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Title: The Comedies of Terence

Author: Terence

Translator: George Colman

Release date: September 21, 2007 [eBook #22695]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Louise Hope, David Starner and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


This translation of Terence was published by Harper & Brothers as the second part of an omnibus volume also containing the 1853 Riley translation (prose, with notes and commentary). The Riley portion has been released as a separate e-text.

This e-text includes readings from the 1768 second edition of Colman, shown along the right side of the screen. In general, only differences in wording are included; variations in spelling and punctuation were disregarded, and stage directions are omitted unless significant. It is not known whether the Harper’s text was based on the first edition of Colman or some later edition. Where the Harper text was clearly in error, the 1768 reading was substituted in the main text. Errors are marked with mouse-hover popups:

Shared errors.
Errors in the Harper text, corrected from the 1768 edition. In some plays, quotation marks were also supplied from the 1768 edition.
—Errors in the 1768 edition.

Page numbers in the left margin are from the 1896 Harper text, which is generally identical to the original 1859 printing and may have been set from the same plates. Page numbers in the right margin are from the 1768 Colman edition.

All illustrations are from the 1768 Colman edition.

Frontispiece: Two men with bust of Terence
















TACITUS. 2 Vols.
LIVY. 2 Vols.






12mo, Cloth, $1.00 per Volume.

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.

pointing finger The above works are for sale by all booksellers, or they will be sent by Harper & Brothers to any address on receipt of price as quoted. If ordered sent by mail, 10 per cent. should be added to the price to cover cost of postage.



The Andrian


The Eunuch


The Self-Tormentor


The Brothers


The Step-Mother








Primores populi arripuit populumque tributim:

Scilicet uni æquus virtuti atque ejus amicis.

Quin ubi se a vulgo et scena in secreta remorant

Virtus Scipiadæ et mitis sapientia Læli,

Nugari cum illo et discincti ludere, donec

Decoqueretur olus, soliti.



comic masks

367 iv













Servants, etc.






Scene, Athens.


The Bard, when first he gave his mind to write,

Thought it his only business, that his Plays

Should please the people: but it now falls out,

He finds, much otherwise, and wastes, perforce,

His time in writing Prologues; not to tell

The argument, but to refute the slanders

Broach’d by the malice of an older Bard.

And mark what vices he is charg’d withal!

Menander wrote the Andrian and Perinthian:

Know one, and you know both; in argument

Less diff’rent than in sentiment and style.

What suited with the Andrian he confesses

From the Perinthian he transferr’d, and us’d

For his: and this it is these sland’rers blame,


Proving by deep and learned disputation,

That Fables should not be confounded thus.

That Fables should not be contaminated.

Troth! all the knowledge is they nothing know:

Who, blaming; him, blame Nævius, Plautus, Ennius,

Whose great example is his precedent;

Whose negligence he’d wish to emulate

Rather than their dark diligence. Henceforth,

Let them, I give them warning, be at peace,

And cease to rail, lest they be made to know

Their own misdeeds. Be favorable! sit

With equal mind, and hear our play; that hence

Ye may conclude, what hope to entertain,

The comedies he may hereafter write

Shall merit approbation or contempt.

368 1



Simo, Sosia, and Servants with Provisions.

Simo. Carry those things in: go! (Ex. Servants.

Sosia, come here;

A word with you!


Sosia. I understand: that these

Be ta’en due care of.

Simo. Quite another thing.

Sosia. What can my art do more for you?

Simo. This business

Needs not that art; but those good qualities,

Which I have ever known abide in you,

Fidelity and secrecy.

Sosia. I wait

Your pleasure.

Simo. Since I bought you, from a boy

How just and mild a servitude you’ve pass’d

With me, you’re conscious: from a purchas’d slave

I made you free, because you serv’d me freely:

The greatest recompense I could bestow.

Sosia. I do remember.


Simo. Nor do I repent.

Sosia. If I have ever done, or now do aught

That’s pleasing to you, Simo, I am glad,

And thankful that you hold my service good

And yet this troubles me: for this detail,

Forcing your kindness on my memory,

Seems to reproach me of ingratitude.

Oh tell me then at once, what would you? Sir!

Simo. I will; and this I must advise you first;

The nuptial you suppose preparing now,

Is all unreal.

Sosia. Why pretend it then?

Simo. You shall hear all from first to last: and thus


The conduct of my son, my own intent,

And what part you’re to act, you’ll know at once.

For my son, Sosia, now to manhood grown,

Had freer scope of living: for before

How might you know, or how indeed divine

His disposition, good or ill, while youth,

Fear, and a master, all constrain’d him?

Sosia. True.

Simo. Though most, as is the bent of youth, apply

Their mind to some one object, horses, hounds,

Or to the study of philosophy;


Yet none of these, beyond the rest, did he


Pursue; and yet, in moderation, all.

I was o’erjoy’d.

Sosia. And not without good cause.

For this I hold to be the Golden Rule

Of Life, too much of one thing’s good for nothing.

Simo. So did he shape his life to bear himself

With ease and frank good-humor unto all;

Mix’d in what company soe’er, to them

He wholly did resign himself; complied

With all their humours, checking nobody,

He wholly did resign himself; and join’d

In their pursuits, opposing nobody,

Nor e’er assuming to himself: and thus

With ease, and free from envy, may you gain

Praise, and conciliate friends.

Sosia. He rul’d his life

By prudent maxims: for, as times go now,

Compliance raises friends, and truth breeds hate.

Simo. Meanwhile, ’tis now about three years ago,


A certain woman from the isle of Andros,

Came o’er to settle in this neighborhood,

By poverty and cruel kindred driv’n:

Handsome and young.

Sosia. Ah! I begin to fear

Some mischief from this Andrian.

Simo. At first

Modest and thriftily, though poor, she liv’d,

With her own hands a homely livelihood

Scarce earning from the distaff and the loom.

But when a lover came, with promis’d gold,

Another, and another, as the mind

Falls easily from labor to delight,

She took their offers, and set up the trade.


They, who were then her chief gallants, by chance

Drew thither, as oft happen with young men

My son to join their company. “So, so!”

Said I within myself, “he’s smit! he has it!”

And in the morning as I saw their servants

Run to and fro, I’d often call, “here, boy!

Prithee now, who had Chrysis yesterday?”

The name of this same Andrian.

Sosia. I take you.

Simo. Phædrus they said, Clinia, or Niceratus,

For all these three then follow’d her.—“Well, well,

But what of Pamphilus?”—“Of Pamphilus!

He supp’d, and paid his reck’ning.”—I was glad.

Another day I made the like inquiry,

But still found nothing touching Pamphilus.

Thus I believ’d his virtue prov’d, and hence

Thought him a miracle of continence:

For he who struggles with such spirits, yet

Holds in that commerce an unshaken mind,


May well be trusted with the governance

Of his own conduct. Nor was I alone

Delighted with his life, but all the world


With one accord said all good things, and prais’d

My happy fortunes, who possess’d a son

So good, so lib’rally disposed.—In short

Chremes, seduc’d by this fine character,

Came of his own accord, to offer me

His only daughter with a handsome portion

In marriage with my son. I lik’d the match;

Betroth’d my son; and this was pitch’d upon,

By joint agreement, for the wedding-day.

Sosia. And what prevents it’s being so?

Simo. I’ll tell you.

In a few days, the treaty still on foot,

This neighbor Chrysis dies.

Sosia. In happy hour:

Happy for you! I was afraid of Chrysis.

Simo. My son, on this event, was often there

With those who were the late gallants of Chrysis;

Assisted to prepare the funeral,

Ever condol’d, and sometimes wept with them.

This pleas’d me then; for in myself I thought,

“Since merely for a small acquaintance-sake


He takes this woman’s death so nearly, what

If he himself had lov’d? What would he feel

For me, his father?” All these things, I thought;

Were but the tokens and the offices

Of a humane and tender disposition.

In short, on his account, e’en I myself

Attend the funeral, suspecting yet

No harm.

Sosia. And what——

Simo. You shall hear all. The Corpse

Borne forth, we follow: when among the women

Attending there, I chanc’d to cast my eyes,

Upon one girl, in form——

Sosia. Not bad, perhaps——

Simo. And look; so modest, and so beauteous, Sosia!

That nothing could exceed it. As she seem’d

To grieve beyond the rest; and as her air

Appear’d more liberal and ingenuous,

I went and ask’d her women who she was.

Sister, they said, to Chrysis: when at once

It struck my mind; “So! so! the secret’s out;

Hence were those tears, and hence all that compassion!”


Sosia. Alas! I fear how this affair will end!

Simo. Meanwhile the funeral proceeds: we follow;

Come to the sepulchre: the body’s plac’d

Upon the pile, lamented: whereupon

This sister I was speaking of, all wild,


Ran to the flames with peril of her life.

Then! there! the frighted Pamphilus betrays

His well-dissembled and long-hidden love:

Runs up, and takes her round the waist, and cries,

“Oh my Glycerium! what is it you do?

Why, why endeavor to destroy yourself?”

Then she, in such a manner, that you thence

Might easily perceive their long, long, love,

Threw herself back into his arms, and wept,

Oh how familiarly!


Sosia. How say you!

Simo. I

Return in anger thence, and hurt at heart,

Yet had no cause sufficient for reproof.

“What have I done? he’d say; or how deserv’d

Reproach? or how offended, Father?—Her

Who meant to cast herself into the flames,

I stopped.” A fair excuse!

Sosia. You’re in the right;

For him, who sav’d a life, if you reprove,

What will you do to him that offers wrong?

Simo. Chremes next day came open-mouth’d to me:

Oh monstrous! he had found that Pamphilus

Was married to this stranger woman. I 


Deny the fact most steadily, and he

As steadily insists. In short we part

On such bad terms, as let me understand

He would refuse his daughter.

Sosia. Did not you

Then take your son to task?

Simo. Not even this

Appear’d sufficient for reproof.

Sosia. How so?

Simo. “Father, (he might have said) You have, you know,

Prescrib’d a term to all these things yourself.

The time is near at hand, when I must live

According to the humor of another.

Meanwhile, permit me now to please my own!”

Sosia. What cause remains to chide him then?

Simo. If he

Refuses, on account of this amour,

To take a wife, such obstinate denial

Must be considered as his first offense.

Wherefore I now, from this mock-nuptial,

Endeavor to draw real cause to chide:

And that same rascal Davus, if he’s plotting,

That he may let his counsel run to waste,


Now, when his knaveries can do no harm:

Who, I believe, with all his might and main

Will strive to cross my purposes; and that

More to plague me, than to oblige my son.


Sosia. Why so?

Simo. Why so! Bad mind, bad heart: But if

I catch him at his tricks!—But what need words?

—If, as I wish it may, it should appear

That Pamphilus objects not to the match,

Chremes remains to be prevail’d upon,

And will, I hope, consent. ’Tis now your place

To counterfeit these nuptials cunningly;

To frighten Davus; and observe my son,

What he’s about, what plots they hatch together.

Sosia. Enough; I’ll take due care. Let’s now go in!

Simo. Go first: I’ll follow you.

Exit Sosia.


Beyond all doubt

My son’s averse to take a wife: I saw

How frighten’d Davus was, but even now,

When he was told a nuptial was preparing.

But here he comes.


Enter Davus.

Davus. (to himself). I thought ’twere wonderful

If this affair went off so easily;

And dreaded where my master’s great good-humor

Would end at last: who, after he perceiv’d

The Lady was refus’d, ne’er said a word

To any of us, nor e’er took it ill.

Simo. (behind). But now he will; to your cost too, I warrant you!

Davus. This was his scheme; to lead us by the nose

In a false dream of joy; then all agape

With hope, even then that we were most secure,

To have o’erwhelm’d us, nor allow’d us time

To have o’erwhelm’d us, nor have giv’n us time

To cast about which way to break the match.

Cunning old Gentleman!

Simo. What says the rogue?

Davus. My master and I did not see him!

Simo. Davus!

Davus. Well! what now? (Pretending not to see him.)

Simo. Here! this way!

Davus. What can he want? (To himself.)

Simo. (overhearing). What say you?


Davus. Upon what? Sir.

Simo. Upon what!

The world reports that my son keeps a mistress.

Davus. Oh, to be sure, the world cares much for that.

Simo. D’ye mind what I say? Sirrah!

Davus. Nothing more, Sir.

Simo. But for me now to dive into these matters

May seem perhaps like too severe a father:


For all his youthful pranks concern not me.

While ’twas in season, he had my free leave

To take his swing of pleasure. But to-day

Brings on another stage of life, and asks

For other manners: wherefore I desire,

Or, if you please, I do beseech you, Davus,

To set him right again.

Davus. What means all this?

Simo. All, who are fond of mistresses, dislike

The thoughts of matrimony.

Davus. So they say.

Simo. And then, if such a person entertains

An evil counselor in those affairs,

He tampers with the mind, and makes bad worse.

Davus. Troth, I don’t comprehend one word of this.

Simo. No?

Davus. No. I’m Davus, and not Oedipus.

Simo. Then for the rest I have to say to you,

You choose I should speak plainly.


Davus. By all means.

Simo. If I discover then, that in this match

You get to your dog’s tricks to break it off,

Or try to show how shrewd a rogue you are,

I’ll have you beat to mummy, and then thrown

In prison, Sirrah! upon this condition,

That when I take you out again, I swear

To grind there in your stead. D’ye take me now?

Or don’t you understand this neither?

Davus. Clearly.

You have spoke out at last: the very thing!

Quite plain and home; and nothing round about.

Simo. I could excuse your tricks in any thing,

Rather than this.

Davus. Good words! I beg of you.

Simo. You laugh at me: well, well!—I give you warning

That you do nothing rashly, nor pretend

You was not advertis’d of this—take heed!




Troth Davus, ’tis high time to look about you;

No room for sloth, as far as I can sound


The sentiments of our old gentleman

About this marriage, which if not fought off,

And cunningly, spoils me, or my poor master.

I know not what to do; nor can resolve

To help the son, or to obey the father.

If I desert poor Pamphilus, alas!

I tremble for his life; if I assist him,


I dread his father’s threats: a shrewd old Cuff,

Not easily deceiv’d. For first of all,

He knows of this amour; and watches me

With jealous eyes, lest I devise some trick

To break the match. If he discovers it,

Woe to poor Davus! nay, if he’s inclin’d

To punish me, he’ll seize on some pretense

To throw me into prison, right or wrong.

Another mischief too, to make bad worse,

This Andrian, wife or mistress, is with child

By Pamphilus. And do but mark the height

Of their assurance! for ’tis certainly

Another mischief is, this Andrian,

Mistress or wife, ’s with child by Pamphilus.

And do but mark their confidence! ’tis sure



The dotage of mad people, not of lovers.

Whate’er she shall bring forth, they have resolv’d

To educate: and have among themselves

Devis’d the strangest story! that Glycerium

Is an Athenian citizen. “There was

Once on a time a certain merchant, shipwreck’d

Upon the isle of Andros; there he died:

And Chrysis’ father took this orphan-wreck,

Then but an infant, under his protection.”

Ridiculous! ’tis all romance to me:

And yet the story pleases them. And see!

Mysis comes forth. But I must to the Forum

To look for Pamphilus, for fear his father

Should find him first, and take him unawares.


Enter Mysis. (Speaking to a servant within.)

I hear, Archyllis; I hear what you say:

You beg me to bring Lesbia. By my troth


That Lesbia is a drunken wretch, hot-headed,

Nor worthy to be trusted with a woman

In her first labor. Well, well! she shall come.

—Observe how earnest the old gossip is, (Coming forward)

Because this Lesbia is her pot-companion.

—Oh grant my mistress, Heav’n, a safe delivery,

And let the midwife trespass any where

Rather than here!—But what is it I see?

Pamphilus all disorder’d: How I fear

The cause! I’ll wait a while, that I may know

If this commotion means us any ill.


Pamphilus, Mysis behind.

Pam. Is this well done? or like a man?—Is this

The action of a father?

Mysis. What’s the matter?

375 21

Pam. Oh all ye pow’rs of heav’n and earth, what’s wrong

If this is not so?—If he was determin’d

That I to-day should marry, should I not

Have had some previous notice?—ought not he

To have inform’d me of it long ago?

Mysis. Alas! what’s this I hear?

Pam. And Chremes too,

Who had refus’d to trust me with his daughter,

Changes his mind, because I change not mine.


Can he then be so obstinately bent

To tear me from Glycerium? To lose her

Is losing life.—Was ever man so cross’d,

So curs’d as I?—Oh pow’rs of heav’n and earth!

Can I by no means fly from this alliance

With Chremes’ family?—so oft contemn’d

And held in scorn!—all done, concluded all!——

Rejected, then recall’d:—and why?—unless,

For so I must suspect, they breed some monster,

Whom as they can obtrude on no one else,

They bring to me.

Mysis. Alas, alas! this speech

Has struck me almost dead with fear.

Pam. And then

My father!—what to say of him?—Oh shame!

A thing of so much consequence to treat

So negligently!—For but even now

Passing me in the forum, “Pamphilus!

To-day’s your wedding-day, said he: prepare;

Go, get you home!”—This sounded in my ears

As if he said, “go, hang yourself!”—I stood


Confounded. Think you I could speak one word?

Or offer an excuse, how weak soe’er?

No, I was dumb:—and had I been aware,

Should any ask what I’d have done, I would,

Rather than this, do any thing.—But now

What to resolve upon?—So many cares

Entangle me at once, and rend my mind,

Pulling it diff’rent ways. My love, compassion,

This urgent match, my rev’rence for my father,

Who yet has ever been so gentle to me,

And held so slack a rein upon my pleasures.

—And I oppose him?—Racking thought!—Ah me!

I know not what to do.

Mysis. Alas, I fear

Where this uncertainty will end. ’Twere best

He should confer with her; or I at least

Speak touching her to him. For while the mind


Hangs in suspense, a trifle turns the scale.

Pam. Who’s there? what, Mysis! Save you!

Mysis. Save you! Sir. (Coming forward.)

Pam. How does she?


Mysis. How! oppress’d with wretchedness.

To-day supremely wretched, as to-day

Was formerly appointed for your wedding.

And then she fears lest you desert her.

Pam. I!

Desert her? Can I think on’t? or deceive

A wretched maid! who trusted to my care

Her life and honor. Her whom I have held

Near to my heart, and cherish’d as my wife?

Or leave her modest and well nurtur’d mind

Through want to be corrupted? Never, never.

Mysis. No doubt, did it depend on you alone;

But if constrain’d——

Pam. D’ye think me then so vile?

Or so ungrateful, so inhuman, savage,

Neither long intercourse, nor love, nor shame,


Can move my soul, or make me keep my faith?

Can make me keep my faith?


Mysis. I only know, my mistress well deserves

You should remember her.

Pam. Remember her?

Oh Mysis, Mysis! even at this hour,

Mysis. I only know

That she deserves you should remember her.

Pam. I should remember her? Oh, Mysis, Mysis!

The words of Chrysis touching my Glycerium

Are written in my heart. On her death-bed

She call’d me. I approach’d her. You retir’d.

We were alone; and Chrysis thus began:

“My Pamphilus, you see the youth and beauty

Of this unhappy maid: and well you know,

These are but feeble guardians to preserve

Her fortune or her fame. By this right hand

I do beseech you, by your better angel,

By your tried faith, by her forlorn condition,

I do conjure you, put her not away,

Nor leave her to distress. If I have ever,

As my own brother, lov’d you; or if she

Has ever held you dear ’bove all the world,

And ever shown obedience to your will——

I do bequeath you to her as a husband,


Friend, Guardian, Father: all our little wealth

To you I leave, and trust it to your care.”——

She join’d our hands, and died.—I did receive her,

And once receiv’d will keep her.

Mysis. So we trust.

Pam. What make you from her?

Mysis. Going for a midwife.


Pam. Haste then! and hark, be sure take special heed,

You mention not a word about the marriage,

Lest this too give her pain.

Mysis. I understand.




Charinus, Byrrhia.

Char. How, Byrrhia? Is she to be married, say you,

To Pamphilus to-day?

Byr. ’Tis even so.

Char. How do you know?

Byr. I had it even now

From Davus at the Forum.


Char. Woe is me!

Then I’m a wretch indeed: till now my mind

Floated ’twixt hope and fear: now, hope remov’d,

Stunn’d, and o’erwhelm’d, it sinks beneath its cares.

Byr. Nay, prithee master, since the thing you wish

Can not be had, e’en wish for that which may!

Char. I wish for nothing but Philumena.

Byr. Ah, how much wiser were it, that you strove


To quench this passion, than, with words like these

To fan the fire, and blow it to a flame?

Char. How readily do men at ease prescribe

To those who’re sick at heart! distress’d like me,

You would not talk thus.

Byr. Well, well, as you please.

Char. Ha! I see Pamphilus. I can resolve

On any thing, e’er give up all for lost.

Byr. What now?

Char. I will entreat him, beg, beseech him,

Tell him our course of love, and thus, perhaps,

At least prevail upon him to defer

His marriage some few days: meanwhile, I hope,

Something may happen.


Byr. Aye, that something’s nothing.

Char. Byrrhia, what think you? Shall I speak to him?

Byr. Why not? for though you don’t obtain your suit,

He will at least imagine you’re prepar’d

To cuckold him, in case he marries her.

Char. Away, you hang-dog, with your base suspicions!


Enter Pamphilus.

Pam. Charinus, save you!

Char. Save you, Pamphilus!

Imploring comfort, safety, help, and counsel,

You see me now before you.


Pam. Help, and counsel!

I can afford you neither.—But what mean you?

Pam. I do lack

Myself both help and counsel—But what mean you?

Char. Is this your wedding-day?

Pam. Aye, so they say.

Char. Ah, Pamphilus, if so, this day

You see the last of me.

Pam. How so?

Char. Ah me!

I dare not speak it: prithee tell him, Byrrhia.

Byr. Aye, that I will.

Pam. What is’t?

Byr. He is in love

With your bride, Sir.


Pam. I’ faith so am not I.

Tell me, Charinus, has aught further passed

’Twixt you and her?

Char. Ah, no, no.

Pam. Would there had!

Char. Now by our friendship, by my love I beg

You would not marry her.——

Pam. I will endeavor.

Char. If that’s impossible, or if this match

Be grateful to your heart——

Pam. My heart!

Char. At least

Defer it some few days; while I depart,

That I may not behold it.

Pam. Hear, Charinus;

It is, I think, scarce honesty in him

To look for thanks, who means no favor. I

Abhor this marriage, more than you desire it.

Char. You have reviv’d me.

Pam. Now if you, or he,

Your Byrrhia here, can do or think of aught;

Act, plot, devise, invent, strive all you can

To make her yours; and I’ll do all I can

That she may not be mine.


Char. Enough.

Pam. I see

Davus, and in good time: for he’ll advise

What’s best to do.

Char. But you, you sorry rogue, (To Byrrhia)

Can give me no advice, nor tell me aught,

But what it is impertinent to know.

Hence, Sirrah, get you gone!

Byr. With all my heart.



Enter Davus hastily.

Davus. Good Heav’ns, what news I bring! what joyful news!


But where shall I find Pamphilus, to drive

His fears away, and make him full of joy?

Char. There’s something pleases him.

Pam. No matter what.

He has not heard of our ill fortune yet.

Davus. And he, I warrant, if he has been told

Of his intended wedding——

Char. Do you hear?

Davus. Poor soul, is running all about the town

In quest of me. But whither shall I go?

Or which way run?

Char. Why don’t you speak to him?


Davus. I’ll go.

Pam. Ho! Davus! Stop, come here!

Davus. Who calls?

O, Pamphilus! the very man.—Heyday!

Charinus too!—Both gentlemen, well met!

I’ve news for both.

Pam. I’m ruin’d, Davus.

Davus. Hear me!

Pam. Undone!

Davus. I know your fears.

Char. My life’s at stake.

Davus. Yours I know also.

Pam. Matrimony mine.

Davus. I know it.

Pam. But to-day.

Davus. You stun me; plague!

I tell you I know ev’ry thing: you fear (To Charinus.)

You should not marry her.—You fear you should. (To Pam.)

Char. The very thing.

Pam. The same.

Davus. And yet that same

Is nothing. Mark!

Pam. Nay, rid me of my fear.

Davus. I will then. Chremes don’t intend his daughter

Shall marry you to-day.

Pam. No! How d’ye know?

Davus. I will then. Chremes

Won’t give his daughter to you.

Pam. How d’ye know?

Davus. I’m sure of it. Your Father but just now


Takes me aside, and tells me ’twas his will

That you should wed to-day; with much beside,

Which now I have not leisure to repeat.

I, on the instant, hastening to find you,

Run to the Forum to inform you of it:

There, failing, climb an eminence, look round:

No Pamphilus: I light by chance on Byrrhia;

Inquire; he hadn’t seen you. Vex’d at heart,

What’s to be done? thought I. Returning thence

A doubt arose within me. Ha! bad cheer,

The old man melancholy, and a wedding

Clapp’d up so suddenly! This don’t agree.


Pam. Well, what then?

Davus. I betook me instantly

To Chremes’ house; but thither when I came,

Before the door all hush. This tickled me.

Pam. You’re in the right. Proceed.

Davus. I watch’d a while:

Meantime no soul went in, no soul came out;


No matron; in the house no ornament;

No note of preparation. I approach’d,

Look’d in——

Pam. I understand: a potent sign!

Davus. Does this seem like a nuptial?

Pam. I think not,


Davus. Think not, d’ye say? you don’t conceive:

The thing is evident. I met beside,

As I departed thence, with Chremes’ boy,

Bearing some pot-herbs, and a pennyworth

Of little fishes for the old man’s dinner.

Char. I am deliver’d, Davus, by your means,

From all my apprehensions of to-day.

Davus. And yet you are undone.

Char. How so? Since Chremes

Will not consent to give Philumena

To Pamphilus.

Davus. Ridiculous! As if,

Because the daughter is denied to him,

She must of course wed you. Look to it well;

Court the old Gentleman through friends, apply,

Or else——


Char. You’re right: I will about it straight,

Although that hope has often fail’d. Farewell.



Pamphilus. Davus.

Pam. What means my father then? Why counterfeit?

Davus. That I’ll explain. If he were angry now,

Merely that Chremes has refus’d his daughter,

He’d think himself in fault; and justly too,

Before the bias of your mind is known.

But granting you refuse her for a wife,

Then all the blame devolves on you, and then

Comes all the storm.

Pam. What course then shall I take?

Shall I submit——

Davus. He is your Father, Sir,

Whom to oppose were difficult; and then

Glycerium’s a lone woman; and he’ll find

Some course, no matter what, to drive her hence.

Pam. To drive her hence?

Davus. Directly.


Pam. Tell me then,

Oh tell me, Davus, what were best to do?

Davus. Say that you’ll marry!


Pam. How!

Davus. And where’s the harm?

Pam. Say that I’ll marry!

Davus. Why not?

Pam. Never, never.

Davus. Do not refuse!

Pam. Persuade not!

Davus. Do but mark

The consequence.

Pam. Divorcement from Glycerium.

And marriage with the other.

Davus. No such thing.

Your father, I suppose, accosts you thus.

I’d have you wed to-day;—I will, quoth you:

What reason has he to reproach you then?

Thus shall you baffle all his settled schemes,

And put him to confusion; all the while

Secure yourself: for ’tis beyond a doubt

That Chremes will refuse his daughter to you;


So obstinately too, you need not pause,

Or change these measures, lest he change his mind;

Say to your father then, that you will wed,

That, with the will, he may want cause to chide.

But if, deluded by fond hopes, you cry,

“No one will wed their daughter to a rake,

A libertine.”—Alas, you’re much deceiv’d.

For know, your father will redeem some wretch

From rags and beggary to be your wife,

Rather than see your ruin with Glycerium.

But if he thinks you bear an easy mind,

He too will grow indiff’rent, and seek out

Another match at leisure; the mean while

Affairs may take a lucky turn.

Pam. D’ye think so?

Davus. Beyond all doubt.

Pam. See, what you lead me to.

Davus. Nay, peace!

Pam. I’ll say so then. But have a care

He knows not of the child, which I’ve agreed

To educate.

Davus. O confidence!

Pam. She drew

This promise from me, as a firm assurance

That I would not forsake her.

Davus. We’ll take care.

But here’s your father: let him not perceive

You’re melancholy.

382 39

Enter Simo at a distance.

Simo. I return to see

What they’re about, or what they meditate.

Davus. Now is he sure that you’ll refuse to wed.

From some dark corner brooding o’er black thoughts

He comes, and fancies he has fram’d a speech

To disconcert you. See, you keep your ground.

Pam. If I can, Davus.

Davus. Trust me, Pamphilus,

Your father will not change a single word

In anger with you, do but say you’ll wed.


Enter Byrrhia behind.

Byr. To-day my master bade me leave all else

For Pamphilus, and watch how he proceeds,

About his marriage; wherefore I have now

Followed the old man hither: yonder too


Stands Pamphilus himself, and with him Davus.

To business then!

Simo. I see them both together.

Davus. Now mind. (Apart to Pam.)

Simo. Here, Pamphilus!

Davus. Now turn about,

As taken unawares. (Apart.)

Pam. Who calls? my father!

Davus. Well said! (Apart.)

Pam. Who calls? my father! (Apart.)

Simo. It is my pleasure, that to-day,

As I have told you once before, you marry.

Davus. Now on our part, I fear what he’ll reply. (Aside.)

Pam. In that, and all the rest of your commands,

I shall be ready to obey you, Sir!

Byr. How’s that! (Overhearing.)

Davus. Struck dumb. (Aside.)

Byr. What said he? (Listening.)

Simo. You perform

Your duty, when you cheerfully comply

With my desires.

Davus. There! said I not the truth? (Apart to Pam.)


Byr. My master then, so far as I can find,

May whistle for a wife.

Simo. Now then go in

That when you’re wanted you be found.

Pam. I go.


Byr. Is there no faith in the affairs of men?

’Tis an old saying and a true one too;

“Of all mankind each loves himself the best.”


I’ve seen the lady; know her beautiful;

And therefore sooner pardon Pamphilus,

If he had rather win her to his arms,

Than yield her to th’ embraces of my master.

I will go bear these tidings, and receive

Much evil treatment for my evil news.



Manent Simo and Davus.

Davus. Now he supposes I’ve some trick in hand,

And loiter here to practice it on him!

Simo. Well, what now, Davus?

Davus. Nothing.

Simo. Nothing, say you?

Davus. Nothing at all.

Simo. And yet I look’d for something.

Davus. So, I perceive, you did:—This nettles him. (Aside.)

Simo. Can you speak truth?

Davus. Most easily.

Simo. Say then,

Is not this wedding irksome to my son,

From his adventure with the Andrian?

Davus. No faith; or if at all, ’twill only be

Two or three days’ anxiety, you know;


Then ’twill be over: for he sees the thing

In its true light.

Simo. I praise him for’t.

Davus. While you

Restrain’d him not; and while his youth allow’d

’Tis true he lov’d; but even then by stealth,

’Tis true he lov’d; and even then by stealth,

As wise men ought, and careful of his fame.

Now his age calls for matrimony, now

To matrimony he inclines his mind.

Simo. Yet, in my eyes, he seem’d a little sad.

Davus. Not upon that account. He has he thinks

Another reason to complain of you.

Simo. For what?

Davus. A trifle.

Simo. Well, what is’t?

Davus. Nay, nothing.

Simo. Tell me, what is’t?

Davus. You are then, he complains,

Somewhat too sparing of expense.

Simo. I?

Davus. You.

A feast of scarce ten Drachms? Does this, says he,

Look like a wedding-supper for his son?

What friends can I invite? especially


At such a time as this?—and, truly, Sir,

You have been very frugal; much too sparing.


I can’t commend you for it.

Simo. Hold your peace.

Davus. I’ve ruffled him. (Aside.)

Simo. I’ll look to that. Away!

Exit Davus.

What now? What means the varlet? Precious rogue,

For if there’s any knavery on foot,

He, I am sure, is the contriver on’t.





Simo, Davus, coming out of Simo’s house.—Mysis, Lesbia, going toward the house of Glycerium.

Mysis. Aye, marry, ’tis as you say, Lesbia:

Women scarce ever find a constant man.

Simo. The Andrian’s maid-servant! Is’t not?

Davus. Aye.

Mysis. But Pamphilus——

Simo. What says she? (Overhearing.)

Mysis. Has been true.

Simo. How’s that? (Overhearing.)

Davus. Would he were deaf, or she were dumb! (Aside.)

Mysis. For the child, boy, or girl, he has resolv’d

To educate.

Simo. O Jupiter! what’s this

I hear? If this be true, I’m lost indeed.

Lesbia. A good young Gentleman!

Mysis. Oh, very good.

But in, in, lest you make her wait.

Lesbia. I follow.

Exeunt Mysis and Lesbia.


Manent Simo, Davus.

Davus. Unfortunate! What remedy! (Aside.)

Simo. How’s this? (To himself.)

And can he be so mad? What! educate

A harlot’s child!—Ah, now I know their drift:

Fool that I was, scarce smelt it out at last.

Davus (listening). What’s this he says he has smelt out?

Simo. Imprimis, (To himself.)

’Tis this rogue’s trick upon me. All a sham:

A counterfeit deliv’ry, and mock labor,

Devis’d to frighten Chremes from the match.


Gly. (within). Juno Lucina, save me! Help, I pray thee.


Simo. Heyday! Already! Oh ridiculous!

Soon as she heard that I was at the door


She hastens to cry out: your incidents

Are ill-tim’d, Davus.

Davus. Mine, Sir?

Simo. Are your players

Unmindful of their cues, and want a prompter?

Davus. I do not comprehend you.

Simo (apart.) If this knave

Had, in the real nuptial of my son,

Come thus upon me unprepar’d, what sport,

What scorn he’d have exposed me to? But now

At his own peril be it. I’m secure.


Re-enter Lesbia.Archyllis appears at the door.

Lesbia to Archyllis (within). As yet, Archyllis, all the symptoms seem

As good as might be wish’d in her condition:

First, let her make ablution: after that,

Drink what I’ve order’d her, and just so much:

And presently I will be here again. (Coming forward.)

Now, by this good day, Master Pamphilus

Has got a chopping boy: Heav’n grant it live!

For he’s a worthy Gentleman, and scorn’d

To do a wrong to this young innocent.



Manent Simo, Davus.

Simo. This too where’s he that knows you would not swear

Was your contrivance?

Davus. My contrivance! what, Sir?

Simo. While in the house, forsooth, the midwife gave

No orders for the Lady in the straw:

But having issued forth into the street,


Bawls out most lustily to those within.

—Oh Davus, am I then so much your scorn?

Seem I so proper to be play’d upon,

With such a shallow, barefac’d, imposition?

You might at least, in reverence, have us’d

Some spice of art, wer’t only to pretend

You fear’d my anger, should I find you out.

Davus. I’ faith now he deceives himself, not I. (Aside.)

Simo. Did not I give you warning? threaten too,

In case you play’d me false? But all in vain:

For what car’d you?—What! think you I believe

This story of a child by Pamphilus?

Davus. I see his error: Now I know my game. (Aside.)

Simo. Why don’t you answer?


Davus. What! you don’t believe it!

As if you had not been informed of this? (Archly.)

Simo. Inform’d?

Davus. What then you found it out yourself?

Simo. I been inform’d?

Davus. What then you found it out? (Archly.)

Simo. D’ye laugh at me?

Davus. You must have been inform’d:

Or whence this shrewd suspicion?

Simo. Whence! from you:

Because I know you.

Davus. Meaning, this was done

By my advice?

Simo. Beyond all doubt; I know it:

Davus. You do not know me, Simo.——


Simo. I not know you?

Davus. For if I do but speak, immediately

You think yourself impos’d on.——

Simo. Falsely, hey?

Davus. So that I dare not ope my lips before you.

Simo. All that I know is this; that nobody

Has been deliver’d here.

Davus. You’ve found it out?

Yet by-and-by they’ll bring the bantling here,

And lay it at our door. Remember, Sir,

I give you warning that will be the case;

That you may stand prepar’d, nor after say,

’Twas done by Davus’s advice, his tricks!

I would fain cure your ill opinion of me.

Simo. But how d’ye know?

Davus. I’ve heard so, and believe so.

Besides a thousand different things concur

To lead to this conjecture. First, Glycerium

Profess’d herself with child by Pamphilus:

That proves a falsehood. Now as she perceives

A nuptial preparation at our house,

A maid’s immediately dispatch’d to bring

Davus. I’ve heard so, and believe so.

Besides a thousand things concur to lead

To this conjecture. In the first place, she

Profess’d herself with child by Pamphilus:

That proves a falsehood. Now that she perceives

A nuptial preparation at our house,

A maid’s dispatch’d immediately to bring


A midwife to her, and withal a child;

You too they will contrive shall see the child,

Or else the wedding must proceed.

Simo. How’s this?

Having discover’d such a plot on foot,

Why did you not directly tell my son?

Davus. Who then has drawn him from her but myself?

For we all know how much he doted on her:

But now he wishes for a wife. In fine,

Leave that affair to me; and you meanwhile

Pursue, as you’ve begun, the nuptials; which

The Gods, I hope, will prosper!

Simo. Get you in.

Wait for me there, and see that you prepare

What’s requisite.

Exit Davus.

He has not wrought upon me


To yield implicit credit to his tale,

Nor do I know if all he said be true.

But, true or false, it matters not: to me

My Son’s own promise is the main concern.

Now to meet Chremes, and to beg his daughter

In marriage with my son. If I succeed,

What can I rather wish, than to behold

Their marriage-rites to-day? For since my son

Has given me his word, I’ve not a doubt,


Should he refuse, but I may force him to it:

And to my wishes see where Chremes comes.


Enter Chremes.

Simo. Chremes, good-day!

Chremes. The very man I look’d for.

Simo. And I for you.

Chremes. Well met.—Some persons came

To tell me you inform’d them, that my daughter

Was to be married to your son to-day:

And therefore came I here, and fain would know

Whether ’tis you or they have lost their wits.

Simo. A moment’s hearing; you shall be inform’d,

What I request, and what you wish to know.

Chremes. I hear: what would you? speak.

Simo. Now by the Gods;

Now by our friendship, Chremes, which begun

In infancy, has still increas’d with age;

Now by your only daughter, and my son,

Whose preservation wholly rests on you;


Let me entreat this boon: and let the match

Which should have been, still be.

Chremes. Why, why entreat?

Knowing you ought not to beseech this of me.

Think you that I am other than I was,

When first I gave my promise? If the match

Be good for both, e’en call them forth to wed.

But if their union promises more harm

Than good to both, you also, I beseech you,

Consult our common interest, as if

You were her father, Pamphilus my son.

Simo. E’en in that spirit, I desire it, Chremes,

Entreat it may be done; nor would entreat,

But that occasion urges.

Chremes. What occasion?

Simo. A diff’rence ’twixt Glycerium and my son.

Chremes. I hear. (Ironically.)

Simo. A breach so wide as gives me hopes

To sep’rate them forever.


Chremes. Idle tales!

Simo. Indeed ’tis thus.

Chremes. Aye marry, thus it is.

Quarrels of lovers but renew their love.

Simo. Prevent we then, I pray, this mischief now;

While time permits, while yet his passion’s sore

From contumelies; ere these women’s wiles,

Their wicked arts, and tears made up of fraud


Shake his weak mind, and melt it to compassion.

Give him a wife: by intercourse with her,

Knit by the bonds of wedlock, soon I hope,

He’ll rise above the guilt that sinks him now.

Chremes. So you believe: for me, I can not think

That he’ll be constant, or that I can bear it.

Simo. How can you know, unless you make the trial?

Chremes. Aye, but to make that trial on a daughter

Is hard indeed.

Simo. The mischief, should he fail,

Is only this: divorce, which Heav’n forbid!

But mark what benefits if he amend!

First, to your friend you will restore a son;

Gain to yourself a son-in-law, and match

Your daughter to an honest husband.

Chremes. Well!

Since you’re so thoroughly convinc’d ’tis right,

I can deny you naught that lies in me.

Simo. I see I ever lov’d you justly, Chremes.

Chremes. But then——

Simo. But what?

Chremes. From whence are you appriz’d

Chremes. Whence is’t you know

That there’s a difference between them?

Simo. Davus,

Davus, in all their secrets, told me so;

Advis’d me too, to hasten on the match

As fast as possible. Would he, d’ye think,


Do that, unless he were full well assur’d

My son desir’d it too?—Hear, what he says.

Ho there! call Davus forth.—But here he comes.


Enter Davus.

Davus. I was about to seek you.

Simo. What’s the matter?

Davus. Why is not the bride sent for? it grows late.

Simo. D’ye hear him?—Davus, I for some time past

Was fearful of you; lest, like other slaves,

As slaves go now, you should put tricks upon me,

And baffle me, to favor my son’s love.

Davus. I, Sir?


Simo. I thought so: and in fear of that

Conceal’d a secret which I’ll now disclose.

Davus. What secret, Sir?

Simo. I’ll tell you: for I now

Almost begin to think you may be trusted.

Davus. You’ve found what sort of man I am at last.

Simo. No marriage was intended.

Davus. How! none!

Simo. None.

All counterfeit, to sound my son and you.

Davus. How say you?

Simo. Even so.


Davus. Alack, alack!

I never could have thought it. Ah, what art! (Archly.)

Simo. Hear me. No sooner had I sent you in.

But opportunely I encountered Chremes.

Davus. How! are we ruin’d then? (Aside.)

Simo. I told him all.

That you had just told me,——

Davus. Confusion! how? (Aside.)

Simo. Begged him to grant his daughter, and at length

With much ado prevail’d.

Davus. Undone! (Aside.)

Simo. How’s that? (Overhearing.)

Davus. Well done! I said.

Simo. My good friend Chremes then

Is now no obstacle.

Chremes. I’ll home a while,

Order due preparations, and return.


Simo. Prithee, now, Davus, seeing you alone

Have brought about this match——

Davus. Yes, I alone.

Simo. Endeavor farther to amend my son.

Davus. Most diligently.

Simo. It were easy now,

While his mind’s irritated.

Davus. Be at peace.


Simo. Do then: where is he?

Davus. Probably at home.

Simo. I’ll in, and tell him, what I’ve now told you.



Davus alone.

Lost and undone! To prison with me straight!

No prayer, no plea: for I have ruin’d all!

Deceiv’d the old man, hamper’d Pamphilus

With marriage; marriage, brought about to-day

By my sole means; beyond the hopes of one;

Against the other’s will.——Oh, cunning fool!


Had I been quiet, all had yet been well.

But see, he’s coming. Would my neck were broken! (Retires.)


Enter Pamphilus; Davus behind.

Pam. Where is this villain that has ruined me?

Davus. I’m a lost man.

Pam. And yet I must confess,

That I deserv’d this, being such a dolt,

A very idiot, to commit my fortunes

To a vile slave. I suffer for my folly,


But will at least take vengeance upon him.

Davus. Let me but once escape the present danger,

I’ll answer for hereafter.

But will at least take vengeance on him.

Davus. If I can but escape this mischief now,

I’ll answer for hereafter.

Pam. To my father

What shall I say?—And can I then refuse,

Who have but now consented? with what face?

I know not what to do.

Davus. I’faith, nor I;

And yet it takes up all my thoughts. I’ll tell him

I’ve hit on something to delay the match.

Pam. Oh! (Seeing Davus.)

Davus. I am seen.

Pam. So, good Sir! What say you?

See, how I’m hamper’d with your fine advice.

Davus (coming forward). But I’ll deliver you.

Pam. Deliver me?

Davus. Certainly, Sir.

Pam. What, as you did just now?

Davus. Better, I hope.

Pam. And can you then believe

That I would trust you, rascal? You amend

My broken fortunes, or redeem them lost?

You, who to-day, from the most happy state,

Have thrown me upon marriage.—Did not I

Foretell it would be thus?

Davus. You did indeed.


Pam. And what do you deserve for this?

Davus. The gallows.

—Yet suffer me to take a little breath,

I’ll devise something presently.

Pam. Alas,


I have not leisure for your punishment.

The time demands attention to myself,

Nor will be wasted in revenge on you.

391 62



Charinus alone.

Is this to be believ’d, or to be told?

Can then such inbred malice live in man,

To joy in ill, and from another’s woes

To draw his own delight?—Ah, is’t then so?

—Yes, such there are, the meanest of mankind,

Who, from a sneaking bashfulness, at first

Dare not refuse; but when the time comes on

To make their promise good, then force perforce

Open themselves and fear: yet must deny.

Then too, oh shameless impudence, they cry,

“Who then are you? and what are you to me?

Why should I render up my love to you?

Faith, neighbor, charity begins at home.”

—Speak of their broken faith, they blush not, they,

Now throwing off that shame they ought to wear,

Which they before assum’d without a cause.


—What shall I do? go to him? on my wrongs

Expostulate, and throw reproaches on him?

What will that profit, say you?——very much.

I shall at least imbitter his delight,

And gratify my anger.


To him Pamphilus and Davus.

Pam. Oh, Charinus,

By my imprudence, unless Heav’n forefend,

I’ve ruin’d both myself and you.

Char. Imprudence!

Paltry evasion! you have broke your faith.

Pam. What now?

Char. And do you think that words like these

Can baffle me again?

Pam. What means all this?

Char. Soon as I told you of my passion for her,

Then she had charms for you.——Ah, senseless fool,

To judge your disposition by my own!

Pam. You are mistaken.

Char. Was your joy no joy,

Without abusing a fond lover’s mind,

Fool’d on with idle hopes?—Well, take her.

Pam. Take her?

Alas, you know not what a wretch I am:

How many cares this slave has brought upon me,

My rascal here.

392 64

Char. No wonder if he takes

Example from his master.

Pam. Ah, you know not

Me, or my love, or else you would not talk thus.

Char. Oh yes, I know it all. You had but now

A dreadful altercation with your father:

And therefore he’s enrag’d, nor could prevail

On you, forsooth, to wed. (Ironically.)

Pam. To show you then,

How little you conceive of my distress,

These nuptials were mere semblance, mock’ry all,

Nor was a wife intended me.

Char. I know it:

You are constrain’d, poor man, by inclination.

Pam. Nay, but have patience! you don’t know——

Char. I know

That you’re to marry her.

Pam. Why rack me thus?

Nay hear! he never ceas’d to importune

That I would tell my father, I would wed;

So press’d, and urg’d, that he at length prevail’d.

Char. Who did this?

Pam. Davus.

Char. Davus!

Pam. Davus all.

Char. Wherefore?

Pam. I know not: but I know the Gods


Meant in their anger I should listen to him.

Char. Is it so, Davus?

Davus. Even so.

Char. How, villain?

The Gods confound you for it!—Tell me, wretch

Had all his most inveterate foes desir’d

To throw him on this marriage, what advice

Could they have given else?

Davus. I am deceiv’d,

But not dishearten’d.

Char. True. (Ironically.)

Davus. This way has fail’d;

We’ll try another way: unless you think

Because the business has gone ill at first,

We can not graft advantage on misfortune.

Pam. Oh aye, I warrant you, if you look to ’t,

Out of one wedding you can work me two.

Davus. Pamphilus, ’tis my duty, as your slave,

To strive with might and main, by day and night

With hazard of my life, to do you service:

’Tis yours, if I am cross’d, to pardon me.

My undertakings fail indeed, but then

I spare no pains. Do better, if you can,

And send me packing.


Pam. Aye, with all my heart:

Place me but where you found me first.

Davus. I will.


Pam. But do it instantly.

Davus. Hist! hold a while:

I hear the creaking of Glycerium’s door.

Pam. Nothing to you.

Davus. I’m thinking.

Pam. What, at last?

Davus. Your business shall be done, and presently.


Enter Mysis.

Mysis to Glycerium (within). Be where he will, I’ll find your Pamphilus,

And bring him with me. Meanwhile, you, my soul,

Forbear to vex yourself.

Pam. Mysis!

Mysis. Who’s there?

Oh Pamphilus, well met, Sir!

Pam. What’s the matter?

Mysis. My mistress, by the love you bear her, begs


Your presence instantly. She longs to see you.

Pam. Ah, I’m undone: This sore breaks out afresh.

Unhappy that we are, through your curs’d means,

To be tormented thus. (To Davus.)—She has been told

A nuptial is prepar’d and therefore sends.

Char. From which how safe you were, had he been quiet! (Pointing to Davus.)

Davus. Aye, if he raves not of himself enough,

Do, irritate him. (To Charinus.)

Mysis. Truly that’s the cause;

And therefore ’tis, poor soul, she sorrows thus.

Pam. Mysis, I swear to thee by all the Gods,

I never will desert her: though assur’d

That I for her make all mankind my foes.

I sought her, carried her: our hearts are one,

And farewell they that wish us put asunder!

Death, naught but death shall part us.

Mysis. I revive.

Pam. Apollo’s oracles are not more true.

If that my father may be wrought upon,


To think I hinder’d not the match, ’tis well:

But if that can not be, come what come may,

Why let him know, ’twas I—What think you now? (To Charinus.)

Char. That we are wretches both.

Davus. My brain ’s at work.

Char. O brave!


Pam. I know what you’d attempt.

Davus. Well, well!

I will effect it for you.

Pam. Aye, but now.

Davus. E’en now.

Char. What is’t?

Davus. For him, Sir, not for you.

Be not mistaken.

Char. I am satisfied.

Pam. Say, what do you propose?

Davus. This day, I fear,

Is scarce sufficient for the execution,

So think not I have leisure to relate.

Hence then! you hinder me: hence, hence I say.

Pam. I’ll to Glycerium.


Davus. Well, and what mean you?

Whither will you, Sir?

Char. Shall I speak the truth?

Davus. Oh to be sure: now for a tedious tale!

Char. What will become of me?


Davus. How! not content!

Is it not then sufficient, if I give you

The respite of a day, a little day,

By putting off his wedding?

Char. Aye, but Davus,——

Davus. But what?

Char. That I may wed——

Davus. Ridiculous!

Char. If you succeed, come to me.

Davus. Wherefore come?

I can’t assist you.

Char. Should it so fall out——

Davus. Well, well, I’ll come.

Char. If aught, I am at home.



Manent Davus, Mysis.

Davus. Mysis, wait here till I come forth.

Mysis. For what?

Davus. It must be so.

Mysis. Make haste then.

Davus. In a moment.

Exit to Glycerium’s.


Mysis alone.

Can we securely then count nothing ours?

Oh all ye Gods! I thought this Pamphilus

The greatest good my mistress could obtain,


Friend, lover, husband, ev’ry way a blessing:

And yet what woe, poor wretch, endures she not

On his account? Alas, more ill than good.

But here comes Davus.


Re-enter Davus with the child.

Mysis. Prithee, man, what now?

Where are you carrying the child?

Davus. Oh, Mysis,

Now have I need of all your ready wit,

And all your cunning.

Mysis. What are you about?

Davus. Quick, take the boy, and lay him at our door.

Mysis. What, on the bare ground?

Davus. From the altar then


Take herbs and strew them underneath.

Mysis. And why

Can’t you do that yourself?

Davus. Because, supposing

There should be need to swear to my old master

I did not lay the bantling there myself

I may with a safe conscience.

Mysis. I conceive.

Davus. Because, that if

My master chance to put me to my oath

That ’twas not I who laid it there, I may

With a safe conscience swear. (Gives her the child.)

Mysis. I understand.

But pray how came this sudden qualm upon you?

Davus. Nay, but be quick, that you may comprehend

What I propose.— (Mysis lays the child at Simo’s door.)

Oh Jupiter! (Looking out.)

Mysis. What now?

Davus. Here comes the father of the bride!—I change

My first-intended purpose.


Mysis. What you mean

I can’t imagine.

Davus. This way from the right,

I’ll counterfeit to come:—And be’t your care

To throw in aptly now and then a word,

To help out the discourse as need requires.

Mysis. Still what you’re at, I can not comprehend.

But if I can assist, as you know best,

Not to obstruct your purposes, I’ll stay. (Davus retires.)


Enter Chremes going toward Simo’s.

Chremes. Having provided all things necessary.

I now return to bid them call the bride.

What’s here? (seeing the child) by Hercules, a child! Ha, woman,

Was’t you that laid it here?


Mysis. Where is he gone? (Looking after Davus.)

Chremes. What, won’t you answer me?

Mysis. (Looking about.) Not here: Ah me!

The fellow’s gone, and left me in the lurch.

Davus coming forward and pretending not to see them.

Davus. Good Heavens, what confusion at the Forum!

The people all disputing with each other!

The market-price is so confounded high. (Loud.)

What to say else I know not. (Aside.)


Mysis (to Davus). What d’ye mean,

Chremes retires and listens to their conversation.

By leaving me alone?

Davus. What farce is this?

Ha, Mysis, whence this child? Who brought it here?

Mysis. Have you your wits, to ask me such a question?

Davus. Whom should I ask, when no one else is here?

Chremes (behind). I wonder whence it comes. (To himself.)

Davus. Wilt answer me! (Loud.)

Mysis. Ah! (Confused.)

Davus. This way to the right! (Apart to Mysis.)

Mysis. You’re raving mad.

Was ’t not yourself!

Davus. I charge you not a word,

But what I ask you. (Apart to Mysis.)

Mysis. Do you threaten me?

Davus. Whence comes this child? (Loud.)

Mysis. From our house.

Davus. Ha! ha! ha!


No wonder that a harlot has assurance.

Chremes. This is the Andrian’s servant-maid, I take it.

Davus. Do we then seem to you such proper folks

To play these tricks upon? (Loud to Mysis.)

