In questa pagina puoi leggere la traduzione in inglese del testo dell’Aulularia, la famosa commedia di Plauto. La traduzione in inglese originale proviene dall’Università di Richmond; potrebbe essere un buon esempio per l’insegnamento incrociare testo inglese e testo latino della commedia a scuola.
Note: puoi trovare il testo della commedia in italiano dell’Aulularia cliccando qui.
Ecco il testo dell’Aulularia in inglese:
The Household God of Euclio, the Prologue.
Scene: – Athens. A street on which are the houses of Euclio and Megadorus, a narrow lane between them; in front, an altar.
Spoken by Euclio’s Household God
That no one may wonder who I am, I shall inform you briefly. I am the household God of that family from whose house you just saw me come. For many years now I have possessed this dwelling, and preserved it for the sire and grandsire of its present occupant. Now this man’s grandsire as a suppliant entrusted to me, in utter secrecy, a hoard of gold : he buried it in the centre of the hearth, entreating me to guard it for him. When he died he could not bear–so covetous was he– to reveal its existence to his own son, and he chose to leave him penniless rather than apprise him of his treasure. Some land, a little only, he did leave him, whereon to toil and moil for a miserable livelihood.
After the death of him who had committed the gold to my keeping, I began to observe whether the son would hold me in greater honour than his father had. As a matter of fact, his neglect grew and grew apace, and he showed me less honour. I did the same by him: so he also died. He left a son who occupies this house at present, a man of the same mould as his sire and grandsire. He has one daughter. She prays to me constantly, with daily gifts of incense, or wine, or something: she gives me garlands. Out of regard for her I caused Euclio to discover the treasure here in order that he might the more easily find her a husband, if he wished. For she has been ravished by a young gentleman of very high rank. He knows who it is that he has wronged; who he is she does not know, and as for her father, he is ignorant of the whole affair.
I shall make the old gentleman who lives next door here(pointing) ask for her hand to-day. My reason for doing so is that the man who wronged her may marry her the more easily. And the old gentleman who is to ask for her hand is the uncle of the young gentleman who violated her by night at the festival of Ceres. But there is old Euclio clamouring within as usual, and turning his ancient servant out of doors lest she learn his secret. I suppose he wishes to look at his gold and see that it is not stolen.
Eucl. (within) Out with you, I say! Come now, out with you! By the Lord, you’ve got to get out of here, you snook-around,you,with your prying and spying.
Enter Staphyla from Euclio’s house, followed by Euclio who is pushing and beating her.
Staph. (groaning) Oh, what makes you go a-hitting a poor wretch like me,sir?
Eucl. (savagely) To make sure you are a poor wretch, so as to give a bad lot the bad time she deserves.
Staph.Why, what did you push me out of the house for now?
Eucl. I give my reasons to you,you,–you patch of beats,you? Over there with you, (pointing) away from the door! (Staphyla hobbles to place indicated) Just look at her, will you,–how she creeps along! See here, do you know what’ll happen to you? Now by heaven, only let me lay my hand on a club or a stick and I’ll accelerate that tortoise crawl for you!
Staph.(aside) Oh, I wish Heaven would make me hang myself,I do! Better that than slaving it for you at this rate, I’m sure.
Eucl. (aside) Hear the old criminal mumbling away to herself,Though! (aloud) Ah! those eyes of yours, you old sinner. By heaven, I’ll dig them out for you,I will, so that you can’t keep watching me whatever I do. Get farther off still!still farther! still–Whoa! Stand there! You budge a finger’s breadth a nail’s breadth from that spot; you so much as turn your head till I say the word, and by the Almighty, the next minute I’ll send you to the gallows for a lesson, so I will. (aside) A worse reprobate than this old crone I never did see, no, never. Oh, but how horribly scared I am she’ll come some sly dodge on me when I’m not expecting it, and smell out the place where the gold is hidden. She has eyes in the very back of her head, the hellcat. Now I’ll just go see if the gold is where I hid it. Dear,dear, it worries the life out of me!
(Exit Euclio into house)
Staph.Mercy me! What’s come over master, what crazy streak he’s got, I can’t imagine,–driving a poor woman out of the house this way ten times a day,often. Goodness gracious, what whim-whams the man’s got in his head I don’t see. Never shuts his eyes all night: yes, and then in the daytime he’s sitting around the house the whole livelong day, for all the world like a lame cobbler. How I’m going to hide the young mistress’s disgrace now is beyond me, and she with her time so near. There’s nothing better for me to do, as I see, than tie a rope round my neck and dangle myself out into one long capital I.
Re-enter Euclio from the house.
Eucl. (aside) At last I can feel easy about leaving the house, now I have made certain that everything is all right inside. (to Staphyla) Go back in there this instant,you, and keep watch inside.
Staph.(tartly) I suppose so! So I’m to keep watch inside, am I? You aren’t afraid anyone will walk away with the house, are you? I vow we’ve got nothing else there for the thieves to take– all full of emptiness as it is, and cobwebs.
Eucl. It is surprising Providence wouldn’t make a King Philip or Darius of me for your benefit,you viper,you!(threatingly) I want those cobwebs watched! I’m poor,poor; I admit it, I put up with it; I take what the gods give me. In with you, bolt the door. I shall be back soon. No outsider is to be let in, mind you. And in case anyone should be looking for a light, see you put the fire out so no one will have any reason to come to you for it. Mark my words, if that fire stays alive, I’ll extinguish you instantly. And the water– if anyone asks for water, tell him it’s all run out. As for a knife, or an axe, or a pestle, or a mortar,– things the neighbours are all the time wanting to borrow– tell ‘em burglars got in and stole the whole lot. I won’t have a living soul let into my house while I’m gone–there! Yes, and what’s more, listen here, if Dame Fortune herself comes along, don’t you let her in.
Staph.Goodness me, she won’t get in: she’ll see to that herself, I fancy. Why, she never comes to our house at all, no matter how near she is.
Eucl. Keep still and go inside. (advances on her)
Staph.(hurrying out of reach) I’m still,sir, I’m going!
Eucl. Mind you lock the door, both bolts. I’ll soon be back.
(Exit Staphyla into house)
It’s agony having to leave the house, downright agony. Oh my God, how I do hate to go! But I have my reasons. The director of our ward gave notice he was going to make a present of two shillings a man; and the minute I let it pass without putting in my claim, they’d all be suspecting that I had gold at home, I’m sure they would. No, it doesn’t look natural for a poor man to think so little of even a tiny bit of money as no to go ask for his two shillings. Why,even now, hard as I try to keep every one from finding out, it seems as if ever one knew: it seems as if every one has a heartier way of saying good day than they used to. Up they come, and stop, and shake hands, and keep asking me how I’m feeling, and how I’m getting on, and what I’m doing. Well, I must get along to where I’m bound; and then I’ll come back home just as fast as I possibly can.
Enter Eunomia and Megadorus from Latter’s House.
