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Title: Poetical Works of Robert Bridges, Volume VI
Author: Bridges, Robert
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. All other
spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

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                            POETICAL WORKS
                                  of
                            ROBERT BRIDGES

                               Volume VI

                         [Publisher’s device]

                                London
                          Smith, Elder & Co.
                           15 Waterloo Place
                                 1905



                          OXFORD: HORACE HART
                       PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY



                  _POETICAL WORKS OF ROBERT BRIDGES_

                     _VOLUME THE SIXTH CONTAINING_


  _THE FEAST OF BACCHUS_                                          _p._ 1

  _SECOND PART OF THE HISTORY
  OF NERO_                                                           123

  _NOTES_                                                            275



LIST OF PREVIOUS EDITIONS


_FEAST OF BACCHUS._

 1. _THE FEAST OF BACCHUS. By Robert Bridges. Privately printed by H.
 Daniel: Oxford, 1889. Small 4to

 2. _THE F.O.B. A Comedy in the Latin manner and partly translated from
 Terence. By Robert Bridges. Published by Geo. Bell & Sons, Covent
 Garden, and J. & E. Bumpus, Lim., Holborn Bars. 4to. [1894.]_


_NERO._

 1. _NERO. Part 2. From the death of Burrus to the death of Seneca,
 comprising the conspiracy of Piso. Published by Geo. Bell & Sons, and
 F. & E. Bumpus. [1894.]_



                             THE FEAST OF
                                BACCHUS



                               A COMEDY
                          IN THE LATIN MANNER

                                   &

                        PARTLY TRANSLATED FROM
                                TERENCE



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ


  _MENEDEMUS_                      _an Athenian gentleman_.
  _CHREMES_             _a retired Ionian sponge-merchant_.
  _CLINIA_                              _son to Menedemus_.
  _PAMPHILUS_                             _son to Chremes_.
  _PHILOLACHES_            _an actor, friend to Pamphilus_.

  _SOSTRATA_                             _wife to Chremes_.
  _ANTIPHILA_     _daughter of Chremes, beloved of Clinia_.
  _GORGO_                           _beloved of Pamphilus_.


 _The scene is in a suburb of Athens, opposite the house of Chremes
 (L): on the other side is Menedemus’ garden (R): this occupies most
 of the back of the stage: a gate from the garden gives on the stage:
 between the garden and Chremes’ house a road runs down to the city._

 _Duration of time—a few hours of one day. There is no pause in the
 action, and the whole may be played continuously with a formal break
 at the end of each act._



                         THE FEAST OF BACCHUS



                                ACT · I


                _MENEDEMUS seen at work in his garden._

               _CHREMES calling to him over the hedge._

                              _CHREMES._

    GOOD morning, sir! good morning!

    (_Aside._) He does not hear me.—Sir!
    Good morning!

    (_Aside._) No: he goes on digging away for his life—
    Ho! Menedemus! Ho!

                             _MENEDEMUS._

                      Who is it calls?

    _Chr._                       ’Tis I.

    _Men._ Chremes! why, what’s the matter?

    _Chr._                 I only said good morning.
    I wish you the compliments of the day. ’Tis the feast of Bacchus.

    _Men._ I thank you. The same to you.

    _Chr._               I had something to say besides,
    If you are at leisure.

    _Men._             Now?

    _Chr._                Yes, now.

    _Men._                       You see I am busy:
    But if ’tis a matter of any importance—

    _Chr._                               Indeed it is.

    _Men._ Pray step to the gate: I’ll open it for you.

    _Chr._                           You are very good.
    (_Aside._) How fagged he looks!

    _Men._                       Come in. You will not think me rude,
    If I ask you to tell your errand while I dig.

    _Chr._                                  Excuse me,                11
    My good friend; and your spade, pray you, awhile put down.
    You must stop working.

    _Men._            No: I cannot rest a minute.

    _Chr._ I can’t allow it indeed. (_Taking the spade._)

    _Men._                      Now, sir, you wrong me.

    _Chr._                                           Hey!
    My word! what a weight it is!

    _Men._                   It’s not too heavy for me.

    _Chr._ Come! what’s all this? well take it again, but don’t
       refuse me
    A moment’s attention.

    _Men._           Well!

    _Chr._              ’Tis a matter concerns you nearly:
    So leave your work, and come outside, and sit on the bench,
    Where we may talk.

    _Men._         Whatever you have to say, Chremes,
    May be said here.

    _Chr._       No doubt; but better as I propose:                   20
    I will not detain you long.

    _Men._                 What is it?

    _Chr._                          Sit you down.

    _Men._ You have something to say.

    _Chr._                         Not while you stand.

    _Men._ (_sitting_).              Well, as you will.
    And now in as few words as may be ... I am at your service.—
    Explain.

    _Chr._ Menedemus, although our acquaintance has been but short,
    And only dates from the day you bought this piece of land.
    And came to live close by me: for little or nought but that
    Occasioned it, as you know: yet my respect for you,
    Or else your being a neighbour, for that itself, I take it,
    Counts in some sort as friendship, makes me bold and free
    To give you a piece of advice: the fact is, you seem to me        30
    To be working here in a manner, which both to your time of life
    And station, is most unsuitable. What, in Heaven’s name,
    Can be your object? what do you drive at? To guess your age
    You are sixty years at least. There’s no one hereabouts
    Can shew a better farm, nor more servants upon it:
    And yet you do the work yourself, as tho’ you had none.
    Never do I go out, however early in the morning,
    Never come home again, however late at night,
    But here I see you digging, hoeing, or at all events
    Toiling at something or other. You are never a moment idle,       40
    Nor shew regard for yourself. Now all this can’t be done
    For pleasure, that I am sure of, and as for any profit,
    Why, if you only applied half the energy
    To stirring up your servants, both you and your farm
    Would do much better.

    _Men._ Have you so much spare time then, Chremes,
    Left from your own affairs to meddle with other people’s?
    The which moreover do not concern you.

    _Chr._                           I am a man.
    Nought which concerns mankind concerns not me, I think.
    Ere I advise, I’d first enquire what ’tis you do;                 49
    If well, to learn by example; if ill, then to dissuade.

    _Men._ My duty is this: do you as best may suit yourself.

    _Chr._ What man can say ’tis right for him to torment himself?

    _Men._ I can.

    _Chr._     If it is any sorrow or trouble that has driven you to this,
    I am very sorry. But ... what is it? Tell me, I pray.
    Whatever can you have done, that calls for such a penance?

    _Men._ Ay me!

    _Chr._ Come! don’t give way: confide to me this affair.
    Trust me: keep nothing back, I entreat you: have no fear.
    Surely I may either help, or advise, or at least console you.

    _Men._ You really wish to know?

    _Chr._                    Yes, for the reason I gave.

    _Men._ I’ll tell you.

    _Chr._          What is it?

    _Men._                 I have an only son, Chremes—
    Alas what say I? have? had I should rather say;
    For whether now I have or not, I cannot tell.                     62

    _Chr._ How so?

    _Men._       You shall hear: attend. There came to live in the city
    A poor old widow woman from Corinth. She had a daughter,
    With whom my son, who is just of age, fell madly in love,
    Was even at the point to marry: and all without my knowledge.
    However it came to my ears; and then I began to treat him
    Unkindly, and not in the way to deal with a love-sick lad;
    But after the usual dictatorial manner of fathers.                69
    I never left him in peace. _Don’t think, my fine fellow_,
    I’d say, _that you’ll be allowed to continue behaving thus,
    While I am alive to prevent it; running after a girl
    And talking of marrying too: you are very much mistaken,
    Clinia, if you think that. You don’t know me. I am glad
    To have you called my son, while you respect your honour;
    But if you once forget it, I shall find a means,
    And one you will not like, of asserting my own. All this
    I see very plainly_, I said, _has come from idle habits.
    You have not enough to do. When I was your age
    I did not fritter away my time in making love;_                   80
    _But finding my pockets empty, set out for Asia,
    And won myself distinction and fortune in foreign service._
    At last, Chremes, it came to this: the poor young fellow,
    Continually hearing the same thing put so strongly to him,
    Gave in: he thought my age and due regard for his welfare
    Were likely to shew him a wiser and more prudent course
    Than his own feelings;—he left the country, and went to fight
    Under the king of Persia.

    _Chr._                Indeed?

    _Men._                     He started off
    One day without a word. He has now been gone six months.

    _Chr._ Both were to blame; however I think the step that he took  90
    Was the act of a modest and not unmanly disposition.

    _Men._ I enquired of some of his friends, and when I learnt
       the truth,
    I returned home to my house miserable, my mind
    Unhinged—distracted with grief. I sat me down; my servants
    Came running to know my pleasure; some drew off my shoes,
    Others were hastening to and fro to prepare my dinner,
    Each anxious by doing his best to lessen the pain
    Of my great misfortune: in vain: the sight of them made me think,
    ‘What! is it then for me alone that all these persons
    So busily are engaged? all for my comfort?                       100
    For me is it that so many women are spinning; for me
    This great household expense & luxury are maintained?
    And my only son, who in all should equally share with me—
    Nay, should have the larger share, since at his age he is able
    Better to use such things & enjoy them—him, poor boy,
    I have driven out of the house by my unkindness. No,
    I had rather die than do it. While he leads a life
    Of poverty & of hardship, exiled from home & country
    By my severe treatment, so long will I visit                     109
    His punishment on myself, labouring, fasting, saving,
    Serving and slaving for him.’ I began there and then;
    I stripped the house for a sale, left nothing in it, not a dish
    To eat off, not a coat to put on. I collected everything:
    And as for the men and maids, excepting such as were able
    To work the cost of their living out on my fields, I sent them
    To market and sold them, I put up a notice, THIS HOUSE TO LET;
    And setting the price of all, some fifty talents, together,
    I bought this farm, and am well convinced at heart, Chremes,
    That in making myself miserable I act more justly
    Towards him, my absent son; and that ’twere crime to indulge     120
    In any comfort, till he return home safe again
    To share it with me.

    _Chr._         I see that you are a kind father;
    And he, I think, had been a dutiful son, if treated
    With moderation and judgment: but look, you did not know
    Each other well enough: a common fault to observe
    In family life, and one destructive of happiness.
    You never let him perceive how dear he was to you,
    So he dared not confide in you, when it was his duty:
    To have done the one or other had spared you this misfortune.

    _Men._ ’Tis as you say, I admit; but I was the more to blame.    130

    _Chr._ True. And to lose a child is deplorable. I had myself
    The same misfortune without my fault. A daughter it was,
    Stolen from me I know not how: my second child, a babe.
    That’s fifteen years ago. I was living at Ephesus,
    Where such events are regarded as commonish accidents.
    I know not where she was taken, have never heard of her since;
    And tho’ I have not forgot it, my own experience is,
    One does entirely get over the sort of thing—I assure you.

    _Men._ ’Tis kind of you thus to recall your sorrow to comfort mine.
    My condolence can make a distinction: the child you lost         140
    Was a daughter, a babe, you say. Clinia was my only son,
    Grown up. Besides you admit you were not at all to blame:
    I brought this on myself. See, friend, the difference!

    _Chr._ However I see no reason yet to despair, Menedemus.
    You will have him safe at home again, and soon, I am sure.

    _Men._ The gods grant it.

    _Chr._               They will. And now, ’tis the feast of Bacchus;
    We keep a birthday too. I hope, if it is agreeable,
    That you will come and dine at my house.

    _Men._                             I can’t.

    _Chr._                                  Why not?
    Do pray now, after all you have done, allow yourself
    This little relaxation. Think your absent son                    150
    Is asking you through me.

    _Men._              It is not right that I,
    Who have driven him into hardships, should spend my time
       in pleasures.

    _Chr._ You will not change your mind?

    _Men._                          No.

    _Chr._                             Then I’ll say good-bye.

    _Men._ Good-bye.                                            [_Exit._

    _Chr._     A tear, I do believe; I am sorry for him.
    ’Tis lamentable to see goodness punished thus
    For lack of a little wisdom. Folly brings remorse,
    And again remorse folly: they tread the circle; and he
    Would mend one fault by another, and on himself revenge
    The wrong he has done his son. And that wrong too was not        159
    A real unkindness: no: mere want of common sense;
    It’s what I am always saying,—that is evil. To quote
    From the very profoundest of authors, my favourite Sophocles,
    _Wisdom is far away the chiefest of happiness._
    Of course a man may be happy, although he has lost his son,
    If it cannot be charged to his fault. In spite of the
       best intentions
    Menedemus is much to blame. Poor fellow, but I may assist him.
    And if I can, I will. I love to help a neighbour;
    ’Tis pleasure as well as duty: because it is a pleasure
    To be wiser than others, and even a friend’s predicament
    Increases the satisfaction I feel, when I think how well         170
    My own household is managed. But stay, ’tis time I went
    To see that all’s in order for the feast we hold to-night.
    There are one or two old friends, who’d take it much amiss
    Did I not ask them. Now at once I’ll go and find them.      [_Exit._

_Enter Pamphilus and Clinia._

    _PAMPHILUS._

    That queer old boy’s my father: didn’t you know him?

    _CLINIA._

                                                    No.
    How should I? but his name I know—Chremes.

    _Pam._                                You have it.
    Take care he hear not your name.

    _Clin._                    Why so, Pamphilus?
    What can he know of me? and if he knew ...

    _Pam._                               See, Clinia,
    That is our house, & here the hedge & paling bounds
    Your father’s.

    _Clin._     Here?

    _Pam._         You see what a stroke of luck it was
    To meet me when you did. You must have betrayed yourself         181
    By making enquiries, but I at the merest hint have led you
    Straight to the place: besides, if you wish to be near your father
    Without his knowing that you are returned, my governor
    Can put you up.

    _Clin._   Is it here?

    _Pam._                Yes, there.

    _Clin._                           For heaven’s sake
    Be careful; may he not see me?

    _Pam._                   If he looked over the myrtles
    No doubt he might.

    _Clin._      Hush! hush! He’ll hear you.

    _Pam._                                   All serene.
    He’s not this side: stand there: I’ll go & spy around.
    Keep out of sight.

    _Clin._      Stay, Pamphilus; are you really sure
    This is my father’s?

    _Pam._         This is the place they told me, and here
    A Menedemus lives, and has for the last six months.
    We’re right enough.

    _Clin._       I fear he’ll see us: pray come back.

    _Pam._ I thought you wished to see him.

    _Clin._                           Ay, and so I do;
    But nothing less in the world, if it should be the occasion      194
    Of his seeing me.

    _Pam._      Trust me: he won’t. I’ll speer about.
    He’s sure to be digging somewhere near.

    _Clin._                             Digging?

    _Pam._                                     If not,
    It is not old Menedemus.      (_Goes round peering._)

    _Clin._            Oh what can it mean,
    My father’s sudden change of home and manner of life?
    He that so loved the town: himself the very centre
    Of all good company, the best invited man,                       200
    And most besought in Athens. Nothing but great disgust
    Could thus have turned his temper. I am the cause, and one
    Of two things it must be; either he is more offended with me
    Than I supposed; or else, and this I hope and think,
    My flight, breaking the bond that surely was the nearest
    And dearest to him, has wrought upon him, and now he turns
    And will consent: if that, ’tis well I am here: if not,
    He must not come to know I am back in Athens: nay,
    ’Twould only vex him more: I must hide from him still:
    For though there is nothing in the extremest scope of duty       210
    In which I would not obey him but one thing, ’tis this thing
    I am pledged to. Love absolves me. Nay, ’tis not for him
    I am now returned. I have chosen; I am not ashamed: I made
    One dutiful effort—oh intolerable! I am come,
    Sweetest Antiphila, to marry thee, and I will marry thee;
    Without consent, if must be, against my father’s will—
    Yet now I have hope; and whether rightly or wrongly I hope
    I must discover.

(_Pamphilus returns to Clinia._)

    _Pam._     It’s very funny: he’s not to be seen.

    _Clin._ What shall I do?

    _Pam._                 To-day’s my birthday, Clinia:
    We have asked some friends to come: if you will be my guest,      220
    Our house is very handy. No one shall hear your name.
    My father will not suspect you.

    _Clin._                   I thank you. There’s no need.

    _Pam._ I’ll call you Clitipho.

    _Clin._                  No, no, I am ill-disposed
    For company. Pray excuse me. Besides I am sure your father
    Must be acquainted with mine.

    _Pam._                  I doubt it. He often says
    He wonders who in the world his eccentric neighbour is.
    But whether he knows or not we’ll soon find out: for look,
    He is coming down the road. Stand back where you can hear;
    And if he has any knowledge that can be of use to you,
    I’ll worm it out.

_Re-enter Chremes._

    _Chr._        What are you doing, Pamphilus,                     230
    Looking over the hedge into our neighbour’s garden?
    Do you not know how vulgar curiosity is?
    Spying and prying thus into other folk’s affairs.
    I am quite ashamed of you, sir!

    _Pam._                    I was only looking to see
    If I could catch a glimpse of old Menedemus, father.
    I’ve found out something about him.

    _Chr._                        Eh! and what is that?

    _Pam._ Have you ever heard of Clinia?

    _Chr._                          Clinia, Clinia? Yes—
    Of course, why he’s Menedemus’ son, who is now in Persia.
    I know about him.

    _Pam._      Well, he’s an old school-friend of mine.

    _Chr._ Is he?

    _Pam._        You know when first I came to school at Athens,      240
    He was kind to me, and afterwards, when we all came here to live,
    I met him again. I never dreamed that ’twas his father,
    Who took this place next door. I used to hear he was quite
    A different sort of person.

    _Chr._                Ay, no doubt he was.
    The trouble his son has brought upon him has broke him down.

    _Pam._ Why, Clinia had no debts.

    _Chr._                     Perhaps he had no debts:
    But I could tell you more about him than you imagine.
    I have never been able to take any pleasure, Pamphilus,
    In any one of your friendships; and now I am grieved to find
    You are intimate with this foolish, dissolute young man.         250
    Evil communications corrupt good manners.

