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