Chremes. I came in time. (To himself.)

Davus. Make haste, and take your bantling from our door. (Loud.)

Hold! do not stir from where you are, be sure. (Softly.)

Mysis. A plague upon you: you so terrify me!

Davus. Wench, did I speak to you or no? (Loud.)

Mysis. What would you?

Davus. What would I? Say, whose child have you laid here?

Tell me. (Loud.)

Mysis. You don’t know?

Davus. Plague of what I know:

Tell what I ask. (Softly.)

Mysis. Yours.

Davus. Ours? Whose? (Loud.)

Mysis. Pamphilus’s.

Davus. How say you? Pamphilus’s? (Loud.)

Mysis. To be sure.

Mysis. Why is ’t not?

Chremes. I had good cause to be against this match. (To himself.)


Davus. O monstrous impudence! (Bawling.)

Mysis. Why all this noise?

Davus. Did not I see this child convey’d by stealth


Into your house last night?

Mysis. Oh rogue!

Davus. ’Tis true.

I saw old Canthara stuff’d out?

Mysis. Thank Heav’n,

Some free-women were present at her labor?

Davus. Troth, she don’t know the gentleman, for whom

She plays this game. She thinks, should Chremes see

The child laid here, he would not grant his daughter.

Faith, he would grant her the more willingly.

Chremes. Not he indeed. (To himself.)

Davus. But now, one word for all,

Take up the child; or I shall trundle him

Into the middle of the street, and roll

You, madam, in the mire.

Mysis. The fellow’s drunk.

Davus. One piece of knavery begets another:

Now, I am told, ’tis whisper’d all about,

That she’s a citizen of Athens— (Loud.)

Chremes. How!

Davus. And that by law he will be forc’d to wed her.


Mysis. Why prithee is she not a citizen?

Chremes. What a fine scrape was I within a hair

Of being drawn into! (To himself.)

Davus. What voice is that? (Turning about.)

Oh Chremes! you are come in time. Attend!

Chremes. I have heard all already.

Davus. You’ve heard all?

Chremes. Yes all, I say, from first to last.

Davus. Indeed?

Good lack, what knaveries! this lying jade

Should be dragg’d hence to torture.—This is he! (To Mysis.)

Think not ’twas Davus you impos’d upon.

Mysis. Ah me!—Good Sir, I spoke the truth indeed.

Chremes. I know the whole.—Is Simo in the house?

Davus. Yes, Sir.

Exit Chremes.


Manent Davus, Mysis. Davus runs up to her.

Mysis. Don’t offer to touch me, you villain!

If I don’t tell my mistress every word——


Davus. Why you don’t know, you fool, what good we’ve done.

Mysis. How should I?

Davus. This is father to the bride:

Nor could it otherwise have been contriv’d

That he should know what we would have him.


Mysis. Well,

You should have given me notice.

Davus. Is there then


No diff’rence, think you, whether all you say

Falls natural from the heart, or comes

From dull premeditation?


Enter Crito.

Crito. In this street

They say that Chrysis liv’d: who rather chose

To heap up riches here by wanton ways,

Than to live poor and honestly at home:

She dead, her fortune comes by law to me.


But I see persons to inquire of. (Goes up.) Save you!

Mysis. Good now, who’s that I see? is it not Crito,

Chrysis’s kinsman? Aye, the very same.

Crito. O Mysis, save you!

Mysis. Save you, Crito!

Crito. Chrysis

Is then—ha?

Mysis. Aye, she has left us, poor souls!

Crito. And ye; how go ye on here?—pretty well?

Mysis. We?—as we can, as the old saying goes,

When as we would we can not.

Crito. And Glycerium,

Has she found out her parents?

Mysis. Would she had!

Crito. Not yet! an ill wind blew me hither then.

For truly, had I been appris’d of that,

I’d ne’er have set foot here: for this Glycerium

Was always call’d and thought to be her sister.

What Chrysis left, she takes possession of:

And now for me, a stranger, to commence

A lawsuit here, how good and wise it were,


Other examples teach me. She, I warrant,

Has got her some gallant too, some defender:

For she was growing up a jolly girl

When first she journeyed hither. They will cry

That I’m a pettifogger, fortune-hunter,

A beggar.—And besides it were not well

To leave her in distress.

Mysis. Good soul! troth Crito,

You have the good old-fashion’d honesty.

Crito. Well, since I am arriv’d here, bring me to her,

That I may see her.

Mysis. Aye, with all my heart.

Davus. I will in with them: for I would not choose

That our old gentleman should see me now.


399 81



Chremes, Simo.

Chremes. Enough already, Simo, and enough

I’ve shown my friendship for you; hazarded

Enough of peril: urge me then no more!

Wishing to please you, I had near destroy’d

My daughter’s peace and happiness forever.

Simo. Ah, Chremes, I must now entreat the more,

More urge you to confirm the promis’d boon.

Chremes. Mark, how unjust you are through willfulness!

So you obtain what you demand, you set

No bounds to my compliance, nor consider

What you request; for if you did consider,

You’d cease to load me with these injuries.

Simo. What injuries?

Chremes. Is that a question now?

Have you not driven me to plight my child

To one possess’d with other love, averse

To marriage; to expose her to divorce,

And crazy nuptials; by her woe and bane


To work a cure for your distemper’d son?

You had prevail’d: I travel’d in the match,

While circumstances would admit; but now

The case is chang’d, content you:—It is said

That she’s a citizen; a child is born:

Prithee excuse us!

Simo. Now, for Heav’n’s sake.

Believe not them, whose interest it is

To make him vile and abject as themselves.

These stories are all feign’d, concerted all,

To break the match: when the occasion’s past

That urges them to this, they will desist.

Chremes. Oh, you mistake: e’en now I saw the maid

Wrangling with Davus.

Simo. Artifice! mere trick.

Chremes. Aye, but in earnest; and when neither knew

That I was there.

Simo. It may be so: and Davus

Told me beforehand they’d attempt all this;

Though I, I know not how, forgot to tell you.


Enter Davus from Glycerium’s.

Davus (to himself). He may be easy now, I warrant him——


Chremes. See yonder’s Davus.


Simo. Ha! whence comes the rogue?

Davus. By my assistance, and this stranger’s safe. (To himself.)

Simo. What mischief’s this? (Listening.)

Davus. A more commodious man,

Arriving just in season, at a time

So critical, I never knew. (To himself.)

Simo. A knave!

Who’s that he praises? (Listening.)

Davus. All is now secure. (To himself.)

Simo. Why don’t I speak to him?

Davus. My master here! (Turning about.)

What shall I do? (To himself.)

Simo. Good Sir, your humble Servant! (Sneering.)

Davus. Oh, Simo! and our Chremes!—All is now

Prepar’d within.

Simo. You’ve taken special care. (Ironically.)

Davus. E’en call them when you please.

Simo. Oh, mighty fine!

That to be sure is all that’s wanting now.

—But tell me, Sir! what business had you there? (Pointing to Glycerium’s.)

Davus. I? (Confused.)

Simo. You?

Davus. I—? (Stammering.)

Simo. You, Sir.

Davus. I went in but now. (Disordered.)


Simo. As if I ask’d, how long it was ago.

Davus. With Pamphilus.

Simo. Is Pamphilus within?

—Oh torture.—Did not you assure me, Sirrah,

They were at variance?

Davus. So they are.

Simo. Why then

Is Pamphilus within?

Chremes. Oh, why d’ye think?

He’s gone to quarrel with her. (Sneering.)

Davus. Nay, but Chremes,

There’s more in this, and you shall hear strange news.

There’s an old countryman, I know not who,

Is just arriv’d here; confident and shrewd;

His look bespeaks him of some consequence.

A grave severity is in his face,

And credit in his words.

Simo. What story now?

Davus. Nay, nothing, Sir, but what I heard him say.

Simo. And what says he, then?

Davus. That he’s well assur’d

Glycerium’s an Athenian citizen.

Simo. Ho, Dromo! Dromo!


Davus. What now?

Simo. Dromo!


Davus. Hear me.

Simo. Speak but a word more—Dromo!

Davus. Pray, Sir, hear!


Enter Dromo.

Dromo. Your pleasure, Sir?

Simo. Here, drag him headlong in,

And truss the rascal up immediately.

Dromo. Whom?

Simo. Davus.

Davus. Why!

Simo. Because I’ll have it so.

Take him, I say.

Davus. For what offense?

Simo. Off with him!

Davus. If it appear that I’ve said aught but truth,

Put me to death.

Simo. I will not hear. I’ll trounce you.

Davus. But though it should prove true, Sir!

Simo. True or false.

See that you keep him bound: and do you hear?

Bind the slave hand and foot. Away!

Exeunt Dromo and Davus.


Manent Simo, Chremes.

—By Heav’n,

As I do live, I’ll make you know this day

What peril lies in trifling with a master,

And make him know what ’tis to plague a father.

Chremes. Ah, be not in such rage.

Simo. Oh Chremes, Chremes,

Filial unkindness!—Don’t you pity me!

To feel all this for such a thankless son!——

Here, Pamphilus, come forth! ho, Pamphilus!

Have you no shame? (Calling at Glycerium’s door.)


Enter Pamphilus.

Pam. Who calls?—Undone! my father!

Simo. What say you? Most——

Chremes. Ah, rather speak at once

Your purpose, Simo, and forbear reproach.


Simo. As if ’twere possible to utter aught

Severer than he merits!—Tell me then; (To Pam.)

Glycerium is a citizen?

Pam. They say so.


Simo. They say so!—Oh amazing impudence!——

Does he consider what he says? does he

Repent the deed? or does his color take

The hue of shame?—To be so weak of soul,

Against the custom of our citizens,

Against the law, against his father’s will,

To wed himself to shame and this vile woman.

Pam. Wretch that I am!

Simo. Ah, Pamphilus! d’ye feel

Your wretchedness at last? Then, then, when first

You wrought upon your mind at any rate

To gratify your passion: from that hour

Well might you feel your state of wretchedness.

—But why give in to this? Why torture thus,

Why vex my spirit? Why afflict my age

For his distemp’rature? Why rue his sins?

—No; let him have her, joy in her, live with her.

Pam. My father!——

Simo. How, my father!—can I think

You want this father? You that for yourself

A home, a wife, and children have acquir’d


Against your father’s will? And witnesses

Suborn’d, to prove that she’s a citizen?

—You’ve gain’d your point.

Pam. My father, but one word!

Simo. What would you say?

Chremes. Nay, hear him, Simo.

Simo. Hear him?

What must I hear then, Chremes!

Chremes. Let him speak.

Simo. Well, let him speak: I hear him.

Pam. I confess,

I love Glycerium: if it be a fault,

That too I do confess. To you, my father,

I yield myself: dispose me as you please!

Command me! Say that I shall take a wife;

Leave her; I will endure it, as I may——

This only I beseech you, think not I

Suborn’d this old man hither.—Suffer me

To clear myself, and bring him here before you.

Simo. Bring him here!

Pam. Let me, father!

Chremes. ’Tis but just:

Permit him!

Pam. Grant me this!

Simo. Well, be it so.

Exit Pamphilus.

403 89

I could bear all this bravely, Chremes; more,

Much more, to know that he deceiv’d me not.

Chremes. For a great fault a little punishment

Suffices to a father.


Re-enter Pamphilus with Crito.

Crito. Say no more!

Any of these inducements would prevail:

Or your entreaty, or that it is truth,

Or that I wish it for Glycerium’s sake.

Chremes. Whom do I see? Crito, the Andrian?


Nay certainly ’tis Crito.

Crito. Save you, Chremes!

Chremes. What has brought you to Athens?

Crito. Accident.

But is this Simo?

Chremes. Aye.

Simo. Asks he for me?

So, Sir, you say that this Glycerium

Is an Athenian citizen?

Crito. Do you

Deny it?

Simo. What then are you come prepar’d?

Crito. Prepar’d! for what?

Simo. And dare you ask for what?

Shall you go on thus with impunity?

Lay snares for inexperienc’d, lib’ral youth,

With fraud, temptation, and fair promises

Soothing their minds?——

Crito. Have you your wits?

Simo. —And then

With marriage solder up their harlot loves?

Pam. Alas, I fear the stranger will not bear this. (Aside.)

Chremes. Knew you this person, Simo, you’d not think thus:

He’s a good man.

Simo. A good man he?—To come,


Although at Athens never seen till now,

So opportunely on the wedding-day!——

Is such a fellow to be trusted, Chremes?

Pam. But that I fear my father, I could make

That matter clear to him. (Aside.)

Simo. A Sharper!

Crito. How?

Chremes. It is his humor, Crito: do not heed him.

Crito. Let him look to ’t. If he persists in saying

Whate’er he pleases, I shall make him hear

Something that may displease him.—Do I stir


In these affairs, or make them my concern?

Bear your misfortunes patiently! For me,

If I speak true or false, shall now be known.

—“A man of Athens once upon a time

Was shipwreck’d on the coast of Andros: with him

This very woman, then an infant. He

In this distress applied, it so fell out,

For help to Chrysis’ father—”


Simo. All romance.

Chremes. Let him alone.

Crito. And will he interrupt me?

Chremes. Go on.

Crito. “Now Chrysis’ father, who receiv’d him,

Was my relation. There I’ve often heard

The man himself declare, he was of Athens.

There too he died.”

Chremes. His name?

Crito. His name so quickly!—


Chremes. Amazement!

Crito. Troth, I think ’twas Phania;

But this I’m sure, he said he was of Rhamnus.

Crito. His name so quickly!— Phania.

Chremes. Amazement!

Crito. By my troth, I think ’twas Phania;

But this I’m sure, he said he was of Rhamnus.

Chremes. Oh Jupiter!

Crito. These circumstances, Chremes,

Were known to many others, then in Andros.

Chremes. Heav’n grant it may be as I wish!—Inform me,

Whose daughter, said he, was the child? his own?

Crito. No, not his own.

Chremes. Whose then?

Crito. His brother’s daughter.

Chremes. Mine, mine undoubtedly!

Crito. What say you?


Simo. How!

Pam. Hark, Pamphilus!

Simo. But why believe you this?

Chremes. That Phania was my brother.

Simo. True. I knew him.

Chremes. He, to avoid the war, departed hence:

And fearing ’twere unsafe to leave the child,

Embark’d with her in quest of me for Asia:

Since when I’ve heard no news of him till now.

Pam. I’m scarce myself, my mind is so enrapt

With fear, hope, joy, and wonder of so great,

So sudden happiness.

Simo. Indeed, my Chremes,

I heartily rejoice she’s found your daughter.

Pam. I do believe you, father.

Chremes. But one doubt

There still remains, which gives me pain.

Pam. Away

With all your doubts! you puzzle a plain cause. (Aside.)

Crito. What is that doubt?


Chremes. The name does not agree.

Crito. She had another, when a child.

Chremes. What, Crito?

Can you remember?

Crito. I am hunting for it.

Pam. Shall then his memory oppose my bliss,

When I can minister the cure myself?


No, I will not permit it—Hark you, Chremes,

The name is Pasibula.

Crito. True.

Chremes. The same.

Pam. I’ve heard it from herself a thousand times.

Simo. Chremes, I trust you will believe, we all

Rejoice at this.

Chremes. ’Fore Heaven I believe so.

Pam. And now, my father——

Simo. Peace, son! the event

Has reconcil’d me.

Pam. O thou best of fathers!

Does Chremes too confirm Glycerium mine?

Chremes. And with good cause if Simo hinder not.

Pam. Sir! (To Simo.)

Simo. Be it so.

Chremes. My daughter’s portion is

Ten talents, Pamphilus.


Pam. I am content.

Chremes. I’ll to her instantly: and prithee, Crito,

Along with me! for sure she knows me not.

Exeunt Chremes and Crito.


Simo. Why do you not give orders instantly

To bring her to our house?

Pam. Th’ advice is good.

I’ll give that charge to Davus.

Simo. It can’t be.

Pam. Why?

Simo. He has other business of his own,

Of nearer import to himself.

Pam. What business?

Simo. He’s bound.

Pam. Bound! how, Sir!

Simo. How, Sir?—neck and heels.

Pam. Ah, let him be enlarg’d.

Simo. It shall be done.

Pam. But instantly.

Simo. I’ll in, and order it.


Pam. Oh what a happy, happy day is this!

406 97

Enter Charinus behind.

Char. I come to see what Pamphilus is doing:

And there he is!

Pam. And is this true?—yes, yes,


I know ’tis true, because I wish it so.

Therefore I think the life of Gods eternal,

For that their joys are permanent: and now,

My soul hath her content so absolute,

That I too am immortal, if no ill

Step in betwixt me and this happiness.

Oh, for a bosom-friend now to pour out

My ecstasies before him!

Char. What’s this rapture? (Listening.)

Pam. Oh, yonder’s Davus: nobody more welcome:

For he, I know, will join in transport with me.


Enter Davus.

Davus (entering). Where’s Pamphilus?

Pam. Oh Davus!

Davus. Who’s there?

Pam. I.

Davus. Oh Pamphilus!

Pam. You know not my good fortune.

Davus. Do you know my ill fortune?

Pam. To a tittle.

Davus. ’Tis after the old fashion, that my ills

Should reach your ears, before your joys reach mine.

Pam. Glycerium has discover’d her relations.

Davus. O excellent!

Char. How’s that? (Listening.)

Pam. Her father is

Our most near friend.

Davus. Who?

Pam. Chremes.

Davus. Charming news!

Pam. And I’m to marry her immediately.

Char. Is this man talking in his sleep, and dreams

On what he wishes waking? (Listening.)


Pam. And moreover,

For the child, Davus——

Davus. Ah, Sir, say no more.

You’re th’ only favorite of the Gods.

Char. I’m made,

If this be true. I’ll speak to them. (Comes forward.)


Pam. Who’s there?

Charinus! oh, well met.

Char. I give you joy.

Pam. You’ve heard then——

Char. Ev’ry word: and prithee now,

In your good fortune, think upon your friend.

Chremes is now your own; and will perform

Whatever you shall ask.

Pam. I shall remember.

’Twere tedious to expect his coming forth:

Along with me then to Glycerium!

Davus, do you go home, and hasten them

To fetch her hence. Away, away!

Davus. I go.

Exeunt Pamphilus and Charinus.

Davus addressing the audience.

Wait not till they come forth: within

She’ll be betroth’d; within, if aught remains

Undone, ’twill be concluded—Clap your hands!


comic masks















Simalio, etc.







Scene, Athens.


To please the candid, give offense to none,

This, says the Poet, ever was his care:

Yet if there’s one who thinks he’s hardly censur’d,

Let him remember he was the aggressor:

He, who translating many, but not well,

On good Greek fables fram’d poor Latin plays;

He, who but lately to the public gave

The Phantom of Menander; He, who made,

In the Thesaurus, the Defendant plead


And vouch the question’d treasure to be his,

Before the Plaintiff his own title shows,

Or whence it came into his father’s tomb.

Henceforward, let him not deceive himself,

Or cry, “I’m safe, he can say naught of me.”

I charge him that he err not, and forbear

To urge me farther; for I’ve more, much more,

Which now shall be o’erlook’d, but shall be known,

If he pursue his slanders, as before.

Soon as this play, the Eunuch of Menander,

Which we are now preparing to perform,

Was purchas’d by the Ædiles, he obtain’d


Leave to examine it: and afterward

When ’twas rehears’d before the Magistrates,


“A Thief,” he cried, “no Poet gives this piece.

Yet has he not deceived us: for we know,

The Colax is an ancient comedy

Of Nævius, and of Plautus; and from thence

The Parasite and Soldier both are stolen.”

If that’s the Poet’s crime, it is a crime

Of ignorance, and not a studied theft.

Judge for yourselves! the fact is even thus.

The Colax is a fable of Menander’s;

Wherein is drawn the character of Colax

The parasite, and the vain-glorious soldier;

Which characters, he scruples not to own,

He to his Eunuch from the Greek transferr’d:


But that he knew those pieces were before

Made Latin, that he steadfastly denies.


Yet if to other Poets ’tis not lawful

To draw the characters our fathers drew,

How can it then be lawful to exhibit

Slaves running to and fro; to represent

Good matrons, wanton harlots; or to show

An eating parasite, vain-glorious soldier,

Supposititious children, bubbled dotards,

Or love, or hate, or jealousy?—In short,

Nothing’s said now but has been said before.

Weigh then these things with candor, and forgive

The Moderns, if what Ancients did, they do.

Attend, and list in silence to our play,

That ye may know what ’tis the Eunuch means.




Enter Phædria and Parmeno.

Phæd. And what then shall I do? not go? not now?

When she herself invites me? or were’t best

Fashion my mind no longer to endure

These harlots’ impudence?—Shut out! recall’d!

Shall I return? No, not if she implore me.

Par. Oh brave! oh excellent! if you maintain it!

But if you try, and can’t go through with spirit,

And finding you can’t bear it, uninvited,

Your peace unmade, all of your own accord,

You come and swear you love, and can’t endure it,


Good-night! all’s over! ruin’d and undone


She’ll jilt you, when she sees you in her pow’r.

Phæd. You then, in time consider and advise!

Par. Master! the thing which hath not in itself

Or measure or advice, advice can’t rule.

In love are all these ills: suspicions, quarrels,

Wrongs, reconcilements, war, and peace again:

Things thus uncertain, if by reason’s rules

You’d certain make, it were as wise a task

To try with reason to run mad. And now

What you in anger meditate—I her?

That him?—that me? that would not—pardon me!

I would die rather: No! she shall perceive

How much I am a man.—Big words like these,

She in good faith with one false tiny drop,

Which, after grievous rubbing, from her eyes


Can scarce perforce be squeez’d, shall overcome.

Nay, she shall swear, ’twas you in fault, not she;

You too shall own th’ offense, and pray for pardon.

Phæd. Oh monstrous! monstrous! now indeed I see

How false she is, and what a wretch I am!

Spite of myself I love; and knowing, feeling,

With open eyes run on to my destruction;

And what to do I know not.

Par. What to do?

What should you do, Sir, but redeem yourself

As cheaply as you can?—at easy rates

If possible—if not—at any rate——

And never vex yourself.

Phæd. Is that your counsel?

Par. Aye, if you’re wise; and do not add to love

More troubles than it has, and those it has

Bear bravely! But she comes, our ruin comes;


For she, like storms of hail on fields of corn,

Beats down our hopes, and carries all before her.


Enter Thais.

Thais. Ah me! I fear lest Phædria take offense

And think I meant it other than I did,

That he was not admitted yesterday. (To herself, not seeing them.)

Phæd. I tremble, Parmeno, and freeze with horror.

Par. Be of good cheer! approach yon fire—she’ll warm you.

Thais. Who’s there? my Phædria? Why did you stand here?

Why not directly enter?

Par. Not one word

Of having shut him out!

Thais. Why don’t you speak?


Phæd. Because, forsooth, these doors will always fly

Open to me, or that because I stand

The first in your good graces. (Ironically.)

Thais. Nay, no more!

Phæd. No more?—O Thais, Thais, would to Heaven

Our loves were parallel, that things like these

Might torture you, as this has tortur’d me:


Or that your actions were indifferent to me!

Thais. Grieve not, I beg, my love, my Phædria!

Not that I lov’d another more, I did this.

But I by circumstance was forc’d to do it.

Par. So then, it seems, for very love, poor soul,

You shut the door in ’s teeth.

Thais. Ah Parmeno!

Is’t thus you deal with me? Go to!—But hear

Why I did call you hither?

Phæd. Be it so.

Thais. But tell me first, can yon slave hold his peace?

Pam. I? oh most faithfully: But hark ye, madam!

On this condition do I bind my faith:

The truths I hear, I will conceal; but falsehood,

Fiction, or gross pretence, shall out at once.

The truths I hear, I will conceal; whate’er

Is false, or vain, or feign’d, I’ll publish it.


I’m full of chinks, and run through here and there:

So if you claim my secrecy, speak truth.

Thais. My mother was a Samian, liv’d at Rhodes.

Par. This sleeps in silence. (Archly.)

Thais. There a certain merchant

Made her a present of a little girl,

Stol’n hence from Attica.


Phæd. A citizen?

Thais. I think so, but we can not tell for certain.

Her father’s and her mother’s name she told

Herself; her country and the other marks

Of her original, she neither knew,

Nor, from her age, was ’t possible she should.

The merchant added further, that the pirates,

Of whom he bought her, let him understand,

She had been stol’n from Sunium. My mother

Gave her an education, brought her up

In all respects as she had been her own;

And she in gen’ral was suppos’d my sister.

I journeyed hither with the gentleman

To whom alone I was connected then,

The same who left me all I have.

Par. These articles

Are both rank falsehoods, and shall out.

Par. Both these

Are false, and shall go forth at large.

Thais. Why so?

Par. Because nor you with one could be content,

Nor he alone enrich’d you; for my master

Made good and large addition.


Thais. I allow it,

But let me hasten to the point I wish:

Meantime the captain, who was then but young

In his attachment to me, went to Caria.


I, in his absence, was address’d by you;

Since when, full well you know, how very dear

I’ve held you, and have trusted you with all

My nearest counsels.

Phæd. And yet Parmeno

Will not be silent even here.

Par. Oh, Sir,

Is that a doubt?

Thais. Nay, prithee now, attend!

My mother’s lately dead at Rhodes: her brother,

Too much intent on wealth, no sooner saw

This virgin, handsome, well-accomplish’d, skill’d

In music, than, spurr’d on by hopes of gain,

In public market he expos’d and sold her.

It so fell out, my soldier-spark was there,

And bought her, all unknowing these events,

To give to me: but soon as he return’d,

And found how much I was attach’d to you,

He feign’d excuses to keep back the girl;

Pretending, were he thoroughly convinc’d

That I would still prefer him to yourself,

Nor fear’d that when I had receiv’d the girl,

I would abandon him, he’d give her to me;

But that he doubted. For my part, I think

He is grown fond of her himself.


Phæd. Is there

Aught more between them?

Thais. No; for I’ve inquir’d,

And now, my Phædria, there are sundry causes

Wherefore I wish to win the virgin from him.

First, for she’s call’d my sister; and moreover,

That I to her relations may restore her.

I’m a lone woman, have nor friend, nor kin:

Wherefore, my Phædria, I would raise up friends

By some good turn:—And you, I prithee now,

Help me to do it. Let him some few days

Be my gallant in chief. What! no reply?

Phæd. Abandon’d woman! Can I aught reply

To deeds like these?

Par. Oh excellent! well said!

He feels at length; Now, master, you’re a man.

Phæd. I saw your story’s drift.—“A little girl

Stol’n hence—My mother brought her up—was call’d

My sister—I would fain obtain her from him,

That I to her relations might restore her——”

All this preamble comes at last to this.


I am excluded, he’s admitted. Why?

But that you love him more than me, and fear

Lest this young captive win your hero from you.

Thais. Do I fear that?

Phæd. Why, prithee now, what else?


Does he bring gifts alone? didst e’er perceive

My bounty shut against you? Did I not,

Because you told me you’d be glad to have

An Ethiopian servant-maid, all else

Omitted, seek one out? You said besides,

You wish’d to have an Eunuch, ’cause forsooth,

They were for dames of quality; I found one:

For both I yesterday paid twenty minæ,

Yet you contemn me—I forgot not these,

And for these I’m despis’d.

Thais. Why this, my Phædria?

Though I would fain obtain the girl, and though

I think by these means it might well be done;

Yet, rather than make you my enemy,

I’ll do as you command.

Phæd. Oh, had you said

Those words sincerely. “Rather than make you

My enemy!”—Oh, could I think those words

Came from your heart, what is ’t I’d not endure!

Par. Gone! conquer’d with one word! alas, how soon!

Thais. Not speak sincerely? from my very soul?

What did you ever ask, although in sport,

But you obtain’d it of me? yet I can’t

Prevail on you to grant but two short days.

Phæd. Well—for two days—so those two be not twenty.


Thais. No in good faith but two, or——

Phæd. Or? no more.

Thais. It shall not be: but you will grant me those.

Phæd. Your will must be a law.

Thais. Thanks, my sweet Phædria!

Phæd. I’ll to the country: there consume myself

For these two days: it must be so: we must

Give way to Thais. See you, Parmeno,

The slaves brought hither.

Par. Sir, I will.

Phæd. My Thais,

For these two days farewell!

Thais. Farewell, my Phædria!

Would you aught else with me?

Phæd. Aught else, my Thais?

Be with yon soldier present, as if absent:


All night and day love me: still long for me:

Dream, ponder still of me; wish, hope for me:

Delight in me; be all in all with me;

Give your whole heart, for mine’s all yours, to me.



Manet Thais.

Ah me! I fear that he believes me not,

And judges of my heart from those of others.

I in my conscience know, that nothing false

I have deliver’d, nor to my true heart

Is any dearer than this Phædria:

And whatsoe’er in this affair I’ve done,


For the girl’s sake I’ve done: for I’m in hopes

I know her brother, a right noble youth.

To-day I wait him, by his own appointment;

Wherefore I’ll in, and tarry for his coming.




Phædria, Parmeno.

Phædria. Carry the slaves according to my order.

Par. I will.

Phæd. But diligently.

Par. Sir, I will.

Phæd. But soon.

Par. I will, Sir!

Phæd. Say, is it sufficient?

Par. Ah! what a question’s that? as if it were

So difficult! I wish, Sir Phædria,

You could gain aught so easy, as lose these.

Phæd. I lose, what’s dearer yet, my comfort with them.

Repine not at my gifts.

Par. Not I: moreover


I will convey them straight. But have you any

Other commands?

Phæd. Oh yes: set off our presents

With words as handsome as you can: and drive,

As much as possible, that rival from her!

Par. Ah, Sir, I should, of course, remember that.

Phæd. I’ll to the country, and stay there.

Par. O, aye! (Ironically.)

Phæd. But hark you!

Par. Sir, your pleasure?

Phæd. Do you think

I can with constancy hold out, and not

Return before my time?

Par. Hold out? Not you.


Either you’ll straight return, or want of sleep

Will drive you forth at midnight.

Phæd. I will toil;

Either you’ll straight return, or soon at night

Your dreams will drive you out o’ doors.

Phæd. I’ll toil;

That, weary, I may sleep against my will.

Par. Weary you may be; but you’ll never sleep.

Phæd. Ah, Parmeno, you wrong me. I’ll cast out

This treacherous softness from my soul, nor thus

Indulge my passions. Yes, I could remain,

If need, without her even three whole days.


Par. Hui! three whole livelong days! consider, Sir.

Phæd. I am resolved.


Parmeno alone.

Heav’ns, what a strange disease is this! that love

Should so change men, that one can hardly swear

They are the same!—No mortal liv’d

Less weak, more grave, more temperate than he.

—But who comes yonder?—Gnatho, as I live;

The Captain’s parasite! and brings along

The Virgin for a present: oh rare wench!

How beautiful! I shall come off, I doubt,

But scurvily with my decrepit Eunuch.

This Girl surpasses ev’n Thais herself.


Enter Gnatho leading Pamphila; Parmeno behind.

Gnat. Good Heav’ns! how much one man excels another!

What diff’rence ’twixt a wise man and a fool!

What just now happen’d proves it: coming hither


I met with an old countryman, a man

Of my own place and order, like myself,

No scurvy fellow, who, like me, had spent

In mirth and jollity his whole estate.

Seeing him in a wretched trim; his looks

He was in a most wretched trim; his looks

Lean, sick, and dirty; and his clothes all rags.

“How now!” cried I, “what means this figure, friend?

Alas! says he, my patrimony’s gone.

—Ah, how am I reduc’d! my old acquaintance

And friends all shun me.”—Hearing this, how cheap

I held him in comparison with me!

“Why, how now? wretch, said I, most idle wretch!

Have you spent all, nor left ev’n hope behind?

What! have you lost your sense with your estate?

Me!—look on me—come from the same condition!

How sleek! how neat! how clad! in what good case!

I’ve ev’ry thing, though nothing; naught possess,

Yet naught I ever want.”—“Ah, Sir, but I

Have an unhappy temper, and can’t bear

To be the butt of others, or to take


A beating now and then.”—“How then! d’ye think

Those are the means of thriving? No, my friend!


Such formerly indeed might drive a trade:

But mine’s a new profession; I the first

That ever struck into this road. There are

A kind of men, who wish to be the head

Of ev’ry thing; but are not. These I follow;

Not for their sport and laughter, but for gain

To laugh with them, and wonder at their parts:

Whate’er they say, I praise it; if again


They contradict, I praise that too: does any

Deny? I too deny: affirm? I too

Affirm: and in a word, I’ve brought myself

To say, unsay, swear, and forswear, at pleasure:

And that is now the best of all professions.”

Par. A special fellow this! who drives fools mad.

Gnat. Deep in this conversation, we at length

Come to the market, where the sev’ral tradesmen,

Butchers, cooks, grocers, poult’rers, fishmongers,

(Who, while my means were ample, profited,

And, tho’ now wasted, profit by me still,)

(Who once did profit and still profit by me,)

All run with joy to me, salute, invite,

And bid me welcome. He, poor half-starv’d wretch,

Soon as he saw me thus caress’d, and found

I got my bread so easily, desired

He might have leave to learn that art of me.

I bade him follow me, if possible:

And, as the Schools of the Philosophers


Have ta’en from the Philosophers their names,

So, in like manner, let all Parasites

Be call’d from me Gnathonics!

Par. Mark, what ease,

And being kept at other’s cost, produces!

Gnat. But hold, I must convey this girl to Thais,

And bid her forth to sup.—Ha, Parmeno!

Our rival’s slave, standing at Thais’ door!

—How melancholy he appears! All’s safe:

These poor rogues find but a cold welcome here.

I’ll play upon this knave. (Aside.)

Par. These fellows think

This present will make Thais all their own. (Aside.)

Gnat. To Parmeno, his lov’d and honor’d friend,

Gnatho sends greeting. (Ironically.)—What are you upon?

Par. My legs.

Gnat. I see it.—Is there nothing here

Displeasing to you?

Par. You.

Gnat. I do believe it.

But prithee, is there nothing else?

Par. Wherefore?

Gnat. Because you’re melancholy.


Par. Not at all.


Gnat. Well, do not be so!—Pray, now, what d’ye think

Of this young handmaid?

Par. Troth, she’s not amiss.

Gnat. I plague the rascal. (Half aside.)

Par. How the knave’s deceiv’d! (Half aside.)

Gnat. Will not this gift be very acceptable

To Thais, think you?

Par. You’d insinuate

That we’re shut out.—There is, alas, a change

In all things.

Gnat. For these six months, Parmeno,

For six whole months at least, I’ll make you easy;

You sha’n’t run up and down, and watch till daylight;

Come, don’t I make you happy?

Par. Very happy.

Gnat. ’Tis my way with my friends.

Par. You’re very good.

Gnat. But I detain you: you, perhaps, was going

Somewhere else.

Par. Nowhere.

Gnat. May I beg you then

To use your int’rest here, and introduce me

To Thais?

Par. Hence! away! these doors

Fly open now, because you carry her.


Gnat. Would you have any one call’d forth?


Par. Well, well!

Pass but two days; and you, so welcome now,

That the doors open with your little finger,

Shall kick against them then, I warrant you,

Till your heels ache again.

Re-enter Gnatho.

Gnat. Ha! Parmeno!

Are you here still? What! are you left a spy,

Lest any go-between should run by stealth

To Thais from the Captain?


Par. Very smart!

No wonder such a wit delights the Captain!

But hold! I see my master’s younger son

Coming this way. I wonder much he should

Desert Piræus, where he’s now on guard.

’Tis not for nothing. All in haste he comes,

And seems to look about.


Enter Chærea; Parmeno behind.

Chær. Undone! undone!

The Girl is lost; I know not where she is,

418 138

Nor where I am: ah, whither shall I trace?

Where seek? of whom inquire? or which way turn?

I’m all uncertain; but have one hope still:

Where’er she is, she can not long lie hid.

Oh charming face! all others from my memory

Hence I blot out. Away with common beauties!

Par. So, here’s the other! and he mutters too

I know not what of love. Oh what a poor

Unfortunate old man their father is!

As for this stripling, if he once begin,

His brother’s is but jest and children’s play

To his mad fury.

Chær. Twice ten thousand curses

Seize the old wretch, who kept me back to-day;

And me for staying! with a fellow too

I did not care a farthing for!—But see!

Yonder stands Parmeno.—Good-day!

Par. How now?

Wherefore so sad? and why this hurry, Chærea?

Whence come you?

Chær. I? I can not tell, i’faith,

Whence I am come, or whither I am going,

I’ve so entirely lost myself.


Par. And why?

Chær. I am in love.

Par. Oh brave!

Chær. Now, Parmeno,

Now you may show what kind of man you are.

You know you’ve often told me; “Chærea,

Find something out to set your heart upon,

And mark how I will serve you!” yes, you know

You’ve often said so, when I scrap’d together

All the provisions for you at my father’s.

Par. Away, you trifler!

Chær. Nay, in faith, it’s true:

Now make your promise good! and in a cause

Worthy the utmost reachings of your soul:

A girl! my Parmeno, not like our misses;

Whose mothers try to keep their shoulders down,

And bind their bosoms, that their shapes may seem

Genteel and slim. Is a girl rather plump?

They call her nurse, and stint her in her food:

Thus art, in spits of nature, makes them all

Mere bulrushes: and therefore they’re belov’d.

Par. And what’s this girl of yours?

Chær. A miracle.

Par. Oh, to be sure!


Chær. True, natural red and white;

Her body firm, and full of precious stuff!

Par. Her age?

Chær. About sixteen.


Par. The very prime!

Chær. This girl, by force, by stealth, or by entreaty,

Procure me! how I care not, so I have her.

Par. Well, whom does she belong to?

Chær. I don’t know.

Par. Whence comes she?

Chær. I can’t tell.

Par. Where does she live?

Chær. I can’t tell neither.

Par. Where was it you saw her?

Chær. Here in the street.

Par. And how was it you lost her?

Chær. Why it was that, which I so fumed about,

As I came hither! nor was ever man

So jilted by good fortune as myself.

Par. What mischief now?

Chær. Confounded luck.

Par. How so?

Chær. How so! d’ye know one Archidemides,

My father’s kinsman, and about his age?

Par. Full well.

Chær. As I was in pursuit of her

He met me.

Par. Rather inconveniently.


Chær. Oh most unhappily! for lighter ills

May pass for inconvenient, Parmeno.

Nay, I could swear, with a safe conscience too,

Chær. Oh most unhappily! for other ills

May be told, Parmeno!—I could swear too,

For six, nay seven months, I had not seen him,

Till now, when least I wish’d and most would shun it.

Is not this monstrous? Eh!

Par. Oh! very monstrous.

Chær. Soon as from far he saw me, instantly,

Bent, trembling, drop-jaw’d, gasping, out of breath,

He hobbled up to me.—“Holo! ho! Chærea!”——

I stopp’d.—“D’ye know what I want with you?”—“What?”

—“I have a cause to-morrow.”—“Well! what then?”——

—“Fail not to tell your father, he remember

To go up with me, as an advocate.”——

His prating took some time. “Aught else?” said I.

“Nothing,” said he:—Away flew I, and saw

The girl that instant turn into this street.

Par. Sure he must mean the virgin, just now brought

To Thais for a present.

Chær. When I reach’d

This place, the girl was vanish’d.

Par. Had your lady

Any attendants?

Chær. Soon as I

Came hither, she was out of sight.


Par. Had she

Any attendants?

Chær. Yes; a parasite,

With a maid-servant.

Par. ’Tis the very same;

Away! have done! all’s over.

Chær. What d’ye mean?


Par. The girl I mean.

Chær. D’ye know then who she is?

Tell me!—or have you seen her?

Par. Yes, I’ve seen her;

I know her; and can tell you where she is.

Chær. How! my dear Parmeno, d’ye know her?

Par. Yes.

Chær. And where she is, d’ye know?

Par. Yes,—there she is; (Pointing.)

Carried to Madam Thais for a present.

Chær. What monarch could bestow a gift so precious?

Par. The mighty Captain Thraso, Phædria’s rival.

Chær. Alas, poor brother!

Par. Aye, and if you knew

The gift he sends to be compar’d with this,

You’d cry alas, indeed!

Chær. What is his gift?


Par. An Eunuch.

Chær. What! that old and ugly slave

That he bought yesterday?

Par. The very same.

Chær. Why, surely, he’ll be trundled out o’ doors

He and his gift together—But till now

I never knew this Thais was our neighbour.

Par. She came but lately.

Chær. Ev’ry way unlucky:

He and his gift together—I ne’er knew

Till now that Thais was our neighbor.

Par. She

Has not been long so.

Chær. Ev’ry way unlucky:

Ne’er to have seen her neither:—Prithee, tell me,

Is she so handsome, as she’s said to be?

Par. Yes, faith

Chær. But nothing to compare to mine.

Par. Oh, quite another thing.

Chær. But Parmeno!

Contrive that I may have her.

Par. Well, I will.

Depend on my assistance:—have you any

Further commands? (As if going.)

Chær. Where are you going?

Par. Home;


To bring according to your brother’s order,

The slaves to Thais.

Chær. Oh, that happy Eunuch!

To be convey’d into that house!

Par. Why so?

Chær. Why so? why, he shall have that charming girl

His fellow-servant, see her all day long,

Converse with her, dwell under the same roof,

And sometimes eat, and sometimes sleep by her.

His fellow-servant, see her, speak with her,

Be with her in the same house all day long,

And sometimes eat, and sometimes sleep by her.

Par. And what if you should be so happy?

Chær. How?

Tell me, dear Parmeno!


Par. Assume his dress.

Chær. His dress! what then?

Par. I’ll carry you for him.

Chær. I hear you.

Par. I will say that you are he.

Chær. I understand you.

Par. So shall you enjoy

Those blessings which but now you envied him:

Eat with her, be with her, touch, toy with her,

And sleep by her: since none of Thais’ maids

Know you, or dream of what you are. Besides,

Your figure, and your age are such, that you

May well pass for an Eunuch.

Chær. Oh, well said!


I ne’er heard better counsel. Come, let’s in?

Dress me, and carry me! Away, make haste!

Par. What are you at? I did but jest.

Chær. You trifle.

Par. I’m ruin’d: fool, what have I done? Nay, whither

D’ye push me thus? You’ll throw me down. Nay, stay!

Chær. Away.

Par. Nay, prithee!

Chær. I’m resolv’d.

Par. Consider;

You carry this too far.

Chær. No, not at all.

Give way!

Par. And Parmeno must pay for all.

Ah, we do wrong!

Chær. Is it then wrong for me

To be convey’d into a house of harlots,

And turn those very arts on them, with which

They hamper us, and turn our youth to scorn?


Can it be wrong for me too, in my turn,

To deceive them, by whom we’re all deceiv’d?

No, rather let it be! ’tis just to play

This trick upon them: which, if gray-beards know,

They’ll blame indeed, but all will think well done.

Par. Well, if you must, you must; but do not then,

After all’s over, throw the blame on me.

Chær. No, no!

Par. But do you order me?

Chær. I do:

Order, command, compel you; nor will e’er

Deny, or disavow my putting-on.

Par. Come on then: follow me!

Chær. Heav’n grant success!

Chær. I do:

Order, command, force.

Par. Oh, I’ll not dispute

Your pow’r. So, follow me.

Chær. Heav’n speed the plow.

422 147



Enter Thraso and Gnatho.

Thraso. And Thais then returns me many thanks?

Gnat. Ten thousand.

Thra. Say, is she delighted with it?

Gnat. Not for the present’s sake so much, as that

From you it was presented: But therein

She truly triumphs.

Par. I’m upon the watch,

To mark a proper opportunity

To bring my presents. But behold the Captain?

Thra. It is, indeed, something, I know not how,

Peculiar to me, do whate’er I please,

It will appear agreeable.

Gnat. In truth

I always have observ’d it.

Thra. Ev’n the King

Held himself much obliged, whate’er I did:

Not so to others.

Gnat. Not so much with the gift itself, as that

By you ’twas given: but therein she triumphs.

Enter Parmeno behind.

Par. I’m come to look about me, and observe

A proper opportunity to bring

My presents. But behold the Captain!

Thra. ’Tis

Something, I know not how, peculiar to me,

That all I do ’s agreeable.

Gnat. In truth

I have observ’d it.

Thra. E’en the King always


Held himself much obliged, whate’er I did:

Not so to others.

Gnat. Men of wit, like you,

The glory, got by others’ care and toil,

Often transfer unto themselves.

Thra. You’ve hit it.

Gnat. The king then held you——

Thra. Certainly.

Gnat. Most dear.

Thra. Most near. He trusted his whole army to me,

His counsels.——

Gnat. Wonderful!

Thra. And then whene’er

Satiety of company, or hate

Of business seiz’d him—when he would repose——

As if——you understand me.

Gnat. Perfectly.

When he would—in a manner—clear his stomach

Of all uneasiness.

Thra. The very thing.

On such occasions he chose none but me.

Gnat. Hui! there’s a king indeed! a king of taste!


Thra. No general man, I promise you.

Gnat. Oh no!

He must have been particular indeed,

If he convers’d with You.

Thra. One of a thousand.

Gnat. Of a million sure!

—If he could live with you. (Aside.)

Thra. The courtiers all

Began to envy me, and rail’d in secret:

I car’d not; whence their spleen increas’d the more.


One in particular, who had the charge

Of th’ Indian elephants; who grew at last

So very troublesome, “I prithee, Strato,

Are you so savage, and so fierce, (says I,)

Because you’re governor of the wild beasts?”

Gnat. Oh, finely said! and shrewdly! excellent!

Too hard upon him!—what said he to’t?

Thra. Nothing.

Gnat. And how the devil should he?


Par. Gracious Heav’n!

The stupid coxcomb!—and that rascal too! (Aside.)

Thra. Aye! but the story of the Rhodian, Gnatho!

How smart I was upon him at a feast——

Did I ne’er tell you?

Gnat. Never: but pray do!

—I’ve heard it o’er and o’er a thousand times. (Aside.)

Thra. We were by chance together at a feast——

This Rhodian, that I told you of and I.——

I, as it happen’d, had a wench: the spark

Began to toy with her, and laugh at me.

“Why how now, Impudence! (said I,) are you

A hare yourself, and yet would hunt for game?”

Gnat. Ha! ha! ha!

Thra. What’s the matter?

Gnat. Ha! ha! ha!

Witty! smart! excellent! incomparable!

Is it your own? I swear I thought ’twas old.

Thra. Why, did you ever hear it?

Gnat. Very often;

And reckon’d admirable.


Thra. ’Tis my own.

Gnat. And yet ’twas pity to be so severe

On a young fellow, and a gentleman.

Par. Ah! devil take you! (Aside.)

Gnat. What became of him?

Thra. It did for him. The company were all

Ready to die with laughing:—in a word,

They dreaded me.

Gnat. No wonder.

Thra. Harkye, Gnatho!

Thais, you know, suspects I love this girl.

Shall I acquit myself?

Gnat. On no account.

Rather increase her jealousy.

Thra. And why?

Gnat. Why?—do you ask?—as if you didn’t know!——

Whene’er she mentions Phædria, or whene’er

She praises him, to vex you——

Thra. I perceive.

Gnat. To hinder that, you’ve only this resource.

When she names Phædria, name you Pamphila.


If she should say, “come! let’s have Phædria

To dinner with us!”—“aye, and Pamphila

To sing to us!”—if she praise Phædria’s person,

Praise you the girl’s! so give her tit for tat,

And gall her in her turn.


Thra. Suppose she lov’d me,

This might avail me, Gnatho!

Gnat. While she loves

The presents which you give, expecting more,

So long she loves you; and so long you may

Have pow’r to vex her. She will always fear

To make you angry, lest some other reap

The harvest, which she now enjoys alone.

Thra. You’re right: and yet I never thought of it.

Gnat. Ridiculous! because you did not turn

Your thoughts that way; or with how much more ease

Would you have hit on this device yourself!


Enter Thais and Pythias.

Thais. I thought I heard the Captain’s voice: and see!

Good-day, my Thraso!

Thra. Oh my Thais, welcome!


How does my sweeting?—are you fond of me

For sending you that music-girl?

Par. Oh brave!

He sets out nobly!

Thais. For your worth I love you.

Gnat. Come, let’s to supper? why do you delay?

Par. Mark t’other! he’s a chip of the old block.

Thais. I’m ready when you please.

Par. I’ll up to her,

And seem as if but now come forth.—Ha! Thais,

Where are you gadding?

Thais. Well met, Parmeno!

I was just going——

Par. Whither?

Thais. Don’t you see

The Captain?

Par. Yes, I see him—to my sorrow.

The presents from my master wait your pleasure.


Thra. Why do we stop thus? wherefore go not hence? (Angrily.)

Par. Beseech you, Captain, let us, with your leave,

Produce our presents, treat, and parley with her!

Thra. Fine gifts, I warrant you, compar’d with mine!

Par. They’ll answer for themselves—Ho, there! within!

Order the slaves, I told you, to come forth.

Par. They’ll answer for themselves—Holo, there! order

The slaves, I told you, to come forth.—Here, this way!


Enter a Black Girl.

This way! do you stand forward!—This girl, ma’am,

Comes quite from Æthiopia.

Thra. Worth three Minæ.

Do you stand forward!—This girl, ma’am, comes quite

From Ethiopia.

Thra. Worth about three Minæ.

Gnat. Scarce.

Par. Ho! where are you, Dorus?—Oh, come hither!

Enter Chærea in the Eunuch’s habit.

An Eunuch, Madam! of a lib’ral air,

And in his prime!

Thais. Now as I live, he’s handsome!

Par. What say you, Gnatho? Is he despicable?

Or, Captain, what say you?—Dumb?—Praise sufficient;


Try him in letters, exercises, music:

In all the arts, a gentleman should know,

I’ll warrant him accomplish’d.

Thra. Troth, that Eunuch

Is well enough.

Par. And he, who sends these presents,

Requires you not to live for him alone,

And for his sake to shut out all mankind:

Nor does he tell his battles, show his wounds,

Or shackle your free will, as some folks do.

Looking at Thraso.

But when ’twill not be troublesome, or when

You’ve leisure, in due season, he’s content

If then he is admitted.

Thra. This poor fellow

Seems to belong to a poor wretched master.

Gnat. Beyond all doubt; for who that could obtain

Another, would endure a slave like this?


Par. Peace, wretch, that art below the meanest slave!

You that could bring your mind so very low,

As to cry aye and no at yon fool’s bidding,

I’m sure, might get your bread out o’the fire.

Thra. Why don’t we go? (Impatiently.)

Thais. Let me but introduce

Thais. Let me but carry in

These first, and give some orders in the house,

And I’ll attend you.

Exit with Chærea, and the Ethiopian.

Thra. I’ll depart from hence.

Gnatho, wait you for her!

Par. It ill beseems

The dignity of a renown’d commander,

T’ escort his mistress in the street.

Thra. Away,

Slave! you’re beneath my notice—like your master.

Exit Parmeno.

Gnat. Ha! ha! ha! ha!

Thra. What moves your laughter, Gnatho?

Gnat. Your speech but now: and then the Rhodian came

Thra. What moves your laughter?

Gnat. That


You said just now: and then the Rhodian came

Across my mind.——But Thais comes.

Thra. Go run,


And see that ev’ry thing’s prepar’d at home!

Gnat. It shall be done.


Thais (entering with Pythias). Take care now, Pythias,

Great care, if Chremes come, to press him stay;

Or, if that’s inconvenient, to return:

If that’s impossible, then bring him to me!

Pyth. I’ll do so.

Thais. Hold! what else had I to say?

Take care, be sure, of yonder virgin! see,

You keep at home.

Thra. Let’s go.

Thais. Girls, follow me!

Exit, attended by Servants and Thraso.


Chremes alone.

In truth the more and more I think, the more

I am convinc’d that Thais means me ill:

So plain I see her arts to draw me in.

Ev’n when she first invited me, (and when

Had any ask’d, What business have you there?

The question would have stagger’d me,) she fram’d

Sev’ral excuses to detain me there.


Said she had made a sacrifice, and had

Affairs of consequence to settle with me.

—Oho! thought I immediately, I smell

A trick upon me!—down she sat, behav’d

Familiarly, and tried to beat about

For conversation. Being at a loss,

She ask’d, how long my parents had been dead?

—I told her, long time since:—on which she ask’d,

Whether I had a country-house at Sunium?

—And how far from the sea?—I half believe

She likes my villa, and would wheedle me

To give it her.—Her final questions were,

If I ne’er lost a little sister thence?

—Who was miss’d with her?—what she had when lost?

—If there was any body capable

Of recollecting her?—Why all these questions?

Unless perhaps she means,—a saucy baggage!—

To play the counterfeit, and feign herself

That sister, who was lost so long ago?

But she, if living, is about sixteen;

Not more: and Thais older than myself.

She sent beside to press me earnestly

To visit her again.—Or, let her say

What she would have; or, trouble me no more!

I’ll not return a third time.—Ho! who’s there?

Here am I! Chremes!

If any one could know her? Why should Thais

Demand all this, unless,—a saucy baggage!——

She means to play the counterfeit, and feign

Herself that sister?—but if she’s alive,

She is about sixteen, not more; Thais

Is elder than myself.—She sent beside

To beg I’d come again.—Or, let her say

What she would have; or, not be troublesome!

I’ll not return a third time.—Ho! who’s there?

Here am I! Chremes!

427 159

Enter Pythias.

Pyth. Oh, sweet, charming, Sir!

Chre. A coaxing hussy!

Pyth. Thais begs and prays

You’d come again to-morrow.