    _Pam._ Clinia is not that sort at all.

    _Chr._                             You do not know.

    _Pam._ I know he fell in love with a girl that lives in the town,
    And wanted to marry her, only his father would not hear of it,
    And sent him off to Asia, and now—

    _Chr._                         He ran away.

    _Pam._ And if he did, no wonder, considering his father’s
       treatment.

    _Chr._ He should not have done so.

    _Pam._              I take it his father’s sorry now.

    _Chr._ Of course all parents are always sorry for their sons’
       misconduct.

    _Pam._ But he has far more cause to be sorry now for his own.

    _Chr._ You think so?

    _Pam._            Yes, I do.

    _Chr._ (_aside_).         I must not let my son                  260
    Know how this old man dotes. If he should think all fathers
    As soft as poor Menedemus, pretty pranks he’d play me!

    _Pam._ What were you saying?

    _Chr._         Ha! I’ll tell you what I was saying;
    That in any case his duty was to have stayed at home.
    ’Tis possible that his father was somewhat more severe
    Than he found pleasant; but still he should have put up with it.
    For whom sh^d a lad submit to, if not to his own father?
    Ought his father, tell me, to have fallen in with him,
    Or he with his father? And then what he is pleased to call
    A hardship, was nothing of the kind: the so-called severities      270
    Of fathers are much of a piece: the least strict do not like
    To see their sons continually in bad company,
    Continually drinking: and so they are sparing in what they allow them;
    For such restrictions, remember, promote good morals.
    But when a man’s mind has once become the slave
    Of evil passions, he is driven of necessity from bad to worse.
    There’s wisdom, Pamphilus, in the saying, _By others’ faults
    Wise men correct their own._

    _Pam._                 I think so too.

    _Chr._                             Very well.
    Then I need say no more.

    _Pam._                 Would not the old man, sir,
    Be glad to see him back?

    _Chr._             He would be glad to see him
    Return from his evil ways to a dutiful course of conduct.        281

    _Pam._ I guess he’d let him marry the girl.

    _Chr._ (_aside_).                           What shall I say?

    _Pam._ He would.

    _Chr._ Nay, Pamphilus: attend to me. No father
    Would ever give in to his son in a matter of this kind.
    Learn this lesson: see what shame your friend has brought
    On his poor old father. No, ’twould never do to yield.
    I can promise you too that he will not. I should not advise it myself.

    _Pam._ You don’t know Clinia, sir; and have never seen the girl.
    You go entirely by what this old Menedemus says.
    He never saw her himself.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). That’s true.—And you have seen her?

    _Pam._ I have.

    _Chr._       And what is she like?

    _Pam._                         I never saw anything like her.

    _Chr._ Come, what d’ye mean?

    _Pam._        I tell you, I know now what she’s like—
    The statue that stands in the hall: the third on the left.

    _Chr._                                      The Grace?
    An elegant taste.

    _Pam._     If you were to see her, you’d say the same.

    _Chr._ Should I? Then just attend. I wish to help my neighbour.
    If all were ready to lend their neighbours a helping hand,
    We should not hear the complaints we do against ill fortune.
    I am always ready myself; am now: in point of fact
    I have promised to do what I can: but since, before I act,       299
    Or even judge, I am willing to know all sides of a case,
    ’Tis part of my duty to see this girl. Could you procure
    That I should speak with her?

    _Pam._ (_aside_).          This is the very thing we want.
    If now I could get him to ask Antiphila here to-day,
    Clinia of course would come: I’ll try and work it.

    _Chr._                                       Well?
    Answer me. Could you do this?

    _Pam._                  Yes, father.

    _Chr._                               When?

    _Pam._                                     To-day.

    _Chr._ I did not mean to-day.

    _Pam._                  There’s no time like the present.

    _Chr._ For inconvenience?

    _Pam._              No; for opportunity.

    _Chr._ How so?

    _Pam._   Invite her here to spend the feast with us,
    And bring a friend.

    _Chr._        But would she come?

    _Pam._                            Yes, she would come.

    _Chr._ Whom have you asked besides?

    _Pam._                        Only Philolaches.

    _Chr._ It happens, Pamphilus, we are short of guests; I find      311
    My old friend Phanias has gone from home to-day.
    Archonides’ wife is ill; they cannot come: and now
    Just the last thing Daniel has disappointed me.
    The two young ladies would help us out: besides I am sure
    ’Twould please your mother to ask them.

    _Pam._                            I cannot agree with you there.

    _Chr._ Allow me to judge of that; and since you said you were able
    To bring them—bring them.

    _Pam._               Oh, if you wish it, I’m ready enough;
    I’ll see they come: but I had forgotten; there is one more
    Besides Philolaches.

    _Chr._         Who then? I beg you’ll bring                      320
    None of your Clinias here.

    _Pam._               He that is with me now.

    _Chr._ He is it? That’s quite another thing: A gentleman
    At first sight, Pamphilus; I wish that all your friends
    Were such as he. By all means bring him. Present him now.
    His name?

    _Pam._ Clitipho.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). I like his appearance much:
    When I came up he went respectfully aside—
    Excellent manners. (_To Clin._) Ha, good Clitipho, how d’ye do?
    ’Tis time that we were acquainted. I understand my son
    Has invited you to our house. There’s not much I can offer,      329
    But _My little pot is soon hot_. I am very glad
    And proud to have you my guest.

    _Clin._              I thank you, sir; I am sorry—

    _Chr._ No thanks, I pray. At present excuse me; for I must go
    And prepare my wife to receive her guests. You’re sure
       they’ll come?

    _Pam._ Sure.

    _Chr._       And I hope they may. ’Twill make our numbers up:
    We’ll have a merry feast.

    _Pam._             Ay, sir....               [_Exit Chremes within._
                              And so we shall,
    Clinia.

    _Clin._ What have you done?

    _Pam._                Why pretty well, I think.

    _Clin._ I did not look for this, nor wish it, and do not like it.

    _Pam._ Not like it! Is it not perfect? If all the gods in heaven
    Had put their heads together to assist in your affairs,
    They could not have done it better than I. My father bids        340
    You and Antiphila both to spend the day; and he,
    Charmed with her grace and beauty, will use his influence
    To bring your father round.

    _Clin._               I would not risk so much
    On the fancy of any man: and though I have a hope
    Antiphila’s charms will plead not vainly, that must be
    When she’s my wife, not now: and they must urge themselves;
    Another cannot paint them.

    _Pam._               I do beseech you, Clinia,
    Don’t leave a friend in the lurch. Hark you; to tell the truth,
    My scheme suits me to a T as well as you. My father
    Expects Antiphila to bring a companion with her:
    Now I have a lady friend, with whom I am circumstanced           351
    Much as you are with yours. My father, just as yours,
    Would never hear of my asking her home; but if she comes
    To-day as Antiphila’s friend, he’ll not guess who she is;
    So you may have your love to yourself, & I have mine.
    And see, here comes Philolaches, our other guest:
    I’ll tell him what is arranged: he’ll be a strong ally.

    _Clin._ Indeed, I can’t consent: and who is Philolaches,
    That you sh^d wish to tell him all my private affairs?

    _Pam._ Ah, he can smell a rat; but don’t be afraid of him;       360
    He’s my sworn friend: & sure no less to keep a secret,
    Than he is to find out anything in the mortal world
    That you seek to withhold.

    _Clin._              I pray, say nothing to him of me.

    _Pam._ Trust us; we won’t betray you.

(_Runs back to meet Phil._)

    _Clin._                          Pamphilus! why he’s gone.
    Now save me from my friends! Indeed this Pamphilus
    Will be my ruin: I wish to heaven I had never met him.
    He’ll tell his father next, this old Ionian huckster,
    Sponge-mongering Chremes; the gods defend me from him,
    And his family feast, and his prosy wisdom! I thought to spend
    This day of my return with sweet Antiphila:                      370
    And here I am, caught by the ears. And yet my troublesome friend
    Means well: I would not hurt his feelings; but at any cost
    I must get clear, and in one matter I cannot yield:
    I will not have Antiphila brought to the judgment-seat
    Of this suburban oracle. What has he to do
    With me & mine, my father or her—to push his nose
    Into our affairs?

_Re-enter Pamphilus with Philolaches._

    _Pam._      Allow me, Clinia, here’s my friend
    Philolaches, the actor. Philolaches, my friend
    Clinia: who is, as I told you, in Persia, you understand.
    He looks for some assurance of your discretion.

    _PHILOLACHES._

                                                    Sir,             380
    You have it. Take this hand. And by the dog I swear
    Not to divulge a tittle; in friendship’s secrecy
    Rather to aid—

    _Clin._   No need, sir: I take the will for the deed.
    My business is my own, and not of such a kind
    As another can help in.

    _Pam._            Oh, but he can.

    _Ph._                             A family quarrel—
    Meddling of course resented. But while your father, sir,
    Treats you so ill, expels you his house, denies his ear
    To the pitiful plea—

    _Clin._         Excuse me again. I do not know
    That my father is ill-disposed.

    _Ph._ (_to Pam._).              You told me.

    _Pam._                                 I said he _was_;
    But Clinia hopes he may now be changed.

    _Ph._                             If that’s the case,            390
    I see that your wish must be, that I sh^d discover at once
    Your father’s temper towards you.

    _Clin._                     Indeed, sir, I do not wish it.

    _Ph._ I die to serve you.

    _Clin._             I thank you.

    _Ph._                            I promise to find it out
    In half an hour.

    _Clin._    How would you?

    _Ph._                     I am an actor, sir;
    Never so much myself as when I seem another.
    Would you employ my talent—

    _Clin._                Why, what would you do?

    _Ph._ Disguise myself as a Persian, late arrived in Athens:
    Go to your father’s house & bring him tidings of you.
    How the old man took what I should tell him would teach you all.
    Nay, I can promise more; that, if there’s left in him
    The last wandering spark of affection, I’ll blow it to flame,      401
    And you shall twist him round your thumb.

    _Pam._                              Bravo!

    _Clin._                                    But, sir,
    What tidings would you feign?

    _Ph._                   That is as I should find him:
    If soft, I’d handle him kindly: if hard, I’d say I’d seen you
    Sick of a fever, enslaved, imprisoned, or, if required,
    Dead and buried.

    _Clin._    And so you would give him needless pain.

    _Pam._ That is the question, Clinia; if you were sure of that,
    You would not be hiding.

    _Clin._            Nay, but the doubt will not excuse me
    In doing the thing, which I still must hope would pain him most.

    _Ph._ What matter, when all the time you are just behind
      the hedge?                                                     410
    No reason I see to wound him: I shall feel my way.
    An hour will settle all. If he be kindly bent,
    Or I can move him towards you, you must stand prepared
    To strike while the iron is hot. The lady, I understand,
    Will be with you here: be ready, and when I give the word,
    You step across the road and kneel for the old man’s blessing.

    _Clin._ I have told you, Pamphilus, Antiphila must not come.
    Your father’s interference is most unfortunate:
    He is not my judge for good or ill. It shall not be.

    _Pam._ I have promised.

    _Clin._           I am determined.

    _Ph._                              A very delicate point.        420
    And yet ’tis a pity they should not come.

    _Pam._                              O Clinia,
    Your obstinacy will ruin all.

    _Ph._ (_to Pam._).            I understand.
    Your friend objects to the lady coming, because he thinks
    Your father will know her?

    _Pam._               And so he will.

    _Ph._                                Nay, not at all.
    Chremes need never know her.

    _Pam._                 How can you manage that?

    _Ph._ The thing’s as easy as lying. Let the ladies change
    Their names; or if so be Chremes knows not their names,
    Let them but change their parts. Gorgo—for that’s the lady,      428
    Whom you would bring, I guess—let Gorgo pass to-day
    For Clinia’s mistress; let Antiphila play the maid;
    W^h hinders not that when they come, each take his own.
    You have your Gorgo; you, sir, your Antiphila:
    And none will be any the wiser.

    _Pam._                    Good. What say you now?

    _Clin._ ’Twould make all kinds of complications, Pamphilus:
    And all to no manner of purpose.

    _Pam._                     Why, I should keep my promise,
    And spend the day with Gorgo.

    _Clin._                 I’ll play no part in this.
    You quite forget besides that as yet I know not how
    Antiphila will receive me. I have been six months away;
    She may have thrown me over, may have another lover,
    And think of me no more.

    _Ph._              Wish you to find out that?                    440
    I’ll serve you too in this. Give me the word to go
    And visit her where she lives, and if I find her true,
    To bring her along at once.

    _Clin._               ’Tis extremely kind of you, sir,
    To throw yourself so quickly and hotly into my affairs:
    But indeed I do not need it.

    _Ph._                  ’Tis plain to me you do.
    A runaway just returned, afraid to face his father,
    Fearful lest in his absence his mistress have proved untrue—
    Not need a friend? Why a friend is just what you do need,
    To discover for you the state of affairs, and put you in train.

    _Clin._ Though, sir, I were quite content to reckon upon
       your zeal,                                                    450
    Maybe you overrate your ability.

    _Ph._                      Not at all.
    Unless you will say that by art I am able to counterfeit
    Passion in all its branches, & yet not know the thing
    When I see it;—as if a man c^d write who cannot read.
    You think your love for this lady a secret between yourselves—
    That she would not reveal it to me, a stranger? How in the world
    Could she conceal it? Why, don’t you know that a girl in love
    Is _A B C_ to read? Trust me and let me try.

    _Pam._ Clinia, do yield, I pray.

    _Clin._                    I know not what to do.
    I’ll yield so far as this: that if Philolaches                   460
    Can, as he boasts, discover these two things for me, first
    How my father stands disposed to me now, and next
    Whether Antiphila’s heart is firm—and this so soon
    And easily as he thinks—I would not hinder him.
    One stipulation only: let him name what time
    Will cover the whole performance; for failing him, I’d like
    To take my affairs in hand myself. I’ll ask him then,
    When does he hope to do this?

    _Ph._                   Give me an hour apiece.

    _Clin._ This afternoon.

    _Ph._             Enough: a bargain. ’Tis two hearts
    To read—your father and mistress.

    _Clin._                      And both this afternoon.            470

    _Pam._ And bring the lady if she is true.

    _Clin._                             I said not that.

    _Pam._ Clinia, you must.

    _Ph._              Agree to this: I first will go
    And visit Antiphila; if she is willing, I bring her here,
    And here you may meet. But since she comes as Gorgo’s maid,
    ’Twill be easy for you to withdraw with her, where and
       when you choose:
    I meanwhile will angle your father.

    _Clin._ (_to Pam._).                Then thus I assent,
    That first, she is not introduced to your father; and secondly,
    That I may take her away when I choose.

    _Pam._                            Agreed.

    _Ph._                                     I’m off.
    But first a word with you (_to Pam._).

    _Pam._ (_to Clin._).                   O Clinia, I do thank you.
    But don’t stay out here longer: somebody is sure to see you.      480
    Go into the house.

    _Clin._      If you will come with me.

    _Pam._                                 I’ll come directly.

    _Clin._ I have never met your people. I can’t go in by myself.

    _Pam._ Why, man alive, there’s only my father and mother. Go in.
                                                  [_Exit Clinia within._

    _Ph._ Your friend has money?

    _Pam._                 Yes, his father.

    _Ph._                                   If I succeed,
    He’ll give me something?

    _Pam._             Surely. What are you going to do?

    _Ph._ I’m going to dress myself up as a Persian—didn’t you hear?
    To take in old Menedemus.

    _Pam._              May I help?

    _Ph._                           Why, yes,
    If you will do as I tell: you shall be Persian in chief,
    Swagger and talk the gibberish: I’ll be interpreter.
    Two are better than one, tho’ one be a tup’s head.

    _Pam._ Menedemus knows me by sight.

    _Ph._                         Not in a Persian dress.            491
    Come, there’s no time to lose. I’ll go to the lady first:
    What is her name? Antiphila?

    _Pam._                 Yes.

    _Ph._                       And where does she live?

    _Pam._ I’ll come with you down the road, and tell you all as we go.
    But let’s be off. I fear Clinia may change his mind.

                                                              [_Exeunt._



ACT · II


_Enter PAMPHILUS._

_PAMPHILUS._

    What unjust judges fathers all are towards their children;
    Pretending to us as they do that the moment we cease to be boys
    We ought to become thorough old men, without a trace
    Of the inclinations natural to our time of life:
    Governing us by the rule of their present appetites,
    And not by those they have lost. If ever I have a son,
    He will find me an easy father, able to understand
    His faults, I hope, and ready to make allowance for them:
    Not like mine, suspicious & cross—& he never speaks
    But to read me a lecture on somebody else. Why, bless my soul,
    If he has but taken an extra glass or two, the tales
    Of his own wickedness he’ll come out with! And then he says,
    _By others’ faults wise men correct their own._ What wisdom!
    He little thinks how deaf an adder he is trying to charm.
    At present the words of my mistress touch me nearer far,         510
    When she says, Give me this, or, Bring me that; and I
    Have nothing to answer. Nobody could be in a worse plight.
    This fellow Clinia here has his hands full, yet his mistress
    Is modest & well brought up, too gentle & innocent
    To trifle with affection. Mine is a fine lady, exacting,
    Vain, fashionable & extravagant; & I lack the means
    To please her fancy. This misfortune is new to me—
    An experience, which I have only just begun to learn:
    And as yet my father guesses nothing of it.

                            _Enter Clinia._

                               _CLINIA._

                                                If all were well,
    They must have been here before: I fear there’s something
        happened,                                                    520
    Or that in my absence she may have become estranged from me.

    _Pam._ What now, man?

    _Clin._         O, I am most unhappy.

    _Pam._                                You had best take care,
    Or some one coming out of your father’s house may see you.

