Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

Translated by Christopher Kelk

Scene from Terence's play Hecyra

Scene from a play by Terence
Bernard Picart (French, 1673 - 1733) - The Rijksmuseum

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Hecyra is the title of this play:

When it was first presented, on that day

There came about a new calamity

Whereby the audience could not thoroughly

Witness or judge it – they were mesmerized

With some rope-dancing. Now it’s been revised

Entirely. The playwright would not show

The play upon the stage once more and so

Will sell it possibly. Each other play

You’ve seen before: now look at this, I pray. 10


I’ll speak this prologue: grant, accordingly,

Good fortune that the same immunity

I had when I was young I may possess

Today. In those days I would bring success

To new plays that had once been spurned: thereby

The writings of the poet would not die

Once he was dead. Caecilius’ comedies

I learnt when they were new along with these:

Sometimes I failed, sometimes I held my own

With difficulty. It was clearly known 20

To me that fortune on the stage can be

Fickle, and therefore when uncertainty

Arose, I laboured hard, and so, when I

Began to act in them, I would thereby

Learn new ones from the poet zealously

And not divert him from his specialty,

And they got staged, well-liked when they were seen.

I thus restored the poet who had been,

Through the malevolence of his enemies,

Almost removed from his activities 30

In playwriting. But if I were to slight

Him at that time, discouraging him to write

So that he would have lived in lethargy,

I might have disadvised him equally

From writing other plays. And therefore pay

Attention to what I have got to say,

And be impartial. Hecyra once more

I bring, a play I never was before

Allowed to act in silence, for the play

Was cursed. Your intellect, though, will allay 40

The curse, if it will aid my toil. When I

Began to act, I was so baffled by

The vaunts of boxers and the expectation

Of rope-dancers and the congregation,

The noise, the women’s shrieks, that I would leave

Before the end. I’ve now tried to retrieve

An earlier play of mine, for I set out

Afresh and once more brought the play about.

The first act pleased, but in the meantime there

Came news that some gladiatorial fare 50

Was in the offing, and this rumour brought

The audience in flocks – they yelled, they fought

For seats, they rioted in disarray;

I could not keep my place there. But today

There is no riot, just serenity

And ease, and I’ve the opportunity

To act again, and you may now array

The scenic festival. And yet, I pray,

Do not permit dramatic art to be

Left to a few: let your authority 60

Be linked with mine. If I through avarice

Have never thought to set a price on this

Talent of mine but think the greatest gain

That I can hope for is to entertain

And please you, let me be assured that he

Who gave himself to your integrity

And toils in the protection I provide

May not be ridiculed on every side.

Thus for my sake listen attentively

That he may write more plays while, as for me, 70

I’ll be allowed to learn more plays: thus I

May be allowed to buy them by and by.



Philotis Few lovers to their mistresses, you’ll see,

Are constant: for example, constantly

Pamphilus with a solemn vow averred

To Bacchis – so that anyone who heard

Would think it true – that he’d not wed while she

Yet lived. But now he’s wed!

Syra Accordingly

I earnestly implore you and advise

That you should pity none and vandalize 80

And plunder every man you meet.

Philotis What, all?

Syra That’s right, for none of them will ever call

On you without preparing first to play

Upon your feelings, thus to have his way

With you at slight expense. So why don’t you

Conspire against them?

Philotis  But it’s wrong to do

Damage to all.

Syra You say it’s wrong to make

Reprisal on your enemies or take

Them in the way they take you? Why should you

And I not share our looks and points of view? 90


Parmeno [to Scirtus, within]

If the old man should come and ask for me,

Say I’ve gone to the port to try to see

If Pamphilus has come. What have I said,

Scirtus? If he asks for me, go ahead

And say that; if he doesn’t, do not say

A word, that at some other time I may

Use that excuse again. But do I see

My dear Philotis? How’s it come to be

That she’s here? [to Philotis] Philotis, a warm good-day

To you.

Philotis My greetings, Parmeno.

Syra I say! 100


Parmeno Good-day. [to Philotis] Now tell me, where have you

Been making merry all this time?

Philotis Not true.

I’ve not been having fun in any way:

I left for Corinth where I had to stay

With a foul captain, and for two years there

I languished.

Parmeno Well, I fancy that your care

For Athens held you often and you thought

But poorly of an enterprise that caught

You in its trap.

Philotis Indeed I cannot say

How eager I have been to get away 110

From him and come back here that I might see

You once again, enjoying tranquilly,

As once I did, the parties that we’d hold.

Unless at certain moments, I was told,

Or if he chose the subject I should say

Not one word.

Parmeno Hardly gallant, then, to stay

Your tongue!

Philotis But tell me what I heard in there [pointing to the house]

From Bacchis. It could never be, I’d swear,

That while she was alive he would not wed.

Parmeno Indeed.

Philotis But is it truly as she said? 120

Parmeno Yes, but I doubt the marriage will endure.

Philotis May all the gods and goddesses ensure

It won’t, for Bacchis’ sake.

Parmeno To dissipate

The news is pointless – don’t interrogate

Me anymore about it.

Philotis Lest it be

Known widely, I suppose. Believe you me,

I do not ask you so that I may spread

The news abroad but so that in my head

I may rejoice.

Parmeno Whatever you may say

I’ll never trust you.

Philotis Oh, don’t speak that way, 130

As though you were more eager, Parmeno,

To tell this to me than I am to know

What I’m asking about.

Parmeno [to himself]

Indeed that’s true,

And that’s my greatest failing. [to Philotis] Now, if you

Give me your word that you will never say

A word of it, I’ll tell you right away.

Philotis That’s more your style. I give my word. So speak!

Parmeno Listen.

Philotis I will.

Parmeno Their love was at its peak,

When Pamphilus’ father urged his son to wed,

And, as it is with fathers, he then said 140

That he was aged now and Pamphilus

His only son, and so he hoped that thus

He’d have support in his old age. First he

Refused, but when his father urgently

Pressed him, he wavered back and forth – should he

Yield to his love or filial piety?

By hammering away, the old man gained

The upper hand and finally attained

For Pamphilus the child of our next-door

Neighbour. This did not seem unpleasant for 150

His son until close to the wedding-day

When he saw all prepared and no delay

Was possible: he was in such a mess

That even Bacchis, I would surely guess,

Would then have pitied him had she been there.

Whenever I was granted time to spare

And speak with him, he’d utter, “Parmeno,

What have I done to merit all this woe?

I’ve had it.”

