Titus Maccius Plautus.

The comedies of Plautus : literally translated into English prose, with notes online

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PxHO. And he, too, is he a very fine fellow ?

Pal. Away witli you, if you please. "What have you^ to
do with him ? You have your hands quite full enough with
the women. Attend to this for tlie present.

Pykg. As to that advice you were giving me, I wish you
to have a few words with her upon that subject. For, really,
a conversation on that subject with her is more becoming'
for you.

Pal. "What is more advisable than for you to go yourself,
and transact your own concerns ? Toil must say that it is
absolutely necessary lor you to marry : that your relations
are persuading, your friends are urging, you.

PrEG. And do you think so? Pal. Why shouldn't I
think so ?

PxEG. I'll go in, then. Do you, in the mean time, keep
watch here before the house, that when the other woman
comes out you may call me out.

Pal. Do you only mind the business that you are upon.

PxHQ-. That, indeed, is resolved upon. Por if she will not
go out of her own accord, I'll turn her out by force.

Pal. Do you take care how you do that ; but rather let her
go from your house with a good grace^, and give her those
things that I mentioned. The gold trinkets and apparel, with
which yon furnished her, let her take away.

PxEG. By my troth, I wish she would.

Pal. I think 3'ou'll easily prevail upon lier. But go in-
doors ; don't linger liere.

Pteg. I obey you. ( Goes into Ms Jwnse). Pal. {to the
AuBiEirci!). Now, does he really appear to be anything dif-
ferent from what, awhile ago, I told you he was, this wench-
ing Captain ? Now it is requisite that Acroteleutium should
come to me, her maid too, and Pleusicles. O Jupiter! and
does not opportunity favour me in eveiy respect ? Por those
whom I especially wished to see, I perceive at this moment
coming out here from our neighbour's.

' What have 7/ou) — Ver. T112. This passage is somewhat modified above.

^ Is more becoming) — Ver. 1116. He tliinks it not suitable to his dignity tr
Epeak on the subject himself, and therefore wishes to put the task npon P.ilffi.'if i v\

' With a good grace') — Ver. 1125. "Pergratiam bonam." " Bon.n, gr<itia"' iva. ,
« legal term used in the case of amicable divcces with the consent of bn h y.ini.'-


Scene IV.

Enter Aceoteieutium, Milphibippa, and Pleusicles
from tlie house o/Teeiplecomenus.

AcEOT. Follow me ; at the same time look around, tliat
there may be no overlooker.

Mil. iFaith, I see no one, only him whom we want to

Pal. Just as I loant you.

Mil. How do you do, our master-plotter ?

Pal. I, the master-plotter ? Nonsense.

Mil. How so ? Pal. Because, in comparison with your-
self, I am not worthy to fix a beam in a wall.

AcEOT. Aye, indeed so. Pal. She's a very fluent and a
very clever hand at mischief. How charmingly she did
polish off the Captain.

Mil. But still, not enough. Pal. Be of good courage
all the business is now prospering under our hands. Only
do you, as you have begun, still give a helping hand ; for
the Captain himself has gone in-doors, to entreat his mis-
tress to leave his house, with her mother and sister, for

Pleus. Very good — well done. Pal. Besides, all the
gold trinhets and appare-l which he himself has provided for
the damsel, he gives her to keep as a present for herself —
so have I recommended him.

Pleus. Eeally, it's easily done, if both she wishes it, and
ho desires it as well.

Pal. Don't you know that when, from a deep well, you
have ascended up to the top, there is the greatest danger
lest you should thence fall back again from the top. This
affair is now being carried on at the top of the well. If the
Captain should have a suspicion of it, nothing whatever of his
will be able to be carried off. Now, most especially, we
have need of clever contrivances.

Pleits. I see that there is material enough at l,om£ for
that purpose — three women, yourself the fourth, T am the
fifth, the old gentleman the sixth.