    _Clin._ I will; but, Pamphilus, I have a strong presentiment
    Of some misfortune, I know not what.

    _Pam._                         Why, what’s the matter?

    _Clin._ Were nothing the matter, they certainly would have been
       here by this.

    _Pam._ Nonsense. Doesn’t it strike you it’s some way off? and then
    You know how it is with women, they are always about a year
    Putting on their things and getting themselves up.

    _Clin._ But only fancy if really she should have forgotten me!      530
    Yes,—while like a fool I ran away from home,
    And wandered I know not where, fall’n in deep disgrace,
    Undutiful to my father, for whom I am now sorry
    And ashamed of my conduct towards him;—thou, yes, O thou hast
    Deserted me, my Antiphila. What shall I do?

    _Pam._                                Look, look!
    I see them coming.

    _Clin._      Where?

    _Pam._              Well, here’s Philolaches,
    Who comes to announce them, (_aside_) and on his shoulders a
       mighty bale
    Of Persian togs.

_Enter Philolaches with a large bundle._

    _Clin._    He has come without them! (_To Phil._) Tell me, sir,
    Do the ladies come?

    _PHILOLACHES._

                        They follow; I come before,
    Because there’s not a woman in Athens would walk with me         540
    Carrying such a bundle along the public streets.
    I was almost ashamed of myself.      (_Sets bundle down._)

    _Clin._                   But does she know I am here?

    _Ph._ Or else had never come.

    _Clin._                 You have actually seen her then?

    _Ph._ I’ll tell you all I saw. The business was, I think,
    To discover if she was true?

    _Clin._                It was. Indeed I feared—

    _Ph._ Then I have discovered it for you.

    _Clin._                            If you have really done so,
    Tell me your news at once.

    _Ph._                Attend. When first I came
    To the house, I knocked. Out came an old woman and opened the door;
    I struck past her into the room. Of all the ways
    Of finding out how she has been living all these months,         550
    This suddenly breaking in on her was the best: this gave me
    A pretty good guess at her usual way of spending the time:
    There’s nothing like it for showing what people really are.
    I came upon her hard at work at her tapestry,
    Dressed in a common gown: no gold about her; none
    Of the rouge and powder, that women bedaub their faces with:
    She was dressed like those who dress for themselves: her hair
        was loose
    And pushed back carelessly from her face—

    _Clin._                              Go on, I pray.

    _Ph._ The old woman was spinning the woof: one servant girl
        besides                                                      559
    Wove with her, quite in rags, untidy and dirty.

    _Pam._                                    Now,
    If this is true, I see you are safe. You would not find
    The servant a slattern, where there’s a lover.

    _Clin._                                  Pray go on.

    _Ph._ When I told her that you were returned, and had sent for her.
    She suddenly stopped in her work; the tears ran down her cheeks
    In such a way, it was easy to see ’twas for love of you.—

    _Clin._ Perdition take me now, if I know where I am for joy.
    I was so afraid.

    _Pam._     And Gorgo is coming?

    _Ph._                           Ay, no fear.
    But don’t forget who’s who.

    _Pam._                And have you taught the ladies
    Their parts?

    _Ph._ Antiphila’s part is nothing to learn at all;
    Except she must not call your friend by his right name:
    But Gorgo—

    _Pam._      What?

    _Ph._       Why she was hard to persuade, but once
    Persuaded, I do not fear her. I am more afraid of you;
    Don’t you forget that she doesn’t belong to you, mind!
        The slip                                                     573
    Of a word might ruin all. And don’t make signs.

    _Pam._                                    Trust me.
    See here they come.

    _Clin._       I see them.

    _Ph._                     Stay; let us stand aside;
    And watch them till they see us.

    _Clin._                    Why now?

    _Ph._                               I say, stand back.

    (_They retire._)

_Enter Gorgo and Antiphila._

    _GORGO._

      Upon my word, my dear Antiphila, I do praise
    And envy you too, when I see how all your study has been
    To make your mind as charming and sweet as your face. Lord love
       you!                                                          579
    I’m not surprised at any one wanting to marry you.
    I see from what you’ve said what kind of person you are;
    And when I come to think of the sort of life, which you
    And people like you, lead, who keep admirers off
    At arms’-length, then no wonder, I say, that you sh^d be
    Just what you are, and others, like me, so different.
    Then once your mind made up to share and spend your days
    With the man whose disposition is most congenial to you,
    He never leaves you more: for mutual benefits
    Must bind you so closely, that no misfortune can ever come
    To cross your love.

    _ANTIPHILA._

                        I cannot tell what others do;                590
    But I know I always have wished, and done my best, to find
    My happiness in what pleased him.

    _Clin._ (_aside_).                Ah, my Antiphila,
    And that is why I love you, why I am now returned.

    _Gor._ Who is that young man who is standing to look at us?

    _Ant._ Ah, hold me up!

    _Gor._           Why, what in the world’s the matter, my dear?

    _Ant._ I shall die; I shall die.

    _Gor._                     Do say, what is it astonishes you?

    _Ant._ Is it Clinia I see or not?

    _Gor._                      See who?

    _Clin._                              ’Tis I, my dearest.

    _Ant._ My long-expected Clinia, it is you.

    _Clin._                              Are you well?

    _Ant._ Oh, I am glad you have come back safe.

    _Clin._                                 Do I hold thee,
    Antiphila, thou most desired of my heart!

    _Ph._                               Take care.                   600
    Remember. Here comes the old man.

    (_Takes up the bundle._)

_Enter Chremes from his house._

    _CHREMES._

                                      I thought so; here you are.
    I heard your voices. I welcome you all. How very nice!
    Now, Pamphilus, pray present me!

    _Pam._ (_presenting Gorgo_).     This is the lady, sir.
    My father, miss.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). She is handsomely dressed. (_To Gorgo_) I am
        very proud
    To make your acquaintance. I hope the day may be fortunate.
    ’Twas kind of you now to come.

    _Gor._                   Why, bless your heart, old man,
    I thank ye: but all the same I came to please myself.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). My word!

    _Pam._               And this is the lady she brings with her.

    _Chr._ (_to Antiphila_).                          Ah, good-day.
    You are welcome, welcome all. Again, good Clitipho.
    Philolaches, I think. Good-day to you, sir! My word!
    What a gigantic bundle!

    _Ph._             Ay.

    _Chr._                What can it be?                            611

    _Ph._ The ladies’ cloaks and wraps.

    _Chr._                        Shame to load you thus!
    You know the proverb, _The willing horse_. Pray set them down.
    I’ll send a servant to take them.

    _Ph._                       Nay, ’tis the merest trifle.

    _Chr._ Why, yes: and I’ll call my wife: excuse me, ladies—a moment.
    Sostrata, Sostrata!...                   [_Goes into house calling._

    _Pam._ (_to Ph._). Follow me quick: this way, before my
        father is back.

                            [_Exeunt Pam. and Phil. into house at back._

    _Clin._ You know why I am returned?

    _Ant._                        Nay, you must tell me first
    What made you go away.

    _Clin._          I could not help it, love;
    My father—

    _Ant._      O, I know; but is he not kinder now?

    _Clin._ Nay, I’m afraid he is not.

_Re-enter Chremes with servant._

    _Chr._                       Ladies, my wife’s within.           620
    She begs you’ll enter. Why! & where is Philolaches?
    Clitipho, pray go in—no ceremony, sir—
    And take this lady with you. I follow.

    _Clin._                          I thank you, sir.

                     [_Exeunt Clinia and Antiphila with servant within._

    _Chr._ (_to Gorgo_). With you I beg one word of explanation alone,
    Ere we go in—one word—

    _Gor._             I wait your pleasure, sir.

    _Chr._ I do not wish to seem to meddle in your affairs.

    _Gor._ No matter for that.

    _Chr._               Believe me, that, if I interfere,
    It is for your good.

    _Gor._         I know, sir, and thank you very kindly.

    _Chr._ I broach the matter at once; my maxim has always been,
    _Straight to the business._

    _Gor._                Well, I don’t dislike you for that.

    _Chr._ Then am I not right in thinking you have never so much
        as met                                                       611
    Old Menedemus?

    _Gor._   No.

    _Chr._       You have not?

    _Gor._                     No.

    _Chr._                         Stay. Perhaps
    You don’t know who I mean.

    _Gor._               He’s whatdyecallem’s father.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). Whatdyecallem! well!—He is Clinia’s father; yes.

    _Gor._ What of him?

    _Chr._        Why ’tis thus. (_aside_) What was I going to say?

    _Gor._ Go on, sir.

    _Chr._       Ay, the long and the short of the matter is this.
    I know your story—let me see—do I know your name?

    _Gor._ Gorgo.

    _Chr._        Ay, to be sure. Well, Gorgo, I know your story,
    But do not charge on you the unhappy consequence
    Of a rash attachment. No. Young men will be young men,           640
    And women are—women; no blame to them. But the fact is this:
    That being on intimate terms with Clinia’s family,
    I have been entrusted by them, as one unprejudiced,
    To enquire, to judge & advise, and, if I can, to find
    A _Modus vivendi_: you, Gorgo, of course are well aware
    That your lover, whose absence has had no doubt its effect on you—
    That Clinia’s running away from home, I say, was due
    To his father’s disapproval of your attachment: that
    Gave rise to disagreement; and Clinia, balancing
    ’Twixt love & duty, fled from home, & is now abroad,
    Madly risking his life in Asia. Why do you laugh?

    _Gor._ Indeed, sir, I was not laughing.

    _Chr._                            The shock this gave his father
    Betrayed at last the affection he really bore his son:
    It measures too the mischief—shows his purpose too,
    And strong determination. He sold his house in town,
    Retired from life & pleasure—bought a farm out here,
    And works upon it from morning till night like a common drudge.
    There’s nothing to laugh at.

    _Gor._                 Excuse me, sir, I was only thinking
    Of something very ridiculous.

    _Chr._                  Attend. ’Tis you have caused
    This quarrel: you have alienated father and son.                 660
    Not only that; but it lies with you, and you alone,
    That one is risking his life in wild & barbarous wars,
    The other is taking leave of his senses as fast as he can.
    Think of this happy family life thus broken up,
    Which may be never renewed. Suppose that Clinia
    Be slain in the wars, and his father brought by grief to his grave—
    Should not this make you serious?

    _Gor._ He! he! he!

    _Chr._       Your trifling manner, miss,
    Causes me much distress.

    _Gor._             I am very nervous, sir,
    Your solemn way of talking alarms me, and when alarmed,
    I always laugh. He! he! he!

    _Chr._                Well, try and contain yourself, I pray.
    I asked you here to my house the better to judge of you.      671

    _Gor._ Ha! ha! ha!

    _Chr._ Well, well, I see you are merry. I would not check your mirth,
    And yet I cannot see what cause you have to laugh.
    Still ’tis a feast with us. I bade you join the feast:
    Be merry to-day.

    _Gor._     Ha! ha! I will, sir.

_Re-enter Pamphilus and Philolaches._

    _Chr._ (_aside_).            By luck, here’s Pamphilus—
    (_To Gor._) See, here is my son: go in: I’ll speak with you
         soon again.

    _Gor._ What time do you dine?

    _Chr._                   At five.

    _Gor._                      Is the bath made hot?

    _Chr._ (_aside_).                 My word!
    What a woman!—I’ll call my wife to attend you within.

    _Gor._ I thank you. I’ll take the bath.

    (_Going indoors._)

    _Chr._ (_aside to Pam._). O Pamphilus, Pamphilus,
    What have you done? Such a woman as this to dine in
        my house.                            [_Exit Chremes with Gorgo._

    _Pam._ By jove, Philolaches; here’s a dilemma now:
    I never thought of it.                                           682

    _Ph._               What?

    _Pam._                 Why when, for Clinia’s sake,
    We changed the ladies, I quite forgot that I had described
    Antiphila to my father. Gorgo will never do.

    _Ph._ Why not?

    _Pam._   Don’t ask. What is to be done? What shall I say?

    _Ph._ I’m thinking.

    _Pam._        My father must never know who Gorgo is.

    _Ph._ I see.

    _Pam._       What can I tell him?

    _Ph._                       I’m thinking.

    _Pam._                                    He must not know.

    _Ph._ Do let me think.

    _Pam._           What is to be done? What can I say?

    _Ph._ I have it.

    _Pam._     What is it?

    _Ph._                  If we can do it—

    _Pam._                                   What?

    _Ph._                                          Your father
    Must sooner or later come to learn the ladies were changed.      690

    _Pam._ To-morrow that will not matter when Gorgo is out of the way.
    To-day we must keep up the deception.

    _Ph._                           I see you must.

    _Pam._ How can I?

    _Ph._       What do you say if I can make your father
    Give Gorgo fifty pounds for being so much unlike
    The lady he thinks her to be?

    _Pam._                  Impossible.

    _Ph._                               Nay, ’tis not.

    _Pam._ Well, how?

    _Ph._       Why, when your father scolds, turn round upon him;
    Say you knew all along exactly what he would think,
    And brought the lady here in the hope he’d see his way
    To helping old Menedemus out of his scrape.

    _Pam._                                And then?

    _Ph._ Tell him to offer Gorgo forty or fifty pounds,
    If she will renounce her claim on Clinia.

    _Pam._                              Fifty pounds!      701
    My father give fifty pounds!

    _Ph._                  Why, don’t you wish he would?

    _Pam._ And what’s the use of wishing?

    _Ph._                           Try him.

    _Pam._                                   I think you’re mad.

    _Ph._ Try it; I’ll help you out. See here he comes.

_Re-enter Chremes._

    _Chr._                                         Good heavens!
    Pamphilus, here’s a sample of manners and good breeding.
    How could you ever have thought of bringing that woman here?

    _Pam._ You said you wanted to see her: I thought you wished her
        to come.

    _Chr._ When, sir, I blamed your friend, you said I could not judge,
    Not having seen the lady. Did I not rightly judge?

    _Ph._ (_aside_). Tell him you knew. Don’t stand there mum.

    _Chr._                                     I am quite ashamed.   710

    _Pam._ You see then what she is like?

    _Chr._                          Of course I see too well.

    _Pam._ I knew, sir, all along exactly what you would think.

    _Ph._ (_aside_). That’s right.

    _Chr._                  And yet you brought her?

    _Pam._                      You blame me, sir, too soon:
    I have put within your reach the very thing you wished.

    _Chr._ How so?

    _Pam._ I thought you wished to help Menedemus out.

    _Chr._ I do.

    _Pam._       Why then, ’tis easy.

    _Ph._ (_aside_).                Bravo!

    _Chr._                             What do you mean?

    _Pam._ Why, sir, we are all agreed the match would never do;
    Then why in the world not put a stopper on it at once?

    _Chr._ I don’t quite see your drift.

    _Pam._                         Why, forty or fifty pound
    Would settle the matter.

    _Chr._             How?

    _Pam._                  Just make the offer and see.

    _Chr._ What offer?

    _Ph._        O, I see.

    _Chr._                 I don’t see.

    _Ph._                               Capital!      721

    _Chr._ I’m very dull, no doubt.

    _Ph._                     If ’twas my place to speak....

    _Chr._ I don’t forbid you, sir.

    _Ph._                     Then, sir, I praise the scheme.

    _Chr._ What scheme?

    _Ph._         I’ll wager my life he means, this lady here
    Has plenty of other lovers; offer her fifty pounds,
    If she’ll renounce this one.

    _Chr._                 Why, stuff! suppose she did.
    She might be off to-day and on again to-morrow:
    Besides, against what Clinia’s worth in cash to her,
    A fifty pounds is nothing. (_To Pam._) If that is all you meant,
    You’re a very clever fellow.

    _Ph._                  No doubt there’s nothing in it,      730
    Unless she set her hand to paper.

    _Chr._                      Would that bind?
    How can you think it?

    _Ph._           It might not be binding perhaps on her;
    And yet ’twould do the business. If it did not shock
    Clinia’s love, as it must, ’twould kill his last pretence.
    How could he face his father armed with such a paper?
    If you will help this old Menedemus, that’s the way—

    _Chr._ I’ll tell Menedemus of this.

    _Pam._                        If you would help him, father,
    Spare him the pain. No doubt he’d give you back the money.

    _Chr._ I believe you there. I’d give six times the sum myself,
    Were I in his place.

    _Ph._          I’ve half a mind, if you are afraid,      740
    To do it myself.

    _Chr._     I should not fear to advance the money.

    _Ph._ A poor man might, but you, sir....

    _Chr._                             I do not grudge the money.

    _Ph._ A gentleman can’t consider his pocket at every turn.

    _Pam._ I’m sure you can’t.

    _Chr._ Do you think that forty pounds would do it?

    _Ph._ Forty or fifty.

    _Chr._          Thirty?

    _Pam._                  Do it handsomely.
    You say you’d give six times the sum yourself.

    _Chr._                                   I would.
    Ay, Pamphilus, fifty times.

    _Ph._                 Then don’t think twice about it.

    _Chr._ I do think twice.     (_Goes aside._)

    _Ph._              Will he do it or not?

    _Pam._                                   My lucky coin.

    _Ph._ Watch him.

    _Pam._     Heads he does, & tails he doesn’t. Heads!
    He does.

    _Ph._ And he will. Look at him.

    _Chr._ (_aside._)               Fifty pounds! A risk.      750
    No chance of profit; no: nor marketable return.
    Yet might it save a thousand. Well saved, is like well spent;
    Ay, even though ’tis saved for another: besides I am sure
    The money is safe enough. And now I have gone so far
    To help Menedemus, I can’t draw back; while if I do it
    I certainly win his esteem & thanks. ’Tis very true
    That a good turn done to a neighbour is done to oneself: one lives
    Within the circle of joy one goes to create! ’Tis wise:
    And then to have Menedemus my friend! Say forty pounds;      759
    I happen to have it handy. I’ll do it. It shan’t be said,
    Chremes is not a gentleman. No, I’ll do it.

