Play by Terence ~ Ludi Megalenses 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)/Act II
Act II: Andria by P. Terentius Afer
(Enter CHARINUS and BYRRHIA)
CHARINUS How say you, Byrrhia? Is she to be given in marriage to Pamphilus to-day?
BYRRHIA It is so.
CHARINUS How do you know?
BYRRHIA I heard it just now from Davus at the Forum.
CHARINUS Woe unto wretched me! As, hitherto, until now, my mind has been racked amid hope and fear; so, since hope has been withdrawn, wearied with care, it sinks overwhelmed.
BYRRHIA By my troth, Charinus, since that which you wish can not come to pass, prithee, do wish that which can.
CHARINUS I wish for nothing else but Philumena.
BYRRHIA Alas! How much better were it for you to endeavor to expel that passion from your mind, than to be saying that by which your desire is to no purpose still more inflamed.
CHARINUS We all, when we are well, with ease give good advice to the sick. If you were in my situation, you would think otherwise.
BYRRHIA Well, well, just as you like.
CHARINUS (looking down the side scene.) But I see Pamphilus; I'm determined I'll try every thing before I despair.
BYRRHIA (aside.) What does he mean?
CHARINUS I will entreat his own self; I will supplicate him; I will disclose to him my love. I think that I shall prevail upon him to put off the marriage for some days at least; in the mean time, something will turn up, I trust.
BYRRHIA That something is nothing.
CHARINUS Byrrhia, how seems it to you ? Shall I accost him ?
BYRRHIA Why not ? Should you not prevail, that at least he may look upon you as a gallant ready provided for him, if he marries her.
CHARINUS Away with you to perdition with that vile suggestion, you rascal! (Enter PAMPHILUS.)
PAMPHILUS I espy Charinus. (Accosting him.) Good-morrow!
CHARINUS O, good-morrow. Pamphilus, I'm come to you, seeking hope, safety, counsel, and assistance.
PAMPHILUS I'faith, I have neither time for counsel, nor resources for assistance. But what's the matter now?
CHARINUS To-day you are going to take a wife ?
PAMPHILUS So they say.
CHARINUS Pamphilus, if you do that, you behold me this day for the last time.
PAMPHILUS Why so?
CHARINUS Ah me! I dread to tell it; prithee, do you tell it, Byrrhia.
BYRRHIA I'll tell it.
PAMPHILUS What is it?
BYRRHIA He's in love with your betrothed.
PAMPHILUS Assuredly he's not of my way of thinking. Come now, tell me, have you had any more to do with her, Charinus?
CHARINUS Oh Pamphilus, nothing.
PAMPHILUS How much I wish you had.
CHARINUS Now, by our friendship and by my affection, I do beseech you, in the first place, not to marry her.
PAMPHILUS For my own part I'll use my endeavors.
CHARINUS But if that can not be, or if this marriage is agreeable to you----
PAMPHILUS Agreeable to me?
CHARINUS Put it off for some days at least, while I go elsewhere, that I may not be witness.
PAMPHILUS Now listen, once for all: I think it, Charinus, to be by no means the part of an ingenuous man, when he confers nothing, to expect that it should be considered as an obligation on his part. I am more desirous to avoid this match, than you to gain it.
CHARINUS You have restored me to life.
PAMPHILUS Now, if you can do any thing, either you yourself, or Byrrhia here, manage, fabricate, invent, contrive some means, whereby she may be given to you; this I shall aim at, how she may not be given to me.
CHARINUS I am satisfied.
PAMPHILUS Most opportunely I perceive Davus, on whose advice I have depended.
CHARINUS (turning to BYRRHIA) But you, i'faith, tell me nothing, except those things which there is no need for knowing. (Pushing him away.) Get you gone from here.
BYRRHIA Certainly I will, and with all my heart. ((Exit.))
(Enter DAVUS in haste.)
DAVUS (not seeing PAMPHILUS and CHARINUS.) Ye gracious Gods, what good news I bring! But where shall I find Pamphilus, that I may remove the apprehension in which he now is, and fill his mind with joy?
CHARINUS (apart to PAMPHILUS.) He's rejoiced about something, I don't know what.
PAMPHILUS (apart.) It's of no consequence; he hasn't yet heard of these misfortunes.
DAVUS (to himself.) For I do believe now, if he has already heard that a marriage is prepared for him. . .
CHARINUS (apart.) Don't you hear him?
DAVUS (to himself.) He is seeking me distractedly all the city over. But where shall I look for him? Or in which direction now first to betake me . . .
CHARINUS (apart to PAMPHILUS.) Do you hesitate to accost him ?
DAVUS (to himself.) I have it. (Moving on.)
PAMPHILUS Davus, come here! Stop!
DAVUS Who's the person that's---- (Turning round.) O Pamphilus, you are the very man I'm looking for. Well done, Charinus ! both in the nick of time: I want you both.
