Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

choose to know. All people were in the habit of saying that this Callicles was unworthy of this state, and, himself, to exist, who had despoiled this young man of his property. From the reports of these tale-bearers, in my ignorance I rushed forward to rebuke my guiltless friend. But if the authority was always required from the foundation, upon which they speak of anything they have heard, unless that clearly appeared, the matter ought to be to the peril and loss of the tale-bearer. If this were so, it would be for the public benefit. I would cause those to be but few, who know that which they do not knowl, and I would make them have their silly chattering more restricted. (Exit.

ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE I.

Enter LYSITELES. Lys. I am revolving many things in my mind at once, and much uneasiness do I find in thinking upon them. I tease, and fret, and wear myself out; a mind that enjoins a hard task” is now my master. But this thing is not clear to me, nor has it been enough studied by me, which pursuit of these two I should rather follow for myself; which of the two I should think of the greater stability for passing my life therein : whether it were preferable for me to devote myself to love or to aggrandisement; in which alternative there is more enjoyment of life in passing one's days. On this point I am not fully satisfied. But this I think I'll do, that I may weigh both the points together, I must be both judge and culprit in this trial : I'll do so— I like it much. First of all, I will enlarge upon the pursuits of love, how they conduce to one's welfare. Love never expects any but the willing man to throw himself in his toils; these he seeks for, these he follows up, and craftily counsels against their interests. He is a fawning flatterer, a rapacious grapplers, a deceiver, a

They do not know)— Ver. 221. That is, “ who only pretend to know.” ? That enjoins a hard task)—Ver. 226. “ Exercitor” means the "instructor" or" training master” in the Gymnastic exercises. Of course, to beginners, the "exercitores” would be hard task-masters.

A rapacious grappler)—Ver. 239. “ Harpago” means either a “grapplingiron” or a “flesh-hook.” It was often made in the form of a hand, with the

3

sweet-tooth, a spoiler, a corrupter of men who court retirement, a pryer into secrets. For he that is in love, soon as ever he has been smitten with the kisses of the object that he loves, forthwith his substance vanishes out of doors and melts away. “Give me this thing!, my honey, if you love me, if you possibly can." And then this gudgeon says: “O apple of my eye, be it so: both that shall be given you, and still more, if you wish it to be given.” Then does she strike while he is wavering? ; and now she begs for more. Not enough is this evil

, unless there is still something more—what to eat, what to drink. A thing that creates: a further expense, the favour of a night is granted; a whole family is then introduced for her—a wardrobe-woman, a perfume-keepers, a cofferer, fan-bearers', sandal-bearers?, singing-girls, casketkeepers?, messengers, news-carriers, so many wasters of his bread and substance. The lover himself, while to them he is complaisant, becomes a beggar. When I revolve these things in my mind, and when I reflect how little one is valued when he is in need ; away with

fingers bent inwards. The grappling-iron was used to throw at the enemy's ship, where it seized the rigging and dragged the vessel within reach, so that it might be easily boarded and destroyed. Cupid is so called here, figuratively, from his insidious approaches, and the difficulty which his victims have in shaking him off.

1 Give me this thing)—Ver. 244. This is supposed to be pronounced in a mincing or affected way, to imitate the wheedling manners of the frail tempter.

2 While he is wavering)-Ver. 247. Literally," she strikes him as he hangs." Lindemann seems to think that there is a play upon the word "pendentem,” which would apply either to the slave, who, according to the barbarous custom of the Romans, was lashed as he hung from the hook to which he was fastened by the hands, or to the lover who is hesitating between assent and refusal; on which she, by her artfulness—"ferit"_" strikes the decisive blow.” Terence has the expression “ferior munere," " to strike with a present."

3 A thing that creates)—Ver. 250. This passage is here read with a period after 66 comest,” and not after “sumpti," as Ritschel's edition has it. This seems more agreeable to the sense of the passage, which is, however, probably in a corrupt state.

4 Wardrobe-woman)-Ver. 252. The duty of the "vestiplica” would be to fold up and try the clothes of her mistress. These slaves were also called “vestispicæ,* and servants" a veste."

5 & perfume-keeper)-Ver. 252. The 66 unctor was probably a male slave, whose duty it was to procure and keep the perfumes and unguents for his mistress.

6 Fan-bearers)—Ver. 252. Both male and female slaves, and eunuchs, were employed to fan their mistresses. The fans were of elegant form and beautiful colours, and were frequently made of peacocks' feathers, being of a stiff shape, and not pliable, like ours. They were used both for the purpose of cooling the air and driving away flies and gnats.