    _Pam._                                Sir,
    Have you decided?

    _Chr._      I have.

    _Ph._               You’ll do it?

    _Chr._                            I shall.

    _Ph._                                      Bravo!
    Will you give us the money now?

    _Chr._                    You, sir!

    _Ph._                               I mean to your son;
    To arrange with the lady.

    _Chr._              How so? You seem in a vast hurry.
    I manage my own affairs. Besides the forty pounds
    Is only a guess. I hope to win the lady for less.
    Perhaps you thought that if I gave you the round sum,
    I should not enquire for the balance, and you might manage to save
    A little commission. No: I manage my own affairs.
    You can’t take Chremes in as easily as all that.      770

                                                                [_Exit._

    _Ph._ Ho! ho! ho! ho! What say you!

    _Pam._                        You are a genius.

    _Ph._                                           Well!
    You wanted a present for Gorgo, you told me. Won’t this do?

    _Pam._ Oh yes! But I am amazed.

    _Ph._                     Come, let’s go in and dress.
    I hope to bleed Menedemus to better purpose than this.
    For after all we shan’t see much of this forty pound;
    And as far as I am concerned it’s money thrown away.

                                                              [_Exeunt._


                               ACT ·• III


                           _Enter CHREMES._

                              _CHREMES._

    I never saw such a woman; never in all my life.
    Upon my word I am sorry for poor Menedemus now:
    What would he have done without me? What a predicament!
    Suppose his son had returned, and he with his simple heart      780
    Had given in, and had this woman to live in his house—
    Well, thanks to me he is safe. Forty pounds, I think,
    Was not so dear a bargain: and yet ’tis a tidy sum.
    As much as I should make on a small consignment of sponges:
    And that I have paid on risk—although I cannot doubt
    But that Menedemus will gladly pay me again—’tis risked.
    All for this paper, wherein the lady promises
    In consideration of this same money made over to her,
    Never again to receive the addresses of her quondam lover,
    Clinia; signed Gorgo: a genuine business.      790
    And yet no wonder she laughed; of course she thinks me a fool
    To consider her promise of weight. Ah, mistress, giggle and all,
    I’ve settled your hash. Ha! ha! ’twas clever of Pamphilus:
    The lad has some of my wits. But still I shall be uneasy,
    Until I find Menedemus is reasonable:—indeed
    I’ll lose no time. Menedemus might desire to come
    And judge for himself: I’ll press him to do so: ’twere best,
       and then
    He’ll dine with us after all, & I shall dine much better
    Myself, I must confess, when I know my money is safe.
                                         [_Exit into Menedemus’ garden._

_Enter Philolaches and Pamphilus disguised as Persians._

    _PHILOLACHES._

    Now don’t you think we are unmistakable Persians, eh?

    _PAMPHILUS._

    The essence of Central Asia: I shouldn’t fear to meet
    The shade of Themistocles.

    _Ph._                Indeed, I’ll bet my life
    Your mother would never know you. Is it not a miracle
    What these wide snowy trousers & black beards will do?

    _Pam._ I like the hat.

    _Ph._            Is it comfortable?

    _Pam._                              It fits like fun.
    Have you your tale by heart?

    _Ph._                  I shan’t go wrong in that.
    You must speak mock high-Persian; as interpreter
    I will make sense of nonsense. Be grave too.

    _Pam._                                 If I laugh,      808
    I’ve got a pretty good sleeve to laugh in. Let us go.
    But stay—which gate sh^d good true Persians enter by?
    In at the garden gate, or round the house to the front?

    _Ph._ Suppose we try the garden. Isn’t this the garden?

    _Pam._                                            Yes.

    _Ph._ I’ll lead. You know the way too well.

       [_They go to the garden gate and there meet Chremes
              re-entering._

    _Pam._                                Gods, here’s my father!

    _Chr._ (_aside_). Why, who in the name of wonder are these queer
        foreigners?

    _Ph._ LIERTOS TULVO.

    _Chr._         Sir, I do not understand you.

    _Pam._ (_to Phil, aside_). Tell him we want Menedemus, and get
        him out of the way.

    —MEFARIM BURNE SIN MENEDEMUS RYNEAS.

    _Ph._ The prince salutes my lord, and asks if here in the earth
    Are the thresholds of lord Menedemus.

    _Chr._                          Ah, you speak our tongue.
    ’Tis well. This is his house. What would you with him?

    _Pam._ (_to Phil._).                                   Heavens!
    What will you say?

    _Ph._        Go on.

    _Pam._              APROYSI THULNEAR.       821
    KEKACHYLOS RATULIAN DRICHO BRESNION OIN.

    _Ph._ My lord has bid me say we are Persians, sir, arrived
    With tidings to lord Menedemus.

    _Chr._ (_aside_).               Ah! I guessed as much.
    This should be news of Clinia: bad news too, I think.
    Their Asiatic gravity cannot quite conceal
    A strange anxiety. If he’s dead, my money is lost,
    My forty pounds all gone. I’ll learn the truth at once—
    The news, sir, that ye bring, concerns it the old man’s son?

    _Ph._ (_aside_). We’re in for it.

    _Pam._ (_aside_).    Put him off. Say we bear secret tidings.—   830
    NUSPIOL ONAYRMICO.

    _Ph._            My lord, sir, will not speak

But only with lord Menedemus.

_Chr._ (_aside_). That’s unfortunate. How shall I find it out?
Menedemus is gone from home: I’m sure he’d wish them to tell me; and
’twould be kindness’ self Gently to break the news to the poor old man.
Suppose I say that I’m Menedemus. I’m sure that scowling fellow Would
drive him out of his wits with fright. Ay, so I’ll do.— Sir, tell your
master that I’m Menedemus.

_Pam._ (_to Phil._). Ho; the deuce! What’s to be done?

_Ph._ (_to Pam._). The old liar. It’s all the same in the end. He’ll
tell Menedemus for us. Go on.

_Pam._ VEQUAMIEL 840 SAREPO MANEAS, CAMERUSYN NÁSLONON.

_Ph._ I am bid to tell thee, sir, the news is of thy son.

_Chr._ Is’t bad news?

_Ph._ Very bad.

_Chr._ Alas!

_Pam._ (_aside_). Now must my father Act for himself. He’ll not
discover me.

_Chr._ I pray,

    Tell me the worst. I am not entirely unprepared.
    Conceal nothing.

    _Pam._     BIOS EMELTO ORMIMOS
    NASEPHON FELDIDO BO CHRYSNOTAPAROYS.

    _Ph._ Clinia, thy son, was slain in battle by the prince
    NASEPHON on the plains Of CHRYSNOTAPAROYS.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). My money is paid for nothing: how very
        provoking! But now                                           850
    I must not forget the part I am playing. I must affect
    In some degree the sorrow which Menedemus would feel.—
    Alas, my dear son, ah, alas, my dear son, slain,
    Slain dead upon the plains of ...

    _Pam._                      CHRYSNOTAPAROYS.

    _Chr._ Of CHRYSNOTAPAROYS. Alas! how was he slain?

    _Ph._ My master now will tell.

    _Pam._                   HASTORIPESON NON.

    _Ph._ They pierced him through with spears.

    _Pam._                                      BO NASLON TYVAMO.

    _Chr._ What’s that?

    _Ph._         They cut off his head.

    _Pam._                               VEM DRESCHIM PAILEKIN.

    _Ph._ They tore him limb from limb.

    _Chr._                        Alas, my son! no hope.—
    (_Aside._) I don’t know what to say.—Barbarian beasts!

    _Ph._                                             Oh, sir!
    Wreak not thy wrath on us, the unwilling messengers
    Of mournful tidings.

    _Chr._         Pray don’t take me now for a fool:
    I perfectly understand, that my obligation to you
    Is as great as if the news you brought was good. Go on.
    Pardon the hasty expression that burst from me in my woe.
    If yet there is more, don’t scruple to tell it.

    _Ph._                                     We thank thee.

    _Pam._                                                   CATROS
    USCORINO FRICOSAN NON.

    _Ph._            They flayed him alive.

    _Pam._ (_aside to Phil._). You’ve killed him twice.

    _Chr._                                        O horror!

    _Ph._ (_aside to Pam._). Give me a long one now.—

    _Pam._ PERMASON CRALTI ABRITHEOS NASOLION,
    ILNO SYNORPIN MUDI.

    _Ph._         Ere he died, thy son
    Sent thee a message, sir. There lives in the town hard by      870
    A poor old widow woman from Corinth ...

    _Chr._                            I know. Her daughter
    My son fell madly in love with, was even on the point to marry.
    ’Twould never have done: she was not at all the sort of woman.
    Tell me, sirs, when you came.

    _Ph._                   Our ship arrived this morning;
    And since we sail to-night, ’twill save thee needless trouble
    To make thy gift to the prince my master here at once,
    According to Persian custom.

    _Chr._                 Ask you for money, sir?

    _Ph._ That is the Persian custom.

    _Chr._ (_aside_).                 Most annoying this!—
    Sir, I will send it you.

    _Ph._              We would not trouble thee:
    We’ll wait, sir, while thou fetchest it.

    _Chr._ (_aside_).                        What in the world to do?
    These Persians have an uncommon sharp eye to the main chance:      881
    I’ll try one piece of gold if ’twill content him.—Sir,
    Give this then to your master.

    _Ph._                    It will not satisfy him.
    For he is a potentate: but I will obey thee, sir.

    _Pam._ TARTYS CHRIBOS!      (_Puts hand on sword._)

    _Ph._            See, sir, he doth not like it.

    _Chr._                                          Well,
    I am but a poor man, but what is right I’ll do.
    Look! here are four more pieces, and that is all I have.
    And pray consider, sirs, the mournful news you bring
    Cannot be held of value, as joyful tidings might.         (_Gives._)

    (_Aside._) I hope this may content them: ’tis not much.
        Menedemus                                                    890
    Will after all be spared the expense of a funeral.

    _Pam._ JOPISCO MORCA.

    _Ph._           Sir, he is still but ill contented.

    _Chr._ Then wait, sirs. I’ll go in and fetch you what I may.

    _Ph._ We will await thee here.

    _Chr._ (_aside_). I’ll go and find Menedemus.               [_Exit._

    _Ph._ Now let’s be off at once.

    _Pam._                    What sport! O gods! five pounds!
    He never made me so handsome a present in all my life.
    I’ve tried all kinds of dodges to screw coin out of him,
    But I never could: and you’ve come round him twice to-day.
    I’ll arrange with you for some more adventures of this sort.

    _Ph._                                                  Stay,      899
    Half this is mine.

    _Pam._       And welcome.

_Enter Menedemus at back unperceived: he watches them._

    _Ph._                     What made your governor
    Tell all those lies?

    _Pam._         Just like him.

    _Ph._                         Why should he pretend
    To be Menedemus?

    _Pam._     Merely to meddle: besides no doubt
    He was anxious about the money we cheated him of this morning;
    He wishes now he was off his bargain with Gorgo.

    _Ph._                                      Ay.
    He gave you a blessing this morning.

    _Pam._                         May the gods bless him.
    I love him at this moment.

    _Ph._                Come, we must be gone.

    _Pam._ Hercules! there is old Menedemus himself.
    Make haste!
    I hope he has not overheard us.

    _Ph._                     March by in good style.

    _Pam._ CHRYSNOTAPAROYS.

    _Ph._             BO CHRYSNOTAPAROYS.

    _MENEDEMUS._

    _Chrysnotaparoys_! Whatever jargon is this?      910
    Queer-looking fellows too to be prowling about my house,
    And talking of me. Some maskers my neighbour Chremes hires
    To honour the Feast of Bacchus. A stupid, vulgar fashion,
    This orientalising, in great vogue too, and still
    Gains ground, I fear; and this is one of the gaudy-days.
    ’Tis well I did not accept his invitation to dine.
    Mummery and tomfoolery! Alas, I have been all day
    More nervous and anxious than ever. I even thought this morning
    I heard my poor son’s voice: so certain I was that I ran
    To the end of the garden and looked.—Surely I was
        either born                                                  920
    With a mind most singularly sensible of grief, or else
    The saying is not true that time is sorrow’s cure.
    My sorrow rather increases upon me every day,
    And the longer he is away the more do I yearn for him,
    And miss him.

_Re-enter Chremes from Menedemus’ house._

    _Chr._ (_aside_). Why here he is, just when I’d given him up.—
    O Menedemus!

    _Men._       What is the matter?

    _Chr._                     Alas, Menedemus!

    _Men._ You frighten me, Chremes.

    _Chr._                     I’ve sought you everywhere.

    _Men._ I had to go in the town. Is anything wrong?

    _Chr._                                       I came
    To tell you how I had done you a service; light of heart.
    Because I had done you a service, knew you must approve,      930
    And did not doubt that you would repay me a little sum
    That I ventured on your behalf.

    _Men._                    Certainly, Chremes; well?

    _Chr._ I knew you would, but still I came to explain at once.
    I sought for you in your garden in vain; and coming out,
    Intending to go to your house, just as I opened the gate,
    Just here, I met two foreigners strangely dressed.

    _Men._                                       In white?

    _Chr._ You saw them?

    _Men._         A moment ago. Who are they?

    _Chr._                                     The elder one
    Addressed me in Persian.

    _Men._             In Persian, did he? What did he say?

    _Chr._ I’ll tell you. When they saw me at your gate, coming out,
    They thought most naturally that I was you.

    _Men._                                I see.      940

    _Chr._ I did not undeceive them.

    _Men._                          They thought that you were me?

    _Chr._ They did.

    _Men._ I have little doubt but that they are revellers,
    Who knowing what you, Chremes, would call my folly, came
    To play some practical joke. They said they were Persians?

    _Chr._                                               Yes.

    _Men._ With news of Clinia?

    _Chr._                Yes.

    _Men._                     This sort of impertinence
    Provokes me, Chremes; ’tis want of respect. Suppose I am
    Somewhat old-fashioned, yet to be idly trifled with,
    In a matter in which I feel so deeply ...

    _Chr._                               Pray heaven you are right.
    I did suspect them myself at first: but when they spoke ...

    _Men._ What did they say?

    _Chr._              I dare not tell you.

    _Men._                                   You need not fear.      950

    _Chr._ They said your son was dead. They saw him killed by a prince,
    In a battle at Chrysno ... Chrysno ...

    _Men._                           Chrysnotaparoys?

    _Chr._ Ha! is it a famous place?

    _Men._                     I never heard of it, Chremes.

    _Chr._ Then how did you know?

    _Men._                  They were talking together as I came in.

    _Chr._ That should convince you, and then the dying message he sent.

    _Men._ What’s that?

    _Chr._        The tale you know. The old Corinthian widow,
    Whose daughter he was in love with ...

    _Men._                           Did they say, may I ask,
    All this in Persian?

    _Chr._         One did: yes—but I confess,
    That in spite of a few expressions I was able to understand,      959
    I had to trust very much to the one that interpreted.

    _Men._ But him I should understand?

    _Chr._                        I don’t say but what you might.

    _Men._ It’s forty years since I was in Persia: but this I know,
    That is not a Persian dress, and I think I ought to remember
    At least the sound of the language. If you could find these men
    And send them to me ...

    _Chr._            I will. They promised to wait for me.
    They’re not far off: I’ll fetch them at once.

    _Men._                                  Stay! ere you go—
    I wanted to tell you, Chremes, I have quite made up my mind
    Concerning the girl: my duty is plain enough.

    _Chr._                                  What is it?

    _Men._ To adopt her: for if my son returns, to find her here      969
    Under my care, protected & loved as I shall love her,
    Will be a bond between us to make him forget the past,
    My harshness and all; while should he be killed or die abroad,—
    Which God forbid—or never return, I have then no heir,
    And the only consolation remaining to me in the world
    Is the loving her, whom he would have made my daughter, and whom
    I shall love like him.

    _Chr._           You won’t.

    _Men._                      Why not?

    _Chr._                               I shall convince you
    That you will do nothing of the sort.

    _Men._                          Why not?

    _Chr._                                   You wouldn’t ask,
    If you only knew what a creature she is.

    _Men._                             You know her?

    _Chr._                                           Ay.

    _Men._ But how? You never told me.

    _Chr._         She is spending the day at my house.
    ’Twas this I was coming to tell you about, but the
        other matter                                                 980
    Had driven it out of my head. I thought to discover for you
    (Seeing you did not know) what kind of person she was;
    That I might judge and tell you, whether you most were wrong
    In being at first so harsh to your son, or now to yourself.
    So I asked her to spend the day at my house. It has ended in this,
    That when I saw what kind of woman she really was,
    I offered her forty pounds if she would renounce your son.
    Believe me, she jumped at the bargain; so then, to prevent mistake,
    I made her sign a paper to that effect. I hold it.
    It cost me forty pounds; and that’s the money I said,
    That I had advanced for you.      991

    _Men._                 ’Twas very kind of you, Chremes.
    You see I am shocked.

    _Chr._          Nay, don’t give way.

    _Men._                               You have dashed my hope.
    I was not prepared for this. Freeborn I knew she was not;
    But this I never suspected.

    _Chr._                Come to my house and see.
    I wish you to judge for yourself.

    _Men._                      She is there?

    _Chr._                                    She is there, do you ask?
    Ay, to my cost she is there. No sooner she comes to the door,
    Than all is to be topsy-turvy. She calls me ‘old man!’
    Asks if the bath is ready, and presently calls for wine.
    She’ll take a ‘whetting brusher,’ she says. The quantity
    She wasted in merely tasting was more than most men drink.      1000
    She kept me an hour on my legs before she was pleased, and then
    Drank like a fish, & laughed at nothing & everything.
    Had it not been for you, Menedemus, I promise you
    I could not have stood it.

    _Men._               I feel extremely obliged to you,
    And sorry for this. You have been most friendly in all you have done.
    I cannot doubt you are right. But still whatever she is,
    I’d like to see her once. I can’t dine with you;—arrange
    To send her across to me. Explain to her who I am;
    And let me judge for myself if it is so impossible
    To carry out my former intention as you believe.