Chre. I am going

Into the country.

Pyth. Nay, now prithee come?

Chre. I can’t, I tell you.

Pyth. Walk in, then, and stay

Till she returns herself.

Chre. Not I.

Pyth. And why,

Dear Chremes?

Chre. Off, you saucy slut!

Chre. Go, and hang yourself!

Pyth. Well, Sir,

Since you’re so positive, shall I entreat you

To go to her?

Chre. I will.

Pyth. Here, Dorias! (A maid-servant enters.)

Conduct this gentleman to Captain Thraso’s.

Pythias re-enters.—Chremes goes out another way with Dorias.


Antipho alone.

But yesterday a knot of us young fellows

Assembled at Piræus, and agreed

To club together for a feast to-day.

Chærea had charge of all; the rings were given,

And time and place appointed.—The time’s past;

No entertainment’s at the place; and Chærea

Is no where to be met with.—For my part,

I’m quite to seek in this; and what to say,

Or guess, I know not.—Yet the company

Have all commission’d me to find him out.

I’ll see if he’s at home;—but who comes here

From Thais?—Is it he, or no?—’Tis he.——

—What manner of man’s here?—what habit’s that?

—What mischief is the meaning of all this?

I’m all astonishment, and can not guess.

But I’ll withdraw a while, and try to learn.

Is nowhere to be found.—I can’t tell what

To think on’t.—Yet the rest of my companions

Have all commission’d me to seek him out.

I’ll see if he’s at home;—but who comes here

From Thais?—Is it he, or no?—’Tis he.——

—What manner of man’s here?—what habit’s that?

—What mischief has the rogue been at? I’m all

Astonishment, and can not guess.—But I’ll

Withdraw a while, and try to find it out. (Retires.)


Enter Chærea, in the Eunuch’s habit.

Chær. (looking about). Is any body here?—No, nobody.

Does any follow me?—No, nobody.


May I then let my ecstasy break forth!

O Jupiter! ’tis now the very time,

When I could suffer to be put to death,

Lest not another transport like to this,

Remain in life to come.—But is there not

Some curious impertinent to come

Across me now, and murder me with questions?

—To ask, why I’m so flutter’d? why so joyful?

Whither I’m going? whence I came? from whence

Whither I’m going? whence I came? and where

I got this habit? what I’m looking after?

Whether I’m in my senses? or stark mad?


Anti. I’ll go myself, and do that kindness to him.

Chærea, (advancing,) what’s all this flutter? what’s this dress?

What is’t transports you? what d’ye want? art mad?

Why do ye start at me? and why not speak?

Chær. O happy, happy day!—Save you, dear friend!

There’s not a man on earth I’d rather see

This moment than yourself.

Anti. Come, tell me all!

Chær. Tell you! I will beseech you give me hearing.

D’ye know my brother’s mistress here?

Anti. I do:

Thais, I think.

Chær. The same.

Anti. I recollect.

Anti. Yes: Thais,

Or I’m deceiv’d.

Chær. The same.

Anti. I do remember.

Chær. To-day a girl was sent a present to her.

Why need I speak or praise her beauty now

To you, that know me, and my taste so well?

She set me all on fire.

Anti. Is she so handsome?

Chær. Most exquisite: Oh, had you but once seen her,

You would pronounce her, I am confident,

The first of womankind.—But in a word,

The first of womankind.—But to be brief,

I fell in love with her.—By great good luck

There was at home an Eunuch, which my brother

Had bought for Thais, but not yet sent thither.

—I had a gentle hint from Parmeno,


Which I seiz’d greedily.

Anti. And what was that?

Chær. Peace, and I’ll tell you.—To change dresses with him,

And order Parmeno to carry me

Instead of him.

Anti. How? for an Eunuch, you?

Chær. E’en so.

Anti. What good could you derive from that?

Chær. What good!—why, see, and hear, and be with her

I languish’d for, my Antipho!—was that

An idle reason, or a trivial good?

—To Thais I’m deliver’d; she receives me,

And carries me with joy into her house;

Commits the charming girl——


Anti. To whom?——to you?

Chær. To me.

Anti. In special hands, I must confess.

Chær.—Enjoins me to permit no man come near her;

Nor to depart, myself, one instant from her;

But in an inner chamber to remain

Alone with her alone. I nod, and look


Bashfully on the ground.

Anti. Poor simple soul!

Chær. I am bid forth, says she; and carries off

All her maid-servants with her, save some few

Raw novices, who straight prepar’d the bath.

I bade them haste; and while it was preparing,

In a retiring-room the Virgin sat;

Viewing a picture, where the tale was drawn

Of Jove’s descending in a golden show’r

To Danaë’s bosom.——I beheld it too,

And because he of old the like game play’d,

I felt my mind exult the more within me,

That Jove should change himself into a man,

And steal in secret through a stranger-roof,

With a mere woman to intrigue.—Great Jove,

Who shakes the highest heav’ns with his thunder!

And I, poor mortal man, not do the same!——

I did it, and with all my heart I did it.


—While thoughts, like these, possess’d my soul, they call’d

The girl to bathe. She goes, bathes, then returns:

Which done, the servants put her into bed.

I stand to wait their orders. Up comes one,

“Here, harkye, Dorus! take this fan and mark

You cool her gently thus, while we go bathe.

When we have bath’d, you, if you please, bathe too,”

I, with a sober air, receive the fan.

Anti. Then would I fain have seen your simple face!

I should have been delighted to behold

How like an ass you look’d, and held the fan.

Chær. Scarce had she spoke, when all rush’d out o’ doors;

Away they go to bathe; grow full of noise,

As servants use, when masters are abroad.

Meanwhile sleep seiz’d the virgin: I, by stealth,

Peep’d through the fan-sticks thus; then looking round,

And seeing all was safe, made fast the door.

Anti. What then?

Chær. What then, fool!

Anti. I confess.

Chær. D’ye think,

Bless’d with an opportunity like this,

So short, so wish’d for, yet so unexpected,


I’d let it slip? No. Then I’d been, indeed,

The thing I counterfeited.


Anti. Very true.

But what’s become of our club-supper?

Chær. Ready.

Anti. An honest fellow! where? at your own house?

Chær. At Freeman Discus’s.

Anti. A great way off.

Chær. Then we must make more haste.

Anti. But change your dress.

Chær. Where can I change it? I’m distress’d. From home

I must play truant, lest I meet my brother.

My father too, perhaps, is come to town.

Anti. Come to my house then! that’s the nearest place

Anti. Come then to my house! that’s the nearest place

Where you may shift.

Chær. With all my heart! let’s go!

And at the same time, I’ll consult with you


How to enjoy this dear girl.

Anti. Be it so.




Enter Dorias, with a Casket.

Dorias. Now, as I hope for mercy, I’m afraid,

From what I’ve seen, lest yonder swaggerer

Make some disturbance, or do violence


To Thais. For as soon as Chremes came,

(Chremes, the youth that’s brother to the virgin,)

She beg’d of Thraso, he might be admitted.

(The youth that’s brother to the virgin,) she

Beseech’d of Thraso he might be admitted.

This piqu’d him; yet he durst not well refuse.

She, fearing Chremes should not be detain’d,

Till she had time and opportunity

To tell him all she wish’d about his sister,

Urg’d Thraso more and more to ask him in.

The Captain coldly asks him; down he sat;

And Thais enter’d into chat with him.

The Captain, fancying a rival brought

Before his face, resolv’d to vex her too:

“Here, boy,” said he, “let Pamphila be call’d

To entertain us!”—“Pamphila!” cries Thais;

“She at a banquet?—No it must not be.”——

Thraso insisting on’t, a broil ensued:

On which my mistress slyly slipping off

Her jewels, gave them me to bear away;


Which is, I know, a certain sign, she will,

As soon as possible, sneak off herself. Exit.)


Enter Phædria.

Phæd. Going into the country, I began

(As happens when the mind is ill at ease)

To ponder with myself upon the road,

Tossing from thought to thought, and viewing all

In the worst light. While thus I ruminate,

I pass unconsciously my country-house,

And had got far beyond, ere I perceiv’d it.

I turn’d about, but with a heavy heart;

And soon as to the very spot I came

Where the roads part, I stop. Then paus’d a while:

“Alas! thought I, and must I here remain

Two days? alone: without her?—Well! what then?

That’s nothing.—What, is’t nothing?—If I’ve not

The privilege to touch her, shall I not

Behold her neither?—If one may not be,

At least the other shall.—And certainly


Love, in its last degree, is something still.”

—Then I, on purpose, pass’d the house.—But see!

Pythias breaks forth affrighted.—What means this?


Enter Pythias and Dorias; Phædria at a distance.

Pyth. Where shall I find, unhappy that I am,

Where seek this rascal-slave?—this slave, that durst

To do a deed like this?—Undone! undone!

Phæd. What this may be, I dread.

Pyth. And then the villain,

After he had abused the virgin, tore

The poor girl’s clothes, and dragg’d her by the hair.

Phæd. How’s this!

Pyth. Who, were he now within my reach,

How could I fly upon the vagabond,

And tear the villain’s eyes out with my nails?

Phæd. What tumult’s this, arisen in my absence?

I’ll go and ask her.— (Going up.) What’s the matter, Pythias?

Why thus disturb’d? and whom is it you seek?

Pyth. Whom do I seek? Away, Sir Phædria!


You and your gifts together!

Phæd. What’s the matter?

Pyth. The matter, Sir! the Eunuch, that you sent us,

Has made fine work here! the young virgin, whom

The Captain gave my mistress, he has ravish’d.

Phæd. Ravish’d? How say you?

Pyth. Ruin’d, and undone!

Phæd. You’re drunk.


Pyth. Would those who wish me ill were so!

Dori. Ah Pythias! what strange prodigy is this?

Phæd. You’re mad: how could an Eunuch——

Pyth. I don’t know

Or who, or what he was.—What he has done,

The thing itself declares.——The virgin weeps,

Nor, when you ask what ails her, dare she tell.

But he, good man, is nowhere to be found:

And I fear too, that when he stole away,

He carried something off.

Phæd. I can’t conceive

Whither the rascal can have flown, unless

He to our house, perhaps, slunk back again.

Pyth. See now, I pray you, if he has.

Phæd. I will.


Dori. Good lack! so strange a thing I never heard.

Pyth. I’ve heard, that they lov’d women mightily


But could do nothing; yet I never thought on’t:

For if I had, I’d have confin’d him close

In some by-place, nor trusted the girl to him.


Re-enter Phædria, with Dorus the Eunuch, in Chærea’s clothes.

Phæd. Out, rascal, out!—What are you resty, Sirrah?

Out, thou vile bargain!

Dor. Dear Sir! (Crying.)

Phæd. See the wretch!

What a wry mouth he makes!—Come, what’s the meaning

Of your returning? and your change of dress?

What answer, Sirrah!—If I had delay’d

A minute longer, Pythias, I had miss’d him,

He was equipp’d so bravely for his flight.

Pyth. What, have you got the rogue?

Phæd. I warrant you.

Pyth. Well done! well done!

Dori. Aye, marry, very well.


Pyth. Where is he?

Phæd. Don’t you see him?

Pyth. See him? whom?

Phæd. This fellow, to be sure.

Pyth. This man! who is he?

Phæd. He that was carried to your house to-day.

Pyth. None of our people ever laid their eyes

Upon this fellow, Phædria!

Phæd. Never saw him?

Pyth. Why, did you think this fellow had been brought

To us?

Phæd. Yes, surely; for I had no other.

Pyth. Oh dear! this fellow’s not to be compar’d

To t’other.—He was elegant, and handsome.


Phæd. Aye, so he might appear a while ago,

Because he had gay clothes on: now he seems

Ugly, because he’s stripped.

Pyth. Nay, prithee, peace!

As if the diff’rence was so very small!——

The youth conducted to our house to-day,

’Twould do you good to cast your eyes on, Phædria:

This is a drowsy, wither’d, weasel-fac’d,

Old fellow.


Phæd. How?——you drive me to that pass,

That I scarce know what I have done myself.

—Did not I buy you, rascal? (To Dorus.)

Dor. Yes, Sir.

Pyth. Order him

To answer me.

Phæd. Well, question him.

Pyth. (to Dorus). Was you

Brought here to-day? (Shakes his head.) See there! Not he. It was

Another, a young lad, about sixteen,

Whom Parmeno brought with him.

Phæd. (to Dorus). Speak to me!

First tell me, whence had you that coat? What, dumb?

I’ll make you speak, you villain? (Beating him.)

Dor. Chærea came—— (Crying.)

Phæd. My brother?

Dor. Yes, Sir!

Phæd. When?

Dor. To-day.

Phæd. How long since?


Dor. Just now.

Phæd. With whom?

Dor. With Parmeno.

Phæd. Did you

Know him before?

Dor. No, Sir; nor e’er heard of him.

Phæd. How did you know he was my brother then?

Phæd. How did you know then that he was my brother?

Dor. Parmeno told me so; and Chærea

Gave me these clothes——

Phæd. Confusion! (Aside.)

Dor. Put on mine;

And then they both went out o’ doors together.

Pyth. Now, Sir, do you believe that I am sober?

Now do you think, I’ve told no lie? And now

Are you convinc’d the girl has been abus’d!

Phæd. Away, fool! d’ye believe what this wretch says?

Pyth. What signifies belief?—It speaks itself.

Phæd. (apart to Dorus). Come this way—hark ye!——further still.——Enough.

Tell me once more.——Did Chærea strip you?

Dor. Yes.


Phæd. And put your clothes on?

Dor. Yes, Sir!

Phæd. And was brought

In your stead hither?

Dor. Yes.


Phæd. Great Jupiter! (Pretending to be in a passion with him.)

What a most wicked scoundrel’s this?

Pyth. Alas!

Don’t you believe, then, we’ve been vilely us’d?

Phæd. No wonder if you credit what he says.

I don’t know what to do. (Aside.)—Here, harkye, Sirrah!

Deny it all again. (Apart to Dorus.)—What! can’t I beat

The truth out of you, rascal?—have you seen

My brother Chærea? (Aloud, and beating him.)

Dor. No, Sir! (Crying.)

Phæd. So! I see

He won’t confess without a beating.—This way! (Apart.) Now

He owns it; now denies it.—Ask my pardon! (Apart.)

Dor. Beseech you, Sir, forgive me!

Phæd. Get you gone. (Kicking him.)

Oh me! oh dear!

Exit, howling.

Phæd. (aside). I had no other way

To come off handsomely.—We’re all undone.

—D’ye think to play your tricks on me, you rascal?

Aloud, and Exit after Dorus.


Manent Pythias and Dorias.

Pyth. As sure as I’m alive, this is a trick

Of Parmeno’s.

Dori. No doubt on’t.

Pyth. I’ll devise

Some means to-day to fit him for’t.—But now

What would you have me do?

Dori. About the girl!

Pyth. Aye; shall I tell; or keep the matter secret?

Dori. Troth, if you’re wise you know not what you know,

Nor of the Eunuch, nor the ravishment:

So shall you clear yourself of all this trouble,

And do a kindness to our mistress too.

Say nothing, but that Dorus is gone off.

Pyth. I’ll do so.

Dori. Prithee is not Chremes yonder?

Thais will soon be here.

Pyth. How so?

Dori. Because

When I came thence, a quarrel was abroach


Among them.


Pyth. Carry in the jewels, Dorias.

Meanwhile I’ll learn of Chremes what has happen’d.

Exit Dorias.


Enter Chremes tipsy.

Chrem. So! so!—I’m in for’t—and the wine I’ve drank

Has made me reel again.—Yet while I sat,

How sober I suppos’d myself!—But I

No sooner rose, than neither foot, nor head,

Knew their own business!

Pyth. Chremes!

Chrem. Who’s that?—Ha!

Pythias!—How much more handsome you seem now,

Than you appear’d a little while ago!

Pyth. I’m sure you seem a good deal merrier.

Chrem. I’faith it’s an old saying, and a true one,

“Ceres and Bacchus are warm friends of Venus.”

—But, pray, has Thais been here long before me?

Pyth. Has she yet left the Captain’s?

Chrem. Long time since:


An age ago. They’ve had a bloody quarrel.

Pyth. Did not she bid you follow her?

Chrem. Not she:

Only she made a sign to me at parting.

Pyth. Well, wasn’t that enough?

Chrem. No, faith! I never

At all conceiv’d her meaning, till the Captain

Chrem. No, faith! I did not

At all conceive her meaning, till the Captain

Gave me the hint, and kick’d me out o’ doors!

—But here she is! I wonder how it was,

I overtook her!


Enter Thais.

Thais. I am apt to think,

The Captain will soon follow me, to take

The virgin from me: Well then, let him come!

But if he does but lay a finger on her,

We’ll tear his eyes out.—His impertinence.

And big words, while mere words, I can endure;

But if he comes to action, woe be to him!

Chrem. Thais, I have been here some time.

Thais. My Chremes!

The very man I wanted!—Do you know

That you have been th’ occasion of this quarrel?

And that this whole affair relates to you?


Chrem. To me! how so?


Thais. Because, while I endeavor,

And study to restore your sister to you,

This and much more I’ve suffer’d.

Chrem. Where’s my sister?

Thais. Within, at my house.

Chrem. Ha! (With concern.)

Thais. Be not alarm’d:

She has been well brought up, and in a manner

Worthy herself and you.

Chrem. Indeed?

Thais. ’Tis true:

And now most freely I restore her to you,

Demanding nothing of you in return.

Chrem. I feel your goodness, Thais, and shall ever

Remain much bounden to you.

Thais. Aye, but now

Take heed, my Chremes, lest ere you receive

The maid from me, you lose her! for ’tis she,

Whom now the Captain comes to take by storm.

—Pythias, go, fetch the casket with the proofs!

Chrem. D’ye see him, Thais? (Looking out.)

Pyth. Where does the casket stand?

Thais. Upon the cabinet.—D’ye loiter, hussy?

Pyth. Where’s the casket plac’d?

Thais. Plac’d in the cabinet.—D’ye loiter, hussy?

Exit Pythias.


Chrem. What force the Captain brings with him against you!

Good Heav’n!

Thais. Are you afraid, young gentleman?

Chrem. Away!—who? I? afraid?—No mortal less.

Thais. Nay, you had need be stout at present, Chremes.

Chrem. Away!—who? I? afraid?—There is no man

Alive less so.

Thais. You’d need be stout at present.

Chrem. What kind of man d’ye take me for?

Thais. Consider,

He, whom you’ve now to cope with, is a stranger

Less powerful than you, less known, and less

Befriended here than you!

Chrem. I know all that:

But why, like fools, admit what we may shun?

Better prevent a wrong, than afterward

Revenge it, when receiv’d——Do you step in,

And bolt the door, while I run to the Forum,

And call some officers to our assistance. (Going.)

Thais. Stay! (Holding him.)

Chrem. ’Twill be better.

Thais. Hold!

Chrem. Nay, let me go!

I’ll soon be back.

Thais. We do not want them, Chremes.

Say, only, that this maiden is your sister,

And that you lost her when a child, and now

Know her again for yours.

437 183

Enter Pythias.

Thais (to Pyth.) Produce the proofs!

Pyth. Here they are.

Thais. Take them, Chremes!—If the Captain

Attempts to do you any violence,

Lead him before a magistrate. D’ye mark me?

Chrem. I do.

Thais. Be sure now speak with a good courage!

Chrem. I will.

Thais. Come, gather up your cloak.——Undone!

My champion wants a champion for himself.

I’ve got a champion, who wants help himself.



Enter Thraso, Gnatho, Sanga, etc.

Thraso. Shall I put up with an affront so gross,

So monstrous, Gnatho?—No, I’d rather die.

Simalio, Donax, Syrus, follow me!

First, I will storm their castle.

Gnat. Excellent!

Thra. Next carry off the Virgin.

Gnat. Admirable!

Thra. Then punish Thais herself.

Gnat. Incomparable!

Thra. Here, in the centre, Donax, with your club!


Do you, Simalio, charge on the left wing!

You, Syrus, on the right!—Bring up the rest!

Where’s the Centurion Sanga, and his band

Of rascal runaways?

San. Here, Sir!

Thra. How now?

Think’st thou to combat with a dish-clout, slave!

That thus thou bring’st it here?

San. Ah, Sir! I knew

The valor of the gen’ral and his troops;

And seeing this affair must end in blood,

I brought a clout, to wipe the wounds withal.

Thra. Where are the rest?

San. Rest! Plague, whom d’ye mean?

There’s nobody, but Sannio, left at home.

Thra. Lead you the van (to Gnatho); and I’ll bring up the rear:

Thence give the word to all.

Gnat. What wisdom is!

Now he has drawn up these in rank and file,

His post behind secures him a retreat.

Thra. Just so his line of battle Pyrrhus form’d.


Chremes and Thais appear above at a window.

Chrem. D’ye see, my Thais, what he is about?

To bar and bolt the doors was good advice.


Thais. Tut, man! you fool, that seems so mighty brave,

Is a mere coward. Do not be afraid!

Thra. What were best? (To Gnatho.)

Gnat. Troth, I wish you had a sling:

That you from far in ambush might attack them!

They’d soon fly then, I warrant you.

Thra. But see!

Thais appears.

Gnat. Let’s charge them then! Come on!

Thra. Halt!—’Tis the part of a wise general

To try all methods, ere he come to arms.

How do you know, but Thais may obey

My orders without force?

Gnat. Oh, gracious Heavens!

Of what advantage is it to be wise!

I ne’er approach but I go wiser from you.

Thra. Thais, first answer this! Did you, or no,

When I presented you the Virgin, promise,

To give yourself some days to me alone?

Thais. What then?

Thra. Is that a question, when you brought

Your lover to affront me to my face?—

Thais. What business have you with him?

Thra. Is that a question, when you durst

To bring a rival to my face?

Thais. And what

Business have you with him?



Thra. ——And stole off

In company with him?

Thais. It was my pleasure.

Thra. Therefore, restore me Pamphila; unless

You choose to see her carried off by force.

Thra. ——And then stole off

In company with him?

Thais. It was my pleasure.

Thra. Therefore, restore my Pamphila; unless

You choose to see her carried off by force.


Chrem. She restore Pamphila to you? Or you

Attempt to touch her, rascal?

Gnat. Ah, beware!

Peace, peace, young gentleman!

Thra. (to Chrem.) What is’t you mean?

Shall I not touch my own?

Chrem. Your own, you scoundrel?

Gnat. Take heed! you know not whom you rail at thus.

Chrem. Won’t you be gone?—here, hark ye, Sir! d’ye know

How matters stand with you?—if you attempt

To raise a riot in this place to-day,

I’ll answer for it, that you shall remember

This place, to-day, and me, your whole life-long.

Gnat. I pity you: to make so great a man

Your enemy!

Chrem. Hence! or I’ll break your head.

Gnat. How’s that, you hang-dog? Are you for that sport?

Thra. Who are you, fellow?—what d’ye mean?—and what


Have you to do with Pamphila?

Chrem. I’ll tell you,

First, I declare, that she’s a free-born woman!


Thra. How?

Chrem. And a citizen of Athens.

Thra. Hui!

Chrem. My sister.

Thra. Impudence!

Chrem. So, Captain, now

I give you warning, offer her no force!

—Thais, I’ll now to Sophrona, the Nurse,

And bring her here with me to see the proofs.

Thra. And you prohibit me to touch my own?

Chrem. Yes, I prohibit you.

Gnat. D’ye hear? he owns

The robbery himself. Isn’t that sufficient?

Thra. And, Thais, you maintain the same?

Thais. Ask those

Who care to answer. (Shuts down the window.)

Manent Thraso and Gnatho, etc.

Thra. What shall we do now?

Gnat. Why—e’en go back again!—This harlot here

Will soon be with you to request forgiveness.

Thra. D’ye think so?

Gnat. Aye, most certainly. I know


The ways of women.—When you will, they won’t;

And when you won’t, they’re dying for you.

Thra. True.

Gnat. Shall I disband the army?

Thra. When you will.

Gnat. Sanga, as well becomes a brave militia,

Take to your houses and firesides again.

San. My mind was like a sop i’ th’ pan, long since.

Gnat. Good fellow!

San. To the right about there! march!

Exit, with Gnatho and Thraso at the head of the troops.




Thais and Pythias.

Thais. Still, still, you, baggage, will you shuffle with me?

—“I know—I don’t know—he’s gone off—I’ve heard——

I was not present”—Be it what it may,

Can’t you inform me openly?—The Virgin,

Her clothes all torn, in sullen silence weeps.

The Eunuch’s fled.—What means all this? and what

Has happen’d?—Won’t you answer me?


Pyth. Alas!

What can I answer you?—He was, they say,

No Eunuch.

Thais. What then?

Pyth. Chærea.

Thais. Chærea!

What Chærea?

Pyth. Phædria’s younger brother.

Thais. How!

What’s that, hag?


Pyth. I’ve discover’d it: I’m sure on’t.

Thais. Why, what had he to do with us? or why

Was he brought hither?

Pyth. That I can not tell;

Unless, as I suppose, for love of Pamphila.

Thais. Alas! I am undone; undone, indeed,

If that, which you have told me now, be true.

Is’t that the girl bemoans thus?

Pyth. I believe so.

Thais. How, careless wretch! was that the charge I gave you

At my departure?

Pyth. What could I do? She

Was trusted, as you bade, to him alone.

Thais. Oh, jade, you set the wolf to keep the sheep

—I’m quite asham’d to ’ve been so poorly bubbled.

Pyth. Who comes here?—Hist! peace, madam, I beseech you!

We’re safe: we have the very man.

Seeing Chærea at a distance.

Thais. Where is he?

Pyth. Here, on the left; d’ye see him, ma’am?

Thais. I see him.

Pyth. Let him be seiz’d immediately!

Thais. And what

Can we do to him, fool?

Pyth. Do to him, say you?


—See, what a saucy face the rogue has got!

Ha’nt he?—and then how settled an assurance?


Enter Chærea.

Chær. At Antipho’s, as if for spite, there were

His father and his mother both at home,

So that I could by no means enter, but

They must have seen me. Meanwhile, as I stood

Before the door, came by an old acquaintance,

At sight of whom I flew, with all my speed,

Into a narrow, unfrequented alley;

And thence into another, and another,

Frighten’d and flurried as I scampered on,


Lest any one should know me in this habit.

But is that Thais? She. I’m all aground.

Lest any one should know me.—But is that

Thais? ’Tis she herself. I’m all aground.

What shall I do?—Pshaw! what have I to care?

What can she do to me?

Thais. Let’s up to him.

Oh, Dorus! good Sir, welcome!—And so, Sirrah,

You ran away.


Chær. Yes, madam!

Thais. And you think

It was a clever trick, I warrant you?

Chær. No, madam!

Thais. Can you believe that you shall go unpunish’d?

Thais. And you think

It was a clever trick?

Chær. No, madam!

Thais. Can you

Believe that you shall go unpunish’d for it?

Chær. Forgive me this one fault! If I commit

Another, kill me!

Thais. Do you dread my cruelty?

Chær. No, ma’am!

Thais. What then?

Chær. I was afraid, lest She

Accuse me to you. (Pointing to Pythias.)

Thais. Of what crime?

Thais. Upon what account?

Chær. A little matter.

Pyth. Rogue! a little matter?

Is it so little, think you, to abuse

A virgin, and a citizen!

Chær. I thought

She was my fellow-servant.

Pyth. Fellow-servant!

I can scarce hold from flying at his hair.

Monstrous! he’s come to make his sport of us.

Thais. Away! you rave.

Pyth. Not I. If I had done ’t,

Pyth. Why so? if I had done ’t,

I should have still been in the monster’s debt;

Particularly, as he owns himself

Your servant.

Thais. Well—no more of this.—Oh, Chærea,


You’ve done a deed unworthy of yourself:

For granting I, perhaps, might well deserve

This injury, it was not honorable

In you to do it.—As I live, I know not

What counsel to pursue about this girl;

You’ve so destroy’d my measures, that I can’t

Restore her, without blushing to her friends,

Nor so deliver her, as I propos’d,

To make them thank me for my kindness, Chærea!

Chær. Henceforth, I hope, eternal peace shall be

Betwixt us, Thais! Oft from things like these,

And bad beginnings, warmest friendships rise.

What if some God hath order’d this?

Thais. Indeed,

I’ll so interpret it, and wish it so.


Chær. I prithee do!—and be assured of this,

That naught I did in scorn, but all in love.

Thais. I do believe it; and, on that account,

More readily forgive you: for oh! Chærea,

I am not form’d of an ungentle nature,

Nor am I now to learn the pow’r of love.

Chær. Now, Thais, by my life, I love thee too.

Pyth. Then, by my troth, you must take care of him.

Chær. I durst not——

Pyth. I don’t mind a word you say.

Thais. Have done!


Chær. But now, in this one circumstance,

Let me beseech you to assist me, Thais!

I trust myself entirely to your care:

Let me beseech you to assist me! I

Commit myself entirely to your care:

Invoke you, as my patroness; implore you.

Perdition seize me, but I’ll marry her!

Thais. But if your father——

Chær. What of him? I know

He’ll soon consent, provided it appears

That she’s a citizen.

Thais. If you will wait

A little while, her brother will be here:

He’s gone to fetch the nurse that brought her up;

And you shall witness the discovery.

Chær. I will remain then.

Thais. But, in the mean time,

Had you not rather wait within, than here

Before the door?

Chær. Much rather.

Pyth. What the plague

Are you about?

Thais. What now?

Pyth. What now, indeed?

Will you let him within your doors again?

Thais. Why not?

Pyth. Remember that I prophesy,

He’ll make some fresh disturbance.

Thais. Prithee, peace!


Pyth. It seems, you have not had sufficient proof

Of his assurance.

Chær. I’ll do no harm, Pythias!

Pyth. I’ll not believe it, till I see it, Chærea.

Pyth. I’ll not believe it, Chærea, till I see it.

Chær. But you shall keep me, Pythias!

Pyth. No, not I.

For, by my troth, I would trust nothing with you,

Neither to keep, nor be kept by you.—Hence!


Thais. Oh brave! the brother’s here! (Looking out.)

Chær. Confusion!

Let’s in, dear Thais! I’d not have him see me

Here in this dress.


Thais. Why so? Are you asham’d?

Chær. I am indeed.

Pyth. Indeed! asham’d! oh dear!

Think of the girl!

Thais. Go in! I’ll follow you.

Pythias, do you stay here to bring in Chremes.

Exeunt Thais and Chærea.


Pythias, Chremes, Sophrona.

Pyth. What can I think of? what can I devise?

Some trick now to be even with that rogue

Who palm’d this young spark on us.

Chrem. (leading the nurse). Nay, but stir

Your stumps a little faster, nurse!

Soph. I come.

Chrem. Aye, marry; but you don’t come on a jot.

Pyth. Well! have you shown the tokens to the nurse?

Chrem. I have.

Pyth. And pray what says she? Did she know them?

Chrem. At first sight.

Pyth. Oh brave news! I’m glad to hear it;

For I’ve a kindness for the girl. Go in;

My mistress is impatient for your coming.

Exeunt Chremes and Sophrona.

See, yonder’s my good master Parmeno,

Marching this way: How unconcern’d, forsooth,

He stalks along!—But I’ve devis’d, I hope,

The means to vex him sorely.—First I’ll in,

To know the truth of this discovery,

And then return to terrify this rascal.



Enter Parmeno.

Par. I’m come to see what Chærea has been doing:

Who, if he has but manag’d matters well,

Good Heav’ns, how much, and what sincere applause

Shall Parmeno acquire!—For not to mention,

In an intrigue so difficult as this,

Of so much probable expense at least,

Since with a griping harlot he’d have bargain’d,

That I’ve procur’d for him the girl he lov’d,

Without cost, charge, or trouble; t’other point,

That, that I hold my master-piece, there think

I’ve gain’d the prize, in showing a young spark

The dispositions and the ways of harlots:

Which having early learn’d, he’ll ever shun.

Enter Pythias behind.


When they’re abroad, forsooth, there’s none so clean,

Nothing so trim, so elegant, as they;

Nor, when they sup with a gallant, so nice!

To see these very creatures’ gluttony,

Filth, poverty, and meanness, when at home;

So eager after food, that they devour

From yesterday’s stale broth the coarse black bread:—

All this to know is safety to young men.


Pythias, Parmeno.

Pyth. (behind). ’Faith, Sirrah, I’ll be handsomely revenged

For all you’ve done and said. You shall not boast

Your tricks on us without due punishment.

Aloud, coming forward.

Oh Heav’ns! oh dreadful deed! oh hapless youth!

Oh wicked Parmeno, that brought him here!

Par. What now?

Pyth. It mov’d me so. I could not bear

To see it: therefore I flew out o’ doors.

What an example will they make of him!

Par. Oh Jupiter! What tumult can this be?

Am I undone, or no?—I’ll e’en inquire.

Pythias! (going up.) What now? what is’t you rave about?

Who’s to be made this terrible example?

Pyth. Who? most audacious monster! while you meant

To play your tricks on us, you have destroyed

The youth whom you brought hither for the Eunuch.

Par. How so? and what has happen’d? Prithee tell me!


Pyth. Tell you? D’ye know the virgin, that was sent

To-day to Thais, is a citizen?

Her brother too a man of the first rank?

Par. I did not know it.

Pyth. Aye, but so it seems.

The poor young spark abus’d the girl; a thing

No sooner known, than he, the furious brother——

Par. Did what?

Pyth. First bound him hand and foot——

Par. How! bound him!

Pyth. And now, though Thais begged him not to do it——

Par. How! what!

Pyth. Moreover threatens, he will serve him

After the manner of adulterers;

A thing I ne’er saw done, and ne’er desire.

Par. How durst he offer at an act so monstrous?

Pyth. And why so monstrous?

Par. Is it not most monstrous?

Who ever saw a young man seiz’d by force,

And punish’d for adultery in a brothel?

Who ever saw a young man seiz’d and bound

For rapes and lewdness in a house of harlots?


Pyth. I don’t know.

Par. Aye; but you must all know this.

I tell you, and foretell you, that young spark

Is my old master’s son.

Pyth. Indeed, is he?


Par. And let not Thais suffer any one

To do him any violence!—But why

Don’t I rush in myself?

Pyth. Ah! have a care

What you’re about; lest you do him no good,

And hurt yourself: for they imagine you,

Whatever has been done, the cause of all.

Par. And let not Thais suffer any one

To do him violence!—But why don’t I

Rush in myself?

Pyth. Ah! take care, Parmeno,

What you’re about; lest you do him no good,

And hurt yourself: for they imagine you,

Whatever has been done, the cause of all.

Par. What shall I do then? what resolve? Confusion!

—Oh! yonder’s my old master, just return’d

To town. Shall I tell him of it, or no?

I’ll tell him, tho’ I am well convinc’d, the blame

Will light on me, and heavily: And yet

It must be done to help poor Chærea.

Par. What shall I do then, wretch? what undertake?

—Oh! yonder’s my old master, just return’d

To town. Shall I tell him, or no?—I’ faith

I’ll tell him, though I am well convinc’d it will

Bring me into a scrape; a heavy one: And yet

It must be done to help poor Chærea.

Pyth. Right.

I’ll in again; and you, in the mean while,

Tell the old gentleman the whole affair.



Enter Laches.

Laches. I’ve this convenience from my neighb’ring villa;

I’m never tir’d of country or of town.


For as disgust comes on, I change my place.

—But is not that our Parmeno? ’Tis he.

Parmeno, who is it you’re waiting for

—But is not that our Parmeno? ’Tis he

For certain.—Whom d’ye wait for, Parmeno,

Before that door?

Par. Who’s that? Oh, Sir! you’re welcome:

I’m glad to see you safe return’d to town.

Laches. Whom do you wait for?

Par. I’m undone: my tongue

Cleaves to my mouth through fear.

Laches. Ha! what’s the matter?

Why do you tremble so? Is all right? Speak!

Par. First be persuaded, Sir,—for that’s the case,

Whatever has befall’n has not befall’n

Through any fault of mine.

Laches. What is’t?

Par. First, Sir, I’d have you think, for so it is,

Whatever has befall’n has not befall’n

Through any fault of mine.

Laches. What is’t?


Par. That’s true.

Your pardon, Sir, I should have told that first.

—Phædria lately bought a certain Eunuch

By way of present to this gentlewoman.

Laches. What gentlewoman, sirrah?

Par. Madam Thais.

Par. That’s true.

Your pardon, Sir, I should have told that first.

—Phædria, Sir, bought a certain Eunuch, as

A present to send her.

Laches. Her!—Her! whom?

Par. Thais.

Laches. Bought? I’m undone! at what price?

Par. Twenty Minæ.


Laches. I’m ruin’d.

Par. And then Chærea’s fall’n in love

With a young music-girl.

Laches. How! what! in love!


Knows he already what a harlot is?

Is he in town? misfortune on misfortune!

Has he stol’n into town? More plagues on plagues.

Par. Nay, Sir! don’t look on me! it was not done

By my advice.

Laches. Leave prating of yourself.

As for you, rascal, if I live—But first

Whatever has befallen, tell me, quick!

Par. Chærea was carried thither for the Eunuch.

Laches. He for the Eunuch!

Par. Yes: since when, within

They’ve seiz’d and bound him for a ravisher.

Laches. Confusion

Par. See the impudence of harlots!

Laches. Is there aught else of evil or misfortune

You have not told me yet?

Par. You know the whole.

Laches. Then why do I delay to rush in on them?



Par. There is no doubt but I shall smart for this.

But since I was oblig’d to ’t, I rejoice

That I shall make these strumpets suffer too:

For our old gentleman has long desir’d

Some cause to punish them; and now he has it.


Enter Pythias; Parmeno at a distance.

Pyth. Well! I was ne’er more pleas’d in all my life

Than when I saw th’ old man come blund’ring in.

I had the jest alone; for I alone

Knew what he was afraid of.

Par. Hey! what now?

Pyth. I’m now come forth t’ encounter Parmeno.

Where is he?

Par. She seeks me.

Pyth. Oh, there he is.

I’ll go up to him.

Par. Well, fool, what’s the matter? (Pythias laughs.)

What would you? what d’ye laugh at? Hey! what still?

Pyth. Oh, I shall die: I’m horribly fatigu’d


With laughing at you. (Laughing heartily.)

Par. For what cause?

Pyth. What cause?

Par. Why so? pray!

Pyth. Why so? (Laughing.)

I ne’er saw, ne’er shall see, a greater fool.

Oh, it’s impossible to tell what sport

You’ve made within.—I swear, I always thought

That you had been a shrewd, sharp, cunning fellow.


What! to believe directly what I told you!

Or was not you contented with the crime

You urg’d the youth to perpetrate, unless

You afterwards betray’d him to his father?

Or was you prick’d in conscience for the sin


The young man had committed through your means,

That you must after tell his father of him?

How d’ye suppose he felt when old gray-beard

Surpris’d him in that habit?—What! you find

That you’re undone. (Laughing heartily.)

Par. What’s this, impertinence?

Was it a lie you told me? D’ye laugh still?

Is’t such a jest to make fools of us, hag?

Pyth. Delightful! (Laughing.)

Par. If you don’t pay dearly for it!——

Pyth. Perhaps so. (Laughing.)

Par. I’ll return it.

Pyth. Oh, no doubt on’t. (Laughing.)

But what you threaten, Parmeno, is distant:

You’ll be truss’d up to-day; who first draw in

A raw young man to sin, and then betray him.

They’ll both conspire to make you an example. (Laughing.)

Par. I’m done for.

Pyth. Take this, slave, as a reward

For the fine gift you sent us; so, farewell!

Exit Pythias.

Par. I’ve been a fool indeed; and like a rat,

Betray’d myself to-day by my own squeaking.


Enter Thraso, Gnatho; Parmeno behind.

Gnat. What now? with what hope, or design, advance we?

What’s your intention, Thraso?

Thraso. My intention?

To Thais to surrender at discretion.

Gnat. How say you?

Gnat. What now? in what hope, or with what design

Advance we hither? what adventure, Thraso?

Thraso. What do I mean?—To Thais to surrender

On her own terms?

Gnat. Indeed?


Thraso. Even so. Why should not I,

As well as Hercules to Omphale?

Gnat. A fit example.—Oh, that I could see her

Combing your empty noddle with her slipper!

But her door opens.

Thraso. Indeed! why not,

As well as Hercules to Omphale?

Gnat. A fit example.—Would I might behold

Your head broke with her slipper. (Aside.) But her doors

Creak, and fly open.

Thraso. Death! what mischief now?

Thraso. ’Sdeath! what mischief now?

I ne’er so much as saw this face before.

Why bursts he forth with such alacrity?


Enter Chærea at another part of the stage.

Chær. Lives there, my countrymen, a happier man

To-day than I?—Not one.—For on my head

The gods have plainly emptied all their store,

On whom they’ve pour’d a flood of bliss at once.


Par. What’s he so pleas’d at?


Chær. (seeing him.) Oh my Parmeno

Inventor, undertaker, perfecter

Of all my pleasures, know’st thou my good fortunes?

Know’st thou my Pamphila’s a citizen?

Par. I’ve heard so.

Chær. Know’st thou she’s betroth’d my wife?

Par. Good news, by heaven!

Par. Oh brave, by Heav’n!

Gnat. Hear you what he says? (To Thraso.)

Chær. Then I rejoice, my brother Phædria’s love

Is quietly secur’d to him forever:

We’re now one family: and Thais has

Found favor with my father, and resign’d

Herself to us for patronage and care.

Par. She’s then entirely Phædria’s!

Chær. Aye, entirely.

Par. Another cause of joy: the Captain routed!

Chær. See, Parmeno, my brother (wheresoe’er

He be) know this, as soon as possible!

Par. I’ll see if he’s at home.


Thraso. Hast any doubt,

Gnatho, but I’m entirely ruin’d?

Gnat. None at all.

Chær. What shall I mention first? whom praise the most!

Him that advis’d this action? or myself

That durst to undertake it?—or extol


Fortune, the governess of all, who deign’d,

Events so many, of such moment too,

So happily to close within one day?

Or shall I praise my father’s frank good-humor,

And gay festivity?——Oh, Jupiter,

Make but these blessings permanent!

Make but these blessings sure!


Enter Phædria.

Phæd. Good heavens!

What wondrous things has Parmeno just told me!

But where’s my brother?

Chær. Here.

Phæd. I’m quite transported.

Phæd. O heavenly powers!

What wondrous things has Parmeno just told me!

But where’s my brother?

Chær. Here he is.

Phæd. I’m happy.


Chær. I dare believe you are; and trust me, brother,

Naught can be worthier of your love than Thais:

Our family are all much bounden to her.

Phæd. So! you’d need sing her praise to me!

Thraso. Confusion!

As my hope dies, my passion gathers strength.

Gnatho, your help! my only hope’s in you.

As my hope dies, my love increases. Gnatho

Your help! my expectation’s all in you.

Gnat. What would you have me do?

Thraso. Accomplish this;


By pray’r, by purchase, that I still may have


Some little share in Thais.

Gnat. A hard task!

Thraso. Do but incline to do’t, you can, I know.

Effect it, and demand whatever gift,

Whate’er reward you please, it shall be yours.

Gnat. Indeed?

Thraso. Indeed!

Gnat. If I accomplish this,

I claim, that you agree to throw your doors,

Present or absent, always open to me;

A welcome, uninvited guest forever.

Thraso. I pawn my honor as the pledge.

Gnat. I’ll try.

Phæd. What voice is that? Oh, Thraso!

Thraso. Gentlemen,


Phæd. Perhaps you’re not acquainted yet

With what has happen’d here?

Thraso. I am.

Phæd. Why then

Do I behold you in these territories?

Thraso. Depending on——

Phæd. Depend on naught but this!

Captain, I give you warning, if, henceforth,

I ever find you in this street, although

You tell me, “I was looking for another,

I was but passing through,” expect no quarter.


Gnat. Oh fie! that is not handsome.

Phæd. I have said it.

Gnat. You can not be so rude.

Phæd. It shall be so.

Gnat. First grant me a short hearing: if you like

What I propose, agree to’t.

Phæd. Let us hear!

Gnat. Do you retire a moment, Thraso! (Thraso retires.) First,

I must beseech you both, most firmly think,

That I, whate’er I do in this affair,

For my own sake I do it: but if that

Likewise advantage you, not to agree

In you were folly.

Phæd. What are your proposals?

Gnat. I think, ’twere not imprudent to admit

The Captain, as your rival.

Phæd. How!

Admit him, say you?

Phæd. What is’t you propose?

Gnat. I think you should admit the Captain, as

Your rival.

Phæd. How? admit him?


Gnat. Nay reflect a little.

Phædria, you live at a high rate with Thais,

Gnat. Nay consider!

Phædria, you live at a high rate with her,

Revel, and feast, and stick at no expense.

Yet what you give’s but little, and you know

’Tis needful Thais should receive much more


Now to supply your love without your cost,

A fitter person, one more form’d, can’t be

Than Thraso is: first, he has wherewithal


To give, and gives most largely: a fool too,

A dolt, a block, that snores out night and day;

Nor can you fear she’ll e’er grow fond of him;

And you may drive him hence whene’er you please.

Phæd. What shall we do? (To Chærea.)

Gnat. Moreover this; the which

I hold no trifle, no man entertains

More nobly or more freely.

Phæd. I begin

To think we’ve need of such a fool.

Chær. And I.

Gnat. Well judg’d! and let me beg one favor more;

Admit me into your fraternity!

I’ve roll’d this stone too long.

Admit me of your family!—I have

Roll’d this stone long enough.

Phæd. We do admit you.

Chær. With all our hearts.

Gnat. And you, Sirs, in return,

Shall pledge me in the Captain; eat him; drink him:

And laugh at him.

Chær. A bargain!

Phæd. ’Tis his due.


Gnat. Thraso, whene’er you please, come forward!

Thraso. Well!

How stands the case?

Gnat. Thraso, whene’er you please, approach!

Thraso. Pray now,

How stands the case?


Gnat. Alas! they knew you not!

But when I drew your character, and prais’d

Your worth, according to your deeds and virtues,

I gain’d my point.

Thraso. ’Tis well: I’m much oblig’d;

I ne’er was any where, in all my life,

But all folks lov’d me most exceedingly.

Gnat. There, did I not assure you, gentlemen,

That he had all the Attick Elegance?

But all folks lov’d me dearly.

Gnat. Did not I

Say he had all the Attic elegance?

Phæd. He is the very character you drew.

Gnat. Retire then.—Ye, (to the audience,) farewell, and clap your hands!

comic masks

451 218














Phrygia, and other servants of Bacchis.

Scene, a Village near Athens.


Lest any of you wonder, why the Bard

To an old actor hath assign’d the part

Sustain’d of old by young performers; that

I’ll first explain: then say what brings

To-day, a whole play, wholly from the Greek,

We mean to represent:—The Self-Tormentor:

Wrought from a single to a double plot.


Now therefore that our comedy is new,

And what it is, I’ve shown: who wrote it too,

And whose in Greek it is, were I not sure

Most of you knew already, would I tell.

But, wherefore I have ta’en this part upon me,

In brief I will deliver: for the Bard

Has sent me here as pleader, not as Prologue;

You he declares his judges, me his counsel:

And yet as counsel nothing can I speak

More than the Author teaches me to say,

Who wrote th’ oration which I now recite.

As to reports, which envious men have spread,

That he has ransack’d many Grecian plays,

While he composes some few Latin ones,


That he denies not, he has done; nor does

Repent he did it; means to do it still;

Safe in the warrant and authority

Of greater bards, who did long since the same.

Then for the charge, that his arch-enemy

Maliciously reproaches him withal,


That he but lately hath applied himself

To music, with the genius of his friends,

Rather than natural talents, fraught; how true,

Your judgment, your opinion, must decide.

I would entreat you, therefore, not to lean

To tales of slander, rather than of candor.

Be favorable; nurse with growing hopes

The bards, who give you pleasing novelties;

Pleasing I say, not such as His I mean,

Who lately introduc’d a breathless slave,

Making the crowd give way—But wherefore trace

A dunce’s faults? which shall be shown at large,

When more he writes, unless he cease to rail.


Attend impartially! and let me once

Without annoyance act an easy part;

Lest your old servant be o’er-labor’d still


With toilsome characters, the running slave,

The eating parasite, enrag’d old man,

The bold-fac’d sharper, covetous procurer;

Parts, that ask pow’rs of voice, and iron sides.

Deign then, for my sake, to accept this plea,

And grant me some remission from my labor.

For they, who now produce new comedies,

Spare not my age! If there is aught laborious,

They run to me; but if of little weight,

Away to others. In our piece to-day

The style is pure: now try my talents then

In either character. If I for gain,


Never o’er-rated my abilities;

If I have held it still my chief reward

To be subservient to your pleasure; fix

In me a fair example, that our youth

May seek to please you, rather than themselves.




Chremes, Menedemus.

Chrem. Though our acquaintance is as yet but young,

Since you have bought this farm that neighbors mine,

And little other commerce is betwixt us;


Yet or your virtue, or good neighborhood,

(Which is in my opinion kin to friendship,)

Urge me to tell you, fairly, openly,

That you appear to me to labor more

Than your age warrants, or affairs require.


For in the name of heav’n and earth, what would you?

What do you drive at? Threescore years of age,

Now, in the name of heav’n and earth, what is’t

You want? what seek you? Threescore years of age,

Or older, as I guess; with an estate,

Better than which, more profitable, none

In these parts hold; master of many slaves;

As if you had not one at your command,

You labor in their offices yourself.

I ne’er go out so soon, return so late,

Morning or evening, but I see you still


At labour on your acres, digging, plowing,

Or carrying some burden: in a word,

I ne’er go out so soon at morn, return

So late at eve, but in your grounds I see you

Dig, plow, or fetch and carry: in a word,

You ne’er remit your toil, nor spare yourself.


This, I am certain, is not done for pleasure.

—You’ll say, perhaps, it vexes you to see

Your work go on so slowly;—do but give

The time you spend in laboring yourself

To set your slaves to work, ’twill profit more.


Mene. Have you such leisure from your own affairs

To think of those, that don’t concern you, Chremes?

Chrem. I am a man, and feel for all mankind.

Think, I advise, or ask for information:


If right, that I may do the same; if wrong,

To turn you from it.

Mene. I have need to do thus.

Do you as you think fit.

Chrem. Need any man

Torment himself?

Mene. I need.


Chrem. If you’re unhappy,

I’m sorry for it. But what evil’s this?

Chrem. If there’s a cause,

I’d not oppose it. But what evil’s this?

What is th’ offense so grievous to your nature,


That asks such cruel vengeance on yourself?

Mene. Alas! alas! (In tears.)

Chrem. Nay, weep not; but inform me.

Be not reserv’d; fear nothing: prithee, trust me:

By consolation, counsel, or assistance,

I possibly may serve you.

Mene. Would you know it?

Chrem. Aye, for the very reason I have mention’d.

Mene. I will inform you.

Chrem. But meanwhile lay down

Those rakes: don’t tire yourself.

Mene. It must not be.

Chrem. What mean you?

Mene. Give me leave: that I may take

No respite from my toil.

Chrem. I’ll not allow it. (Taking away the rakes.)

Mene. Ah, you do wrong.

Chrem. What, and so heavy too! (Weighing them in his hand.)

Mene. Such my desert.

Chrem. Now speak. (Laying down the rakes.)


Mene. One only son

I have.—Have, did I say?—Had I mean, Chremes.

Have I or no, is now uncertain.


Chrem. Wherefore?

Mene. That you shall know. An old Corinthian woman

Now sojourns here, a stranger in these parts,

And very poor. It happen’d, of her daughter

My son became distractedly enamor’d;——

E’en to the brink of marriage; and all this

Unknown to me: which I no sooner learn’d

Than I began to deal severely with him,

Not as a young and love-sick mind requir’d,

But in the rough and usual way of fathers.

Daily I chid him; crying, “How now, Sir!

Think you that you shall hold these courses long,

And I your father living?—Keep a mistress,

As if she were your wife!—You are deceiv’d,

If you think that, and do not know me, Clinia.

While you act worthily, you’re mine; if not,

I shall act toward you worthy of myself.

All this arises from mere idleness.

I, at your age, ne’er thought of love; but went

To seek my fortune in the wars in Asia,

And there acquir’d in arms both wealth and glory.”

—In short, things came to such a pass, the youth,

O’ercome with hearing still the self-same thing,


And wearied out with my reproaches; thinking,

Age and experience had enabled me

To judge his interest better than himself,

Went off to serve the king in Asia, Chremes.

Chrem. How say you?

Mene. Stole away three months ago,

Without my knowledge.

Chrem. Both have been to blame:

And yet this enterprise bespeaks a mind,

Modest and manly.

Mene. Having heard of this

From some of his familiars, home I came

Mournful, half-mad, and almost wild with grief.

I sit me down; my servants run to me;

Some draw my sandals off; while others haste

To spread the couches, and prepare the supper:

Each in his way, I mark, does all he can

To mitigate my sorrow. Noting this,

“How,” said I to myself, “so many then

Anxious for me alone? to pleasure me?

So many slaves to dress me? All this cost


For me alone?—Meanwhile, my only son,

For whom all these were fit, as well as me,

Nay rather more, since he is of an age

More proper for their use; him, him, poor boy,


Has my unkindness driven forth to sorrow.

Oh I were worthy of the heaviest curse,

Could I brook that!—No; long as he shall lead

A life of penury abroad, an exile

Through my unjust severity, so long

Will I revenge his wrongs upon myself,

Laboring, scraping, sparing, slaving for him.”