Eun. Brother, I do hope you’ll believe I say this out of my loyalty to you and for your welfare, as a true sister should. Of course I’m well enough aware you men think us women are a bother;yes, awful chatterboxes– that’s the name we all have, and (ruefully) it fits. And the that common saying:” Never now, nor through the ages, never any woman dumb.” But just the same, do remember this one thing, brother,– that I am closer to you and you to me than anyone else in the whole world. So both of us ought to advise and counsel each other as to what we feel is to either’s advantage, not keep such things back or be afraid to speak out openly; we ought to confide in one another fully, you and I. This is why I’ve taken you aside out here now– so that we can have a quiet talk on a matter that concerns you intimately.
Mega. (warmly)Let’s have your hand. you best of women!
Eun. (pretending to look about) Where is she? Who on earth is that best of women?
Eun. You say that–you?
Mega. (banteringly) Oh well, if you deny it–
Eun. Really now, you ought to be truthful. There’s no such thing, you know,
as picking out the best woman: it’s only a question of comparative badness,brother.
Mega. My own opinion precisely; I’ll never differ with you there,sister, you may count on that.
Eun. Now do give me your attention, there’s a dear.
Mega. It is all your own: use me, command me–anything you wish.
Eun. I’m going to advise you to do something that I think will be the very
best thing in the world for you.
Mega. Quite like you, sister.
Eun. I hope so.
Mega. And what is this something, my dear?
Eun. Something that will make for your everlasting welfare. You should have children–God grant you may!– and I want you to marry.
Mega. Oh-h-h, murder!
Eun. How so?
Mega. Well, you’re knocking my poor brains out with such a proposition, my dear girl: you’re talking cobble-stones.
Eun. Now,now,do what your sister tells you.
Mega. I would, if it appealed to me.
Eun. It would be a good thing for you.
Mega. Yes–to die before marrying. (pause) All right, I’ll marry anyone you please, in this condition,though: her wedding to-morrow, and her wake the day after. Still wish it, on this condition? Produce her! Arrange for the festivities!
Eun. I can get you one with ever so big a dowry, dear. To be sure, she’s not a young girl–middle-aged, as a matter of fact. I’ll see about it for you, brother, if you want.
Mega. You don’t mind my asking you a question, I dare say?
Eun. Why, of course not; anything you like.
Mega. Now supposing a man pretty well on in life marries a lady of maturity and this aged female should happen to show intentions of making the old fellow a father– can you doubt but that the name in store for that youngster is Postumus? See here, sister, I’ll relieve you of all this and save you trouble. I’m rich enough, thanks be to heaven and our forbears. And I have no fancy at all for those ladies of high station and hauteur and fat dowries, with their shouting and their ordering and their ivory trimmed carriages and their purple and fine linen that cost a husband his liberty.
Eun. For mercy’s sake tell me what you do want to marry, then!
Mega. I’m going to. You know the old gentleman–rather hard up, poor fellow,–that lives next door, Euclio?
Eun. Yes indeed. Why, he seems quite nice.
Mega. It’s his daughter–there’s the engagement I’m eager for. Now don’t make a fuss,sister. I know what you’re about to say–that she’s poor. But this particular poor girl suits me.
Eun. God’s blessing on your choice,dear!
Mega. I trust so.
Eun. (about to leave) Well, there’s nothing I can do?
Mega. Yes–take good care of yourself.
Eun. You too,brother. (Exit Eunomia)
Mega. Now for an interview with Euclio, if he’s at home.(looking down the street) Hullo, though! here he is! Just getting back from somewhere or other.
Eucl. (without seeing Megadorus) I knew it! Something told me I was going on a fool’s errand when I left the house; that’s why I hated to go. Why, there wasn’t a single man of our ward there, or the director either, who ought to have distributed the money. Now I’ll hurry up and hurry home: I’m here in the body ,but that’s where my mind is.
Mega. (advancing with outstretched hand) Good day to you, Euclio, yes, and the best of everything to you always!
Eucl. (taking hand gingerly) God bless you, Megadorus.
Mega. How goes it? All right, are you? Feeling as well as you could wish?
Eucl. (aside) There’s something behind it when a rich man puts on that smooth air with a poor one. Now that fellow knows I’ve got gold: That’s why he’s so uncommon smooth with his salutations.
Mega. You say you are well?
Eucl. Heavens, no: I feel low, very low–in funds.
Mega. (cheerily) Well,well, man, if you have a contented mind, you’ve got enough to enjoy life with.
Eucl. (aside,frightened) Oh, good lord! The old woman has let on to him about the gold! It’s discovered, clear as can be! I’ll cut her tongue out, I’ll tear her eyes out, the minute I get at her in the house!
Mega. What is that you’re saying to yourself?
Eucl. (startled) Just.. how awful it is to be poor. And I with a grown up girl, without a penny of dowry, that I can’t get off my hands or find a husband for.
Mega. (clapping him on the back) There,there, Euclio! Cheer up. She shall be married: I’ll help you out. Come now,call on me, if you need anything.
Eucl. (aside) When he agrees to give he wants to grab! Mouth wide open to gobble down my gold! Holds up a bit of bread in one hand and a stone in the other! I don’t trust one of these rich fellows when he’s so monstrous civil to a poor man. They give you a cordial handshake, and squeeze something out of you at the same time. I know all about those octopuses that touch a thing and then–stick.
Mega. I should be glad to have a moment of your time, Euclio. I want to have a brief talk with you on a matter that concerns us both.
Eucl. (aside) Oh, God save us! My gold’s been hooked and now he wants to make a deal with me! I see it all! But I’ll go in and look. (hurries toward house)
Mega. Where are you off to?
Eucl. Just a moment!…I’ll be back… the fact is… I must see to something at home.(exit into house)
Mega. By Jove! I’ll suppose he’ll think I’m making fun of him when I speak about his giving me his daughter; poverty never made a fellow closer-fisted.
Eucl. (aside) Thank the lord,I’m saved! It’s safe– that is, if it’s all there. Ah, but that was a dreadful moment! I nearly expired before i got in the house. ( to Megadorus) Here I am, Megadorus, if you want anything of me.
Mega. Thanks. Now I trust you won’t mind answering the questions I’m going to ask.
Eucl.(cautiously) No-no– that is, if you don’t ask any I don’t like to answer.
Mega. Frankly now, what do you think of my family connections?
Mega. And my sense of honour?
Mega. And my general conduct?
Eucl. Not bad, not disreputable.
Mega. You know my age?
Eucl. Getting on, getting on, I know that–(aside) financially too.
Mega. Now Euclio, I’ve always considered you a citizen of the true, trusty type, by Jove, I certainly have, and I do still.
Eucl. (aside) He’s a got a whiff of my gold. (aloud) Well, what do you want?
Mega. Now that we appreciate each other, I’m going to ask you– and may it turn out happily for you and your girl and me– to give me your daughter in marriage. Promise you will.
Eucl. (whining) Now, now, Megadorus! This is unlike you, making fun of a poor man like me that never harmed you or yours. Why, I never said or did a thing to deserve being treated so.
Mega. Good Lord, man! I didn’t come here to make fun of you, and I’m not making fun of you: I couldn’t think of such a thing.
Eucl. Then why are you asking for my daughter?
Mega. Why? So that we may all of us make life pleasanter for one another.
