stasimus, make you haste with all speed; away with you to your master's house, lest on a sudden, through your folly, fears should arise for your shoulder-blades1. Quicken your pace, make haste; 'tis now a long while since you left the house. If you shall be absent when inquired after by your master, take you care, please, that the smacks of the bull's-hide2 don't clatter thick upon you. Don't you cease running. See now, Stasimus, what a worthless fellow you are; and isn't it the fact that you have forgotten your ring3 at the liquor- shop4 after you have been washing your throat with warm drink? Turn about, and run back now, to seek it, while the thing has but just happened. CHARMIDES
behind . Whoever he is, his throat is his taskmaster5; that teaches this fellow the art of running. STASIMUS
What, good-for-nothing fellow, are you not ashamed of yourself? having lost your memory after only three cups? And really, because you were there drinking together with such honest fellows, who could keep their hands off6 the property of another without difficulty;--is it among such men that you expect you may recover your ring? Chiruchus was there, Cerconicus, Crimnus, Cricolabus, Collabus7, whipped-necks8, whipped-legs, iron-rubbers, whipped-knaves. By my faith, any one of these could steal the sole of his shoe from a running footman9. CHARMIDES
behind . So may the Gods love me, a finished thief. STASIMUS
Why should I go seek what is gone for ever? Unless I would bestow my pains, too, by way of addition over and above to my loss. Why, then, don't you consider that what is gone is gone? Tack about, then10. Betake yourself back to your master. CHARMIDES
behind . This fellow is no runaway; he remembers his home. STASIMUS
I wish that the old-fashioned ways of old-fashioned days, and the old-fashioned thriftiness, were in greater esteem here, rather than these bad ways. CHARMIDES
behind . Immortal Gods! this man really is beginning to talk of noble doings! He longs for the old-fashioned ways; know that he loves the old-fashioned ways, after the fashion of our forefathers. STASIMUS
For, now-a-days, men's manners reckon of no value what is proper, except what is agreable. Ambition now is sanctioned by usage, and is free from the laws. By usage, people have the license to throw away their shields, and to run away from the enemy. To seek honor thereby in place of disgrace is the usage. CHARMIDES
behind . A shameless usage. STASIMUS
Now-a-days, 'tis the usage to neglect the brave. CHARMIDES
behind . Aye, 'tis really shocking. STASIMUS
The public manners have now got the laws in their power; to them they are more submissive than are parents to their children11. In their misery, these laws are even hung up12 against the wall with iron nails, where it had been much more becoming for bad ways to be fixed up. CHARMIDES
behind . I'd like to go up and accost this person; but I listen to him with much pleasure, and I'm afraid, if I address him, that he may begin to talk on some other subject. STASIMUS
And, for these ways, there is nothing rendered sacred by the law. The laws are subservient to usage; but these habits are hastening to sweep away both what is sacred and what is public property. CHARMIDES
behind . By my troth, 'twere right for some great calamity to befal these bad customs. STASIMUS
Ought not this state of things to be publicly censured? For this kind of men are the enemies of all persons, and do an injury to the entire people. By a non-observance of their own honour, they likewise destroy all trust even in those who merit it not; inasmuch as people form an estimate of the disposition of these from the disposition of those fellows. If you lend13 a person any money, it becomes lost for any purpose as one's own. When you ask for it back again, you may find a friend made an enemy by your kindness. If you begin to press still further, the option of two things ensues--either you must part with that which you have entrusted, or else you must lose that friend. As to how this suggests itself to me, I have by actual experience been lately put in mind of it. CHARMIDES
behind . Surely this is my servant Stasimus? STASIMUS
For as to him to whom I lent the talent, I bought myself an enemy with my talent, and sold my friend. But I am too great a simpleton to be attending to public matters rather than (what's my immediate interest) obtain safety for my back. I'll go home. Moves as if going. CHARMIDES
Hallo, you! Stop, this instant! Harkye; hallo, you! STASIMUS
I'll not stop. CHARMIDES
I want you. STASIMUS
What if I myself don't want you to want me. CHARMIDES
Why, Stasimus, you are behaving very rudely. STASIMUS
'Twere better for you to buy some one to give your commands to. CHARMIDES
I' faith, I have bought one, and paid the money, too. But if he is not obedient to my orders, what ani I to do? STASIMUS
Give him a severe punishment. CHARMIDES
You give good advice; I am resolved to do so. STASIMUS
Unless, indeed, you are under obligations to him. CHARMIDES
If he is a deserving person, I am under obligations to him; but if he is otherwise, I'll do as you advise me. STASIMUS
What matters it to me whether you have good or lad slaves? CHARMIDES
Because you have a share in this matter both of the good and of the bad. STASIMUS
The one share I leave to yourself; the other share, that in the good, do you set down14 to my account. CHARMIDES
If you shall prove deserving, it shall be so. Look back at me--I am Charmides. STASIMUS
Ha! what person is it that has made mention of that most worthy man? CHARMIDES
'Tis that most worthy man himself. STASIMUS
O seas, earth, heavens, by my trust in you--do I see quite clearly with my eyes? Is this he, or is it not? 'Tis he! 'Tis certainly he; 'tis he beyond a doubt! O my most earnestly wished-for master, health to you! CHARMIDES
Health to you, too, Stasimus! STASIMUS
That you are safe and sound, I---- CHARMIDES
interruptitng him . I know it, and I believe you. But wave the rest; answer me this; how are my children, my son and daughter, whom I left here? STASIMUS
They are alive, and well. CHARMIDES
Both of them, say you? STASIMUS
Both of them. CHARMIDES
The Gods willed me to be safe and preserved from dangners. The rest that I want to know I will inquire about in-doors at my leisure. Let us go in-doors; follow me. STASIMUS
Where are you going now? CHARMIDES
Where else but to my house? STASIMUS
Do you suppose that we are living here? CHARMIDES
Why, where else should I suppose? STASIMUS
What about "now?" STASIMUS
This house is not our own. CHARMIDES
What is it I hear from you? STASIMUS
Your son has sold this house. CHARMIDES
I'm ruined. STASIMUS
For silver minæ; ready money counted out. CHARMIDES
How many? STASIMUS
I'm undone. Who has purchased it? STASIMUS
Callicles, to whom you entrusted your affairs; he has removed here to live, and has turned us out of doors. CHARMIDES
Where is my son now living? STASIMUS
Here, in these back buildings. Points to the side of the house. CHARMIDES
I'm utterly undone. STASIMUS
I thought that this would be distressing to you when you heard of it. CHARMIDES
To my sorrow, amid extreme dangers I have been borne over vast oceans, with the peril of my life I have preserved myself among robbers full many in number, and I have returned safe. Now, to my misery, I am here undone by reason of those same persons for whose sake I have been struggling at this time of life Grief is depriving me of my senses. Support me, Stasimus. STASIMUS
Do you wish me to fetch you some water? CHARMIDES
When my fortunes were in their mortal struggle, then was it befitting that water should be sprinkled15 upon them.