—In short, I did so; in the house I left

Nor clothes, nor movables: I scrap’d up all.


My slaves, both male and female, except those

Who more than earn’d their bread in country-work,

I sold: Then set my house to sale: In all

I got together about fifteen talents;

Purchas’d this farm; and here fatigue myself;

Thinking I do my son less injury,

While I’m in misery too; nor is it just

For me, I think, to taste of pleasure here,


Till he return in safety to partake on’t.

Chrem. You I believe a tender parent, him

A duteous son, if govern’d prudently.

But you was unacquainted with his nature,

And he with yours: sad life, where things are so!

You ne’er betray’d your tenderness to him;

Nor durst he place that confidence in you,

Which well becomes the bosom of a father.

Had that been done, this had not happen’d to you.

Mene. True, I confess; but I was most in fault.

Chrem. All, Menedemus, will, I hope, be well,

And trust, your son will soon return in safety.

Mene. Grant it, good Gods!

Chrem. They will. Now, therefore, since

The Dionysia are held here to-day,


If ’tis convenient, come, and feast with me.

Mene. Impossible.

Chrem. Why so?—Nay, prithee now,

Indulge yourself a while: your absent son,

I’m sure, would have it so.

Mene. It is not meet,

That I, who drove him forth to misery,

Should fly it now myself.

Chrem. You are resolv’d?

Mene. Most constantly.


Chrem. Farewell then!

Mene. Fare you well!



Chremes alone.

He draws tears from me.—How I pity him!

—But ’tis high time, as the day goes, to warn


My neighbor Phania to come forth to supper.

I’ll go, and see if he’s at home.

Goes to Phania’s door, and returns.

There was,

It seems, no need of warning: for, they tell me,

He went to his appointment some time since.

’Tis I myself that keep my guests in waiting.

I’ll in immediately.—But what’s the meaning

That my door opens?—Who’s this?—I’ll retire.

There was,

It seems, no need of warning: for, they tell me,

He has been gone to my house some time since;

I keep my guests in waiting; so I’ll in.

But my doors creak. (Clitipho appears.) Who’s this? I’ll step aside. (Retires.)


Enter Clitipho, speaking to Clinia within.

As yet, my Clinia, you’ve no cause to fear:

They are not long: and she, I’m confident,

Will be here shortly with the messenger.

Prithee, away then with these idle cares,


Which thus torment you!

Chrem. (behind.) Whom does my son speak to?

Clit. My father as I wish’d—Good Sir, well met.

Chrem. What now?

Clit. D’ye know our neighbor Menedemus?

Chrem. Aye, very well.

Clit. D’ye know he has a son?

Chrem. I’ve heard he is in Asia.

Clit. No such thing.

He’s at our house, Sir.

Chrem. How!

Clit. But just arriv’d:

Ev’n at his landing I fell in with him,

And brought him here to supper: for, from boys,

We have been friends and intimates.

Chrem. Good news:

Now do I wish the more that Menedemus,

Whom I invited, were my guest to-day,

That I, and under my own roof, might be

That I, and under my own roof, had been

The first to have surpris’d him with this joy!

And I may yet. (Going.)

Clit. Take heed! it were not good.

Chrem. How so?

Clit. Because the youth is yet in doubt:

Newly arriv’d; in fear of ev’ry thing;

He dreads his father’s anger, and suspects

The disposition of his mistress tow’rds him;

Her, whom he dotes upon; on whose account,


This diff’rence and departure came about.

Chrem. I know it.

Clit. He has just dispatch’d his boy

Into the city to her, and our Syrus

I sent along with him.


Chrem. What says the son?

Clit. Says? that he’s miserable.

Chrem. Miserable!

Who needs be less so? for what earthly good

Can man possess which he may not enjoy?

Parents, a prosp’rous country, friends, birth, riches.

Yet these all take their value from the mind

Of the possessor: he that knows their use,

To him they’re blessings; he that knows it not,

To him misuse converts them into curses.

Clit. Nay, but he ever was a cross old man:

And now there’s nothing that I dread so much,

As lest he be transported in his rage

To some gross outrages against his son.

Chrem. He!—He!—But I’ll contain myself. ’Tis good


For Menedemus that his son should fear. (Aside.)

Clit. What say you, Sir, within yourself! (Overhearing.)

Chrem. I say,

Be’t as it might, the son should have remain’d.

Grant that the father bore too strict a hand

Upon his loose desires; he should have borne it.

Whom would he bear withal, if not a parent?

Was’t fitting that the father should conform

To the son’s humor, or the son to his?

And for the rigor that he murmurs at,

’Tis nothing: the severities of fathers,

Unless perchance a hard one here and there,

Are much the same: they reprimand their sons

For riotous excesses, wenching, drinking;

And starve their pleasures by a scant allowance.

Yet this all tends to good: but when the mind

Is once enslav’d to vicious appetites,

It needs must follow vicious measures too.

Remember then this maxim, Clitipho,

A wise one ’tis to draw from others’ faults

A profitable lesson for yourself.

Clit. I do believe it.

Chrem. Well, I’ll in, and see

What is provided for our supper: you,

As the day wears, see that you’re not far hence.



Clitipho alone.

What partial judges of all sons are fathers!

Who ask gray wisdom from our greener years,

And think our minds should bear no touch of youth;

Governing by their passions, now kill’d in them,

And not by those that formerly rebell’d.

If ever I’ve a son, I promise him


He shall find me an easy father; fit

To know, and apt to pardon his offenses!

Not such as mine, who, speaking of another,

Shows how he’d act in such a case himself:

Yet when he takes a cup or two too much,

Oh, what mad pranks he tells me of his own:

But warns me now “to draw from others’ faults

A profitable lesson for myself.”

Cunning old gentleman! he little knows,

He pours his proverbs in a deaf man’s ear.

The words of Bacchis, Give me, Bring me, now

Have greater weight with me: to whose commands,

Alas! I’ve nothing to reply withal;

Nor is there man more wretched than myself.

For Clinia here (though he, I must confess,


Has cares enough) has got a mistress, modest,

Well-bred, and stranger to all harlot arts:

Mine is a self-will’d, wanton, haughty madam,

Gay, and extravagant; and let her ask

Whate’er she will, she must not be denied;

Since poverty I durst not make my plea.

This is a plague I have but newly found,

Nor is my father yet appris’d of it.




Enter Clinia.

Clin. Had my affairs in love been prosperous,

They had, I know, been here long since: but, ah,

I fear she’s fall’n from virtue in my absence:

So many things concur to prove it so,

My mind misgives me; opportunity,

The place, her age, an infamous old mother,

Under whose governance she lives, to whom

’Naught but gain’s precious.

To him Clitipho.

Clit. Clinia!

Clin. Woe is me! (To himself.)

Clit. Take heed, lest some one issue from your father’s,

And chance to see you here.

Clin. I will: but yet

My mind forebodes I know not what of ill.


Clit. What, still foreboding, ere you know the truth?

Clin. Had there been no untoward circumstance,

They had return’d already


Clit. Patience, Clinia!

They’ll be here presently.

Clin. Presently! but when?

Clit. Consider, ’tis a long way off: and then

You know the ways of women; to set off,

And trick their persons out, requires an age.

Clin. Oh Clitipho, I fear——

Clit. Take courage; see,

Dromo and Syrus!


Enter Syrus and Dromo, conversing at a distance.

Syrus. Say you?

Dromo. Even so.

Syrus. But while we chat, the girls are left behind.

Clit. (listening.) Girls, Clinia! do you hear?

Clin. I hear, I see,

And now, at last, I’m happy, Clitipho.

Dromo (to Syrus). Left behind! troth, no wonder: so encumber’d;


A troop of waiting-women at her heels!

Clin. (listening). Confusion! Whence should she have waiting-women?

Clit. How can I tell?

Syrus (to Dromo). We ought not to have dropp’d them.

They bring a world of baggage!

Clin. (listening). Death!

Syrus. Gold, clothes!

It grows late too, and they may miss their way.

We’ve been to blame: Dromo, run back, and meet them.

Away! quick, quick! don’t loiter.

Away! quick! don’t loiter.

Exit Dromo.

Clin. What a wretch!

All my fair hopes quite blasted!

Clit. What’s the matter?

What is it troubles you?

Clin. What troubles me?

D’ye hear? She waiting-women, gold, and clothes!

She, whom I left with one poor servant-girl!

Whence come they, think you?

Clit. Oh, I take you now.

Syrus (to himself). Gods, what a crowd! our house will hardly hold them.

What eating, and what drinking will there be!

How miserable our old gentleman!

But here are those I wish’d to see!

Seeing Clit. and Clin.


Clin. Oh Jove!

Where then are truth, and faith, and honor fled?

While I a fugitive, for love of you,

Quit my dear country, you, Antiphila,


For sordid gain desert me in distress!

You, for whose sake I courted infamy,

And cast off my obedience to my father.

He, I remember now with grief and shame,

Oft warn’d me of these women’s ways; oft tried

In vain by sage advice to wean me from her.

But now I bid farewell to her forever;

Though, when ’twere good and wholesome, I was froward.

No wretch more curs’d than I!

Syrus. He has misconstrued

All our discourse, I find—You fancy, Clinia,

Your mistress other than she is. Her life,

As far as we from circumstance could learn,

Her disposition tow’rd you, are the same.

Clin. How! tell me all: for there is naught on earth

I’d rather know than that my fears are false.

Syrus. First then, that you may be appris’d of all,

Th’ old woman, thought her mother, was not so:

That beldam also is deceas’d; for this

I overheard her, as we came along,

Telling the other.

Clit. Other! who? what other?


Syrus. Let me but finish what I have begun,

And I shall come to that.

Clit. Dispatch then.

Syrus. First,

Having arriv’d, Dromo knocks at the door:

Which an old woman had no sooner open’d,

But in goes Dromo, and I after him.

Th’ old woman bolts the door, and spins again,

And now, or never, Clinia, might be known,

Coming thus unexpectedly upon her,

Antiphila’s employments in your absence:

For such, as then we saw, we might presume

Her daily practice, which of all things else,

Betrays the mind and disposition most.

Busily plying of the web we found her,

Decently clad in mourning,—I suppose,

For the deceas’d old woman.—She had on

No gold or trinkets, but was plain and neat,

And dress’d like those who dress but for themselves.

No female varnish to set off her beauty:

Her hair dishevel’d, long, and flowing loose

About her shoulders.—Peace! (To Clinia.)

Clin. Nay, prithee, Syrus,


Do not transport me thus without a cause.

Syrus. Th’ old woman spun the woof; one servant-girl,

A tatter’d dirty dowdy, weaving by her.

Clit. Clinia, if this be true, as sure it is,

Who is more fortunate than you? D’ye mark

The ragged dirty girl that he describ’d?


A sign the mistress leads a blameless life,

When she maintains no flaunting go-between:

For ’tis a rule with those gallants, who wish

To win the mistress, first to bribe the maid.

Clin. Go on, I beg you, Syrus; and take heed

You fill me not with idle joy.—What said she

When you nam’d me?

Syrus. As soon as we inform’d her

You was return’d, and begg’d her to come to you,


She left her work immediately, and burst

Into a flood of tears, which one might see

Were shed for love of you.

Clin. By all the Gods,

I know not where I am for very joy.

Oh, how I trembled!

Clit. Without cause, I knew.

But come; now, Syrus, tell us, who’s that other?

Syrus. Your mistress, Bacchis.

Clit. How! what! Bacchis?

Where d’ye propose to carry her, rogue?

Syrus. Where?

Clit. How! what! Bacchis? Tell me,

Where d’ye bring her, rogue?

Syrus. Where do I bring her?

To our house certainly.

Clit. My father’s?

Syrus. Aye.

Clit. Oh monstrous impudence!

Syrus. Consider, Sir;


More danger, the more honor.

Clit. Look ye, Sirrah,

You mean to purchase praise at my expense,

Where the least slip of yours would ruin me.

What is’t you drive at?

Syrus. But——

Clit. But what?

Syrus. I’ll tell you,

Give me but leave!

Clin. Permit him.

Clit. Well, I do.

Syrus. This business—now—is just as if— (Drawling.)

Clit. Confusion!

What a long roundabout beginning!

Clin. True.

To the point, Syrus!

Syrus. I’ve no patience with you.

You use me ill, Sir, and I can’t endure it.

Clin. Hear him: peace, Clitipho! (To Clitipho.)

Syrus. You’d be in love;

Possess your mistress; and have wherewithal

To make her presents: but to gain all this

You’d risk no danger. By my troth, you’re wise,

If it be wise to wish for what can’t be.

Take good and bad together; both, or none;


Choose which you will; no mistress, or no danger.

And yet, the scheme I’ve laid is fair and safe;


Your mistress may be with you at your father’s

Without detection; by the self-same means

I shall procure the sum you’ve promis’d her,

Which you have rung so often in my ears,

You’ve almost deafen’d them.—What would you more?

Clit. If it may be so——

Syrus. If! the proof shall show.

Clit. Well, well then, what’s this scheme?

Syrus. We will pretend

That Bacchis is his mistress.

Clit. Mighty fine!

What shall become then of his own? Shall she

Pass for his too, because one’s not enough

To answer for?

Syrus. No. She shall to your mother.

Clit. How so?

Syrus. ’Twere tedious, Clitipho, to tell:

Let it suffice, I’ve reason for it.

Clit. Nonsense!

I see no ground to make me hazard this.

Syrus. Well; if you dread this, I’ve another way,

Which you shall both own has no danger in’t.

Clit. Aye, prithee, find that out.

Syrus. With all my heart.

I’ll run and meet the woman on the road,

And order them to go straight home again.

Clit. How! what!


Syrus. I mean to ease you of your fear,

That you may sleep in peace on either side. (Going.)


Clit. What shall I do?

Clin. E’en profit of his scheme.


Clit. But, Syrus, tell me then——

Syrus. Away, away!

This day too late you’ll wish for her in vain. (Going.)

Clin. This is your time: enjoy it, while you may:

Who knows if you may have the like again?

Clit. Syrus, I say.

Syrus. Call as you please, I’ll on.

Clit. Clinia, you’re right.—Ho, Syrus! Syrus, ho!

Syrus, I say.

Syrus. So, he grows hot at last. (To himself.)

What would you, Sir? (Turning about.)

Clit. Come back, come back!

Syrus. I’m here. (Returns.)

You’re pleasure, Sir!—What, will not this content you?

Clit. Yes, Syrus; me, my passion, and my fame

I render up to you: dispose of all;

But see you’re not to blame.

Syrus. Ridiculous!


Spare your advice, good Clitipho! you know

Success is my concern still more than yours:

For if perchance we fail in our attempt,

You shall have words; but I, alas! dry blows.

Be sure then of my diligence; and beg

Your friend to join, and countenance our scheme.

Clin. Depend on me: I see it must be so.

Clit. Thanks, my best Clinia!

Clin. But take heed she trip not.


Syrus. Oh, she is well instructed.

Syrus. Oh, she’s well instructed.

Clit. Still I wonder

How you prevail’d so easily upon her:

Her, who’s so scornful.

Syrus. I came just in time,

Time, that in most affairs is all in all:

For there I found a certain wretched captain,

Begging her favors. She, an artful baggage,

Denied him, to inflame his mind the more,


And make her court to you.—But hark ye, Sir,

Be cautious of your conduct! no imprudence!

You know how shrewd and keen your father is;

And I know your intemperance too well.

No double-meanings, glances, leers, sighs, hems,

Coughing, or titt’ring, I beseech you, Sir!

Clit. I’ll play my part——

Syrus. Look to’t!

Clit. To your content.

Syrus. But see, the women! they’re soon after us. (Looking out.)

Clit. Where are they?— (Syrus stops him.) Why d’ye hold me?

Syrus. She is not

Your mistress now.

Clit. True: not before my father.

But now, meanwhile——

Syrus. Nor now, meanwhile,

Clit. Allow me!

Syrus. No.

Clit. But a moment!

Syrus. No.

Clit. A single kiss!

Syrus. Away, if you are wise!

Clit. Well, well, I’m gone.

—What’s he to do?

Syrus. Stay here.


Clit. O happy——

Syrus. March! (Pushes off Clitipho.)


Enter Bacchis, and Antiphila at a distance.

Bacch. Well, I commend you, my Antiphila:

Happy, that you have made it still your care,

That virtue should seem fair as beauty in you!

Nor Gracious Heav’n so help me, do I wonder

If ev’ry man should wish you for his own;

For your discourse bespeaks a worthy mind.

And when I ponder with myself, and weigh

Your course of life, and all the rest of those

Who live not on the common, ’tis not strange,

Your morals should be different from ours.

Virtue’s your int’rest; those, with whom we deal,

Forbid it to be ours: For our gallants,

Charm’d by our beauty, court us but for that;

Which fading, they transfer their love to others.

If then meanwhile we look not to ourselves,

We live forlorn, deserted, and distress’d.

You, when you’ve once agreed to pass your life

Bound to one man, whose temper suits with yours,

He too attaches his whole heart to you:

Thus mutual friendship draws you each to each;


Nothing can part you, nothing shake your love.

Anti. I know not others’; for myself I know,

From his content I ever drew my own.

Clin. (overhearing). Excellent maid! my best Antiphila!

Thou too, thy love alone is now the cause

That brings me to my native land again.

For when away, all evils else were light

Compar’d to wanting thee.

Syrus. I do believe it.


Clin. O Syrus, ’tis too much: I can not bear it.

Wretch that I am!—and must I be debarr’d

To give a loose to love, a love like this?

Syrus. And yet if I may judge your father’s mind,

He has more troubles yet in store for you.


Bacch. Who is that youth that eyes us? (Seeing Clinia.)

Anti. Ha! (seeing him.)—Support me!


Bacch. Bless me, what now?

Anti. I faint.

Bacch. Alas, poor soul!

What is’t surprises you, Antiphila?

Anti. Is’t Clinia that I see, or no?

Bacch. Whom do you see?

Clin. Welcome my soul! (Running up to her.)

Anti. My wish’d-for Clinia, welcome!

Clin. How fares my love?

Anti. O’erjoyed at your return.


Clin. And do I hold thee, my Antiphila,

Thou only wish and comfort of my soul!

Syrus. In, in, for you have made our good man wait.





Chrem. ’Tis now just daybreak.—Why delay I then

To call my neighbor forth, and be the first

To tell him of his son’s return?—The youth,

I understand, would fain not have it so.


But shall I, when I see this poor old man

Afflict himself so grievously, by silence


Rob him of such an unexpected joy,

When the discov’ry can not hurt the son?


No, I’ll not do’t; but far as in my pow’r

Assist the father. As my son, I see,

Ministers to th’ occasions of his friend,

Associated in counsels, rank, and age,

So we old men should serve each other too.


Enter Menedemus.

Mene. (to himself). Sure I’m by nature form’d for misery


Beyond the rest of humankind, or else

’Tis a false saying, though a common one,

“That time assuages grief.” For ev’ry day

My sorrow for the absence of my son

Grows on my mind: the longer he’s away,

The more impatiently I wish to see him,

The more pine after him.

Chrem. But he’s come forth. (Seeing Menedemus.)

Yonder he stands. I’ll go and speak with him.

Good-morrow, neighbor! I have news for you;

Such news as you’ll be overjoy’d to hear.

Mene. Of my son, Chremes?

Chrem. He’s alive and well.

Mene. Where?

Chrem. At my house.

Mene. My son?

Chrem. Your son.

Mene. Come home?

Chrem. Come home.

Mene. My dear boy come? my Clinia?

Chrem. He.

466 269

Mene. Away then! prithee, bring me to him.

Chrem. Hold!

He cares not you should know of his return,

And dreads your sight because of his late trespass.

He fears, besides, your old severity

Is now augmented.

Mene. Did not you inform him

The bent of my affections?

Chrem. Not I.

Mene. Wherefore, Chremes?

Chrem. Because ’twould injure both yourself and him

To seem of such a poor and broken spirit.

Mene. I can not help it. Too long, much too long,

I’ve been a cruel father.

Chrem. Ah, my friend,

You run into extremes; too niggardly,

Or, too profuse; imprudent either way.

First, rather than permit him entertain

A mistress, who was then content with little,

And glad of any thing, you drove him hence:

Whereon the girl was forc’d against her will,

To grow a common gamester for her bread:

And now she can’t be kept without much cost,

You’d squander thousands. For to let you know


How admirably madam’s train’d to mischief,

How finely form’d to ruin her admirers,

She came to my house yesternight with more

Than half a score of women at her tail,

Laden with clothes and jewels.—If she had

A Prince to her gallant, he could not bear

Such wild extravagance: much less can you.

Mene. Is she within too?

Chrem. She within! Aye, truly.

I’ve found it to my cost: for I have given

To her and her companions but one supper;

And to give such another would undo me.

For, not to dwell on other circumstances,

Merely to taste, and smack, and spirt about.

What quantities of wine has she consum’d!

This is too rough, she cries; some softer, pray!

I have pierc’d every vessel, ev’ry cask;

Kept ev’ry servant running to and fro:

All this ado, and all in one short night!


What, Menedemus, must become of you,

Whom they will prey upon continually?

Now, afore Heaven, thinking upon this,

I pitied you.

Mene. Why let him have his will;

Waste, consume, squander; I’ll endure it all,

So I but keep him with me.

So I but have him with me.

Chrem. If resolv’d


To take that course, I hold it of great moment

That he perceive not you allow of this.

Mene. What shall I do then?

Chrem. Any thing much rather

Than what you mean to do: at second-hand

Supply him; or permit his slave to trick you;

Though I perceive they’re on that scent already,

And privately contriving how to do’t.

There’s Syrus, and that little slave of yours

In an eternal whisper: the young men

Consulting too together: and it were

Better to lose a talent by these means,

Than on your plan a mina: for at present

Money is not the question, but the means

To gratify the youth the safest way.


For if he once perceives your turn of mind,

That you had rather throw away your life,

And waste your whole estate, than part with him,

Ah, what a window to debauchery

You’ll open, Menedemus! Such a one,

As will embitter even life itself;

And that you’d rather hazard life, and wealth,

Than part from him; ah, Menedemus, what

A window to debauchery you’ll open!

Nay, life itself will grow a burden to you;

For too much liberty corrupts us all.

Whatever comes into his head, he’ll have;

Nor think if his demand be right or wrong.

You, on your part, to see your wealth and son

Both wreck’d, will not be able to endure.

You’ll not comply with his demands; whereon

He falls to his old fence immediately,

And knowing where your weak part lies, will threaten

To leave you instantly.

Mene. ’Tis very like.

Chrem. Now on my life I have not clos’d my eyes,

Nor had a single wink of sleep this night,


For thinking how I might restore your son.

Mene. Give me your hand: and let me beg you, Chremes,

Continue to assist me!

Chrem. Willingly.

Mene. D’ye know what I would have you do at present?

Chrem. What?

Mene. Since you have found out they meditate

Some practice on me, prithee, urge them on

To execute it quickly: for I long

To grant his wishes, long to see him straight.

Chrem. Let me alone. I must lay hold of Syrus,

And give him some encouragement.—But see!

Some one, I know not who, comes forth: In, in,

Lest they perceive that we consult together!

I have a little business too in hand.

Simus and Crito, our two neighbors here,

Have a dispute about their boundaries;

And they’ve referr’d it to my arbitration,

I’ll go and tell them, ’tis not in my power


To wait on them, as I propos’d to-day.

I will be with you presently.


Mene. Pray do.

Exit Chremes.

Gods! that the nature of mankind is such,

To see and judge of the affairs of others

Much better than their own! Is’t therefore so,

Because that, in our own concerns, we feel

The influence of joy or grief too nearly?

Too much the influence of joy or sorrow?

How much more wisely does my neighbor here,

Consult for me, than I do for myself!

Chrem. (returning.) I’ve disengag’d myself! that I might be

At leisure to attend on your affairs.

Exit Menedemus.


Enter Syrus at another part of the stage.

Syrus One way, or other, money must be had,

And the old gentleman impos’d upon.

Syrus (to himself.) This way, or that way, or some way or other!

For money must be had, and th’ old man trick’d.

Chrem. (overbearing.) Was I deceiv’d in thinking they were at it?

That slave of Clinia’s, it should seem, is dull,

And so our Syrus has the part assign’d him.

Syrus. Who’s there (seeing Chremes). Undone if he has overheard me. (Aside.)


Chrem. Syrus.

Syrus. Sir!

Chrem. What now?

Syrus. Nothing.—But I wonder

To see you up so early in the morning,

Who drank so freely yesterday.

Chrem. Not much.

Syrus. Not much? You have, Sir, as the proverb goes,

The old age of an eagle.

Chrem. Ah!

Syrus. A pleasant,

Good sort of girl, this wench of Clinia’s.

Chrem. Aye, so she seems.

Syrus. And handsome.

Chrem. Well enough.

Syrus. Not like the maids of old, but passable,

As girls go now: nor am I much amaz’d

That Clinia dotes upon her. But he has,

Alas, poor lad! a miserable, close,


Dry, covetous, curmudgeon to his father:

Our neighbor here; d’ye know him?—Yet, as if

He did not roll in riches, his poor son

Was forc’d to run away for very want.

D’ye know this story?

Chrem. Do I know it? Aye.

A scoundrel! should be horse-whipp’d.


Syrus. Who?

Chrem. That slave

Of Clinia’s——

Syrus. Troth, I trembled for you, Syrus! (Aside.)

Chrem. Who suffer’d this.

Syrus. Why what should he have done?

Chrem. What?—have devis’d some scheme, some ways and means

Chrem. What?—have devis’d expedients, contriv’d schemes,

To raise the cash for the young gentleman

To make his mistress presents; and have done

A kindness to th’ old hunks against his will.

Syrus. You jest.

Chrem. Not I: it was his duty, Syrus.

Syrus. How’s this? why prithee then, d’ye praise those slaves,

Who trick their masters?

Chrem. Yes upon occasion.

Syrus. Mighty fine, truly!

Chrem. Why, it oft prevents

A great deal of uneasiness: for instance,


My neighbour Menedemus, well deceiv’d,

Would ne’er have seen his son abandon him.

Syrus. I don’t know whether he’s in jest or earnest,

But it gives me encouragement to trick him.

This Clinia, Menedemus’ only son,

Would never have elop’d.

Syrus. I can not tell

Whether he says all this in jest or earnest;

But it gives fresh encouragement to me. (Aside.)

Chrem. And now what is’t the blockhead waits for, Syrus?

Is’t till his master runs away again,

When he perceives himself no longer able

To bear with the expenses of his mistress?

Has he no plot upon th’ old gentleman?

Syrus. He’s a poor creature.

Chrem. But it is your part,

For Clinia’s sake, to lend a helping hand.

Syrus. Why, that indeed I easily can do,

If you command me; for I know which way.

Chrem. I take you at your word.

Syrus. I’ll make it good.

Chrem. Do so.

Syrus. But hark ye, Sir! remember this,

If ever it hereafter comes to pass,

—As who can answer for th’ affairs of men!

That your own son——

Chrem. I hope ’twill never be.

Syrus. I hope so too; nor do I mention this

From any knowledge or suspicion of him:

But that in case—his time of life, you know;

And should there be occasion, trust me, Chremes,


But I could handle you most handsomely.

Chrem. Well, well, we’ll think of it, when that time comes.

Now to your present task!

Exit Chremes.


Syrus alone.

I never heard

My master argue more commodiously;

Nor ever was inclin’d to mischief, when

Nor ever had a mind to mischief, when

It might be done with more impunity.

But who’s this coming from our house?


Enter Clitipho, and Chremes following.

Chrem. How now?

What manners are these, Clitipho? does this

Become you?

Clit. What’s the matter?

Chrem. Did not I

This very instant see you put your hand

Into yon wench’s bosom?

Syrus. So! all’s over:

I am undone. (Aside.)


Clit. Me, Sir?

Chrem. These very eyes

Beheld you: don’t deny it.—’Tis base in you

To be so flippant with your hands. For what

Affront’s more gross than to receive a friend

Under your roof, and tamper with his mistress?

And, last night in your cups too, how indecent

And rudely you behav’d!

Syrus. ’Tis very true.

Chrem. So very troublesome, so help me Heav’n,

I fear’d the consequence. I know the ways

Of lovers: they oft take offense at things

You dream not of.

Clit. But my companion, Sir,

Is confident I would not wrong him.

Chrem. Granted.

Yet you should cease to hang forever on them.

Withdraw, and leave them sometimes to themselves.

Love has a thousand sallies; you restrain them.

I can conjecture from myself. There’s none,

How near soever, Clitipho, to whom

I dare lay open all my weaknesses.

With one my pride forbids it, with another

The very action shames me: and believe me,

It is the same with him; and ’tis our place

To mark on what occasions to indulge him.

Syrus. What says he now? (Aside.)


Clit. Confusion!


Syrus. Clitipho,

These are the very precepts that I gave you:

And how discreet and temperate you’ve been!

Clit. Prithee, peace!

Syrus. Aye, I warrant you.

Chrem. Oh, Syrus,

I’m quite asham’d of him.

Syrus. I do not doubt it.

Nor without reason; for it troubles me.

Clit. Still, rascal

Syrus. Nay, I do but speak the truth.

Clit. May I not then go near them?

Chrem. Prithee, then,

Is there one way alone of going near them?

Syrus. Confusion! he’ll betray himself before

I get the money. (Aside.)—Chremes, will you once

Hear a fool’s counsel?

Chrem. What do you advise?

Syrus. Order your son about his business.

Clit. Whither?

Syrus. Whither! where’er you please. Give place to them.

Go take a walk.

Clit. Walk! where?

Syrus. A pretty question!

This, that, or any way.

Chrem. He says right. Go!


Clit. Now, plague upon you, Syrus! (Going.)

Syrus (to Clitipho, going). Henceforth, learn

To keep those hands of yours at rest.

Exit Clitipho.


Chremes, Syrus.

D’ye mind?

What think you, Chremes, will become of him,

Unless you do your utmost to preserve,

Correct, and counsel him?

Chrem. I’ll take due care.

Syrus. But now’s your time, Sir, to look after him.

Chrem. It shall be done.

Syrus. It must be, if you’re wise:

For ev’ry day he minds me less and less.

Chrem. But, Syrus, say, what progress have you made

In that affair I just now mention’d to you?

Have you struck out a scheme that pleases you?

Or are you still to seek?

Syrus. The plot, you mean,

On Menedemus. I’ve just hit on one.

Chrem. Good fellow! prithee now, what is’t?

Syrus. I’ll tell you.

But as one thing brings in another——

472 282

Chrem. Well?

Syrus. This Bacchis is a sad jade.

Chrem. So it seems.

Syrus. Aye, Sir, if you knew all; nay, even now

She’s hatching mischief.—Dwelling hereabouts,

There was of late an old Corinthian woman,

To whom this Bacchis lent a thousand pieces.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. The woman’s dead; and left behind

A daughter, very young, whom she bequeath’d,

By way of pledge, to Bacchis for the money.

Chrem. I understand.

Syrus. This girl came here with Bacchis,

And now is with your wife.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. She begs

Of Clinia to advance the cash; for which

She’ll give the girl as an equivalent.

She wants the thousand pieces.

Chrem. Does she so?

Syrus. No doubt on’t.

Chrem. So I thought.—And what do you

Intend to do?


Syrus. Who? I, Sir? I’ll away

To Menedemus presently; and tell him

This maiden is a rich and noble captive,

Stolen from Caria; and to ransom her

Will greatly profit him.

Chrem. ’Twill never do.

Syrus. How so?

Chrem. I answer now for Menedemus.

I will not purchase her. What say you now?

Syrus. Give a more favorable answer!

Chrem. No,

There’s no occasion.


Syrus. No occasion?

Chrem. No.

Syrus. I can not comprehend you.

Chrem. I’ll explain.

—But hold! what now? whence comes it that our door

Opens so hastily?


Enter at a distance Sostrata with a ring, and the Nurse.

Sostra. Or I’m deceiv’d,

Or this is certainly the very ring;

The ring with which my daughter was expos’d.

Chrem. (to Syrus, behind). What can those words mean, Syrus?


Sostra. Tell me, Nurse!

Does it appear to you to be the same?

Nurse. Aye, marry: and the very moment that

You show’d it me, I said it was the same.

Sostra. But have you thoroughly examin’d, Nurse?

Nurse. Aye, thoroughly.


Sostra. In then, and let me know

If she has yet done bathing; and meanwhile

I’ll wait my husband here.

Exit Nurse.

Syrus. She wants you, Sir!

Enquire, what she would have. She’s very grave.

Syrus. She wants you, Sir! inquire

What she would have. She’s grave, I know not why.

’Tis not for nothing; and I fear the cause.

Chrem. The cause? pshaw! nothing. She’ll take mighty pains

To be deliver’d of some mighty trifle.

Sostra. (seeing them). Oh husband!

Chrem. Oh wife!

Sostra. I was looking for you,

Chrem. Your pleasure?

Sostra. First, I must entreat you then,

Believe, I would not dare do any thing

Against your order.

Chrem. What! must I believe

A thing past all belief?—I do believe it.

Syrus. This exculpation bodes some fault, I’m sure. (Aside.)

Sostra. Do you remember, I was pregnant once,

When you assur’d me with much earnestness,

That if I were deliver’d of a girl,

You would not have the child brought up?

Chrem. I know

What you have done. You have brought up the child.


Syrus. Madam, if so, my master gains a loss.

Sostra. No, I have not: but there was at that time

An old Corinthian woman dwelling here,

To whom I gave the child to be expos’d.

Chrem. O Jupiter! was ever such a fool!

Sostra. Ah, what have I committed?

Chrem. What committed!

Sostra. If I’ve offended, Chremes, ’tis a crime

Of ignorance, and nothing of my purpose.

Chrem. Own it or not, I know it well enough,

That ignorantly, and imprudently,

You do and say all things; how many faults

In this one action are you guilty of!

For first, had you complied with my commands,

The girl had been dispatch’d; and not her death


Pretended, and hopes given of her life.

But that I do not dwell upon: You’ll cry,

“—Pity,—a mother’s fondness.”—I allow it.

But then how rarely you provided for her!


What could you mean? consider!—for ’tis plain,

You have betray’d your child to that old beldam,

Either for prostitution, or for sale.

So she but liv’d, it was enough, you thought:

No matter how, or what vile life she led.

—What can one do, or how proceed, with those,

Who know of neither reason, right, nor justice?

Better or worse, for or against, they see

Nothing but what they list.

Sostra. My dearest Chremes,

I own I have offended: I’m convinc’d.

But since you’re more experienc’d than myself,

I pray you be the more indulgent too,

And let my weakness shelter in your justice.

Chrem. Well, well, I pardon you: but, Sostrata,

Forgiving you thus easily, I do

But teach you to offend again. But come,

Say, wherefore you began this?


Sostra. As we women

Are generally weak and superstitious,

When first to this Corinthian old woman

I gave the little infant, from my finger

I drew a ring, and charg’d her to expose

That with my daughter: that if chance she died,

She might have part of our possessions with her.

Chrem. ’Twas right: you thus preserv’d yourself and her.

Sostra. This is that ring.

Chrem. Where had it you?

Sostra. The girl

That Bacchis brought with her——

Syrus. Ha! (Aside.)

Chrem. What says she?


Sostra. Desir’d I’d keep it while she went to bathe.

I took no notice on’t, at first; but I

No sooner look’d on’t than I knew’t again,

And straight ran out to you.

Chrem. And what d’ye think,

Or know concerning her?

Sostra. I can not tell,

Till you inquire it of herself, and find,

If possible, from whence she had the ring.

Syrus. Undone! I see more hope than I desire.

She’s ours, if this be so. (Aside.)

Chrem. Is she alive

To whom you gave the child?

Sostra. I do not know.

Chrem. What did she tell you formerly?

Sostra. That she

Had done what I commanded her.

Chrem. Her name;

That we may make inquiry.


Sostra. Philtere.


Syrus. The very same! she’s found, and I am lost.


Chrem. In with me, Sostrata!

Sostra. Beyond my hopes.

How much I fear’d you should continue still

So rigidly inclin’d, as formerly,

When you refus’d to educate her, Chremes!

Chrem. Men can not always be as they desire,

But must be govern’d by their fortunes still.

The times are alter’d with me, and I wish

To have a daughter now; then, nothing less.




Syrus, alone.

My mind misgives me, my defeat is nigh,

This unexpected incident has driven

My forces into such a narrow pass,

I can not even handsomely retreat

Without some feint, to hinder our old man

From seeing that this wench is Clitipho’s.

As for the money, and the trick I dream’d of,


Those hopes are flown, and I shall hold it triumph,

So I but ’scape a scouring—Cursed fortune,

To have so delicate a morsel snatch’d

Out of my very jaws!—What shall I do?

What new device? for I must change my plan.

—Nothing so difficult, but may be won

By industry.—Suppose, I try it thus. (Thinking.)

—’Twill never do.—Or thus?—No better still.

But thus I think.—No, no.—Yes, excellent!

Courage! I have it.—Good!—Good!—best of all!——

—’Faith, I begin to hope to lay fast hold

Of that same slipp’ry money after all.


Enter Clinia at another part of the stage.

Clin. Henceforward, fate, do with me what thou wilt!

Such is my joy, so full and absolute,

I can not know vexation. From this hour

To you, my father, I resign myself,

Content to be more frugal than you wish!

Syrus (overhearing). ’Tis just as I suppos’d. The girl’s acknowledged;


His raptures speak it so.— (Going up.) I’m overjoyed

That things have happen’d to your wish.

Clin. O Syrus!


Have you then heard it too?

Syrus. Undoubtedly.

Syrus. I heard it? Aye:

I, who was present at the very time!

Clin. Was ever any thing so lucky?

Syrus. Nothing.

Clin. Now, Heav’n so help me, I rejoice at this

On her account much rather than my own,

Her, whom I know worthy the highest honors.

Syrus. No doubt on’t.—But now, Clinia, hold a while!

Give me a moment’s hearing in my turn.

For your friend’s business must be thought of now,

And well secur’d, lest our old gentleman

Suspect about the wench.

Clin. O Jupiter! (In raptures.)

Syrus. Peace! (Impatiently.)

Clin. My Antiphila shall be my wife.

Syrus. And will you interrupt me?

Clin. Oh, my Syrus,

What can I do! I’m overjoy’d. Bear with me.

Syrus. Troth so I do.

Clin. We’re happy, as the Gods.

Syrus. I lose my labor on you.

Clin. Speak; I hear.

Syrus. Aye, but you don’t attend.

Clin. I’m all attention.

Syrus. I say then, Clinia, that your friend’s affairs

Must be attended to, and well secur’d:

For if you now depart abruptly from us,


And leave the wench upon our hands, my master

Will instantly discover she belongs

To Clitipho. But if you take her off,

It will remain, as still it is, a secret.

Clin. But, Syrus, this is flatly opposite

To what I most devoutly wish, my marriage,

For with what face shall I accost my father?

D’ye understand me?

Syrus. Aye.

Clin. What can I say?

What reason can I give him?

Syrus. Tell no lie.

Speak the plain truth.

Clin. How?

Syrus. Every syllable.

Tell him your passion for Antiphila;

Tell him you wish to marry her, and tell him,

Bacchis belongs to Clitipho.

Clin. ’Tis well,

In reason, and may easily be done:


And then besides you’d have me win my father,

To keep it hid from your old gentleman.

Syrus. No; rather to prevail on him, to go

And tell him the whole truth immediately.

Clin. How? are you mad? or drunk? You’ll be the ruin

Of Clitipho: for how can he be safe?


Eh, Sirrah!

Syrus. That’s my master-piece: this plot

Is my chief glory, and I’m proud to think

I have such force, such power of cunning in me,

As to be able to deceive them both,

By speaking the plain truth: that when your father

Tells Chremes, Bacchis is his own son’s mistress,

He sha’n’t believe it.

Clin. But that way again

You blast my hopes of marriage: for while Chremes

Supposes her my mistress, he’ll not grant

His daughter to me. You, perhaps, don’t care,

So you provide for him, what comes of me.

Syrus. Why, plague! d’ye think I’d have you counterfeit

Forever? but a day, to give me time

To bubble Chremes of the money.—Peace!

Not an hour more.

Clin. Is that sufficient for you?

But then, suppose his father find it out!

Syrus. Suppose, as some folks say, the sky should fall!


Clin. Still I’m afraid.

Syrus. Afraid indeed, as if

It was not in your pow’r, whene’er you pleas’d,

To clear yourself, and tell the whole affair.

Clin. Well, well, let Bacchis be brought over then!

Syrus. Well said; and here she comes.


Enter Bacchis, Phrygia, etc., at another part of the stage.

Bacch. Upon my life,

This Syrus with his golden promises

Has fool’d me hither charmingly! Ten minæ

He gave me full assurance of: but if

He now deceives me, come whene’er he will,

Canting and fawning to allure me hither,

It shall be all in vain; I will not stir.

Or when I have agreed, and fix’d a time,

Of which he shall have giv’n his master notice,

And Clitipho is all agog with hope,

I’ll fairly jilt them both, and not come near them;

And master Syrus’ back shall smart for it.

Clin. She promises you very fair.


Syrus. D’ye think

She jests? She’ll do it, if I don’t take heed.


Bacch. They sleep: i’ faith, I’ll rouse them. Hark ye, Phrygia,

Did you observe the villa of Charinus,

Which yonder fellow shew’d us?

Phry. I did, Madam.

Bacch. The next upon the right.

Phry. I recollect.

Didst note the villa of Charinus, which

That fellow just now show’d us? (Aloud.)

Phry. I did, Madam.

Bacch. The next house on the right hand. (Aloud.)

Phry. I remember.

Bacch. Run thither quickly: for the Captain spends

The Dionysia there. (Aloud.)

Syrus (behind). What means she now?

Bacch. Tell him I’m here; and sore against my will,

Detain’d by force; but I’ll devise some means

Detain’d by force; but that I’ll find some means

To slip away and come to him. (Aloud.)

Syrus. Confusion!— (Comes forward.)

Stay, Bacchis, Bacchis! where d’ye send that girl?

Bid her stop!

Bacch. Go! (To Phrygia.)

Syrus. The money’s ready for you.

Bacch. Oh! then I stay.

Syrus. You shall be paid directly.

Syrus. The money’s ready.


Bacch. Then

I stay. (Phrygia returns.)

Syrus. This instant you shall have it, Bacchis.

Bacch. When you please; I don’t press you.

Syrus. But d’ye know

What you’re to do?

Bacch. Why, what?

Syrus. You must go over,

You and your equipage, to Menedemus.

Bacch. What are you at now, sauce-box?

Syrus. Coining money

For your use, Bacchis.

Bacch. Do you think to play

Your jests on me?

Syrus. No; this is downright earnest.

Bacch. Are you the person I’m to deal with?

Syrus. No.

But ’twill secure your money.

But there I’ll pay the money.

Bacch. Let us go then!

Syrus. Follow her there.——Ho, Dromo!


Enter Dromo.

Dromo. Who calls?

Syrus. Syrus.

Dromo. Your pleasure! What’s the matter now?

Syrus. Conduct

All Bacchis’ maids to your house instantly.

Dromo. Why so?

Syrus. No questions: let them carry over

All they brought hither. Our old gentleman


Will think himself reliev’d from much expense

By their departure. Troth, he little knows

With how much loss this small gain threatens him.

If you’re wise, Dromo, know not what you know.

Dromo. I’m dumb.

Exit Dromo, with Bacchis’ servants and baggage, into the house of Menedemus.


After which, enter Chremes.

Chrem. (to himself). ’Fore Heav’n, I pity Menedemus.

His case is lamentable: to maintain


That jade and all her harlot family!

Although I know for some few days to come

He will not feel it; so exceedingly

He long’d to have his son: but when he sees

Such monstrous household riot and expense

Continue daily, without end or measure,

He’ll wish his son away from him again.

But yonder’s Syrus in good time. (Seeing Syrus.)

Syrus. I’ll to him. (Aside.)

Chrem. Syrus!

Syrus. Who’s there? (Turning about.)

Chrem. What now?

Syrus. The very man!

I have been wishing for you this long time.

Chrem. You seem to’ve been at work with Menedemus.

Chrem. You seem to’ve been at work with the old man.

Syrus. What! at our plot? No sooner said than done.

Chrem. Indeed!

Syrus. Indeed.

Chrem. I can’t forbear to stroke

Your head for it. Good lad! come nearer, Syrus!

I’ll do thee some good turn for this. I will,

I promise you. (Patting his head.)

Syrus. Ah, if you did but know

How luckily it came into my head!

Chrem. Pshaw, are you vain of your good luck?

Syrus. Not I.

I speak the plain truth.


Chrem. Let me know it then.

Syrus. Clinia has told his father that the wench

Is mistress to your Clitipho; and that

He brought her over with him to their house,

To hinder your detecting it.

Chrem. Good! good!

Syrus. D’ye think so?

Chrem. Charming!

He brought her with him hither, to prevent

Your smoking it.

Chrem. Incomparable!

Syrus. Really?

Chrem. O, admirable!

Syrus. Aye, if you knew all.

But only hear the rest of our device.

But only hear the rest of our advice.


He’ll tell his father he has seen your daughter,

Whose beauty has so charm’d him at first sight,

He longs to marry her.

Chrem. Antiphila?

Syrus. The same: and he’ll request him to demand her

Of you in marriage.

Chrem. To what purpose, Syrus?

I don’t conceive the drift on’t.

Syrus. No! you’re slow.

Chrem. Perhaps so.

Syrus. Menedemus instantly

Will furnish him with money for the wedding,

To buy——d’ye take me?

Chrem. Clothes and jewels.

Syrus. Aye.

Chrem. But I will neither marry, nor betroth

My daughter to him.

Syrus. No? Why?


Chrem. Why!—is that

A question? to a wretch!——

Syrus. Well, as you please.

I never meant that he should marry her,

But only to pretend——

Chrem. I hate pretense.

Plot as you please, but do not render me

An engine in your rogueries. Shall I

Contract my daughter, where I never can

Consent to marry her?

Syrus. I fancied so.

Chrem. Not I.

Syrus. It might be done most dextrously:

And, in obedience to your strict commands,

I undertook this business.

Chrem. I believe it.

Syrus. However, Sir, I meant it well.

Chrem. Nay, nay,

Do’t by all means, and spare no trouble in’t;

But bring your scheme to bear some other way.

Syrus. It shall be done: I’ll think upon some other.

—But then the money which I mention’d to you,

Owing to Bacchis by Antiphila,

Must be repaid her: and you will not now

Attempt to shift the matter off; or say,

“—What is’t to me? was I the borrower?

Did I command it? Could she pledge my daughter


Against my will?”—These pleas you cannot urge;

Against my will?”——You can say none of this;

For ’tis a common saying, and a true,

That strictest law is oft the highest wrong.

Chrem. I mean not to evade it.

Syrus. No, I’ll warrant.

Nay you, though others did, could never think on’t;


For all the world imagines you’ve acquir’d

A fair and handsome fortune.

Chrem. I will carry

The money to her instantly myself.

Syrus. No; rather send it by your son.

Chrem. Why so!

Syrus. Because he acts the part of her gallant.

Chrem. What then?

Syrus. Why then ’twill seem more probable,

If he presents it: I too shall effect

My scheme more easily.—And here he is.——

In, Sir, and fetch the money out.

Chrem. I will.

Exit Chremes.


Enter Clitipho.

Clit. (to himself). Nothing so easy in itself, but when

Perform’d against one’s will, grows difficult.

This little walk how easy! yet how faint

And weary it has made me!—and I fear

Lest I be still excluded, and forbid

To come near Bacchis. (Seeing Syrus.)—Now all powers above.

Confound you, Syrus, for the trick you play’d me!

That brain of yours is evermore contriving

Some villainy to torture me withal.

Syrus. Away, you malapert! Your frowardness

Had well-nigh been my ruin.

Clit. Would it had!

For you deserv’d it richly.

Syrus. How! deserv’d it?

I’faith I’m glad I heard you say so much

Before you touch’d the cash, that I was just

About to give you.

Syrus. Away, you malapert! Your frowardness

Had well-nigh ruin’d me.

Clit. I would it had,

As you deserv’d!

Syrus. As I deserv’d!—How’s that?——

Before you touch’d the cash, that I was just

About to give you.

Clit. Why, what can I say?

You went away; came back, beyond my hopes,

And brought my mistress with you; then again

Forbade my touching her.


Syrus. Well, well, I can’t

Be peevish with you now—But do you know

Where Bacchis is?

Clit. At our house.

Syrus. No.

Clit. Where then?

Syrus. At Clinia’s.

Clit. Then I’m ruin’d.

Syrus. Courage, man!

You shall go to her instantly, and carry

The money that you promis’d her.

Clit. Fine talk!

Where should I get it?


Syrus. From your father.

Clit. Pshaw!

You play upon me.

Syrus. The event shall show.

Clit. Then I am bless’d indeed. Thanks, thanks, dear Syrus!

Syrus. Hist! here’s your father.—Have a care! don’t seem

Surpris’d at any thing: give way in all:

Do as he bids, and say but little. Mum!


Enter Chremes.

Chrem. Where’s Clitipho?

Syrus (to Clitipho). Here, say.

Clit. Here, Sir!

Chrem. Have you

Inform’d him of the business? (To Syrus.)

Syrus. In good part.

Chrem. Here, take the money then, and carry it. (To Clitipho.)

Syrus. Plague, how you stand, log!—take it.

Clit. Give it me. (Awkwardly.)

Syrus. Now in with me immediately!—You, Sir, (To Chremes.)

Be pleas’d meanwhile to wait our coming here;

There’s nothing to detain us very long.

Exit Clitipho and Syrus.


Chremes alone.

My daughter now has had ten minæ of me,

Which I account laid out upon her board:


Ten more her clothes will come to: and moreover

Two talents for her portion.——How unjust

And absolute is custom! I must now

Leave every thing, and find a stranger out,

On whom I may bestow the sum of wealth

Which I have so much labor’d to acquire.


Enter Menedemus.

Mene. (to himself). Oh son, how happy hast thou made thy father,

Convinc’d of thy repentance!

Chrem. (overhearing). How mistaken!

Mene. Chremes! I wish’d for you.—’Tis in your power,


And I beseech you do it, to preserve

My son, myself, and family.

Chrem. I’ll do’t.

Wherein can I oblige you?


Mene. You to-day

Have found a daughter.

Chrem. True. What then?

Mene. My Clinia

Begs your consent to marry her.

Chrem. Good Heaven!

What kind of man are you?

Mene. What mean you, Chremes?

Chrem. Has it then slipp’d your memory so soon,

The conversation that we had together,

Touching the rogueries they should devise,

To trick you of your money?

Mene. I remember.

Chrem. This is the trick.

Mene. How, Chremes? I’m deceiv’d.

’Tis as you say. From what a pleasing hope

Have I then fall’n!

Chrem. And she, I warrant you,

Now at your house, is my son’s mistress? Eh!

Mene. So they say.

Chrem. What! and you believ’d it?

Mene. All.

Chrem. —And they say too he wants to marry her;

That soon as I’ve consented, you may give him


Money to furnish her with jewels, clothes,

And other necessaries.

Mene. Aye, ’tis so:

The money’s for his mistress.

Chrem. To be sure.

Mene. Alas, my transports are all groundless then.

—Yet I would rather bear with any thing,

Than lose my son again.—What answer, Chremes,

Shall I return with, that he mayn’t perceive

I’ve found him out, and take offense?

Chrem. Offense!

You’re too indulgent to him, Menedemus!

Mene. Allow me. I’ve begun, and must go through.

Do but continue to assist me, Chremes.

Chrem. Say we have met, and treated of the match.

Mene. Allow me. I’ve begun, and must go through.

Do but continue to assist me.

Chrem. Say,

That we have met, and treated of the match.

Mene. Well; and what else?

Chrem. That I give full consent;

That I approve my son-in-law;—In short,

You may assure him also, if you please,

That I’ve betroth’d my daughter to him.

Mene. Good!

The very thing I wanted.

Chrem. So your son

The sooner shall demand the money of you;

And so shall you, according to your wish

The sooner give.

Mene. It is my wish indeed.

Chrem. ’Fore heaven, friend, as far as I can judge,

You’ll soon be weary of your son again.

But be it as it may, give cautiously,

A little at a time, if you are wise.

The thing I wanted.


Chrem. So shall he the sooner

Demand the money; you, as you desire,

The sooner give.


Mene. ’Tis my desire indeed.

Chrem. ’Troth, friend, as far as I can judge of this,

You’ll soon be weary of your son again.

But as the case now stands, give cautiously,

A little at a time, if you are wise.

Mene. I will.

Chrem. Go in, and see what he demands.

If you should want me, I’m at home.

Mene. ’Tis well.

For I shall let you know, do what I will.

Exeunt severally.




Menedemus alone.

That I’m not overwise, no conjurer,

I know full well: but my assistant here,

And counselor, and grand controller Chremes,

Outgoes me far: dolt, blockhead, ninny, ass;

Or these, or any other common terms

By which men speak of fools, befit me well:

But him they suit not: his stupidity

Is so transcendent, it exceeds them all.


Enter Chremes.

Chrem. (to Sostrata, within). Nay prithee, good wife, cease to stun the Gods

With thanking them that you have found your daughter;

Unless you fancy they are like yourself,

And think they can not understand a thing

Unless said o’er and o’er a hundred times.

—But meanwhile (coming forward) wherefore do my son and Syrus


Loiter so long?

Mene. Who are those loiterers, Chremes?