Pal. "What an edifice of stratagems has been erected by
U8 ! I know for certain, that any town seems as thougl.


it could be taken by these plana : only do you lend youf

AcEOT. For that purpose are we come to you, to see if you
wish for anything.

Pal. Ton do what's a propos. Now to you do I assign
this department^.

AoEOT. General, you shall assign me whatever you please,
so far as I am capable.

PAii. I wish this Captain to be played oflf cleverly and

AcsoT. I' faith, you're assigning me what's a pleasure to

Pai. But do you understand how ? Aoeot. You mean
that I must pretend that I am distracted with love for him.

Pal. Eight — you have it. Aceot. And as though by
reason of that love I had foregone^ my present marriage,
longing for a match with him.

Pal. Everything exactly in its due order; except only
this one point ; you must say that this house (^pointing to
the house of Peeiplecomentjs) was your marriage-portion :
that the old man had departed hence from you after you had
carried out the divorce, lest he should be afraid just now to
come here into the house of another man.

Aceot. Tou advise me well. Pal. But when he comes
out from in-doors, I wish you — standing at a distance there
— so to make pretence, as though in comparison with his
beauty you despised your own, and as though you were

' This departmenf) — Ver. 1159. " Impero provinciam." This term was pro-
perly applied to the Senate when bestowing a province npon a Proconsul or Pro-

'' I had foregone) — Ver. 1164. To acconnt for the facility ?rith which the pre-
tended divorce appears to take place, we must rememher that among the Romans
either party was at liberty to dissolve the tie of marriage. Where a husband
divorced his wife, the wife's "doSj^or marriage-portion, was in general restored
to her; and the same was the case where the divorce took place by mutual consent.
This will account for Acroteleutium asserting that she had been divorced from
Periplecomenus, and that she had retained possession of the house as having formed
her marriage-portion. As a loss of affection on either side was thought to ccnsti-
ttte a good ground for divorce, is is not to be wondered at if the Captain should
believe the story that his neighbour's wife had obtained a divorce on account of hci
passion for himself.



struck with awe at Ms opulent circumstances ; at the same
time, too, praise the comeliness of his person, the beauty ol
his face. Are you tutored enough ?

AcEOT. I understand ii ffiZZ. Is it enough that I give you my
work so nicely finished oflf that you cannot find a fault with it.

Pal. I'm content. Now {addressing Pletjsicles), in
your turn, learn what charge I shaU. give to you. So soon as
this shall be done, when she shall have gone in, then do jou
immediately take care to come here dressed in the garb of a
master of a ship. Have on a broad-brimmed hat^ of iron-
grey, a woollen shade^ before your eyes ; have on an iron-grey
cloak' (for that is the seaman's colour) ; Tiave it fastened over
the left shoulder, your right arm projecting out*, * * *
* * * your clothes some way well girded up, pretend as
though you are some master of a ship. And all these re-
quisites are at the house of this old gentleman, for he keeps

Pleus. "Well, when I'm dressed out, why don't you tell
me what I'm to do then ?

Pal. Come here, and, in the name of her mother, bring
word to Philocomasium, that, if she would return to Athens,
she must go with you to the harbour directly, and that she

' A broad-brimmed Aai)— Ver. 1178. " Causia." See the note to 1. 851 of the
" Trinummtis."

2 A woollen shade) — Ver. 1178. " Culcitam laneam." The " culcita" here
alluded to was a little cnshion padded with wool, which was placed before weak or
diseased eyes to absorb the moisture. It is supposed to have been either bound
against the part affected, or eke to have been held in the hand and apphed every
now and then. Commentators seem to think that here Plensicles holds it up to
his eye with his hand when addressing the Captain. They are at a loss to know
why Palffistrio recommends this, as the Captain has never seen Plensicles, who
was at Naupactus when Philocomasium was carried off. Still, though it is not
mentioned, it may be, because the Captain had seen Plensicles before he went to
Naupactus ; or, what is more probable, that, affecting to have weak eyes, Plensicles
may not appear so comely as he really is, and not thereby excite any suspicion in
the Captain's mind as to his intentions.