Eucl. Now here’s the way it strikes me, Megadorus– you’re a rich man, a man of position: but as for me, I’m poor, awfully poor, dreadfully poor. Now if I was to marry off my daughter to you, it strikes me you’d be the ox and I’d be the donkey. When I was hitched up with you and couldn’t pull my share of the load, down I’d drop, I, the donkey, in the mud; and you, the ox, wouldn’t pay anymore attention to me than if I’d never been born at all. You would be too much for me: and my own kind would hee-haw at me: and if there should be a falling out, neither party would let me have stable quarters: the donkeys would chew me up and the oxen would run me through. It is a very hazardous business for donkeys to climb into the ox set.
Mega. But honourable human beings– the more closely connected you are to them, the better. Come, come, accept my offer: listen to what I say and promise her to me.
Eucl. But not one penny of dowry can I give.
Mega. Don’t. Only let me have a girl that’s good, and she has dowry enough.
Eucl. (forcing a laugh) I mention this just so that you mayn’t think I’ve found some treasure.
Mega. Yes,yes, I understand. Promise.
Eucl. So be it. (aside, starting at noise) Oh, my God! Can it be I’m ruined,ruined?
Mega. What’s the matter?
Eucl. That noise? what was it– a sort of clinking sound?( exit into house hurriedly)
Mega. (not noticing his departure) I told them to do some digging in my garden here. (looking around) But where is the man? Gone away and left me–without a word! Scorns me, now he sees I desire friendship! Quite the usual thing, that. Yes, let a wealthy man try to get the regard of a poorer one, and the poor one is afraid to meet him half- way: his timidity makes him injure his own interests. Then when it’s too late and the opportunity is gone he longs to have it again.
Eucl. (to Staphyla within) By heaven, if I don’t have you’re tongue torn out at the heavy roots, I give you orders, give you full authority, to hand me over to anyone you please to be skinned alive.( approaches Megadorus)
Mega. Upon my word, Euclio! So you think I am the proper sort of man to make a fool of, at my time of life, and without the slightest reason.
Eucl. Bless my soul! I’m not making a fool of you, Megadorus: I couldn’t if I would.
Mega. (doubtfully) Well now, do you mean I am to have your daughter?
Eucl. On the understanding she goes with the dowry I mentioned.
Mega. You consent, then?
Eucl. I consent.
Mega. And may God prosper us!
Eucl. Yes,yes,– and mind you remember the agreement about the dowry: she doesn’t bring you a single penny.
Mega. I remember.
Eucl. But I know the way you folks have of juggling things: now it’s on and now it’s off. now it’s off and now it’s on, just as you like.
Mega. You shall have no occasion to quarrel with me. But about the marriage– there’s no reason for not having it today, is there?
Eucl. Dear,dear, no! The very thing, the very thing!
Mega. I’ll go and make arrangements, then. (turning to leave) Anything else I can do?
Eucl. Only that. Go along. Good-bye.
Mega. (calling at the door of his house) Hey, Pythodicus! quick! (enter Pythodicus) Down to the market with me–come, look alive! (exeunt)
Eucl. (looking after them) He’s gone! Ah, ye immortal gods, doesn’t money count! That is what he’s gaping after. That is why he’s set on being my son-in-law. (goes to the door and calls) Where are you, you blabber, telling the whole neighbourhood I’m going to give my daughter a dowry! Hi-i! Staphyla! It’s you I’m calling. Can’t you hear!
(enter Staphyla) Hurry up with the dishes inside there and give them a good scouring. I have betrothed my daughter: she marries Megadorus here to-day.
Staph. God bless them!(hastily) Goodness, though! It can’t be done. This is too sudden.
Eucl. Silence! Off with you! Have things ready by the time I get back from the forum. And lock the door, mind; I shall be here soon.(Exit Euclio)
Staph. What shall I do now? Now we’re all but ruined, the young mistress and me: now it’s all but public property about her being disgraced and brought to be. We can’t conceal it, we can’t keep it in the dark any longer now. But I must go in and do what master ordered me before he gets back. Oh deary me! I’m afraid I’ve got to take a drink of trouble and tribulation mixed.(exit Staphyla into house)
( An hour has elapsed)
Enter Pythodicus bringing cooks, Anthrax and Congrio, music girls, Phrygia and Eleusium, and attendants, with provisions from the market and two lambs.
Pyth. (importantly) After master did the marketing and hired the cooks and these music girls at the forum, he told me to take and divide all he’d got into two parts.
Anth.. By Jupiter, you shan’t make two parts of me, let me tell you that plainly! If you’d like to have the whole of me anywhere, why, I’ll accommodate you.
Cong. (to Anthrax) You pretty boy,yes, you nice little everyone’s darling, you! Why, if anyone wanted to make two parts of a real man out of you, you oughtn’t to be cut out about it.
Pyth. Now, now, Anthrax, I mean that otherwise from what you make out. Look here, my master’s marrying to-day.
Anth. Who’s the lady?
Pyth. Daughter of old Euclio who lives next door here. Yes sir, and what’s more, he’s to have half this stuff here, and one cook and one music girl, too,so master said.
Anth. You mean to say half goes to him and half to you folks?
Pyth. Just what I do mean.
Anth. I say, couldn’t the old boy pay for the catering for his daughter’s wedding his own self?
Pyth. (scornfully) Pooh!
Anth. What’s the matter?
Pyth. The matter, eh? You couldn’t squeeze as much out of that old chap as you could out of a pumice stone.
Anth. (incredulously) Oh really now!
Pyth. That’s a fact. Judge for yourself. Why, I tell you he begins bawling to heaven and earth to witness that he’s bankrupt, gone to everlasting smash, the moment a puff of smoke from his beggarly fire manages to get out of his house. Why, when he goes to bed he strings a bag over his jaws.
Anth. What for?
Pyth. So as not to chance losing any breath when he’s asleep.
Anth. Oh yes! And he puts a stopper on his lower windpipe, doesn’t he, so as not to chance losing any breath while he’s asleep?
Pyth. (ingenuously) You should believe me, I believe, just as I should believe you.
Anth. (hurriedly) Oh,no ,no ! I do believe, of course!
Pyth. But listen to this, will you? Upon my word, after he takes a bath it just breaks him all up to throw away the water.
Anth. D’ye think the old buck could be induced to make us a present of a couple of hundred pounds to buy ourselves off with?
Pyth. Lord! He wouldn’t make you a loan of his hunger, no sir, not if you begged him for it. Why, the other day when a barber cut his nails for him he collected all the clippings and took ‘em home.
Anth. I am, and a whole lot better,too.
Pyth. At cooking I mean, not thieving.
Anth. Well, I mean cooking.
Pyth. (to Congrio) And how about you?
Cong. (with a meaning glance at Anthrax) I’m what I look.
Anth. He’s nothing but a market-day cook,that chap: he only gets a job once a week.
Cong. You running me down, you? You five letter man, you! You T-H-I-E-F!
Anth. Five letter man yourself! Yes, and five times –penned!
Pyth. (to Anthrax) Come, come, shut up,you: and this fattest lamb here,(pointing) take it and go over to our house.
Anth. (grinning triumphantly at Congrio) Aye, aye ,sir.
(Exit Anthrax into house of Megadorus leading lamb)
Pyth. Congrio, you take this one he’s left(pointing) and go into that house there,(pointing to Euclio’s) and as for you,(indicating some of the attendants) you follow him. The rest of you come over to our house.