Chrem. Ha, Menedemus, are you there?—Inform me,

Have you told Clinia what I said?

Mene. The whole.

Chrem. And what said he?

Mene. Grew quite transported at it,

Like those who wish for marriage.


Chrem. Ha! ha! ha!

Mene. What do you laugh at?

Chrem. I was thinking of

The cunning rogueries of that slave, Syrus. (Laughing.)

Mene. Oh, was that it?

Chrem. Why, he can form and mould

The very visages of men, a rogue! (Laughing.)

Mene. Meaning my son’s well-acted transport?

Chrem. Aye. (Laughing.)

Mene. The very thing that I was thinking of.

Mene. The very same thing I was thinking of.

Chrem. A subtle villain! (Laughing.)

Mene. Nay, if you knew more,

You’d be still more convinc’d on’t.

Chrem. Say you so?

Mene. Aye; do but hear.

Chrem. (laughing). Hold! hold! inform me first

How much you’re out of pocket. For as soon

As you inform’d your son of my consent,


Dromo, I warrant, gave you a broad hint

That the bride wanted jewels, clothes, attendants;

That you might pay the money.

Mene. No.

Chrem. How? No?

Mene. No, I say.

Chrem. What! nor Clinia?

Mene. Not a word;

But only press’d the marriage for to-day.

Chrem. Amazing!—But our Syrus? Did not he

Throw in a word or two?

Mene. Not he.

Chrem. How so?

Mene. Faith I can’t tell: but I’m amaz’d that you,

Who see so clearly into all the rest,

Should stick at this.—But that arch villain Syrus

Has form’d and moulded your son too so rarely.

That nobody can have the least suspicion

That this is Clinia’s mistress.

Chrem. How?

Mene. I pass

Their kisses and embraces. All that’s nothing.

Chrem. What is there more that he can counterfeit?

Mene. Ah! (Smiling.)

Chrem. What d’ye mean?

Mene. Nay, do but hear. I have

A private snug apartment, a back room,


Whither a bed was brought and made.

Chrem. What then?

Mene. No sooner done, than in went Clitipho.

Chrem. Alone?

Mene. Alone.

Chrem. I tremble.


Mene. Bacchis follow’d.

Chrem. Alone?

Mene. Alone.

Chrem. Undone!

Mene. No sooner in,

But they made fast the door.

Chrem. Ha! And was Clinia

Witness to this?

Mene. He was.—Both he and I.

Chrem. Bacchis is my son’s mistress, Menedemus.

I’m ruin’d.

Mene. Why d’ye think so?

Chrem. Mine is scarce

A ten-days’ family.

Mene. What are you dismay’d


Because he sticks so closely to his friend?

Chrem. Friend! His she-friend.

Mene. If so——

Chrem. Is that a doubt?

Is any man so courteous, and so patient,

As tamely to stand by and see his mistress——

Mene. Ha, ha, ha! Why not?—That I, you know,

Might be more easily impos’d upon. (Ironically.)

Chrem. D’ye laugh at me? I’m angry with myself:

And well I may. How many circumstances

Conspir’d to make it gross and palpable,

Had I not been a stone!—What things I saw!

Fool, fool! But by my life I’ll be reveng’d:

For now——

Mene. And can’t you then contain yourself?

Have you no self-respect? And am not I

A full example for you?

Chrem. Menedemus,

My anger throws me quite beside myself.

Mene. That you should talk thus! is it not a shame

To be so lib’ral of advice to others,

So wise abroad, and poor in sense at home?

Chrem. What shall I do?

Mene. That which but even now


You counsel’d me to do: Give him to know

That you’re indeed a father: let him dare

Trust his whole soul to you, seek, ask of you;

Lest he to others have recourse, and leave you.

Chrem. And let him go; go where he will; much rather

Than here by his extravagance reduce

His father to distress and beggary.

For if I should continue to supply

The course of his expenses, Menedemus,

Your desp’rate rakes would be my lot indeed.

Mene. Ah, to what evils you’ll expose yourself,

Unless you’re cautious! You will seem severe,


And yet forgive him afterward, and then

With an ill grace too.

Chrem. Ah, you do not know

How much this grieves me.

Mene. Well, well, take your way.

But tell me, do you grant me my request

That this your new-found daughter wed my son?

Or is there aught more welcome to you?

Chrem. Nothing.

The son-in-law and the alliance please me.

Mene. What portion shall I tell my son you’ve settled!

Why are you silent?

Chrem. Portion!

Mene. Aye, what portion?

Chrem. Ah!


Mene. Fear not, Chremes, though it be but small:

The portion nothing moves us.

Chrem. I propos’d,

According to my fortune, that two talents

Were full sufficient: But you now must say,

If you’d save me, my fortune, and my son,

That I have settled all I have upon her.

Mene. What mean you?

Chrem. Counterfeit amazement too,

And question Clitipho my reason for it.

Mene. Nay, but I really do not know your reason.

Chrem. My reason for it?—That his wanton mind,

Now flush’d with lux’ry and lasciviousness,

I may o’erwhelm: and bring him down so low,

He may not know which way to turn himself.

Mene. What are you at?

Chrem. Allow me! let me have

My own way in this business.

Mene. I allow you.

Is it your pleasure?

Chrem. It is.

Mene. Be it so.

Chrem. Come then, let Clinia haste to call the bride.

And for this son of mine, he shall be school’d,

As children ought.—But Syrus!

Mene. What of him?

Chrem. What! I’ll so handle him, so curry him,


That while he lives he shall remember me.

Exit Menedemus.

What, make a jest of me? a laughing-stock?

Now, afore Heav’n, he would not dare to treat

A poor lone widow as he treated me.


Re-enter Menedemus, with Clitipho and Syrus.

Clit. And can it, Menedemus, can it be,

My father has so suddenly cast off

All natural affection? for what act?

What crime, alas! so heinous have I done?

It is a common failing.

Mene. This I know,

Should be more heavy and severe to you


On whom it falls: and yet am I no less

Affected by it, though I know not why,

And have no other reason for my grief,

But that I wish you well.

Clit. Did not you say

My father waited here?

Mene. Aye; there he is.

Exit Menedemus.

Chrem. Why d’ye accuse your father, Clitipho?

Whate’er I’ve done, was providently done

Tow’rd you and your imprudence. When I saw

Your negligence of soul, and that you held

The pleasures of to-day your only care,

Regardless of the morrow; I found means

That you should neither want, nor waste my substance.

When you, whom fair succession first made heir,

Stood self-degraded by unworthiness,

I went to those the next in blood to you,

Committing and consigning all to them.

There shall your weakness, Clitipho, be sure

Ever to find a refuge; food, and raiment,

And roof to fly to.

Clit. Ah me!

Chrem. Better thus,

Than, you being heir, for Bacchis to have all.

Syrus. Distraction! what disturbances have I,

Wretch that I am, all unawares created!

Clit. Would I were dead!


Chrem. Learn first what ’tis to live.

When you know that, if life displeases you,

Then talk of dying.

Syrus. Master, may I speak?

Chrem. Speak.

Syrus. But with safety?

Chrem. Speak.

Syrus. How wrong is this,

Or rather what extravagance and madness,

To punish him for my offense!

Chrem. Away!

Do not you meddle. No one blames you, Syrus!


Nor need you to provide a sanctuary,

Or intercessor.

Syrus. What is it you do?

Chrem. I am not angry, nor with you, nor him:

Nor should you take offense at what I do.

Exit Chremes.


Manent Clitipho, Syrus.

Syrus. He’s gone. Ah, would I’d ask’d him——

Clit. Ask’d what, Syrus?

Syrus. Where I should eat, since he has cast us off.

You, I perceive, are quarter’d on your sister.

Clit. Is’t come to this, that I should be in fear

Of starving, Syrus?


Syrus. So we do but live,

There’s hope——

Clit. Of what?

Syrus. That we shall have rare stomachs.

Clit. D’ye jest at such a time as this;

And lend me no assistance by your counsel?

Syrus. Nay, I was studying for you even now.

And was so all the while your father spoke.

And far as I can understand this——

Clit. What?

Syrus. Stay, you shall have it presently. (Thinking.)

Clit. Well, what?

Syrus. Thus then: I don’t believe that you’re their son.

Clit. How Syrus! are you mad?

Syrus. I’ll speak my thoughts.

Be you the judge. While they had you alone,

While yet there was no other nearer joy,

You they indulg’d, and gave with open hand:

But now a daughter’s found, their real child,

A cause is found to drive you forth.

Clit. ’Tis like.

Syrus. Think you this fault so angers him?

Clit. I think not.

Syrus. Consider too; ’tis ever found that mothers

Plead for their sons, and in the father’s wrath

Defend them. ’Tis not so at present.

Clit. True.


What shall I do then, Syrus?

Syrus. Ask of them

The truth of this suspicion. Speak your thoughts.

If ’tis not so, you’ll speedily incline them

Both to compassion; or, if so, be told

Whose son you are.

Clit. Your counsel’s good. I’ll do’t.


Syrus alone.

A lucky thought of mine! for Clitipho:

The less he hopes, so much more easily

Will he reduce his father to good terms.

Besides, who knows but he may take a wife?

No thanks to Syrus neither.—But who’s here?

Chremes!—I’m off: for seeing what has pass’d,

I wonder that he did not order me

To be truss’d up immediately. I’ll hence

To Menedemus, and prevail on him

To intercede for me: as matters stand,

I dare not trust to our old gentleman.

Exit Syrus.


Enter Chremes, Sostrata.

Sostra. Nay indeed, husband, if you don’t take care,

You’ll bring some kind of mischief on your son:

I can’t imagine how a thought so idle

Could come into your head.

Chrem. Still, woman, still

D’ye contradict me? Did I ever wish

For any thing in all my life, but you

In that same thing oppos’d me, Sostrata?

Yet now if I should ask wherein I’m wrong,

Or wherefore I act thus, you do not know.

Why then d’ye contradict me, simpleton?

Sostra. Not know?

Chrem. Well, well, you know: I grant it, rather

Than hear your idle story o’er again.

Sostra. Ah, ’tis unjust in you to ask my silence

In such a thing as this.

Chrem. I do not ask it.

Speak if you will: I’ll do it ne’ertheless.

Sostra. Will you?

Chrem. I will.

Sostra. You don’t perceive what harm


May come of this. He thinks himself a foundling.

Chrem. A foundling, say you?

Sostra. Yes indeed, he does.

Chrem. Confess it to be true.

Sostra. Ah, Heav’n forbid!

Let our most bitter enemies do that!

Shall I disown my son, my own dear child!

Chrem. What! do you fear you can not at your pleasure

Produce convincing proofs that he’s your own?

Sostra. Is it because my daughter’s found you say this?

491 325

Chrem. No: but because, a stronger reason far,

His manners are so very like your own,

They are convincing proofs that he’s your son

His manners so resemble yours, you may

Easily prove him thence to be your son.

He is quite like you: not a vice, whereof

He is inheritor, but dwells in you:

And such a son no mother but yourself

Could have engender’d.—But he comes.—How grave!

Look in his face, and you may guess his plight.


Enter Clitipho.

Clit. Oh mother, if there ever was a time

When you took pleasure in me, or delight

To call me son, beseech you, think of that;

Pity my present misery, and tell me

Who are my real parents!

Sostra. My dear son,


Take not, I beg, that notion to your mind,

That you’re an alien to our blood.

Clit. I am.

Sostra. Ah me! and can you then demand me that?

So may you prosper after both, as you’re

Of both the child! and if you love your mother,

Take heed henceforward that I never hear

Such words from you.

Chrem. And if you fear your father,

See that I never find such vices in you.

Clit. What vices?

Chrem. What? I’ll tell you. Trifler, idler,

Cheat, drunkard, whoremaster, and prodigal.

—Think this, and think that you are ours.

Sostra. These words

Suit not a father.

Chrem. No, no, Clitipho,

Though from my brain you had been born, as Pallas

Sprang, it is said, from Jupiter, I would not


Bear the disgrace of your enormities.

Sostra. The Gods forbid——

Chrem. I know not for the Gods:

I will do all that lies in me. You seek

For parents, which you have: but what is wanting,

Obedience to your father, and the means

To keep what he by labor hath acquir’d,

For that you seek not.—Did you not by tricks

Ev’n to my presence introduce——I blush

To speak immodestly before your mother:

But you by no means blush’d to do’t.

Clit. Alas!

How hateful am I to myself! how much


Am I asham’d! so lost, I can not tell

How to attempt to pacify my father.


Enter Menedemus.

Mene. Now in good faith our Chremes plagues his son

Too long and too severely. I come forth

To reconcile him, and make peace between them.

And there they are!

Chrem. Ha, Menedemus! wherefore

Is not my daughter summon’d? and the portion,

I settled on her; ratified by you?

Sostra. Dear husband, I beseech you not to do it!

Clit. My father, I entreat you pardon me!

Mene. Forgive him, Chremes! let his pray’rs prevail!

Chrem. What! shall I then with open eyes bestow

My whole estate on Bacchis? I’ll not do’t.

Mene. We will prevent that. It shall not be so.

Clit. If you regard my life, forgive me, father!

Sostra. Do, my dear Chremes!

Mene. Do, I prithee now!

Be not obdurate, Chremes!

Chrem. Why is this?

I see I can’t proceed as I’ve begun.

Mene. ’Tis as it should be now.

Chrem. On this condition,

That he agrees to do what I think fit.


Clit. I will do ev’ry thing. Command me, father!

Chrem. Take a wife.

Clit. Father!

Chrem. Nay, Sir, no denial!

Mene. I take that charge upon me. He shall do’t.

Chrem. But I don’t hear a word of it from him.

Clit. Confusion!

Sostra. Do you doubt then, Clitipho?

Chrem. Nay, which he pleases.

Mene. He’ll obey in all;

Whate’er you’d have him.

Sostra. This at first is grievous,

While you don’t know it; when you know it, easy.

Clit. I’m all obedience, father!

Sostra. Oh my son,

I’ll give you a sweet wife, that you’ll adore,

Phanocrata’s, our neighbor’s daughter.

Clit. Her!

That red-hair’d, blear-eyed, wide-mouth’d, hook-nos’d wench?

I can not, father.

Chrem. Oh, how nice he is!

Would any one imagine it?


Sostra. I’ll get you

Another then.

Clit. Well, well; since I must marry,

I know one pretty near my mind.


Sostra. Good boy!

Clit. The daughter of Archonides, our neighbor.

Sostra. Well chosen!

Clit. One thing, father, still remains.

Chrem. What?

Clit. That you’d grant poor Syrus a full pardon

For all that he hath done on my account.

Chrem. Be it so.— (To the Audience.) Farewell Sirs, and clap your hands!

flute players

8 494














Parmeno, other Servants, etc.




Music-Girl, and other Mutes.

Scene, Athens.


The Bard perceiving his piece cavil’d at

By partial critics, and his adversaries

Misrepresenting what we’re now to play,

Pleads his own cause: and you shall be the judges,

Whether he merits praise or condemnation.

The Synapothnescontes is a piece

By Diphilus, a comedy which Plautus,

Having translated, call’d Commorientes.

In the beginning of the Grecian play

There is a youth, who rends a girl perforce

From a procurer: and this incident,

Untouch’d by Plautus, render’d word for word,

Has our bard interwoven with his Brothers;

The new piece which we represent to-day.

Say then if this be theft, or honest use


Of what remain’d unoccupied.—For that

Which malice tells, that certain noble persons

Assist the Bard, and write in concert with him;

That which they deem a heavy slander, He

Esteems his greatest praise: that he can please

Those who please you, who all the people please;

Those who in war, in peace, in counsel, ever

Have render’d you the dearest services,

And ever borne their faculties so meekly.

Expect not now the story of the play:

Part the old men, who first appear, will open;


Part will in act be shown.—Be favorable;

And let your candor to the poet now

Increase his future earnestness to write!




Enter Micio.

Ho, Storax!—No reply?—Then Aeschinus

Never return’d, it seems, last night from supper;

Nor any of the slaves, who went to meet him.

—’Tis commonly—and oh how truly!—said,

If you are absent, or delay, ’twere best

That should befall you, which your wife declares

Or which in anger she supposes of you

Than that which kindest parents fear.—Your wife,

If you delay, suspects that you’re engag’d

In some intrigue, debauch, or entertainment;

Consulting your own happiness abroad,

While she, poor soul! is left to pine at home.

But what a world of fears possess me now!


How many ills I figure to myself,

As causes that my son is not return’d!

Lest he have taken cold, or had a fall,

Or broke a limb!—Good heavens! that a man

Shou’d doat so much, or suffer any one

To wind himself so close about his heart,

As to grow dearer to him than himself!

Ho, Storax!—Æschinus did not return

Last night from supper; no, nor any one

Of all the slaves who went to see for him.

—’Tis commonly—and oh how truly!—said,

If you are absent, or delay, ’twere best

That should befall you, which your wife denounces,

Or which in anger she calls down upon you,

Than that which kindest parents fear.—Your wife,

If you delay, or thinks that you’re in love,

Or lov’d, or drink, or entertain yourself,

Taking your pleasure, while she pines at home.

—And what a world of fears possess me now!

How anxious that my son is not return’d;

Lest he take cold, or fall, or break a limb!

—Gods, that a man should suffer any one

To wind himself so close about his heart,

As to grow dearer to him than himself!


And yet he is not my son, but my brother’s,

Whose bent of mind is wholly different.

I, from youth upward even to this day,

Have led a quiet and serene town-life;

And, as some reckon fortunate, ne’er married.

He, in all points the opposite of this,

Has pass’d his days entirely in the country

With thrift and labor; married; had two sons;

The elder boy is by adoption mine;

I’ve brought him up; kept; lov’d him as my own;

Made him my joy, and all my soul holds dear,

Striving to make myself as dear to him.

I give, o’erlook, nor think it requisite

That all his deeds should be controll’d by me,

Giving him scope to act as of himself;

So that the pranks of youth, which other children

Hide from their fathers, I have us’d my son

Not to conceal from me. For whosoe’er

Hath won upon himself to play the false one,

And practice impositions on a father,

Will do the same with less remorse to others;

496 13

And ’tis, in my opinion, better far

To bind your children to you by the ties

Of gentleness and modesty, than fear.

And yet my brother don’t accord in this,

Nor do these notions nor this conduct please him.

Oft he comes open-mouth’d—“Why how now, Micio?

Why do you ruin this young lad of ours?

Why does he wench? why drink? and why do you

Allow him money to afford all this?

You let him dress too fine. ’Tis idle in you.”

—’Tis hard in him, unjust and out of reason.

And he, I think, deceives himself indeed,

Who fancies that authority more firm

Founded on force, than what is built on friendship;

For thus I reason, thus persuade myself:

He who performs his duty driven to’t

By fear of punishment, while he believes

His actions are observ’d, so long he’s wary;

But if he hopes for secrecy, returns


To his own ways again: But he whom kindness,

Him also inclination makes your own:

He burns to make a due return, and acts,

Present or absent, evermore the same.

’Tis this then is the duty of a father,

To make a son embrace a life of virtue,

Rather from choice than terror or constraint.

Here lies the mighty difference between

A father and a master. He who knows not

How to do this, let him confess he knows not

How to rule children.—But is this the man

Whom I was speaking of? Yes, yes, ’tis he.

He seems uneasy too, I know not why,

And I suppose, as usual, comes to wrangle.


Enter Demea.

Micio. Demea, I’m glad to see you well.

Demea. Oho!

Well met: the very man I came to seek.

Micio. But you appear uneasy: What’s the matter?


Demea. Uneasy? well I may.—The matter, say you?

What can the matter be but Æschinus?

Micio. I said it wou’d be so.—What has he done?

Demea. What has he done! a wretch whom neither fear,

Nor modesty, nor any law can bind!

For not to speak of all his former pranks,

What has he been about but even now!

Demea. Is it a question, when there’s Æschinus

To trouble us, what makes me so uneasy?

Micio. I said it would be so.—What has he done?

Demea. What has he done? a wretch, whom neither ties

Of shame, nor fear, nor any law can bind!

For not to speak of all his former pranks,

What has he been about but even now!


Micio. What has he done?

Demea. Burst open doors, and made

His way by force into another’s house;

Half-kill’d the master and his family,

And carried off a wench whom he was fond of.

All Athens cries out shame upon him for it.

I have been told of it a hundred times

Since my arrival. ’Tis the town-talk, Micio.

And if we needs must draw comparisons,

Micio. What has he done?

Demea. Burst open doors, and forc’d


His way into another’s house, and beat

The master and his family half dead;

And carried off a wench whom he was fond of.

The whole town cries out shame upon him, Micio.

I have been told of it a hundred times

Since my arrival. ’Tis the common talk.——

And if we needs must draw comparisons,

Does not he see his brother thrifty, sober,

Attentive to his business in the country?

Not given to these practices; and when

I say all this to him, to you I say it.


You are his ruin, Micio.

Micio. How unjust

Is he who wants experience! who believes

Nothing is right but what he does himself!

Demea. Why d’ye say that?

Micio. Because you, Demea,

Misjudge these matters. ’Tis no heinous crime

Judge wrongly of these matters. ’Tis no crime

For a young man to wench or drink.—’Tis not,

Believe me!—nor to force doors open.—This,

If neither you nor I have done, it was

That poverty allow’d us not. And now

You claim a merit to yourself, from that

Which want constrain’d you to. It is not fair.

For had there been but wherewithal to do’t,

We likewise should have done thus. Wherefore you,

Were you a man, would let your younger son,

Now, while it suits his age, pursue his pleasures;

Rather than, when it less becomes his years,

When, after wishing long, he shall at last

Be rid of you, he should run riot then.

Demea. Oh Jupiter! the man will drive me mad.

Is it no crime, d’ye say, for a young man

To take these courses?

Micio. Nay, nay; do but hear me,

Nor stun me with the self-same thing forever!

Your elder son you gave me for adoption:

He’s mine, then, Demea; and if he offends,

’Tis an offense to me, and I must bear


The burden. Does he treat? or drink? or dress?

’Tis at my cost.—Or wench? I will supply him,

While ’tis convenient to me; when ’tis not,

His mistresses perhaps will shut him out.


—Has he broke open doors? we’ll make them good.

Or torn a coat? it shall be mended. I,

Thank Heaven, have enough to do all this,

And ’tis as yet not irksome.—In a word,

Have done, or chuse some arbiter between us:

Or cease, or choose some arbiter between us:

I’ll prove that you are more in fault than I.

Demea. Ah, learn to be a father; learn from those

Who know what ’tis to be indeed a parent!


Micio. By nature you’re his father, I by counsel.

Demea. You! do you counsel any thing?

Micio. Nay, nay;

If you persist, I’m gone.

Demea. Is’t thus you treat me?

Micio. Must I be plagued with the same thing so often?

Micio. Must I still hear the same thing o’er and o’er?

Demea. It touches me.

Micio. And me it touches too.

But, Demea, let us each look to our own;

Let me take care of one, and mind you t’other.

For to concern yourself with both, appears

As if you’d redemand the boy you gave.

Demea. Ah, Micio!

Micio. So it seems to me.

Demea. Well, well;

Let him, if ’tis your pleasure, waste, destroy.


And squander; it is no concern of mine.

If henceforth I e’er say one word——

Micio. Again?

Angry again, good Demea?

Demea. You may trust me.

Do I demand him back again I gave you?

—It hurts me. I am not a stranger to him.

—But if I once oppose—Well, well, I’ve done.

You wish I should take care of one. I do

Take special care of him; and he, thank Heav’n,

Is as I wish he should be: which your ward,

I warrant, shall find out one time or other.

I will not say aught worse of him at present.



Micio alone.

Though what he says be not entirely true,

There’s something in it, and it touches me.

But I dissembled my concern with him,

Because the nature of the man is such,

To pacify, I must oppose and thwart him;


And even thus I scarce can teach him patience.

But were I to inflame, or aid his anger,

I were as great a madman as himself.

Yet Æschinus, ’tis true, has been to blame.

What wench is there but he is her gallant?

Or tempts her with some gift?—But lately too

What wench is there he has not lov’d? to whom

He has not made some present—And but lately

(Tir’d, I suppose, and sick of wantonness)

He told me he propos’d to take a wife.

I hop’d the heyday of the blood was over,

And was rejoic’d: but his intemperance

Breaks out afresh.—Well, be it what it may,

I’ll find him out; and know it instantly,

If he is to be met with at the Forum.


499 21



Enter Æschinus, Sannio, Parmeno, the Music-Girl, and a crowd of People.

San. Help, help, dear countrymen, for Heaven’s sake!

Assist a miserable, harmless man!

Help the distress’d!

Æsch. (to the Girl). Fear nothing: stand just there!

Why d’ye look back? you’re in no danger. Never,

While I am by, shall he lay hands upon you.

San. Aye, but I will, in spite of all the world.

Æsch. Rogue as he is, he’ll scarce do any thing

To make me cudgel him again to-day.

San. One word, Sir Æschinus! that you may not

Pretend to ignorance of my profession;

I’m a procurer.


Æsch. True.

San. And in my way

Of as good faith as any man alive.

Hereafter, to absolve yourself, you’ll cry,

That you repent of having wrong’d me thus.

I sha’n’t care that for your excuse. (Snapping his fingers.) Be sure

I’ll prosecute my right; nor shall fine words

Atone for evil deeds. I know your way,

—“I’m sorry that I did it: and I’ll swear

You are unworthy of this injury”——

Though all the while I’m us’d most scurvily.

Æsch. (to Par.) Do you go forward, Parmeno, and throw

The door wide open.

San. That sha’n’t signify.

Æsch. (to Parmeno). Now in with her!

San. (stepping between). I’ll not allow it.

Æsch. (to Parmeno). Here!

Come hither, Parmeno!—you’re too far off.——

Stand close to that pimp’s side—There—there—just there!

And now be sure you always keep your eyes

Steadfastly fix’d on mine; and when I wink,

To drive your fist directly in his face.

San. Aye, if he dare.


Æsch. (to Parmeno). Now mind!— (To Sannio). Let go the girl (Sannio still struggling with the Girl, Æschinus winks, and Parmeno strikes Sannio).

San. Oh monstrous!

Æsch. He shall double it, unless

You mend your manners.

Parmeno strikes Sannio again.


San. Help, help: murder, murder!

Æsch. (to Parmeno). I did not wink: but you had better err

That way than t’other.—Now go in with her.

Parmeno leads the Girl into Micio’s house.

San. How’s this?—Do you reign king here, Æschinus?

Æsch. Did I reign king, you should be recompens’d

According to your virtues, I assure you.

San. What business have you with me?

Æsch. None.

San. D’ye know

Who I am, Æschinus?

Æsch. Nor want to know.

San. Have I touch’d aught of yours, Sir?

Æsch. If you had,

You should have suffer’d for’t.


San. What greater right

Have you to take away my slave, for whom

I paid my money? answer me!

Æsch. ’Twere best

You’d leave off bellowing before our door:

If you continue to be troublesome,

I’ll have you dragg’d into the house, and there

Lash’d without mercy.

San. How, a freeman lash’d!

Æsch. Ev’n so.

San. O monstrous tyranny! Is this,

Is this the liberty they boast of here,

Common to all?

Æsch. If you have brawl’d enough,

Please to indulge me with one word, you pimp.

San. Who has brawl’d most, yourself or I?

Æsch. Well, well!

No more of that, but to the point!

San. What point?

What would you have?

Æsch. Will you allow me then

To speak of what concerns you?

San. Willingly:

Speak, but in justice.

Æsch. Very fine! a pimp,

And talks of justice!


San. Well, I am a pimp;

The common bane of youth, a perjurer,

A public nuisance, I confess it: yet

I never did you wrong.

Æsch. No, that’s to come.

San. Prithee return to whence you first set out, Sir!

Æsch. You, plague upon you for it! bought the girl

For twenty minæ; which sum we will give you.

San. What if I do not choose to sell the girl?

Will you oblige me?

501 26

Æsch. No.

San. I fear’d you would.

Æsch. She’s a free-woman, and should not be sold,

And, as such, by due course of law I claim her.

Now then consider which you like the best,

To take the money, or maintain your action.

Think on this, Pimp, till I come back again.



Sannio alone.

Oh Jupiter! I do not wonder now

That men run mad with injuries. He drags me

Out of my own house; cudgels me most soundly;

And carries off my slave against my will:

And after this ill-treatment, he demands

The Music-Girl to be made over to him

At the same price I bought her.—He has pour’d

His blows upon me, thick as hail; for which,

Since he deserves so nobly at my hands,

He should no doubt be gratified.—Nay, nay,

Let me but touch the cash, I’m still content.


But this I guess will be the case: as soon

As I shall have agreed to take his price,

He’ll produce witnesses immediately,

To prove that I have sold her—And the money

Will be mere moonshine.—“By-and-by.”—“To-morrow.”

—Yet I could bear that too, although much wrong,

Might I but get the money after all:

For thus it is, friend Sannio; when a man

Has taken up this trade, he must receive,

And pocket the affronts of young gallants.

—But nobody will pay me, and I draw

Conclusions to no purpose.


Enter Syrus.

Syrus (to Æsch. within). Say no more!

Let me alone to talk with him! I warrant

I’ll make him take the money; aye, and own

That he’s well treated too. (Coming forward.) Why how now, Sannio?

What’s the dispute I overheard just now

’Twixt you and my young master?

San. Never was

Any dispute conducted more unfairly,

Than that between us two to-day! Poor I


With being drubb’d, and he with drubbing me,

’Till we were both quite weary.


Syrus. All your fault.

San. What could I do?

Syrus. Give a young man his way.

San. What could I give him more, who gave my face?

Syrus. Nay, but d’ye know my meaning, Sannio?

To seem upon occasion to slight money,

Proves in the end, sometimes, the greatest gain.

Why prithee, blockhead, could you be afraid,

Had you abated somewhat of your right,

And humor’d the young gentleman, he would not

Have paid you back again with interest?

San. I never purchase hope with ready money.

Syrus. Away! you’ll never thrive. You do not know

How to ensnare men, Sannio.

San. Well, perhaps,

Your way were best: yet I was ne’er so crafty

But I had rather, when ’twas in my power,

Receive prompt payment.

Syrus. Pshaw! I know your spirit:

As if you valued twenty minæ now,

So you might do a kindness to my master!

—Besides, they say you’re setting out for Cyprus. (Carelessly.)

San. Ha! (Alarmed.)

Syrus. —And have bought up a large stock of goods

To carry over thither.—Hir’d a vessel.


That ’tis, I know, which keeps you in suspense:

When you return, I hope, you’ll settle this.

San. I shall not budge a foot.—Undone by Heav’n!

Urg’d by these hopes they’ve undertaken this. (Aside.)

Syrus. He fears. I hinted Cyprus. There’s the rub.

Syrus. He fears. I’ve thrown a small rub in his way. (Aside.)

San. (to himself.) Confusion! they have nick’d me to a hair!

I’ve bought up sev’ral slaves, and other wares,

For exportation; and to miss my time

At Cyprus-fair would be a heavy loss.

Then if I leave this business broken thus,

All’s over with me; and at my return

’Twill come to nothing, grown quite cold and stale.

“—What! come at last?—Why did you stay so long?

Where have you been?”—that it were better lose it,

Than wait for it so long, or sue for’t then.

Syrus (coming up to him.) Well, have you calculated what’s your due?


San. Monstrous oppression! Is this honorable,

Or just in Æschinus, to take away

My property by force?

Syrus. So, so! he comes. (Aside.)

—I have but one word more to say to you.

See how you like it.—Rather, Sannio,

Than run the risk to get or lose the whole,


E’en halve the matter: and he shall contrive

To scrape together by some means ten minæ.

San. Alas, alas! am I in danger then

Of losing ev’n my very principal?

Shame on him! he has loosen’d all my teeth:

My head is swell’d all over like a mushroom:

And will he cheat me too?—I’m going nowhere.

Syrus. Just as you please.—Have you aught else to say

Before I go?

San. Yes, one word, prithee Syrus!

However things have happen’d, rather than

I should be driven to commence a suit,

Let him return me my bare due at least;

The sum she cost me, Syrus.—I’m convinc’d

You’ve had no tokens of my friendship yet;

But you shall find I will not be ungrateful.


Syrus. I’ll do my best. But I see Ctesipho.

He is rejoic’d about his mistress.

San. Say,

Will you remember me?

Syrus. Hold, hold a little! (Syrus and Sannio retire.)


Enter Ctesipho at another part of the stage.

Ctes. Favors are welcome in the hour of need

From any hand; but doubly welcome when

Conferr’d by those from whom we most expect them.

O brother, brother, how shall I applaud thee?

Ne’er can I rise to such a height of praise

But your deservings will outtop me still:

For in this point I am supremely bless’d,

That none can boast so excellent a brother,

So rich in all good qualities, as I.

Syrus (coming forward). O Ctesipho!

Ctes. (turning round). O Syrus! where’s my brother?

Syrus. At home, where he expects you.

Ctes. Ha! (Joyfully.)

Syrus. What now!

Ctes. What now?—By his assistance I live, Syrus.


Ah, he’s a friend indeed! who disregarding

All his own interests for my advantage,

The scandal, infamy, intrigue, and blame,

All due to me, has drawn upon himself!

What could exceed it?—But who’s there?—The door

Creaks on the hinges. (Offering to go off.)

Syrus. Hold! ’tis Æschinus.


Enter Æschinus.

Æsch. Where is that rascal?

San. (behind.) He inquires for me.

Has he brought out the cash with him?—Confusion!

I see none.

Æsch. (to Ctesipho). Ha! well met: I long’d to see you

How is it, Ctesipho? All’s safe. Away

With melancholy!

Ctes. Melancholy! I


Be melancholy, who have such a brother?

Oh my dear Æschinus! thou best of brothers,

—Ah, I’m asham’d to praise you to your face,

Lest it appear to come from flattery,

Rather than gratitude.

Æsch. Away, you fool!

As if we did not know each other, Ctesipho.

It only grieves me, we so lately knew this,

When things were almost come to such a pass,

That all the world, had they desir’d to do it,

Could not assist you.

Ctes. ’Twas my modesty.

Æsch. Pshaw! it was folly, and not modesty.

For such a trifle, almost fly your country?

Heaven forbid it!—fie, fie, Ctesipho!

Ctes. I’ve been to blame.

Æsch. Well, what says Sannio?

Syrus. He’s pacified at last.

Æsch. I’ll to the Forum,

And pay him off.—You, Ctesipho, go in

To the poor girl.


San. Now urge the matter, Syrus! (Apart to Syrus.)

Syrus. Let’s go; for Sannio wants to be at Cyprus.

San. Not in such haste: though truly I’ve no cause

San. Not in such haste: though truly I have no cause

To loiter here.

Syrus. You shall be paid: ne’er fear!

San. But all?

Syrus. Yes, all: so hold your tongue, and follow!

San. I will.

Exit after ÆschinusSyrus going.

Ctes. Hist! hark ye, Syrus!

Syrus (turning back.) Well, what now?

Ctes. For Heaven’s sake discharge that scurvy fellow

Immediately; for fear, if further urg’d,

This tale should reach my father’s ears: and then

I am undone forever.

Syrus. It sha’n’t be.

Be of good courage! meanwhile, get you in,

And entertain yourself with her; and order


The couches to be spread, and all prepar’d.

For, these preliminaries once dispatch’d,

I shall march homeward with provisions.

Ctes. Do!

And since this business has turn’d out so well,

Let’s spend the day in mirth and jollity!

Exeunt severally.




Sostrata, Canthara.

Sos. Prithee, good nurse, how will it go with her?

Can. How go with her? Why well, I warrant you.

Sos. Her pains begin to come upon her, nurse.

Can. You’re as much frighten’d at your time of day,

As if you ne’er was present at a labor,

Or never had been brought to bed yourself.

Sos. Alas, I’ve no soul here: we’re all alone.

Geta is absent; nor is there a creature

To fetch a midwife, or call Æschinus.

Can. He’ll be here presently, I promise you:

For he, good man, ne’er lets a single day

Go by, but he is sure to visit us.

Sos. He is my only comfort in my sorrows.

Can. Troth, as the case stands, madam, circumstances

Could not have happen’d better than they have:

And since your daughter suffer’d violence,

’Twas well she met with such a man as this;

A man of honor, rank, and family.

Sos. He is, indeed, a worthy gentleman:

The gods preserve him to us!


Enter Geta hastily at another part of the stage.

Geta. We are now

So absolutely lost, that all the world

Joining in consultation to apply

Relief to the misfortune that has fallen

On me, my mistress, and her daughter, all

Would not avail.—Ah me! so many troubles

Environ us at once, we sink beneath them.

Rape, poverty, oppression, solitude,

And infamy! oh, what an age is this!

O wicked, oh vile race!—oh impious man!


Sos. (to Canthara). Ah, why should Geta seem thus terrified

And agitated?

Geta (to himself.) Wretch! whom neither honor,

Nor oaths, nor pity could control or move!

Nor her approaching labor; her, on whom

He shamefully committed violation!

Sos. I don’t well understand him.

Can. Prithee then

Let us draw nearer, Sostrata!

Geta (to himself.) Alas,

I’m scarcely in my perfect mind, I burn


With such fierce anger.—Oh, that I had all

That villain-family before me now,

That I might vent my indignation on them,

While yet it boils within me.—There is nothing

I’d not endure to be reveng’d on them.

First I’d tread out the stinking snuff his father,

Who gave the monster being.—And then, Syrus,

Who urg’d him to it,—how I’d tear him!—First

I’d seize him round the waist, and lift him high,

Then dash his head against the ground, and strew

The pavement with his brains.—For Æschinus,

I’d tear his eyes out, and then tumble him,

Head foremost down some precipice.—The rest

I’d rush on, drag, crush, trample under foot.

But why do I delay to tell my mistress

This heavy news as soon as possible! (Going.)

Sos. Let’s call him back.—Ho, Geta!

Geta. Whosoe’er

You are, excuse me.

Sos. I am Sostrata.

Geta. Where, where is Sostrata? (Turns about.) I sought you, Madam;

Impatiently I sought you: and am glad

To have encounter’d you thus readily.


Sos. What is the matter? why d’ye tremble thus?

Geta. Alas!

Sos. Take breath!—But why thus mov’d, good Geta?

Geta. We’re quite——

Sos. Quite what?

Geta. Undone: We’re ruin’d, Madam.

Sos. Explain, for Heaven’s sake!

Geta. Ev’n now——

Sos. What now?

Geta. Æschinus——

Sos. What of Æschinus?

Geta. Has quite

Estrang’d himself from all our family.

Sos. How’s that? confusion! why?

Geta. He loves another.


Sos. Wretch that I am!

Geta. Nor that clandestinely;

But snatch’d her in the face of all the world

From a procurer.

Sos. Are you sure of this?

Geta. Sure? With these very eyes I saw it, Madam.

Sos. Alas, alas! What then can we believe?

To whom give credit?—What? our Æschinus!


Our very life, our sole support and hope!

Who swore he could not live one day without her,

And promis’d he would place the new-born babe

Upon his father’s lap, and in that way

Wring from him his consent to marry her!

Geta. Nay, weep not, mistress; but consider rather


What course were best to follow: to conceal

This wrong, or to disclose it to some friend?

Can. Disclose it! Are you mad? Is this a thing

To be disclos’d, d’ye think?

Geta. I’d not advise it.

For first, that he has quite abandon’d us,

The thing itself declares. If we then make

The story known, no doubt but he’ll deny it.

Your reputation, and your daughter’s life

Will be endanger’d: or if he confess,

Since he affects another, ’twere not good

That he should wed your daughter.—For which reasons,

Silence is requisite.

Sos. Ah, no: not I.

Geta. What mean you?

Sos. To disclose the whole.

Geta. How, Madam!

Think what you are about.

Sos. Whatever happens,

The thing can’t be in a worse state than now.

In the first place my daughter has no portion,

And that which should have been her second dowry

Is also lost; and she can ne’er be giv’n

In marriage as a virgin. For the rest,

If he denies his former commerce with her,

I have the ring he lost to vouch the fact.

In short, since I am conscious to myself.

That I am not to blame in this proceeding,


And that no sordid love of gain, nor aught

Unworthy of my daughter or myself,

Has mix’d in this affair, I’ll try it, Geta.

Geta. Well, I agree, ’twere better to disclose it.


Sos. You then away, as fast as possible,

And run to Hegio our good friend and kinsman,

To let him know the whole affair: for he

Was the chief friend of my dear Simulus,

And ever show’d a great regard for us.


Geta. And well he does, for no one else cares for us.

Sos. And you, good Canthara, away with haste,


And call a midwife; that we may be sure

Of her assistance in the time of need.

Exeunt severally.


Enter Demea.

Dem. Confusion! I have heard that Ctesipho

Was present with his brother at this riot.

This is the sum of all my miseries,

If he, even he, a sober, hopeful lad,

May be seduc’d into debaucheries.

—But where shall I inquire for him? I warrant

They have decoy’d him into some vile brothel.

That profligate persuaded him, I’m sure.

—But here comes Syrus.—I shall know from him

What is become of Ctesipho.—And yet

This rascal’s of the gang; and if he once

Perceives that I’m enquiring after him,

He’ll never tell, a villain!—I’ll take care

To cover my design.

—But here comes Syrus; he can tell me all.

And yet this slave is of the gang; and if

He once perceives that I’m inquiring for him,

He’ll never tell me any thing; a rogue!

I’ll not discover my design.


Enter Syrus at another part of the stage.

Syrus We’ve just disclos’d

The whole of this affair to Micio,

Syrus (to himself). We’ve just

Disclos’d the whole of this affair to Micio,

Exactly as it happen’d. I ne’er saw

The good old gentleman more pleas’d.

Dem. Oh Heav’n,

The folly of the man! (Listening.)

Syrus (to himself). He prais’d his son;

Me, who concerted the whole scheme, he thank’d.

Dem. I burst with rage. (Listening.)

Syrus (to himself). He told the money down

Immediately, and threw us in beside,

To make an entertainment, a half-mina:

Which I’ve laid out according to my liking.

Dem. So! if you’d have your business well discharg’d,

Dem. So! if you’d have your business well ta’en care of,

Commit it to this fellow!

Syrus (overhearing). Who’s there? Demea!

I did not see you, Sir. How goes it?

Dem. How?

I can’t sufficiently admire your conduct.

Syrus (negligently). Silly enough, to say the truth, and idle.

Here! Hark ye, Dromo! see you gut and scale


The other fish immediately: But let

(To servants within). Cleanse you the rest of those fish, Dromo: let

That large eel play a little in the water.

When I return it shall be bon’d; till then

It must not be.


Dem. Are crimes like these——

Syrus (to Demea). Indeed

I like them not, and oft cry shame upon them.

—(To servants within.) See that those salt fish are well soak’d, Stephanio.

Dem. Gods! is this done on purpose? Does he think

’Tis laudable to spoil his son? Alas!

I think I see the day when Æschinus

Shall fly for want, and list himself a soldier.

Syrus. O Demea! that is to be wise: to see,

Not that alone which lies before your feet,

But ev’n to pry into futurity.

Dem. What! is the Music-Girl at your house?

Syrus. Aye,

Madam’s within.

Dem. What! and is Æschinus

To keep her at home with him?

Syrus. I believe so;

Such is their madness.

Dem. Is it possible?

Syrus. A fond and foolish father!

Dem. I’m asham’d

To own my brother; I’m griev’d for him.

Syrus. Ah!


There is a deal of diff’rence, Demea,

—Nor is’t because you’re present that I say this——

There is a mighty difference between you!

You are, from top to toe, all over wisdom:

He a mere dotard.—Would you e’er permit

Your boy to do such things?

Dem. Permit him? I?

Or should I not much rather smell him out

Six months before he did but dream of it?

Syrus. Pshaw! do you boast your vigilance to me?

Dem. Heav’n keep him ever as he is at present!

Syrus. As fathers form their children, so they prove.

Dem. But, prithee, have you seen the lad to-day?

Dem. But now we’re speaking of him, have you seen

The lad to-day? (With an affected carelessness.)

Syrus.Your son, d’ye mean?—I’ll drive him out of town.

He’s hard at work upon your grounds by this time.

Dem. Ay? Are you sure he’s gone into the country?

Syrus. Your son d’ye mean?—I’ll drive him

Into the country. (Aside.)—He is hard at work

Upon your grounds by this time. (To Demea.)

Dem. Are you sure on’t?

Syrus. Sure? I set out with him myself.

Dem. Good! good!

I was afraid he loiter’d here. (Aside.)

Syrus. And much

Enrag’d, I promise you.

Dem. On what account?

Syrus. A quarrel with his brother at the Forum,

About the Music-Girl.


Dem. Indeed?


Syrus. Aye, faith:

He did not mince the matter: he spoke out;

For as the cash was telling down, in pops,

All unexpected, Master Ctesipho:

Cries out—“Oh Æschinus, are these your courses?

These your persuits? enormities like these?

Oh shame! oh scandal to our family!”

Do you commit these crimes? and do you bring

Such a disgrace upon our family?”

Dem. Oh, oh, I weep for joy.

Syrus. ——“You squander not

The money only, but your life, your honor.”

Dem. Heav’n bless him; he is like his ancestors. (Weeping.)

Syrus. Father’s own son, I warrant him.

Dem. Oh, Syrus!

He’s full of all those precepts, he!

Syrus. No doubt on’t:

He need not go from home for good instruction.

Dem. I spare no pains; neglect no means; I train him.

—In short, I bid him look into the lives

Of all, as in a mirror, and thence draw

From others an example for himself.

—“Do this.”——

Syrus. Good!

Dem. “Fly that.”

Syrus. Very good!

Dem. “This deed


Is highly commendable.”

Is commendable.”

Syrus. That’s the thing!

Dem. “That’s reprehensible.”

Syrus. Most excellent!

Dem. “And then moreover——”

Syrus. Faith, I have not time

To give you further audience just at present,

I’ve got an admirable dish of fish;

And I must take good care they are not spoil’d.

For that were an offense as grievous, Demea,

In us, as ’twere in you to leave undone

The things you just now mentioned: and I try,

According to my weak abilities,

To teach my fellow-slaves the self-same way.

—“This is too salt.—This is burnt up too much.

That is not nice and cleanly.—That’s well done.

Mind, and do so again.”—I spare no pains,

And give them the best precepts that I can.

In short, I bid them look into the dishes,

As in a mirror, Demea, and thence learn

The duty of a cook.—This school of ours,

I own, is idle: but what can you do?

According to the man must be the lesson.

—Would you aught else with us?

Dem. Your reformation.

Syrus. Do you go hence into the country?


Dem. Straight.


Syrus. For what should you do here, where nobody,

However good your precepts, cares to mind them?



Demea alone.

I then will hence, since he, on whose account

I hither came, is gone into the country.

He is my only care, He’s my concern.

My brother, since he needs will have it so,

May look to Æschinus himself.——But who

Is coming yonder? Hegio, of our tribe?

If I see plainly, beyond doubt ’tis he.

Ah, we’ve been old acquaintance quite from boys;

And such men nowadays are wondrous scarce.

A citizen of ancient faith and virtue!

The commonwealth will ne’er reap harm from him.

How I rejoice to see but the remains

Of this old stock! Ah, life’s a pleasure now.


I’ll wait, that I may ask about his health,

And have a little conversation with him.


Enter Hegio, Geta conversing at a distance.

Hegio. Can it be true?

Geta. Ev’n so.

Hegio. Good Heaven! a most unworthy action, Geta!

Geta. Ev’n so.

Hegio. A deed so base

Sprung from that family?—Oh Æschinus,

This was not acting like your father.

Dem. (behind.) So!

He has just heard about this Musick-Girl,

And is affected at it, though a stranger,

While his good father truly thinks it nothing.

Oh monstrous! would that he were somewhere nigh,

And heard all this!

Hegio. Unless they do you justice

They shall not carry off the matter thus.

Hegio. A deed so base

Sprung from that family?—Oh Æschinus,

I’m sure this was not acting like your father.

Dem. (behind.) So! he has heard about this Music-Girl,

And is affected at it, though a stranger,

While his good father truly thinks it nothing.

Oh monstrous! would that he were somewhere nigh,

And heard all this!

Hegio. Unless they do what’s just,

They shall not carry off the matter thus.


Geta. Our only hope is in you, Hegio.

You’re our sole friend, our guardian, and our father,

On his death-bed, the good old Simulus

The good old Simulus, on his death-bed

Bequeath’d us to your care. If you desert us,

We are undone indeed.

Hegio. Ah, name it not!


I will not, and with honesty, I can not.

Dem. I’ll go up to him.—Save you, Hegio!

Hegio. The man I look’d for.—Save you, Demea!

Dem. Your pleasure!

Hegio. Æschinus, your elder son,

Your brother’s by adoption, has committed

Adopted by your brother, has committed


A deed unworthy of an honest man,

And of a gentleman.

Dem. How so?

Hegio. You knew

Our friend and good acquaintance, Simulus?

Dem. Aye, sure.

Hegio. He has debauch’d his daughter.

Dem. How!

Hegio. Hold, Demea, for the worst is still to come.

Dem. Is there aught worse?

Hegio. Much worse: for this perhaps

Might be excus’d. The night, love, wine, and youth,

Might prompt him. ’Tis the frailty of our nature.

—Soon as his sense returning made him conscious

Of his rash outrage, of his own accord

He came to the girl’s mother, weeping, praying.

Entreating, vowing constancy, and swearing

That he would take her home.—He was forgiven;

The thing conceal’d; and his vows credited.

The girl from that encounter prov’d with child:


This is the tenth month.—He, good gentleman,

Has got a music-girl, Heav’n bless the mark!

With whom he means to live, and quit the other.

Dem. And are you well assur’d of this?

Hegio. The mother,

The girl, the fact itself, are all before you,

Joining to vouch the truth on’t. And besides,

This Geta here—as servants go, no bad one,

Nor given up to idleness—maintains them;

The sole support of all the family.

Here take him, bind him, force the truth from him.

Geta. Aye, torture me, if ’tis not so, good Demea!

Nay, Æschinus, I’m sure, will not deny it.

Bring me before him.

Dem. (aside). I’m asham’d: and what

To do, or what to say to him, I know not.

Pamphila (within). Ah me! I’m torn in pieces!—Racking pains!

Juno Lucina, help me! save, I pray thee!

Hegio. Ha! Is she then in labor, Geta?


Geta. Yes, Sir.

Hegio. Hark! she now calls upon your justice, Demea!

Grant her then freely, what law else will claim.

And Heaven send, that you may rather do

What honor bids! but if you mean it not,

Be sure of this; that with my utmost force

I’ll vindicate the girl, and her dead father;

He was my kinsman; we were bred together

From children; and our fortunes twin’d together

In war, and peace, and bitter poverty.

Wherefore I’ll try, endeavor, strive, nay lose


My life itself, before I will forsake them.

—What is your answer?

Dem. I’ll find out my brother:

What he advises, I will follow, Hegio.

Hegio. But still remember, Demea, that the more

You live at ease; the more your pow’r, your wealth,


Your riches, and nobility; the more

It is your duty to act honorably,

If you regard the name of honest men.

Dem. Go to: we’ll do you justice.

Hegio. ’Twill become you.

Geta, conduct me in to Sostrata.

Exit with Geta.


Demea alone.

This is no more than I foretold: and well

If his intemp’rance would stop here!—But this

Immoderate indulgence must produce

Some terrible misfortune in the end.

—I’ll hence, find out my brother, tell my news,

And empty all my indignation on him.



Re-enter Hegio, speaking to Sostrata at the door.

Be of good cheer, my Sostrata; and comfort,

As much as in your pow’r, poor Pamphila!


I’ll find out Micio, if he’s at the Forum,

And tell him the whole story: if he’ll act

With honor in it, why ’tis well; if not,

Let him but speak his mind to me, and then

I shall know how to act accordingly.





Ctesipho, Syrus.

Ctes. My father gone into the country, say you?

Syrus. Long since.

Ctes. Nay; speak the truth!

Syrus. He’s at his farm,

And hard at work, I warrant you.

Ctes. I wish,


So that his health were not the worse for it,

He might so heartily fatigue himself,

As to be forc’d to keep his bed these three days!

Syrus. I wish so too; and more, if possible.

Ctes. With all my heart: for I would fain consume,

As I’ve begun, the livelong day in pleasure.

Nor do I hate that farm of ours so much

For any thing, as that it is so near.

For if ’twas at a greater distance, night

Would come upon him ere he could return.

But now, not finding me, I’m very sure

He’ll hobble back again immediately;

Question me where I’ve been, that I’ve not seen him


All the day long; and what shall I reply?

Syrus. What? can you think of nothing?

Ctes. No, not I.

Syrus. So much the worse.—Have you no client, friend,

Or guest?

Ctes. I have. What then?

Syrus. You’ve been engag’d

With them.

Ctes. When not engag’d? It can not be.

Syrus. It may.

Ctes. Aye, marry, for the day I grant you.

But if I pass the night here, what excuse

Then, Syrus?

Syrus. Ah! I would it were the custom

To be engag’d at night too with one’s friends!

—But be at ease! I know his mind so well,

That when he raves the loudest, I can make him

As gentle as a lamb.

Ctes. How so?

Syrus. He loves

To hear you prais’d. I sing your praises to him,

And make you out a little God.

Ctes. Me!

Syrus. You.

And then the old man blubbers like a child,

For very joy.—But have a care! (Looking out.)

Ctes. What now?


Syrus. The wolf i’ th’ fable!

Ctes. What, my father?

Syrus. He.

Ctes. What’s the best, Syrus?