" An iron-grey cloaJc)—Yer. 1179. Some think that the " ferrngineus," or iron
colour, here called "colos thalassinus," or " the sea-colour," was dark blue, but
dark grey seems more probable, as the shades of blue were too expensive for
common wear.

^ Bight m-m projecting out)— Yer. 1180. This no doubt was the way m which
the " paUium" was usually worn by seafaring men, for the sake of expeJitioD, and
in erder to give free play to the right arm when aboard ship.


must order it to be carried down to the ship if she wishes
anything to be put on board ; that if she doesn't go, you
must weigh anchor, for the wind is favourable.

Pletjs. I like your plan muck : do proceed.

Pal. The Captain will at once advise her to go speedily
that she may not delay her mother.

PiEtrs. Every way you are clever. Pal. I shall teU him
that she asks for me as a helper to carry her baggage down to
the harbour. I shall go, and, understand you, I shall im-
mediately be off with you straight to Athens.

PLErs. And when you have reached there, I'll never let
you be ashore three days before you're free.

Pal. Be off speedily and equip yourself.

Pleus. Is there anything besides ? Pal. Only to remem-
ber all this.

Pletjs. I'm off. (JExit^ Pai. And do you (to Aoeote-
LETJTirM and Milphidippa) be off hence in-doors this in-
stant, for I'm quite sure that he'U just now be comiag out
hence from in-doors.

AcEOT. With us your command is as good as law.

Pal. Come, then, begone. But see, the door opens oppor-
tunely. {^The women go into the house of Peeiplecomenus.)

Scene Y.
Tenter PyEGOPOLiNicEs/J-OMi his house.

PxEG. What I wished I have obtained just as I wished, on
kind and friendly terms, that she would leave me.

Pal. Por what reason am I to say that you have been so
long in-doors ?

PxEG. I never was so sensible that I was beloved by that
woman as now.

Pal. Why so ? Pteg. How many words she did utter !
How the matter was protracted ! But in the end I obtained
what I wanted, and I granted her what she wanted and what
she asked of me. I made a present of you also to her.

Pal. What — me, too ? In what way shall I exist with-
out you ?

Pyeg. Come, be of good heart ; I'U make you free from
her, too. But I used aU endeavours, if I could by any
method persuade her to go away, and not take you with, her /
she forced me, however.


Pal. In the G-ods and yourself I'll place my trust. Tet,
at the last, although it is bitter to me that I must be deprived
of an excellent master, yourself, at least it is a pleasiu-e to
me that, through my means, by reason of the excellence
of your beauty, this has happened to you with regard to
this lady neighbour, whom I am now introducing to you.

Pyeg. "Wliat need of words ? I'll give you liberty and
wealth if you obtain her /or ine.

Pal. I'll win her. Pteg. But I'm impatient.

Pal. But moderation is requisite ; curb your desires ;
don't be over anxious. But see, here she is herself; she is
coming out of doors.

Scene VI.

Enter Aceoteleutium and MiLPHiDiPPAyrom the house of


Mil. (in a low voice'). Mistress, see! the Captain's near.

AcEOT. (in a low voice). "Where is he r Mil. Only look
to the left. Eye him askance, that he mayn't perceive that
we are looking at him.

AcEOT. I see him. Troth, now's the time, ia our mis-
chief, for us to become supremely mischievous.

Mil. 'Tis for you to begin. Aceot. (aloud). Prithee, did
you see him yourself ? (Aside.) Don't spare your voice, so
that he may hear.

Mil. (aloud). By my troth, I talked with his own self, at
my ease, as long as I pleased, at my leisure, at my own dis-
cretion, just as I wished.

Pteg. (to Pal^steio). Do you hear what she says ?

Pal. (to Pyegopolinices). I hear. How delighted sheia
because she had access to you.

AoEOT. (aloud). O happy woman that you are !

Pteg. How I do seem to be loved !