Cong. Hang it! That’s no way to divide: they’ve got the fattest lamb.
Pyth. Oh well, I’ll give you the fattest music girl. ( turning to girls) That means you, Phrygia: you go with him. As for you, Eleusium, you step over to our place. ( exeunt Eleusium and others into house of Megadorus)
Cong. Oh, you’re a wily one, Pythodicus! Shoving me off on this old screw, eh? If I ask for anything there, I can ask myself hoarse before I get a thing.
Pyth. An ungrateful blockhead is what you are. The idea of doing you a favour, when it’s only thrown away!
Cong. Eh? How so?
Pyth. How so? Well, in the first place there won’t be an uproarious gang in that house to get in your way: if you need anything, just you fetch it from home so as not to waste time asking for it. Here at our establishment, though, we do have a great big uproarious gang of servants, and knick-knackery and jewellery and clothes and silver plate lying about. Now if anything was missing,– of course it’s easy for you to keep your hands off, provided there’s nothing in reach,– they’d say: ” the cooks got away with it! Collar ‘em! Tie ‘em up! Thrash ‘em! Throw ‘em in the dungeon!” Now over there (pointing to Euclio’s) nothing like this will happen to you– as there’s nothing at all about for you to filch. (going toward Euclio’s house) Come, along.
Cong. (sulkily) Coming. ( he and the rest follow)
Pyth. (knocking at door) Hey! Staphyla! Come here and open the door.
Stap.(within) Who is it?
Stap. (sticking her head out) What do you want?
Pyth. Take these cooks and the music girl and the supplies for the wedding festival. Megadorus told us to take ‘em over to Euclio’s.
Stap. (examining the provisions disappointedly) Whose festival are the going to celebrate, Pythodicus? Ceres’?
Pyth. Why hers?
Stap. Well, no tipple’s been brought, as I notice.
Pyth. But there’ll be some all right when the old gent gets back from the forum.
Stap. We haven’t got any firewood in the house.
Cong. Any rafters in it?
Cong. There’s firewood in it ,then: never mind going for any.
Stap. Hey? You godless thing! even though you are a devotee of Vulcan, do you want us to burn our house down, all for your dinner or your pay? (advances on him).
Cong. (shrinking back) I don’t, I don’t.
Pyth. Take ‘em inside.
Stap. (brusquely) This way with you.(exeunt Congrio and others into Euclio’s house.)
Pyth. (as they leave) Look out for things. (starting for Megadorus’s house) I’ll go see what the cook’s are at. By gad, it’s the devil’s own job keeping an eye on those chaps. The only way is to make ‘em cook dinner in the dungeon and then haul it up in baskets when it’s done. Even so, though, if they’re down there gobbling up all they cook, it’s a case of starve in heaven and stuff in hell. But here I am gabbling away just as if there wasn’t anything to do, and the house all full of those young Grabbits.(Exit Pythodicus)
Enter Euclio from Forum carrying a small package and a few forlorn flowers.
Eucl. Now I did want to be hearty to-day, and do the handsome thing for daughter’s wedding, yes I did. Off I go to the market–ask for fish! Very dear! And lamb dear… and beef dear… and veal and tunny and pork… everything dear, everything! Yes, and all the dearer for my not having any money! It just made me furious, and seeing I couldn’t buy anything, I up and left. That’s how I circumvented ‘em, the whole dirty pack of ‘em. Then I began to reason things out with myself as I walked along.” Holiday feasting makes everyday fasting,” says I to myself,” unless you economize.” After I’d put the case this way to my stomach and heart, my mind supported my motion to cut down daughter’s wedding expenses just as much as possible. Now I’ve bought a little frankincense here and some wreaths of flowers: we’ll put ‘em on the hearth in honour of our household God, so that he may bless daughter’s marriage. (looking toward house) Eh! What’s my door open for? A clattering inside, too! Oh, mercy on us! It can’t be burglars, can it?
Cong. (within, to an attendant) See if you can’t get a bigger pot from one of the neighbours: this here’s a little one: it won’t hold it all.
Eucl. Oh, my God! my God! I’m ruined! They’re taking my gold! They’re after my pot! Oh, oh Apollo, help me, save me! Shoot your arrows through them, the treasure thieves, if you’ve ever helped a man in such a pinch before! But I must rush in before they ruin me entirely! (Exit Euclio)
Enter Anthrax from house of Megadorus
Anth. (to servants inside) Dromo, scale the fish. As for you, Machaerio, you bone the conger and lamprey as fast as you know how. I’m going over next door to ask Congrio for the loan of the bread-pan. And you there! if you know what’s good for you , you won’t hand me back that rooster till it’s plucked cleaner than a ballet dancer. (sound of scuffle in Euclio’s house) Hullo, though! What’s the row in the house next door? Hm! the cooks settling down to business, I reckon! I’ll hustle back, or we’ll be having a rumpus at our place,too.
Enter Congrio and his associates tumbling out of Euclio’s House, slamming door behind them.
Cong. (in burlesque panic) Hi-i-i! Citizens, natives, inhabitants,neighbours, foreigners, ever one– give me room to run! Open up! Clear the street! (stopping at some distance from the house) This is the first time I ever came to cook for Bacchantes at a Bacchante den. Oh dear, what an awful clubbing did I and my disciples did get! I’m one big ache! I’m dead and gone! The way the old codger took me for a gymnasium! (euclio’s door opens and he appears, cudgel in hand) Oh- ow-ow! Good lord be merciful! I’m done for! He’s opening the den: he’s at the door: he’s after me! I know what I’ll do: (retires) he’s taught me my lesson, my master has. I never in all my life saw a place where they were freer-handed with their wood: (rubbing his shoulders) why, when he drove the lot of us out he let us have big sticks of it, all we could stagger under.
Eucl. (going into street) Come back. Where are you running to know? Stop him, stop him?
Cong. What are you yelling for, stupid?
Eucl. Because I am going to report your name to the police this instant.
Eucl. Well, you carry a knife.
Cong. And so a cook should.
Eucl. And how about your threatening me?
Cong. It’s a pity I didn’t jab it through you, I’m thinking.
Eucl. There isn’t a more abandoned villain than you on the face of the earth, or one I’d be gladder to go out of my way to punish more, either.
Cong. Good lord! That’s evident enough, even if you didn’t say so: the facts speak for themselves. I’ve been clubbed till I’m looser than any fancy dancer. Now what did you mean by laying your hands on me, you beggar?
Eucl. What’s that? You dare ask me? Didn’t I do my duty by you– is that it? (lifts cudgel)
Cong. (backing away) All right: but by gad. you’ll pay heavy for it, or I’m a numskull.
Eucl. Hm! I don’t know anything about the future of your skull, but (chuckling and tapping his cudgel) it must be numb now. (savagely) See here, what the devil were you doing in my house without my orders while I was gone? That’s what I want to know.
Cong. Well then, shut up. We came to cook for the wedding, that’s all.
Eucl. And how does it concern you, curse you, whether I eat my food cooked or take it raw– unless you are my guardian?
Cong. Are you going to let us cook dinner here or not? That’s what I want to know.
Eucl. Yes, and I want to know whether my things at home will be safe?