    _Chr._ By all means. I shall be glad enough to be rid of her.      1011
    I go at once.

    _Men._        And find those Persians, whoever they are.

    _Chr._ Indeed I must. For either I was grossly deceived
    In a manner I cannot believe—I gave them money too—
    Or else—

    _Men._     Well, lose no time, I pray: I am less at ease
    In the matter now, than when you told me first.

    _Chr._                                    Indeed
    I fear you have cause: I’ll go at once. Farewell.

                                                                [_Exit._

    _Men._                                      Farewell.
    A silly hoax no doubt. I wish ’twere half as likely
    That Chremes was wrong about the girl. ’Tis very strange        1019
    That he should suddenly take such an active interest
    In my affairs. I think he’s a little meddlesome,
    With all his kindness and thought. But that’s the way
        of the world.                                           [_Exit._

_Re-enter Chremes and Pamphilus._

    _Chr._ See Gorgo at once, I say, and get it back if you can.

    _Pam._ Why, father?

    _Chr._        I’ll tell you. Clinia your friend is dead.

    _Pam._ Impossible.

    _Chr._       No. I have seen two Persians just arrived,
    Who say he was slain in battle.

    _Pam._                    Does old Menedemus know?

    _Chr._ He does.

    _Pam._    And how does he take it?

    _Chr._                             Why? How should he take it?

    _Pam._ How should I know? The cross old hunks.

    _Chr._                                   Stop! Pamphilus.
    You wrong him; he’s distracted: and now in consequence,      1029
    He has made up his mind to adopt that woman.

    _Pam._                                 Gorgo?

    _Chr._                                        Yes.
    How can you laugh?

    _Pam._       Well, if he adopts her, what’s the use
    Of asking her for the money now? Menedemus will pay.

    _Chr._ You do, please, as I say. Of course it’s impossible
    To adopt her: I intimated to him as much, but still
    He wants to judge for himself. I promised to send her tó him.
    As soon as the ladies return from the bath explain this tó her.
    And take her across; at least if I’m not back from town.

    _Pam._ You go to the town?

    _Chr._               I have promised to bring these Persians back;
    We wish to establish the news they brought. They half engaged      1039
    To await me here, but it seems they are gone.

    _Pam._                                  Can I go fór you?

    _Chr._ Ay, ay. Yet no. (_aside_) Nay, I shall have to explain to them
    That I am not Menedemus,—I fear I must go myself.
    I think I shall not be long. You do as I told you, please;
    And tell your mother where I am gone.

    _Pam._                          I hope you’ll find them.

    _Chr._ I shan’t come back without ’em.                         [_Exit._

    _Pam._ (_aside_).                      Good-bye then, dad, for ever!



                               ACT ·• IV


                        _PAMPHILUS and CLINIA._

                             _PAMPHILUS._

    ’TIS simply ruin, Clinia; pray come back at once.
    Do wait till after dinner.

    _CLINIA._

                               I couldn’t.

    _Pam._                           The governor
    Will smoke it all if you go: ’twill break our party up.

    _Clin._ My father thinks I am killed.

    _Pam._                          What matter so you’re not?

    _Clin._ He’ll be so grieved. Indeed I can’t consider
        your party.                                                 1050

    _Pam._ You’re most ungrateful.

    _Clin._                  Nay indeed, good Pamphilus,
    I am much obliged for all your kindness; I say so again.
    But this I told you expressly I did not wish.

    _Pam._                                  You’ve got
    More than you ever hoped. Antiphila here: your father
    Brought nicely round: and all through my good management.
    And now you’ll throw me over for want of a little patience.

    _Clin._ To be free with you, I do not like being half
        drawn in, as I am,
    To tricking your father of fifty pounds. Besides I am here
    Under a false name, as his guest. Antiphila too
    Is passing off for somebody else, I know not who;
    While you and Philolaches have deceived your father and mine,      1061
    In a way that I cannot be party to.

    _Pam._                        Wait. Here comes my father.
    I’ll show you now what kind of a temper I risk for you.

_Enter Chremes from town._

    _CHREMES._

      Wheu! back at last. Wheu, wheu! my word! as hot as hot!
    Wheu! bah! and all this worry and flurry for nothing: wheu!
    I am covered and choked with dust. I wish most heartily
    These Persians had found their grave at Chrysnotaparoys.
    I vow that the famous army of Darius never gave
    Such trouble to brave Miltiades at Marathon,
    As these two rascally slinkers have given to me. Wheu! Wheu!    1070

    _Pam._ (_advancing_). Have you not found them, father?

    _Chr._                    If I have found them? No.
    I went to the port; the ship I found there sure enough,
    But I could not hear of them. A single passenger,
    They said, had landed; and he was a Greek. I enquired besides
    At all the houses along the road: there was not a man,
    Who had even so much as seen them.

    _Sostrata_ (_within_).             Chremes! Chremes!

    _Chr._                                         Ah!

_Enter Sostrata from Chremes’ house._

    _SOSTRATA._

    O husband! husband!

    _Chr._        O wife! wife!

    _Sost._                 She is found, she is found!

    _Chr._ Who’s found?

    _Sost._       Our daughter, our long-lost daughter
        is found.

    _Chr._             What now?

    _Sost._ Look! this is the necklace, this the ring.

    _Chr._                                       Why, what d’ye mean?

    _Sost._ See, husband, if you remember them; they are the
        very same                                                   1080
    Our daughter Antiphila wore, the day she was stolen.

    _Chr._                                         Hey!
    What’s this?

    _Sost._      I knew them at once.

    _Chr._                      Then tell me at once, whén,
    How, and where did you find them?

    _Sost._                     The girl that Gorgo brought
    Wore them. I knew them at once: and when I heard her name....

    _Chr._ Antiphila?

    _Sost._     Yes, Antiphila.

    _Chr._                      Quite so. You heard the name;
    That made you think this girl our daughter: I’ll wager my life
    She’s no such thing. ’Tis unsupposable.

    _Sost._                           Dearest husband,
    I always knew we should find her. I’ve said so a thousand times.

    _Chr._ Oh yes! you always knew beforehand of everything      1089
    After it happened, wife: there’s nothing could occur
    But you would tell me you told me before. And yet this time
    Do not be wise too soon.

    _Sost._            Why, here’s the ring itself,
    The necklace and the name.

    _Chr._               The name is a common name,
    And rings and necklaces too are made so much alike,
    They’re nothing to go by.

    _Sost._             Then I have spoken to her, Chremes,
    And she is so like her:—

    _Chr._              Hey! here’s fine proof indeed;
    Just think for once now what you have said. You recognize
    In a grown-up lady, you say, the baby you have never seen
    Since she was three! Why, even supposing she was not changed
    In all these fifteen years, could you remember her
    So long?

    _Sost._  But she is my daughter: that makes the difference.      1101

    _Chr._ Why, that’s the very question. Is she? And if she was,
    What difference could it make? But if you have spoken with her,
    Where does she say she comes from?

    _Sost._                      She says she lives in the town
    With an old Corinthian widow ...

    _Chr._                     I know: the mother of Gorgo.
    They live together, do they? Then just send Gorgo here.

    _Sost._ Indeed she has nothing to do with Gorgo.

    _Chr._                                     According to that
    There are two Corinthian widows.

    _Sost._                    Two?

    _Chr._                          Why not? I suppose
    There must be two, unless it’s the same.

    _Sost._                            But who is the other?

    _Chr._ There isn’t another at all. Bring Gorgo here at once.    1110
    She’ll know enough of the facts to set this matter at rest.

    _Sost._ Why, Chremes ...

    _Chr._             I say, fetch Gorgo.

    _Sost._                                I assure you, Chremes dear ...

    _Chr._ Do go and fetch her, wife.

    _Sost._                     Well, as you will....

    _Chr._                                            Of course.
    Dó I ever express an opinion, issue a command,
    Without an ample reason? (_Exit Sostrata._)
                             ’Twould be strange!—(_To Pam._) Now, sir,
    Had you not heard of this?

    _Pam._               No, father.

    _Chr._                           And there you stand,
    As dull as a fish! Why, what will you think, if this be true,
    Of finding a sister?

    _Pam._         Sir, you wished me a happy day:
    As nothing was more unlooked for, nothing is happier
    In the world than this.

    _Chr._            Yet there’s your friend, a perfect stranger.
    Is far more moved than you. You go to the play, I know:         1121
    Fifty per cent. of all our Attic comedies
    Have this same plot, a daughter stolen in early years,
    Lost sight of, despaired of, almost forgotten, and then at last,
    When least expected—although there’s scarce a soul in the house
    That does not know or guess it beforehand—she reappears.
    Then are not all eyes wet? Why, that’s the poetic art,
    Which makes emotion, and sells it to fools at market price.
    You have pitied the child, have pictured the thousand possible ills
    She may have encountered, hardships of body and mind,
        neglect,                                                    1130
    The injuries and privations of slavery, wrongs and blows;
    The lack of all that care, to which, in a mother’s love,
    The meanest birth is titled, without which even brutes
    Perish for lack of instinct: the tenderness of sex
    You have thought of; her innocence, the snares of a merciless world
    For the unprotected, and then this picture you contrast
    With the comfortable, gentéel hóme the scene presents.
    You feel for the parents then—ay, tho’ some ridicule
    Be fastened upon them; ’tis by such touches of flesh and blood
    The life comes home to your heart, and while you are made
        to smile,                                                   1140
    You weep. You have paid for the tear, or if your false shame
    Forbids you to shew your feeling, you’ve bought a lump in the throat.
    You praise the play, because ’tis a tender situation.
    Enough to stir the blood of a crocodile like yourself:
    I catch you weeping—slap! all’s changed. ’Tis not a play:
    The stage is yóur hóme, the actors your father and mother,
    Your own sister is found, & where’s your feeling now?
    I think your heart is made of matting! Your friend, I say,
    Is far more moved: I see the tears stand in his eyes.

    _Clin._ ’Tis joy. I wish you joy, sir. I wish your
        daughter joy.                                               1150
    And, may I say it, your happiness brings happiness to me.

    _Chr._ I thank you, Clitipho; but now we go too fast:
    Because I don’t at all suppose this is my daughter.
    Ho! Gorgo! where’s Gorgo? (_Goes to door._)

    _Clin._ (_to Pam._).      O Pamphilus, I am in heaven:
    For if Antiphila really be your sister, then
    My father cannot oppose our marriage.

    _Pam._                          No more will mine.
    ’Twill make him as proud as a peacock.

    _Clin._                          Sweetest Antiphila.

    _Pam._ Quite so: but what in the world do you think will happen to me,
    When he finds out?

    _Clin._      Oh, I have attained the life of the gods!

    _Pam._ Go on. You will not tell me now I have done too much?      1160

    _Clin._ Oh no: I forgive it all.

    _Pam._                     Forgive it?

    _Clin._                                I thank you for it.

    _Pam._ I shall need more than thanks.

    _Clin._                         O Pamphilus, anything.
    What can I give you?

    _Pam._         Listen. If things go well with you,
    They’re not so smart with me: and if you wish to help me,
    I only see one hope.

    _Clin._        What’s that?

    _Pam._                      That you should win
    Your father to plead for me: after all I have done for him,
    I think he might: and if you ask him, I am sure he will.
    Concealment is out of the question: go to him now at once,
    And tell him all.

    _Clin._     Indeed I was going; but may I not see
    Antiphila first?

    _Pam._     No, no, there’s not a moment to lose.
    The governor will be back, and if he finds you out,
    You’ll have to go to your father with him, and what a tale      1172
    He’ll tell it’s easy to guess.

    _Clin._                  I would not consent to that.
    I’ll go at once.

    _Pam._     Go quickly, before Gorgo comes.
    Quick! Quick!                                        [_Exit Clinia._
                  And just in time. I wonder what she will say.

    _Chr._ (_at the door to Gorgo_). I want you a moment, Gorgo.

_Enter Gorgo with Sostrata._

                                          Prithee, be so good
    As just to answer my questions. This girl Antiphila
    Who came with you, is your maid? Don’t look at my son and laugh.
    I am serious. Is this girl your servant?

    _GORGO._
                                             No.

    _Chr._                                 She is not?
    She lives with you?

    _Gor._          No.

    _Chr._ I thought you lived with the widow woman,
    Who came from Corinth. Pray be sober. I want to know.           1181
    You told me you did.

    _Gor._         Ay, sir.

    _Chr._                  And yet Antiphila
    Does not live with you?

    _Gor._            No, sir.

    _Chr._                     When did you see her first?

    _Gor._ This morning.

    _Chr._         Indeed. And can you tell me nothing about her?

    _Gor._ Nothing whatever.

    _Chr._             I thank you. I’ve nothing to ask you then.

    _Gor._ It’s thank you for nothing, sir! No further commands
        at present?

    _Chr._ Peace, prithee, peace!
    (_To Sostrata._) Now, wife, you see I was right for once.
    Gorgo knows nothing about her.

    _Sost._                  I told you she didn’t, Chremes.

    _Chr._ But then you said she lived with the widow. You see
        she doesn’t,                                                1189
    And Gorgo does.

    _Sost._   I can’t believe it. Antiphila told me
    The widow’s name; and then the very clothes she wore
    The day she was stolen, she has laid by.

    _Chr._                             Eh! said she so?
    Then you should have sent for the woman, told her to bring the clothes.

    _Sost._ So, Chremes, I did, but the poor old lady’s too ill to come:
    But the clothes were sent. I have seen them.

    _Chr._                       And are they the same?

    _Sost._                                     They are.

    _Chr._ Why then did you not spare me all this trouble, wife?
    Why did you not tell me before of the clothes?

    _Sost._                                  You would not hear!

    _Chr._ Not hear! when all the time I was asking you this and that.
    Ye gods! have ye never made one reasonable woman?
    Don’t you see that the clothes are the chiefest
        matter of all?                                              1200
    Why, they’re a proof.

    _Sost._         Then do you believe?

    _Chr._                               Ay, wife, come in.
    I think we have found our daughter.

    _Gor._ Oho! ho! ho!                         [_Exeunt Sost. and Chr._
                        O he does make me laugh.
    And when he finds all out, the silly old man, at last,
    How I shall love to see him!

    _Pam._                 Indeed you must not stay.

    _Gor._ Why not?

    _Pam._    Why, don’t you see how mad he’ll be?

    _Gor._                                         He will.

    _Pam._ He’ll want that forty pounds.

    _Gor._                         He may want.

    _Pam._                                      I am afraid
    You cannot keep it.

    _Gor._        I not keep it? What! d’ye think
    I’d give it him back?

    _Pam._          I think you had better make sure of it.
    Take my advice and go.

    _Gor._           I am sorry to go, and yet
    What should I stay for now? There’ll be no dinner.

    _Pam._                                       No,                1210
    That there won’t.

    _Gor._      Well, make my excuses, & give your father
    My kind congratulations.

    _Pam._             Go!

    _Gor._                 With the same to you.
    Antiphila’s quite a dove.

    _Pam._              Do go!

    _Gor._                           Good-bye, my lad.
    It’s wisest to go, I see: but if the old man should ask
    Where I am gone to ...

    _Pam._           Well?

    _Gor._                 Why, tell him I’m gone to spend
    His forty pounds in the town. Ta ta!                        [_Exit._

    _Pam._                         I think that woman
    Has done for me. Thank the gods she’s gone, and just in time;
    Here somebody comes from the house.

_Enter Philolaches from Chremes’ house._

    _PHILOLACHES._

                                        Look out, Pamphilus!
    Your father is coming after you.

    _Pam._                     He has found us out of course?

    _Ph._ He has guessed who Gorgo is; but still is quite in
       the dark.                                                    1220
    He still imagines Clinia slain and torn to bits
    On the plains of what d’ye call it.—

    _Pam._                          What is best to do?

    _Ph._ Nothing. Let him rave it out. The quicker he heats,
    The quicker he’ll cool.

    _Pam._            But if you had ever seen him angry ...

    _Ph._ Don’t be afraid.

    _Pam._           I am.

    _Ph._                  Throw all the blame on me.

    _Pam._ I hear him.

 _Re-enter Chremes, speaking as he comes out to Sostrata within._

    _Chr._       It’s high time, wife, you stopped this precious noise,
    Deafening the gods with singing all your confounded praises
    For finding your daughter. You judge them by yourself perhaps,
    And think they can’t understand a simple thing, unless
    It’s told them a hundred times.
    (_To Pam._)                     Now, sir, ’tis you I want.      1230
    Come here.

    _Pam._     What, father?

    _Chr._             _What, father?_ As innocent
    As milk, no doubt. You think it’s possible I do not know?
    I’ll tell you what: to-day I have found a daughter, sir,
    And lost a son. Begone and take your Gorgo with you:
    For I’ll not own you longer. Be off! Go where you will:
    But see you ne’er set foot beneath my roof again.

    _Pam._ Father, what do you mean? What have I done?

    _Chr._                                       You dare
    Ask! If I tell you now that you are a reprobate,
    An idle, dissipated, licentious, spendthrift fellow:—
    Is that enough?

    _Pam._    O father!

    _Chr._              Or if I add the rest,                       1240
    A mean, deceitful, undutiful, snivelling, sneaking cheat;
    A liar.

    _Pam._ Oh, I am not.