CHARINUS Davus, I'm undone!
DAVUS Nay but, do hear this.
PAMPHILUS I'm utterly ruined!
DAVUS I know what you are afraid of.
CHARINUS I'faith, my life indeed is really in danger.
DAVUS (to CHARINUS.) And what you are afraid of, I know.
PAMPHILUS My marriage----
DAVUS As if I did not know it?
PAMPHILUS This day . . .
DAVUS Why keep dinning me with it, when I know it all? (To PAMPHILUS.) This are you afraid of, lest you should marry her; and you (to CHARINUS,) lest you should not marry her.
CHARINUS You understand the matter.
PAMPHILUS That's the very thing.
DAVUS And that very thing is in no danger; trust me for that.
PAMPHILUS I do entreat you, release wretched me as soon as possible from this apprehension.
DAVUS Well, then, I will release you; Chremes is not going to give you his daughter at present.
PAMPHILUS How do you know ?
DAVUS You shall know. Your father just now laid hold of me; he said that a wife was to be given you to-day, and many other things as well, which just now I haven't time to relate. Hastening to you immediately, I ran on to the Forum that I might tell you these things. When I didn't find you, I ascended there to a high place. I looked around; you were nowhere. There by chance I saw Byrrhia, his servant (pointing to CHARINUS). I inquired of him; he said he hadn't seen you. This puzzled me. I considered what I was to do. As I was returning in the mean time, a surmise from the circumstances themselves occurred to me: " How now,a very small amount of good cheer; lie out of spirits; a marriage all of a sudden; these things don't agree."
PAMPHILUS But to what purpose this ?
DAVUS I forthwith betook myself to the house of Chremes. When I arrived there, stillness before the door; then I was pleased at that.
CHARINUS You say well.
DAVUS I stopped there. In the mean time I saw no one going in, no one going out; no matron at the house, no preparation, no bustle. I drew near; looked in . . .
PAMPHILUS I understand; a considerable indication.
DAVUS Do these things seem to accord with a wedding ?
PAMPHILUS I think not, Davus.
DAVUS Think, do you say ? You don't view it rightly; the thing is certain. Besides, coming away from there I saw the servant-boy of Chremes carrying some vegetables and little fishes, an obol's worth, for the old man's dinner.
CHARINUS This day, Davus, have I been delivered by your means.
DAVUS And yet not at all.
CHARINUS Why so? Surely he will not give her to him, after all this. (Pointing to PAMPHILUS.)
DAVUS You silly fellow ! as though it were a necessary consequence that if he doesn't give her to him you should marry her: unless, indeed, you look about you; unless you entreat and make court to the old man's friends.
CHARINUS You advise well. I'll go; although, upon my faith, this hope has often eluded me already. Farewell! ((Exit.))
(PAMPHILUS and DAVUS.)
PAMPHILUS What then does my father mean? Why does he thus make pretense?
DAVUS I'll tell you. If now he were angry with you, because Chremes will not give you a wife, he would seem to himself to be unjust, and that not without reason, before he has ascertained your feelings as to the marriage, how they are disposed. But if you refuse to marry her, in that case he will transfer the blame to you; then such disturbances will arise.
PAMPHILUS I will submit to any thing from him.
DAVUS He is your father, Pamphilus. It is a difficult matter. Besides, this woman is defenseless. No sooner said than done; he will find some pretext for driving her away from the city.
PAMPHILUS Driving her away ?
DAVUS Aye, and quickly too.
PAMPHILUS Tell me then, Davus, what am I to do?
DAVUS Say that you will marry her.
PAMPHILUS (starting.) Ha!
DAVUS What's the matter ?
PAMPHILUS What, am I to say so?
DAVUS Why not?
PAMPHILUS Never will I do it.
DAVUS Don't say so.
PAMPHILUS Don't attempt to persuade me.
DAVUS Consider what will be the result of it.
PAMPHILUS That I shall be deprived of the one, and fixed with the other.
DAVUS Not so. In fact, I think it will be thus: Your father will say: "I wish you to marry a wife to-day." You reply: " I'll marry her." Tell me, how can he raise a quarrel with you ? Thus you will cause all the plans which are now arranged by him to be disarranged, without any danger; for this is not to be doubted, that Chremes will not give you his daughter. Therefore do not hesitate in those measures which you are taking, on this account, lest he should change his sentiments. Tell your father that you consent; so that although he may desire it, he may not be able to be angry at you with reason. For that which you rely on, I will easily refute; "No one," you think, "will give a wife to a person of these habits." But he will find a beggar for you, rather than allow you to be corrupted by a mistress. If, however, he shall believe that you bear it with a contented mind, you will render him indifferent; at his leisure he will look out for another wife for you; in the mean time something lucky may turn up.
PAMPHILUS Do you think so?
DAVUS It really is not a matter of doubt.