Philotis Laches, for this dreadful act

Damn you!

Parmeno In short, he wed her. No contact 160

He made with her upon the marriage-bed

That first night, nor the next.

Philotis What’s that you said?

A young man, full of wine, lay with a lass –

A virgin! – and made not a single pass

At her? Nonsense! I don’t believe it’s true.

Parmeno I think you don’t, but no-one comes to you

Reluctant to make love to you, but he

Had taken her to wife unwillingly.

Philotis Then what?

Parmeno He very soon took me aside,

Out of the house, and said he’d still denied 170

To touch her, but that he, before they wed,

Had hoped to tolerate the match. He said,

“As I am set to part with her, it’s base

To make a fool of her, and a disgrace

To her as well, and so I must restore

Her to her kin just as she was before

We wed.”

Philotis What you tell me of Pamphilus

Shows him to be upright and virtuous.

Parmeno “It burdens me to say this, but if we

Should send her home without some calumny 180

Being mentioned, that is most provocative.

I hope, though, when she sees that she can’t live

With me, she’ll go back anyway.

Philotis Did he

Meanwhile still visit Bacchis?

Parmeno Constantly.

But once she saw that he was wed and thus

Hands-off, she grew more acrimonious,

As you’d expect.

Philotis Indeed.

Parmeno That’s mainly why

They parted; he began to identify

The traits of both his mistress and the one

He’d wed, and his, and made comparison. 190

The wife, in keeping with a decorous,

Free-born, respectable and virtuous

Lady, bore all his slights and every slur,

Hiding her feelings. He so felt for her,

Constrained, too, by the sheer effrontery

Of Bacchis, that he withdrew gradually

From her and then transferred his love to her

He’d wed, and thus a genial character

They formed together. Meanwhile on Imbros

An old relative of theirs had died: their loss 200

Led to their gaining all his property.

The love-sick Pamphilus unwillingly

Was dragged there by his dad, who left the wife

With his mother, for the old man spends his life

Upcountry, rarely leaving.

Philotis What is there

To bar this marriage?.

Parmeno Well, there was a fair

Compact between them first for several days.

But meanwhile in a number of strange ways

She started to hate Sostrata, although

They still had never quarrelled.

Philotis Yes? And so…? 210

She spurned their conversations, instantly

Walking away from her; thus, finally,

When she could not withstand her anymore,

Pretending that her mother asked her for

Assistance at a sacrifice, she went

Away. A few days later, Sostrata sent

For her with some excuse or other. She

Gave like commands, but no apology

Was sent back to her. Once this had occurred

Quite frequently, “The woman’s sick”, they heard. 220

My mistress went to see her instantly,

But no-one let her in. When finally

The old man heard of it, he yesterday

Came back to town and waited straightaway

For Philumena. I do not yet know

What passed between those two, but still I grow

Anxious. I must be going.

Philotis And I, too,

To meet a stranger.

Parmeno May the gods bless you

In all of your endeavours.

Philotis And I say

Farewell to you.

Parmeno And I to you. Good-day. 230



Laches O what a race, what a conspiracy!

All women love and spurn things equally.

Not one of them will differ from the rest,

You’ll find – all mothers-in-law will detest

Their daughters-in-law; with like stolidity

All wives oppose their husbands: they must be,

It seems, trained in the same academy where they

Learn obstinacy. Thus I have to say

That Sostrata must be the teacher there.

Sostrata Of what I’m guilty of I’m not aware. 240

Laches You’re not?

Sostrata Laches, may Heaven prosper me,

And may we live our lives in unity!

Laches [aside]

Heaven forbid!

Sostrata You soon will be aware,

I’m certain, that your charges are unfair.

Laches Unfair? Can there be anything that you

Deserve for those misdeeds of yours? You, who

Have brought disgrace upon your family.

Yourself and me, preparing misery

To rack your son? It’s you, besides, who brought

Our friends to enmity because they thought 250

They could entrust their children to him. You

Alone have brought about this hullabaloo.

Sostrata I?

Lachess You, I tell you, woman, who believe

I’m made of stone. Because I rarely leave

The country, do you think that I don’t know

What goes on in the city? That’s not so:

Of what folk do right here I know much more

Than of the country where I live. Wherefore?

Well, as you are at home, folk speak of me

Abroad. Some time ago I certainly 260

Learned Philumena hates you – well, that’s no

Surprise: indeed if she had not done so,

It would be more surprising yet, although

I did not think that she would ever go

So far as hating the whole family.

If I’d known that, then preferentially

She should have stayed here and you should have gone.

The blame for all these evils lies upon

Your head. I went upcountry to comply

With your request and manage all of my 270

Affairs in order that I might maintain

Your easy lifestyle. I with might and main

Toil beyond measure with what years allow

To me. Since you don’t care at all, then how

Can I not be upset?

Sostrata I’m totally


Laches No, you’re to blame especially.

Because you were the only person who

Was here, all blame, Sostrata, falls on you.

You should have taken care of matters here,

For I’d freed you from every other fear. 280

A crone hating a girl is a disgrace:

“It’s not my fault,” you’ll tell me to my face.

Sostrata I won’t, dear Laches.

Laches Well, that pleases me

For my son’s sake, but I am certainly

Convinced that no misdeed of yours can show

You in a worse light.

Sostrata But how do you know,

Husband, she doesn’t feign to dislike me

In order that she may more frequently

Be with her mother?

Laches Look, there’s ample proof,

For no-one would let you beneath their roof 290

Just yesterday.

Sostrata They told me she was ill,

And that was why I was excluded.

Laches Still,

Your traits, I fancy, cause her malady

Beyond all else, and understandably,

For every one of you would wish her son

To marry, and the match you want’s the one

That must be made. You have them wed, and then

You see to it that they’re sent off again.


Phidippus [to Philumena within]

Though, daughter, I may claim the liberty

To rule you, yet my sensitivity 300

As a father sways me now to yield to you

And not oppose what you desire to do.

Laches I see Phidippus. Timely met! I’ll know

Directly from the man just how things go.

Phidippus, I indulge my family

And won’t corrupt them. If you equally

Are of my mind, you’ll find it will be more

In both our interests. Now I see that you’re

In thralldom to those girls.

Phidippus Ha!

Laches Yesterday

I went to you for what I had to say 310

About your daughter. You showed me the door

And I left you no wiser than before.

It does not fit you, if this federation

You wish to last, to hide your aggravation.

If we’ve done wrong, tell me, and we’ll acquit

Ourselves of any wrong or pardon it.