    _Chr._         Well, you deny it, do you?
    I’ll ask you is this true or not. You found that I,
    With a view to help our neighbour, wished to see the girl
    That got his son into trouble. You undertook to bring her.
    I trusted you wholly, could not expect to be played on bý you;
    You knew her, and I did not, had never heard her name;
    And this you knew, and took occasion to introduce
    A different person altogether, a friend of your own,
    A woman whose very presence was an insult; and not content      1250
    With abusing my confidence & kindness, my sheer disgust
    You turned to your own account, and so, on a mock pretence
    Of doing my neighbour a wonderful service, made me pay
    I don’t know what. You blinded me, and robbed me, and all the while
    ’Twas yóur víle místress I was entertaining for you,
    And paying out of my pocket for nothing. Is that not true?
    Was it not enough to have this creature sit down to dine
    With your mother and me? ay, and with your sister? and as for her,
    Yóu have been the means of aspersing her character,
    The day when she is restored to the family. Yes, ’tis she       1260
    Is the lady in question, and I have been running here and there
    To diffame my own daughter to my neighbour, and thanks to you
    Have been a pretty fool! And if his son returns,—
    For now I am so confused that whether he’s living or dead
    I have not a notion,—but if, I say, he should return,
    And ask Antiphila’s hand, would then Menedemus believe
    That I did not tell him the truth before I knew any cause
    To wish for one thing more than another? I say be off!
    Ask me what you’ve done? A treasure of innocence
    You are! Begone! I’ll never see you again. Begone!

    _Ph._ For patience’ sake, one word from me, sir! Pamphilus      1271
    Was not so much in fault; I am the one to blame:
    He truly intended to introduce Antiphila;
    And I was sent to fetch her: but when it appeared her friends
    Would not consent to allow that you should interfere
    Between Menedemus and her, then, on the spur of the moment,
    The ladies were changed, & that at my suggestion, sir.

    _Chr._ I interfere, you say? ’Tis you that interfere,
    I think. Pray hold your tongue; or if you wish to advise,
    Advise your friend again: he needs it more than I;
    Maybe he’ll thank you for it. I neither ask nor want it.        1281

_Re-enter Sostrata._

    (_To Pam._) To you, sir, I have no more to add. Begone at once!
    ’Twill spare your sister pain, if she sh^d never know you;
    Not that there’s aught to lose. Now, if there is anything
    You want in the house, go in at once and fetch it. Look,
    I’ll give you half an hour.

    _Sost._               Chremes, what are you saying?

    _Chr._ I have only said, wife, what I told you; and you may now
    Bid your dear Pamphilus good-bye.

    _Sost._                     How cruel you are!
    Do you wish to kill your son? You’ll certainly be his death,    1289
    Unless you mind. I wonder how anything so wicked
    Could have come into your head.

    _Chr._                    Oh, will you never learn
    To keep your place, woman? Was there ever a thing
    Which I ever proposed or did in my whole life, in which
    You did not go against me? But sh^d I ask you now
    What wrong I am doing, or why I do the thing I do,
    You would not know: you could not tell me anything
    Of the matter in which so confidently you oppose me. Fool!

    _Sost._ I do not know?

    _Chr._           Well, well, you do know. Anything
    Rather than have it all over again.

    _Sost._                       How iniquitous of you,
    To prevent my speaking in such a matter!

    _Chr._                             I don’t prevent you.         1300
    Go on! Talk yourself hoarse.                                [_Exit._

    _Pam._                 Mother, what shall I do?

    _Sost._ What did he say?

    _Pam._             He says he disowns me.

    _Sost._                                   Don’t give way.
    He is angry now: I know he’ll soon be kind again.

    _Ph._ Quite so, madam; a father’s threats are nothing to fear.

    _Pam._ I am glad you think so.

    _Ph._                    Don’t be angry with me, Pam!
    I’ve got you into a mess, but if you’ll trust to me,
    I’ll get you out.

    _Sost._     How kind of you, Mr. Philogelos!

    _Ph_. Take my advice and hide. Pretend you have run away.
    I’ll say you’ve sailed to the Persian wars in Clinia’s ship.
    And when your father finds that Clinia is safe, and he
    Demands Antiphila’s hand, the rest will be all forgotten.       1311

    _Sost._ Is Antiphila to marry Clinia?

    _Ph._                           Yes, ma’am.

    _Sost._                                     Menedemus’ son,
    That ran away?

    _Ph._    Yes, ma’am.

    _Sost._              Why, Chremes said he was killed.

    _Ph._ It’s all a mistake; you’ve spoken to him to-day yourself:
    He is Clitipho.

    _Sost._   O dear! I must tell Chremes this.
    How glad I am!

    _Ph._    Stay, madam, stay; I pray you won’t.
    Your husband will find that out quite soon enough for us.
    Far better see Menedemus, if he will help us out.

    _Sost._ What could he do?

    _Ph._               He’ll stand our friend. How could he wish
    To see Antiphila’s brother driven disgraced from home?          1320

    _Sost._ Go, Pamphilus, go at once!

    _Pam._                       Clinia is there; I will.

    _Sost._ And can I then tell Chremes?

    _Ph._                          Madam, consider this:
    He won’t believe you, and after will only be angry with you
    For knowing it first, and being in the right when he was wrong.

    _Sost._ ’Tis all so strange, that really and truly I don’t suppose
    That any one would believe it. It may be best to wait.
    But you should waste no time, Pamphilus; go at once.

    _Pam._ I go, but do not tell him where I am gone.

    _Sost._                                     No, son.    [_Exit Pam._
    I’ll do my best to win him. (_To Ph._) I thank you, sir, very kindly.

    _Ph._ I wish you good success.                     [_Exit Sostrata._
                                   A sensible body. I lean          1330
    On her and old Menedemus. Not that I doubt myself;
    I know a stroke to play: is’t not the feast of Bacchus?
    I will invoke the god; his genius will confound
    This dull, contrary Chremes. What’s his humour worth
    To gods or men, that I should bow to it? Nay, & since
    Whate’er the humour be, ’tis the persistency
    That carries it, to hell with dumps! ’Twere póor mérriment
    That Chremes’ frown could dash. Why, if there be a choice       1338
    ’Twixt Chremes pleased and Chremes angry, of the two
    This latter, angry Chremes is the more ridiculous.



ACT ·• V


_MENEDEMUS and CLINIA._

    _MENEDEMUS._

    You have made me, my dear Clinia, the very happiest of fathers,
    By this return to your senses; indeed I ran great risk
    Of taking leave of my own: but since I have you back,
    ’Tis nothing but happiness: and gladly I now consent
    To the match, which hitherto in your own interest
    I have only opposed because I would not have you marry
    A woman not freeborn. To be sure I c^d have wished
    ’Twas somebody else’s daughter than Chremes’. After all
    It might be worse. But are you sure you hold to it still,
    And wish to marry her?

    _CLINIA._

                           I, father? How can you ask?              1350

    _Men._ You are young to marry; but, mind, I should not make your age
    An objection, provided I thought you knew what marriage is.
    But do you, can you know? You have only experience
    Of childhood, and some few years of youthful liberty:
    What can thát teach? Your tie to me, your friendships,—
    Some intimate friendships too: but nothing here nor there
    Comparable to the bond of marriage. Suppose I say
    ’Tis, next to existence, the most familiar thing in
        the world:—                                                 1358
    Then judge how jealous pride & self-regard should be,
    Ere they admit this master circumstance to rule,
    As rule it must. You know the story Plato tells
    Of Er, the Armenian soldier, & what he saw in death,
    Permitted to stand between the gates of heaven and hell;
    How there he saw the souls, who, ere they came on earth,
    Were choosing each their lives in turn—and, what was strange,
    How wantonly and without deliberation they chose,
    Making a rush at what they fancied first: and this,
    So Plato said, explained man’s discontent on earth,
    His misery being his fault. All w^h, be it fable or no,
    Clinia, has this much truth; that you may see the like
    Without going down to the grave, nor any revelation
    Of nature’s secrecies—but every day on earth,                   1372
    In men that wive. With them the stake is no less great;
    Their carelessness in choice, their after-discontent
    Match each in kind. Now I would play the interpreter
    To you, as some celestial did to Er: I warn you,
    Take not this step in haste. You choose a second being:
    The lives are strewn before you: is this the best to take?

    _Clin._ O if you knew Antiphila, father, you would not ask.

    _Men._ Very well. I see your choice is made. I only wish        1380
    She did not drink.

    _Clin._      O father! you know—

    _Men._                            Yes, yes. I know.
    What a number of sad mistakes Chremes has made to-day!
    He has not discovered yet who the two Persians were,
    Who came to frighten me.

    _Clin._            I hope I need not tell you, father,
    I never wished that done. I feared you might be grieved:
    But Chremes being so sure you never would forgive me ...

    _Men._ Was he?

    _Clin._        He said you told him.

    _Men._                         Did he? He has been to blame.
    There’s much he will have to explain to me, which he will not wish
    Another to hear. Retire to the garden, while I go
    And smooth things over with him, and ask his daughter’s hand.   1390

    _Clin._ How long?

    _Men._      Well, if I send, be ready at once to come:
    And see that Pamphilus too is handy: explain to him,
    That if I can be happy enough to make his peace with his father,
    His presence will then be needed.

    _Clin._                     I hope it will not be long.     [_Exit._

    _Men._ I am not very wise myself or clever, that I know:
    And I may have behaved in a manner open to criticism,
    I may have even provoked derision, that may be;
    I think I have. But this same would-be helper of mine,
    My counsellor and guide, Chremes, is very far beyond me.        1399
    I never did anything half so foolish in all my life
    As to trust my secrets to him. In time now; here he comes.

_Enter Chremes._

    _CHREMES._

      Ah, my good Menedemus, now I have news indeed.

    _Men._ I know it, Chremes, and give you my hearty congratulations.
    ’Tis a happy day for us both: for you have found a daughter,
    And I ...

    _Chr._    You know it already? Who told you?

    _Men._                                 My son.

    _Chr._                                         Your son!

    _Men._ Clinia. Yes. He is in my house. I was coming across
    To ask you to join your treasure so newly found with mine:
    And to give your daughter to-day to my son in marriage.

    _Chr._                                            Well!
    I cannot understand it. Where did he come from? When?

    _Men._ Why, that’s the strangest of all: he landed only
        this morning,                                               1410
    Met your son in the town; & has been in yóur house
    Ever since.

    _Chr._      My house?

    _Men._          It seems your son is a friend of his:
    He introduced him, but under another name, because
    He did not wish to be known.

    _Chr._                 Not Clitipho?

    _Men._                               Ay, ’twas that.

    _Chr._ There then! O how I have been deceived! And you were right
    About the Persians too: they were a make-believe.

    _Men._ So I guessed all along, Chremes.

    _Chr._                            But who then were they?

    _Men._ Forgive me, my good friend, I ask you once for all,
    The annoyance my family affairs have been to you to-day.        1419
    Your kindness has brought you only vexation.

    _Chr._                                 O, I am sure
    You are welcome enough to any service that I can render.

    _Men._ Then pray oblige me in this, and overlook the folly
    Of the actors in thís fárce. The intention was to deceive
    Me and not you: till you accidentally, as it seems,
    Came in their way: and then they could not help themselves:
    They even tried to avoid you.

    _Chr._                  Who were they?

    _Men._                                 Remember too
    ’Tis the feast of Bacchus to-day, ’tis not so great a crime
    To droll on a private person, at a time that is set apart
    For mirth and jollity, and when buffoonery too makes up
    A part of the festival.

    _Chr._            I think no gentleman                          1430
    Should suffer buffoonery to cover an insult.

    _Men._                                 Supposing not,
    Yet none was intended.

    _Chr._           Who were they?

    _Men._                          The deceit was planned for me,
    And I forgive it.

    _Chr._      Who were they?

    _Men._                     They came from yóur house.

    _Chr._ Not Clinia?

    _Men._       No; although it was done in his interest.
    Your son was one, and a friend ...

    _Chr._                       I know: Philolaches.
    I see.

    _Men._ It seems they had drawn from you, I know not how,
    Somewhat too harsh a picture of me: so ’twas resolved
    To put me to proof.

    _Chr._        Menedemus, since ’twas my own son,
    It does not matter; for now my account with him is closed.

    _Men._ What say you?

    _Chr._         Well, never mind. He is now no more my son.      1440
    O Menedemus, indeed he has treated me shamefully.
    This morning I thought your son had acted ill by you:
    How willingly now I’d change.

    _Men._                  You make too much of it.
    No harm was meant; and none has been done: a foolish hoax,
    And nothing more.

    _Chr._      You cannot hope to persuade me now
    There is any excuse for a son deceiving his own father.

    _Men._ I think a father would find one, Chremes, where there
       was none.

    _Chr._ Nay, nay: no more of him. I understand you came
    About my daughter.

    _Men._       I did. Clinia asks her hand.

    _Chr._ You know she is not that woman they made me
        think....

    _Men._      I know.                                             1450

    _Chr._ Menedemus, I never wished to have a daughter. I thought
    A girl was a burden, the worst possession a man could have;
    Costly to rear, costly to keep, costly to get rid of.
    It seems I was wrong. I have had a daughter, who from her cradle
    Has never cost me a single penny, and the very hour
    She is thrown on my hands, she has offers of marriage. ’Tis not
        for me
    To hinder the kindness of heaven. You are welcome to take her. Yet
    I have one condition: the dowry.

    _Men._                     Certainly: about that
    We shall not quarrel however. My son will be rich: and you      1459
    Will give as you think is fit.

    _Chr._                   I still shall insist on terms.
    You will not oppose a project of mine?

    _Men._                           I promise not;
    Consider it settled: & now let us put the business off,
    And bring the two young lovers happily face to face.
    I long to see Antiphila.

    _Chr._             Wait. I’ll call my wife,            [_Goes to_ L.
    And tell her to bring her out.

    _Men._                   And I will call my son.       [_Goes to_ R.
    (_Calling_) Clinia!

_Re-enter Clinia._

    _Clin._       Father!

    _Men._                Come! Is Pamphilus there?

    _Clin._                                         He is.

    _Men._ Let him be ready.

_Enter Sostrata and Antiphila._

    _Chr._             See here, Menedemus, my daughter.

    _Men._                                               And mine.
    My dear Antiphila, I fear you have heard hard tales of me:
    I have therefore the greater pleasure in bringing you, now we meet,
    The joy I have stood in the way of. I have asked your good
       father                                                       1470
    To grant your hand to my son in marriage: he has consented.
    See, here is Clinia. Let me join your hands—for ever.
    Be happy.

    _SOSTRATA._

    (_Aside._) The dear old man; see how he weeps for joy.

    _Chr._ You will not deny me now, Menedemus, I’m sure: you’ll come
    And spend what is left of the day at my house. You will
       dine with us?

    _Men._ With all my heart. You have not presented me to your wife.
    I beg....

    _Chr._ Come, Sostrata, come & make your compliments
    To our new relation.

    _Men._         Your servant, madam.

    _Sost._                             O sir, I am glad
    My Antiphila will have your son for a husband.

    _Men._                                   I am very proud
    Of such a daughter-in-law. But now, if I may ask,
    Where is your son Pamphilus? He should not be absent now.       1481

    _Chr._ Don’t ask for him.

    _Sost._             I beseech you speak with my husband, sir.

    _Chr._ I beg, Menedemus, you’ll say no more. I have cast him off.

    _Men._ I still shall venture to plead his forgiveness.

    _Chr._                                           ’Tis too late.
    I have sent him off already: he is gone.

    _Men._                             Not so: he is here.
    (_Calls_) Pamphilus! (_To Chremes_) Do not blame me; I promised
        to plead for him.

_Enter Pamphilus._

    _Chr._ How dare you again appear in my presence, wretch? Be off!
    I tell you that I disown you. Yes, Menedemus, & you
    Will not attempt, I beg, to avert the punishment
    He more than deserves. I have cast him away and cut him off.    1490
    My whole fortune I leave to Antiphila—that is the thing
    I said I sh^d ask—you promised not to oppose me: now
    I beg you will not.

    _Men._        Consider if you are wise.

    _Chr._                                  Not wise?

    _Sost._ O you are very unwise!

    _Chr._                   Wife!

    _Sost._                        Why, he is your son!

    _Chr._ Extremely kind of you to say so! there’s not a doubt in
        the world
    He is yours: but were I you, I sh^d not be very vain,
    Being mirrored in such a cub.

    _Sost._                 O Chremes, your own son!

    _Chr._ Not were he twice my son, and sprung from my head,
        as they say
    Minerva was from Jove’s, would I own him.

    _PAMPHILUS._

                                              Consider, sir,
    My mother’s feelings, although you do not consider me.          1500

    _Chr._ I do not consider you, sir? In all I have done,
    I have kept You and your follies in view: considering what you are,
    I thought you would rather think I considered you too much.
    I consider you reckless, sir; I consider that you pursue
    Your pleasure and vulgar tastes. I consider you quite unfit
    To be trusted with money, and so I have hit on a plan, by which
    You’ll be, I consider, spared the trouble of managing it;
    And though not launched on the world as I’d wish to see my son,
    You’ll be, I consider, ensured from absolute destitution.
    Unable to leave you my wealth, I turn to those that are next,      1510
    To them I do not shrink from entrusting it; and I consider,
    That at their house, Pamphilus, you will always find at least
    A refuge, food & clothes, & a roof above your head.

    _Pam._ Good God!

    _Chr._     Don’t swear.—’Tis better than that you should be
        my heir,
    And Gorgo squander it. Eh, sir?

    _Pam._                    O, I wish I was dead.

    _Chr._ First learn what ’tis to live: when you know that, if life
    Displease you still, then wish to die.

    _Men._                           Chremes, allow me
    To urge you in this. You could not really wish him to go
    To Persia, say, and forsake you, as Clinia díd mé.

    _Chr._ Forsake me! why, let him go to perdition for all I care, 1520
    Rather than stay at home and drag his father down
    To beggary with his vices and follies: for if I once
    Were saddled with his expenses, I guess ’twould come very soon
    To my using that spade of yours, Menedemus, in good earnest.

    _Men._ You offered me your advice this morning; now I in turn....

    _Chr._ I do not need advice.

    _Men._                 Spoil not so happy a day.

    _Chr._ I have found a daughter to-day, Menedemus, but lost a son.