Syrus. In! fly! I’ll take care.

Ctes. You have not seen me, if he asks: d’ye hear?

Syrus. Can’t you be quiet? (Pushes out Ctesipho.)


Enter Demea at another part of the stage.

Dem. Verily I am

A most unhappy man! for first of all,

I can not find my brother any where:

And then besides, in looking after him,

I chanc’d on one of my day laborers,

Who had but newly left my farm, and told me

Ctesipho was not there. What shall I do?


Ctes. (peeping out.) Syrus?

Syrus. What?


Ctes. Does he seek me?

Syrus. Yes.


Ctes. Undone!

Syrus. Courage!


Dem. (to himself). Plague on it, what ill luck is this?

I can’t account for it: but I believe

That I was born for nothing but misfortunes.

I am the first who feels our woes; the first

Who knows of them; the first who tells the news:

And come what may, I bear the weight alone.

Syrus (behind). Ridiculous! he says he knows all first;

And he alone is ignorant of all.

Dem. I’m now return’d to see if Micio

Be yet come home again.

Ctes. (peeping out). Take care, good Syrus,

He don’t rush in upon us unawares!

Syrus. Peace! I’ll take care.


Ctes. ’Faith, I’ll not trust to you,

But shut myself and her in some by-place

Together: that’s the safest.

Syrus. Well, away! (Ctesipho disappears.)

I’ll drive the old man hence, I warrant you.


Dem. (seeing Syrus). But see that rascal Syrus coming hither!


Syrus (advancing hastily, and pretending not to see Demea).

By Hercules, there is no living here,

For any one, at this rate.—I’d fain know

How many masters I’m to have.—Oh monstrous!

Dem. What does he howl for? what’s the meaning on’t?

Hark ye, my good Sir! prithee tell me if

My brother be at home.

Syrus. My good Sir! Plague!

Why do you come with your good Sirs to me?

I’m half-kill’d.

Dem. What’s the matter?

Syrus. What’s the matter!

Ctesipho, vengeance on him, fell upon me,

And cudgel’d me and the poor Music-Girl

Almost to death.


Dem. Indeed?

Syrus. Indeed. Nay see

How he has cut my lip. (Pretending to show it.)

Dem. On what account?

Syrus. The girl, he says, was bought by my advice.

Dem. Did not you say you saw him out of town

A little while ago?

Syrus. And so I did.

But he came back soon after, like a madman.

He had no mercy.—Was not he asham’d

To beat a poor old fellow? to beat me;


Who bore him in my arms but t’other day,

An urchin thus high? (Showing.)

Dem. Oh rare, Ctesipho!

Father’s own son! a man, I warrant him.

Syrus. Oh rare, d’ye cry? I’ faith, if he is wise,

He’ll hold his hands another time.

Dem. Oh brave!

Syrus. Oh mighty brave, indeed!—Because he beat

A helpless girl, and me a wretched slave,

Who durst not strike again;—oh, to be sure,

Mighty brave, truly!

Dem. Oh, most exquisite!

My Ctesipho perceived, as well as I,

That you was the contriver of this business.

—But is my brother here?

Syrus. Not he. (Sulkily.)

Dem. I’m thinking

Where I shall seek him.

Syrus. I know where he is:

But I’ll not tell.

Dem. How, Sirrah?

Syrus. Even so.

Dem. I’ll break your head.

Syrus. I can not tell the name

Of him he’s gone to, but I know the place.

Dem. Well, where’s the place?

Syrus. D’ye know the Portico


Just by the market, down this way? (Pointing.)

Dem. I do.

Syrus. Go straight along that street: and at the end

Syrus. Go up that street; keep straight along: and then

You’ll see a hill; go straight down that: and then

On this hand, there’s a chapel; and just by

A narrow lane. (Pointing.)

Dem. Where? (Looking.)

Syrus. There; by the great wild fig-tree.

D’ye know it, Sir?

Dem. I do.

Syrus. Go through that lane.

Dem. That lane’s no thoroughfare.

Syrus. Aye, very true:


No more it is, Sir.—What a fool I am!

I was mistaken—You must go quite back

Into the portico; and after all,

This is the nearest and the safest way.

—D’ye know Cratinus’ house? the rich man?

Dem. Aye.

Syrus. When you’ve pass’d that, turn short upon the left.

Keep straight along that street, and when you reach


Diana’s Temple, turn upon the right.

And then, on this side of the city gate,

Just by the pond, there is a baker’s shop,

And opposite a joiner’s.—There he is.

Dem. What business has he there?

Syrus. He has bespoke

Some tables to be made with oaken legs

To stand the sun.

Dem. For you to drink upon.

Oh brave! But I lose time. I’ll after him.

Exit hastily.


Syrus alone.

Aye, go your ways! I’ll work your old shrunk shanks

As you deserve, old Drybones!—Æschinus

Loiters intolerably. Dinner’s spoil’d.


Ctesipho thinks of nothing but his girl.

’Tis time for me to look to myself too.

Faith, then I’ll in immediately; pick out

All the tid-bits, and tossing off my cups,

In lazy leisure lengthen out the day.



Enter Micio and Hegio.

Micio. I can see nothing in this matter, Hegio,

Wherein I merit so much commendation.

’Tis but my duty, to redress the wrongs

That we have caus’d: unless perhaps you took me

For one of those who, having injur’d you,

Term fair expostulation an affront;

And having first offended, are the first

To turn accusers.—I’ve not acted thus:

And is’t for this that I am thank’d?

Hegio. Ah, no;

I never thought you other than you are.

But let me beg you, Micio, go with me

To the young woman’s mother, and repeat

Yourself to her what you have just told me:


—That the suspicion, fall’n on Æschinus,

Sprung from his brother and the Music-Girl.

Micio. If you believe I ought, or think it needful,

Let’s go!


Hegio. ’Tis very kind in you: for thus

You’ll raise her spirit drooping with the load

Of grief and misery, and have perform’d

Ev’ry good office of benevolence.

But if you like it not, I’ll go myself,

And tell her the whole story.

Micio. No, I’ll go.

Hegio. ’Tis good and tender in your nature, Micio.

For they, whose fortunes are less prosperous,

Are all I know not how, the more suspicious;

And think themselves neglected and contemn’d,

Because of their distress and poverty.

Wherefore I think ’twould satisfy them more

If you would clear up this affair yourself.

Micio. What you have said is just, and very true.

Hegio. Let me conduct you in!

Micio. With all my heart.



Æschinus alone.

Oh torture to my mind! that this misfortune

Should come thus unexpectedly upon me!

I know not what to do, which way to turn.

Fear shakes my limbs, amazement fills my soul,

And in my breast despair shuts out all counsel.

Ah, by what means can I acquit myself?

Such a suspicion is now fallen on me;

And that too grounded on appearances.

Sostrata thinks that on my own account

I bought the Music-Girl. That’s plain enough

From the old nurse. For meeting her by chance,

As she was sent from hence to call a midwife,

I ran, and ask’d her of my Pamphila.

—“Is she in labor? are you going now

To call a midwife?”—“Go, go, Æschinus!

Away, you have deceiv’d us long enough,

Fool’d us enough with your fine promises,”

Cried she.—“What now?” says I.—“Farewell, enjoy

The girl that you’re so taken with!”—I saw

Immediately their cause of jealousy:

Yet I contain’d myself, nor would disclose

My brother’s business to a tattling gossip,

By whom the knowledge on’t might be betray’d.


—But what shall I do now? shall I confess

The girl to be my brother’s; an affair


Which should by no means be reveal’d?—But not

To dwell on that.—Perhaps they’d not disclose it.

Nay, I much doubt if they would credit it:

So many proofs concur against myself.——

I bore her off: I paid the money down;

She was brought home to me.—All this, I own,

Is my own fault. For should I not have told

My father, be it as it might, the whole?

I should, I doubt not, have obtain’d his leave

To marry Pamphila.—What indolence,

Ev’n, till this hour! now, Æschinus, awake!

—But first I’ll go and clear myself to them.

I’ll to the door. (Goes up.) Confusion! how I tremble!

How guilty like I seem when I approach

This house! (Knocks.) Holloa! within! ’Tis I;

’Tis Æschinus. Come, open somebody

The door immediately!—Who’s here? A stranger!

I’ll step aside. (Retires.)


Enter Micio.

Micio (to Sostrata, within). Do as I have told you, Sostrata.

I’ll find out Æschinus, and tell him all.


—But who knock’d at the door? (Coming forward.)

Æsch. (behind). By Heav’n, my father!


Micio (seeing him). Æschinus!

Æsch. What does he here? (Aside.)

Micio. Was’t you that knock’d? What, not a word! Suppose

I banter him a little. He deserves it,

For never trusting this affair to me. (Aside.)

—Why don’t you speak?

Æsch. Not I, as I remember. (Disordered.)

Micio. No, I dare say, not you: for I was wond’ring

What business could have brought you here.—He blushes.

All’s safe, I find. (Aside.)

Æsch. (recovering.) But prithee, tell me, Sir,

What brought you here?

Micio. No business of my own.

But a friend drew me hither from the Forum,

To be his advocate.

Æsch. In what?

Micio. I’ll tell you.

This house is tenanted by some poor women,

Whom, I believe, you know not;—Nay, I’m sure on’t,

For ’twas but lately they came over hither.

Æsch. Well?

Micio. A young woman and her mother.


Æsch. Well?


Micio. The father’s dead.—This friend of mine, it seems,

Being her next relation, by the law

Is forc’d to marry her.

Æsch. Confusion! (Aside.)

Micio. How?

Æsch. Nothing.—Well?—pray go on, Sir!——

Micio. He’s now come

To take her home, for he is of Miletus.

Æsch. How! take her home with him?

Micio. Yes, take her home.

Æsch. What, to Miletus?

Micio. Aye.

Æsch. Oh torture! (Aside.)— Well?

What say the women?

Micio. Why, what should they? Nothing.

Indeed the mother has devis’d a tale

About her daughter’s having had a child

By some one else, but never mentions whom:

His claim, she says, is prior; and my friend


Ought not to have her.

Æsch. Well? and did not this

Seem a sufficient reason?

Micio. No.

Æsch. No, Sir?

And shall this next relation take her off?

Micio. Aye, to be sure: why not?

Æsch. Oh barbarous, cruel!

And to speak plainly, Sir—ungenerous!

Micio. Why so?

Æsch. Why so, Sir?—What d’ye think

Will come of him, the poor unhappy youth

Who was connected with her first—who still

Loves her, perhaps, as dearly as his life;——

When he shall see her torn out of his arms,

And borne away forever?—Oh shame, shame!

Micio. Where is the shame on’t?—Who betroth’d, who gave her?

When was she married? and to whom? Where is he,

And wherefore did he wed another’s right?

Æsch. Was it for her, a girl of such an age,

To sit at home, expecting till a kinsman

Came, nobody knows whence, to marry her?

—This, Sir, it was your business to have said,


And to have dwelt on it.

Micio. Ridiculous!

Should I have pleaded against him to whom

I came an advocate?—But after all,

What’s this affair to us? or, what have we

To do with them? let’s go!—Ha! why those tears?

Æsch. Father, beseech you, hear me!


Micio. Æschinus,

I have heard all, and I know all, already:

For I do love you; wherefore all your actions

Touch me the more.

Æsch. So may you ever love me,

And so may I deserve your love, my father,

As I am sorry to have done this fault,

And am asham’d to see you!

Micio. I believe it;

For well I know you have a liberal mind:

But I’m afraid you are too negligent,

For in what city do you think you live?

You have abus’d a virgin, whom the law

Forbade your touching.—’Twas a fault, a great one;

But yet a natural failing. Many others,

Some not bad men, have often done the same.

—But after this event, can you pretend

You took the least precaution? or consider’d

What should be done, or how?—If shame forbade

Your telling me yourself, you should have found


Some other means to let me know of it.

Lost in these doubts, ten months have slipp’d away.

You have betray’d, as far as in you lay,

Yourself, the poor young woman, and your child.

What! did you think the Gods would bring about

This business in your sleep; and that your wife,

Without your stir, would be convey’d to you

Into your bed-chamber?—I would not have you

Thus negligent in other matters.—Come,

Cheer up, son! you shall wed her.

Æsch. How!

Micio. Cheer up,

I say!

Æsch. Nay, prithee, do not mock me, father!

Micio. Mock you? I? wherefore?

Æsch. I don’t know; unless

That I so much desire it may be true,

I therefore fear it more.

Micio. —Away; go home;

And pray the Gods, that you may call your wife


Æsch. How’s that? my wife? what! now?

Micio. Now.


Æsch. Now?

Micio. Ev’n now, as soon as possible.

Æsch. May all

The Gods desert me, Sir, but I do love you,

More than my eyes

Micio. Than her?

Æsch. As well.

Micio. That’s much.


Æsch. But where is that Milesian?

Micio. Gone:

Vanish’d: on board the ship.—But why d’ye loiter?

Æsch. Ah, Sir, you rather go, and pray the Gods;

For, being a much better man than I,

They will the sooner hear your pray’rs.


Micio. I’ll in,

To see the needful preparations made.

You, if you’re wise, do as I said.



Æschinus alone.

How’s this?

Is this to be a father? Or is this

To be a son?—Were he my friend or brother,

Could he be more complacent to my wish?

Should I not love him? bear him in my bosom!

Ah! his great kindness has so wrought upon me,

That it shall be the study of my life


To shun all follies, lest they give him pain.

But wherefore do I loiter here, and thus

Retard my marriage by my own delay?

—But I’ll in straight, that I may not retard

My marriage by my own delay.



Demea alone.

I’ve walk’d, and walk’d, till I’m quite tir’d with walking.

—Almighty Jove confound you, Syrus, I say;

I’m tir’d

With walking.—Now great Jove confound you, Syrus;

You and your blind directions! I have crawl’d

All the town over: to the gate; the pond;

Where not? No sign of any shop was there,

Nor any person who had seen my brother.


—Now I’ll in, therefore, and set up my rest

In his own house, till he comes home again. (Going.


Enter Micio.

Micio. I’ll go and let the women know we’re ready.

Dem. But here he is.—I have long sought you, Micio.

Micio. What now?

Dem. I bring you more offenses: great ones;

Of that sweet youth——

Micio. See there!

Dem. New; capital!

Micio. Nay, nay, no more!

Dem. Ah, you don’t know——

Micio. I do.


Dem. O fool, you think I mean the Music-Girl.

This is a rape upon a citizen.

Micio. I know it.

Dem. How? d’ye know it, and endure it?

Micio. Why not endure it?

Dem. Tell me, don’t you rave?

Don’t you go mad?

Micio. No: to be sure I’d rather——

Dem. There’s a child born.

Micio. Heav’n bless it!


Dem. And the girl

Has nothing.

Micio. I have heard so.

Dem. And is he

To marry her without a fortune?

Micio. Aye.

Dem. What’s to be done then?

Micio. What the case requires.

The girl shall be brought over here.

Dem. Oh Jove!

Can that be proper?

Micio. What can I do else?

Dem. What can you do!—If you’re not really griev’d,

It were at least your duty to appear so.

Micio. I have contracted the young woman to him:

The thing is settled: ’tis their wedding-day:

And all their apprehensions I’ve remov’d.

This is still more my duty.

Dem. Are you pleas’d then

With this adventure, Micio?

Micio. Not at all,

If I could help it: now ’tis past all cure,

I bear it patiently. The life of man


Is like a game at tables. If the cast

Which is most necessary be not thrown,

That which chance sends you must correct by art.

Dem. Oh rare Corrector!—By your art no less

Than twenty minæ have been thrown away

On yonder Music-wench; who out of hand,

Must be sent packing; if no buyer, gratis.

Micio. Not in the least; nor do I mean to sell her.

Dem. What will you do, then?

Micio. Keep her in my house.

Dem. Oh Heav’n and earth! a harlot and a wife

In the same house!

Micio. Why not?

Dem. Have you your wits?

Micio. Truly I think so.

Dem. Now, so help me Heav’n,

Seeing your folly, I believe you keep her

To sing with you.


Micio. Why not?

Dem. And the young bride

Shall be her pupil?

Micio. To be sure.

Dem. And you


Dance hand in hand with them?

Micio. Aye.

Dem. Aye?

Micio. And you

Make one among us too upon occasion.

Dem. Ah! are you not asham’d on’t?

Micio. Patience, Demea!

Lay by your wrath, and seem, as it becomes you,

Cheerful and free of heart at your son’s wedding.

—I’ll go and warn the bride and Sostrata,

—I’ll but speak with the bride and Sostrata,

And then return to you immediately.



Demea alone.

Jove, what a life! what manners! what distraction!

A bride just coming home without a portion;

A Music-Girl already there in keeping:

A house of waste; the youth a libertine;

Th’ old man a dotard!—’Tis not in the pow’r

Of Providence herself, howe’er desirous,

To save from ruin such a family.


Enter at a distance Syrus, drunk.

Syrus. (to himself). Faith, little Syrus, you’ve ta’en special care

Of your sweet self, and play’d your part most rarely.

—Well, go your ways:—but having had my fill

Of ev’ry thing within, I’ve now march’d forth

To take a turn or two abroad.

Dem. (behind). Look there!

A pattern of instruction!

Syrus. (seeing him). But see there:

Yonder’s old Demea. (Going up to him.) What’s the matter now?

And why so melancholy?

Dem. Oh thou villain!

Syrus. What! are you spouting sentences, old wisdom?

Dem. Were you my servant——

Syrus. You’d be plaguy rich,

And settle your affairs most wonderfully.

Dem. I’d make you an example.

Syrus. Why? for what?

525 81

Dem. Why, Sirrah?—In the midst of the disturbance,

And in the heat of a most heavy crime,

While all is yet confusion, you’ve got drunk,

As if for joy, you rascal!

Syrus. Why the plague

Did not I keep within? (Aside.)


Enter Dromo, hastily.

Dromo. Here! hark ye, Syrus!

Ctesipho begs that you’d come back.

Syrus. Away! (Pushes him off.)

Dem. What’s this he says of Ctesipho?

Syrus. Pshaw! nothing.

Dem. How! dog, is Ctesipho within?

Syrus. Not he.

Dem. Why does he name him then?

Syrus. It is another.

Of the same name—a little parasite——

D’ye know him?

Dem. But I will immediately. (Going.)

Syrus. (stopping him). What now? where now?


Dem. Let me alone.

Syrus. Don’t go!


Dem. Hands off! what won’t you? must I brain you, rascal?

Disengages himself from Syrus, and Exit.


Syrus alone.

He’s gone—gone in—and faith no welcome roarer——

—Especially to Ctesipho.—But what

Can I do now; unless, till this blows over,

I sneak into some corner, and sleep off

This wine that lies upon my head?—I’ll do’t.

Exit reeling.


Enter Micio from Sostrata.

Micio. (to Sostrata within).

All is prepar’d: and we are ready, Sostrata,

As I have already told you, when you please. (Comes forward.)


But who’s this forces open our street door

With so much violence?

Enter Demea on t’other side.

Dem. Confusion! death!


What shall I do? or how resolve? where vent

My cries and exclamations? Heav’n! Earth! Sea!

Micio (behind.) So! all’s discover’d: that’s the thing he raves at.

—Now for a quarrel!—I must help the boy.

Dem. (seeing him.) Oh, there’s the grand corrupter of our children!

Micio. Appease your wrath, and be yourself again!

Dem. Well, I’ve appeas’d it; I’m myself again;

I spare reproaches; let us to the point!

It was agreed between us, and it was


Your own proposal too, that you should never

Concern yourself with Ctesipho, nor I

With Æschinus. Say, was’t not so?

Micio. It was.

I don’t deny it.

Dem. Why does Ctesipho

Revel with you then? Why do you receive him?

Buy him a mistress, Micio?—Is not justice

My due from you, as well as yours from me?

Since I do not concern myself with yours,

Meddle not you with mine!

Micio. This is not fair;

Indeed it is not. Think on the old saying,

“All things are common among friends.”

Dem. How smart!

Put off with quips and sentences at last!

Micio. Nay, hear me, if you can have patience, Demea.

—First, if you’re griev’d at their extravagance,

Let this reflection calm you! Formerly,

You bred them both according to your fortune,

Supposing it sufficient for them both:

Then too you thought that I should take a wife.

Still follow the old rule you then laid down:

Hoard, scrape, and save; do ev’ry thing you can

To leave them nobly! Be that glory yours.

My fortune, fall’n beyond their hopes upon them,


Let them use freely! As your capital

Will not be wasted, what addition comes

From mine, consider as clear gain: and thus,

Weighing all this impartially, you’ll spare

Yourself, and me, and them, a world of trouble.

Dem. Money is not the thing: their morals——

Micio. Hold!

I understand; and meant to speak of that.

There are in nature sundry marks, good Demea,

By which you may conjecture of men’s minds;

And when two persons do the self-same thing,

May oftentimes pronounce, that in the one

’Tis dangerous, in t’other ’tis not so:

By which you may conjecture easily,

That when two persons do the self-same thing,

It oftentimes falls out that in the one

’Tis criminal, in t’other ’tis not so:

Not that the thing itself is different,


But he who does it.—In these youths I see

The marks of virtue; and, I trust, they’ll prove

Such as we wish them. They have sense, I know;

Attention; in its season, liberal shame;

And fondness for each other; all sure signs

Of an ingenuous mind and noble nature:


And though they stray, you may at any time

Reclaim them.—But perhaps you fear they’ll prove

Too inattentive to their interest.

Oh my dear Demea, in all matters else

Increase of years increases wisdom in us:

This only vice age brings along with it;

“We’re all more worldly-minded than there’s need:”

Which passion age, that kills all passions else,

Will ripen in your sons too.

Dem. Have a care

That these fine arguments and this great mildness

Don’t prove the ruin of us, Micio.

Micio. Peace!

It shall not be: away with all your fears!

This day be rul’d by me: come, smooth your brow.

Dem. Well, since at present things are so, I must,

But then I’ll to the country with my son

To-morrow, at first peep of day.

Micio. At midnight,

So you’ll but smile to-day.

Dem. And that wench too

I’ll drag away with me.

Micio. Aye; there you’ve hit it.

For by that means you’ll keep your son at home;

Do but secure her.

Dem. I’ll see that: for there

I’ll put her in the kitchen and the mill,

And make her full of ashes, smoke, and meal:


Nay at high noon too she shall gather stubble.

I’ll burn her up, and make her black as coal.

Micio. Right! now you’re wise.—And then I’d make my son

Go to bed to her, though against his will.

Dem. D’ye laugh at me? how happy in your temper!

I feel——

Micio. Ah! that again?

Dem. I’ve done.

Micio. In then!

And let us suit our humor to the time.


528 88



Demea alone.

Never did man lay down so fair a plan,

So wise a rule of life, but fortune, age,

Or long experience made some change in it;

And taught him that those things he thought he knew


He did not know, and what he held as best,

In practice he threw by. The very thing

That happens to myself. For that hard life

Which I have ever led, my race near run,

Now in the last stage, I renounce: and why?

But that by dear experience I’ve been told,

There’s nothing so advantages a man

As mildness and complacency. Of this

My brother and myself are living proofs:

He always led an easy, cheerful life;

Good-humor’d, mild, offending nobody,

Smiling on all; a jovial bachelor,

His whole expenses centred in himself.

I, on the contrary, rough, rigid, cross,

Saving, morose, and thrifty, took a wife:

—What miseries did marriage bring!—had children;

—A new uneasiness!—and then besides,

Striving all ways to make a fortune for them,

I have worn out my prime of life and health:


And now, my course near finish’d, what return

Do I receive for all my toil? Their hate.

Meanwhile my brother, without any care,

Reaps all a father’s comforts. Him they love,

Me they avoid: to him they open all

Their secret counsels; doat on him; and both

Repair to him; while I am quite forsaken.

His life they pray for, but expect my death.

Thus those, brought up by my exceeding labor,

He, at a small expense, has made his own:

The care all mine, and all the pleasure his.

—Well then, let me endeavor in my turn

To teach my tongue civility, to give

With open-handed generosity,

Since I am challeng’d to’t!—and let me too

Obtain the love and reverence of my children!

And if ’tis bought by bounty and indulgence,

I will not be behind-hand.—Cash will fail:

What’s that to me, who am the eldest born?


Enter Syrus.

Syrus. Oh Sir! your brother has dispatch’d me to you

To beg you’d not go further off.

Dem. Who’s there?——


What, honest Syrus! save you: how is’t with you?

How goes it?

Syrus. Very well, Sir.

Dem. (aside.) Excellent!

Now for the first time, I, against my nature,

Have added these three phrases, “Honest Syrus!——

How is’t?—How goes it?”— (To Syrus.) You have prov’d yourself

A worthy servant. I’ll reward you for it.

Syrus. I thank you, Sir.

Dem. I will, I promise you;

And you shall be convinc’d on’t very soon.


Enter Geta.

Geta (to Sostrata within). Madam, I’m going to look after them,

That they may call the bride immediately.

—But here is Demea. Save you!

Dem. Oh! your name?

Geta. Geta, Sir.

Dem. Geta, I this day have found you


To be a fellow of uncommon worth:

For sure that servant’s faith is well approv’d

Who holds his master’s interest at heart,

As I perceiv’d that you did, Geta! wherefore,

Soon as occasion offers, I’ll reward you.

—I am endeavoring to be affable,

And not without success. (Aside.)

Geta. ’Tis kind in you

To think of your poor slave, Sir.

Dem. (aside.) First of all

I court the mob, and win them by degrees.


Enter Æschinus.

Æsch. They murder me with their delays; and while

They lavish all this pomp upon the nuptials,

They waste the livelong day in preparation.


Dem. How does my son?

Æsch. My father! are you here?

Dem. Aye, by affection, and by blood your father,

Who love you better than my eyes.—But why

Do you not call the bride?

Æsch. ’Tis what I long for:

But wait the music and the singers.

Dem. Pshaw!


Will you for once be rul’d by an old fellow?

Æsch. Well?

Dem. Ne’er mind singers, company, lights, music;

But tell them to throw down the garden-wall,

As soon as possible. Convey the bride

That way, and lay both houses into one.

Bring too the mother, and whole family,

Over to us.

Æsch. I will. O charming father!

Dem. (aside). Charming! See there! he calls me charming now.

—My brother’s house will be a thoroughfare;

Throng’d with whole crowds of people; much expense

Will follow; very much: what’s that to me?

I am call’d charming, and get into favor.

—Ho! order Babylo immediately


To pay him twenty minæ.—Prithee, Syrus,

Why don’t you execute your orders?

Syrus. What?

Dem. Down with the wall!— (Exit Syrus.) You, Geta, go and bring

The ladies over.

Geta. Heaven bless you, Demea,

For all your friendship to our family!

Exit Geta.

Dem. They’re worthy of it.—What say you to this?

To Æschinus.

Æsch. I think it admirable.

Dem. ’Tis much better

Than for a poor soul, sick, and lying-in,

To be conducted through the street.

Æsch. I never

Saw any thing concerted better, Sir.

Dem. ’Tis just my way.—But here comes Micio.


Enter Micio.

Micio (at entering.) My brother order it, d’ye say? where is he?

—Was this your order, Demea?

Dem. ’Twas my order:

And by this means, and every other way,


I would unite, serve, cherish, and oblige,

And join the family to ours!

Æsch. Pray do, Sir! (To Micio.)

Micio. I don’t oppose it.

Dem. Nay, but ’tis our duty.

First, there’s the mother of the bride——

Micio. What then?

Dem. Worthy and modest.

Micio. So they say.

Dem. In years.

Micio. True.

Dem. And so far advanc’d, that she is long

Past child-bearing, a poor lone woman too,

With none to comfort her.

Micio. What means all this?

Dem. This woman ’tis your place to marry, brother;

—And yours (to Æschinus) to bring him to’t.

Micio. I marry her?


Dem. You.

Micio. I?

Dem. Yes, you I say.

Micio. Ridiculous!

Dem. (to Æschinus). If you’re a man, he’ll do’t.

Æsch. (to Micio). Dear father!

Micio. How!

Do you then join him, fool?

Dem. Nay, don’t deny.

It can’t be otherwise.

Micio. You’ve lost your senses!

Æsch. Let me prevail upon you, Sir!

Micio. You’re mad.


Dem. Oblige your son.

Micio. Have you your wits?

I a new married man at sixty-five!

And marry a decrepit poor old woman!

Is that what you advise me!

Æsch. Do it, Sir!

I’ve promis’d them.

Micio. You’ve promis’d them, indeed!

Prithee, boy, promise for yourself.

Dem. Come, come!

What if he ask’d still more of you?

Micio. As if

This was not ev’n the utmost.

Dem. Nay, comply!


Æsch. Be not obdurate!

Dem. Come, come, promise him.

Micio. Won’t you desist?

Æsch. No, not till I prevail.

Micio. This is mere force.


Dem. Nay, nay, comply, good Micio!

Micio. Though this appears to me absurd, wrong, foolish,

And quite repugnant to my scheme of life,

Yet, if you’re so much bent on’t, let it be!

Æsch. Obliging father, worthy my best love!

Dem. (aside). What now?—This answers to my wish.—What more?


—Hegio’s their kinsman (to Micio), our relation too,

And very poor. We should do him some service.

Micio. Do what?

Dem. There is a little piece of ground,

Which you let out near town. Let’s give it him

To live upon.

Micio. So little, do you call it?

Dem. Well, if ’tis large, let’s give it. He has been

A father to the bride; a worthy man;

Our kinsman too. It will be well bestow’d.

In short, that saying I now make my own,

Which you but now so wisely quoted, Micio;

“It is the common failing of old men

To be too much intent on worldly matters.”

Let us wipe off that stain. The saying’s true,

And worthy notice.

Dem. Well, if ’tis large, let’s give it. He has been

Father to her; a good man; our relation.

It will be given worthily. In short,

That saying, Micio, I now make my own,

Which you so lately and so wisely quoted;

“It is the common failing of old men

To be too much intent on worldly matters.”

Let us wipe off that stain. The saying’s true,

And should be practic’d.

Micio. Well, well; be it so,

If he requires it. (Pointing to Æschinus.)

Æsch. I beseech it, father.

Dem. Now you’re indeed my brother, soul and body.

Micio. I’m glad to find you think me so.

Dem. I foil him

At his own weapons. (Aside.)


To them Syrus.

Syrus. I have executed

Your orders, Demea.

Dem. A good fellow!——Truly

Syrus, I think, should be made free to-day.

Micio. Made free! He!——Wherefore?

Dem. Oh, for many reasons.

Syrus. Oh Demea, you’re a noble gentleman.

I’ve taken care of both your sons from boys;

Taught them, instructed them, and given them

The wholesomest advice that I was able.

Dem. The thing’s apparent: and these offices,

To cater;—bring a wench in, safe and snug;

—Or in mid-day prepare an entertainment;——

All these are talents of no common man.

Syrus. Oh most delightful gentleman!


Dem. Besides,

He has been instrumental too this day

In purchasing the Music-Girl. He manag’d


The whole affair. We should reward him for it.

It will encourage others.—In a word,

Your Æschinus would have it so.

Micio. Do you

Desire it?

Æsch. Yes, Sir.

Micio. Well, if you desire it——

Come hither, Syrus!—Be thou free! (Syrus kneels; Micio strikes him, being the ceremony of manumission, or giving a slave his freedom.)

Syrus. I thank you:

Thanks to you all; but most of all, to Demea!

Dem. I’m glad of your good fortune.

Æsch. So am I.

Syrus. I do believe it; and I wish this joy

Were quite complete, and I might see my wife,

My Phrygia too, made free, as well as I.

Dem. The very best of women!

Syrus. And the first

That suckled my young master’s son, your grandson.

Dem. Indeed! the first who suckled him!—Nay then,

Beyond all doubt, she should be free.

Micio. For what?

Dem. For that. Nay, take the sum, whate’er it be,

Of me.


Syrus. Now all the powers above grant all

Your wishes, Demea!

Micio. You have thriv’d to-day

Most rarely, Syrus.

Dem. And besides this, Micio,

It would be handsome to advance him something

To try his fortune with. He’ll soon return it.

Micio. Not that. (Snapping his fingers.)

Æsch. He’s honest.

Syrus. Faith I will return it.

Do but advance it.

Æsch. Do, Sir!

Micio. Well, I’ll think on’t.

Dem. I’ll see that he shall do’t. (To Syrus.)

Syrus. Thou best of men!

Æsch. My most indulgent father!

Micio. What means this?

Whence comes this hasty change of manners, brother?

Whence flows all this extravagance? and whence

This sudden prodigality?

Dem. I’ll tell you:

To show you, that the reason why our sons


Think you so pleasant and agreeable,


Is not from your deserts, or truth, or justice,

But your compliance, bounty, and indulgence.


—Now, therefore, if I’m odious to you, son,

Because I’m not subservient to your humor

In all things, right or wrong; away with care!

Spend, squander, and do what you will!—but if,

In those affairs where youth has made you blind,

Eager, and thoughtless, you will suffer me

To counsel and correct—and in due season

Indulge you—I am at your service.

Æsch. Father,

In all things we submit ourselves to you.

What’s fit and proper, you know best.—But what

Shall come of my poor brother?

Dem. I consent

That he shall have her: let him finish there.

Æsch. All now is as it should be.— (To the audience.) Clap your hands!

comic masks

535 112









Boy, and other Servants.






Nurse, Servants to Bacchis, etc.

Scene, Athens.

The word “stepmother” in place of “mother-in-law” is an anomalous English usage, not a mistranslation.


This play is call’d the Step-Mother. When first

It was presented, such a hurricane,

A tumult so uncommon interven’d,

It neither could be seen nor understood:

So taken were the people, so engag’d

By a rope-dancer!—It is now brought on

As a new piece: and he who wrote the play

Suffer’d it not to be repeated then,

That he might profit by a second sale.

Others, his plays, you have already known;

Now then, let me beseech you, know this too.


I come a pleader, in the shape of prologue:

Let me then gain my cause, and now grown old.

Experience the same favor as when young;

Who then recover’d many a lost play,

Breath’d a new life into the scenes, and sav’d

The author and his writings from oblivion.

Of those which first I studied of Cæcilius,


In some I was excluded; and in some

Hardly maintain’d my ground. But knowing well

The variable fortunes of the scene,

I was content to hazard certain toil


For an uncertain gain. I undertook

To rescue those same plays from condemnation,

And labor’d to reverse your sentence on them;

That the same Poet might afford me more,

And no ill fortune damp young Genius in him.

My cares prevail’d; the plays were heard; and thus

Did I restore an Author, nearly lost

Through the malevolence of adversaries,

To study, labor, and the Poet’s art.

But had I at that time despis’d his plays,

Or labor’d to deter him from the task,

It had been easy to have kept him idle,

And to have scar’d him from attempting more:


For my sake, therefore, deign to hear with candor

The suit I mean to offer to you now.

Once more I bring the Step-Mother before you,

Which yet in silence I might never play;

So did confusion crush it: which confusion

Your prudence may allay, if it will deign

To second our endeavors.—When I first

Began to play this piece, the sturdy Boxers,

(The dancers on the rope expected too,)

Th’ increasing crowds, the noise and women’s clamor,

Oblig’d me to retire before my time.

I, upon this occasion, had recourse

To my old way. I brought it on again.

In the first act I please: meanwhile there spreads

A rumor of the Gladiators: then

The people flock together, riot, roar,

And fight for places. I meanwhile my place

Could not maintain—To-day there’s no disturbance;

All’s silence and attention; a clear stage:

’Tis yours to give these games their proper grace.

Let not, oh let not the Dramatic Art

Fall to a few! let your authority

Assist and second mine! if I for gain


Ne’er overrated my abilities,

If I have made it still my only care

To be obedient to your will, oh grant

That he who hath committed his performance

To my defense, and who hath thrown himself

On your protection, be not giv’n to scorn,

And foul derision of his envious foes!

Admit this plea for my sake, and be silent;

That other Poets may not fear to write,

That I too may hereafter find it meet

To play new pieces bought at my expense.

537 119



Philotis, Syra.

Phi. Now, by my troth, a woman of the town

Scarce ever finds a faithful lover, Syra.

This very Pamphilus, how many times

He swore to Bacchis, swore so solemnly

One could not but believe him, that he never

Would, in her lifetime, marry. See! he’s married.

Syra. I warn you, therefore, and most earnestly

Conjure you, to have pity upon none.

But plunder, fleece, and beggar ev’ry man

That falls into your pow’r.

Phi. What! spare none?

Syra. None.

For know, there is not one of all your sparks

But studies to cajole you with fine speeches,

And have his will as cheaply as he can.

Should not you, then, endeavor to fool them?

Phi. But to treat all alike is wrong.

Syra. What! wrong?


To be reveng’d upon your enemies?

Or to snare those who spread their snares for you?

—Alas! why have not I your youth and beauty,

Or you my sentiments?


Enter Parmeno.

Par. (to Scritus within). If our old gentleman

Asks for me, tell him I’m this very moment

Gone to the Port to seek for Pamphilus.

D’ye understand my meaning, Scritus? If he asks,

Tell him that; if he should not ask, say nothing;

That this excuse may serve another time. (Comes forward.

—But is not that Philotis? Whence comes she?

Philotis, save you!

Phi. Save you, Parmeno!

Syra. Save you, good Parmeno!

Par. And save you, Syra!

—Tell me, Philotis, where have you been gadding?

Taking your pleasure this long time?

Phi. I’ve taken

No pleasure, Parmeno, indeed. I went


With a most brutal Captain hence to Corinth,

There have I led a wretched life with him

For two whole years.


Par. Aye, aye, I warrant you

That you have often wish’d to be in Athens;

Often repented of your journey.

Phi. Oh,

’Tis quite impossible to tell how much

I long’d to be at home, how much I long’d

To leave the Captain, see you, revel with you,

After the good old fashion, free and easy.

For there I durst not speak a single word,

But what, and when the mighty Captain pleas’d.

Par. ’Twas cruel in him thus to tie your tongue:

At least, I’ll warrant, that you thought it so.

Phi. But what’s this business, Parmeno? this story

That Bacchis has been telling me within?

I could not have believ’d that Pamphilus

Would in her lifetime marry.

Par. Marry truly!

Phi. Why he is married: is not he?

Par. He is.

But I’m afraid ’twill prove a crazy match,

And will not hold together long.

Phi. Heav’n grant it.

So it turn out to Bacchis’s advantage!

But how can I believe this, Parmeno?

Tell me.

Par. It is not fit it should be told.

Inquire no more.

Phi. For fear I should divulge it?


Now Heav’n so prosper me, as I inquire,

Not for the sake of telling it again,

But to rejoice within myself.

Par. No, no:

Par. All these

Fair words, Philotis, sha’n’t prevail on me

To trust my back to your discretion.

Phi. Well;

Don’t tell me, Parmeno.—As if you had not

Much rather tell this secret than I hear it.

Par. She’s in the right: I am a blab, ’tis true,

It is my greatest failing.—Give your word

You’ll not reveal it, and I’ll tell you.

Phi. Now

You’re like yourself again. I give my word.


Par. Listen then.

Phi. I’m all ear.

Par. Pamphilus

Doted on Bacchis still as much as ever,

When the old gentleman began to tease him


To marry, in the common cant of fathers;

—“That he was now grown old; and Pamphilus

His only child; and that he long’d for heirs,

As props of his old age.” At first my master

Withstood his instances, but as his father

Became more hot and urgent, Pamphilus

Began to waver in his mind, and felt

A conflict betwixt love and duty in him.


At length, by hammering on marriage still,

And daily instances, th’ old man prevail’d,

And made a match with our next neighbor’s daughter.

Pamphilus did not take it much to heart,

Till just upon the very brink of wedlock:

But when he saw the nuptial rites prepar’d,

And, without respite, he must many; then

It came so home to him, that even Bacchis,

Had she been present, must have pitied him.

Whenever he could steal from company,

And talk to me alone,—“Oh Parmeno,

What have I done?” he’d cry.—“I’m lost forever.

Into what ruin have I plung’d myself!

I can not bear it, Parmeno. Ah wretch!

I am undone.”

Phi. Now all the powers of heav’n

Confound you, Laches, for thus teasing him?

Par. In short, he marries, and brings home his wife.

The first night he ne’er touch’d her! nor the next.

Phi. How! he a youth, and she a maidenhead!

Tipsy, and never touch her! ’Tis not likely;

Nor do I think it can be true.

Par. No wonder.

For they that come to you come all desire:

But he was bound to her against his will.

Phi. What followed upon this?

Par. A few days after,

Pamphilus, taking me aside, informs me,


“That the maid still remain’d a maid for him;

That he had hop’d, before he brought her home,

He might have borne the marriage:—but resolving

Within myself not to retain her long,

I held it neither honesty in me,

Nor of advantage to the maid herself,

That I should throw her off to scorn:—but rather

Return her to her friends, as I receiv’d her,

Chaste and inviolate.”

Phi. A worthy youth,

And of great modesty!

Par. “To make this public

Would not, I think, do well: and to return her

Upon her father’s hands, no crime alleg’d,

Is arrogant: but she, I hope, as soon

As arrogant: but she, I hope, as soon


As she perceives she can not live with me,

Will of her own accord depart.”

Phi. But tell me;

Went he meanwhile to Bacchis?

Par. Every day.

But she, as is the way you know, perceiving

He was another’s property, became

More cross and mercenary.

Phi. Troth, no wonder.

Par. Aye, but ’twas that detach’d him chiefly from her.

For when he had examined well himself,

Bacchis, and her at home; and had compar’d


Their different manners; seeing that his bride,

After the fashion of a lib’ral mind,

Was decent, modest, patient of affronts,

And anxious to conceal the wrongs he did her;

Touch’d partly with compassion for his wife,

And partly tir’d with t’other’s insolence,

He by degrees withdrew his heart from Bacchis,

Transferring it to her, whose disposition

Was so congenial to his own. Meanwhile

An old relation of the family

Dies in the isle of Imbrus. His estate

Comes by the law to them; and our old man

Dispatching thither, much against his will,

The now-fond Pamphilus, he leaves his wife

Here with his mother. The old gentleman

Retir’d into the country, and but seldom

Comes up to town.

Phi. But what is there in this

That can affect the marriage?

Par. You shall hear

Immediately. At first, for some few days,

The women seem’d to live on friendly terms:

Till all at once the bride, forsooth, conceiv’d


A wonderful disgust to Sostrata:

And yet there was no open breach between them,

And no complaints on either side.

Phi. What then?

Par. If Sostrata, for conversation’ sake,

Went to the bride, she instantly withdrew,

Shunning her company. At length, unable

Shunning her company. At length, not able

To bear it any longer, she pretends

Her mother had sent for her to assist

At some home-sacrifice. Away she went.

After a few days’ absence, Sostrata

Sent for her back. They made some lame excuse,

I know not what. She sends again. No lady.

Then after several messages, at last

They say the gentlewoman’s sick. My mistress

Goes on a visit to her: not let in.


Th’ old gentleman, inform’d of all this, came

On this occasion yesterday to town;

And waited on the father of the bride.

What pass’d between them, I as yet can’t tell;

And yet I long to know the end of this.

—There’s the whole business. Now I’ll on my way.


Phi. And I: for there’s a stranger here, with whom

I have an assignation.

Par. Speed the plow!

Phi. Parmeno, fare you well!

Par. Farewell, Philotis!

Exeunt severally.




Laches, Sostrata.

Lach. Oh heav’n and earth, what animals are women!

What a conspiracy between them all,

To do or not do, love or hate alike!

Not one but has the sex so strong in her,

She differs nothing from the rest. Step-mothers

All hate their Step-daughters: and every wife


Studies alike to contradict her husband,

The same perverseness running through them all.

Each seems train’d up in the same school of mischief:

And of that school, if any such there be,

My wife, I think, is schoolmistress.

Sostra. Ah me!

Who know not why I am accus’d.

Lach. Not know?

Sostra. No, as I hope for mercy! as I hope

We may live long together!

Lach. Heav’n forbid!

Sostra. Hereafter, Laches, you’ll be sensible

How wrongfully you have accus’d me.

Lach. I?

Accuse you wrongfully?——Is’t possible

To speak too hardly of your late behavior?

Disgracing me, yourself, and family;

Laying up sorrow for your absent son;

Converting into foes his new-made friends,

Who thought him worthy of their child in marriage.

You’ve been our bane, and by your shrewishness

Brew’d this disturbance.

Sostra. I?

Lach. You, woman, you!

Who take me for a stone, and not a man.

Think ye, because I’m mostly in the country,


I’m ignorant of your proceedings here?

No, no; I know much better what’s done here,


Than where I’m chiefly resident. Because

Upon my family at home depends

My character abroad. I knew long since

Philumena’s disgust to you;——no wonder!

Nay, ’twere a wonder, had it not been so.

Yet I imagin’d not her hate so strong,

’Twould vent itself upon the family:

Which had I dream’d of, she should have remain’d,

And you pack’d off.—Consider, Sostrata,

How little cause you had to vex me thus.

In complaisance to you, and husbanding

My fortune, I retir’d into the country:

Scraping, and laboring beyond the bounds

Of reason, or my age, that my estate

Might furnish means for your expense and pleasure.

—Was it not then your duty, in return,

To see that nothing happen’d here to vex me?

Sostra. ’Twas not my doing, nor my fault indeed.

Lach. ’Twas your fault, Sostrata; your fault alone.

You were sole mistress here; and in your care

You was sole mistress here; and in your care

The house, though I had freed you of all other cares.

A woman, an old woman too, and quarrel

With a green girl! oh shame upon’t!—You’ll say

That ’twas her fault.

Sostra. Not I indeed, my Laches.

Lach. ’Fore Heav’n, I’m glad on’t! on my son’s account.


For as for you, I’m well enough assur’d,

No fault can make you worse.

Sostra. But prithee, husband,

How can you tell that her aversion to me

Is not a mere pretense, that she may stay

The longer with her mother?

Lach. No such thing.

Was not your visit yesterday a proof,

From their denial to admit you to her?

Sostra. They said she was so sick she could not see me.

Lach. Sick of your humors; nothing else, I fancy.

And well she might: for there’s not one of you

But want your sons to take a wife: and that’s

No sooner over, but the very woman

Which, by your instigation, they have married,

They, by your instigation, put away.


Enter Phidippus.

Phid. (to Philumena within). Although, Philumena, I know

my pow’r


To force you to comply with my commands;

Yet yielding to paternal tenderness,

I e’en give way, nor cross your humor.

Lach. See,


Phidippus in good time! I’ll learn from him

The cause of this.— (Going up to him.) Phidippus, though I own

Myself indulgent to my family,

Yet my complacency and easiness

Runs not to that extreme, that my good-nature

Corrupts their morals. Would you act like me,

’Twould be of service to both families.

But you, I see, are wholly in their power.

Phid. See there!


Lach. I waited on you yesterday

About your daughter: but I went away

No wiser than I came. It is not right,

If you would have the alliance last between us,

To smother your resentment. If we seem

In fault, declare it; that we may refute,

Or make amends for our offense: and you

Shall carve the satisfaction out yourself.

But if her sickness only is the cause

Of her remaining in your family,

Trust me, Phidippus, but you do me wrong,

To doubt her due attendance at my house.

For, by the pow’rs of heav’n, I’ll not allow

That you, although her father, wish her better

Than I. I love her on my son’s account;

To whom, I’m well convinc’d, she is as dear

As he is to himself: and I can tell

How deeply ’twill affect him, if he knows this.

Wherefore I wish she should come home again,

Before my son’s return.

Phid. My good friend Laches,

I know your care, and your benevolence;

Nor doubt that all is as you say; and hope

That you’ll believe I wish for her return,

So I could but effect it.


Lach. What prevents it?

Tell me, Phidippus! does she blame her husband?

Phid. Not in the least. For when I urg’d it home,

And threaten’d to oblige her to return,

She vow’d most solemnly she could not bear

Your house, so long as Pamphilus was absent.

—All have their failings: I am of so soft

A nature, I can’t thwart my family.

Lach. Ha, Sostrata! (To Sostrata, apart.)

Sostra. Wretch that I am! Ah me! (Aside.)

Lach. And her return’s impossible? (To Phidippus.)

Phid. At present.


—Would you aught else with me? for I have business

That calls me to the Forum.

Lach. I’ll go with you.



Manet Sostrata.

Sostra. How unjustly

Do husbands stretch their censures to all wives


Because of the offences of a few,

Whose faults reflect dishonour on the rest!

—For, heav’n so help me, as I’m innocent

For the offenses of a few, whose vices

Reflect dishonor on the rest!—For, Heaven

So help me, as I’m wholly innocent

Of what my husband now accuses me!

But ’tis no easy task to clear myself;

So fix’d and rooted is the notion in them,

That Step-Mothers are all severe.—Not I;

For I have ever lov’d Philumena

As my own daughter; nor can I conceive

What accident has drawn her hatred on me.

My son’s return, I hope, will settle all;

And, ah, I’ve too much cause to wish his coming.





Enter Pamphilus and Parmeno.

Pam. Never did man experience greater ills,

More miseries in love than I.—Distraction!

Was it for this I held my life so dear?

For this was I so anxious to return?

Better, much better were it to have liv’d

In any place, than come to this again!

To feel and know myself a wretch!—For when

Mischance befalls us, all the interval

Between its happening, and our knowledge of it,

May be esteem’d clear gain.

Par. But as it is,

You’ll sooner be deliver’d from your troubles:

For had you not return’d, the breach between them

Had been made wider. But now, Pamphilus,


Both will, I doubt not, reverence your presence.

You’ll know the whole, make up their difference,

And reconcile them to each other.—These

Are all mere trifles, which you think so grievous.

Pam. Ah, why will you attempt to comfort me?

Was ever such a wretch?—Before I married,


My heart, you know, was wedded to another.

—But I’ll not dwell upon that misery,

Which may he easily conceiv’d: and yet

I had not courage to refuse the match

My father forc’d upon me.—Scarcely wean’d

From my old love, my lim’d soul scarcely freed

From Bacchis, and devoted to my wife,

Than, lo, a new calamity arises,

Threatening to tear me from Philumena.

For either I shall find my mother faulty,

Or else my wife: In either case unhappy.

For duty, Parmeno, obliges me

To bear with all the failings of a mother:

And then I am so bounden to my wife,

Who, calm as patience, bore the wrongs I did her,

Nor ever murmur’d a complaint.—But sure

’Twas somewhat very serious, Parmeno,

That could occasion such a lasting quarrel.

Par. Rather some trifle, if you knew the truth.

The greatest quarrels do not always rise

From deepest injuries. We often see


That what would never move another’s spleen

Renders the choleric your worst of foes.

Observe how lightly children squabble.—Why?

Because they’re govern’d by a feeble mind.

Women, like children, too, are impotent,

And weak of soul. A single word, perhaps,

Has kindled all this enmity between them.

Pam. Go, Parmeno, and let them know I’m come.

Noise within.

Par. Ha! what’s all this?

Pam. Hush!

Par. I perceive a bustle,

And running to and fro.—Come this way, Sir!

—To the door!—nearer still!—There, there, d’ye hear?

Noise continues.

Pam. Peace; hush! (Shriek within.) Oh Jupiter, I heard

a shriek!

Par. You talk yourself, and bid me hold my tongue.

Myrrhina (within). Hush, my dear child, for Heaven’s sake!

Pam. It seem’d

The voice of my wife’s mother. I am ruin’d!

Par. How so?


Pam. Undone!

Par. And why?

Pam. Ah, Parmeno,

They hide some terrible misfortune from me!

Par. They said your wife Philumena was ill:

Whether ’tis that, I can not tell.

Pam. Death, Sirrah!

Why did you not inform me that before?


Par. Because I could not tell you all at once.

Pam. What’s her disorder?

Par. I don’t know.

Pam. But tell me,

Has she had no physician?

Par. I don’t know.

Pam. But why do I delay to enter straight,

That I may learn the truth, be what it will?

—Oh my Philumena, in what condition

Shall I now find thee?—If there’s danger of thee,

My life’s in danger too.



Parmeno alone.

It were not good

That I should follow him into the house:


For all our family are odious to them.

That’s plain from their denying Sostrata

Admittance yesterday.—And if by chance

Her illness should increase (which Heav’n forbid,

For my poor master’s sake!), they’ll cry directly,

“Sostrata’s servant came into the house:”

Swear,—“that I brought the plague along with me,

Put all their lives in danger, and increas’d

Philumena’s distemper.”—By which means

My mistress will be blam’d, and I be beaten.


Enter Sostrata.

Sostra. Alas, I hear a dreadful noise within.

Philumena, I fear, grows worse and worse:

Which Æsculapius, and thou, Health, forbid!

But now I’ll visit her. (Goes toward the house.)


Par. Ho, Sostrata!

Sostra. Who’s there?

Par. You’ll be shut out a second time.

Sostra. Ha, Parmeno, are you there?—Wretched woman!

What shall I do?—Not visit my son’s wife,

When she lies sick at next door!

Par. Do not go;

No, nor send any body else; for they

That love the folks, to whom themselves are odious,

I think are guilty of a double folly:

Their labor proves but idle to themselves,

And troublesome to those for whom ’tis meant.

Besides, your son, the moment he arriv’d,

Went in to visit her.


Sostra. How, Parmeno!

Is Pamphilus arriv’d?

Par. He is.

Sostra. Thank Heav’n!

Oh, how my comfort is reviv’d by that!

Par. And therefore I ne’er went into the house.

For if Philumena’s complaints abate,

She’ll tell him, face to face, the whole affair,

And what has pass’d between you to create

This difference.—But here he comes—how sad!