Pal. Ton are deserving of it. Mil. (aloud). By my troth,
'tis passing strange what you say, that you had access to him
and prevailed. They say that he is usually addressed, like a
king, through letters or messengers.

Mil. (aloud). But, i' faith, 'twas with difficulty I had an
opportunity of approaching and beseeching him.

Pal. (to Ptegopolhtices). How renowned you are among
the fair


Pteg. (to Pal^steio). I shall submit, since Venus wills
it so.

AcEOT. (aloud). By heavens ! I return to Venus grateful
thanks, and her I do beseech and entreat, that I may win
him whom I love and whom I seek to win, and that to me he
may prove gentle, and not make a difficulty about what I

Mill, (aloted). I hope it may be so ; although many ladies
are seeking to win him for themselves, he disdains them and
estranges himself from all but you alone.

AcEOT. (aloud'). Therefore this fear torments me, since he
is so disdainful, lest his eyes, when he beholds me, should
change his sentiments, and his own gracefulness should at
once disdain my form.

Mil. (aloud). He will not do so; be of good heart.

PxEG. (to Paljjsteio). How she does slight herself!

AcEOT. (aloud). I fear lest joxuc account may have sur-
passed my looks.

Mil. (aloud.) I've taken care of this, that you shall be
fairer than his expectations.

AcEOT. (aloud). Troth, if he shall refuse to take me as his
wife, by heavens I'll embrace his knees and entreat him !
If I shaU. be unable to prevail on him, in some way or other,
I'll put myself to death. I'm quite sure that without him I
cannot live.

Pteg. (to Pai^esteio). I see that I must prevent this
woman's death. Shall I accost her ?

Pal. By no means ; for you wUl be making yourself cheap
if you lavish yourself away of your own accord. Let her come
spontaneously, seek you, court you, strive to win you. Un-
less you wish to lose that glory which you have, please
have a care what you do. For I know that this was never
the lot of any mortal, except two persons, yourself and Phaon
of Lesbos^, to be loved so desperately.

AcROT. (aloud). I'U go in-doors^ — or, my dear MUphi-
dippa, do you call him out of doors.

^ Phaxm of Lesbos) — Ver. 1247. Sappho, the poetess, was enamoured of Phaou
the Lesbian. When he deserted her, she threw herself from the Lencadian pro-
montory or Lover's Leap, which was supposed to provide a cure for unrequited
love. Her death was the consequence. See her Epistle to Phaon, the twenty-first
of the Heroides of Ovid.

' rUgo {n-door3)—Vei. 1248. It must be remembered, that all this time thei


Mil. (aloud). Are ; let's wait until some one comes out.

AcEOT. (aloud).'! can't restrain myself from going in to
him. ,

Ma. (aloud). The door's fastened. Aoeot. (aloud). Ill
break it in then.

Miii. (aloud). Tou are not in your senses.

AcEOT. (aloud). If he has ever loved, or if he has wisdom
equal to his beauty, whatever I may do through love, he will
pardon me by reason of his compassionate feelings.

Pal. (to PxEGOPOiiNiCEs) . Prithee, do see, how distracted
the poor thing is vrith love.

Pteg. (to Pal^steio). 'Tis mutual in us. Pal. Hush !
Don't you let her hear.

Mil. (aloud). "Why do you stand stupefied ? Why don't
you knock ?

AcEOT. (aloud). Because he is not within whom I want.

Mil. (aloud). How do you know^ ? Aceot. (aloud). By
my troth, I do know it easily ; for my nose would scent him
if he were within.

PxEG. (to Pal^steio). She is a diviner. Because she is
•n love with me, Venus has made her prophesy.

Aceot. (aloud). He is somewhere or other close at hand
whom I do so long to behold. I'm sure I smeU him.

Pteg. (to Paljesteio). Troth, now, she reaUy sees better
vvith her nose than with her eyes.

Pal. (to Ptegopolinioes). She is blind from love. Aoeot.
(aloud). Prithee, do support me.