7 Sandal-bearers)—Ver. 252. The sandal was often one of the most costly articles of the female dress, being much adorned with embroidery and gold. Originally it was worn by both sexes, and consisted of a wooden sole, fastened with

you,
Love-I like you

not -no converse do I hold with you. Although 'tis sweet to feast and to carouse, Love still gives bitters enough to be distasteful. He avoids the Courts of justice, he drives away your relations, and drives yourself away

from

your own contemplation. Nor do men wish that he should be called their friend. In a thousand ways is Love to be held a stranger, to be kept at a distance, and to be wholly abstained from. For he who plunges into love, perishes more dreadfully than if he leapt from a rock. Away with you, Love, if you please ; keep your own property to yourself. Love, never be you a friend of mine ; some there are, however, whom, in their misery, you may keep miserable and wretched—those whom you have easily rendered submissive to yourself. My fixed determination is to apply my mind to my advancement in life, although, in that, great labour is undergone by the mind. Good men wish these things for themselves, gain, credit, and honour, glory, and esteem; these are the rewards of the upright. It delights me, then, the more, to live together with the upright rather than with the deceitful promulgators of lies.

thongs to the foot. In latter times, its use was confined to females, and a piece of leather covered the toes, while thongs, elegantly decorated, were attached to it. From the present passage it appears that it was the duty of a particular slave to take charge of sandals.

i Casket-keepers)-Ver. 253. The “cistellatrix” probably had charge of the jewel casket of her mistress. The present passage shows in what affluence and splendour some of the courtesans lived in those days.

2 Avoids the Courts)—Ver. 261. Shakspeare has a somewhat similar passage in Romeo and Juliet:

“But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the furthest East begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed,
Away from light steals home my heavy son,
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out,

And makes himself an artificial night.” 3 Keep your own)-Ver. 266. This is as much as to say, “I divorce myself from you, and utterly repudiate you.” The words " tuas res tibi habeto" were the formula solemnly pronounced among the Romans by the husband in cases of divorce, when he delivered back to the wife her own separate property.

[ocr errors]

SCENE II.

Enter PHILTO. PAIL. (looking about). Where has this man betaken himself out of doors from the house ?

Lys. (coming up to him). I am here, father; command me what you will, and I shall cause no delay to you, nor will I hide myself in any skulking-place out of your sight.

PHIL. You will be doing what is consonant to the rest of your conduct if you reverence your father. By your duty to me, my son, I wish you, for my sake, not to hold any converse with profligate men, either in the street or in the Forum. I know this age—what its manners are.

The bad man wishes the good man to be bad, that he may be like himself. The wicked, the rapacious, the covetous, and the envious, disorder and confound the morals of the age: a crew gaping for gain, they hold the sacred thing as profane—the public advantage as the private emolument. At these things do I grieve, these are the matters that torment me. These things am I constantly repeating both day and night, that you may use due precaution against them. They only deem it right to keep their hands off that which they cannot touch with their hands; as to the rest, seize it, carry it off, keep it, be off and go hide, that is the word with them. These things, when I behold them, draw tears from me, because I have survived to see such a race of men. Why have I not rather descended to the dead? ere this ? For these men praise the manners of our ancestors, and defile those same persons whom they commend. With regard, then, to these pursuits, I enjoin you not to taint your disposition with them. Live after my fashion, and according to the ancient manners ; what I am prescribing to you, the same do you remember and practise. I have no patience with these fashionable manners, upsetting preconceived notions, with which good men are now disgracing themselves. If you follow these my injunctions to you, many a good maxim will take root in your breast.

i To the dead)-Ver. 291. " Ad plures," " to the many," signifies " the dead," inasmuch as they are more in number than the living. It was probably used as a euphemism, as to make mention of death was considered ominous of ill. Homer. in the Odyssey, uses tous a delovàs in a similar sense.

Lys. From my earliest youth, even up to this present age, I have always, father, paid all submission to the injunctions you have given. So far as my nature was concerned, I considered that I was free; so far as your injunctions were concerned, I deemed it proper that my mind should pay all submission to you.

PHIL. The man who is struggling with his inelination from his earliest age, whether he ought to prefer to be so, as his inclination thinks it proper that he should be, or whether, rather so as his parents and his relations wish him to be-if his inclination conquers that man, it is all over with him; he is the slave of his inclination and not of himself. But if he conquers his inclination, he truly lives and shall be famed as a conqueror of conquerors. If you have conquered your inclination rather than your inclination you, you have reason to rejoice. 'Tis better by far that you should be such as you ought to be, than such as pleases your inclination. Those who

conquer the inclination will ever be esteemed better men than those whom the inclination subdues.

Lys. I have ever esteemed these maxims as the shield of my youthful age; never to betake myself to any place where vice was the order of the day?, never to go to stroll about at night, nor to take from another that which is his. I have taken all precautions, my father, that I might not cause you uneasiness; I have ever kept your precepts in due

preservationby my own rule of conduct.

PHIL. And do you reproach me, because you have acted aright? For yourself have you done so, not for me: my life, indeed, is nearly past); this matter principally concerns your own. Keep on overlaying4 good deeds with other good

1 Where vice was the order of the day)—Ver. 314. “Damni conciliabulum.” Literally, “ the place of counsel for wickedness."

2 In due preservation)-Ver. 317. Buildings were said to be “sarta tecta," " in good repair," when the roof was proof against rain. The expression is here used figuratively, to signify, “I have punctually observed your injunctions.”

3 Is nearly past)-Ver. 319. It is worthy of remark that this line is quoted by Cicero in his second Epistle to Brutus: “Sed de hoc tu videris. De me possum dicere idem quod Plautinus pater in Trinummo, ' mihi quidem ætas acta ferme est.?” “As for that matter, it is your concern. For my own part, I may say with the father in the Trinummus of Plautus, my life is nearly past.'”

* Keep on overlaying)—Ver. 320. Philto is most probably alluding to the metaphorical expression, " sarta tecta,” used just before by his son; and he tells him

C

« ZurückWeiter »