Cong. All I hope is I get safe away with my own things that I brought there. That’ll do for me: don’t worry about my hankering for anything you own.
Eucl. (incredulous) I know. You needn’t go on. I quite understand.
Cong. Why won’t you let us cook dinner here now? what have we done? What have we said that you didn’t like?
Eucl. A pretty question, you villainous rascal, with your making a public highway of every nook and cranny in my whole house! If you had stayed by the oven where your business lay, you wouldn’t be carrying that cloven pate: it serves you right. (with forced composure) Now further, just to acquaint you with my sentiments in this matter,– you come any nearer this door without my permission, and I will make you the most forlorn creature in God’s world. Now you know my sentiments. (exit into house)
Cong. (calling after him) Where are you off to? Come back! So help me holy Mother of Thieves, but I’ll soon make it warm for you, the way I’ll rip up your reputation in front of the house here, if you don’t have my dishes brought back! (as Euclio closes the door) Now what? Oh, hell! It certainly was an unlucky day when I came here! Two shillings for the job, and now it’ll take more than that to pay the doctor’s bill.
Re-enter Euclio from house with object under his cloak
Eucl (aside) By heaven, wherever I go this goes (peering under cloak) too: I won’t leave it there to run such risks, never. (to Congrio and others) Very well, come now, in with you,cooks, music girls,every one! (to Congrio) Go on, take your understrappers inside if you like, the whole hireling herd of ‘em. Cook away, work away, scurry around to your hearts’ content now.
Cong. A nice time for it, after you’ve clubbed my head till it’s all cracks!
Eucl. In with you. You were engaged to get up a dinner here , not a declamation.
Cong. I say,old boy, I’ll come to you with my bill for that basting, by the Lord I will. I was hired a while ago to be a cook, not to be thumped.
Eucl. Well, go to law about it. Don’t bother me. Away with you: get dinner, or else get to the devil out of here.
Cong. You just get to–(mildly,as he pushes in past him) one side, then.
(exeunt Congrio and his associates into house)
Eucl. (looking after them) He’s disappeared. My lord, my lord! It’s an awful chance a poor man takes when he begins to have dealings or business with a wealthy man. Here’s Megadorus now, trying to catch me-oh, dear, dear!- in all sorts of ways. Sending cooks over here and pretending it’s because of regard for me! Sent ‘em to steal this (looking under cloak) from a poor old man– that’s what his sending ‘em was because of! And then of course that dunghill cook of mine in there, that used to belong to the old woman, had to come within an inch of ruining me, beginning to scratch and claw around where this(looking under cloak) was buried. Enough said. It just got me worked up that I took a club and annihilated that cook, the thief, the redhanded thief! By heaven, I do believe the cooks offered that cock a reward to show them where this (looking under cloak) was. I took the handle(looking under cloak) out of their hands! (looking down street) Ah, but there is son-in-law Megadorus swaggering back from the forum. I suppose it would hardly do for me to pass him without stopping for a word or two, now.
Mega. (not seeing Euclio) Well, I’ve told a number of friends of my intentions regarding this match. They were full of praise for Euclio’s daughter. Say it’s the sensible thing to do, a fine idea. Yes,for my part I’m convinced that if the rest of our well-to-do citizens would follow my example and marry poor men’s daughters and let the dowries go, there would be a great deal more unity in our city, and people would be less bitter against us men of means than they are, and our wives would stand in greater awe of marital authority than they do, and the cost of living would be lower for us than it is. It’s just the thing for the vast majority of the people; the fight comes with the handful of greedy fellows so stingy and grasping that neither law nor cobbler can take their measure. And now supposing some one should ask: ” Who are the rich girls with dowries going to marry, if you make this rule for the poor ones?” Why,anyone they please, let ‘em marry, provided their dowry doesn’t go along with ‘em. In that case, instead of bringing their husbands money, they’d bring them better behaved wives than they do at present. Those mules of theirs that cost more than horses do now- they’d be cheaper than Gallic geldings by the time I got through.
Eucl. (aside) God bless my soul, how I do love to hear him talk! Those thoughts of his about economizing– beautiful, beautiful!
Mega. Then you wouldn’t hear them saying:” Well, sir, you never had anything like the money I brought you, and you know it. Fine clothes and jewellery, indeed! And maids and mules and coachmen and footman and pages and private carriages–well, if I haven’t a right to them!”
Eucl. (aside) Ah, he knows ‘em, knows ‘em through and through, these society dames! Oh, if he could only be appointed supervisor of public morals–the women’s!
Mega. Wherever you go nowadays you see more wagons in front of a city mansion than you can find around a farmyard. That’s a perfectly glorious sight, though, compared with the time the tradesmen come for their money. The cleanser, the ladies’ tailor, the jeweller, the woollen worker– they’re all hanging round. And there are the dealers in flounces and underclothes and bridal veils, in violet dyes and yellow dyes, or muffs, or balsam scented foot-gear; and then the lingerie people drop in on you, along with shoemakers and squatting cobblers and slipper and sandal merchants and dealers in mallow dyes; and the belt makers flock around, and the girdle makers along with ‘em. And now you may think you’ve them all paid off. Then up come weavers and lace men and cabinet-makers– hundreds of ‘em– who plant themselves like jailers in your halls and want you to settle up. You bring ‘em in and square accounts. ” All paid off now, anyway,” you may be thinking, when in march the fellows who do the saffron dyeing–some damned pest or other, anyhow, eternally after something.
Eucl. (aside) I’d hail him, only I’m afraid he’d stop talking about how the women go on. No, no, I’ll let him be.
Mega. When you’ve got all these fellows of fluff and ruffles satisfied, along comes a military man, bringing up the rear, and wants to collect the army tax. You go and have a reckoning with your banker, your military gentleman standing by and missing his lunch in the expectation of getting some cash. After you and the banker have done figuring, you find out you owe him money, too, and the military man has his hopes postponed till another day. These are some of the nuisances and intolerable expenses that big dowries let you in for, and there are plenty more. Now a wife that doesn’t bring you a penny– a husband has some control over her: it’s the dowered ones that pester the life out of their husbands with the way they cut up and squander. (seeing Euclio) But there’s my new relative in front of the house! How are you, Euclio?
Eucl. Gratified, highly gratified with you discourse-I devoured it.
Mega. Eh? you heard?
Eucl. Every word of it.
Mega. (looking him over) But I say, I do think it would be a little more in keeping, if you were to spruce up a bit for your daughter’s wedding.
Eucl. (whining) Folks with the wherewithal and means to let ‘em spruce up and look smart remember who they are. My goodness, Megadorus! I haven’t got a fortune piling up at home (peers slyly under cloak) any more than people think, and no other poor man has, either.
Mega. (genially) Ah well, you’ve got enough, and heaven make it more and more, and bless you in what you have now.
Eucl. (turning away with a start) “What you have now!” I don’t like that phrase! He knows I have this money just as well as I do! The old hag’s been blabbing!
Mega. (pleasantly) Why that secret session over there?
Eucl. (taken aback) I was– damme sir,– I was framing the complaint against you that you deserve.
Mega. What for?