1 For your shoulder-blades: The slaves among the Romans were whipped most unmercifully with the "flagellum," a whip, to the handle of which a lash was fastened, made of cords or thongs of leather, especially from the ox's hide. It was often knotted with bones, or pieces of bronze, or terminated by hooks, and was then not inaptly termed "a scorpion." The infliction of punishment with this on the naked back was sometimes fatal, and was carried into execution by a class of slaves who were called "lorarii."
2 Smacks of the bull's-hide: "Cottabus" was a game played by the Sicilians and Greeks, in which the players had in turn to throw wine out of a goblet into a metal basin at a certain distance, in such a way as not to spill any of the wine. The methods in which the game was played are stated with precision in an able article in Dr. Smith's Dictionary. As one of the merits of the game was that the wine thrown should in its fall produce the strongest and most pat sound, Stasimus here calls the smacks of the whip on his back so many "bubuli cottabi," "ox-hide smacks."
3 Forgotten your ring: We learn from Cælius Rhodiginus that "condalium" was a peculiar kind of ring worn by slaves.
4 At the liquor-shop: The "thermopolia" are supposed to have been the same as the "popinæ," shops where drinks and ready-dressed provisions were sold. They were very numerous throughout Italy. The keepers of them were called "popæ." In the present instance we learn what kind of people visited them, and Cicero tells us that they were frequented by the slaves and the lower orders. They sat on stools or benches, while they drank "calda," or "calida," "mulled wine," which was always kept hot. It was probably mixed with spices, and was the favourite drink of the lower classes. It was measured out in "poteria," "draughts," which are here mentioned; and which formed, probably, about a moderate cupful. Claudius commanded the "thermopolia" to be closed at one period of his reign.
5 His throat is his taskmaster: He has overheard what Stasimus has said about warming his throat in l. 1014; and, talking to himself, he remarks that his throat will be the cause of his learning how to run, as he warms his throat, gets drunk, loses his ring, runs homeward, and then runs back to find it.
6 Would keep their hands off: There is no doubt that this is intended to be said satirically.
7 Cricolabus, Collabus: These are either nicknames, or, possibly, names really given to slaves, as in all ages and countries masters have especially tried to show their wit in naming their slaves.
8 Whipped-necks: "Collicrepidæ" and "Cruricrepidæ" were probably cant terms for slaves, who carried the marks of punishment on their necks and legs. "Crepidæ" is from the verb "crepo," to "crack," and alludes to the sound of the lashes. "Ferriterius" was a slave who bore the marks of the chain with which he had been fastened for refractory conduct, while "mastigia" was a name given to a slave who had passed the ordeal of flogging. A liquor-shop was a likely place for the resort of worthless and refractory slaves.
9 From a running footman: "Cursores" were slaves who ran before the carriage of their masters for the same purpose as our outriders. Perhaps, however, this is not the meaning of the word here, as the name was given to all slaves whom their masters employed in carrying letters and messages. Stasimus hints by this that his boon companions were not only very expert at thieving, but that they would prey inst as readily on a fellow-slave as any other person.
10 Tack about, then: "Cape vorsoriam" was a sea-phrase, meaning "'turn," or "tack about;" as "vorsoria" was the name of the rope by which the sail was turned from one direction to another
11 Parents to their children: This is said satirically in reference to the corruptness of the age, in which all the relations and duties of life were turned upside down.
12 Are even hung up: He alludes to the custom among the Romans of writing or engraving the laws and ordinances on wood or brass, and hanging them up for public inspection upon pegs or rails in the Capitol, Forum, and Curiæ, or Court-houses.
13 If you lend: Stasimus has experienced this, and has applied for the talent which he lent, but in rain; unless, indeed, his meaning is that he got back the talent, but lost his friend. Shakspeare has a somewhat similar passage in Hamlet:
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loseth both itself and friend.
14 Do you set down: "Appone." This word is used figuratively, it being employed to mean, in mercantile matters, "to set down to one's account." So Horace says:
“Qnem sors dierum cumque dabit, lucro
” "Whatever lot each day shall bring, set that down as clear gain." This, we may here observe, is a similar sentiment to that conveyed in the remark of Callicles, L. 65.
15 Should be sprinkled: His meaning is, "you should have beer as ready to give your assistance at the time when my fortunes were in their death- struggle through the conduct of my son Lesbonicus."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.