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means have no place here, and that we do not undervalue your alliance; I ask for your sister without a marriageportion. May the matter turn out happily. Do I understand her to be promised? Why are you silent?
Stas. O immortal Gods, what a proposal !
PHIL. Why don't you say, “May the Gods prosper it. I agreel?”
STAS. (aside). Alas! when there was no advantage in the expression, he used to say, “I agree ;” now, when there is advantage in it, he is not able to say so.
LESB. Since you think me, Philto, worthy of an alliance with you, I return you many thanks. But though this fortune of mine has sadly diminished through my folly, I have, Philto, a piece of land near the city here; that I will give as a portion to my sister: for, after all my follies, that alone, besides my existence, is left me.
PHIL. Really I care nothing at all about a portion.
Stas. (whispers to LESBONICUS). And are you ready, master, to sever that nurse from us which is supporting us? Take care how you do it. What are we ourselves to eat in future?
LESB. (to STASIMUS). Once more, will you hold your tongue ? Am I to be rendered accountable to you?
Stas. (aside). We are evidently done for, unless I devise something or other. Philto, I want you. (He removes to a distance, and beckons to PHILTO.)
PHIL. If you wish aught, Stasimus.
Stas. I tell you this in secrecy, that neither he nor any one else may learn it of you.
PHIL. Trust me boldly with anything you please.
1 I agree)-Ver. 502. “Spondeo” was a word in general use to denote that the person entered into a promise or engagement. Being the nearest male relation of the damsel, Philto wishes Lesbonicus to close the matter by saying “spondeo," “I agree to betroth her,” which he hesitates to do; on which, Stasimus, alluding to his having been the security for the thousand drachmæ, tells him that he had been ready enough to say “spondeo” when it was not to his advantage; namely, at the time when he said “spondeo,” “I promise," and became the security to the banker for his friend. See Note 1 in page 24.
Stas. By Gods and men I warn you, not to allow that piece of land ever to become yours or your son’s. I'll tell you my reasons for this matter.
PHIL. Troth, I should like to hear them.
Stas. First of all then, when at any time the ground is being ploughed, in every fifth furrow the oxen die.
PHIL. Preserve me from it.
Stas. The gate of Acheron is in that land of ours. Then the grapes, before they are ripe, hang in a putrid state.
LESB. (in a low voice). He is persuading the man to something, I think. Although he is a rogue, still he is not unfaithful to me.
Stas. Hear the rest. Besides that, when elsewhere the harvest of wheat is most abundant, there it comes up less by one-fourth than what you have sowed.
PHIL. Ah! bad habits ought to be sown on that spot, if in the sowing they can be killed.
STAS. And never is there any person to whom that piece of land belongs, but that his affairs turn out most unfortunate. Of those to whom it has belonged, some have gone away in banishment; some are dead outright; some, again, have hanged themselves. See this man, now, to whom it belongs, how he has been brought to a regular backgammoned statel
PHIL. Preserve me from this piece of land.
if you were to hear everything from me. For there every
other tree has been blasted with lightning; the hogs die there most shockingly of inflammation in the throat; the sheep are scabby, as bare of all wool, see, as is this hand of mine. And then, besides, there is not one of the Syrian natives,
Backgammoned state)—Ver. 837. “ Ad incitas redactus, “ brought to a standstill,” was a term borrowed from the game of “Duodecim Scripta,” or twelve points,” and was applied when one of the parties got all his men on the twelfth point, and, being able to move no further, lost the game in consequence. Probably the game partook of the nature of both backgammon and chess.
2 The hogs die)-Ver. 540. From Pliny the Elder we learn that "angina,” or swelling of the throat, was a common distemper among hogs.
* The Syrian natives)—Ver. 542. He makes mention of the Syrians, because, living in a hot climate, they would be most likely to be able to endure extreme heat. 1 The solstitial fever)-Ver. 544. He seems to mean, that if a person went to live there at the beginning of the year, he could not possibly live there beyond six months, being sure to die of fever at the time of the Solstice, or Midsummer.
there you may
a race which is the most hardy of men, who could exist there for six months ; so surely do all die there of the solstitial feverl
PHIL. I believe, Stasimus, that it is so; but the Campaniano race much outdoes that of the Syrians in hardiness. But, really, that piece of land, as I have heard you describe it, is one to which it were proper for all wicked men to be sent for the public good. Just as they tell of the Islands of the Blest, where all meet together who have passed their lives uprightly: on the other hand, it seems proper that all evildoers should be packed off there, since it is a place of such a character.
Stas. 'Tis a very receptacle of calamity. What need is there of many words ? Look for any bad thing whatsoever,
find it. PHIL. But, i' faith, you may find it there and elsewhere too. Stas. Please, take care not to say
that I told
of this. PHIL. You have told it me in perfect secrecy.