Enter Pamphilus.

Sostra. My dear boy, Pamphilus!

Pam. My mother, save you! (Disordered.)

Sostra. I’m glad to see you safe return’d—How does

Your wife!

Pam. A little better.

Sostra. Grant it, Heav’n!

—But why d’ye weep, and why are you so sad?

Pam. Nothing, good mother.

Sostra. What was all that bustle?

Tell me, did pain attack her suddenly?

Pam. It did.

Sostra. And what is her complaint?

Pam. A fever.

Sostra. What! a quotidian?

Par. So they say.—But in,


Good mother, and I’ll follow.

Sostra. Be it so.


Pam. Do you run, Parmeno, to meet the servants,

And give your help in bringing home the baggage.

Par. As if they did not know the road!

Pam. Away!

Exit Parmeno.


Pamphilus alone.

Which way shall I begin the wretched tale

Of my misfortunes, which have fall’n upon me

Thus unexpectedly? which even now

These very eyes have seen, these ears have heard?

And which, discover’d, drove me out o’doors.

Cover’d with deep confusion?—For but now

As I rush’d in, all anxious for my wife,

And thinking to have found her visited,

Alas! with a far different complaint;

Soon as her women saw me, at first sight


Struck and o’erjoy’d, they all exclaim’d, “He’s come!”


And then as soon each countenance was chang’d,

That chance had brought me so unseasonably.

Meanwhile one of them ran before, to speak

Of my arrival. I, who long’d to see her,

Directly follow’d; and no sooner enter’d,

Than her disorder was, alas! too plain:

For neither had they leisure to disguise it,

Nor could she silence the loud cries of travail.

Soon as I saw it, “Oh shame, shame!” I cried,

And rush’d away in tears and agony,

O’erwhelm’d with horror at a stroke so grievous.

The mother follows me, and at the threshold

Falls on her knees before me all in tears.

This touch’d me to the soul. And certainly

’Tis in the very nature of our minds,

To rise and fall according to our fortunes.

Thus she address’d me.— “Oh, my Pamphilus,

The cause of her removal from your house

You’ve now discover’d. To my virgin-daughter

Some unknown villain offer’d violence;

And she fled hither to conceal her labor

From you and from your family.”—Alas!

When I but call her earnest prayers to mind,

I can not choose but weep.—“Whatever chance,”

Continued she, “whatever accident,

Brought you to-day thus suddenly upon us,

By that we both conjure you—if in justice

And equity we may—to keep in silence,


And cover her distress.—Oh, Pamphilus,

If e’er you witness’d her affection for you,

By that affection she implores you now

Not to refuse us!—for recalling her,

Do as your own discretion shall direct.

That she’s in labor now, or has conceiv’d

By any other person, is a secret

Known but to you alone. For I’ve been told,

The two first months you had no commerce with her,

And it is now the seventh since your union.


Your sentiments on this are evident.

But now, my Pamphilus, if possible,

I’ll call it a miscarriage: no one else

But will believe, as probable, ’tis yours.

The child shall be immediately expos’d.

No inconvenience will arise to you;

While thus you shall conceal the injury

That my poor girl unworthily sustain’d.”

—I promis’d her; and I will keep my word.

But to recall her would be poor indeed:

Nor will I do it, though I love her still.

And former commerce binds me strongly to her.


—I can’t but weep, to think how sad and lonely

My future life will be.—Oh fickle fortune!

How transient are thy smiles!—But I’ve been school’d

To patience by my former hapless passion,

Which I subdued by reason: and I’ll try

By reason to subdue this too.—But yonder

Comes Parmeno, I see, with th’ other slaves!


He must by no means now be present, since

To him alone I formerly reveal’d

That I abstain’d from her when first we married:

And if he hears her frequent cries, I fear

That he’ll discover her to be in labor.

I must dispatch him on some idle errand,

Until Philumena’s deliver’d.


Enter at a distance Parmeno, Sosia, and other slaves with baggage.

Par. (to Sosia). Aye?

And had you such a wretched voyage, say you?

Sosia. Oh Parmeno, words can’t express how wretched

A sea-life is.


Par. Indeed?

Sosia. Oh happy Parmeno!

You little know the dangers you’ve escap’d,

Who’ve never been at sea.—For not to dwell

On other hardships, only think of this!

I was on shipboard thirty days or more,

In constant fear of sinking all the while,

The winds so contrary, such stormy weather!

Par. Dreadful!

Sosia. I found it so, I promise you.

In short, were I assur’d I must return,

’Fore Heaven, Parmeno, I’d run away,

Rather than go on board a ship again.

Par. You have been apt enough to think of that

On slighter reasons, Sosia, before now.

—But yonder’s my young master Pamphilus

Standing before that door.—Go in! I’ll to him,

And see if he has any business for me.

Exeunt Sosia, and the rest of the slaves with the baggage.

Master, are you here still? (To Pamphilus.)

Pam. Oh Parmeno!

I waited for you.

Par. What’s your pleasure, Sir?

Pam. Run to the Citadel.


Par. Who?

Pam. You.

Par. The Citadel!

For what?


Pam. Find out one Callidemides,

My landlord of Mycone, who came over

In the same ship with me.

Par. A plague upon it!

Would not one swear that he had made a vow

To break my wind, if he came home in safety,

With running on his errands?

Pam. Away, Sirrah!

Par. What message? must I only find him out?

Pam. Yes; tell him that it is not in my power

To meet him there to-day, as I appointed;

That he mayn’t wait for me in vain.—Hence; fly!

Par. But I don’t know him, if I see him, Sir.

Pam. (impatiently). Well; I’ll describe him, so you can not miss him.

—A large, red, frizzle-pated, gross, blear-eyed,

Ill-looking fellow.

Par. Plague on him, say I!

—What if he should not come, Sir, must I wait

Till evening for him?


Pam. Wait.—Be quick!

Par. Be quick?

I can’t be quick,—I’m so much tir’d.



Pamphilos alone.

He’s gone.

What shall I do? Alas! I scarcely know

How to conceal, as Myrrhina desir’d,

Her daughter’s labor. Yet I pity her;

And what I can, consistent with my duty,

I am resolv’d to do: and yet my parents

And what I can, I am resolv’d to do,

Consistent with my duty: for my parents

Must be obey’d before my love.—But see!

My father and Phidippus come this way.

How I shall act, Heav’n knows.


Enter at a distance Laches and Phidippus.

Lach. Did not you say

She only waited my son’s coming?

Phid. Aye.

Lach. They say that he’s arriv’d. Let us return then!

Pam. (behind). What reason I shall frame to give my father,

For not recalling her, I can not tell.

Lach. (overhearing). Whose voice was that?

Pam. (to himself). And yet I am resolv’d

To stand to my first purpose.


Lach. (seeing Pamphilus). He himself,

Whom I was speaking of!

Pam. (going up). My father, save you!

Lach. Save you, my son!

Phid. Pamphilus, welcome home!

I’m glad to see you safe, and in good health.

Pam. I do believe it.

Lach. Are you just now come?

Pam. Just now, Sir.

Lach. Well; and tell me, Pamphilus,

What has our kinsman Phania left us?


Pam. Ah, Sir,

He, his whole lifetime, was a man of pleasure,

And such men seldom much enrich their heirs.

Yet he has left at least this praise behind him,

“While he liv’d, he liv’d well.”

Lach. And have you brought

Nothing home with you but this single sentence?

Pam. What he has left, though small, is of advantage.

Lach. Advantage? No, it is a disadvantage:

For I could wish he was alive and well.

Phid. That you may safely; for your wishing for’t

Will never bring the man to life again:

Yet I know well enough which you’d like best. (Aside.)

Lach. (to Pamphilus). Phidippus order’d that Philumena

Should be sent over to him yesterday.

—Say that you order’d it. (Aside to Phidippus, thrusting him.)

Phid. (aside to Laches). Don’t thrust me so.——

I did. (Aloud.)

Lach. But now he’ll send her home again.

Phid. I will.

Pam. Nay, nay, I know the whole affair.


Since my arrival, I have heard it all.

Lach. Now plague upon these envious tale-bearers,

Who are so glad to fetch and carry news!

Pam. (to Phidippus). That I’ve endeavor’d to deserve no blame

From any of the family, I’m conscious.

Were it my inclination to relate

How true I’ve been, how kind and gentle tow’rd her,

I well might do it: but I rather choose

You should collect it from herself. For when

She, although now there’s enmity between us,

Bespeaks me fair, you will the sooner credit

My disposition tow’rd her. And I call

The Gods to witness that this separation

Has not arisen from my fault. But since

She thinks it is beneath her to comply

With Sostrata, and bear my mother’s temper;

And since no other means are to be found

Of reconciliation, I, Phidippus,


Must leave my mother or Philumena.

Duty then calls me to regard my mother.

Lach. My Pamphilus, I can not be displeas’d

That you prefer to all the world a parent.

But take heed your resentment don’t transport you

Beyond the bounds of reason, Pamphilus.

Pam. Ah, what resentment can I bear to her,


Who ne’er did any thing I’d wish undone,

But has so often deserv’d well of me?

I love her, own her worth, and languish for her;

For I have known her tenderness of soul:

And Heaven grant that with some other husband

She find that happiness she miss’d in me;

From whom the strong hand of necessity

Divorces her forever!

Phid. That event

’Tis in your pow’r to hinder.

Lach. If you’re wise,

Take your wife home again!

Pam. I can not, father.

I must not slack my duty to my mother. (Going.)

Lach. Where are you going?

Exit Pamphilus.


Manent Laches and Phidippus.

Phid. How perverse is this! (Angrily.)

Lach. Did not I say he’d take it ill, Phidippus,

And therefore begg’d you to send back your daughter?

Phid. ’Fore Heaven I did not think him such a churl.

What! does he fancy I’ll go cringing to him?


No;—if he’ll take his wife he may:—if not,

Let him refund her portion;—there’s an end!

Lach. See there now! you’re as fractious as himself.

Phid. You’re come back obstinate and proud enough

In conscience, Pamphilus! (Angrily.)

Lach. This anger will subside,

Though he has had some cause to be disturb’d.

Phid. Because you’ve had a little money left you,

Your minds are so exalted!

Lach. What, d’ye quarrel

With me too?

Phid. Let him take to-day to think on’t,

And send me word if he shall have her home

Or not: that if she don’t remain his wife,

She may be given to another.

Exit hastily.


Laches alone.


Hear me! one word, Phidippus! Stay!—He’s gone.

—What is’t to me? (Angrily.) E’en let them settle it

Among themselves; since nor my son, nor he

Take my advice, nor mind one word I say.

—This quarrel shall go round, I promise them:


I’ll to my wife, the author of this mischief,

And vent my spleen and anger upon her.





Enter Myrrhina hastily.

Myrr. What shall I do?—Confusion!—which way turn?

Alas! what answer shall I make my husband?

For I dare say he heard the infant’s cries,

He ran so hastily, without a word,

Into my daughter’s chamber. If he finds

That she has been deliver’d, what excuse

To make, for having thus conceal’d her labor,

I can’t devise.—But our door creaks!—’tis he.

I am undone.


Enter Phidippus.

Phid. Soon as my wife perceiv’d

That I was going to my daughter’s chamber,


She stole directly out o’doors.—But there

She stands.—Why, how now, Myrrhina?

Holo, I say! (She affects not to see him.)

Myrr. D’ye call me, husband?

Phid. Husband!

Am I your husband? am I ev’n a man?

For had you thought me to be either, woman,

You would not dare to play upon me thus.

Myrr. How!

Phid. How?—My daughter has been brought to bed.

—Ha! are you dumb?—By whom?

Myrr. Is that a question


For you, who are her father, to demand?

Alas! by whom d’ye think, unless her husband?

Phid. So I believe: nor is it for a father


To suppose otherwise. But yet I wonder

That you have thus conceal’d her labor from us,

Especially as she has been deliver’d

At her full time, and all is as it should be.

What! Is there such perverseness in your nature,

As rather to desire the infant’s death,

Than that his birth should knit the bond of friendship

Closer betwixt us; rather than my daughter,

Against your liking, should remain the wife

Of Pamphilus?—I thought all this

Had been their fault, while you’re alone to blame.

Myrr. How wretched am I!

Phid. Would to Heav’n you were!

—But now I recollect your conversation

When first we made this match, you then declar’d

You’d not endure she should remain the wife

Of Pamphilus, who follow’d mistresses,

And pass’d the nights abroad.

Myrr. I had much rather

He should think any reason than the true one. (Aside.)

Phid. I knew he kept a mistress; knew it long

Ere you did, Myrrhina; but I could never

Think that offense so grievous in a youth,

Seeing ’tis natural to them all: and soon

The time shall come when he’ll stand self-reprov’d.

But you, perverse and willful as at first,

Could take no rest till you had brought away

Your daughter, and annull’d the match I made:


There’s not a circumstance but loudly speaks

Your evil disposition to the marriage.

Myrr. D’ye think me then so obstinate, that I,

Who am her mother, should betray this spirit,

Granting the match were of advantage to us?

Phid. Is it for you then to foresee, or judge

What’s of advantage to us? You perhaps

Have heard from some officious busy-body,

That they have seen him going to his mistress,

Or coming from her house: and what of that,

So it were done discreetly, and but seldom?

Were it not better that we should dissemble

Our knowledge of it, than pry into things

Which to appear to know would make him hate us?

For could he tear her from his heart at once,

To whom he’d been so many years attach’d,

I should not think he were a man, or likely

To prove a constant husband to my daughter.

Myrr. No more of Pamphilus or my offense;

Since you will have it so!—Go, find him out;


Confer with him alone, and fairly ask him,

Will he, or no, take back Philumena?

If he avows his inclination to’t,

Restore her; but if he refuses it,

Allow, I’ve ta’en good counsel for my child.

Phid. Grant, he should prove repugnant to the match,


Grant, you perceiv’d this in him, Myrrhina;

Was not I present! had not I a right

To be consulted in’t?—It makes me mad.

That you should dare to act without my order:

And I forbid you to remove the child

Out of this house.—But what a fool am I,

Enjoining her obedience to my orders!

I’ll in, and charge the servants not to suffer

The infant to be carried forth.



Myrrhina alone.

No woman more unhappy than myself:

For how he’d bear it, did he know the whole,

When he has taken such offense at this,

Which is of much less consequence, is plain.

Nor by what means to reconcile him to it,

Can I devise. After so many ills,

This only misery there yet remain’d,

To be oblig’d to educate the child,

Ignorant of the father’s quality.

For he, the cruel spoiler of her honor,

Taking advantage of the night and darkness,

My daughter was not able to discern

His person; nor to force a token from him,


Whereby he might be afterward discover’d:

But he, at his departure, pluck’d by force

A ring from off her finger.—I fear too,

That Pamphilus will not contain himself,

Nor longer keep our secret, when he finds

Another’s child acknowledg’d for his own.



Sostrata, Pamphilus.

Sostra. Dear son, I’m not to learn that you suppose,

Though you dissemble your suspicions to me,

That my ill-humor caus’d your wife’s departure.

But by my trust in Heav’n, and hopes in you,

I never knowingly did any thing

To draw her hatred and disgust upon me.

I always thought you lov’d me, and to-day


You have confirm’d my faith: for even now

Your father has been telling me within,

How much you held me dearer than your love.

Now therefore, on my part, I am resolv’d

To equal you in all good offices;

That you may know your mother ne’er withholds

The just rewards of filial piety;


Finding it then both meet, my Pamphilus,

For your repose, as well as my good name,

Finding it then both meet for your repose,

My Pamphilus, as well as my good name,

I have determin’d to retire directly

From hence into the country with your father;

So shall my presence be no obstacle,

Nor any cause remain, but that your wife

Return immediately.

Pam. What thoughts are these?

Shall her perverseness drive you out of town?

It shall not be: Nor will I draw, good mother,

That censure on me, that my obstinacy,

Not your good-nature, was the cause.—Besides,

That you should quit relations, friends, diversions,

On my account, I can’t allow.

Sostra. Alas!

Those things have no allurements for me now.

While I was young, and ’twas the season for them,

I had my share, and I am satisfied.

’Tis now my chief concern to make my age

Easy to all, that no one may regret


My lengthen’d life, nor languish for my death.

Here, although undeservedly, I see

My presence odious: I had best retire:

So shall I best cut off all discontent,

Absolve myself from this unjust suspicion,

And humor them. Permit me then to shun

The common scandal thrown upon the sex.

Pam. How fortunate in every thing but one,

Having so good a mother,—such a wife!

Sostra. Patience, my Pamphilus! Is’t possible

You can’t endure one inconvenience in her?

If in all else, as I believe, you like her,

Dear son, be rul’d by me, and take her home!

Pam. Wretch that I am!

Sostra. And I am wretched too:

For this grieves me, my son, no less than you.


Enter Laches.

Lach. I have been standing at a distance, wife,

And overheard your conversation with him.


You have done wisely to subdue your temper,


And freely to comply with what, perhaps,

Hereafter must be done.

Sostra. And let it be!

Lach. Now then retire with me into the country:

There I shall bear with you, and you with me.

Sostra. I hope we shall.

Lach. Go in then, and pack up

The necessaries you would carry with you.


Sostra. I shall obey your orders.


Pam. Father!

Lach. Well, Pamphilus?

Pam. My mother leave the town?

By no means.

Lach. Why?

Pam. Because I’m yet uncertain

What I shall do about my wife.

Lach. How’s that?

What would you do but take her home again?

Pam. ’Tis what I wish for, and can scarce forbear.

But I’ll not alter what I first design’d.

What’s best I’ll follow: and I’m well convinc’d

No other means remain to make them friends,

But that I should not take her home again.

Pam. ’Tis what I wish for, and can scarce forbear it.

But I’ll not alter what I first design’d.


What’s best I’ll follow: and I’m well convinc’d

That there’s no other way to make them friends,

But that I should not take her home again.


Lach. You don’t know that: but ’tis of no importance

Whether they’re friends or not, when Sostrata

Is gone into the country. We old folks

Are odious to the young. We’d best retire.

In short, we’re grown a by-word, Pamphilus,

“The old man and old woman.”—But I see

Phidippus coming in good time. Let’s meet him!


Enter Phidippus.

Phid. (to Philumena within). I’m angry with you—’fore Heaven, very angry,

Philumena!—You’ve acted shamefully.

Though you indeed have some excuse for’t, seeing

Your mother urg’d you to’t; but she has none.

Lach. You’re come upon us in good time, Phidippus;

Just in the time we wanted you.

Phid. What now?

Pam. What answer shall I give them! how explain? (Aside.)

Lach. Inform your daughter, Sostrata will hence

Into the country; so Philumena

Need not dread coming home again.

Phid. Ah, friend!

Your wife has never been in fault at all:


All this has sprung from my wife Myrrhina.

The case is alter’d. She confounds us, Laches.

Pam. So that I may not take her home again,

Confound affairs who will! (Aside.)

Phid. I, Pamphilus,

Would fain, if possible, make this alliance

Perpetual between our families.

But if you can not like it, take the child.

Pam. He knows of her delivery. Confusion! (Aside.)

Lach. The child! what child?

Phid. We’ve got a grandson, Laches.

For when my daughter left your house, she was

With child, it seems, although I never knew it

Before this very day.

Lach. ’Fore Heav’n, good news!

And I rejoice to hear a child is born,

And that your daughter had a safe delivery.

But what a woman is your wife, Phidippus?

Of what a disposition? to conceal

Such an event as this? I can’t express


How very much I think she was to blame.

How much I think she was to blame.

Phid. This pleases me no more than you, good Laches.

Pam. Although my mind was in suspense before,

My doubts all vanish now. I’ll ne’er recall her,

Since she brings home with her another’s child. (Aside.)

Lach. There is no room for choice now, Pamphilus.

Pam. Confusion! (Aside.)

Lach. We’ve oft wish’d to see the day

When you should have a child to call you father.

That day’s now come. The Gods be thank’d!

Pam. Undone! (Aside.)

Lach. Recall your wife, and don’t oppose my will.

Pam. If she had wish’d for children by me, father,

Or to remain my wife, I’m very sure

She never would have hid this matter from me:

But now I see her heart divorc’d from me,

And think we never can agree hereafter,

Wherefore should I recall her?

Lach. A young woman

Did as her mother had persuaded her.

Is that so wonderful? and do you think

To find a woman without any fault?

—Or is’t because the men are ne’er to blame? (Ironically.)

Phid. Consider with yourselves then, gentlemen,

Whether you’ll part with her, or call her home.


What my wife does, I can not help, you know.

Settle it as you please, you’ve my consent,

But for the child, what shall be done with him?

Lach. A pretty question truly! come what may,

Send his own bantling home to him of course,

That we may educate him.


Pam. When his own

Father abandons him, I educate him?

Lach. What said you? how! not educate him, say you?

Shall we expose him rather, Pamphilus?

What madness is all this?—My breath and blood!

I can contain no longer. You oblige me

To speak, against my will, before Phidippus:

Think you I’m ignorant whence flow those tears?

Or why you’re thus disorder’d and distress’d?

First, when you gave as a pretense, you could not


Recall your wife from reverence to your mother,

She promis’d to retire into the country.

But now, since that excuse is taken from you,

You’ve made her private lying-in another.

You are mistaken if you think me blind

To your intentions—That you might at last

Bring home your stray affections to your wife,

How long a time to wean you from your mistress

Did I allow? your wild expense upon her

How patiently I bore? I press’d, entreated,

That you would take a wife. ’Twas time, I said.

At my repeated instances, you married,

And, as in duty bound to do, complied:

But now your heart is gone abroad again

After your mistress, whom to gratify,

You throw this wanton insult on your wife.

For I can plainly see you are relaps’d

Into your former life again.

Pam. Me?

Lach. You.

And ’tis base in you to invent false causes

Of quarrel with your wife, that you may live

In quiet with your mistress, having put

This witness from you. This your wife perceiv’d.

For was there any other living reason

Wherefore she should depart from you?

Phid. He’s right,


That was the very thing.

Pam. I’ll take my oath

’Twas none of those that you have mention’d.

Lach. Ah!

Recall your wife: or tell me why you will not.

Pam. ’Tis not convenient now.

Lach. Take home the child then;

For he at least is not in fault. I’ll see

About the mother afterward.

Pam. (to himself). Ev’ry way

I am a wretch, nor know I what to do:

My father has me in the toils, and I,

By struggling to get loose, am more entangled.

I’ll hence, since present I shall profit little.


For I believe they’ll hardly educate

The child against my will; especially

Seeing my step-mother will second me.



Manent Phidippus, Laches.

Lach. Going? how’s that? and give me no plain answer!

—D’ye think he’s in his senses?—Well—send home

The child to me, Phidippus. I’ll take care on’t.


Phid. I will.—I can not wonder that my wife

Took this so ill. Women are passionate,

And can’t away with such affronts as these.

This was their quarrel: nay she told me so,

Though before him I did not care to speak on’t:

Nor did I credit it at first; but now

’Tis evident, and I can plainly see

He has no stomach to a wife.

Lach. Phidippus,

How shall I act? What’s your advice?

Phid. How act?

I think ’twere best to seek this wench, his mistress.

Let us expostulate the matter with her,

Speak to her roundly, nay, e’en threaten her,

If she has aught to do with him hereafter.

Lach. I’ll follow your advice.—Ho, boy! (Enter a boy) run over

To Bacchis. Tell her to come forth to me.

Exit boy.

—I must beseech you also to continue

Your kind assistance to me in this business.

Phid. Ah, Laches! I have told you all along.

And I repeat it now, that ’tis my wish

To render our alliance firm and lasting,

If possible, as I have hopes it will be.

—But would you have me present at your conference


With Bacchis?

Lach. No; go, seek the child a nurse.

Exit Phidippus.


Enter Bacchis attended by her Women.

Bacch. (to herself). ’Tis not for nothing Laches wants to see me;

And, or I’m much deceiv’d, I guess the cause.

Lach. (to himself). I must take care my anger don’t transport me

Beyond the bounds of prudence, which may hinder

My gaining my design on her, and urge me


To do what I may afterward repent.

I’ll to her.— (Going up.) Save you, Bacchis!

Bacch. Save you, Laches!

Lach. Bacchis, I do not doubt but you’re surpris’d

That I should send the boy to call you forth.

Bacch. Aye, and I’m fearful too, when I reflect

Both who and what I am: lest my vocation


Should prejudice me in your good opinion.

My conduct I can fully justify.

Lach. Speak but the truth, you’re in no danger, woman.

Lach. If you speak truth, you’re in no danger, woman.

For I’m arriv’d at that age when a trespass

Would not be easily forgiven in me.

Wherefore I study to proceed with caution,

And to do nothing rashly. If you act,

And will continue to act honestly,

It were ungenerous to do you wrong,

And seeing you deserve it not, unjust.

Bacch. Truly, this conduct asks my highest thanks;

For he who does the wrong, and then asks pardon,

Makes but a sorry reparation for it.

But what’s your pleasure?

Lach. You receive the visits

Of my son Pamphilus——

Bacch. Ah!——

Lach. Let me speak.

Before he married I endur’d your love.

—Stay! I’ve not finish’d all I have to say.——

He is now married. You then, while ’tis time,

Seek out another and more constant friend.

For he will not be fond of you forever,

Nor you, good faith, forever in your bloom.

Bacch. Who tells you that I still receive the visits

Of Pamphilus?


Lach. His step-mother.

Bacch. I?

Lach. You.

And therefore has withdrawn her daughter: therefore

Meant secretly to kill the new-born child.

Bacch. Did I know any thing, to gain your credit,

More sacred than an oath, I’d use it, Laches,

In solemn protestation to assure you

That I have had no commerce with your son

Since he was married.

Lach. Good girl! but dy’e know

What I would farther have you do?

Bacch. Inform me.

Lach. Go to the women here, and offer them

The same oath. Satisfy their minds, and clear

Yourself from all reproach in this.

Bacch. I’ll do’t;

Although I’m sure no other of my calling

562 178

Would show herself before a married woman

Upon the same occasion.—But it hurts me

To see your son suspected on false grounds;

And that, to those who owe him better thoughts,

His conduct should seem light. For he deserves

All my best offices.

Lach. Your conversation has much wrought upon me,

Gain’d my good-will, and alter’d my opinion.

For not the women only thought thus of you,

But I believ’d it too. Now therefore, since

I’ve found you better than my expectation,

Prove still the same, and make my friendship sure.

If otherwise—But I’ll contain myself. I’ll not

Say any thing severe.—But I advise you,

Rather experience what a friend I am,

Than what an enemy.

Bacch. I’ll do my best.


Enter Phidippus and a Nurse.

Phid. (to the Nurse). Nay, you shall want for nothing at my house;

I’ll give you all that’s needful in abundance;

But when you’ve eat and drank your fill yourself,


Take care to satisfy the infant too.

Lach. I see the father of Philumena

Coming this way. He brings the child a nurse.

—Phidippus, Bacchis swears most solemnly——

Phid. Is this she?

Lach. Aye.

Phid. They never mind the Gods,

Nor do I think the Gods mind them.

Bacch. Here are

My waiting-women: take them, and extort

By any kind of torment the truth from them.

—Our present business is, I take it, this:

That I should win the wife of Pamphilus

To return home; which so I but effect,

I sha’n’t regret the same of having done

What others of my calling would avoid.

Lach. Phidippus, we’ve discover’d that in fact

We both suspected our wives wrongfully.

Let’s now try her: for if your wife perceives

Her own suspicions also are unjust,

She’ll drop her anger. If my son’s offended


Because his wife conceal’d her labor from him,

That’s but a trifle; he’ll be soon appeas’d.

—And truly I see nothing in this matter

That need occasion a divorce.


Phid. ’Fore Heaven,

I wish that all may end well.

Lach. Here she is:

Examine her; she’ll give you satisfaction.

Phid. What needs all this to Me! You know my mind

Already, Laches: do but make them easy.

Lach. Bacchis, be sure you keep your promise with me.

Bacch. Shall I go in then for that purpose?

Lach. Aye.

Go in; remove their doubts, and satisfy them.

Bacch. I will; although I’m very sure my presence

Will be unwelcome to them; for a wife,

When parted from her husband, to a mistress

Is a sure enemy.

Lach. They’ll be your friends,


When once they know the reason of your coming.

Phid. Aye, aye, they’ll be your friends, I promise you,

When they once learn your errand; for you’ll free

Them from mistake, yourself from all suspicion.

Bacch. I’m cover’d with confusion. I’m asham’d

To see Philumena.— (To her women.) You two in after me.

Exeunt Phidippus, Bacchis, etc.

Laches alone.

What is there that could please me more than this,

That Bacchis, without any loss, should gain

Favor from them, and do me service too?

For if she really has withdrawn herself

From Pamphilus, it will increase, she knows,

Her reputation, interest, and honor:

Since by this generous act she will at once

Oblige my son, and make us all her friends.





Parmeno alone.

I’ faith my master holds my labor cheap,

To send me to the Citadel for nothing,

Where I have waited the whole day in vain

For his Myconian, Callidemides.

There was I sitting, gaping like a fool,

And running up, if any one appear’d,

—“Are you, Sir, a Myconian?”—“No, not I.”——

—“But your name’s Callidemides?”—“Not it.”——

“And have not you a guest here of the name

Of Pamphilus?”—No—no—All No.

“And have not you a guest here of the name


Of Pamphilus?”—All answer’d, No.

In short, I don’t believe there’s such a man.

At last I grew asham’d, and so sneak’d off.

—But is’t not Bacchis that I see come forth

From our new kinsman? What can she do there?


Enter Bacchis.

Bacch. Oh Parmeno, I’m glad I’ve met with you.

Run quick to Pamphilus.

Par. On what account?

Bacch. Tell him that I desire he’d come.

Par. To you?

Bacch. No; to Philumena.

Par. Why? what’s the matter?

Bacch. Nothing to you; so ask no questions.

Par. Must I

Say nothing else?

Bacch. Yes; tell him too,

That Myrrhina acknowledges the ring,

Which formerly he gave me, as her daughter’s.

Par. I understand you. But is that all?

Bacch. All.

He’ll come the moment that you tell him that.

What! do you loiter?

Par. No, i’ faith, not I.


I have not had it in my pow’r, I’ve been

So bandied to and fro, sent here and there,

Trotting, and running up and down all day.



Bacchis alone.

What joy have I procur’d to Pamphilus

By coming here to-day! what blessings brought him!

And from how many sorrows rescued him!

His son, by his and their means nearly lost,

I sav’d; a wife he meant to put away,

I’ve sav’d; a wife he meant to put away,

I have restor’d; and from the strong suspicions

Of Laches and Phidippus set him free.

—Of all these things the ring has been the cause.

For I remember, near ten months ago,

That he came running home to me one evening,

Breathless, alone, and much inflam’d with wine,

Bringing this ring. I was alarm’d at it.

“Prithee, my dearest Pamphilus, said I,

Whence comes all this confusion? whence this ring?

Tell me, my love.”—He put me off at first:

565 185

Perceiving this, it made me apprehend

Something of serious import, and I urg’d him

More earnestly to tell me.—He confess’d

That, as he came along, he had committed

A rape upon a virgin—whom he knew not——

And as she struggled, forc’d from her that ring:

Which Myrrhina now seeing on my finger,

Immediately acknowledg’d, and inquir’d

How I came by it. I told all this story:


Whence ’twas discover’d that Philumena

Was she who had been ravish’d, and the child

Conceiv’d from that encounter.—That I’ve been


The instrument of all these joys I’m glad,

Though other courtesans would not be so;

Nor is it for our profit and advantage

That lovers should be happy in their marriage.

But never will I, for my calling’s sake,

Suffer ingratitude to taint my mind.

I found him, while occasion gave him leave,

Kind, pleasant, and good-humor’d: and this marriage

Happen’d unluckily, I must confess.

Yet I did nothing to estrange his love;

And since I have receiv’d much kindness from him,

’Tis fit I should endure this one affliction.


Enter at a distance Pamphilus and Parmeno.

Pam. Be sure you prove this to me, Parmeno;

Prithee, be sure on’t. Do not bubble me

With false and short-liv’d joy.

Par. ’Tis even so.

Pam. For certain?

Par. Aye, for certain.


Pam. I’m in heaven,

If this be so.

Par. You’ll find it very true.

Pam. Hold, I beseech you.—I’m afraid I think

One thing, while you relate another.

Par. Well?

Pam. You said, I think, “that Myrrhina discover’d

The ring on Bacchis’ finger was her own.”

Par. She did.

Pam. “The same I gave her formerly.

—And Bacchis bade you run and tell me this.”

Is it not so?

Par. I tell you, Sir, it is.

Pam. Who is more fortunate, more bless’d than I?

—What shall I give you for this news? what? what?

I don’t know.


Par. But I know.

Pam. What?

Par. Just nothing.

For I see nothing of advantage to you,

Or in the message, or myself.

Pam. Shall I

Permit you to go unrewarded; you,

Who have restor’d me ev’n from death to life?

Ah, Parmeno, d’ye think me so ungrateful?

—But yonder’s Bacchis standing at the door.

She waits for me, I fancy. I’ll go to her.


Bacch. (seeing him). Pamphilus, save you.

Pam. Bacchis! my dear Bacchis!

My guardian! my protectress!

Bacch. All is well:

And I’m o’erjoy’d at it.

Pam. Your actions speak it.

You’re still the charming girl I ever found you.

Your presence, company, and conversation,

Come where you will, bring joy and pleasure with them.

Bacch. And you, in faith, are still the same as ever,

The sweetest, most engaging man on earth.

Pam. Ha! ha! ha! that speech from you, dear Bacchis?

Bacch. You lov’d your wife with reason, Pamphilus:

Never that I remember, did I see her

Before to-day; and she’s a charming woman.

Pam. Speak truth.

Bacch. So Heaven help me, Pamphilus!

Pam. Say, have you told my father any part

Of this tale?

Bacch. Not a word.

Pam. Nor is there need.

Let all be hush! I would not have it here,

As in a comedy, where every thing


Is known to every body. Here those persons

Whom it concerns already know it; they,

Who ’twere not meet should know it, never shall.

Bacch. I promise you it may with ease be hid.

Myrrhina told Phidippus that my oath

Convinc’d her, and she held you clear.

Pam. Good! good!

All will be well, and all, I hope, end well.

Par. May I know, Sir, what good I’ve done to-day?

And what’s the meaning of your conversation?

Pam. No.

Par. I suspect, however.—“I restore him

From death to life”—which way?——

Pam. Oh, Parmeno,

You can’t conceive the good you’ve done to-day;

From what distress you have deliver’d me.

Par. Ah, but I know, and did it with design.


Pam. Oh, I’m convinced of that. (Ironically.)


Par. Did Parmeno

Ever let slip an opportunity

Of doing what he ought, Sir?

Pam. Parmeno,

In after me!

Par. I follow.—By my troth,

I’ve done more good to-day, without design,

Than ever with design in all my life.——

Clap your hands!

comic masks















Davus, and other Servants.




Scene, Athens.


The Old Bard finding it impossible

To draw our Poet from the love of verse,

And bury him in indolence, attempts

By calumny to scare him from the stage;

Pretending that in all his former plays

The characters are low, and mean the style;


Because he ne’er describ’d a mad-brain’d youth,

Who in his fits of frenzy thought he saw

A hind, the dogs in full cry after her;

Her too imploring and beseeching him

To give her aid.—But did he understand

That, when the piece was first produc’d, it ow’d

More to the actor than himself its safety,

He would not be thus bold to give offense.

—But if there’s any one who says, or thinks,

“That had not the Old Bard assail’d him first,


Our Poet could not have devis’d a Prologue,

Having no matter for abuse;”—let such

Receive for answer, “that although the prize

To all advent’rers is held out in common,

The Veteran Poet meant to drive our Bard

From study into want: He therefore chose

To answer, though he would not first offend.

And had his adversary but have prov’d

A generous rival, he had had due praise;

Let him then bear these censures, and reflect


Of his own slanders ’tis the due return.

But henceforth I shall cease to speak of him,

Although he ceases not himself to rail.”

But now what I’d request of you, attend:

To-day I bring a new play, which the Greeks

Call Epidicazomenos; the Latins,

From the chief character, name Phormio:

Phormio, whom you will find a parasite,

And the chief engine of the plot.—And now,

If to our Poet you are well inclin’d,

Give ear; be favorable; and be silent!

Let us not meet the same ill fortune now


That we before encounter’d, when our troop

Was by a tumult driven from their place;

To which the actor’s merit, seconded

By your good-will and candor, has restor’d us.




Davus alone.

Geta, my worthy friend and countryman,

Came to me yesterday: for some time past

I’ve ow’d him some small balance of account:

This he desir’d I would make up: I have;


And brought it with me: for his master’s son,

I am inform’d, has lately got a wife:

So I suppose this sum is scrap’d together

For a bride-gift. Alack, how hard it is

That he, who is already poor, should still

Throw in his mite to swell the rich man’s heap!

What he scarce, ounce by ounce, from short allowance,

Sorely defrauding his own appetite,


Has spar’d, poor wretch! shall she sweep all at once,

Unheeding with what labor it was got?

Geta, moreover, shall be struck for more;

Another gift, when madam’s brought to bed;

Another too, when master’s birthday’s kept,

And they initiate him.——All this mamma

Shall carry off, the bantling her excuse.

But is that Geta?


Enter Geta.

Geta (at entering.) If a red-hair’d man

Inquire for me——


Davus. No more! he’s here.

Geta. Oh, Davus!

The very man that I was going after.

Davus. Here, take this! (Gives a purse.) ’Tis all told: you’ll find it right;

The sum I ow’d you.


Geta. Honest, worthy Davus!

I thank you for your punctuality.

Davus. And well you may, as men and times go now,

Things, by my troth, are come to such a pass,

If a man pays you what he owes, you’re much

Beholden to him.—But, pray, why so sad?

Geta. I?—You can scarce imagine in what dread.

What danger I am in.

Davus. How so?

Geta. I’ll tell you,

So you will keep it secret.

Davus. Away, fool!

The man whose faith in money you have tried,

D’ye fear to trust with words?—And to what end

Should I deceive you?

Geta. List, then!

Davus. I’m all ear.

Geta. D’ye know our old man’s elder brother, Chremes?

Davus. Know him? aye, sure.

Geta. You do?—And his son Phædria?

Davus. As well as I know you.

Geta. It so fell out,

Both the old men were forc’d to journey forth

At the same season. He to Lemnos, ours

Into Cilicia, to an old acquaintance

Who had decoy’d the old curmudgeon thither

By wheedling letters, almost promising


Mountains of gold.

Davus. To one that had so much

More than enough already?

Geta. Prithee, peace!

Money’s his passion.

Davus. Oh, would I had been

A man of fortune, I!

Geta. At their departure,

The two old gentlemen appointed me

A kind of governor to both their sons.

Davus. A hard task, Geta!

Geta. Troth, I found it so.

My angry Genius for my sins ordain’d it.

At first I took upon me to oppose:

In short, while I was trusty to th’ old man,

The young one made my shoulders answer for it.

Davus. So I suppose: for what a foolish task

To kick against the pricks!


Geta. I then resolv’d

To give them their own way in every thing.


Davus. Aye, then you made your market.

Geta. Our young spark

Play’d no mad pranks at first: but Phædria

Got him immediately a music-girl:

Fond of her to distraction! she belong’d

To a most avaricious, sordid pimp;

Nor had we aught to give;—th’ old gentleman

Had taken care of that. Naught else remain’d,

Except to feed his eyes, to follow her,

To lead her out to school, and hand her home.

We too, for lack of other business, gave

Our time to Phædria. Opposite the school,

Whither she went to take her lessons, stood

A barber’s shop, wherein most commonly

We waited her return. Hither one day

Came a young man in tears: we were amaz’d,


And ask’d the cause. Never (said he, and wept)

Did I suppose the weight of poverty

A load so sad, so insupportable,

As it appear’d but now.—I saw but now,

Not far from hence, a miserable virgin

Lamenting her dead mother. Near the corpse

She sat; nor friend, nor kindred, nor acquaintance,

Except one poor old woman, was there near

To aid the funeral. I pitied her:

Her beauty, too, was exquisite.—In short,

He mov’d us all: and Antipho at once

Cried, “Shall we go and visit her?”—Why, aye,

“I think so,” said the other; “let us go!”

“Conduct us, if you please.”—We went, arriv’d.

And saw her.—Beautiful she was indeed!

More justly to be reckon’d so, for she

Had no additions to set off her beauty.

Her hair dishevel’d, barefoot, woe-begone,

In tears, and miserably clad: that if

The life and soul of beauty had not dwelt

Within her very form, all these together

Must have extinguish’d it.—The spark, possess’d

Already with the music-girl, just cried,

“She’s well enough.”—But our young gentleman——


Davus. Fell, I suppose, in love.

Geta. In love, indeed.

But mark the end! next day, away he goes

To the old woman straight, beseeching her

To let him have the girl.—“Not she, indeed!

Nor was it like a gentleman,” she said,

“For him to think on’t: She’s a citizen,

An honest girl, and born of honest parents:——

If he would marry her indeed, by law

He might do that; on no account, aught else.”


—Our spark, distracted, knew not what to do:

At once he long’d to marry her, at once

Dreaded his absent father.

Davus. Would not he,

Had he return’d, have giv’n consent?

Geta. To wed

A girl of neither family nor fortune?


Davus. What then?

Geta. What then! There is a parasite,

One Phormio, a bold, enterprising fellow,

Who—all the Gods confound him!——

Davus. What did he?

Geta. Gave us the following counsel.—“There’s a law

That orphan Girls should wed their next of kin,

Which law obliges too their next of kin

To marry them.”—I’ll say that you’re her kinsman,


And sue a writ against you. I’ll pretend

To be her father’s friend, and bring the cause

Before the judges. Who her father was,

Her mother who, and how she’s your relation,

All this sham evidence I’ll forge; by which

The cause will turn entirely in my favor.

You shall disprove no tittle of the charge;

You shall disprove no title of the charge;

So I succeed.—Your father will return;

Prosecute me;—what then?—The girl’s our own.”

Davus. A pleasant piece of impudence!

Geta. It pleas’d

Our spark at least: he put it into practice;

Came into court; and he was cast; and married.

Davus. How say you?

Geta. Just as you have heard.

Davus. Oh Geta,

What will become of you?

Geta. I don’t know, faith.

But only this I know, what’er chance brings,

I’ll patiently endure.

Davus. Why, that’s well said,

And like a man.

Geta. All my dependence is

Upon myself.

Davus. And that’s the best.

Geta. I might

Beg one indeed to intercede for me,


Who may plead thus—“Nay, pardon him this once!

But if he fails again, I’ve not a word

To say for him.”—And well if he don’t add,

“When I go hence e’en hang him!”

Davus. What of him,

Gentleman-usher to the music-girl?

How goes he on?

Geta. So, so!


Davus. He has not much

To give, perhaps.

Geta. Just nothing, but mere hope.

Davus. His father too, is he return’d?

Geta. Not yet.

Davus. Nor your old man, when do you look for him?

Geta. I don’t know certainly: but I have heard

That there’s a letter from him come to port,

Which I am going for.

Davus. Would you aught else

With me, good Geta?

Geta. Nothing, but farewell!

Exit Davus.


Ho, boy! what, nobody at home! (Enter boy.) Take this

And give it Dorcium. (Gives the Purse, and Exit.)


Antipho, Phædria.

Ant. Is it come to this?

My father, Phædria!—my best friend!—That I

Should tremble, when I think of his return!

When, had I not been inconsiderate,

I, as ’tis meet, might have expected him.

Phæd. What now?

Ant. Is that a question? and from you?

Who know the atrocious fault I have committed?

Oh, that it ne’er had enter’d Phormio’s mind

To give such counsel! nor to urge me on,

In the extravagance of blind desire,

To this rash act, the source of my misfortunes!

I should not have possess’d her: that indeed

Had made me wretched some few days.—But then

This constant anguish had not torn my mind.——

Phæd. I hear you.

Ant. —While each moment I expect


His coming to divorce me.

Phæd. Other men,

For lack of what they love, are miserable;

Abundance is your grievance. You’re too rich

A lover, Antipho! For your condition

Is to be wish’d and pray’d for. Now, by Heaven,

Might I, so long as you have done, enjoy

My love, it were bought cheaply with my life.

How hard my lot, unsatisfied, unbless’d!

How happy yours, in full possession!—One

Of lib’ral birth, ingenuous disposition,

And honest fame, without expense, you’ve got:

The wife, whom you desir’d!—in all things bless’d,

But want the disposition to believe so.

Had you, like me, a scoundrel pimp to deal with,


Then you’d perceive—But sure ’tis in our nature

Never to be contented.

Ant. Now to me,

Phædria, ’tis you appear the happy man.

Still quite at large, free to consider still,

To keep, pursue, or quit her: I, alas!

Have so entangled and perplex’d myself,

That I can neither keep nor let her go.

—What now? isn’t that our Geta, whom I see

Running this way?—’Tis he himself— Ah me,

How do I fear what news he brings!


Enter at a distance Geta, running.

Geta. Confusion!

A quick thought, Geta, or you’re quite undone,

So many evils take you unprepar’d;

Which I know neither how to shun nor how

To extricate myself: for this bold stroke

Of ours can’t long be hid.

Ant. What’s this confusion?

Geta. Then I have scarce a moment’s time to think.

My master is arriv’d.

Ant. What mischief’s that?

Geta. Who, when he shall have heard it, by what art

Shall I appease his anger?—Shall I speak?

’Twill irritate him.—Hold my peace?—enrage him.——

Defend myself?—impossible?—Oh, wretch!

Now for myself in pain, now Antipho

Distracts my mind.—But him I pity most;

For him I fear; ’tis he retains me here:

For, were it not for him, I’d soon provide

For my own safety—aye, and be reveng’d

On the old graybeard—carry something off,


And show my master a light pair of heels.

Ant. What scheme to rob and run away is this?

Geta. But where shall I find Antipho? where seek him?

Phæd. He mentions you.

Ant. I know not what, but doubt

That he’s the messenger of some ill news.

Phæd. Have you your wits?

Geta. I’ll home: he’s chiefly there.

Phæd. Let’s call him back!

Ant. Holloa, you! stop!

Geta. Heyday!

Authority enough, be who you will.

Ant. Geta!

Geta (turning). The very man I wish’d to meet!

Ant. Tell us, what news?—in one word, if you can.


Geta. I’ll do it.

Ant. Speak!

Geta. This moment at the port——

Ant. My father?

Geta. Even so.

Ant. Undone!

Phæd. Heyday!

Ant. What shall I do?

Phæd. What say you? (To Geta.)

Geta. That I’ve seen

His father, Sir,—your uncle.


Ant. How shall I,

Wretch that I am! oppose this sudden evil!

Should I be so unhappy to be torn

From thee, my Phanium, life’s not worth my care.

Geta. Since that’s the case then, Antipho, you ought

To be the more upon your guard.

Ant. Alas!

I’m not myself.

Geta. But now you should be most so, Antipho.

For if your father should discern your fear,

He’ll think you conscious of a fault.

Phæd. That’s true.

Ant. I can not help it, nor seem otherwise.

Geta. How would you manage in worse difficulties?

Ant. Since I’m not equal to bear this, to those

I should be more unequal.

Geta. This is nothing.

Pooh, Phædria, let him go! why waste our time?

I will be gone. (Going.)

Phæd. And I. (Going.)

Ant. Nay, prithee, stay!

What if I should dissemble?—Will that do?

Endeavoring to assume another air.

Geta. Ridiculous!

Ant. Nay, look at me! will that


Geta. Not it.

Ant. Or this?


Geta. Almost.

Ant. Or this?

Geta. Aye! now you’ve hit it. Do but stick to that;

Answer him boldly; give him hit for dash,

Nor let him bear you down with angry words.

Ant. I understand you.

Geta. “Forc’d”—“against your will”——

“By law”—“by sentence of the court”—d’ye take me?

—But what old gentleman is that I see

Turning the corner of the street?

Ant. ’Tis he.

I dare not face him. (Going.)

At t’other end o’ th’ street?

Ant. ’Tis he himself.

I dare not face him. (Going.)


Geta. Ah! what is’t you do?

Where d’ye run, Antipho! stay, stay, I say.

Ant. I know myself and my offense too well:

To you, then, I commend my life and love.



Manent Phædria and Geta.

Phæd. Geta, what now?

Geta. You shall be roundly chid;

I soundly drubb’d; or I am much deceiv’d.

—But what e’en now we counsel’d Antipho,

It now behooves ourselves to practice, Phædria.


Phæd. Talk not of what behooves, but say at once

What you would have me do.

Geta. Do you remember

The plea whereon you both agreed to rest,

At your first vent’ring on this enterprise?

“That Phormio’s suit was just, sure, equitable,

Not to be controverted.”——

Phæd. I remember.

Geta. Now then that plea! or, if it’s possible,

One better or more plausible.

Phæd. I’ll do’t.

Geta. Do you attack him first! I’ll lie in ambush,

To reinforce you, if you give ground.

Phæd. Well. (They retire.)


Enter Demipho at another part of the stage.

Dem. How’s this? a wife! what, Antipho! and ne’er

Ask my consent?—nor my authority——

Or, grant we pass authority, not dread

My wrath at least?—To have no sense of shame?

—Oh, impudence!—Oh, Geta, rare adviser!

Geta. Geta at last.

Dem. What they will say to me,

Or what excuse they will devise, I wonder.


Geta. Oh, we have settled that already: think

Of something else.

Dem. Will he say this to me,

—“Against my will I did it”—“Forc’d by law”——

—I hear you: I confess it.

Geta. Very well.

Dem. But conscious of the fraud, without a word

In answer or defense, to yield the cause

Tamely to your opponents—did the law

Force you to that too?


Phæd. That’s home.

Geta. Give me leave.

I’ll manage it.

Dem. I know not what to do:

This stroke has come so unawares upon me,

Beyond all expectation, past belief.

—I’m so enrag’d, I can’t compose my mind

To think upon it.—Wherefore ev’ry man,


When his affairs go on most swimmingly,

Ev’n then it most behooves to arm himself

Against the coming storm: loss, danger, exile,

Returning ever let him look to meet;

His son in fault, wife dead, or daughter sick——

All common accidents, and may have happen’d;

That nothing should seem new or strange. But if

Aught has fall’n out beyond his hopes, all that

Let him account clear gain.

Geta. Oh, Phædria,

’Tis wonderful how much a wiser man

I am than my old master. My misfortunes

I have consider’d well.—At his return

Doom’d to grind ever in the mill, beat, chain’d,

Or set to labor in the fields; of these

Nothing will happen new. If aught falls out

Beyond my hopes, all that I’ll count clear gain.

—But why delay t’accost th’ old gentleman,

And speak him fair at first? (Phædria goes forward.)

Dem. Methinks I see


My nephew Phædria.

Phæd. My good Uncle, welcome!

Dem. Your servant!—But where’s Antipho?

Phæd. I’m glad

To see you safe——

Dem. Well, well!—But answer me.

Phæd. He’s well: hard by.—But have affairs turn’d out

According to your wishes?

Dem. Would they had!

Phæd. Why, what’s the matter?

Dem. What’s the matter, Phædria?

You’ve clapp’d up a fine marriage in my absence.

Phæd. What! are you angry with him about that?

Geta. Well counterfeited!

Dem. Should I not be angry?

Let me but set eyes on him, he shall know

That his offenses have converted me

From a mild father to a most severe one.

Phæd. He has done nothing, Uncle, to offend you.

Dem. See, all alike! the whole gang hangs together:

Know one, and you know all.

Phæd. Nay, ’tis not so.

Dem. One does a fault, the other’s hard at hand


To bear him out: when t’other slips, he’s ready:

Each in their turn!

Geta. I’ faith th’ old gentleman

Has blunder’d on their humors to a hair.


Dem. For, were’t not so, you’d not defend him, Phædria.

Dem. If ’twere not so, you’d not defend him, Phædria.

Phæd. If, Uncle, Antipho has done a wrong,

Or to his interest or reputation,

I am content he suffer as he may:

But if another, with malicious fraud,

Has laid a snare for unexperienced youth,

And triumph’d o’er it; can you lay the blame

On us, or on the judges, who oft take

Through envy from the rich, or from compassion

Add to the poor?

Geta. Unless I knew the cause,

I should imagine this was truth he spoke.

Dem. What judge can know the merits on your side,

When you put in no plea; as he has done?

Phæd. He has behav’d like an ingenuous youth.

When he came into court, he wanted pow’r

To utter what he had prepar’d, so much

He was abash’d by fear and modesty.

Geta. Oh brave!—But why, without more loss of time,

Don’t I accost th’ old man! (Going up.) My master, welcome!

I am rejoic’d to see you safe return’d.

Dem. What! my good master Governor! your slave!

The prop! the pillar of our family!

To whom, at my departure hence, I gave

My son in charge.


Geta. I’ve heard you for some time

Accuse us all quite undeservedly,

And me, of all, most undeservedly.

For what could I have done in this affair?

A slave the laws will not allow to plead;

Nor can he be an evidence.

Dem. I grant it.

Nay more—the boy was bashful—I allow it.

—You but a slave.—But if she had been prov’d

Ever so plainly a relation, why

Needed he marry her? and why not rather

Give her, according to the law, a portion,

And let her seek some other for a husband?

Why did he rather bring a beggar home?

Geta. ’Twas not the thought, but money that was wanting.

Dem. He might have borrow’d it!

Geta. Have borrow’d it!

Easily said.

Dem. If not to be had else,

On interest.