You be the judge. But if you’re keeping her

Chez vous because she’s ill, I think you err

In rightfulness, Phidippus, if you fear

That she won’t be attended well right here. 320

Though you’re her father, I don’t think that you

Can wish her more good fortune than I do,

And on my son’s account, who thinks no less

Of her than his own self, I must profess.

You know how it will anger him if he

Becomes aware of this: accordingly

I want her here before he’s back again.

Phidippus Laches, I know your carefulness and your

Goodwill, and everything you say is true.

Believe me, I am very keen that you 330

Should have her back if I can possibly

Effect it.

Laches What’s preventing it? Does she

Make any complaints against her husband, then?

Phidippus No, not at all – when I began again

With greater emphasis and forcibly

Tried to make her return, she solemnly

Declared that she could not possibly stay

With you as long as Pamphilus was away.

No doubt each has his feelings; naturally

I am indulgent: my own family 340

I cannot thwart.

Laches [to himself]

Ha! Sostrata!

Sostrata Oh! Oh!

Laches Is that your final word?

Phidippus I reckon so,

At least just for the moment; is there more

That you’re solicitous to utter? For

There are some things that I’m obliged to do

Down at the Forum.

Laches I will go with you. [exeunt]


Sostrata Our husbands hate us women groundlessly

Due to a few who make us seem to be

Worth being treated badly. What I’m now

Accused of by my husband, I can vow 350

I didn’t do. But to exonerate

Myself is hard, for people strongly rate

All mothers-in-law as harsh, but that’s not me –

I never thought of her differently

Than as my own. I can but speculate

How this has come about. But here I wait,

And I have many reasons certainly

To crave my son’s return impatiently.



Pamphilus No-one’s more crossed in love than I, for thus

My life’s a mess. Was I solicitous 360

To get back home for this? For anywhere

Else in the wide world I would rather care

To be than here where I would find such woe.

All those who suffer count, before they know

Their pain, that time preceding their distress

As gain.

Parmeno Still, as it is, you’ll find success

In sooner losing that adversity.

If you had not returned, there’d surely be

A wider breach. But both will now revere

Your presence, I am sure. You then will hear 370

The facts and thus you’ll be their friend once more.

What you had thought would hurt you to the core

Are trifles only.

Pamphilus But why comfort me?

Can there be one in all humanity

As woebegone as I? Before I wed,

There had been other women in my bed.

Though I am mum about them, easily

One may see that I’ve suffered wretchedly;

Yet I’d dared not refuse the woman who

Was forced on me by Father. I withdrew 380

From one – though it was tough – and extricated

My heart-felt love, but once I concentrated

Upon another conquest, I was struck

By one more crisis, and this dreadful luck

May tear me from her, too. And I suspect

My mother or my wife may be subject

To blame. If I find out that this is so,

I’ll be more wretched. Duty, Parmeno,

Bids me bear with my mother; furthermore

I’m bound by duty to my wife, who bore 390

So much from me and she has never shown

My wrongs to others. Now something unknown

Must have occurred, though, which has caused somehow

This breach between them that has lasted now

For quite a while.

Parmeno It may be trifling,

However, if you have sound reasoning.

What sometimes are the greatest enmities

Do not lead to the greatest injuries.

At certain times while one man well may be

Quite cool and calm, your greatest enemy 400

Will be another man who’s full of rage.

What enmities tots of a certain age

Experience for trifling injuries

Because they have weak sensitivities

To manage them! Thus in this selfsame way

These women seem like tots, for they display

Capricious feelings: just one word may be

The tinder for their animosity.

Pamphilus Go in and say I’m here now, Parmeno. [a noise is heard at the door]

Parmeno What’s that?

Pamphilus I hear a bustling to and fro. 410


Parmeno Come near the door. Did you hear that?

Pamphilus Oh, knock it off! [listens] Jumping Jehoshaphat,

I heard a shriek!

Parmeno You tell me not to speak

And yet you talk yourself.

Myrrhina [within]

Pray, do not shriek,

My child.

Pamphilus That’s Philumena’s mother! Oh,

I’m done for!

Parmeno Why?

Pamphilus Ruined!

Parmeno Why??

Pamphilus Parmeno,

You’re keeping from me some adversity.

Parmeno They say your wife feels some anxiety

About something of which I’m not aware.

Maybe that’s it.

Pamphilus Why did you not take care 420

To tell me? God!

Parmeno I can’t tell everything

At once.

Pamphilus What dreadful thing is happening?

Parmeno I don’t know.

Pamphilus Has a doctor not been sent

To her?

Parmeno I don’t know.

Pamphilus Well, it’s time you went

Indoors that I may know immediately

What’s up. How will I see the malady

You have, dear wife? Whatever danger you

Are in, beyond a doubt I’ll perish, too. [enters the house]

Parmeno [to himself]

I need not follow him right now, for they

Think badly of us all. Just yesterday 430

They turned Sostrata back. But if she should

Get worse – a situation which I could

In no way wish to happen – principally

For Pamphilus’s sake – immediately

They’d say Sostrata’s servant had been there

Inside the house, and they would falsely swear

That I had brought upon them much distress,

The illness then acquiring great excess.

My mistress would be blamed, and I would be

Inflicted with a heavy penalty 440


Sostrata For some time now I’ve heard, in grievous fear,

That there is some confusion around here.

I greatly dread Philumena’s malady

Is worsening. I beg you, hear my plea,

Aesculapius and Health, that it’s not so.

I’ll visit her. [enters the house]

Parmeno [coming forward]

Listen –

Sostrata Well?

Parmeno You must go.

Sostrata Parmeno, what shall I do? Ah, misery!

Will I not be allowed to go to see

Pamphilus’ wife when she lies ill next door?

Parmeno Don’t even send another person for 450

That purpose. Anyone who loves someone

Who dislikes her, in my opinion,

Is doubly wrong – she labours all in vain

While to the other she brings nought but pain.

Parmeno Your son, though, saw her.

Sostrata What is that you say?

Has Pamphilus arrived?

Parmeno He has.

Sostrata Hooray!

I thank the gods. I feel rejuvenated

And all my worry has evacuated

My heart.

Parmeno That’s why I’m loath especially

To let you in, for if the malady 460

Abates at all, she will, I’m sure, when they’re

Together, tell him all that they might share

The facts about the discord that began

Between the two of you. But here’s the man.

How sad he looks!

Sostrata My son, my darling boy!


My blessings on you, mother!

Sostrata Oh, what joy

That you’re back safe. How does Philumena fare?