PAMPHILUS Consider to what you are persuading me.
DAVUS Nay, but do be quiet.
PAMPHILUS Well, I'll say it; but, that he mayn't come to know that she has had a child by me, is a thing to be guarded against; for I have promised to bring it up.
DAVUS Oh, piece of effrontery.
PAMPHILUS She entreated me that I would give her this pledge, by which she might be sure she should not be deserted.
DAVUS It shall be attended to; but your father's coming. Take care that he doesn't perceive that you are out of spirits.
(Enter SIMO, at a distance.)
SIMO (apart to himself.) I've come back to see what they are about, or what scheme they are hatching.
DAVUS (to PAMPHILUS.) He has no doubt at present but that you'll refuse to marry. Having considered his course, he's come from a retired spot somewhere or other; he hopes that he has framed a speech by which to disconcert you; do you take care, then, to be yourself.
PAMPHILUS If I am only able, Davus.
DAVUS Trust me for that, Pamphilus, I tell you; your father will never this day exchange a single word with you, if you say that you will marry.
(Enter BYRRHIA, unperceived, at a distance behind SIMO.)
BYRRHIA (apart to himself.) My master has ordered me, leaving my business, to keep an eye on Pamphilus today, what he is doing with regard to the marriage. I was to learn it; for that reason, I have now followed him (pointing to SIMO) as he came hither. Himself, as well, I see standing with Davus close at hand; I'll note this.
SIMO (apart to himself.) I see that both of them are here.
DAVUS (in a low voice to PAMPHILUS.) Now then, be on your guard.
DAVUS (in a low voice.) Look round at him as though taken unawares.
PAMPHILUS (turning round sharply.) What, my father!
DAVUS (in a low voice.) Capital!
SIMO I wish you to marry a wife to-day, as I was saying.
BYRRHIA (apart.) Now I'm in dread for our side, as to what he will answer.
PAMPHILUS Neither in that nor in any thing else shall you ever find any hesitation in me.
BYRRHIA (apart.) Hah!
DAVUS (in a low voice to PAMPHILUS.) He is struck dumb.
BYRRHIA (apart.) What a speech!
SIMO You act as becomes you, when that which I ask I obtain with a good grace.
DAVUS (aside to PAMPHILUS.) Am I right?
BYRRHIA My master, so far as I learn, has missed his wife.
SIMO Now, then, go in-doors, that you mayn't be causing delay when you are wanted.
PAMPHILUS I'll go. (Goes into the house.)
BYRRHIA (apart.) Is there, in no case, putting trust in any man ? That is a true proverb which is wont to be commonly quoted, that "all had rather it to be well for themselves than for another." I remember noticing, when I saw her, that she was a young woman of handsome figure; wherefore I am the more disposed to excuse Pamphilus, if he has preferred that he himself, rather than the other, should embrace her in his slumbers. I'll carry back these tidings, that, in return for this evil he may inflict evil upon me. ((Exit.))
(SIMO and DAVUS.)
DAVUS (aside, coming away from the door of the house.) He now supposes that I'm bringing some trick to bear against him, and that on that account I've remained here.
SIMO What does he say, Davus?
DAVUS Just as much as nothing.
SIMO What, nothing? Eh?
DAVUS Nothing at all.
SIMO And yet I certainly was expecting something.
DAVUS It has turned out contrary to your expectations. (Aside.) I perceive it; this vexes the man.
SIMO Are you able to tell me the truth?
DAVUS I? Nothing more easy.
SIMO Is this marriage at all disagreeable to him, on account of his intimacy with this foreign woman?
DAVUS No, faith; or if at all, it is a two or three days' annoyance this--you understand. It will then cease. Moreover, he himself has thought over this matter in a proper way.
SIMO I commend him.
DAVUS While it was allowed him, and while his years prompted him, he intrigued; even then it was secretly. He took precaution that that circumstance should never be a cause of disgrace to him, as behooves a man of principle; now that he must have a wife, he has set his mind upon a wife.
SIMO He seemed to me to be somewhat melancholy in a slight degree.
DAVUS Not at all on account of her, but there's something he blames you for.
SIMO What is it, pray?
DAVUS It's a childish thing.
SIMO What is it?
DAVUS Nothing at all.
SIMO Nay but, tell me what it is.
DAVUS He says that you are making too sparing preparations.
SIMO What, I?
DAVUS You. He says that there has hardly been fare provided to the amount of ten drachmae. "Does he seem to be bestowing a wife on his son? Which one now, in preference, of my companions shall I invite to the dinner?" And, it must be owned, you really are providing too parsimoniously-I do not commend you.
SIMO Hold your tongue.
DAVUS (aside.) I've touched him up.
SIMO I'll see that these things are properly done. (DAVUS goes into the house.) What's the meaning of this? What does this old rogue mean? But if there's any knavery here, why, he's sure to be the source of the mischief. (Goes into his house.)
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