Stas. For he, indeed (pointing at LESBONICUS), wishes it to be got rid of from himself, if he can find any one to impose upon* about it.
Phil. I' faith, this land shall never become my property,
Stas. Aye, if you keep in your senses. (Aside.) † faith, I have cleverly frightened the old fellow away from this land; for, if my master had parted with it, there is nothing for us to live upon.
2 I believe, Stasimus)—Ver. 545. Philto only says so for peace sake, as no man in his senses was likely to believe a word of it. As he does not want the piece of land for his son, he wishes to make no words about it.
3 But the Campanian)-Ver. 545. He just makes this remark casually, probably to show Stasimus that he knows about things in general as well as he does. Some think, however, that he intends to correct Stasimus, and to teil him that even the Campanians, who were considered an effeminate race, could boast of more hardihood than the Syrians.
4 To impose upon)—Ver.558. “Os quoi sublinat”-literally, “can besmear his face." This expression alludes to the practical joke of making a fool of a person by painting his face while he is asleep.
5 I have cleverly frightened)— Ver. 560. As before remarked, he is probably much mistaken in thinking so.
PHIL. Lesbonicus, I now return to you.
PHIL. What do you suppose ? He is a man?; he wishes to become a free man, but he has not the money to give.
LESB. And I wish to be rich, but all in vain.
Stas. (aside). You might have been, if you had chosen; now, since you have nothing, you cannot be. LESB. What are you talking about to yourself
, Stasimus ? Stas. About that which you were saying just now:
you had chosen formerly, you might have been rich; now you are wishing too late.
PAIL. No terms can be come to with me about the marriage-portion; whatever pleases you, do you transact it yourself with my son. Now, I ask for your sister for my son; and may the matter turn out well. What now? are you
still considering ?
LESB. What about that matter? Since you will have it 80—may the Gods prosper it-I promise her.
PHIL. Never, by my troth, was a son born so ardently longed for by any one, as was that expression “I promise her, when born for me.
Stas. The Gods will prosper all your plans.
Phil. So I wish. Come this way with me, Lesbonicus, that a day may be agreed on for the nuptials, in the presence of Lysiteles : this agreement we will ratify on that same day.
(Exit PHILTO. LESB. Now, Stasimus, go you there (points to the house which he has sold to CALLICLES) to the house of Callicles, to my sister; tell her how this matter has been arranged. Stas. I will go. LESB. And congratulate my sister.
. Stas. Very well. LESB. Tell Callicles to meet me Stas. But rather do you go now
LESB. That he may see what is necessary to be done about the portion.
Stas. Do go now. LESB. For I have determined not to give her without a portion. Stas. But rather do you go now.
LESB. And I will never allow it to be a detriment to her by reason of
Stas. Do be off now. LESB. My recklessness1 He is a man)-Ver. 563. His meaning seems to be, "he is a man, with feelings like ourselves, and naturally wishes for his freedom.”
Stas. Do go now? LESB. It seems by no means just, but that, since I have done wrong
Stas. Do go now. LESB. It should be chiefly a detriment to myself.
Stas. Do go now. LESB. O my father! and shall I ever see you again?
Stas. Do go now. Go-go now.
LESB. I am going. Do you take care of that which I have asked you. I shall be here directly.
(Exit LESBONICUS. SCENE V.
STASIMUS. Stas. At length I have prevailed on him to go. In the name of the immortal Gods, i' faith, 'tis a matter well managed by wrongful means of performance, inasmuch as our piece of land is safe; although even now 'tis still a very doubtful matter what may be the result of this affair. But, if the land is parted with, 'tis all over with my neck; I must carry a buckler in foreign lands, a helmet too, and my baggage. He will be running away from the city when the nuptials have been celebrated; he will be going hence to extreme and utter ruin, somewhere or other, to serve as a soldier, either to Asia or to Cilicial. I will go there (looking at the door of the house bought by CALLICLES), where he has ordered me to go, although I detest this house ever since he has driven us out of our abode.
(Exit into the house of CHARMIDES.
ACT THE THIRD.
SCENE I. Enter CALLICLES and STASIMUS. Call. To what effect were you speaking about this, Stasimus ?
1 Do go now)-Ver. 586. Stasimus is continually urging him to follow Philto, and bring the matter to a conclusion, as be fears that so good an opportunity may be lost through his master's habitual carelessness, especially as Philto has agreed not to receive the land as a marriage-portion.
2 'Tis all over )–Ver. 595. He means that he will no longer have any support from his master, and that he will have to turn soldier, and so earn his livelihood.
3 Asia or to Cilicia)—Ver. 599. Alluding, probably, to the wars which were con