Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

Translated by Christopher Kelk

Scene from Terence's play Andria

Scene from Terentius' play Andria
Bernard Picart (French, 1673 - 1733) - The Rijksmuseum

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The poet, when he first began this work,

Thought that the only task that he could shirk

Was pleasing folk with plays that he would write.

But he’s discovered things have turned out quite

Otherwise for prologues all are worthless, not

For purposes of writing out the plot,

But rather answering the calumnies

Of that foul, ancient playwright. Listen, please,

And heed the thing that this playwright has rated

Faulty. It was Menander who created 10

Both Andria and Perinthia. He who knows

One well knows both of them. Now, both of those

Are similar in plot, but nonetheless

In style they differ: he came to confess

That from the former play he had transferred

Into the latter those parts he preferred

To think fit there. But critics now condemn

These means, and thus he is at odds with them.

These critics think they should not coalesce.

By being knowing, do they not confess 20

That they know nothing? In rebuking thus

Our poet, they’re rebuking Naevius,

Plautus and Ennius, those bards whom he

Has as his models and whose laxity,

And not their mystifying carefulness,

He’d rather emulate. I must impress

On you that you should stay mum and refrain

From maledictions lest you should attain

The knowledge of your faults. And therefore be

Friendly and neutral so that you may see 30

What hope is left for him and if the plays

That he’ll compose anew in future days

Will have an audience to show approval

Or suffer a dishonourable removal.



Simo [to the servants]

Take these provisions to the house. Away!

Sosia, hither! I’ve a few words to say

To you.

Sosia Consider it done. These things, I guess,

Have to be handled with some heedfulness.

Simo Oh no, it’s something else.

Sosia What further thing

Could it be that I should be handling? 40

Simo What I’ve in hand needs no ability

From you but loyalty and secrecy,

Which I have always seen that you evince.

Sosia Then I await your wishes.

Simo Ever since

I bought you as a youngster, I have been

Compassionate to you, and time has seen

You made a freedman for your excellence

In serving me. The greatest recompense

I’ve owned I’ve spent on you.

Sosia Indeed I know.

Simo I am not changed.

Sosia I’m glad to have it so. 50

I’m pleased to serve you well, and grateful, too,

That I have been of so much use to you.

But I’m uneasy,, since you censure me,

It seems, for casting from my memory

My gratitude. But what is it that you

Would have? In one word tell me.

Simo That I’ll do.

But, first of all, the marriage you believe

Is real is actually not.

Sosia Why, then, deceive?

Simo I’ll tell you everything: thereby you can

Know how my son is living and the plan 60

I have. When he had reached maturity,

He then could live more unrestrictedly:

For earlier how could you know his mood

When youth, fear and a master all tabooed

His movements?

Sosia Ah, yes!

Simo Most youths entertain

Some hobby – for they’ll hunt with hounds or train

Their horses or turn to philosophy,

But he was not concerned particularly

With any one of these activities

Despite the fact that he did all of these 70

Quite well, and I was glad.

Sosia Quite rightly, too,

For I believe that nobody should do

Only one single thing excessively.

Simo Such was his mode of life – to readily

Listen to those he met and heed them all,

Resign himself to them that he might call

Himself their acolyte, while studying

Their interests, and never arguing

With anyone. Thus very easily

One may gain praise, while lacking jealousy 80

And gaining friends.

Sosia Wise! Now obsequiousness

Spawns friends but hatred comes from openness.

Simo Three years ago a woman crossed the sea

From Andros to live here, for poverty

And careless kin had made her emigrate:

Most fair and young was she.

Sosia I’m in a state

Of fear that there will come some injury

From this Andrian woman.

Simo Well, first she 90

Lived frugally in hardship while she sought

A modest living that her labour brought

By carding wool. Then lovers came to woo,

Promising wealth (as all men tend to do,

Plunging from toil to sensuality).

Consenting to them she began to see

The profit in her beauty. Some would take

My son with them and I would quickly make

The observation: “He is certainly

Besotted.” Then at dawn, when I would see 100

The to and fro of servants, I would say

To one of them, “Who was it yesterday

Who had Chrysis?” (The Andrian woman thus

Was named).

Sosia I get it.

Simo He would say Phaedrus,

Clinias or Niceratus, for these men

All loved the woman. I inquired then,

“What did Pamphilus do?” He answered me,

“He paid his shot and dined.” This caused me glee.

I asked the same thing on another day

And there was nothing further he could say 110

To implicate my son. It proved to me

The flawless evidence of his chastity.

For after one’s seen such proclivities

Up close and isn’t roused by them, then he’s

Able to live correctly, you may be

Assured. I felt joy that unanimously

Folk praised the lad, glad for my happiness

In having a son with such high-mindedness.

Well, what’s the use of words? Chremes was spurred

By what of my son Pamphilus he’d heard 120

And of his own accord he came to me

To give his only girl in matrimony

With a large dowry, and I was delighted

And acquiesced, and so their troth was plighted,

The wedding day announced.

Sosia What explanation

Is there that would forestall their celebration?

Simo You’ll hear it. A few days subsequently

Chrysis was dead.

Sosia Happy fortuity!

Chrysis unnerved me.

Simo Frequently my son

Was to be seen accompanying each one 130

Of those who were her lovers. It was he

Who organized the funeral, mournfully

Weeping with them, and this brought me some joy

Since I concluded that, although my boy

Had insubstantial feelings for her, he

Yet took her passing with such gravity.

But had he loved her, what would he have done

For me, his father? For what in my son

I saw were duties of great sentiment

And goodwill. In a word, therefore, I went 140

To attend her funeral with nothing to fear,

I thought.

Sosia Aha, what happened?

Simo You will hear.

We follow her bier, and accidentally

Among the women present there I see

A beauteous maid.

Sosia Most likely.

Simo Oh, a lass

Whose modest mien no other could surpass,

And charming, too. Because she seemed to me

To grieve more than the other girls while she

Was more genteel in form than all the rest,

I sought the serving-maids with a request – 150

“Who is she?” “Chrysis’ sister,” they all said.

And then it struck me – her own sister’s dead;

No wonder all those tears, that sympathy.

Sosia I fear what you’re about to tell to me.

Simo Meanwhile the funeral carries on, and so

We follow it and to the tomb we go.

They placed her on the pyre, and there were tears.

Meanwhile the sister whom I mentioned nears

The flame too carelessly. Then, terrified

For her, my son Pamphilus signified 160

His well-disguised and veiled love: at a run

He went to her and said, “My darling one,

Glycerium,” as he clasped her to him, “why

Do you do this? Why do you wish to die?”

And then, so that you easily might see

The love they shared, she so affectionately

Fell weeping in his arms.

Sosia What’s that you say?

Simo I came back then in anger and dismay

With yet no cause for chiding him. He might

Have said, “What have I done? Is it not right? 170

For I have saved a girl who wished to fling

Herself into the flames. Sound reasoning!”

Sosia You’re right. If you find culpability

In one who saves a life, how would you be

With one who’s carried out atrocities?

Simo Next day I had a visitor – Chremes:

He yelled and spoke of a disgraceful thing:

He’d heard that my son was cohabiting

With that outsider. I vehemently

Demurred; he urged the tale’s veracity. 180

And then I left him there as he denied

To give his daughter up.

Sosia Did you not chide

Your son?

Simo I had no great justification.

Sosia How so?

Simo “You specified a termination,

Father, to this,” he said. “The time is nigh

When by another’s disposition I

Shall have to live, and therefore please allow

Me to be my own master just for now.”

Sosia How can you chide him now?

Simo If he should say,

Because of his sweetheart, the wedding day 190

Will not arrive, that surely first of all

Is a transgression, on which I should call

My son, and now I’m trying hard to see

If he denies he’s married, which would be

A further cause to chide. But if that man,

That scoundrel Davus, has a further plan

It may well come to nothing, since his tricks

Are useless, and he’ll do his best to fix

The problem, for he’d rather agitate

And stress yours truly than accommodate 200

My son.