    _Men._ You have lost your daughter to me, let me restore your son.

    _Sost._ O do forgive him, Chremes; you must.

    _Chr._                                 Pray, silence, wife.

    _Clin._ Me, sir, you cannot blame for taking a brother’s part.  1530
    His fault was partly mine: and what was wrongly done
    Was done in my behalf.

    _Chr._           No, no, there’s no excuse.

_Enter Philolaches as a Persian._

    _Men._ Why, here’s our friend the Persian.

    _Chr._                               Pray, sir, what will you?

    _PHILOLACHES._

      I hear you have been enquiring for me in the town. Behold me!

    _Chr._ I do not want you now: I know, sir, who you are.
    The game is all played out. We have done with masquerades,
    And personating others.

    _Ph._             I may take it then I address
    Chremes, and not Menedemus?

    _Chr._                You do, sir; and be so kind
    As now to restore me the money, which under a false pretence
    You made me give you to-day.

    _Ph._                  ’Tis not the Persian custom.             1540

    _Chr._ You and your Persian customs be hanged, sir; and I believe
    You’re more than half to blame for all the impertinence
    I have suffered to-day.

    _Ph._             I am, sir; I came to make the confession;
    But if you know it already, why do you spite your son?
    I have been your guest to-day, & if I have overstrained
    The liberty of the feast, I am ready in turn to pay
    The penalty. In the name of Bacchus, disown and cast off me,
    Disinherit me if you will. But him, your flesh & blood,
    Pity and forgive.

    _Men._         Yes, Chremes.

    _ANTIPHILA._

                                 O father, do give in!

    _Chr._ Now that’s the first time, lass, you have called me father.
       I see                                                        1550
    I shall have to yield.

    _Ant._           O thank you.

    _Chr._                        Stay. If I do give in,
    ’Tis only on two conditions.

    _Men._                 I’ll answer for Pamphilus,
    That he’ll accept them: what are they?

    _Chr._                           First, my forty pounds;
    To get that back from Gorgo.

    _Pam._                 I can’t do that.

    _Chr._                                  You can’t?

    _Men._ You spent that money, Chremes, advanced it rather for me,
    Thinking to do me a service. I’ll ask you let it be me
    Who does it for you. I’ll gladly pay it: it is not lost.
    Consider this condition fulfilled.

    _Chr._                       You are kinder far
    To my boy than he has deserved.

    _Men._                    And what is the other matter?

    _Chr._ This. He must marry.

    _Pam._                Father!

    _Chr._                        I will not hear a word.           1560

    _Men._ I’ll vouch for him that he will do it.

    _Chr._                                  He does not say so himself.

    _Pam._ No use,—impossible.

    _Sost._               Can you hesitate, Pamphilus?

    _Chr._ Nay, let him do as he likes.

    _Men._                        He’ll do it—everything.

    _Sost._ This must seem strange at first & disagreeable,
    Before you have even thought of it. When you know more of it,
    You’ll like it.

    _Pam._    I will, father.

    _Chr._                    Good! son: for though a wife
    Is an evil, she is a necessary evil, and one to which
    You will get accustomed in time. ’Tis more respectable too
    To be married; and the only cure for a temper such as yours.

    _Sost._ I’ll help you choose, my dear Pamphilus; I know who—    1570
    That clever, charming girl, whom you’ll be in love with directly;
    The orphan niece of our old neighbour, Phanocrates.

    _Pam._ What, not that red-haired thing, with a mouth from
        ear to ear,
    And a little knob of a nose. I couldn’t.

    _Chr._                             Why, only see
    How nice he has grown: it’s plain he means what he says now.

    _Sost._ Why, I’m sure, Pamphilus, she is a pinnacle of perfection.
    But I know another.

    _Pam._        No, no; if I am to marry, be hanged!
    I’ll choose for myself. I know of a girl will do very well.

    _Sost._ Who is it?

    _Pam._       Archonides’ daughter.

    _Sost._                            You c^d not have pleased me more.

    _Chr._ My word! I do believe my wife & I are agreed
    On something at last. O wonderful day!

    _Sost._                          Chremes, I knew                1581
    ’Twould end like this.

    _Chr._           Now, wife! none of your prophecies.
    Come in, come all to dinner.

    _Pam._                 Philolaches was asked;
    May he come too?

    _Chr._     Oh yes! if it’s the Persian custom.
    I’ll bear no grudge to-day; come in, sir, with the rest,
    And help to make us merry. This is THE FEAST OF BACCHUS.



                             NERO PART II


    FROM THE DEATH OF BURRUS TO
    THE DEATH OF SENECA
    COMPRISING
    THE CONSPIRACY OF PISO



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

AS IN FIRST PART

    _NERO_
    _SENECA_
    _LUCAN_      _a poet, nephew to Seneca_.
    _PETRONIUS_      _a gentleman of Rome_.
    _TIGELLINUS_      _prætorian prefect_ (_successor to Burrus_).
    _THRASEA_      _a stoic senator_.
    _PRISCUS_      _a young stoic, lover of Fannia_.
    _GRIPUS_      _a Neapolitan boatman_.
    _POPPÆA_      _now wife to Nero_.

NEW CHARACTERS IN THIS PART

    _CLITUS_      _a Christian, brother of Epicharis_.
    _PISO_      _a nobleman_.
    _NATALIS_      _confidential follower of Piso_.
    _SCEVINUS_, _a rich lord_          }
    _SENECIO_, _an upstart gentleman_  } _courtiers_.
    _QUINTIAN_, _a court poet_         }
    _PROCULUS_      _Admiral_ (_successor to Anicetus_).
    _LATERANUS_      _Consul elect_.
    _RUFUS_      _shared prefecture with Tigellinus_.
    _FLAVUS_, _a tribune_       }
    _ASPER_, _a centurion_      } _under Rufus_.
    _VATINIUS_      _Nero’s fool_ (_successor to Paris_).
    _CASSIUS_      _a guardsman, distinguished by his size_.

    _ACTE_      _Nero’s early mistress_.
    _EPICHARIS_      _daughter of a tavern-keeper at Naples_.
    _FANNIA_      _Thrasea’s daughter, marries Priscus_.
    _PAULLINA_      _wife to Seneca_.

    _Officers_, _Attendants_, _Sailors_, _Soldiers_, _Citizens_, _etc._



                             NERO P^T. II



                               ACT ·• I


                              SCENE ·• 1

                            (AS PROLOGUE.)

_Rome. Thrasea’s house. THRASEA and PRISCUS._

    _THRASEA._

    What is it, Priscus, that hath led thee now
    To pledge my ear to closer secrecy
    Than what thy loving trust alway command?

    _PRISCUS._

      I fear to tell.

    _Thr._      Suppose then I tell thee.
    I know thy sickness, and I hold the cure.

    _Pr._ Nay, sir: I rank among the incurables.

    _Thr._ Bravo! that is well said. I have watched thee, Priscus,
    All the six years I have known thee—’tis six years:
    I have seen thine eye grow steadier, and thy smile
    Softer and kinder, and thy speech, which once
    Crackled in flame and smoke, hath stilled to a fire
    That comforts my old age. Even as thy body
    Hath statelier motion, so is’t with thy mind,
    Which ripen’d manners clothe in rich reserve.

    _Pr._ What wilt thou say?

    _Thr._              Hearken! ’tis some days since
    I have noted thy disturbance and rejoiced.
    ’Tis ill with them, who quake not at the touch
    Of the world’s Creator. Thou hast come to tell me
    Thou lov’st my daughter.

    _Pr._              Ah, sir!

    _Thr._                      Is’t not so?

    _Pr._ Her name is the oath whereby I seal all truth.

    _Thr._ And well: thou’rt worthy of her; in saying which
    I mean thy praise, for she is worthy of thée.
    Nay, while she lives I go not from the world;
    Death sucks me not, though on his iron ladder
    My years descend: she will be Thrasea still,                      25
    Without his struggles. Let me acquaint thee, son,
    With one condition which I have thought to make,
    Ere I commit her to thy trust.

    _Pr._                    Good Thrasea,
    I know not how to thank thee; but, forgive me,
    My secret was not this.

    _Thr._            Not this?

    _Pr._                       Nay, sir.
    Of late I have passed my life half in a dungeon,
    Half in the garden, where thou bidst me forth
    To bask in my love’s joy: which in my duty
    I had spoken of to thee openly, but all
    Hath come so quickly: now, a happier way,
    I meet thy favour unsolicited.
    Let nothing vex this hour; I long to hear
    Thy one requirement, which my full consent
    Leaps to embrace unheard, that thou mayst join
    Fannia and me.

    _Thr._   ’Tis but a form. I ask
    A promise of thee, Priscus, that thou wílt not
    For ten years join any conspiracy
    Against the Emperor.

    _Pr._          Why?

    _Thr._              For Fannia’s sake,
    Lest Nero kill thee: and for thy sake too.

    _Pr._ And why ten years?

    _Thr._             Ten years is a fair term.
    Thou wilt be old in prudence then.

    _Pr._                        Such prudence
    Let me die ere I learn. How would’st thou, sir,
    For ten years bind me down in slavery
    To flatter a tyrant?

    _Thr._         Who said flatter? Stay:
    Impatience cannot help. The case is thus.                         50
    Since Burrus died, Nero hath broken loose:—
    Seneca’s leading-string hath snapped in the midst
    Without a strain:—in greed of absolute power
    His will cast off restraint; in the possession
    His tottering reason doth the like. His lust,
    His cruelty, his effeminate, blundering passion
    For art and brutal vice are but the brag
    Of a hideous nature, which will force the bounds
    Of human action, till the shames of Rome
    Shame shameless Rome to wipe away her shame.
    That is a balance which I cannot poise,
    How much shame Rome will bear; but when I hear
    The whispers of revolt, and now one name
    And now another cast out like a fly
    To fish opinion, I give little heed,
    For these two reasons; first, there’s not a man
    Among the chiefs of faction of such mark
    As to make change secure: the second, this,
    That lacking such a leader there’s no party
    That can command opinion. Nero’s fall,
    When he shall fall, will be in a flooding wave
    Of common judgment. What the extravagance
    Of crime is weak to move, some unforeseen
    And trifling circumstance may on a sudden                         75
    Deliver; and the force that none can raise
    None shall control. Await the rising tide,
    It will not need us.

    _Pr._          Some, sir, cannot wait.
    I came to tell thee how I had given my name
    To a conspiracy.

    _Thr._     The gods forbid!
    With whom?

    _Pr._      I may not name their names.

    _Thr._                           Nay, nay:
    But who is the pretender?

    _Pr._               Seneca.

    _Thr._ Seneca! Seneca! Hath he consented?

    _Pr._ We are such, sir, as can win him.

    _Thr._                            Why, I know you;
    The senatorial patriots. There’ll be Lucan,
    Cassius and Lateranus, Fænius Rufus,
    Flavus, perhaps Vestinus....

    _Pr._                  Who they be
    Will presently be seen.

    _Thr._            O, I am in time
    To stay you yet. This plot is merely mischief,
    Seneca’s death.

    _Pr._     Not if ’tis Nero’s death.

    _Thr._ Think, man! If first ye go to Seneca,
    Ere ye slay Nero, he will not consent:
    Never, be sure. And if ye first slay Nero,
    Seneca’s nowhere. Others will spring up,
    Piso, and all the Augustan family,
    Plautus, Silanus....

    _Pr._          But if Seneca
    Consent....

    _Thr_.      What! to that crime?

    _Pr._                      He hath consented
    To like before.

    _Thr._    Well, but the wrongs he hath done
    His pride alloys, or in pretensed retirement
    Repudiates; ánd, could he feel his guilt,                        100
    That were remorse, whose sick and painful palsy
    Cannot raise hand to strike. Think you that he,
    Who laughed at Claudius’ death; who let be slain
    His old friend and protectress Agrippina;
    Who glozed the murder of Britannicus;
    Who hid his protest when Octavia fell;
    That he will turn about and say, ‘Such things
    I did for Nero, and the good of Rome:
    Now, since he sings at Naples on the stage,
    I do repent me, and will kill my pupil;
    Will take myself the power I made for him,
    And shew how I intended he should rule!’
    This were a Roman but not Seneca.

    _Pr._ We look not fór it óf him.

    _Thr._                     ’Tis all one.
    Seneca! the millionaire!

    _Pr._              If he consent,
    We restore the republic.

    _Thr._             The Republic!
    The Decii and Camilli will you bring us?
    That kingly yeoman, frugal Curius?
    Can you restore the brave considerate Gracchi,
    And Cato’s stern unconquerable soul?...
    O nay: but Seneca the imperialist!——
    Priscus, if Seneca refuse, thou’lt make
    A promise for ten years?

    _Pr._              With that reserve;
    And wilt thou not say five years?

    _Thr._                      I’ll say five,
    If thou wilt promise.

    _Pr._           Then, if Seneca                                  125
    Refuse, I pledge myself to take no part
    In any plot against the emperor
    For five years.

    _Thr._    Come within, Fannia is thine.                   [_Exeunt._



                               SCENE ·• 2

 _Naples. A marine tavern, the open court of it, with fountain at
 centre, and low colonnade around. On the left at a table some Mariners
 are drinking and playing with dice. On the right are Officers sitting
 apart and drinking. Towards the front PROCULUS (the Admiral) and
 SENECIO. EPICHARIS is serving the Officers._

_SENECIO._

I do beg of you, my lord!

_PROCULUS._

Why so frightened, sir, at a little trembling of the soil? Had the
Gods any appetite to swallow you, think you that they would trouble to
provide warnings for your escape?

_Se^{o.}_ I do pray you, my lord admiral, take me on board your galley
for to-night; only for to-night.

_Pro._ We are under Cæsar’s orders to sail for the Adriatic, sir; else
I might strain to make some cabin accommodation: but then that would be
for the ladies. Epicharis, help this gentleman to wine; he’s nervous:
some more drink, and I think he’ll be as brave as any of us.

_EPICHARIS._

’Twill be at my cost, your excellence.

_Pro._ Nay, I’ll cover that. Come, drink, sir, and cheer your soul.
That’s the only kindness I can do you.

_Se^{o.}_ Thank you, my lord, but I ... (_a rumbling heard._) Oh! oh!
there it is again.

_Ep._ (_to Senecio_). ’Tis safe enough in our court, sir; if you sit
from the walls.

_Pro._ And fill for me, fair hostess. Wilt not thou come aboard my ship?

_Ep._ Your ship, my lord?

_Pro._ ’Tis against the rules of the service: but they provide not for
these earthquakes.

_Ep._ Ha! ha! you jest, my lord.

_Pro._ We have no wars to occupy us: why should I not give shelter to
the ladies, that fear to be ashore?

_Ep._ That would not be me, my lord. We rode out worse shakings last
year.                                                                160

_Pro._ Come, I’ll have thee come. Should Cæsar hear of it, I can take
care of myself.                                           (_They talk._)

                      (_Mariners to each other._)

                           _FIRST MARINER._

He was a-acting of Niobby.

                           _SECOND MARINER._

Niobe, who was Niobe?

_THIRD MARINER._

A first-rate, went down with all hands off Andros, the year of
Claudius’ death.

_1st._ True, mate; that was our Niobby. But this was a Greek lady that
lost all her children at a clap; bad luck with her name!

_2nd._ The Emperor would have made to be her, as ’twere; was it?

_1st._ ’Twas a tragedy, look: and that’s just where it is. Everybody is
somebody else, and nothing’s as it should be.

_2nd._ That’s right: he were dressed out like a woman.

_1st._ Did ye not see him, nodding to the music, and throwing his hands
about? then he gets red in the face, then he should stoop down to catch
his breath, (_he acts_) then creening up again he should throw back his
head, and ei! ei! (_Screams. All laugh loudly._)

_Pro._ Hell and thunder! Silence there!

_MARINERS_ (_to themselves_).

Why, if we mayn’t laugh in the theater, nor out of it!

_Pro._ (_to Officers_). Here’s a gentleman, who would go to sea to
escape being shaken. Shall we take him a cruise?

_FIRST OFFICER._

Frightened by the earthquake, sir? I do not blame you.

_Se^{o.}_ When the gods shake your city, as a terrier does a rat.

_1st Off._ But how should the sea cure you? ’Tis their common plaything.

_Pro._ Indeed, sir, you would learn what heavings be. These land
movements are nought. What would you say to thirty feet up and down
three times a minute? with now your bows in the air and now your stern:
pitched now forward, now backward, now rolled from side to side; thrust
up to heaven till your brains are full of air, then sunk down till your
belly squirms, inside out, outside in! 201

_Se^{o.}_ Maybe, sir: but the roof will not fall on your head: the
waves do not crack your walls. Your ships being constructed mainly of
wood ...

_Pro._ But the rocks, sir, are mainly constructed of stone, upon which
if a wooden-constructed ship be driven, there’s no man that would not
pay his fortune down to set one foot on the most quakeful or boggy
ground ’twixt Ganges and Gades. And there be monsters, too, which,
though I have never seen them, will swallow, they say, your whole ship
at a gulp, as you do your wine.

      (_The house trembles, some jars fall: all run to centre._)

_Se^{o.}_ There ’tis again! Oh! oh!

                                                (_A great crash heard._)

_Mar._ Belay there!

_Se^{o.}_ Oh! oh! ye gods in heaven!

_1st Off._ Steady, my men, steady!

_Mar._ Ay, ay, sir.

_1st Off._ Order! To your seats!

_Ep._ Sit and drink, gentlemen. Wine shall be cheap to-day. The life in
the earth will crack my jars. A few more rumbles like that will drain
the cellars.

_1st Off._ (_to men_). We’re safe here as anywhere, lads; if you keep
an eye to the main-walls. It’s all plasterwork aloft.

_Enter Clitus._

_CLITUS._

Epicharis! Art thou here, Epicharis? 225

_Pro._ (_to Epicharis_). Who is this scared fellow?