Mil. (aloud). Why ? Aceot. (aloud). Lest I should

Mil. (aloud). Wliy? Aceot. (aloud). Because I cannot
stand ; my senses — mi/ senses are sinking so by reason of my

Mil. (aloud). Heavens! you've seen the Captain.

Aoeot. (aloud). 1 have. Mil. (aloud). I don't see him.
Where is he ?

have pretended not to see Palaestrio or Lis master. Milphidippa cautioned her
mistress only to take a side-glance at him (Hmis), after which they have, probably
turned their backs.

' Bow do you know) — Ver. 1255. In Ritschel's edition, these words are attri-
bnted to Palsestrio. This is clearly a mistake, for Palaestrio has not yet joined il
their eonversation. rie iind his master are listening to what they say.


AoROT. (aloucT). Troth, you -srould see him if you were in

Mil. (aloud). I' faith, you don't love him more than I do
myself, with your good leave.

Pal. (to PrEGOPOLiNicEs). No doubt all of the women, aa
soon as each has seen you, are in love with you.

PrEG. (<o Pal^ste'io). I don't know whether you have
beard it from me or not ; I'm the grandson of Venus.

ACEOT. (aloud). My dear Milphidippa, prithee do ap-
proach and accost him.

Pyeg. (to Pal^steio). How she does stand in awe of me !

Pal. (to PxEGOPOLiNicEs). She is coming towards us.

Mil. (advancing). I wish to speak with you.

PiEG. And we with you. Mil. I have brought my mis-
tress out of the house, as you requested me.

Pyeg. So I see. Mil. Request her, then, to approach.

Pyeg. Since you have entreated it, I have prevailed upon
my mind not to detest her just like other women.

Mil. I' faith she wouldn't be able to utter a word if she
were to come near you ; while she was looking at you, her
eyes have in the meantime tied her tongue.

Pyeg. I see that this woman's disorder must be cured.

Mil. See how terrified she is since she beheld you.

Pyeg. Even armed men are the same ; don't wonder at a
woman iein^ so. But what does she wish me to do ?

Mil. Ton to come to her house ; she wishes to live and
to pass her life with you.

PxEG. What ! — I come home to her, when she is a mar-
ried woman ? Her husband is to be stood in fear of.

Mil. Why, — for your sake, she has turned her husband
out of her house.

Pyeg. How ? How could she do so ?

Mil. The house was her marriage-portion.

Pyeg. Was it so ? Mil. It was so, on my word.

Pyeg. Bid her go home ; I'll be there just now.

Mil. Take care, and don't keep her in expectation ; don't
torment her feelings.

Pyeg. Not I, indeed. Do you go then. Mil. We are
going. (AcEOTELEUTiTTM and Milphidippa ffo into the lioiae


Pino. But what do T see r Pal. Wliat do you see ?


Pteg. See there, some one is commg, I know not who,
but in a sailor's dress.

Pal. He is surely wanting us, now ; really, it is the smi).

Ptbg. He's come, I suppose, to fetch her.
Pal. I fancy so.

Scene VII.
Enter Plettsicles, at a distance, in a Sailor's dress.
Pleus. (to himself). Did I not know that another man in
other ways has done many a thing unbecomingly on account
of love, I should be more ashamed by reason of love for me to
be going in this garb. But since I have learned that many per-
sons by reason of love have committed many actions, dis-
graceful and estranged from what is good, ***** for

I pass by how Achilles sufiered^ his comrades to be slain

But there's Palsestrio, he's standing with the Captain.
My talk must now be changed for another kind. Woman
is surely bom of tardiness itself. For every other delay,
which is a delay just as much, seems a less delay than that
which is on account of a woman. I really think that this is
done merely from habit. But I shall call for this Philoco-
masium. I'll knock at the door then. Hallo ! is there any
one here ? (Knochs at the Captain' s door.)

Pal. Young man — what is it ? What do you want ?
Why are you knocking ?

Pletjs I'm come to inquire for Philocomasium ; I'm come
from her mother. If she's for going, let her set off. She is
delaying us all ; we wish to weigh anchor.