Sosia How so?

Simo You jest! A wicked mind,

An evil nature! But if I should find –

No matter! If my son does not delay,

As I would wish, on Chremes I must play

And hope all will be well. Your duty now

Is feigning well these nuptials and to cow

Davus and check upon my son to see

What he is up to and what strategy

He’s planning with him.

Sosia: That’s enough: I’ll do

The tasks. Let’s in.

Simo Go on – I’ll follow you. 210


Simo [to himself]

There is no doubt my son won’t want to wed.

I was aware just now of Davus’ dread

When he heard that the nuptials would not be

Performed. But here he comes.

Davus [to himself]

It bothered me

That this would be the case: and yesterday

I was in constant terror in what way

My master’s leniency would end, for he,

Once he had ascertained his son would be

Without a wife, just did not take it ill

Nor breathed a word to us.

Simo [to himself]

But now he will 220

With no small cost to him, I think he’ll find.

Davus [to himself]

He meant that we, with unsuspecting mind,

Should feel false joy with not a whit of dread,

Now full of hope so that we might be led

To think that there’s no time to hatch a plan

To stop the marriage. Clever!

Simo [to himself]

Wicked man!

What’s that he said?

Davus [to himself]

Oh no, I didn’t see

My master there.

Simo Davus!

Davus Yes.

Simo Come to me!

Davus [to himself]

What does he want?

Simo What did you say?

Davus About

Precisely what?

Simo You rogue! It’s been put out 230

My son’s in love.

Davus Well, other folk concern

Themselves with that, I guess.

Simo Will you not turn

Your mind to this?

Davus Alright.

Simo For me to ask

A question in these matters is the task

Of a strict father. What he’s done before

Is not my business: while he could explore

His youthful interests, I gave some leeway

To him, yet he is different today

With different habits. Hence I supplicate

You, Davus, if it’s fair, to send him straight 240

Back to his proper path.

Davus [to himself]

What can this mean?

Simo All those who love a wench are far from keen

To have a wife given them.

Davus That’s what they say.

Simo A bad guide in such things could steer away

A feeble mind to worse activities

Davus I just don’t get it – my apologies.

Simo You don’t?

Davus I’m Davus, sir, not Oedipus.

Simo You wish me, then, to be more obvious?

Davus I do.

Simo If in this marriage I should see

That you are using some duplicity 250

To bring it to an end, or if your will

Is to show off your skill, then to the mill

I’ll send you to be beaten till you die,

And if I let you go, I promise I

Will take your place. Alright, now do you see?

Or do you need yet more?

Davus It’s perfectly

Explicit - you were never rambling.

Simo I’d rather that in any other thing

Than this you may deceive me.

Davus Hear my plea –

Speak fair words.

Simo Ah, now you’re deriding me. 260

You don’t delude me: don’t be rash. Take care

To heed the warning you’ve just heard. Beware!


Davus [to himself]

No time for sloth or inactivity

Now I’ve found out the old man’s theory

About the marriage. Unless with some skill

It is prevented, everything goes ill

With me or Master. It’s not obvious

What I should do – shall I aid Pamphilus

Or yield to Simo? If I quit the son,

His life’s in danger, but the other one 270

Will threaten me if I should aid him – he

Is hard to deal with. Now, primarily,

He knows of the affair. With hostile glare

He keeps his eyes on me in case I dare

To meddle in the marriage with deceit;

And if he senses it, I’m in defeat.

If he should choose some pretext, rightfully

Or wrongly, he will headlong consign me

To the mill. And furthermore, besides the strife,

This Andria, whether she is a wife 280

Or mistress, having lain with Pamphilus,

Is pregnant; and it’s meritorious

To hear such impudence that one might note

In people in their dotage, not who dote

On their beloved. They’ve resolved to take

The child up and have made a plan to fake

That she’s from Attica: “Previously

An old Attican merchant, wrecked at sea

Off Andros, died there.” They say, furthermore,

That at that time this girl, cast on the shore 290

When just a baby, had been nurtured by

Chrysis’s father. Hah, pie in the sky!

I can’t believe it’s true. This fantasy,

However, they take for reality.

Here’s Mysis. I’m off to the market-place

To have a word with Pamphilus in case

His father should encounter him and shatter

His world in his involvement in this matter.


Mysis [to Archylis within]

I have already heard you, Archylis:

You want Lesbia here. I’ll tell you this - 300

She’s a rash drunkard, not sufficlently

Worthy to tend a first delivery.

I’ll bring her to you, though. Ah, look at her,

Her inconsiderate fellow-tippler!

May she birth easily. And that one there –

Make sure she does her bungling elsewhere,

You gods! Why’s Pamphilus sad? I fear I know.

I’ll wait to see which way this gloom will go.


Pamphilus [to himself]

Is this humane? Is this a father’s role?

Mysis [to himself]

What does this mean?

Pamphilus [to himself]

What’s this, upon my soul, 310

If not an outrage? Today he’d told me

He’d give a wife to me. But oughtn’t he

Have told me so before?

Mysis[to himself];

Oh God, what’s this?

Pamphilus [to himself]

What’s Chremes up to? He said he’d dismiss

His plans to have his daughter as my wife

Because I have not altered in my life

Although he has, and thus obstinately

He may withdraw Glycerium from me.

If this should happen, I’ll be wholly lost.

Is anyone as wretched and star-crossed 320

In love as I? Oh, by the loyalty

Of gods and men, is there no strategy

To dodge this pact with Chremes? Ah, the ways

That I have been rejected in this haze

Of degradation! All’s been done, and I,

Rejected once, am sought again. And why?

Perhaps they’re rearing some monstrosity,

As I suspect, and thus they turn to me

Since they can’t load her off to anyone


Mysis [to himself]

This terrifies me. I am done! 330

Pamphilus [to himself]

But what about my father can I say?

To thoughtlessly determine in this way

Such an important case! He passed by me

Just now down at the forum when, said he,

“Now, Pamphilus, you must be wed today.

Prepare! Go home!” To me he seemed to say,

“Quick! Hang yourself!” Imagine my surprise!

Do you believe that I could verbalize

At all or have even a paltry plea?

I was struck dumb. If someone now asked me 340

What I’d have done if I had fathomed out

The situation, there is not one doubt

I would have done just anything at all

But this. What should I do? Such worries fall

Upon my head that tear my mind apart –

The marriage, my concern for my sweetheart,

Our love, and then the subserviency

To Father, who has been till recently

Indulgent with my moods. Should I contest

My father? I’m unsure of what is best 350

To do.

Mysis [to himself]

I’m dreading how this all will end.

But one thing’s clear – Glycerium must lend

An ear to him or he to me about

Glycerium. For when one is in doubt,

The mind is oscillating to and fro

With every little thing.

Pamphilus [seeing Mysis]

Mysis, hello.

Was that you speaking?

Mysis It was, Pamphilus.


Pamphilus How is she?

Mysis Ah, so dolorous!

She’s worried that the wedding is today;

She also fears that you will walk away 360

And leave her.

Pamphilus How could I do such a thing?

I could not bear to see her suffering

Deceit on my account – she gave to me

Her heart and soul, while I especially

Hold her so dear. To have her overthrown

With poverty when she has clearly shown

Her genteel breeding! That I will not do.

Mysis I’d have no fear if it were only you

On whom it rested. But could you hold out

Against compulsion?

Pamphilus Am I so without 370

Humanity that neither modesty

Nor love nor warmth can yet inspire me

To keep my faith?

Mysis Well, there’s one thing I know –

That you should not forget her ever.

Pamphilus Oh,

Forget her? Printed on my memory

Are Chrysis’ words about her. For when she

Was on the point of death, she said, “Come here”:

You maidservants had left, and I drew near.

We were alone, and then she said to me,

“Her beauty and her youthfulness you see. 380

And you’re aware that they will succour you

To guard her property and her virtue.