Geta. Nay, now indeed you’ve hit it!

Who would advance him money in your life?

579 227

Dem. Well, well, it shall not, and it can not be,

That I should suffer her to live with him

As wife a single day. There is no cause.

—Would I might see that fellow, or could tell

Where he resides!

Geta. What, Phormio!

Dem. The girl’s Patron.

Geta. He shall be with you straight.

Dem. Where’s Antipho?

Phæd. Abroad.

Dem. Go, Phædria; find him, bring him here.

Phæd. I’ll go directly.


Geta (aside). Aye, to Pamphila.



Demipho alone.

I’ll home, and thank the Gods for my return:

Thence to the Forum, and convene some friends,

Who may be present at this interview,

That Phormio may not take me unprepar’d.





Phormio, Geta.

Phor. And Antipho, you say, has slunk away,

Fearing his father’s presence?

Geta. Very true.

Phor. Poor Phanium left alone?

Geta. ’Tis even so.

Phor. And the old gentleman enrag’d!

Geta. Indeed.

Phor. The sum of all then, Phormio, rests on you:

On you, and you alone. You’ve bak’d this cake;

E’en eat it for your pains. About it then!

Geta. I do beseech you.

Phor. (to himself.) What if he inquire?——


Geta. Our only hope’s in you.

Phor. (to himself). I have it!—Then,

Suppose he offer to return the girl?——

Geta. You urg’d us to it.

Phor. (to himself). Aye! it shall be so.

Geta. Assist us!

Phor. Let him come, old gentleman!

’Tis here: it is engender’d: I am arm’d

With all my counsels.


Geta. What d’ye mean to do?

Phor. What would you have me do, unless contrive

That Phanium may remain, that Antipho

Be freed from blame, and all the old man’s rage

Turn’d upon me?

Geta. Brave fellow! friend indeed!

And yet I often tremble for you, Phormio,

Lest all this noble confidence of yours

End in the stocks at last.


Phor. Ah, ’tis not so.

I’m an old stager too, and know my road.

How many men d’ye think I’ve bastinadoed

Almost to death? Aliens and citizens?

The oft’ner, still the safer.—Tell me then,

Didst ever hear of actions for assault

And batt’ry brought against me?

Geta. How comes that?

Phor. Because the net’s not stretch’d to catch the hawk,

Or kite, who do us wrong; but laid for those

Who do us none at all: In them there’s profit,

In these mere labor lost. Thus other men

In those mere labor lost. Thus other men

May be in danger who have aught to lose;

I, the world knows, have nothing.—You will say,

They’ll seize my person.—No, they won’t maintain

A fellow of my stomach.—And they’re wise,

In my opinion, if for injuries

They’ll not return the highest benefit.

Geta. It is impossible for Antipho

To give you thanks sufficient.

Phor. Rather say,


No man sufficiently can thank his patron.

You at free cost to come! anointed, bath’d,

Easy and gay! while he’s eat up with care

And charge, to cater for your entertainment!

He gnaws his heart, you laugh; eat first, sit first,

And see a doubtful banquet plac’d before you!

Geta. Doubtful! what phrase is that?

Phor. Where you’re in doubt,

What you shall rather choose. Delights like these

When you but think how sweet, how dear, they are;

Him that affords them must you not suppose

A very deity?

Geta. The old man’s here.


Mind what you do! the first attack’s the fiercest:

Sustain but that, the rest will be mere play. (They retire.)


Enter at a distance DemiphoHegio, Cratinus, Crito, following.

Dem. Was ever man so grossly treated, think ye?

—This way, Sirs, I beseech you.


Geta. He’s enrag’d!

Phor. Hist! mind your cue: I’ll work him.—(Coming forward, and speaking loud.) Oh, ye Gods!

Does he deny that Phanium’s his relation?

What, Demipho! does Demipho deny

That Phanium is his kinswoman?

Geta. He does.

Phor. And who her father was, he does not know?

Geta. No.

Dem. (to the Lawyers). Here’s the very fellow, I believe,

Of whom I have been speaking.—Follow me!

Phor. (aloud). And that he does not know who Stilpho was?

Geta. No.


Phor. Ah! because, poor thing, she’s left in want,

Her father is unknown, and she despis’d.

What will not avarice do?

Geta. If you insinuate

My master’s avaricious, woe be to you!

Dem. (behind). Oh impudence! he dares accuse me first.

Phor. As to the youth, I can not take offense,

If he had not much knowledge of him; since,

Now in the vale of years, in want, his work

His livelihood, he nearly altogether

Liv’d in the country: where he held a farm

Under my father. I have often heard

The poor old man complain that this his kinsman

Neglected him.—But what a man! A man


Of most exceeding virtue.

Geta. Much at one:

Yourself and he you praise so much.

Phor. Away!

Had I not thought him what I’ve spoken of him,

I would not for his daughter’s sake have drawn

So many troubles on our family,

Whom this old cuff now treats so scandalously.

Geta. What, still abuse my absent master, rascal!

Phor. It is no more than he deserves.

Geta. How, villain!

Dem. Geta! (Calling.)

Geta. Rogue, robber, pettifogger! (To Phormio pretending not to hear Demipho.)

Dem. Geta!

Phor. Answer. (Apart to Geta.)

Geta (turning). Who’s that?—Oh!

Dem. Peace!

Geta. Behind your back

All day without cessation has this knave

Thrown scurvy terms upon you, such as none

But men like him can merit.

Dem. Well! have done.

Putting Geta by, then addressing Phormio.


Young man! permit me first to ask one question.

And, if you please, vouchsafe to answer me.

—Who was this friend of yours? Explain! and how


Might he pretend that I was his relation?

Phor. So! you fish for’t, as if you did not know. (Sneeringly.)

Dem. Know! I!

Phor. Aye; you.

Dem. Not I: You that maintain

I ought, instruct me how to recollect.

Phor. What! not acquainted with your cousin?

Dem. Plague!

Tell me his name.

Phor. His name? aye!

Dem. Well, why don’t you?

Phor. Confusion! I’ve forgot the name. (Apart.)

Dem. What say you?

Phor. Geta, if you remember, prompt me. (Apart to Geta.)—Pshaw,

I will not tell.—As if you did not know,

You’re come to try me. (Loud to Demipho.)

Dem. How! try you?

Geta. Stilpho. (Whispering Phormio.)

Phor. What is’t to me?—Stilpho.


Dem. Whom say you?

Phor. Stilpho:

Did you know Stilpho, Sir?

Dem. I neither know him,

Nor ever had I kinsman of that name.

Phor. How! are you not asham’d?—But if, poor man,

Stilpho had left behind him an estate

Of some ten talents——

Dem. Out upon you!

Phor. Then

You would have been the first to trace your line

Quite from your grandsire and great grandsire.

Dem. True.

Had I then come, I’d have explain’d at large

How she was my relation: so do you!

Say, how is she my kinswoman?

Geta. Well said!

Master, you’re right.—Take heed! (Apart to Phormio.)

Phor. I have explain’d

All that most clearly, where I ought, in court.

If it were false, why did not then your son

Refute it?

Dem. Do you tell me of my son?

Whose folly can’t be spoke of as it ought.

Phor. But you, who are so wise, go seek the judge:


Ask sentence in the self-same cause again:

Because you’re lord alone, and have alone


Pow’r to obtain judgment of the court

Twice in one cause.

Dem. Although I have been wrong’d,

Yet, rather than engage in litigation,

And rather than hear you; as if she were

Indeed related to us, as the law

Ordains, I’ll pay her dowry: take her hence,

And with her take five minæ.

Phor. Ha! ha! ha!

A pleasant gentleman!

Dem. Why, what’s the matter?

Have I demanded any thing unjust?

Sha’n’t I obtain this neither, which is law?

Phor. Is’t even so, Sir?—Like a common harlot,

When you’ve abus’d her, does the law ordain

That you should pay her hire and whistle her off?

Or, lest a citizen through poverty

Bring shame upon her honor, does it order

That she be given to her next of kin

To pass her life with him? which you forbid.

Dem. Aye; to her next of kin: But why to us;


Or wherefore?

Phor. Oh! that matter is all settled:

Think on’t no more.

Dem. Not think on’t! I shall think

Of nothing else till there’s an end of this.

Phor. Words, words!

Dem. I’ll make them good.

Phor. But, after all,

With you I have no business, Demipho!

Your son is cast, not you: for at your age

The coupling-time is over.

Dem. Be assur’d

That all I’ve said he says: or I’ll forbid

Him and this wife of his my house.

Geta. He’s angry. (Apart.)

Phor. No; you’ll think better on’t.

Dem. Are you resolv’d,

Wretch that you are, to thwart me ev’ry way?

Phor. He fears, though he dissembles.

Geta. Well begun!


Phor. Well; but what can’t be cur’d must be endur’d:

’Twere well, and like yourself, that we were friends.

Dem. I! friend to you? or choose to see or hear you!

Phor. Do but agree with her, you’ll have a girl

To comfort your old age. Your years, consider!

Dem. Plague on your comfort! take her to yourself!


Phor. Ah! don’t be angry!

Dem. One word more, I’ve done.

See that you fetch away this wench, and soon,

Or I shall turn her headlong out o’doors.

So much for Phormio!


Phor. Offer but to touch her

In any other manner than beseems

A gentlewoman and a citizen,

And I shall bring a swinging writ against you.

So much for Demipho!—If I am wanted,

I am at home, d’ye hear? (Apart to Geta.)

Geta. I understand. (Apart.)

Exit Phormio.


Dem. With how much care, and what solicitude,

My son affects me, with this wretched match

Having embroil’d himself and me! nor comes

Into my sight, that I might know at least

Or what he says, or thinks of this affair.

Go you, and see if he’s come home or no.

Geta. I’m gone.


Dem. You see, Sirs, how this matter stands.

What shall I do? Say, Hegio!

Hegio. Meaning me?

Cratinus, please you, should speak first.

Dem. Say then,



Cra. Me d’ye question?

Dem. You.

Cra. Then I,

Whatever steps are best I’d have you take.

Thus it appears to me. Whate’er your son

Has in your absence done is null and void,

In law and equity.—And so you’ll find.

That’s my opinion.

Dem. Say now, Hegio!

Hegio. He has, I think, pronounc’d most learnedly.

But so ’tis: many men, and many minds!

Each has his fancy: Now, in my opinion,

Whate’er is done by law can’t be undone.

’Tis shameful to attempt it.

Dem. Say you, Crito!

Crito. The case, I think, asks more deliberation.

’Tis a nice point.

Hegio. Would you aught else with us?

Dem. You’ve utter’d oracles. (Exeunt Lawyers.) I’m more uncertain

Now than I was before.


Re-enter Geta.

Geta. He’s not return’d.

Dem. My brother, as I hope, will soon arrive:

Whate’er advice he gives me, that I’ll follow.

I’ll to the Port, and ask when they expect him. (Exit.

Geta. And I’ll go find out Antipho, and tell him

All that has pass’d.—But here he comes in time.

585 243

Enter at a distance Antipho.

Ant. (to himself). Indeed, indeed, my Antipho,

You’re much to blame, to be so poor in spirit.

What! steal away so guilty-like! and trust

Your life and safety to the care of others!

Would they be touch’d more nearly than yourself?

Come what come might of ev’ry thing beside,

Could you abandon the dear maid at home?

Could you so far deceive her easy faith,

And leave her to misfortune and distress?

Her, who plac’d all her hopes in you alone?

Geta (coming forward). I’ faith, Sir, we have thought you much to blame

For your long absence.——

Ant. You’re the very man

That I was looking for.

Geta. —But ne’ertheless

We’ve miss’d no opportunity.

Ant. Oh, speak!

How go my fortunes, Geta? has my father

Any suspicion that I was in league

With Phormio?

Geta. Not a jot.


Ant. And may I hope?

Geta. I don’t know.

Ant. Ah!

Geta. Unless that Phædria

Did all he could do for you.——

Ant. Nothing new.

Geta. —And Phormio has on all occasions else.

Prov’d himself a brave fellow.

Ant. What did he?

Geta. Out-swagger’d your hot father.

Ant. Well said, Phormio!

Geta. —I did the best I could too.

Ant. Honest Geta,

I am much bounden to you all.

Geta. Thus, Sir,

Stand things at present. As yet all is calm.

Your father means to wait your uncle’s coming.

Ant. For what?

Geta. For his advice, as he propos’d;

By which he will be rul’d in this affair.

Ant. How do I dread my uncle’s coming, Geta.

Since by his sentence I must live or die!

Geta. But here comes Phædria.


Ant. Where?

Geta. From his old school. (They retire.)


Enter, from Dorio’s, Dorio, Phædria following.

Phæd. Nay, hear me, Dorio!

Dorio. Not I.

Phæd. But a word!

Dorio. Let me alone.

Phæd. Pray hear me!

Dorio. I am tir’d

With hearing the same thing a thousand times.

Phæd. But what I’d say you would be glad to hear.

Dorio. Speak then! I hear.

Phæd. Can’t I prevail on you

To stay but these three days?— Nay, where d’ye go?

Dorio. I should have wonder’d had you said aught new.

Ant. (behind). This pimp, I fear, will work himself no



Geta. I fear so too.

Phæd. Won’t you believe me?

Dorio. Guess.

Phæd. Upon my honor.

Dorio. Nonsense.

Phæd. ’Tis a kindness

Shall be repaid with interest.

Dorio. Words, words!

Phæd. You’ll be glad on’t; you will, believe me.

Dorio. Pshaw!

Phæd. Try; ’tis not long.

Dorio. You’re in the same tune still.

Phæd. My kinsman, parent, friend!——

Dorio. Aye, talk away.

Phæd. Can you be so inflexible, so cruel.

That neither pity nor entreaties touch you?

Dorio. And can you be so inconsiderate,

And so unconscionable, Phædria,

To think that you can talk me to your purpose,

And wheedle me to give the girl for nothing?

Ant. (behind). Poor Phædria!

Phæd. (to himself). Alas! he speaks the truth.

Geta (to Antipho). How well they each support their characters!

Phæd. (to himself). Then that this evil should have come

upon me,

When Antipho was in the like distress!


Ant. (going up). Ha! what now, Phædria?

Phæd. Happy, happy Antipho!——

Ant. I?


Phæd. Who have her you love in your possession,

Nor e’er had plagues like these to struggle with!

Ant. In my possession? yes, I have, indeed,

As the old saying goes, a wolf by th’ ears:

For I can neither part with her nor keep her.

Dorio. ’Tis just my case with him.

Ant. (to Dorio). Thou thorough bawd!

—(To Phædria.) What has he done?

Phæd. Done?—The inhuman wretch

Has sold my Pamphila.

Geta. What! sold her?

Ant. Sold her?

Phæd. Yes; sold her.

Dorio (laughing). Sold her.—What a monstrous crime!

A wench he paid his ready money for.

Phæd. I can’t prevail upon him to wait for me,

And to stave off his bargain but three days;

Till I obtain the money from my friends,

According to their promise.—If I do not

Pay it you then, don’t wait a moment longer.

Dorio. You stun me.


Ant. ’Tis a very little time

For which he asks your patience, Dorio.

Let him prevail on you; your complaisance

Shall be requited doubly.

Dorio. Words; mere words!

Ant. Can you then bear to see your Pamphila

Torn from this city, Phædria?—Can you, Dorio,

Divide their loves

Dorio. Nor I, nor you.

Geta. Plague on you!

Dorio (to Phædria). I have, against my natural disposition,

Borne with you several months, still promising,

Whimpering, and ne’er performing any thing:

Now, on the contrary, I’ve found a spark,

Who’ll prove a ready-paymaster, no sniveler:

Give place then to your betters!

Ant. Surely, Phædria,

There was, if I remember, a day settled

That you should pay the money down.

Phæd. There was.

Dorio. Do I deny it?

Ant. Is the day past?

Dorio. No.

But this has come before it.

Ant. Infamous!

Ar’n’t you asham’d of such base treachery?

Dorio. Not I, while I can get by’t.


Geta. Scavenger!

Phæd. Is this just dealing, Dorio?

Dorio. ’Tis my way:

So, if you like me, use me.


Ant. Can you deceive him thus?

Dorio. Nay, Antipho,

’Tis he deceives me: he was well aware

What kind of man I was, but I believ’d

Him diff’rent. He has disappointed me,

But I am still the same to him as ever.

However, thus much I can do for him;

The Captain promis’d to pay down the money

To-morrow morning. But now, Phædria,

If you come first, I’ll follow my old rule,

“The first to pay shall be first serv’d.” Farewell.



Phædria, Antipho, Geta.

Phæd. What shall I do? Unhappy that I am,

How shall I, who am almost worse than nothing,

Raise such a sum so suddenly?—Alas!

Had I prevail’d on him to wait three days,

I had a promise of it.


Ant. Shall we, Geta,

Suffer my Phædria to be miserable?

My best friend Phædria, who but now, you said,

Assisted me so heartily?—No—Rather

Let us, since there is need, return his kindness!

Geta. It is but just, I must confess.

Ant. Come then;

’Tis you alone can save him.

Geta. By what means?

Ant. Procure the money.

Geta. Willingly: but whence?

Ant. My father is arriv’d.

Geta. He is: what then?

Ant. A word to the wise, Geta!

Geta. Say you so?

Ant. Ev’n so.

Geta. By Hercules, ’tis rare advice.

Are you there with me? will it not be triumph,

So I but ’scape a scouring for your match,

That you must urge me to run risks for him?

Ant. He speaks the truth, I must confess.

Phæd. How’s that?

Am I a stranger to you, Geta?

Geta. No:

Nor do I hold you such. But is it nothing

That Demipho now rages at us all,

That the old man now rages at us all,

Unless we irritate him so much further

As to preclude all hopes to pacify him?


Phæd. Shall then another bear her hence? Ah me!

Now then, while I remain, speak to me, Antipho.

Behold me!


Ant. Wherefore? what is it you mean?

Phæd. Wherever she’s convey’d, I’ll follow her;

Or perish.

Geta. Heaven prosper your designs!—

Gently, Sir, gently!

Ant. See if you can help him.

Geta. Help him! but how?

Ant. Nay, think, invent, devise;

Lest he do something we repent of, Geta!

Geta. I’m thinking. (Pausing.)—Well then I believe, he’s safe.

But I’m afraid of mischief.

Ant. Never fear:

We’ll bear all good and evil fortune with you.

Geta. Tell me the sum you have occasion for.

Phæd. But thirty minæ.

Geta. Thirty! monstrous, Phædria!

She’s very dear.

Phæd. Dog-cheap.

Geta. Well, say no more.

I’ll get them for you.

Phæd. O brave fellow!

Geta. Hence!

Phæd. But I shall want it now.

Geta. You’ll have it now.


But Phormio must assist me in this business.

Ant. He’s ready: lay what load you will upon him,

He’ll bear it all; for he’s a friend indeed.

Geta. Let’s to him quickly then!

Ant. D’ye want my help?

Geta. We’ve no occasion for you. Get you home

To the poor girl, who’s almost dead with fear;

And see you comfort her.—Away! d’ye loiter?

Ant. There’s nothing I would do so willingly.


Phæd. But how will you effect this?

Geta. I’ll explain

That matter as we go along.—Away!





Enter Demipho and Chremes.

Dem. Well, Chremes, have you brought your daughter with you,

On whose account you went to Lemnos?

Chrem. No.

Dem. Why not?


Chrem. Her mother grown, it seems, impatient,

Chrem. It seems the mother, grown impatient,

Perceiving that I tarried here so long,

And that the girl’s age brook’d not my delays,

Had journeyed here, they said, in search of me,

With her whole family.

Dem. Appris’d of this,

What kept you there so long then?

Chrem. A disease.

Dem. How came it? what disease?

Chrem. Is that a question?

Old age itself is a disease.—However,

The master of the ship, who brought them over,

Inform’d me of their safe arrival hither.


Dem. Have you heard, Chremes, of my son’s misfortune

During my absence?

Chrem. Aye; and it confounds me.

For to another should I tender her,

I must relate the girl’s whole history,

And whence arises my connection with her.

You I can trust as safely as myself:

But if a stranger courts alliance with me,

While we’re new friends, he’ll hold his peace perhaps,

But if he cools, he’ll know too much of me.

Then I’m afraid my wife should know of this;

Which if she does, I’ve nothing else to do

But shake myself, and leave my house directly:

For I’ve no friend at home except myself.

Dem. I know it; and ’tis that which touches me.

Nor are there any means I’ll leave untried,

Till I have made my promise to you good.


Enter, at another part of the stage, Geta.

Geta (to himself). I never saw a more shrewd rogue than Phormio.

I came to let him know we wanted money,

With my device for getting it; and scarce

With my advice for getting it; and scarce

Had I related half, but he conceiv’d me.

He was o’erjoy’d; commended me; demanded

To meet with Demipho; and thank’d the god;

That it was now the time to show himself

As truly Phædria’s friend as Antipho’s.

I bade him wait us at the Forum; whither

I’d bring th’ old gentleman.—And there he is!

—But who’s the furthermost? Ha! Phædria’s father.

—Yet what was I afraid of, simpleton?

That I have got two dupes instead of one?

Is it not better that my hopes are doubled?

—I’ll attack him, I first propos’d. If he


Answers my expectation, well: if not,

Why then have at you, uncle!


Enter behind, Antipho.

Ant. (to himself). I expect

Geta’s arrival presently.—But see!

Yonder’s my uncle with my father.—Ah!

How do I dread his influence!

Geta. I’ll to them.

Oh, good Sir Chremes! (Going up.)

Chrem. Save you, save you, Geta!

Geta. I’m glad to see you safe arriv’d.

Chrem. I thank you.

Geta. How go affairs?

Chrem. A world of changes here,

As usual at first coming home again.

Geta. True. Have you heard of Antipho’s affair?

Chrem. The whole.

Geta (to Demipho). Did you inform him, Sir?—’Tis monstrous, Chremes,

To he so shamefully impos’d upon!

Dem. ’Twas on that point I was just talking with him.

Geta. And I too, having turn’d it in my thoughts,

Have found, I think, a remedy.

Dem. How, Geta?


What remedy?

Geta. On leaving you, by chance

I met with Phormio.

Chrem. Who is Phormio?

Geta. The girl’s solicitor.

Chrem. I understand.

Geta. I thought within myself, “suppose I found him!”

And taking him aside, “Now prithee, Phormio,

Why don’t you try to settle this affair

By fair means rather than by foul?” said I.

“My master is a generous gentleman,

And hates to go to law. For I assure you

His other friends advis’d him, to a man,

To turn this girl directly out o’ doors.”

Ant. (behind). What does he mean? or where will all this end?

Geta. “The law, you think, will give you damages

If he attempts to turn her out.—Alas!

He has good counsel upon that.—I’ faith,

You’ll have hot work if you engage with him;

He’s such an orator!—But ev’n suppose

That you should gain your lawsuit, after all

The trial is not for his life, but money.”


Perceiving him a little wrought upon,

And soften’d by this style of talking with him,

“Come now,” continued I, “we’re all alone.


Tell me, what money would you take in hand

To drop your lawsuit, take away the girl,

And trouble us no farther!”

Ant. (behind). Is he mad?

Geta. —“For I am well convinc’d, that if your terms

Are not extravagant and wild indeed,

My master’s such a worthy gentleman,

You will not change three words between you.”

Dem. Who

Commission’d you to say all this?

Chrem. Nay, nay,

Nothing could be more happy to effect

The point we labor at.

Ant. (behind). Undone!

Chrem. (to Geta). Go on.

Geta. At first he rav’d.

Dem. Why, what did he demand?

Geta. Too much: as much as came into his head.

Chrem. Well, but the sum?

Geta. He talk’d of a great talent.

Dem. Plague on the rascal! what! has he no shame?

Geta. The very thing I said to him.—“Suppose


He was to portion out an only daughter,

What could he give her more?—He profits little,

Having no daughter of his own; since one

Is found to carry off a fortune from him.”

—But to be brief, and not to dwell upon

All his impertinences, he at last

Gave me this final answer.—“From the first,

I wish’d,” said he, “as was indeed most fit,

To wed the daughter of my friend myself.

For I was well aware of her misfortune;

That, being poor, she would be rather given

In slavery, than wedlock, to the rich.

But I was forc’d, to tell you the plain truth,

To take a woman with some little fortune,

To pay my debts: and still, if Demipho

Is willing to advance as large a sum

As I’m to have with one I’m now engag’d to.

There is no wife I’d rather take than her.”

Ant. (behind). Whether through malice or stupidity,

He is rank knave or fool, I can not tell.

Dem. (to Geta). What, if he owes his soul?

Geta. “I have a farm,”

Continued he, “that’s mortgag’d for ten minæ.”

Dem. Well, let him take her then: I’ll pay the money.

Geta. "A house for ten more.”

Dem. Huy! huy! that’s too much.

593 260

Chrem. No noise! demand those ten of me.

Geta. “My wife

Must buy a maid; some little furniture

Is also requisite; and some expense

To keep our wedding: all these articles,”

Continues he, “we’ll reckon at ten minæ.”

Dem. No; let him bring ten thousand writs against me.

Dem. No; let him bring a thousand writs against me.

I’ll give him nothing. What! afford the villain

An opportunity to laugh at me?

Colman’s note on this passage says in part: “I have ... rendered the sexcentas of Terence by Ten Thousand, as being most agreeable to the English idiom, as well as the Greek.”

Chrem. Nay, but be pacified! I’ll pay the money.

Only do you prevail upon your son

To marry her whom we desire.

Ant. (behind). Ah me!

Geta, your treachery has ruin’d me.

Chrem. She’s put away on my account: ’tis just

That I should pay the money.

Geta. “Let me know,”

Continues he, “as soon as possible,

Whether they mean to have me marry her;

That I may part with t’other, and be certain.


For t’other girl’s relations have agreed

To pay the portion down immediately.”

Chrem. He shall be paid this too immediately.

Let him break off with her, and take this girl!

Dem. Aye, and the plague go with him!

Chrem. Luckily

It happens I’ve some money here; the rents

Of my wife’s farms at Lemnos. I’ll take that; (to Demipho)

And tell my wife that you had need of it.



Manent Antipho, Geta.

Ant. (coming forward). Geta!

Geta. Ha, Antipho!

Ant. What have you done!

Geta. Trick’d the old bubbles of their money.

Ant. Well,

Is that sufficient, think ye?

Geta. I can’t tell.

’Twas all my orders.

Ant. Knave, d’ye shuffle with me? (Kicks him.)

Geta. Plague! what d’ye mean?

Ant. What do I mean, Sirrah!


You’ve driven me to absolute perdition.

All pow’rs of heav’n and hell confound you for’t,

And make you an example to all villains!

—Here! would you have your business duly manag’d,

Commit it to this fellow!—What could be

More tender than to touch upon this sore,


Or even name my wife? my father’s fill’d

With hopes that she may be dismiss’d.—And then,

If Phormio gets the money for the portion,

He, to be sure, must marry her.—And what

Becomes of me then?

Geta. He’ll not marry her.

Ant. Oh, no: but when they redemand the money,

On my account he’ll rather go to jail! (Ironically.)

Geta. Many a tale is spoiled in telling, Antipho.

You take out all the good, and leave the bad.

—Now hear the other side—If he receives

The money, he must wed the girl: I grant it.

But then some little time must be allow’d

For wedding-preparation, invitation,

And sacrifices.—Meanwhile, Phædria’s friends

Advance the money they have promis’d him:

Which Phormio shall make use of for repayment.

Ant. How so? what reason can he give?


Geta. What reason?

A thousand.—“Since I made this fatal bargain,

Omens and prodigies have happen’d to me.

There came a strange black dog into my house!

A snake fell through the tiling! a hen crow’d!

The Soothsayer forbade it! The Diviner

Charg’d me to enter on no new affair

Before the winter.”—All sufficient reasons.

Thus it shall be.

Ant. Pray Heav’n it may be!

Geta. It shall.

Depend on me:—But here’s your father.—Go;

Tell Phædria that the money’s safe.

Exit Antipho.


Re-enter Demipho and Chremes.

Dem. Nay, peace!

I’ll warrant he shall play no tricks upon us:

I’ll not part rashly with it, I assure you;

But pay it before witnesses, reciting

To whom ’tis paid, and why ’tis paid.

Geta. How cautious,

Where there is no occasion! (Aside.)

Chrem. You had need.


But haste, dispatch it while the fit’s upon him:

For if the other party should be pressing,

Perhaps he’ll break with us.

Geta. You’ve hit it, Sir.

Dem. Carry me to him then.

Geta. I wait your pleasure.


Chrem. (to Demipho). When this is done, step over to my wife,

That she may see the girl before she goes;

And tell her, to prevent her being angry,

“That we’ve agreed to marry her to Phormio,

Her old acquaintance, and a fitter match;

That we have not been wanting in our duty,

But giv’n as large a portion as he ask’d.”

Dem. Pshaw! what’s all this to you?

Chrem. A great deal, brother.

Dem. Is’t not sufficient to have done your duty,

Unless the world approves it?

Chrem. I would choose

To have the whole thing done by her consent,

Lest she pretend we turn’d her out o’ doors.

Lest she pretend she was turn’d out o’ doors.

Dem. Well, I can say all this to her myself.

Chrem. A woman deals much better with a woman.

Dem. I’ll ask your wife to do it then.

Exeunt Demipho and Geta.


Chrem. I’m thinking

Where I shall find these women now.


Enter Sophrona at a distance.

Soph. (to herself). Alas!

What shall I do, unhappy as I am?

Where find a friend? to whom disclose this story?

Of whom beseech assistance?—For I fear

My mistress will sustain some injury

From following my counsel: the youth’s father,

I hear, is so offended at this marriage.

Chrem. Who’s this old woman, coming from my brother’s,

That seems so terrified?

Soph. (to herself). ’Twas poverty

Compell’d me to this action: though I knew

This match would hardly hold together long,

Yet I advis’d her to it, that meanwhile

She might not want subsistence.


Chrem. Surely, surely,

Either my mind deceives me, or my eyes fail me,

Or that’s my daughter’s nurse.

Soph. Nor can we find——

Chrem. What shall I do?

Soph. —Her father out.

Chrem. Were’t best

I should go up to her, or wait a little,

To gather something more from her discourse?

Soph. Could he be found, my fears were at an end.

Chrem. ’Tis she. I’ll speak with her.


Soph. (overhearing). Whose voice is that?

Chrem. Sophrona!

Soph. Ha! my name too?

Chrem. Look this way.

Soph. (turning). Good Heav’n have mercy on us! Stilpho!

Chrem. No.

Soph. Deny your own name?

Chrem. (in a low voice). This way, Sophrona!——

—A little further from that door!—this way!——

And never call me by that name, I charge you.

Soph. What, ar’n’t you then the man you said you was? (Aloud.)

Chrem. Hist! hist!


Soph. What makes you fear those doors so much?

Chrem. I have a fury of a wife within:

And formerly I went by that false name,

Lest she should indiscreetly blab it out,

And so my wife might come to hear of this.

Soph. Ah! thus it was, that we, alas! poor souls,

Could never find you out here.

Chrem. Well, but tell me,

What business have you with that family? (Pointing.)

—Where is your mistress and her daughter?

Soph. Ah!

Chrem. What now? are they alive?

Soph. The daughter is:

The mother broke her heart with grief.

Chrem. Alas!

Soph. And I a poor, unknown, distress’d old woman,

Endeavoring to manage for the best,

Contriv’d to match the virgin to a youth,

Son to the master of this house.

Chrem. To Antipho?

Soph. The very same.

Chrem. What! has he two wives then?

Soph. No, mercy on us! he has none but her.

Chrem. What is the other then, who, they pretend,

Is a relation to him?

Soph. This is she.

Chrem. How say you?


Soph. It was all a mere contrivance:

That he, who was in love, might marry her

Without a portion.

Chrem. O ye powers of heav’n,

How often fortune blindly brings about

More than we dare to hope for! Coming home,

I’ve found my daughter, even to my wish,

Match’d to the very person I desir’d.

What we have both been laboring to effect,

Has this poor woman all alone accomplish’d.

Soph. But now consider what is to be done!


The bridegroom’s father is return’d; and he,

They say, is much offended at this marriage.

Chrem. Be of good comfort: there’s no danger there.

But, in the name of heav’n and earth, I charge you,

Let nobody discover she’s my daughter.

Soph. None shall discover it from me.

Chrem. Come then!

Follow me in, and you shall hear the rest.





Demipho, Geta.

Dem. ’Tis our own fault that we encourage rogues,

By overstraining the due character

Of honesty and generosity.

“Shoot not beyond the mark,” the proverb goes.

Was’t not enough that he had done us wrong,

But we must also throw him money too,

To live till he devises some new mischief?

Geta. Very right!

Dem. Knavery’s now its own reward.

Geta. Very true!


Dem. How like fools have we behav’d!

Geta. So as he keeps his word, and takes the girl,

’Tis well enough.

Dem. Is that a doubt at present?

Geta. A man, you know, may change his mind.

Dem. How! change?

Geta. That I can’t tell: but, if perhaps, I say.

Dem. I’ll now perform my promise to my brother,

And bring his wife to talk to the young woman.

You, Geta, go before, and let her know

Nausistrata will come and speak with her.

Exit Demipho.


Geta alone.

The money’s got for Phædria: all is hush’d:

And Phanium is not to depart as yet.

What more then? where will all this end at last?

—Alas! you’re sticking in the same mire still:

You’ve only chang’d hands, Geta. The disaster

That hung but now directly over you,

Delay perhaps will bring more heavy on you.

You’re quite beset, unless you look about.

598 271

—Now then I’ll home; to lesson Phanium,

That she mayn’t stand in fear of Phormio,

Nor dread this conf’rence with Nausistrata.



Enter Demipho and Nausistrata.

Dem. Come then, Nausistrata, afford us now

A little of your usual art, and try

To put this woman in good humor with us;

That what is done she may do willingly.

Naus. I will.

Dem. And now assist us with your counsel,

As with your cash a little while ago.

Naus. With all my heart: and I am only sorry

That ’tis my husband’s fault I can’t do more.

Dem. How so?

Naus. Because he takes such little care


Of the estate my father nurs’d so well:

For from these very farms he never fail’d

To draw two talents by the year. But ah!

What difference between man and man!

Dem. Two talents?

Naus. Aye—in worse times than these—and yet two talents?

Dem. Huy!

Naus. What, are you surpris’d?

Dem. Prodigiously.

Naus. Would I had been a man! I’d show——

Dem. No doubt.

Naus. —By what means——

Dem. Nay, but spare yourself a little

For the encounter with the girl: lest she,

Flippant and young, may weary you too much.

Naus. —Well, I’ll obey your orders: but I see

My husband coming forth.


Enter Chremes, hastily.

Chrem. Ha! Demipho!

Chrem. Ha!

Has Phormio had the money yet?

Dem. I paid him



Chrem. I’m sorry for’t.— (Seeing Nausistrata.)—My wife!

I’d almost said too much. (Aside.)

Dem. Why sorry, Chremes?

Chrem. Nothing.—No matter.

Dem. Well, but hark ye, Chremes!

Have you been talking with the girl, and told her

Wherefore we bring your wife?


Chrem. I’ve settled it.

Dem. Well, and what says she?

Chrem. ’Tis impossible

To send her hence.

Dem. And why impossible?

Chrem. Because they are both so fond of one another.

Dem. What’s that to us?

Chrem. A great deal. And besides,

I have discover’d she’s related to us.

Dem. Have you your wits?

Chrem. ’Tis so. I’m very serious.

—Nay, recollect a little!

Dem. Are you mad?

Naus. Good now, beware of wronging a relation!

Dem. She’s no relation to us.

Chrem. Don’t deny it.

Her father had assum’d another name,

And that deceiv’d you.

Dem. What! not know her father?

Chrem. Perfectly.


Dem. Why did she misname him then?

Chrem. Won’t you be rul’d, nor understand me then?

Dem. What can I understand from nothing?

Chrem. Still? (Impatiently.)

Naus. I can’t imagine what this means.

Dem. Nor I.

Chrem. Would you know all?—Why then, so help me Heaven,

She has no nearer kindred in the world

Than you and I.

Dem. Oh, all ye powers of heaven!

—Let us go to her then immediately:

I would fain know, or not know, all at once. (Going.)

Chrem. Ah! (Stopping him.)

Dem. What’s the matter?

Chrem. Can’t you trust me then?

Dem. Must I believe it? take it upon trust?

—Well, be it so!—But what is to be done

With our friend’s daughter?

Chrem. Nothing.

Dem. Drop her?

Chrem. Aye.

Dem. And keep this?

Chrem. Aye.

Dem. Why then, Nausistrata,

You may return. We need not trouble you.


Naus. Indeed, I think, ’tis better on all sides,

That you should keep her here, than send her hence.

For she appear’d to me, when first I saw her,

Much of a gentlewoman.

Exit Nausistrata.


Manent Demipho and Chremes.

Dem. What means this?

Chrem. (looking after Nausistrata). Is the door shut?

Dem. It is.

Chrem. O Jupiter!

The Gods take care of us. I’ve found my daughter

Married to your son.

Dem. Ha! how could it be?

Chrem. It is not safe to tell you here.

Dem. Step in then.

Chrem. But hark ye, Demipho!—I would not have

Even our very sons inform’d of this.



Antipho alone.

I’m glad, however my affairs proceed,

That Phædria’s have succeeded to his mind.

How wise to foster such desires alone,

As, although cross’d, are easily supplied!

Money, once found, sets Phædria at his ease;

But my distress admits no remedy.

For, if the secret’s kept, I live in fear;

And if reveal’d, I am expos’d to shame.

Nor would I now return, but in the hope

Of still possessing her.—But where is Geta?

That I may learn of him the fittest time

To meet my father.


Enter, at a distance, Phormio.

Phor. (to himself). I’ve receiv’d the money;

Paid the procurer; carried off the wench;

Who’s free, and now in Phædria’s possession.

One thing alone remains to be dispatch’d;

To get a respite from th’ old gentlemen


To tipple some few days, which I must spend

In mirth and jollity.

Ant. But yonder’s Phormio.— (Goes up.)

What now?

Phor. Of what?

Ant. What’s Phædria about?

How does he mean to take his fill of love?

Phor. By acting your part in his turn.


Ant. What part?

Phor. Flying his father’s presence.—And he begs

That you’d act his, and make excuses for him;

For he intends a drinking-bout with me.

I shall pretend to the old gentlemen

That I am going to the fair at Sunium,

To buy the servant-maid that Geta mention’d:

Lest, finding I am absent, they suspect

That I am squandering the sum they paid me.

—But your door opens.

Ant. Who comes here?

Phor. ’Tis Geta.


Enter hastily, at another part of the stage, Geta.

Geta. O fortune, O best fortune, what high blessings,

What sudden, great, and unexpected joys

Hast thou shower’d down on Antipho to-day!——

Ant. What can this be he’s so rejoic’d about?

Geta. —And from what fears deliver’d us, his friends?

—But wherefore do I loiter thus? and why

Do I not throw my cloak upon my shoulder,

And haste to find him out, that he may know

All that has happen’d?

Ant. (to Phormio). Do you comprehend

What he is talking of?

Phor. Do you?

Ant. Not I.

Phor. I’m just as wise as you.

Geta. I’ll hurry hence

To the procurer’s.—I shall find them there. (Going.)

Ant. Ho, Geta!


Geta. Look ye there!—Is’t new or strange,

To be recall’d when one’s in haste? (Going.)

Ant. Here, Geta!

Geta. Again? bawl on! I’ll ne’er stop. (Going on.)

Ant. Stay, I say!

Geta. Go, and be drubb’d!

Ant. You shall, I promise you,

Unless you stop, you rascal!

Geta (stopping). Hold, hold, Geta!

Some intimate acquaintance this, be sure,

Being so free with you.—But is it he

That I am looking for, or not?—’Tis he.

Phor. Go up immediately. (They go up to Geta.)

Ant. (to Geta). What means all this?

Geta. O happy man! the happiest man on earth!

So very happy, that, beyond all doubt,

You are the God’s chief fav’rite, Antipho.


Ant. Would I were! but your reason.

Geta. Is’t enough

To plunge you over head and ears in joy?

Ant. You torture me.

Phor. No promises! but tell us

What is your news?

Geta. Oh, Phormio! are you here?

Phor. I am: but why d’ye trifle?

Geta. Mind me then! (To Phormio.)

No sooner had we paid you at the Forum,

But we return’d directly home again.


—Arriv’d, my master sends me to your wife. (To Antipho.)

Ant. For what?

Geta. No matter now, good Antipho.

I was just entering the women’s lodging,

When up runs little Mida; catches me

Hold by the cloak behind, and pulls me back.

I turn about, and ask why he detains me.

He told me, “Nobody must see his mistress:

For Sophrona,” says he, “has just now brought

Demipho’s brother, Chremes, here; and he

Is talking with the women now within.”

—When I heard this, I stole immediately

On tip-toe tow’rd the door; came close; stood hush;

Drew in my breath; applied my ear; and thus,

Deep in attention, catch’d their whole discourse.

Ant. Excellent, Geta!

Geta. Here I overheard

The pleasantest adventure! On my life,

I scarce refrain’d from crying out for joy.

Ant. What?

Geta. What d’ye think? (Laughing.)

Ant. I can’t tell,

Geta. Oh! it was (laughing.)

Most wonderful!—most exquisite!—your uncle


Is found to be the father of your wife.

Ant. How! what?

Geta. He had a sly intrigue, it seems,

With Phanium’s mother formerly at Lemnos. (Laughing.)

Phor. Nonsense! as if she did not know her father!

Geta. Nay, there’s some reason for it, Phormio,

You may be sure.—But was it possible

For me, who stood without, to comprehend

Each minute circumstance that pass’d within?

Ant. I have heard something of this story too.

Geta. Then, Sir, to settle your belief the more,

At last out comes your uncle; and soon after

Returns again, and carries in your father.

Then they both said, they gave their full consent

That you should keep your Phanium.—In a word,

I’m sent to find you out, and bring you to them.


Ant. Away with me then instantly! D’ye linger?


Geta. Not I. Away!

Ant. My Phormio, fare you well!

Phor. Fare you well, Antipho!



Phormio alone.

Well done, ’fore Heaven!

I’m overjoy’d to see so much good fortune

Fallen thus unexpectedly upon them:

I’ve now an admirable opportunity

To bubble the old gentlemen, and ease

Phædria of all his cares about the money;

So that he need not be oblig’d to friends.

For this same money, though it will be given,


Will yet come from them much against the grain;

But I have found a way to force them to’t.

—Now then I must assume a grander air,

And put another face upon this business.

—I’ll hence a while into the next by-alley,

And pop upon them as they’re coming forth.

—As for the trip I talk’d of to the fair,

I sha’n’t pretend to take that journey now.




Enter Demipho and Chremes—and soon after, on t’other side, Phormio.

Dem. Well may we thank the gracious Gods, good brother,

That all things have succeeded to our wish.

—But now let’s find out Phormio with all speed,


Before he throws away our thirty minæ.

Phor. (pretending not to see him).

I’ll go and see if Demipho’s at home,

That I may——

Dem. (meeting him).—We were coming to you, Phormio.

Phor. On the old score, I warrant.

Dem. Aye.

Phor. I thought so.

—Why should you go to me?—ridiculous!

Was you afraid I’d break my contract with you?

No, no! how great soe’er my poverty,

I’ve always shown myself a man of honor.


Chrem. Has not she, as I said, a liberal air?

Dem. She has.


Phor. —And therefore I was coming, Demipho,

To let you know I’m ready to receive

My wife whene’er you please. For I postpon’d

All other business, as indeed I ought,

Soon as I found ye were so bent on this.

Dem. Aye, but my brother has dissuaded me

From going any further in this business.

“For how will people talk of it?” says he:

“At first you might have done it handsomely;

But then you’d not consent to it; and now,

After cohabitation with your son,

To think of a divorce is infamous.”

—In short, he urg’d almost the very things

That you so lately charg’d me with yourself.

Phor. You trifle with me, gentlemen.

Dem. How so?

Phor. How so? Because I can not marry t’other,

With whom I told you I was first in treaty.

For with what face can I return to her

Whom I have held in such contempt?

Chrem. Tell him

Antipho does not care to part with her. (Prompting Demipho.)

Dem. And my son too don’t care to part with her:

—Step to the Forum then, and give an order


For the repayment of our money, Phormio.

Phor. What! when I’ve paid it to my creditors?

Dem. What’s to be done then?

Phor. Give me but the wife

To whom you have betroth’d me, and I’ll wed her.

But if you’d rather she should stay with you,

The portion stays with me, good Demipho,

For ’tis not just I should be bubbled by you;

When, to retrieve your honor, I’ve refus’d

Another woman with an equal fortune.

Dem. A plague upon your idle vaporing,

You vagabond!—D’ye fancy we don’t know you?

You, and your fine proceedings?

Phor. You provoke me.

Dem. Why, would you marry her, if proffer’d?

Phor. Try me.

Dem. What! that my son may keep her privately

At your house?—That was your intention.

Phor. Ha!

What say you, Sir?

Dem. Give me my money, Sirrah!

Phor. Give me my wife, I say.

Dem. To justice with him!

Phor. To justice? Now, by Heaven, gentlemen,


If you continue to be troublesome——


Dem. What will you do?

Phor. What will I do? Perhaps

You think that I can only patronize

Girls without portion; but be sure of this,

I’ve some with portions too.

Chrem. What’s that to us?

Phor. Nothing.—I know a lady here whose husband——

Chrem. Ha! (Carelessly.)

Dem. What’s the matter?

Phor. —Had another wife

At Lemnos.

Chrem. (aside). I’m a dead man.

Phor. —By which other

He had a daughter; whom he now brings up

In private.

Chrem. (aside). Dead and buried.

Phor. This I’ll tell her. (Going toward the house.)

Chrem. Don’t, I beseech you!


Phor. Oh! are you the man?

Dem. Death! how insulting!

Chrem. (to Phormio). We discharge you.

Phor. Nonsense!

Chrem. What would you more? The money you have got

We will forgive you.

Phor. Well; I hear you now.

—But what a plague d’ye mean by fooling thus,

Acting and talking like mere children with me?

—I won’t; I will: I will; I won’t again:——

Give, take; say, unsay; do, and then undo.

Chrem. (to Demipho). Which way could he have learn’d this?

Dem. I don’t know;

But I am sure I never mention’d it.

Chrem. Good now! amazing!

Phor. I have ruffled them. (Aside.)

Dem. What! shall he carry off so large a sum,

And laugh at us so openly?—By Heaven,

I’d rather die.—Be of good courage, brother!


Pluck up the spirit of a man! You see

This slip of yours is got abroad; nor can you

Keep it a secret from your wife. Now, therefore,

’Tis more conducive to your peace, good Chremes,

That we should fairly tell it her ourselves,

Than she should hear the story from another.

And then we shall be quite at liberty

To take our own revenge upon this rascal.

Phor. Ha!—If I don’t take care I’m ruin’d still.

They’re growing desperate, and making tow’rd me

With a determin’d gladiatorial air.

Chrem. (to Demipho). I fear she’ll ne’er forgive me.

Dem. Courage, Chremes!


I’ll reconcile her to’t; especially

The mother being dead and gone.

Phor. Is this

Your dealing, gentlemen? You come upon me

Extremely cunningly.—But, Demipho,

You have but ill consulted for your brother,

To urge me to extremities.—And you, Sir (to Chremes),

When you have play’d the whoremaster abroad;

Having no reverence for your lady here,

A woman of condition; wronging her

After the grossest manner; come you now


To wash away your crimes with mean submission?

No.—I will kindle such a flame in her,

As, though you melt in tears, you sha’n’t extinguish.

Dem. A plague upon him! was there ever man

So very impudent?—A knave! he ought

To be transported at the public charge

Into some desert.

Chrem. I am so confounded,

I know not what to do with him.

Dem. I know.

Bring him before a judge!

Phor. Before a judge?

A lady-judge; in here, Sirs, if you please.

Dem. Run you and hold him, while I call her servants.

Chrem. I can not by myself; come up and help me.

Phor. I have an action of assault against you. (To Demipho.)

Chrem. Bring it!

Phor. Another against you too, Chremes!


Dem. Drag him away! (Both lay hold of him.)

Phor. (struggling). Is that your way with me!

Then I must raise my voice.—Nausistrata!

Come hither.

Chrem. Stop his mouth!

Dem. (struggling). A sturdy rogue!

How strong he is!

Phor. (struggling). Nausistrata, I say.


Chrem. (struggling). Peace, Sirrah!

Phor. Peace, indeed!

Dem. Unless he follows, strike him in the stomach!

Phor. Aye, or put out an eye!—But here comes one

Will give me full revenge upon you both.


To them Nausistrata.

Naus. Who calls for me?

Chrem. Confusion!


Naus. (to Chremes). Pray, my dear,

What’s this disturbance?

Phor. Dumb, old Truepenny!

Naus. Who is this man?—Why don’t you answer me? (To Chremes.)


Phor. He answer you! he’s hardly in his senses.

Chrem. Never believe him!

Phor. Do but go and touch him;

He’s in a shivering fit, I’ll lay my life.

Chrem. Nay——

Naus. But what means he then?

Phor. I’ll tell you, madam;

Do but attend!

Chrem. Will you believe him then?

Naus. What is there to believe, when he says nothing?

Phor. Poor man! his fear deprives him of his wits.

Naus. (to Chremes). I’m sure you’re not so much afraid

for nothing.

Chrem. What! I afraid? (Endeavoring to take heart.)

Phor. Oh, not at all!—And since

You’re in no fright, and what I say means nothing,

Tell it yourself.

Dem. At your desire, you rascal?

Phor. Oh, you’ve done rarely for your brother, Sir!


Naus. What! Won’t you tell me, husband?

Chrem. But——

Naus. But what?

Chrem. There’s no occasion for it.

Phor. Not for you:

But for the Lady there is much occasion.

In Lemnos——

Chrem. Ha! what say you?

Dem. (to Phormio). Hold your peace!

Phor. Without your knowledge——

Chrem. Oh dear!

Phor. He has had

Another wife.

Naus. My husband? Heav’n forbid!

Phor. ’Tis even so.

Naus. Ah me! I am undone.

Phor. —And had a daughter by her there; while you

Was left to sleep in ignorance alone.

Naus. Oh Heavens!—Baseness!—Treachery!

Phor. ’Tis fact.

Naus. Was ever any thing more infamous?

When they’re with us, their wives forsooth, they’re old.

—Demipho, I appeal to you: for him

I can not bear to speak to.—And were these

His frequent journeys and long stay at Lemnos?


Was this the cheapness that reduc’d our rents?


Dem. That he has been to blame, Nausistrata,

I don’t deny; but not beyond all pardon.

Phor. You’re talking to the dead.

Dem. It was not done

Out of aversion or contempt to you.

In liquor, almost fifteen years ago,

He met this woman, whence he had this daughter;

Nor e’er had commerce with her from that hour.

She’s dead: your only grievance is remov’d.

Wherefore I beg you’d show your wonted goodness,

And bear it patiently.

Naus. How! bear it patiently?

Alas! I wish his vices might end here.

But have I the least hope? can I suppose

That years will cure these rank offenses in him?

Ev’n at that time he was already old,

If age could make him modest.—Are my years

And beauty, think ye, like to please him more

At present, Demipho, than formerly?

—In short, what ground, what reason to expect

That he should not commit the same hereafter?

Phor. (aloud). Whoever would attend the funeral


Of Chremes, now’s the time!—See! that’s my way.

Come on then! provoke Phormio now, who dares!

Like Chremes, he shall fall a victim to me.

—Let him get into favor when he will!

I’ve had revenge sufficient. She has something

To ring into his ears his whole life long.

Naus. Have I deserv’d this?—Need I, Demipho,

Number up each particular, and say

How good a wife I’ve been?

Dem. I know it all.

Naus. Am I then justly treated?

Dem. Not at all.

But since reproaches can’t undo what’s done,

Forgive him! he begs pardon; owns his fault;

And promises to mend.—What would you more?

Phor. But hold; before she ratifies his pardon,

I must secure myself and Phædria. (Aside.)

—Nausistrata, a word!—Before you give

Your answer rashly, hear me!

Naus. What’s your pleasure?

Phor. I trick’d your husband there of thirty minæ,

Which I have giv’n your son; and he has paid them

To a procurer for a mistress.

Chrem. How!


What say you?

Naus. Is it such a heinous crime

For your young son, d’ye think, to have one mistress,

While you have two wives?—Are you not asham’d?

Have you the face to chide him? answer me!


Dem. He shall do ev’ry thing you please.

Naus. Nay, nay,

To tell you plainly my whole mind at once,

I’ll not forgive, nor promise any thing,

Nor give an answer, till I see my son.

Phor. Wisely resolv’d, Nausistrata.

Naus. Is that

Sufficient satisfaction for you?

Phor. Quite.

I rest contented, well pleas’d, past my hopes.

Naus. What is your name, pray?

Phor. My name? Phormio:

A faithful friend to all your family,

Especially to Phædria.

Naus. Trust me, Phormio,

I’ll do you all the service in my power.

Phor. I’m much oblig’d to you.

Naus. You’re worthy on’t.

Phor. Will you then even now, Nausistrata,

Grant me one favor that will pleasure me,

And grieve your husband’s sight?

Naus. With all my soul.


Phor. Ask me to supper!

Naus. I invite you.

Dem. In then!

Naus. We will. But where is Phædria, our judge?

Phor. He shall be with you.— (To the Audience.)

Farewell; Clap your hands!