Eucl. What for, eh? When you’ve filled every corner of my house with thieves, confound it! When you’ve sent cooks into my house by the hundred and every one of ‘em a Geryonian with six hands apiece! Why, Argus, who had eyes all over him and was set to guarding Io once by Juno, couldn’t ever keep watch on those fellow, not if he tried. And that music girl besides! She could take the mountain of Pirene at Corinth and drink it dry, all by herself, she could,– if it ran wine. Then as for the provisions–
Mega. Bless my soul! Why, there’s enough for a regiment. I sent you a lamb, too.
Eucl. Yes, and a more shearable beast than that same lamb doesn’t exist, I know that.
Mega. I wish you would tell me how the lamb is shearable.
Eucl. Because it’s mere skin and bones, wasted away till it’s perfectly– (tittering) sheer. Why, why, you put that lamb in the sun and you can watch its inwards work: it’s as transparent as a Punic lamp.
Mega. (protestingly) I got that lamb in myself to be slaughtered.
Eucl. (dryly) Then you’d best put it out yourself to be buried, for I do believe it’s dead already.
Mega. (laughing and clapping him on the shoulder) Euclio, we must have a little carouse to-day, you and I.
Eucl. (frightened) None for me, sir, none for me! Carouse! Oh my Lord!
Mega. But see here, I’ll just have a cask of good old wine brought over from my cellars.
Eucl. No,no! I don’t care for any! The fact is, I am resolved to drink nothing but water.
Mega. (digging him in the ribs) I’ll get you properly soaked to-day, on my life I will, you with your, “resolved to drink nothing but water.”
Eucl. (aside) I see his game! Trying to fuddle me with his wine, that’s it, and then give this(looking under cloak) a new domicile! (pauses) I’ll take measures against that: yes, I’ll secrete it somewhere outside the house. I’ll make him throw away his time and wine together.
Mega. (turning to go) Well, unless I can do something for you, I’ll go take a bath and get ready to offer sacrifice. (exit into house)
Eucl. (paternally to object under cloak) God bless us both, pot, you do have enemies, ah yes, many enemies, you and the gold entrusted to you! As matters stand, pot, the best thing I can do for you is to carry you off to the shrine of Faith: I’ll hide you away there, just as cosy! You know me, Faith, and I know you: don’t change your name,mind, if I trust this to you. Yes, I’ll go to you, Faith, relying on your faithfulness. (exit Euclio)
Strob. (self-complacently) This is the way for a good servant to act, the way I do: no thinking master’s orders are a botheration and nuisance. I tell you what, if a servant wants to give satisfaction, he’d just better make it a case of master first and man second. Even if he should fall asleep, he ought to do it with an eye on the fact that he’s a servant. He’s got to know his master’s inclinations like a book, so that he can read his wishes in his face. And as for orders he must push ‘em through faster than a fast four-in-hand. If a chap minds all this, he won’t be paying taxes on rawhide, or ever spend his time polishing a ball and chain with his ankles. Now the fact is, master’s in love with the daughter of poor old Euclio here; and he’s just got word that she’s going to be married to Megadorus there. So he’s sent me over to keep my eyes peeled and report on operations. I’ll just settle down alongside the sacred altar ( does so) and no one’ll suspect me. I can inspect proceedings at both houses here.
Enter Euclio without seeing Strobilus
Eucl. (plaintively) Only be sure you don’t let anyone know my gold is there, Faith: no fear of anyone finding it, not after the lovely way I tucked it in that dark nook. (pauses) Oh my God, what a beautiful haul he would get, if anyone should find it– a pot crammed with gold! For mercy’s sake, though, Faith, don’t let him! (walks slowly toward house) Now I’ll have a bath, so that I may sacrifice and not hinder my prospective son-in-law from marrying my girl the moment he claims her. (looking down street toward temple) Take care now,Faith, do,do,do take care I get my gold back from you safe. I’ve trusted my gold to your good faith, laid it away in your grove and shrine. (exit Euclio into house)
Strob.(jumping up) Ye immortal Gods! What’s all this I heard the fellow tell of! A pot just crammed with gold hidden in the shrine of Faith here! For the love of heaven,Faith, don’t be more faithful to him than to me. Yes, and he’s the father of the girl that is master’s sweetheart, or I’m mistaken. I’m going in there: I’ll search that shrine from top to bottom and see if I can’t find the gold somewhere while he’s busy here. But if I come across it–of, Faith, I’ll pour you out a five pint pot of wine and honey! There now! that’s what I’ll do for you; and when I’ve done that for you, why, I’ll drink it up for myself. (exit to temple at a run)
Re-enter Euclio from house.
Eucl. (excitedly) It means something– that raven cawing on my left just now! And all the time a-clawing the ground, croaking away, croaking away! The minute I heard him my heart began to dance a jig and jumped up into a throat. But I must run, run! (Exit into temple)
A few moments elapse. Then a sound of a scuffle down the street. Re-enter Euclio dragging Strobilus.
Eucl. Come! out,you worm! crawling up from underground just now! A minute ago you weren’t to be found anywhere, and (grimly) now you’re found you’ve finished! Oh-h-h-h you felon! I’m going to give it to you, this very instant!(beats him)
Strob. What the devil’s got into you? What business have you got with me, old fellow? what are you pounding me for? What are you jerking me along for? What do you mean by battering me?
Eucl. (still pummelling him) Mean, eh? You batterissimo. You’re not a thief: you’re three thieves.
Strob. What did I steal from you?
Eucl. (threatingly) You kindly give it back.
Strob. Back? What back?
Eucl. A nice question!
Strob. I didn’t take a thing from you, honestly.
Eucl. Well, what you took dishonestly, then! Hand it over! Come, come will you!
Strob. Come, come, what?
Eucl. You shan’t get away with it.
Strob. What is it you want?
Eucl. Down with it!
Strob. Down with it, eh? Looks as if you’ve downed too much of it yourself already, old boy.
Eucl. Down with it, I tell you! None of your repartee! I’m not in the humour for trifling now.
Strob. Down with what? Come along, speak out and give it its name, whatever it is. Hang it all, I never took a thing nor touched a thing, and that’s flat.
Eucl. Show me your hands.
Strob. (stretching them out) All right– there they are: have a look.
Eucl. (dryly) I see. Come now, the third one: out with it.
Strob. (aside) He’s got ‘em! The old chap’s mad,stark,staring mad! ( to Euclio,virtuously) Now aren’t you doing me an injury?
Eucl. I am, a hideous injury– in not hanging you. And I’ll soon do that,too, if you don’t confess.
Strob. Confess what?
Eucl. What did you carry off from here.(pointing toward temple)
Strob. (solemnly) May I be damned, if I carried off a thing of yours. (aside) Likewise if I didn’t want to.
Eucl. Come on, shake out your cloak.
Strob. (doing so) Anything you say.
Eucl. Um! probably under your tunic.
Strob. (cheerfully) Feel anywhere you please.
Eucl. Ugh! You rascal! How obliging you are! That I may think you didn’t take it! I’m up with you’re dodges. ( searches him) Once more now– out with your hand, the right one.
Strob. (obeying) There you are.
Eucl. Now the left one.
Strob. (obeying) Why, certainly; here’s the both of ‘em.
Eucl. Enough of this searching. Now give it here.