By this right hand and by your Genius,

Your faith and her forlorn state, Pamphilus,,

Do not desert her, for I’ve cherished you

Like my own brother, and she’s loved you, too,

Above all others, yielding passively

To you in everything. Accordingly,

I give her to you as a husband, friend

And educator. To you I commend 390

My property.” She joined our hands and died

At once. I’ll keep my darling by my side


Mysis Such is my expectation [starts to leave]

Pamphilus Why

Are you now leaving her?

Mysis I’m off to try

To rouse the midwife.

Pamphilus Quickly, then, and heed

The words I have to say – dismiss the need

To speak about the marriage lest that too

Exacerbates her sickness.

Mysis I hear you.



Charinus Byrrhia, shall she be married, then, today

To Pamphilus?

Charinus Indeed that’s what they say. 400

Charinus How do you know?

Charinus I heard the news of late

From Davus at the forum.

Charinus Wretched fate

For me! My mind was mixed with hope and dread,

But now the hope is gone It sinks like lead,

Wearied with care.

Charinus Your hopes are dashed indeed,

So wish for that in which you can succeed.

Charinus I want but Philumena.

Charinus Try to find

A way to drive the lady from your mind

Rather than saying what will fruitlessly

Inflame your lust.

Charinus When we are healthy, we 410

Give good advice to those who are unwell;

If you were I, however, you would tell

A different tale.

Charinus Well, as you wish.

Charinus I spy

Pamphilus: I’d know all before I die

Of grief.

Byrrhia [to himself]

What does he mean?

Charinus I’ll supplicate

The man himself; to him I will relate

My love and beg him that he might delay

The wedding for at least another day

Or so. Meanwhile something may happen.

Charinus No,

It won’t.

Charinus What do you think, then? Should I go 420

And see him?

Charinus Why not? If you don’t succeed,

He will at least have you to serve his need

For a reserve-‘boyfriend’.

Charinus You swine, away

With you for saying such a thing.

Pamphilus Good day,


Charinus Greetings to you, Pamphilus.

I’ve come to speak with you, solicitous

For safety, hope, help and some good advice.

Pamphilus Alas, I don’t have time that will suffice

For those last two. What’s up this time?

Charinus Today

You’re going to get married?

Pamphilus So they say. 430

Charinus Well, if you do you never will see me


Pamphilus Why?

Charinus I don’t have the bravery

To tell you. Byrrhia, tell him instead.

Charinus I will.

Pamphilus What is it?

Charinus She whom you will wed

Is his beloved.

Pamphilus Ah, we differ thus.

And therefore let me know now, Charinus,

If you’ve had more to do with her.

Charinus Nohow,


Pamphilus Well I wish you had.

Charinus But now

I beg you not to marry her.

Pamphilus I’ll do

My best.

Charinus But if you cannot and if you 440

Oppose the rites –

Pamphilus Oppose?

Charinus At least delay

The marriage for a while so that I may

Not be a witness to it.

Pamphilus Listen to me!

I do not think a ma of honesty

Who doesn’t have the right will yet insist

I be obliged to him. I more resist

The marriage than you want to gain it.

Charinus You

Have brought me back to life!

Pamphilus If you can do

Anything – or, Byrrhia, you – concoct, design

Or fabricate that she shall not be mine 450

But marry you.

Charinus I’m satisfied.

Pamphilus I spy

Davus, on whose sound counsel I rely.

Charinus [to Byrrhia]

Say nothing to me but those things which need

No knowing. Leave me now.

Charinus I will indeed.


Davus [to himself]

Great gods, such news! But where am I to find

Pamphilus so that I can rid his mind

Of fear and please him?

Charinus [to Pamphilus]

He is full of glee

About something.

Pamphilus It doesn’t matter: he

Hasn’t yet heard the bad news.

Davus [to himself]

Well, it’s true,

I think, if he has heard the wedding’s due – 460

Charinus [apart]

Don’t you hear him?

Davus [to himself]

He seeks me frantically

Throughout the city. But where can he be?

Where should l find him?

Charinus Do you hesitate

To speak to him?

Davus I’m off.

Pamphilus No, Davus. Wait!

Davus Who’s that? Ah, Pamphilus, you’re just the one

I’m looking for. Charinus, too, well done!

I want you both.

Pamphilus I’ve had it!

Davus No, but hear –

Pamphilus I’m done, I tell you.

Davus I know what you fear.

Pamphilus My life is in great danger.

Davus That, I say,

I know.

Pamphilus My marriage –

Davus Yes, I know.

Pamphilus Today. 470

Davus You keep on drumming it into my ears,

But I’m aware of everything. [indicating Charinus] He fears

That he won’t wed her: on the other hand

You fear you might.

Charinus Yes, yes, you understand.

Pamphilus The very thing.

Davus That very thing you’ll see

Is in no danger: put your faith in me.

Pamphilus As soon as possible, I’m begging you,

Release me from this fear.

Davus That will I do.

For Chremes has agreed that he will stay

His hand and never give his child away 480

To you.

Pamphilus How do you know?

Davus You will know, too:

Your father grabbed me lately, saying you

Would have a wife this very day as well

As many other things that I can’t tell

To you through lack of time. Accordingly

I came straight from the forum hurriedly

To tell you this. Not finding you, then I

Went up a hill to see if I could spy

You from above – I couldn’t. But I caught

Sight of his [indicating Charinus] servant, Byrrhia: I sought 490

From him where you might be, but he told me

He hadn’t seen you. What a mystery!

I wondered what to do. A thought occurred

As I returned, however - hardly a word

Of cheer, a gloomy man, then, suddenly,

A wedding. Here was no coherency.

Pamphilus What are you getting at?

Davus To Chremes’ house

I went, where all was quiet as a mouse

Outside, which made me glad.

Charinus That’s good.

Pamphilus Go on.

Davus I stopped there. In the meantime I saw none 500

Go in or out, saw no activity,

Helpers or trimmings. I went up to see


Pamphilus Of course – a goodly sign.

Davus Do these

Things tally with nuptial festivities?

Pamphilus I think not.

Davus “Think”? Oh no, you’ve got it wrong –

It’s certain. Then a slave-boy came along

As I was leaving, bearing some small fish

And veggies, worth one obol, as a dish

For Chremes’ dinner.

Charinus Davus, I am free

Thanks to your work.

Davus Not so.

Charinus What? Surely he 510

Won’t give his child to him [indicating Pamphilus] now?

Davus Silly man!

As if since he won’t have the girl, you can!

Court Chremes’ friends.

Pamphilus Well said. I’ll go, though I

Have many times felt desperate. Goodbye.


Pamphilus What’s with my father? Why this masquerade?

Davus I’ll tell you. If your father had been made

Angry with you because Chremes denied

His daughter to be given as your bride,

He’d think himself unjust, and rightly too,

Because he hadn’t first found out from you 520

Your views about the marriage. Blame instead

He’d put on you if you refuse to wed:

Thus troubles would arise.

Pamphilus I will submit

To anything.

Davus He is your dad, so it

Is difficult: she’s helpless. He’ll track down

Some pretext that will drive her out of town

In short shrift.

Pamphilus Drive her out - ?


And quickly, too.

Pamphilus So, Davus, tell me - what am I to do?

Davus Say you’ll wed her.

Pamphilus Hah!

Davus What?

Pamphilus Must I say so?

Davus Why not?

Pamphilus No, I won’t do it.

Davus Don’t say no. 530

Pamphilus Don’t try to sway me.

Davus Think what would ensue.

Pamphilus I’d lose her, lumbered with the other, too.

Davus Not so. I think your dad will try to say

That you will have to marry her today.

Say what you will, and thus your quarrelling

Is over. In this manner everything

That’s been arranged shall be in disarray.

For it is clear Chremes won’t give away

His child to you, and therefore you’ll be free

From danger. Keep on with this plan lest he 540

Should change his mind. Your father can’t be mad

At you if you consent; the hopes you had

I’ll easily refute. For no-one can

Be asked to give his child to any man

Of such proclivities; he’d rather give

A beggar to you as a wife than live

In shame of your corruption. But if he

Should take the news with equanimity,

He’ll treat the matter with more nonchalance

And leisurely seek another. Then by chance 550

Something of good may happen.