Pamphilus She’s getting better. [weeps]

Sostrata Would that heaven will care

To grant it so! Why weep, then? Why so blue?

Pamphilus Mother, all’s well.

Sostrata But what was that to-do? 470

Say if her illness started suddenly.

Pamphilus Indeed it did.

Sostrata What is her malady?

Pamphilus A fever.

Sostrata Intermittent?

Pamphilus So they say.

Go in, please, mother. I will not delay

To follow.

Sostrata Alright.

Pamphilus Run now, Parmeno,

And help the servants with the baggage. Go!

Parmeno Why? Are they not cognizant of the way

Into the house themselves?

Pamphilus Off! No delay!


Pamphilus I cannot find a point from which to tell

Of all my sudden troubles that befell: 480

I saw some, some I heard; accordingly

I ran away most agitatedly.

When I rushed back in extreme agitation

Into the house, full of the expectation

My wife would have a different malady

Than I had first imagined it to be,

The maids saw I’d arrived and with a cry

Of joy yelled out that I had come. But I

Soon saw their countenances change again

At this unhappy chance. One of them then 490

Ran off to tell this news. I came behind,

Anxious to see my wife, only to find,

Alas, the nature of her malady.

For there had been no opportunity

To hide it. She could barely breathe a sigh.

“Disgraceful conduct,” I exclaimed when I

Saw this. At once I wept: eager to go,

I rushed away, distressed at all this woe.

Her mother followed. At the threshold she

Fell to her knees and wept. Such sympathy 500

I had for her! As matters may occur,

We’re sad or happy. Thus I heard from her:

“Dear Pamphilus, you may now see wherefore

She left your house – she was abused before,

When she served as a maid, by someone who

Was foreign to us, and then, that from you

And others she might hide her labour, she

Came here where she could find her sanctuary.”

When I recall her pleas, I can’t impede

My tears. She said, “Whatever chance may lead 510

You here today, we both, should it be fair

And right, entreat you never to declare

Her woes to anyone. You know that she

Has been disposed to you most tenderly:

She asks you, therefore, not to hesitate

But with a willing heart reciprocate

With this kind favour. But as far as you

Reflect on reinstating her, then do

Whatever you will – just you know her condition:

The child created of this parturition 520

Is none of yours because two months, they say,

Passed by before the two of you first lay

Together, and it’s seven months since she

Came to you – all this you may clearly see.

Now my especial wish is to endeavour

To make sure that her lying-in is never

Known by her father or, in fact, by all.

But if the plan I have in mind should fall

Apart and they find out, I’ll say that she

Miscarried: for I know undoubtedly 530

That people will think what seems to be true

And so they will believe the father’s you.

So it will be exposed immediately,

Thus freeing you of all anxiety.

And in this way you will be burying

The rape inflicted on the girl, poor thing.”

This is the promise that I made and do

Have every aim to keep that promise, too.

Taking her back, though, isn’t, I maintain,

Worthy. I will not, although I retain 540

A constant love for her. I’m soon in tears

When thinking of her life and future years

Of woe. Inconstant fortune! But my past

Involvements now have tutored me at last.

I’ll use the means I used some time ago

To rid me of this, too. Here’s Parmeno

With all the servants. It is far from fit

That he should be here at this time, for it

Was only him I trusted when I told

The secret I’d determined to withhold 550

Myself from her when we were wed. I fear

In case he frequently could get to hear

Her cries and know she’s giving birth. For he

Must be sent off till the delivery.


Parmeno Your voyage was unpleasant, did you say?

Sosia Oh, Parmeno, I can’t in any way

Say how unpleasant.

Parmeno Really?

Sosia You are blessed

That you don’t know how you’d have been distressed

If you had been a traveller on the sea.

Ignoring others, mark this misery 560

Alone: I sailed for thirty days or more

And every moment felt in my heart’s core

The fear of death, the weather caused such woe.

Parmeno Annoying!

Sosia Yes indeed: rather than go

Back there I’d run away.

Parmeno Once, Sosia, you

Had but slight reasons causing you to do

What you are threatening now to do. I see

Pamphilus at the door. I’ll see if he

Wants anything. Go in the house. [to Pamphilus] I say,

Are you still here, sir? I bid you good-day. 570

Pamphilus I am – waiting for you.

Parmeno What’s up, sir?

Pamphilus Well,

Yu have to hurry to the citadel.

Parmeno Who?

Pamphilus You.

Parmeno Why to the citadel?

Pamphilus To see

The man who sailed across the sea with me.

Greet him – his name is Callimenides,

My host in Myconos.

Parmeno [aside]


Aplenty! I would say he made a vow

That if he came home safety he would now

Maim me with walking.

Pamphilus Why do you delay?

Parmeno What is it you would like for me to say? 580

Or should I merely greet him?

Pamphilus No indeed.

Say I can’t meet him now, as was agreed,

In case he should wait for me pointlessly.

Go! Quickly!

Parmeno But I do not know what he

Looks like.

Pamphilus He’s ruddy, huge, with curly hair,

Fat, grey-eyed, ghastly.

Parmeno This is hardly fair.

What if he doesn’t come? Am I to stay

Right there till evening?

Pamphilus Yes, you are. Away!

Parmeno I can’t – I’m tired. [exit]

Pamphilus What shall I do now

In such a pickle? I just don’t know how 590

I can conceal the girl’s delivery,

Just as Myrrhina has entreated me.

I pity her. What I can do, though, I

Shall do, but only if I can stand by

My duty. For it’s proper to agree

To serve a parent, not my love. But see –

Phidippus and my father coming here.

I don’t know what to say to them. Oh dear! [stands apart]


Laches Did I not hear you say to me that she

Expects my son’s return?

Phidippus You did.

Laches Well, he 600

Is here, they say. Let her cone back.

Pamphilus [to himself]

 Oh my!

I just don’t know how I can justify

My not taking her back.

Laches What’s that I hear?

Pamphilus [to himself]

I am determined, then, to persevere

In what I plan.


The very person who

It was whom I was speaking of to you!

Pamphilus Father, good health to you!

Laches My son, the same

To you!

Phidippus Pamphilus, I am glad you came

Back home again, the more especially so

That you are safe and well.

Pamphilus I’m sure I know 610

You are.

Laches You’ve just arrived?

Pamphilus Yes.

Laches What are we

Bequeathed by Cousin Phania? Tell it me.

Pamphilus He was a pleasure-lover: those who live

For pleasure do not have much left to give

Their heirs but for themselves this commendation

They leave: “He lived well.”