Eucl. Oh-h! Bosh! You must have it!
Strob. I have it? have what?
Eucl. I won’t say: you’re too anxious to know. Anything of mine you’ve got, hand it over.
Strob. Crazy! You went all through me as much as you liked without finding a solitary thing of yours on me.
Eucl. (excitedly) Wait, wait? ( turns toward temple and listens) Who’s in there? Who was the other fellow in there along with you? (aside) My lord! this is awful, awful! There’s another one at work in there all this time. And if I let go of this one he’ll skip off. (pauses) But then I’ve searched him already: he hasn’t anything. ( aloud) Off with you, anywhere! (releases him with a final cuff)
Strob. (from a safe distance) You be everlastingly damned!
Eucl. (aside, dryly) Nice way he has of showing his gratitude. (aloud,sternly) I’ll go in there, and that accomplice of yours– I’ll strangle him on the spot. Are you going to vanish? Are you going to get out, or not? (advances)
Strob.(retreating) I am, I am!
Eucl. And kindly see I don’t set eyes on you again.
(exit Euclio toward temple)
Strob. I’d sooner be tortured to death than not give that old fellow a surprise to-day. (reflecting) Well, after this he won’t dare hide his gold here. What he’ll must likely do is bring it out with him and put it somewhere else. (listening) Hm-m-m! There goes the door! Aha! the old boy’s coming out with it. I’ll just back up by the doorway for a while. (hides by Megadorus’s house)
Re-enter Euclio with pot
Eucl. I used to fancy Faith, of all deities, was absolutely faithful, and here she’s just missed making a downright ass of me. If that raven hadn’t stood by me, I’d be a poor,poor ruined man. By heavens, I’d just like that raven to come and see me, the one that warned me, I certainly should, so that I may pay him a handsome–compliment. As for tossing him a bite to eat,why, that would amount to throwing it away.(meditating) Let me think now; where is some lonely spot to hide this in? (after a moment) There’s that grove of Silvanus outside the wall, solitary, willow thickets all around. There’s where I’ll pick my place. I’d sooner trust Silvanus than Faith, and that’s settled.
Strob. Good!Good! The gods are with me: I’m a made man! Now I’ll run on ahead and climb some tree there so as to sight the place where the old fellow hides it. What if master did tell me to wait here! I’d sooner wait for a thrashing along with the cash, and that’s settled. (exit Strobilus)
Enter Lyconides and Eunomia
Lyc. That’s the whole story, mother: you see how it is with me and Euclio’s daughter as well as I do. And now, mother, I beg you, beg you again and again, as I did before: do tell my uncle about it, mother dear.
Eun. Your wishes are mine,dear; you know that yourself: and I feel sure that your uncle will not refuse me. It’s a perfectly reasonable request,too, if it’s all as you say and you actually did get intoxicated and treat the poor girl so.
Lyc. Is it like me to look you in the face and lie, my dear mother?
Phae. (within Euclio’s house) Oh-oh! Nurse! Nurse dear! Oh, God help me! The pain!
Lyc. There, mother! There’s better proof than words gives. Her cries! The child!
Eun. (agitated) Come, darling, come in to your uncle with me, so that I may persuade him to let it be as you urge.
Lyc. You go, mother: I’ll follow you in a moment.(exit Eunomia into Megadorus’s house) I wonder (looking around) where that fellow Strobilus of mine is that I told to wait for me here. (pauses) Well, on thinking it over, if he’s doing something for me, it’s all wrong my finding fault with him. (turning toward Megadorus’s house) Now for the session that decides my fate. (exit)
Enter Strobilus with pot
Strob.(elated) Woodpeckers that haunt the Hills of Gold, eh! I can buy ‘em up my own single self. As for the rest of your big kings– not worth mentioning, poor beggarlets! I am the great King Philip. Oh, this is a grand day! Why, after I left here a while ago I got there long before him and was up in a tree long before he came: and from there I spotted where the old chap hid the stuff. After he’d gone I scrabbled down, dug up the pot full of gold! Then I saw him coming back from the place; he didn’t see me, though. I slipped off a bit to one side of the road. ( looking down street) Aha! there he comes! I’ll home and tuck this out of sight. (exit Strobilus)
Enter Euclio frantic
Eucl. (running, wildly back and forth) I’m ruined, I’m killed, I’m murdered! Where shall I run? Stop thief! Stop thief! What thief? Who? I don’t know! I can’t see! I’m all in the dark! Yes, yes, and where I’m going, or where I am, or who I am–oh, I can’t tell, I can’t think! (to audience) Help, help, for heaven’s sake, I beg you, I implore you! Show the man that took it. Eh, what’s that? What are you grinning for? I know you, the whole lot of you! I know there are thieves here, plenty of ‘em, that cover themselves up in dapper clothes and sit still as if they were honest men. (to spectator) You, sir, what do you say? I’ll trust you, I will, I will. Yes, you’re a worthy gentleman; I can tell it from your face. Ha! none of them has it? You don’t know? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I’m a ruined man! I’m lost,lost! Oh, what a plight! Oh, such a cruel, disastrous, dismal day– it’s made a starveling of me, a pauper! I’m the forlornest wretch on me! Ah, what is there in life for me when I’ve lost all that gold I guarded, oh, so carefully! I’ve denied myself, denied my own self comforts and pleasures;yes, and now others are making merry over my misery and loss! Oh, it’s unendurable!
Enter Lyconides from house of Megadorus
Lyc. Who in the world is raising all this howling, groaning hullabaloo before our house here? (looking here) Upon my word, it’s Euclio, I do believe. (drawing back) My time has certainly come: it’s all out. He’s just learned about his daughter’s child, I suppose. Now I can’t decide whether to leave or stay, advance or retreat. By Jove, I don’t know what to do!
Eucl. (hearing sound of voice only) Who’s that talking here?
Lyc. (stepping forward) I’m the poor wretch,sir.
Eucl. No,no, I’m the poor wretch, a poor ruined wretch, with all this trouble and tribulation.
Lyc. Keep your courage up, sir.
Eucl. For heaven’s sake how can I?
Lyc. Well,sir, that outrage that distresses you–(hesitantly) I’m to blame, and I confess it, sir.
Eucl. Hey? What’s that?
Lyc. The truth.
Eucl. How have I ever harmed you, young man, for you to act like this and try to ruin me and my children?
Lyc. It was some demon got hold of me,sir, and led me on.
Eucl. How is this?
Lyc. I admit I’ve done wrong, sir; I deserve your reproaches, and I know it; more than that, I’ve come to beg you to be patient and forgive me.
Eucl. How did you dare do it, dare touch what didn’t belong to you?
Lyc. (penitently) Well, well, sir,– it’s done, and it can’t be undone. I think it must have been fated; otherwise it wouldn’t have happened, I’m sure of that.
Eucl. Yes, and I think it must have been fated that I’m to shackle you at my house and murder you!
Lyc. Don’t say that, sir.
Eucl. Then why did you lay hands on what was mine, without my permission?
Lyc. It was all because of drink…and…love,sir.