Pamphilus Is that true,

You think?

Davus No doubt.

Pamphilus Think what you’d have me do.

Davus Be quiet!

Pamphilus No. We must take care that he

Won’t find out that she’s had a child by me.

I said I’d bring it up.

Davus A big mistake!

Pamphilus She made me vow that I would not forsake

Them both.

Davus I’ll see to it. Your father’s here.

See that he doesn’t spot your lack of cheer.


Simo [to himself]

I’m back to see what they are both about

And what they’re hatching.

Davus He has not one doubt 560

That you’ll refuse to wed her. He has thought

The matter through and hither has he brought

Himself from some dark spot: and he relies

On some speech that he’s made up to surprise

And fluster you. Take care! Act naturally!

Pamphilus I hope I can.

Davus Just put your faith in me.

Between you two not one word will be said

As long as you agree you will be wed.


Byrrhia [to himself]

My master bade me leave my work today

And monitor Pamphilus that I may 570

Know what he’s doing about the rites, and so

I’ve followed him [indicating Simo] and there he is – Simo –

With Davus: I’ll note that.

Simo Both here, I see.

Davus [to Pamphilus]

Watch out!

Simo Son!

Davus [to Pamphilus]

As if unexpectedly

Taken aback, face him.

Pamphilus Father!

Davus [to Pamphilus]

Well done!

Simo I want you to be wed today, my son.

As I have said.

Charinus I dread what he will say.

Pamphilus In nothing will you see that I delay.

Byrrhia [to himself]


Davus [to Pamphilus]

He’s struck dumb.

Charinus Oh, how extraordinary!

Simo My son, you’ve acted so appropriately 580

In giving me my wish with graciousness.

Davus [to Pamphilus]

Was I not right?

Charinus Oh dear, as I may guess,

My master’s lost a wife.

Simo Go in, and be

Prepared when there is a necessity.

Pamphilus I go.

Byrrhia [to himself]

Don’t put your trust in any man.

All folk would rather serve their own needs than

Another’s – that’s well said. I’ve seen the lass

And I recall her beauty, so I’ll pass

On blaming Pamphilus should he prefer

That in his dreams he’ll be embracing her, 590

And not Charinus. Therefore back I’ll go

And for these evils suffer blow for blow.


Davus [to himself]

He thinks I’ve brought some trickery and thus

Have I remained here.

Simo What says he, Davus?

Davus Nothing.

Simo What? Nothing?

Davus Not a single thing.

Simo Well, I was certainly imagining

That there’d be something.

Davus Everything’s turned out

Against your expectations. [to himself] There’s no doubt

That he’s disquieted.

Simo Can you tell me

The truth?

Davus I can do so quite easily. 600

Simo These nuptials don’t vex him in any way

Due to this foreign girl?

Davus I have to say

No, not at all. Or, even if they do,

He will recover in a day or two.

Besides, he’s thought it over properly.

Simo Good lad!

Davus When he had licence for it, he

Would sow his oats as youths are apt to do.

But it was secretly. And he took due

Precaution in case any infamy

Stuck to him, as a man of honesty 610

Will do. Now he must marry, he has set

His mind upon the girl he’ll wed.

Simo And yet

He seemed unhappy in some slight degree.

Davus Ah, not because of her, but rather he

Is angry with you.

Simo Why?

Davus It’s trifling.

Simo But what?

Davus Ah, nothing.

Simo What?

Davus Well, here’s the thing –

He says the preparations you have made

Are sparse.

Simo They’re sparse?

Davus Yes. He says you have laid

Ten drachmas out, no more than that, to feed

The guests. He says, “Is this a father’s deed 620

In marrying his son? And now, of all

My young companions, whom shall I call

To such a feast?” For your frugality,

It must be stated, is too much for me.

Simo Shut up!

Davus [to himself]

Take that!

Simo Now I’ll be very keen

That all’s in order. What’s the old rogue mean?

For if there’s anything unpromising

In this, one can be sure that he’s its spring.



Mysis [not seeing Simo and Davus]

Lesbia, it’s right what I’ve just heard from you

That you can hardly find a man who’s true. 630

Simo [apart, to Davus]

This maid comes from the Andrian.

Davus [apart, to Simo]

Is it thus?

Simo [apart, to Davus]

Indeed it is.

Mysis And yet this Pamphilus –

Simo What does she say?

Mysis Has proved his constancy.

Simo [to himself]

Oh no!

Davus [to himself]

I wish that he were deaf or she

Struck dumb.

Mysis The child that she’s about to bear

He has announced that with paternal care

He’ll rear.

Simo Oh God! What is this that I’ve heard?

Well, all is lost if we can trust her word.

Lesbia You tell us of the youth’s morality.

Mysis I do indeed. Let’s go in. Follow me 640

Lest she’s kept waiting.

Lesbia Right.

Davus I have to know

How I can find a remedy for this blow.

Simo What’s this I hear? The lad is quite beguiled.

Beguiled about a foreign person’s child!

I see it now! In my stupidity

I have discovered all eventually.

Davus [to himself]

What could that be?

Simo [to himself]

This piece of knavery

Is for the first time foisted off on me.

They feign that she’s in labour so that they

May frighten Chremes.

Glycerium [from within]

Lucina, I pray, 650

Help me!

Simo So sudden? That is so absurd.

She’s bustling about because she heard

Me at the door. Davus, unhappily

For you, your points of time are off.

Davus What, me?

Simo You teach your student badly in this bout

Of subterfuge.

Davus What are you on about?

Simo If at the actual wedding of my son

He’d taken me off-guard, what lovely fun

He’d have at my expense. Now he must face

The danger; I am in a safer place. 660


Lesbia [at the door]

Archylis, I perceive the customary

Symptoms that would aid her recovery,

So let her bathe, and then administer

Just the amount that I prescribed for her

Of fluid. I’ll be back soon. Oh, such joy!

For Pamphilus has sired a splendid boy.

I pray he will survive, for Pamphilus

Himself is honourable and virtuous.

He hesitated to cause injury

To this fine, youthful lady.

Simo [to Davus]

Who can’t see 670

That all this came from you?

Davus What?

Simo When within

She gave no orders for a lying-in.

To those inside, though, when she came out here

Into the street she bawled out loud and clear.

Oh, Davus, how could I be so imposed

Upon by you? Do I seem so disposed

To trust such knavery? But anyway

I should have seemed to be full of dismay

If I had known it.

Davus [to himself]

It’s not I but he

Who’s been deceived.

Simo Were you, then, scared of me 680

When I warned you with threats? What then took place?

Yes, go on, tell me, look into my face

And say the Andrian has borne a child

To Pamphilus.

Davus [to himself]

I know how he’s beguiled,

So I must see to it.

Simo Why are you mum?

Davus As though you didn’t know that day would come!

What would you credit?

Simo Did someone tell me?

Davus Come on now, tell me, did you willingly

Think it a hoax?

Simo You laugh at me!

Davus The news

Was brought you: else how could you sniff a ruse? 690

Simo Because I knew you!

Davus You’re implying, though,

That I contrived it.

Simo That I clearly know.

Davus You do not know me well.

Simo I don’t?

Davus If I

Begin to speak to you, you say I lie.

I dare not whisper now.

Simo One thing is clear

To me – no baby was delivered here.

Davus You found that out? But soon enough they’ll lay

A child before this door. Once more I say

That this will happen: thus you’ll be aware

Of it. But don’t go saying this affair 700

Has been contrived by any strategy

Of mine, removing your dubiety

Of me.

Simo How do you know this?

Simo I confess

I heard it and believe it, too: my guess

Is formed by many things. She said that she

Was pregnant, but it was a fantasy.

When she heard wedding preparations were

Being made chez nous, a maid was sent by her

Immediately to fetch the midwife, who

Should bring a child. And if you may not view

The child, the wedding’s off.