Laches Just one observation

You’ve brought back? Nothing else?

Pamphilus Well, all that he

Has left brings gain to us.

Laches Contrarily,

It brings a loss; if I could work my will

I’d have him in good health and living still. 620

Phidippus Then wish away, for nothing will revive

The man; given the choice “dead or alive”

I know your preference.

Laches Just yesterday

He [pointing to Phidippus] wanted Philumena home. [to Phidippus] Now say

You did.

Phidippus [aside to Laches]

Don’t punch! [to Pamphilus] I did.

Laches However, he will now

Send her back home.

Phidippus Of course.

Pamphilus But I know how

It happened. For just now I heard it all

When I arrived.

Laches May Heaven’s curses fall

On those mean folk who with such readiness

Declare this news.

Pamphilus [to Phidippus]

I’m sure that no distress 630

Will be delivered by your family

With fitting cause; if I could truthfully

Mention how faithful, intimate and kind

I’ve been to her I could; but I’m inclined

That you hear it from her, for then you’d be

Apter to place your confidence in me

When she who uses me now as a foe

Speaks well of me. I call the gods to show

That I am not accountable for our split.

However, since she does not think it fit 640

To yield to Mother, while I’m eager, though,

To yield to her, since friendship cannot grow

Between us otherwise, then I must be

Split from my mother or, alternatively,

From Philumena. But my own affection

Leads me to seek my mother’s predilection.

Laches Good news, my friend! Your mother you esteem

Before all else. Yet do not be extreme,

Moved by resentment.

Pamphilus But how could I be

Hostile to one who’s never injured me 650

In any way? Her due she’s always earned.

I love and worship her, for I have learned

That she is of a gentle temperament

With me. Would that she truly lives content

With someone who’s more fortunate than me

Until she dies, because necessity

Tears her from me.

Phidippus You may yourself prevent

That happening.

Laches Be wise and have her sent

Back home.

Pamphilus It’s not my plan, for I must pay

Attention to my mother’s interests. [starts to leave]

Laches Stay! 660

Where are you going?

Phidippus What obstinacy!

Laches Phidippus, did I not tell you that he

Would take this thing amiss? And that is why

I said to send your daughter back.

Phidippus Well, I

Did not believe that he would be so grim.

Did he think I would come and plead with him?

If he should take his wife, back, well, okay –

Let him! But if he doesn’t, let him pay

The dowry back and leave.

Laches Just look at you –

So obstinate and huffish.

Phidippus Well, you too 670

Have come back very obstinate.

Laches Although

He’s reason to be mad, his wrath will go


Phidippus A stroke of luck has come to you

And made you put on airs.

Laches So with me, too,

You’ll fall out?

Phidippus Let him think, and come today

And say if he’s decided if she may

Be someone else’s wife. [leaves]

Laches Hold on while I

Say a few words –  He’s vanished. Why,

What’s that to me? Well, let them, finally,

Sort it all out themselves. For neither he 680

Nor my own son show me appreciation.

They don’t care what I say. This altercation

I’ll carry to my wife, for it was she

Who caused all these events that trouble me.

Against her I will vent all my vexation,

Revealing thus to her my indignation.



Myrrhina I’ve had it! What am I to do? Which way

To turn? In my distress what can I say

To Phidippus, my husband? I surmise

That he has heard a new-born baby’s cries, 690

So suddenly did he rush silently

In to my daughter. What if he should be

Informed that she has given birth? For I

Can’t think of one pretext to tell him why

I kept it hidden. What’s that noise I hear?

There’s someone coming out to me. Oh dear! [enter Phidippus]

Phidippus [to himself]

My wife observed me when I went inside

To see my daughter, and then off she hied.

But there I see her. [addressing her] So, what have you got

To say? Listen, I’m speaking to you.

Myrrhina What, 700

To me, my husband?

Phidippus Husband? If I ever

Seemed that, or even a man, I would have never

Been jeered at through your deeds.

Myrrhina What deeds are they?

Phidippus You ask that? Can’t you bring yourself to say

Your daughter bore a child? Are you quite mute?

By whom?

Myrrhina Questions like that one don’t suit

A father. Such a shocking thing you’ve said!

Who else but he to whom she has been wed?

Phidippus That’s what I think as well: a father should

Not think it otherwise. And yet why would 710

You wish to hide the truth, especially

Since she has been delivered properly

And at the right time? Are you so awry

That you would rather wish the child would die

To gain our friendship rather than contend

Your feelings so his wife goes on to spend

Her life with him? I thought the fault to be

Upon their heads, but in reality

It’s on your own.

Myrrhina I’m lost!

Phidippus Would that were true,

But now I realize when I and you 720

Took him as son-in-law, you said to me

You’d not endure our progeny to be

Wed to one attached to a courtesan,

Who spent his nights away.

Myrrhina Myrrhina [aside]

Well, rather than

The actual reason that was in my mind

I’d have him fancy any other kind

Of reason.

Phidippus I myself already knew

He kept a mistress – earlier than you.

But this is natural – it’s not a crime

In youths, I think. Indeed there’ll come a time 730

When he will hate himself for it. You, too,

No longer show yourself the same as you

Once were. That you might take the girl away

From him and that my deed will not hold sway,

How far you’d like it done one indication


Myrrhina Can you have such imagination

That I could be thus to a child of mine

If this affiliation should incline

To our advantage?

Phidippus How could you foresee

It could be so? You heard it possibly 740

From someone who told you that he’d caught sight

Of him going to his mistress. Well, alright –

If it had been done with diplomacy

And rarely, are we not more kind if we

Ignore it rather than work hard to know

About it, which would make him hate us so?

If he could all at once have gone away

From one with whom he’d been for many a day

I’d not think him a man or qualified

To stay forever by our daughter’s side. 750

Myrrhina Enough about the young man: what you say

I have been guilty of. Then, go away.

Meet him alone and ask him if he would

Marry the girl or not, and if he should

Say yes, then send him back. If he denies

To wed, I have a plan to organize

The best course for my daughter.

Phidippus But if he

Says no and you suspect some villainy

In him, I was at hand, by whose advice

These matters could be settled in a trice. 760

I’m most upset that without my consent

You acted thus. Therefore I will prevent

Your carrying the infant anywhere

Outside. I’d be an idiot though, to dare

Think you’d obey me. So I’ll go inside

And tell the servants not to go outside

With it. [enters the house]

Myrrhina I am the saddest anywhere

Of any woman. But how he would bear

The truth of it is not unknown to me.