Eucl. The colossal impudence of it! To dare to come to me with a tale like that, you shameless rascal! Why, if it’s legal to clear yourself that way, we should be stripping ladies of their jewellery on the public highways in broad daylight! And then we were caught we’d excuse ourselves on the score that we were drunk and did it out of love. Drink and love are altogether too cheap, if your drunken lover can do what he likes and not suffer for it.
Lyc. Yes, but I’ve come of my own accord, sir, to entreat you to pardon my madness.
Eucl. I have no patience with men who do wrong and then try to explain it away. You knew you had no right to act so: you should have kept hands off.
Lyc. Well, now that I did venture to act so, I have no objection to holding to it, sir,– I ask nothing better.
Eucl. (more angry) Hold to it? Against my will?
Lyc. I won’t insist on it against your will, sir; but I do think my claim is just. Why, you’ll soon come to realize the justice of it yourself,sir, I assure you.
Eucl. I’ll march you off to court and sue you, by heaven I will, this minute, unless you bring it back.
Lyc. I? Bring what back?
Eucl. What you stole from me.
Lyc. I stole something of yours? Where from? What?
Eucl. (ironically) God bless your innocence– you don’t know!
Lyc. Not unless you say what you’re looking for.
Eucl. The pot of gold, I tell you; I want back the pot of gold you owned up to taking.
Lyc. Great heavens, man! I never said that or did it, either.
Eucl. You deny it?
Lyc. Deny it? Absolutely. Why, I don’t know, haven’t any idea, about your gold, or what that pot is.
Eucl. The one you took from the grove of Silvanus–give it me. Go, bring it back. (pleadingly) You can have half of it, yes, yes, I’ll divide. Even though you are such a thief, I won’t make any trouble for you. Do, do go and bring it back, oh do!
Lyc. Man alive, you’re out of your senses, calling me a thief. I supposed you had found out about something else that does concern me, Euclio. There’s an important matter I’m anxious to talk over quietly with you, sir, if you’re at leisure.
Eucl. Give me your word of honour: you didn’t steal that gold?
Lyc. (shaking his head) On my honour.
Eucl. And you don’t know the man that did take it?
Lyc. Nor that, either, on my honour.
Eucl. And if you learn who took it, you’ll inform me?
Lyc. I will.
Eucl. And you won’t go shares with the man that has it,or shield the thief?
Eucl. What if you deceive me?
Lyc. Then, sir, may I be dealt with as great God sees fit.
Eucl. That will suffice. All right now, say what you want.
Lyc. In case you’re not acquainted with my family connections, sir,– Megadorus here is my uncle: my father was Antimachus, and my own name is Lyconides: Eunomia is my mother.
Eucl. I know who you are. Now what do you want? That’s what I wish to know.
Lyc. You have a daughter.
Eucl. Yes, yes, at home there!
Lyc. You have betrothed her to my uncle, I understand.
Eucl. Precisely, precisely.
Lyc. He has asked me to inform you now that he breaks the engagement.
Eucl. (furious) Breaks the engagement, with everything ready, the wedding prepared for? May all the everlasting powers above consume that villain that’s to blame for me losing my gold, all that gold, poor God forsaken creature that I am!
Lyc. Brace up, sir: don’t curse. And now for something that I pray will turn out well and happily for yourself and your daughter–“God grant it may” Say that.
Eucl. (doubtfully) God grant it may!
Lyc. God grant it may for me, too! Now listen, sir. There isn’t a man alive so worthless but what he wants to clear himself when he’s done wrong and is ashamed. Now, sir, if I’ve injures you or your daughter without realizing what I was doing, I implore you to forgive me and let me marry her as I’m legally bound to. ( nervously) It was the night of Ceres’ festival… and what with wine and… a young fellow’s natural impulses together… I wronged her, I confess it.
Eucl. Oh, oh,my God! What villainy am I hearing of?
Lyc. (patting his shoulder) Lamenting, sir, lamenting, when you’re a grandfather, and this your daughter’s wedding day? You see it’s the tenth month since the festival–reckon it up– and we have a child,sir. This explains my uncle’s breaking the engagement: he did it for my sake. Go in and inquire if it isn’t just as I tell you.
Eucl. Oh, my life is wrecked, wrecked! The way calamities swarm down and settle on me one after another! Go in I will, and have the truth of it! Exit into his house
Lyc. (as he disappears) I’ll soon be with you, sir. ( after a pause, contentedly) It does look as if we were pretty nearly safe in the shallows now. ( looking around) Where in the world my fellow Strobilus is I can’t imagine. Well, the only thing to do is wait here a bit longer; then I’ll join father-in-law inside. Meanwhile I’ll let him have an opportunity to inquire into the case of the old nurse that’s been his daughter’s maid: she knows about it all. (waits in doorway)
Strob. Ye immortal Gods, what joy, what bliss, ye bless me with! I have a four pound pot of gold, chock full of gold! Show me a man that’s richer! Who’s the chap in all Athens now that Heaven’s kinder to than me?
Lyc. Why, it surely seemed as if I heard someone’s voice just then. (catches a glimpse of Strobilus’s face, the latter wheeling around as he sees Lyconides)
Strob.(aside) Hm! Is that master there?
Lyc. (aside) My servant, is it?
Strob.(aside,after a quick glance) It’s the governor.
Lyc. (aside) Himself.
Strob.(aside) Here goes. (Moves toward Lyconides)
Lyc. (aside) I’ll go meet him. No doubt he’s followed instructions and been to see that old woman I mentioned, my girls’ nurse.
Strob.(aside) Why not tell him I’ve found this prize? Then I’ll beg him to set me free. I’ll up and let him have the whole story. (To Lyconides, as they meet) I’ve found–
Lyc. (scoffingly) Found what?
Strob. No such trifle as youngsters hurrah over finding in a bean.
Lyc. At your old tricks? You’re chaffing. ( pretends to be about to leave)
Strob. Hold on, sir; I’ll tell you all about it this minute. Listen.
Lyc. Well, well, then, tell away.
Strob. Sir, to-day, I’ve found–boundless riches.
Lyc. (interested) You have? Where?
Strob. A four pound pot, sir, I tell you a four pound pot just full of gold.
Lyc. What’s all this you’ve done? He’s the man that robbed old Euclio. Where is this gold?
Strob. In a box at home. Now I want you to set me free.
Lyc. (angrily) I set you free, you,you great lump of iniquity?
Strob. (crestfallen, then laughing heartily) Go along with you, sir! I know what you’re after. Gad! that was clever of me, testing you in that way! And you were just getting ready to drop on it! Now, what would you be doing, if I really had found it?
Lyc. No, no, that won’t pass. Off with you: hand over the gold.
Strob. Hand over the gold? I?
Lyc. Yes, hand it over, so that it may be handed over to Euclio.
Strob. Gold? Where from?
Lyc. The gold you just admitted was in the box.
Strob. Bless your heart, sir, my tongue’s all the time running on foolish- like.
Strob. That’s what I say.
Lyc. (seizing him) See here, do you know what you’ll get?
Strob. By heaven, sir, you can even kill me, but you won’t have it from me, never–
The rest of the play is lost, save for a few fragments. Lyconides, on returning the pot of gold, was given permission to marry Euclio’s daughter; and Euclio, having a change of heart, or influenced by his Household God, gave it to the young couple as a wedding present.