Simo What? When you’d heard

About the plan, why say no single word

About it to my son immediately?

Davus Who else got him to leave the girl but me?

How desperately he loved her we all knew,

And now he seeks to wed the lady, too.

Let me take up this duty, but progress

With wedding preparations nonetheless:

Godspeed to them! Go in and wait for me,

And do what must be done. [exit Davus]

Simo: Not totally 720

Do I believe all this. Could it be so?

I am not sure. It matters little, though,

Because the most important thing to me

Is that my son gave me his guarantee.

I’ll go to Chremes, hoping to persuade

Him to allow my son to wed the maid:

If I obtain his word, what other day

Is there to have this wedding but today?

I’m sure that, since my son gave me his vow,

If he should balk I’ll pressure him somehow 730

To marry her. But who is this I see?

It’s Chremes coming here propitiously.


Simo Chremes, hello.

Chremes The very man I came

To have a word with.

Simo I could say the same.

Chremes How opportune! Some folk came here to say

That they had heard my daughter would today

Marry your son, and I would like to see

If you or they are mad.

Simo Listen to me:

Briefly you’ll know what I require of you

And what you seek.

Chremes I’m all ears: go on, do. 740

Simo Well, by the gods and by our amity

Which grew from boyhood to maturity,

And by your only daughter and my son

(Whose guardian you are – the only one),

I beg that you aid me in this affair

And see the wedding through.

Chremes Oh, don’t you dare

Beg me! As if it were obligatory!

You think I’m different from formerly

When I gave her away? Go, send ahead

That she should come here if they are to wed. 750

But if there is more harm in this affair

Than good for each, I beg you to take care

To think about their common good, as though

She were your daughter, he my son.

Simo And so

Do I intend. I’d not ask it of you

If it weren’t necessary.

Chremes What’s to do?

Simo Glycerium and he have had a fight.

Chremes Oh yes?

Simo So great that I have hopes it might

Part them.

Chremes Nonsense!

Simo It’s true.

Chremes Let me tell you

That lovers’ fights occasion love anew. 760

Simo Well, while time gives us opportunity

And while his lust’s blocked by controversy,

Before a woman’s wicked craftiness

Converts his sickly mind to tenderness,

Let’s give her to him. Thus I hope that he,

By honest marriage and intimacy,

Will dodge these evils easily.

Chremes So you

Believe! But I don’t think he will be true

To her or I’ll be able to endure

The outcome.

Simo But how can you be so sure 770

If you don’t set a test?

Chremes Tests would oppress

A maiden.

Simo Look, all of the awkwardness

Amounts to this – they would (the gods forfend!)

Go separate ways. But if he should amend

His ways, think of the gains that there would be –

For you would have restored my son to me,

You’d have a son-in-law and thus present

A husband to your child.

Chremes Are you content?

If you are satisfied, I won’t deny

You anything.

Simo With reason, too, for I 780

Look on you as a true friend.

Chremes How do you - ?

Simo What?

Chremes Know that there’s discord between those two?

Simo Davus, who knows the plans they’ve made, told me.

He urges me as soon as it may be

To have the wedding. Do you think he’d do

A thing like that unless he really knew

My son yearned for it? You’ll know without doubt.

Call Davus! Ah, he’s there. He’s coming out.


I was just coming here.

Simo Why? What’s to do?

Davus It’s late. Why wasn’t the bride called?

Simo Hey, do you 790

Hear me? For some time now I’ve felt that you,

Like those of the common servant class, Might do

Some great disservice by oppressing me

Because my son’s in love.

Davus What? Honestly?

Simo I thought so, yes. So I concealed, through fear,

What I shall tell you now.

Davus What?

Simo You shall hear.

I almost trust you now.

Davus So finally

You’ve found out my authentic quality?

Simo The wedding was nt ever to take place.

Davus No?

Simo So I put on a deceitful face 800

To test you.

Davus What?

Simo It’s true.

Davus But can’t you see

I never noticed. What a strategy!

Simo But as I gave you orders to go hither

Inside, then Chremes happily came hither.

Davus [to himself]

We’re done for, then.

Simo I told him what you said

To me.

Davus [to himself]

What next?!

Simo And then I went ahead,

Entreating him to give to Pamphilus

His daughter. It was very arduous

But I prevailed.

Davus [to himself]

I’m done!

Simo What did you say?

Davus I said,” Well done.”

Simo He must not now delay. 810


I’ll go in to the house and tell them they

Must make all ready and come back.

Simo I pray,

Davus, since it was you who saw that we

Would have a wedding –

Davus Truly!

Simo See that he

Reforms his ways.

Davus Well, I will do my best.

Simo Right now, though, while his mind’s still in unrest.

Davus Don’t fret.

Simo Where is he?

Davus He must be inside.

Simo I’ll go to him and say to him what I’d

Told you.

Davus [to himself]

I’m lost. Why shouldn’t I, right now,

Go to the mill? There is no room nohow 820

For supplicating since I’ve made a mess

Of everything: my master, I confess,

I have inveigled, casting forth his son

Into a marriage. What else have I done?

The wedding is today, and Pamphilus

Is an unwilling groom. Ingenious

Indeed! If I’d kept mum, no tragedy

Would have occurred. But who comes here? It’s he!

I’m doomed. I would there were some precipice

Whence I might fall, eluding all of this. 830


Pamphilus Where is he who caused me such tragedy?

Davus [to himself]

I’m done for.

Pamphilus I confess that honestly

He did me in since I’m devoid of wit.

Why should I trust my fate to such a twit,

A stupid slave? And so I have to pay

The price. But he will never get away

With this.

Davus [to himself]

If I avoid this ill, I’ll stay

Secure, I know.

Pamphilus But what am I to say

To Dad? Shall I deny I wish to be

Married to her despite my guarantee? 840

Such brazenness to treat my father so

By saying such a thing! I hardly know

What I should do.

Davus [to himself]

Nor I, but I’ll essay

To find a remedy. Ah, I shall say

I’ll find some respite.

Pamphilus Ah!

Davus [to himself]

I’m busted now.

Pamphilus Hah what are you about? Do you see how

Your tricks have hampered me?

Davus I’ll free you.

Pamphilus Oh,

You’ll free me?

Davus: Yes.

Pamphilus As you’ve just done?

Davus Oh no,

I hope much better.

Pamphilus How can I depend

On you, you rogue? You’re planning to emend 850

What’s wholly finished me? Rely on you,

Who from a very blithe existence threw

Me into marriage? Did I not foretell

This outcome?

Davus Yes indeed, you did, sir.

Pamphilus Well,

How should I punish you?

Davus The cross. But let

Me have a little time – I’ll save you yet.

Pamphilus Alas, I have no time to punish you

In the same way that I now yearn to do.

For I am forced by this predicament

To save myself, postponing punishment. 860



Charinus [to himself]

Could one believe a man could be so mean

As to find happiness when he has seen

Another in misfortune? Can this be

The truth? The most malicious man is he

Who barely takes the time to make delay

When he refuses, but when comes the day

To live up to his vow, he feels the need

Through fear to find himself, and then indeed

It’s ‘thumbs-down’. He’s full of effrontery

And says, “Who are you? What are you to me? 870

Look here, my needs come first.” And should you claim

He should be principled, he feels no shame;

When there is need, he’s cool; when there is not,

He’s filled full of anxiety. But what

Am I to do about all this? Defy

The man for what he’s done to me? Should I

Heap insults on him? One might say to me,

“He won’t be moved.” But I will certainly

Have vexed him and showed how I feel.

Pamphilus A mess

I’ve made, Charinus, of us both, unless 880

The gods are kind. It wasn’t my intent.

Charinus It wasn’t, eh? At last, though, you invent

An explanation. But you broke your vow.

Pamphilus How so?

Charinus Will you yet dupe me even now?

Pamphilus What’s this?

Charinus I told you of my ardency

And now you show your partiality

With her I love.

Pamphilus You’re wrong.