He’ll stand the news, though it’s nugatory, 770

And he’ll be angry. And I do not know

How he can yet be changed. Of all this woe

This one I lacked – that he should pressure me

To rear an infant whose paternity

Is still unknown. For it was very dark

When Philumena was raped – she could not mark

The rapist’s features, and she did not take

Anything from him for recognition’s sake.

However, he took off and snatched away

A ring she wore. Now I am in dismay 780

If Pamphilus himself cannot suppress

What I cannot upon him now impress,

When he learns that the child of an unknown

Person is being brought up as his own.


Sostrata It’s not unknown to me, my son, that I

Am thought by you to be the reason why

Your wife has left, although you carefully

Conceal what I have done. Heaven prosper me,

For knowingly I’ve never merited

The hate she has for me; while I have said 790

That you indeed loved me, you’ve verified

What I have said, because just now inside

The house your father told me you preferred

Me to your passion. Now I give my word

That I’ll return the favour – thus you’ll see

The gift of your affection lies with me.

I think, then, that this has an application

To you yourselves and my own reputation.

With Laches I’ve resolved to go away

Into the country that my presence may 800

Not be a curb and no cause will remain

To keep your wife from coming back again.

Pamphilus What plan is this? Has her stupidity

Driven you from the city here to be

A country-dweller? No, I can’t permit

Anyone who censures us to say that it

Was done because of my perversity

And not your preference. Additionally,

I do not wish that I may be the one

To have you shun your friends and kin and fun 810

On festive days.

Sostrata They give me no delight.

When I was young, I relished them alright,

But now they weary me, while presently

My chief concern is that I may not be

Through age a plague to anyone who may

Be anxious for my death. Here I can say

That I’m disliked, though undeservedly:

I should retire – so it’s the best for me

To cut the grounds of the unhappiness

Between us all and be from wariness 820

Unfettered, thereby pleasing everyone.

I beg of you that you will let me shun

Female rebuke.

Pamphilus Pamphilus [aside]

How happy I would be

In every way but for the fact that she

Should be my mother, while the other one

Should be my wife!

Sostrata Can you not bear, my son,

Just this one inconvenience you’ll find

In every woman? For if in your mind

All’s good, then take her back.

Pamphilus Ah, woe is me!

Sostrata And me! This causes me like misery. 830


Laches I heard you chatting with that young man, wife.

Controlling one’s emotions in one’s life

Is wise when it is needed. And maybe

It’s shrewd to do something that finally

You’ll have to do.

Sostrata I wish that project well.

Laches Leave, therefore, for the country, there to dwell.

We’ll put up with each other there.

Sostrata Indeed

I hope so.

Laches Then go in! Take what you need!

Sostrata I will. [enters the house]

Pamphilus Father!

Laches What is it, son?

Pamphilus Oh no,

She must not go away.

Laches Why have it so? 840

Pamphilus Because I do not know what I’m to do

About my wife.

Laches What do you mean? Don’t you

Intend to bring her home?

Pamphilus Indeed I do

With all my heart, although I will pursue

My plan, for it’s the best one could devise.

For they’ll be better settled, I surmise,

If I should take her back.

Laches Once she’s away,

It will not matter to you anyway.

The young don’t like the old: it’s right for us

To leave the world behind, dear Pamphilus. 850

Two people in a story-book are we,

“Old man and aged woman”, finally.

But coming out I notice Pamphilus.

I’ll greet him – this is most felicitous.


PhidippusPhidippus [aside]

I’m angry with you – yes, extremely so –

For you have acted shoddily, although

You have a reason (though there’s only one) –

Your mother forced you, but for her there’s none.

Laches Happily met, Phidippus.

Phidippus Tell me why

You’re here to talk with me.

Pamphilus [aside]

Ah, what reply 860

Am I to give to him, or in what way

Am I to hide it?

Laches I want you to say

To your daughter Sostrata is leaving here

To live upcountry, so she need not fear

To come back home.

Phidippus Your wife attracts no blame

In this affair – no, all the mischief came

From my Myrrhina.

Pamphilus [aside]

There appears to be

A change of sides.

Phidippus Laches, it’s really she

Who bears the guilt.

Pamphilus So long as I don’t take

Her back, all the disturbance she can make 870

Is fine by me.

Phidippus I really wish that we

Could have between us timeless unity.

If you think otherwise, though, nonetheless

Accept the child.

Pamphilus [aside]

Oh, what a dreadful mess!

I fear he’s learned of the delivery.

Phidippus MY daughter, in a state of pregnancy,

Was taken off. We have a grandson now,

Although before today, to you I vow,

I did not know that she was carrying

A child.

Laches Oh Heaven bless us all, you bring 880

Good news. I’m glad of it and happy, too,

She’s safe. What sort of woman, though, have you

Wed that for such a long time you’d withhold

This information from us? I can’t scold

This conduct with sufficient gravity.


This conduct irritates me equally.

Pamphilus [aside]

I doubt no longer that another’s son

Will go with her.

Laches Now nothing can be done

About it all.

Pamphilus [aside]

I’ve had it!

Laches [to Pamphilus]


We longed to see the day when you would be 890

Addressed as Father: now at last that day

Has come. I thank the gods.

Pamphilus I’ve had it!

Laches Pray

Take home your wife.

Pamphilus If she had wanted me

To be the father of her progeny

And wished to be, as she has been, my wife,

She would not have concealed – I’d bet my life

On this – what she concealed. Now, since I find

She spurns me, no contract of any kind

For reconciliation.

Laches She has done

Her mother’s will in fact. Would anyone 900

Wonder at that? Is any woman free

Of fault, you think? Or can iniquity

Be levelled at us men?

Phidippus Alright, you two,

Pamphilus, Laches, what then, should you do?

Leave her or take her back? I have no say

In what your wife may do, and anyway

You’ll have no snag with me. But what must we

Do with the child?

Laches Ah, such absurdity!

Whatever happens, send it back. We’ll rear

The baby as our own.

Pamphilus What’s this I hear? 910

Rear an abandoned child?

Laches What’s that you said?

Are we, then, to expose the child instead?

Madness! I can’t be silent anymore.

For you compel me now to say before

This man [pointing to Phidippus] something that I would rather not.

Do you suppose I’m not aware of what

Has caused your tears and your anxiety?