PxEG. Her things have been some time in readiness.
Hearkye, Palsestrio, take some assistants with you to carry
to the ship her golden trinkets, her furniture, apparel, all
her precious things. All the articles are already packed up
which I gave her.

Pai. rU go. (Goes into the house.') Pleus. Troth now,
prithee, do make haste.

PrRG. There shall be no delay. Pray, what is it that has
been done^ with your eye ?

' AcliiUes suffered) — Vcr. 1289. This was when he withdrew from the warfare
on being deprived of Briseis by Agamemnon, on which occasion Hector mada
great havoc among the Grecian forces.

' That hat been done^ — Ver 130G. He asks " what has been done with " or " bo-


Pletjs. Troth, but I have my eye. (Foints to the riglit one.)

Pteg. But the left oue I mean.

Pleus. I'll tell you. On account of the sea, I use thia
eye less ; but if I kept away from the sea^, I should use
the one like the other. But they are detaining me too long.

Pteg. See, here they are coming out.

Scene VIII.
Enter Paljesteio and PHiLocoMASiuMyrojra tlie Captain's


Pal. (to Philocomasiitm). Prithee, when wiU you this
day make an end of your weeping ?

Phil. "What can I do but weep ? I am going away
hence where I have spent my days most happily.

Pal. See, there's the man that has come from your
mother and sister {pointing to PLErsiCLEs).

Phil. I see him. Pyeu. Palaestrio, do you hear ?

Pal. What is your pleasure P Pxeg. Aren't you order-
ing those presents to be brought out which I gave her ?

Pleits. Health to you, Philocomasium. Phil. And health
to you.

Pleub. Tour mother and sister bade me give their love
to you.

Phil. Heaven prosper them. Pleus. They beg you to
set out, so that, while the wind is fair, they may set sail.
But if your mother's eyes had been well, she would have
come^ together with me.

Phil. I'U go ; although T do it with regret — duty compels

Pletjs. Tou act wisely. Pteg. If she had not been passing
her life with myself, this day she would have been a blockhead.

come of," his eye ? On which Plensicles tells him, by way of a quibble, that he has
got his eye, allading to the right one, while the Captain refers to the left, against
which the " lectica" is placed.

1 From the sea) — Ver. 130'J. There is a pun here, which cannot be preserved
in the translation. " Si abstinnissem a mare," " If I kept away from the sea,"
may also be read, " Si abstinnissem amare," ** If I refrained from loving." The
Captain understands him in the former sense, thinking that he means that he
has got a disease in his eye, which may be increased by leading a seafaring life.

''She would have come) — Ver. 1318. Thornton justly observes that this excuse
for the pretended mother not making her appearance is fair enough, but there is
no reason alleged why the sister should not come, except that we may suppose
that she stay* to nurse and comfort her sick parent.

138 MILES GliOr-IOSTlS; Act IV,

Phii. I am distracted at this, that I am estranged from
Buch a man. For you are able to make any_ woman what-
ever abound in wit; and because I was living with you,
for that reason I was of a very lofty spirit. I see that 1
must lose that loftiness of mind. {Pretends to ery^

PrE&. Don't weep. Phil. I can't help it when I look
upon you.

Ptb,&. Be of good courage. Phil. I know what pain it
is to me.

Pal. I really don't wonder now, Philocomasium, if you
were here with happinnss to yourself, when I, a servant —
as I look at him, weep because we are parting (jiretends
to ery), so much have his beauty, his manners, his valour,
captivated your feelings.

Phil. Prithee, do let me embrace you before I depart ?

Prua. By all means. Phil, (embracing Mm). O my
eyes ! my life !

Pal. Do hold up the woman, I entreat you, lest she should
fall. (He takes hold of her, and she pretends to faint.)

Prna. "What means this? Pal. Because, after she bad
quitted you, she suddenly became faint, poor thing.

Pye&. Eun in and fetch some water.

Pal. I want no water ; but I had rather you would kee;^

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