Charinus Was your elation

Not great enough unless with provocation

You mocked me in my love and led me on

With spurious hope? Well, take her and begone! 890


Take her? You do not know how wretchedly

I am assailed with dreadful misery;

You do not know all the anxieties

My murderer [indicating Davus] has with his trickeries

Brought me.

Charinus It’s no surprise – he’s your ideal!

Pamphilus You’d not say that if you knew how I feel

About her.

Charinus Well, I do know, for of late

You argued with your father. He’s irate

Because he is unable to convince

You to wed her.

Pamphilus You are in error, since 900

You’re not aware of my great misery;

The wedding has not been prepared for me,

And no-one wants to offer me a bride.

Charinus Yes, your own inclination’s been your guide.

Pamphilus Hold on – you don’t know everything.

Charinus I know

You plan to marry her.

Pamphilus Why wound me so?

Listen: he kept insisting that I tell

My father that I’d marry her. So well

Did he entreat me that eventually

I caved.

Charinus Who did?

Pamphilus Davus.

Charinus Davus?

Pamphilus Yes, he. 910

Pamphilus He caused confusion.

Charinus Why, though?

Pamphilus Well, unless

The gods deplore my ingenuousness

In listening to him, I don’t have a clue.

Charinus Is this true, Davus?

Davus Yes.

Charinus You, villain, you!

Ah, may the gods destroy you in a way

That fits your actions! Tell me, then, I pray,

If all his enemies wished him to wed,

What better plan than this, eh?

Davus I was led

Into deception but I’m hopeful still.

Charinus I’m sure of that!

Davus: This plan ended in ill 920

But I’ll try something else. Unless, maybe,

Since my first plan came off unhappily,

You think that victory cannot ensue.

Pamphilus Oh no: I am persuaded that, if you

Are careful, you’ll effect not one but two


Davus Pamphilus, it is my due

To serve you, hands and feet each day and night,

Risking my very life. I think it right

That if something should turn out differently

From what you hoped for, you should pardon me. 930

I failed but I’ll keep struggling even so.

Find something better or tell me to go.

Pamphilus Then take me back to where I was before.

Davus I will.

Pamphilus Directly, though.

Davus But wait! Her door

Is creaking.

Pamphilus You’ll deal with it easily.

Davus I think –

Pamphilus What now?

Davus I’ll tell you presently.


Mysis [to Glycerium within]

Wherever he is, I will track down your beau

And bring him here. But do not worry so.

Pamphilus Mysis.

Mysis What - ? Pamphilus! How luckily

We meet!

Pamphilus What is it?

Mysis Mistress ordered me 940

That, if you love her, you should straightway go

To her – she wants to see you now.

Pamphilus [to himself]

Oh no,

I’m done for! It gets worse. [to Davus] Because of you

Both she and I are now in such a stew.

She’s calling for me since she seems to know

That wedding plans are clearly on the go.

Charinus We could have had a break quite easily

If he had shut his mouth.

Davus [sarcastically]

If he should be

Not piqued enough, then make him madder still!

Mysis Well, that’s the case: she makes herself quite ill. 950

Pamphilus Mysis, I’ll never leave her: this I swear

Even if I found out all men everywhere

Would be my enemies. I chose her – she

Is mine, for we’re in perfect harmony.

Curse those who’d have us part! For only death

Will take her from me at our final breath.

Mysis I’m feeling better now.

Pamphilus I say that all

I’ve said is truer than the words that fall

From Phoebus’ lips. If someone can contrive

To prove my father does not think that I’ve 960

Ended the marriage, I would like to see

That done. But if none can, I’ll easily

Prove that It was through me. What is the view

You have of me, then?

Charinus I believe that you

Are just as glum as I.

Davus I have a plan.

Charinus Aha, you are indeed a clever man.

Pamphilus What is it?

Davus I will sort it out for you.

Pamphilus There’s need.

Davus I have it now.

Charinus What will you do?

Davus [pointing out Pamphilus]

For him, not you.

Charinus Alright.

Pamphilus Well?

Davus I’m afraid

One day’s too short to render you my aid. 970

I have no time to tell it you. So go

Away directly, for you’d only slow

Me down.

Pamphilus I’ll visit her [exit]

Davus What will you do?

Where are you going now?

Charinus Shall I tell you

The truth?

Davus: No, not at all. [aside] Too long!

Charinus But what

Will be my fate?

Davus Madman, have you not got

Some breathing-space through me and can defer

The marriage?

Charinus But –

Davus What?

Charinus That I marry her –

Davus Ridiculous!

Charinus If you can promise me

Some help, come to my house.

Davus How can that be? 980

I’ve nothing.

Charinus Anything!

Davus Alright, alright,

I’ll come.

Charinus I’ll be at home.

Davus Mysis, sit tight

A little till I come out.

Mysis Why?

Davus There’s need.

Mysis Quickly!

Davus I will return with all due speed. [exit]


Mysis [to herself]

No-one is safe. I thought until this day

That Pamphilus had been a nonpareil

For Mistress – lover, friend, a man who’s right

In every way. Now she’s a wretched sight

Because of him, more full of misery

Than she was full of happiness formerly.

[Enter Davus] Here’s Davus. My good sir, what’s up? And why

Is there a small boy in your arms?

Davus Well, I 990

Require your cleverness immediately.

Mysis What will you do?

Davus Quick! Take the lad from me.

Lay him before our door.

Mysis What’s that you say?

Upon the ground?

Davus Indeed. Then make your way

Hence to the altar there and hither bring

Some sacred herbs, finally scattering

Them underneath the child.

Mysis Well, why don’t you?

Davus Well, if I had to swear I didn’t do

The deed to Master, I’d be conscience-free.

Mysis I understand. Did you just recently 1000

Acquire these scruples?

Davus Quick, that you may hear

What I’ll do next. Oh God!

Mysis What’s up?

Davus Oh dear,

Her father, interrupting everything!

The plan I had I’m now abandoning.

Mysis What are you on about?

Davus I will pretend

That I’ve come from the right.

You, then, must lend

Your aid when it is wanted.

Mysis I’m aware

Of nothing that you’ve said but if you care

To have my help whenever it is needed

I’ll stay in case the outcome is impeded. 1010


Chremes [to himself]

I’ve made arrangements for the wedding-day

And now I’m coming back so that I may

Request her presence here. What’s this I see?

Why, it’s a child. [to Mysis] Woman, enlighten me –

Tell me why you have laid a baby there?

Mysis Where is he?

Chremes Why don’t you reply?

Mysis Nowhere

That I can see. He’s left me here and gone.

Davus [pretending not to see Chremes and Mysis]. The forum’s full. Oh, what a carry-on! 1020

The bargaining! [aloud] The victuals are so dear.

[Aside] I do not know what more to say.

Mysis Come here,

Why did you leave me all alone?

Davus [seeing the child]


What happened here? Now, Mysis, do you know

Who brought this baby here?

Mysis You’re asking me?

You must be mad.

Davus There no-one else I see,

So who else should I ask?

Chremes [to himself]

I wonder, too,

Who brought it.

Davus Tell me what I’m asking you.

[Whispering] Step to the right [she does]

Mysis This is insanity!

You brought the child.

Davus Say not a word to me 1030

Other than what I ask you.

Mysis Is it fair

That you are saying this?

Davus Just tell me where

It came from – loudly!

Mysis From our house.

Davus I see!

The action of a whore!

Chremes [to himself]

Then she must be

The Andrian’s maid.

Davus Do you believe we’d play

Such tricks?

Chremes [to himself]

I’m just in time.

Davus Take it away!

[Whispering] Just stay right there and do not leave this spot.

Mysis You scare me so!

Davus Well, is it you or not

I’m asking?

Mysis What is it you want?

Davus Are you

Asking me that? I want to find out who 1040

Is parent to this child you brought. Tell me

The truth.

Mysis What? You don’t know?

Davus To purgatory

With what I know! Tell me! Be serious!

Mysis It’s one of yours.

Davus Which of them?

Mysis Pamphilus.