In the first place, when you alleged to me

Your mother was the reason why your spouse

Could not be settled with you in your house, 920

She said that she would leave. Since you have found

That this guise you’ve invented has no ground

In truth, because a child was born without

Your knowing of it, you have figured out

Another. You are wrong if you believe

I don’t know how you feel. Don’t you perceive

How long a period I have allowed

You for your mistress and how I have bowed

To bearing the expense to keep her, too.

I remonstrated and entreated you 930

To marry, for the time was right, I said.

Then, through my exhortation, you were wed.

You acted in obedience to me

As fits you. Now your partiality

Turns to another, whom you gratify

While hurting your first love. For plainly I

Perceive that you’ve relapsed.

Pamphilus What, I?

Laches Yes, you,

And thereby you’ve behaved unjustly, too.

You feign grounds for discord so that you may,

The witness of your deeds safely away, 940

Live with her. And your wife has seen it, too:

Why else would she be set on leaving you?

Phidippus [to himself]

He’s clearly right: that must be it.

Pamphilus I vow

None of these is the reason.

Laches Take her now!

Go home with her! Or tell the reason why

You shouldn’t.

Pamphilus Not now – maybe by and by.

Laches Then take the child, who is not obviously

At fault. The mother I will presently


Pamphilus [apart]

I’m so wretched! I don’t know

What I’m to do, and I am troubled so 950

By Father on all sides. I’ll go away –

What could I do here? Without my O.K.

They can’t bring up my child, especially

Because my mother-in-law will second me. [exit]

Laches What, does he run away with no reply?

[to Phidippus] He must be mad. Leave him alone and I

Will rear the child. Give it me.

Phidippus Yes, I will.

No wonder that my wife would take it ill.

Women resent such things as these. Thus she

Told me herself about it angrily. 960

I’d not say this to you while he was near:

I doubted her at first but now it’s clear –

He is averse to marriage totally.

Laches What should I do, then?

Phidippus Well, primarily

We ought to see his mistress – let us ask

Her quietly and then take her to task,

Then lastly threaten her most seriously

Not to have dealings with him subsequently.

Laches Alright. [to an attendant] Boy, run to Bacchis’ house nearby.

Tell her to come here, in my name. [exit attendant] And I 970

Urge you to aid me.

Phidippus Well, once more I say

I wish this unity between us may

Endure, and I have hopes that such will be

The case. But when you meet, do you want me

To be with you?

Laches Yes, but secure someone

To nurse the child, for that must first be done. [exit Phidippus]



Bacchis Laches would speak with me – well, I can guess


Laches [to himself]

I must not let my peevishness

Hinder my goal or do what I might rue

Later. I’ll speak to her. [to Bacchis] Good-day to you,


Bacchis And, Laches, you. 980

Laches You wonder why

I sent for you, I think.

Bacchis Indeed, and I

Am anxious since I think the occupation

That I am in causes discrimination.

I can defend myself.

Laches Well, if that’s true,

Woman, there is no jeopardy for you.

For I have reached the age where it’s not right

To recognize forgiveness for some slight;

For I am always careful to restrain

From rashness, and therefore should you maintain 990

Your female dignity, then it would be

Wrong of me to inflict an injury

Upon you.

Bacchis I should thank you for that thought,

Because a man who, after he has wrought

A sin would then excuse himself, would be

Of little profit to me. But tell me

Why you are here.

Laches My Pamphilus you let

Into your house, Bacchis.

Bacchis Ah!

Laches Hear me yet –

Before he wed, I suffered your affair.

No, stay a while, for you’re still unaware 1000

Of what I mean to tell you. Now he’s wed,

Seek out a more reliable man instead

While you still have the time to think, since he

Won’t always be the same, and you won’t be

Forever young.

Bacchis And who would ever say

These things?

Laches Her mother-in-law – she took away

Her daughter so that she might put an end

To the child in secret.

Bacchis If I could defend

Myself by any means but that to swear

A solemn oath to you, I would declare 1010

That I’ve kept at a distance, since he wed,

Your Pamphilus.

Laches I’m pleased at what you’ve said,

But do you know what I’d prefer you’d do?

Bacchis What?

Laches Go indoors and swear the oath that you

Just mentioned and convince the women there

That you are innocent and clear the air.

Bacchis I will. Another lady of the night,

However, would not do so, I am quite

Assured – go to a wife with such an aim!

I would not have your son receive the blame 1020

On a false allegation nor should he

Appear inconstant undeservedly

To you, for he’s deserved the right that I

Should succour him as far as I can try.

Laches Your words have made me well-disposed to you.

Not only did they think so, but I, too.

Now I have seen that you’re the opposite

Of what I had expected, see that it

Is so that you will be a friend to me:

If otherwise – but I’ll make sure to see 1030

That I to you will never be unkind.

One thing, though, I would have you bear in mind –

What I can do through our intimacy,

Not what may happen through our enmity.


Phidippus [to the nurse]

You’ll want for nothing while here you abide:

Your wants will in abundance be supplied.

But once you’ve fed and drunk your fill, take care

The infant has enough. [nurse enters the house]

Laches Bacchis, look there!

Phidippus, my son’s father-in-law, I see.

He’s brought the nurse. [to Phidippus] Bacchis swears solemnly. 1040

Phidippus Is this her?

Laches Yes.

Phidippus Those women do not fear

The gods, nor do the gods care for them.

Bacchis Here,

I freely give my maidservants to you.

Examine them, and, if you think it’s due,

Torture them, because my business is right now

Compelling Pamphilus’s wife somehow

To come back. If I can, I will not rue

That folk say I’m the only one to do

What other strumpets don’t.

Laches Phidippus, we

Find that our wives have undeservedly 1050

Been doubted. Therefore let us further seek

The truth of it: your wife will lose her pique

If she discovers she thought to be true

A false indictment, but if Pamphilus, too,

Is feeling angry that his wife was brought

To bed without his knowledge, that is nought.

His anger will with speed evaporate:

No couples thus should ever separate.

Phidippus I truly hope so.

Laches Test her, then – she’s here.

I’m sure that she herself will make things clear. 1060

Phidippus Why tell me this? Because you weren’t aware

Of how I felt about this whole affair?

Just satisfy their minds.

Laches I beg of you,

Bacchis, to do what you have vowed to do.

Bacchis You wish me, then, to see to it?

Laches Yes, go

And satisfy their minds.

Bacchis Alright, although

I’m sure that they won’t like it presently

Because a wife’s a mistress’ enemy

When separated from her spouse.

Laches But when

They know the reason why you’re there, why, then 1070

They’ll be your friends.