Davus Oh no!

Chremes [to himself]

It’s with good reason, palpably,

That I opposed the match.

Davus Such devilry!

Mysis Why are you bawling?

Davus It’s the very same

Brought by someone I noticed when they came

Just yesterday to the house, quite late at night.

Mysis Oh, such a bold-faced fellow!

Davus Yes, that’s right. 1050

I saw Canthara stuffed sufficiently

With pillows.

Mysis I thank God that we could see,

Free women at the birth.

Davus [aloud]

She does not know

On whose account these schemes were made, and so,

If Chremes had not seen the baby laid

Out here, she thinks he will not give the maid

To Pamphilus. But on the contrary

He’ll give yet more.

Chremes [to himself]

No! It’s a certainty

He won’t.

Davus Take up the baby from the door

Or I’ll roll it into the road; what’s more, 1060

I’ll roll you, too, and cover you with grime.

Mysis You’re drunk.

Davus One scheme upon another! I’m

Told she’s a citizen.

Chremes Oh, gracious me!

Davus So legally they must be wed.

Mysis Is she

A citizen?

Chremes [to himself]

It seems that unawares

I near fell in the weirdest of affairs.

Davus Who’s that? Ah, Chremes, how timely we meet!


Chremes I know all.

Davus All?

Chremes All, I repeat,

Right from the start.

Davus Listen, I pray, to me:

This wench for her egregious villainy 1070

Should be put to the rack. [to Mysis] Here is Chremes:

It’s not just me on whom your trickeries

Are played.

Mysis Good sir, I have not said one thing

To you that’s false.

Chremes I now know everything.

Is Sino in?

Davus He is.

Mysis [to Davus]

Don’t dare touch me,

You reprobate! I tell you honestly,

If I don’t tell Glycerium –

Davus Come now,

Don’t you know what’s been going on?

Mysis Well, how

Should I?

Davus Here comes her dad. There was no way

But telling him what he wished us to say. 1080

Mysis You should have said so.

Davus Is it, then, your view

That it counts little whether you should do

A thing as Nature prompts you to or be

Committed to a thought-out strategy?


Crito In this street once lived Chrysis, so they say,

Piling up wealth in a dishonest way

Rather than living poor but honestly.

She died and all her property came to me

By law. But now I spy some people here

Whom I would question. [accosting them] I wish you good cheer. 1090

Mysis Who’s that? Is Chrysis’ cousin here – Crito?

He is.

Crito Good morning, Mysis.

Mysis Ah, hello,


Crito Is Chrysis, then - ?

Mysis Indeed it’s true.

She left us broken-hearted.

Crito How are you?

Doing well?

Mysis ‘Well as we can’, as people say,

Since we can’t really flourish as we may.

Crito And what about Glycerium? Has she

Now found her parents?

Mysis No, unfortunately.

I wish she had.

Crito Not yet? Then I set out

With no auspicious omen. There’s no doubt 1100

I’d not have come here had I been aware

Of that. For every day and everywhere

Folk knew her as her sister, and now she

Has all her things. It has been told to me

That, as a stranger, I could now with ease

Take her to court, as others’ instances

Have shown. I think, though, there’s a man who’s known

To be her friend and patron, for she’d grown

Somewhat when she left there. Folk would call me

A trickster, ferreting out a legacy. 1110

But it’s not right to fleece the girl, I fear.

Mysis Oh, what a worthy stranger! You adhere

To your old-fashioned ways.

Crito I wish to see

The girl, so lead me to her.

Mysis Certainly.

Davus [to himself]

I’ll follow, since I have no appetite

Right now to be within the old man’s sight.



Chremes Our friendship has been proved sufficiently

Already, Simo, but just recently

I’ve met sufficient hazards: therefore end

Your pleas. I’ve always tried to be your friend, 1120

But my child’s life I’ve almost fooled away.

Simo But now especially I beg and pray

That you make true your offer.

Chremes Can’t you see

That with your zeal you show your villainy?

As long as you get what you would possess,

You don’t think of the bounds of graciousness

Or what you ask of me. If you did so,

You would forbear to burden me with woe.

Simo What woe?

Chremes You ask me that? You badgered me

To give my promise that my child would be 1130

Wed to a youth who’s having an affair

With someone else and never had a care

To marry: it would lead to feuds and end

Quite prematurely but I just might mend

Your son’s bad ways. You gained your victory,

So, since conditions seemed alright to me,

I started preparations. But you’ll find

You must accept that I have changed my mind.

She is a citizen, as people say,

A child was born, so now just go away. 1140

Simo I beg you, don’t trust those whose interest

Is that he should be vilified as best

As possible. Due to the marriage, all

Of this has been contrived; their case will fall

When all’s removed.

Chremes You’re misinterpreting

The matter, for I caught a wrangling

Between Davus and Mysis.

Simo I’m aware

Of that!

Chremes And neither knew that I was there,

And so to me they both seemed serious.

Simo I think that’s true, and recently Davus 1150

Told me it would be so. I meant today

To tell you but that purpose slipped away.


Davus [to himself]

Stay calm!

Chremes There’s Chremes.

Simo Whence?

Davus [to himself]

It’s due to me

And the stranger –

Simo [to himself]

What prank’s this?

Davus I never did dee

More fitting circumstances – meeting, man

And time, all three together.

Simo Ah who can

He now be praising?

Davus [to himself]

All’s well.

Simo [to himself]

Why do you

Not speak to him?

Davus [to himself, seeing Simo]

Master!! What should I do?

Simo Good sir, good day to you.

Davus Simo, good day.

Ah, Chremes! Everything is underway 1160


Simo [sarcastically]

You’re well prepared!

Davus Then at your need

Send for the bride.

Simo That’s one thing left indeed.

But tell me this – what is it you must do


Davus What? I?

Simo Yes.

Davus I?

Simo Yes, dammit, you!

Davus I went in now.

Simo I didn’t ask you when!

Davus Your son is there with her.

Simo Is Pamphilus, then,

Within? [aside] I’m on the rack! [to Davus] Did you not say

That they’re at loggerheads?

Davus Yes, that are they.

Simo Then why’s he there?

Chremes To quarrel, obviously.

Davus However, Chremes, you shall hear from me 1170

About a vile and shameful incident.

I met an old man, shrewd and confident.

To look at him, you’d think him well-to-do.

His looks were grave, and when he spoke to you

His words had depth.

Simo What are getting at?

Davus Nothing but what he mentioned in our chat.

Simo What was it, then?

Davus He told me that he knew

Glycerium is a citizen.

Simo [going to the door]

Hey, you!


Davus What is it?

Simo Dromo!

Davus Let me say –

Simo Not one word! Dromo!

Davus Listen to me, I pray. 1180

Dromo Yes?

Simo Take this man inside, quick as you can.

Dromo Who?

Simo Davus.

Dromo Why?

Simo Because I choose to, man.

Davus What did I do?

Simo Take him!

Davus If you should be

Informed that I have lied at all, kill me.

Simo I’ll close my ears. The mill will welcome you

Right now.

Davus What? Even if it all is true?

Simo Yes. Take care he is well secured and tie

Him hand and foot. Be off with you! Now I

Will show you, if I live, this very day

How dangerous it is for you to play 1190

Your master for a fool and for him, too,

To fool his father.

Chremes Ah, I beg of you,

Calm down a bit.

Simo Chremes, the piety

That sons should have! Do you not pity me

For having such a son? Oh, Pamphilus,

Come out! How could you be so scandalous?


Pamphilus Who wants me? [aside] Father! Now I’m in for it!

Simo Of all - !

Chremes Address the subject and omit

Harsh words!

Simo Could anything be more severe

To say to him? And what is this I hear? 1200

The girl’s a citizen?

Chremes They say that’s true.

Simo And you believe them? Does he really rue

His deeds? Does he consider what he’s said?

And have his cheeks displayed a shameful red

Ever? With sickly mind he would repel

The city’s laws and customs and rebel

Against his father, so excessively

Keen to have her. Such notoriety!