Phidippus I vow that will be true

Once they have ascertained the reason you

Are there, for, rid of your uncertainty,

You’ll also from their error set them free.

Bacchis I’ve had it now, for I’m ashamed to meet

Philumena. [to the attendants] Follow me in.

Laches Nothing can beat

The wish that I embraced – to see what she

Has undergone. For she has aided me

With no loss to herself – from Pamphilus

She has withdrawn and has acquired thus 1080

Status and praise; to him the favour she

Returns, and now we’ll live in amity.


Parmeno [to himself]

My master thinks my toil of little weight:

He’s sent me off for nothing, so my fate

Has been to sit here all day pointlessly

And linger at the citadel to see

Callimenides, the host from Myconos,

Just like a fool. Each man I came across

I asked: “Are you from Myconos? Tell me, please.”

“I’m not.” “But is your name Callimenides?” 1090

“No.” “Had a former guest of yours the name

Of Pamphilus?” Each answer was the same –

“I think there’s no such person.” At last I

Took off, ashamed. But how is it I spy

Bacchis now coming through our neighbour’s door?

What could it be that she is looking for?

Bacchis You have appeared in good time, Parmeno.

Hurry to Pamphilus!

Parmeno Why should I go


Bacchis I want him here.

Parmeno What, to your house?

Bacchis No – Philumena’s, Parmeno, his spouse. 1100

Parmeno What’s up?

Bacchis Don’t ask – it’s nought to do with you.

Parmeno Should I say anything but that?

Bacchis Yes, do –

Say that Myrrhina’s seen her daughter’s ring,

Which he once gave me.

Parmeno Is that everything?

Bacchis Yes. That’ll bring him here. [pause] Do you delay?

Parmeno Oh no – there’s been no chance for me all day

To do that: not a moment could I spare

With scurrying and walking here and there. [enters Laches’ house]

Bacchis Today I’ve brought great joy to Pamphilus

By coming here. Oh, how felicitous 1110

He is! I freed him from so many woes.

I saved his son, who almost, thanks to those

Women and his own self, had passed away;

A wife, to whom he’d thought he’d have to say

Farewell forevermore, has been by me

Returned to him; from the uncertainty

He suffered from Phidippus and Laches

I’ve cleared him. All of these discoveries

Have through this ring occurred, for I recall

Some ten months past and just before the fall 1120

Of night, he came to my house breathlessly,

Alone, and having drunk excessively.

The ring was in his hand, and I felt fear

At once and I said, “Pamphilus, my dear,

So out-of-breath? Where did you get that ring?”

He feigned at first that he was pondering

Some other question. When I saw that, I

Had my suspicions, though I knew not why

I should suspect. I said, “Enlighten me

About the reason you are here.” Said he, 1130

“I raped a woman in the street, although

I have to say her name I do not know,

And while she squirmed I took from her this ring.”

Myrrhina now has recognized the thing,

Which I was wearing. “Where’s it from?” said she.

I told her all. Hence the discovery

Shows it was Philumena and the child

That’s just been born to her is his. I’m wild

With joy that I’m the cause of his delight,

Though other ladies of my calling might 1140

Think differently, for we are disinclined

To know a customer of ours may find

Delight in marriage. But I’ll never buy

A thing with base deeds. For as long as I

Had got the chance, I found him to be kind

And peaceable and of a generous mind.

The marriage, I confess, turned out to be

Unlucky for me, although, honestly,

I’ve not done anything to justify

Some injury to me. It’s fair that I 1150

Should bear the occasional difficulty

From one who has so often aided me.


Pamphilus Dear Parmeno, give me a true report

And don’t allure me to indulge in short

And fleeing joys.

Parmeno Right.

Pamphilus Sure?

Parmeno Sure.

Pamphilus If that’s so,

I am a god.

Parmeno True!

Pamphilus Tarry, Parmeno.

I’m frightened that while I believe one thing,

You’re telling something else.

Parmeno I’m tarrying.

Pamphilus You said, I think, Myrrhina has found out

That Bacchis has her ring.

Parmeno Yes, there’s no doubt. 1160

Pamphilus The one I gave to her some time ago.

She said to tell me this?

Parmeno Yes, that is so.

Pamphilus Who is there who’s more bursting with elation

Than !? To pay you for this information

What can I do? I don’t know.

Parmeno But I do.

Pamphilus What?

Parmeno Nothing – there’s no benefit to you

In what I told you or, indeed, in me.

Pamphilus You have delivered me from Purgatory

And could I suffer you to go away

Unrecompensed? Ah, I see what you say – 1170

That I’m ungrateful. Bacchis I can see,

Standing before the door. She waits for me,

I think. I’ll speak to her.

Bacchis Dear friend, hello!

Pamphilus Oh, Bacchis, my preserver! Bacchis, oh!

Bacchis This fortunate thing gives me such great delight.

Pamphilus The way you’ve acted gives me every right

To credit you. Your charming qualities

You still retain – thus you can always please

Wherever you go.

Bacchis And you, dear friend, possess

Your former character and politesse. 1180

Pamphilus You flatter!

Bacchis You had reason, Pamphilus,

Loving your wife so much. Before today

I’d never seen her, but I have to say

She seems so genteel.

Pamphilus That is very true.

Bacchis May the gods bless me!

Pamphilus Tell me, then, have you

Told to my father anything of these


Bacchis No.

Pamphilus We must keep them from Laches,

Therefore, for there’s no need. I do not yearn

For everybody everywhere to learn 1190

The total plot, as in the comedies.

Here, those who ought to know the plot – well, these

Already do; but those who should not know

Will neither hear nor know of it.

Bacchis And so

I’ll give you proof why it seems easily

Concealed. Myrrhina told Phidippus she

Believed my oath and thus she will excuse

The things that you have done.

Pamphilus This is great news:

I hope all turns out well.

Parmeno Will you not say,

Master, to me what good I’ve done today 1200

Or what you’re talking of?

Pamphilus That may not be.

Parmeno “You have restored my soul from Purgatory”,

You said. But how?

Pamphilus You can’t in any way

Know how well you have aided me today.

Parmeno Oh no, indeed I am aware, although

I had a plan.

Pamphilus [sarcastically]

Oh, that I surely know.

Bacchis Could Parmeno omit, through laxity,

Something that should be done?

Pamphilus Now follow me.

Parmeno I will. Unwillingly I’ve done more good

Today than ever did I think I could 1210

In all my life before, though then I knew

That I was doing so. [comes forward] Applaud us, do.