Pamphilus I’ve had it!

Simo Is it only now you find

Those words? Long past, when you’d made up your mind 1210

To have that girl at any price, that day

They fit you like a glove. But what’s to say?

Why crucify myself and thus distress

My old age with this rascal’s craziness?

Am I to suffer for his villainy?

No way! Good luck to him and let him be

Her spouse.

Pamphilus Dad –

Simo Dad? As if you needed one!

House, wife and children – everything’s been done

Without your dad’s permission. You’ve forked out

Money to folk to say that there’s no doubt 1220

That she’s a citizen. You’ve won your case.

Pamphilus A few words, father, please!

Simo What, to my face?

Chremes Listen, Simo.

Simo What? Listen to him? But why?

Chremes Just let him speak.

Simo Alright.

Pamphilus I own that I

Love her. If that’s a fault, I own that, too.

But, father, I subject myself to you.

Give orders for what punishment you choose.

Do you want me to marry and to lose

Glycerium? With what ability

I have I’ll bear it. But take this from me – 1230

I did not bribe the old man. Let me clear

Myself, and to that end have him brought here.

Simo Here?

Pamphilus Father, please!

Chremes A reasonable request.

Allow him.

Pamphilus Tell a servant your behest.

Simo Alright – if I know he’s not hoodwinked me.

Chremes A son’s great crime earns a slight penalty.


Crito [to Pamphilus]

No begging! Of these reasons any one

Prompts me to do it, for it must be done

Either for you yourself or since it’s true

Or since I’m very passionate to do

Well by Glycerium.

Chremes Why, do I see

Crito of Andros? That’s him certainly.

Crito Greetings, Chremes.

Chremes It’s very rare that you

Come to our city.

Crito Well, sometimes I do.

Is that Simo?

Chremes Yes.

Simo Were you seeking me?

Glycerium’s a citizen? Seriously?

Crito Do you deny it?

Simo Well prepared, aren’t you?

Crito To do what?

Simo Really, do you plan to do

This with impunity? Is it your way

To seek green, well-bred youths and then to play 1250

Upon their fancies, giving guarantees

And promises that lead to trickeries?

Crito Are you insane?

Simo Inveigling men to wed


Pamphilus [to himself]

Now I’ve had it. I’m in dread

The stranger won’t put up with this.

Chremes Simo,

If you knew this man well, you’d not think so.

He is a worthy man.

Simo Worthy? What, he?

Today he came here so conveniently

To see the wedding he’s arranged, although

He’s not been here before, and even so 1260

You still believe him.

Pamphilus [to himself]

If I didn’t fear

My father, I’d have something fitting here

To tell him.

Simo Swindler!

Crito What did he just say?

Chremes Please, Crito, let it go: it’s just his way.

Crito Well, let him mind his words. If he churns out

What he desires to hear, beyond a doubt

He’ll hear a different tune. Do you believe

That knowingly I’m trying to deceive

Or acting for myself? Can you not take

This nonsense calmly? Whether it is fake 1270

Or true, what you have told me will be known

Presently. Once an Attican was thrown

Into the sea, shipwrecked, and, by his side,

A little girl. In poverty he applied

To Chrysis’ father –

Simo Hear the man begin

His tale!

Chremes Be quiet!

Crito Why do you butt in?

Chremes Proceed.

Crito He was part of my family:

The man was Attican, he said to me.

He died on Andros.

Chremes And his name?

Crito Why so

Impatient for his name?

Pamphilus Phania.

Chremes Oh no! 1280

I’m done for!

Crito Yes, I’m pretty sure her name

Was Phania. I do know he said he came

From Rhamnus.

Chremes Ahh!

Crito This was disseminated

Throughout the isle.

Chremes What I’ve anticipated

I trust will come about. What did he say

About her? Was she his?

Crito I must say nay.

Whose, then?

Crito His brother’s.

Chremes Then there is no doubt

She’s mine.

Crito What’s that?

Simo What are you on about?

Pamphilus [to himself]

Prick up your ears, lad!

Simo Why d’you think that’s so?

Chremes Well, Phania was my brother.

Simo Yes, I know. 1290

Crito From here he fled the war and followed me

To Asia, while he felt anxiety

To leave her. Ans since then I had not heard

Till now what happened to him – not a word.

Pamphilus [to himself]

I hardly know myself, so agitated

About this wholly unanticipated

News with fear, hope, joy, wonder.

Simo Honestly,

I’m filled with joy in many ways that she

Is proved a citizen.

Pamphilus I think you are,


Chremes One other thing, though, tends to jar 1300

My mind.

Pamphilus [to himself]

Well, you deserve to be upset.

You and your scruples, rogue! Not happy yet?

Crito What is it?

Chremes That the names don’t fit.

Crito When small,

She had another name.

Chremes Can you recall

The name?

Crito I’m trying.

Pamphilus [to himself]

Is my happiness

Doomed to be barred by his forgetfulness

When I myself possess the remedy?

I’ll not endure it. [aloud] Chremes, hear from me

That it was Pasibula.

Crito That’s the name.

Chremes That’s it.

Pamphilus Oh, I have heard the very same 1310

A thousand times.

Simo Well, Chremes, I can guess

That you believe we’re full of happiness

That you have now regained your memory.

Chremes I do indeed believe it, certainly.

Pamphilus Father, what’s yet to do?

Simo At last I find

My reconciliation.

Pamphilus Oh, how kind

A father! With regard to my being wed

To her, since she and I have shared a bed,

Chremes won’t change his mind.

Chremes A splendid plea,

Unless somehow your father won’t agree. 1320

Pamphilus Of course.

Simo Let it be so.

Chremes Then, Pamphilus,

Ten talents is the price.

Pamphilus Let it be thus.

Chremes I’ll hasten to my daughter. But, Crito,

Come with me since I do not think she’ll know

Her father.

Simo Have her brought here.

Pamphilus Splendid thought!

Give Davus orders that she may be brought


Simo That’s quite impossible.

Pamphilus Indeed?

Why is that so?

Simo Much greater things impede

His progress.

Pamphilus What?

Simo He’s bound.

Pamphilus Not fairly, though.

Simo I ordered it.

Pamphilus I beg you, let him go. 1330

Simo Alright.

Pamphilus But quickly.

Simo Right, I’m on my way

Into the house.

Pamphilus Oh, what a happy day!


Davus [to himself]

Where’s Pamphilus, I wonder?

Pamphilus Hey, Davus.

Davus What man is that?

Pamphilus It’s I. It’s Pamphilus.

Davus Oh, Pamphilus!

Pamphilus Davus, you’ll never guess

What’s happened to me.

Davus That’s true. Nevertheless 1150

I know what’s happened to me.

Pamphilus And I do, too.

Davus The way it is, it’s better far that you

Should be acquainted with my tragedy

Before I learn of your felicity.

Pamphilus Glycerium’s found her parents.

Davus Well done!

Charinus [apart]


Pamphilus Her dad’s a friend of somebody we know.

Davus Who?

Pamphilus Chremes.

Davus Great!

Pamphilus I can be wed today.

Charinus [apart]

He’s dreaming.

Pamphilus Now, about the child –

Davus Oh, say 1160

No more about the child. You’re favoured by

The gods, and no-one else but you.

Charinus [apart]

Then I

Am safe if this is true. I’ll have a chat

With them. [coming forward]

Pamphilus Who’s this? Charinus, you’ve come at

A happy time.

Charinus Fine!

Pamphilus Did you hear the news?

Charinus I heard it all; I beg you, don’t refuse

To let me take part in your own elation.

Chremes is yours now – with no hesitation

I know that he will give you everything

You want.

Pamphilus Indeed. Come on, no lingering: 1170

Let’s go inside before Chremes comes out.

Davus, go home and swiftly give a shout

To have her brought here. Quickly, don’t delay!

Davus I’m going. [to the audience] No use waiting until they

Come out. She’ll be betrothed there. What will hap

Will hap inside. Now clap us, people! Clap!