_Cli._ Epicharis, ’tis come: the day is come! Fly from this place!

_Ep._ (_to Proc._). ’Tis my poor brother, sir: heed him not; he is
simple.

_Cli._ (_come to Epi._). Seest thou not, ’tis the end, the day of
wrath? The earth shakes and the dead rise from their tombs.

_Pro._ (_to 1st Off._). By Pluto, if he be not one of them!

_Ep._ (_to Clit._). Sit down quietly, Clitus, for a minute: I can speak
with you presently.

_Cli._ O Madness! Come from this hell: fly while thou mayst!

_Mar._ Ay, sit, mate, sit! be not afeard! sit with us!

_Cli._ Woe to you, slaves of Babylon! woe cometh To the queen that sits
upon the seven hills.

_1st Mar._ That is Rome: the seven hills is Rome. What of Babylon?

_Cli._ Rome shall be burned with fire, Babylon burned, Her smoke shall
curl to heaven.

_Enter Gripus, out of breath._

_GRIPUS._

Gone, she’s gone down!

_Pro._ What’s gone, man?

_Gri._ The theater; foundered, sir, gone clean down. I had just
got well clear of her, when she gave a lurch, and plumped under
starn-foremost in a cloud of dust.

_Cli._ (_to Epic._). Come, come, Epicharis, I pray thee!

_Se^{o.}_ Is this the gods, or is it not the gods? (_drinks._)

_Pro._ That was the crash. 252

_Cli._ (_dragging at Epic._). Thou shalt, thou must.

_Ep._ (_freeing herself_). One moment, Clitus, please!

_Gri._ (_to Proc._). I ran to know, my lord, if you’ll have the boats.

_Ep._ Were any killed, Gripus? tell us.

_Gri._ ’Twas a wonder; all the folk had just left her, I near the last;
I felt dizzy-like, and saw the street seem anyhow: then I looked at the
theater, and she was full of crinks and chinks, when down she went all
to pieces. A little sooner and we had been buried alive.

_1st Off._ Emperor and all.

_Se^{o.}_ O ye gods! (_drinking_) I drink to thee, old dustman (_to
Gripus_).

_Pro._ Off with you, my men: in five minutes I’ll be aboard. (_To
Epic._) Come, lass!

(_Mariners go out with Gripus._)

_Ep._ Come where, my lord?

_Pro._ Why, aboard with me.

_Ep._ Ha ha! I thank you, but I cannot.

_Pro._ Wouldst thou be buried alive?

_Ep._ There is my old bed-ridden mother, my lord;
    I’ll not leave her.                                              275

_Pro._ Well, stick to your ship, like a true girl. You, Calvus, pay the
charges and follow.

_Se^{o.}_ Who’s afraid now, my lord! Is it not the gods?

_Pro._ They take much pains to frighten us, sir.

                                                                [_Exit._

_Se^{o.}_ And me, with a wife and family. I care not.

_1st Off._ (_paying_). Thou’lt be buried with thy jars, Epicharis.

_Ep._ Balmed in good wine, eh! Add me yet a denarius for lord Senecio’s
drink.

_Se^{o.}_ Two; I have drunk two.

_1st Off._ Here’s for him.

_Se^{o.}_ (_drinking_). Your health, sir! If you wish to know the
cause of all this, I can inform you. ’Tis the emperor’s cursed singing
hath done it. He hath offended the gods. To call himself Apollo on the
one hand, and on the other to sing in the theatre. What else could he
expect? I give him his due, he cares not for the gods.

_Ep._ He doth not, sir.

_Se^{o.}_ Nor I either: not much.

_1st Off._ Good-night, lass: may we meet again!

_Ep._ No fear.                         [_Exit 1st Off. with the others._

(_Senecio remains, and Clitus, who stands aloof._)

_Ep._ (_to Senecio_). Follow thou, follow them. 300

_Se^{o.}_ They won’t have me.

_Ep._ Nor will I. I wonder thou durst even show thy face after all thy
vain promises. Thou that wouldst bring me to Cæsar, and I know not
what.

_Se^{o.}_ I can, I shall yet.

_Ep._ Begone, see you, begone.

_Se^{o.}_ Look what I had brought thee (_showing a book_).

_Ep._ A book I do believe.

_Se^{o.}_ Purple edges and gold knops.

_Ep._ Seneca on morals, I suppose.

_Se^{o.}_ No. ’Tis Lucan’s book. This can bring thee to Cæsar. This
little book hath great treasons in it.

_Ep._ Treason! ha! and I to inform, to show it to Cæsar?

_Se^{o.}_ Well, if not, think what his friends might give to recover it.

_Ep._ You should have sold it yourself and brought me the money.

_Se^{o.}_ ’Twould be guessed whence I whizzled it.

_Ep._ Wretch! in what villany wouldst thou snare me? Give it me.
(_Takes it._) From whom didst thou steal it?

_Se^{o.}_ Only from a friend.

_Ep._ I’ll save thy friends from thee, and first myself. Begone! begone!

_Se^{o.}_ Thou wilt come to Rome, Epicharis?

_Ep._ (_thrusting him out_). Begone!                    [_Exit Senecio._
 (_To Clitus_) Now, brother.

    _Cli._ O sister, my sister, my Epicharis!
    To hear that name defiled! In what a pit
    Of sin thou livest, diest; ’mong the swine
    Perishest! Ah, by God’s mercy, ’tis not too late:
    Fly with me, fly!

    _Ep._       Fly whither?

    _Cli._                   From thy sin.
    If the Judge find thee here, thou’rt lost.

    _Ep._                                Dear Clitus,
    What judge?

    _Cli._      Why, He who made thee.

    _Ep._ (_aside_).                   Alas! alas!

    _Cli._ Be found with me, perchance I may prevail.

    _Ep._ Where would you fly?

    _Cli._               Last night in heavenly vision
    Paul stood before me, as when three years ago
    I saw him at Puteoli: one hand
    Outstretched he stood and beckoned me to Rome.
    Thither I go: ’tis my last call to thee:
    Thou wilt not see me again until the day
    When I shall hide my face for pity of thee,
    And stop mine ears to hear thy anguished cry
    For mercy, thy vain cry.

    _Ep._              You go to Rome!

    _Cli._ Think, sister: we were once so closely bound.
    When we were children in what secret fondness
    We linked our hands and hearts; how oft we pledged
    Our innocent oaths that we would never part!
    Now shall the great gulf fixed ’twixt heaven and hell
    Divide us? I saved, and thou lost, for ever!                     351
    That endless life of glory I dread, with thee
    Not there, not there!

    _Ep._           Is’t to our uncle’s house
    You go?

    _Cli._ The house of Gaius on the Tiber,
    The seventh door above the Cestian bridge:
    There shalt thou find immortal life.

    _Ep._                          Dear brother,
    Go not to Rome: your sect is there suspected.
    Stay here: or, if you will go, stay at least
    Till I can come with you.

    _Cli._              The time is short.
    Tarry not: come to-night!

    _Ep._               Nay, not to-night.

    _Cli._ I may not stay for thee.

    _Ep._                     I cannot come.

    _Cli._ Thou wilt not come.

    _Ep._                How can you bid me, Clitus,
    To leave our helpless mother in all this terror?

    _Cli._ Ah! thou wilt never come; thou’rt lost, lost, lost.  [_Exit._

    _Ep._ Pure, noble heart, why should I love thee more
    Now thou art mad?—I did him wrong not yielding
    To his delusions. He hath none to love him
    But me, and I have let him think that I desert him.
    —Go with him tho’ I cannot, I will follow,
    And quickly too. To-morrow I’ll to Rome.                    [_Exit._


                               SCENE ·• 3

          _A passage or ante-room in Seneca’s house in Rome._

                _Enter SENECA with papers in his hand._

                         _SENECA_ (_calling_).

      Paullina!—                                                     371
    Thus go my mornings: now ’tis scarce two hours
    To dinner. (_Calling._) Paullina! Paullina!—The wretched beggars
    Multiply every day. I feed half Rome
    With doles. ’Tis fortunate that trading thrives.
    Paullina!

    _PAULLINA_ (_within_).

              I hear thee: I come.      (_Enters._)

    _Sen._                   Ah, here thou art!
    Look, love, they are bringing wine to-day from Cales,
    Ninety-two jars by the invoice;—lay them down
    In the new cellar. Here’s two hundredweight
    Of pepper that I have bought: see that be weighed
    And warehoused, for the quoted price is low.
    Next, this is Alban raisins, eighteen casks:
    They may go with the pepper. A ship’s arrived
    At Ostia laden with black Spanish wool:
    Send that to the factor. That’s all: but remember
    Our bailiff from Nomentum comes this afternoon:
    He is short of hands. Mind he pick sturdy fellows;
    And check the ration-bills to correspond.
    Now lastly, love, I want five hundred copies
    Made of my letters to Lucilius.                                  390
    Bid the clerks set routine aside for this;
    ’Tis for the provinces. I am pleased, my love,
    To think how good the work is; and ’tis new:
    ’Twill outlast the decayed light-heartedness
    Of Horace: ’tis more suitable besides
    For plain intelligence, and it should
    The world.

    _Pau._     You know I love it, but I fear
    You work too hard. How is your health to-day?

    _Sen._ A little headache only, and the old stiffness
    In the back of my neck: ’tis gout. I think, Paullina,
    That I should dine more frugally: to-day
    Let it be roasted apples.

    _Pau._              Why, you eat nothing:
    You should take more, not less. Trust me to give you
    What you should eat.

    _Sen._         Well, I make no complaint:
    Mine are small ailments, and ’tis highest health
    To see thee well: what should I do without thee?
    Why, all this business that thou takest upon thee
    Is a man’s work, which, had I to attend to it,
    Would rob me of my life: now I am free:
    The day is my own.

    _Pau._       How will you use my gift?      410

    _Sen._ I am in the vein for writing.

    _Pau._                         The muse attend thee!

    _Sen._ See thou, I have her with me.

 (_Unrolls a book and goes into his library reading. Exeunt severally._)


                              SCENE ·• 4

_Room in Seneca’s house. Enter SENECA reading._

    _SENECA._

      _Father, and god of gods, almighty, eternal,
    Invoked by many names, nature’s one lord;
    Hail! for ’tis right that all men call on thee.
    For we thine offspring are._—Well said, Cleanthes!
    All things and creatures are as God’s possession,
    But we his children: and the will we have
    To thwart his will, he ruleth to his will,
    Owning the ill which he did not create
    But by permission; as thou goest to show.
    (_Reading._) _Nor is there any work on earth astir,
    But by the breath of thy divinity;
    Nor in the starry pole, nor in the sea,
    Save what the wicked in their foolish minds
    Devise: but thou dost order the disorderly,
    And even unlovely things are dear to thee._
    Let fools hear that, thou second Hercules!
    I should not fret; nay, and I shall not fret ...
      There’s poignancy in the utterance of this Greek
    That I attain not: whether it be the man
    Lived nearer to his nature, or that my art
    Clogs the clear hues of thought, and in a varnish
    Drowns to one tone. Would I had written that!
    And this too, where the bliss the poet prays for
    His pregnant line is witness that he hath,
    _A vision and a share of that high wisdom,
    Wherewith thy justice governs all things well:
    That honoured bý thee we return thee honour_ ...      440
    That honoured by thee we return thee honour ...
    That’s admirable, noble: I’ll write myself
    Something like that. Ay, now I feel it within me:
    And while I am warm.—(_A knocking at the door._)
                           Of course an interruption
    Just as I am stirred. Come in! To mask vexation
    In courtesy now.

_Enter Lucan, Priscus, Lateranus and Flavus._

    _LUCAN._

                     My dear uncle, good morning.

    _LATERANUS and others._

      Good morning, my lord.

    _Sen._           Welcome, good nephew Lucan.
    Welcome, my lords. Thee, Lateranus, first
    Let me congratulate: thou’rt chosen consul
    I hear.

    _Lat._  That’s a month hence. I care not, Seneca,
    If I shall live to sacrifice my ox.      450

    _Sen._ Most ominous words!

    _Lat._               Excuse my liberty.

    _Luc._ Liberty! nay, if thou have any of that,
    Thou mayst indeed despair to live a month.

    _Sen._ What purpose brings you, sirs? Pray you be seated.

    (_They sit. Priscus apart._)[1]

    What would you with me now?

    _Lat._                We are come as friends.

    _Sen._ No need to tell me this.

    _Luc._                    But yet there is,
    Uncle; thy friends decrease.

   [1]    _FLAVUS_            ┌────┐
       _LATERANUS_   _SENECA_ │    │ _PRISCUS_
           _LUCAN_            └────┘

    _Sen._                 That may well be.
    ’Tis what old age must look for. I have my books.

    _FLAVUS._

      I never saw so many books before.

    _Sen._ And all my good tried friends.

    _Luc._                          Uncle!

    _Sen._                                 Eh!

    _Luc._                                     They say
    Poppæa hath Octavia’s head in the palace
    To play with.

    _Sen._        ’Tis a journaler’s lie.

    _Luc._                          Did Fulvia
    Not pierce the tongue of Cicero dead?

    _Sen._                          Fie! fie!
    Let journalers traduce their filthy souls:
    Why bring ye me their scandals, when to truths,
    That daily I must hear, I wish me deaf?

    _Luc._ O sir, Rome thinks thou árt deaf: and men whisper
    That creeping time devours thee sense by sense,
    While thou, death’s willing prey, dost sit at home
    Wreathing philosophies to hang the tomb
    Of liberty, and crown the coward brows
    Of icy oblivion. Sir, if this were true,
    Well mightst thou wish not hear: but if thou hast not
    Forgot the murder of Britannicus....

    _Sen._ Hush, hush!

    _Luc._ Or sweet Octavia’s wrongs....

    _Sen._                         Stay, nephew! I say.

    _Luc._ The shame of her divorce....

    _Sen._                        None of this, prithee!
    For true it is I wish I could forget.

    _Luc._ Her transportation and imprisonment
    Upon an outlawed isle; that calumny,
    Dumb in her faultless presence, might dare trumpet
    Charges incredible: and last her death      481
    By a clumsy soldier, ’gainst whose butcher’s knife
    She struggled childishly, to the stony walls
    Screaming in terror. O sir, let no Roman,
    Who hath one hand unbound, wish he were deaf.

    _Sen._ Enough! enough!

    _Luc._           Why this, sir, is a tale
    Would damn a tragedy for the overdoing
    Of the inhumanities.

    _Sen._         Ay, and I think,
    Nephew, it gains not by thy rhetoric.

    _Lat._ But Nero, sir, is held thy pupil, and thou
    In part discredited,—nay, none but thou
    Since Burrus died.

    _Sen._       Well, well: but Burrus’ death
    Hath halved my power, and left the lesser half
    Helpless in isolation.

    _Lat._           That’s a fact.
    We come, my lord, to bid thee join thy hand
    With them that look to thee. There’s Fænius Rufus,
    That’s now in Burrus’ place, another Burrus.

    _Sen._ Another Burrus! Fifty Rufuses
    Would make no part of Burrus. Why! I am grieved
    More for his goodness, when I think of him,      500
    Than by all Nero’s ill. My staunch friend was he,
    Stern as a Roman, tender as a woman:
    A simple mind, a clear head, and true heart;
    Faithful, unblenched and certain of his path.
    All that philosophy has ever taught me
    He knew by instinct, and would hit the mark
    With careless action, where my reason fumbled
    And groped in the dusk. I say, if all the books
    I have ever read or writ, could make one man
    Like Burrus, with so natural a touch,
    And such godlike directness, none would doubt
    Of our philosophy.

    _Luc._       But now he’s gone.

    _Sen._ There’s none like Burrus.

    _Lat._                     Lo, my lord, I am one
    To dare what Burrus never dared.

    _Sen._                     What’s that?

    _Lat._ The tyrant’s death.

    _Sen._ (_rising_).         Ha! Now we have it!
    Seal your lips and depart.—And thou too, nephew,
    To seek to engage me!

    _Lat._          First, my lord; our safety.

    _Sen._ Alas, alas! Nay, leave me. I know nothing.
    Ye heard I did but guess.

    _Luc._              Thou didst guess right.

    _Sen._ Ye have wronged me, gentlemen, choosing to make me
    Privy to your distempered plots; but rightly
    Judged that I would not sacrifice your lives
    To save the monster’s. Nay: were Nero’s death
    God’s will, as yours it seems, I might rejoice.
    But in your scheme to whom would ye entrust
    The absolute power? If Nero be pulled down,
    Whom would ye bid us worship? The empire needs
    A god,—or, if not that, a godlike man,
    Plato’s philosopher for king.

    _Lat._                  Agreed!
    ’Tis a philosopher we have chosen, sir.      530

    _Luc._ Speak not to us of kings and emperors, uncle;
    Wé restóre the republic.

    _Sen._             Hey! Is’t Thrasea
    Ye would make emperor?

    _Luc._           Thrasea hath no wealth
    Nor favour with the people.

    _Sen._                Who is’t then
    That leads your dream a-dance?

    _Lat._                   Sir, ’tis no dream.

    _Sen._ Who then?

    _Fla._ (_advancing_). Hail, Cæsar, hail!

    _Sen._                             Why, man, what’s this?

    _Fla._ We choose thee Cæsar.

    _Luc._                 We crown thee.

    _Lat._                                Hail, great Cæsar!

    _Sen._ Me! madmen, me! Cæsar! me! I am retired ...
    And—oh! no—never. Who hath chosen me?
    Is this thy folly, nephew, when thou tell’st me
    My friends decrease?

    _Luc._         I said the truth: ’tis time
    Thou rise and rally them. We have a party.

    _Sen._ I have no party.

    _Luc._            We may count for yours
    All the republicans. Your oratory
    Will win the senate, and your wealth the people.
    Rufus is ours, and brings the guards; Vestinus,
    The consul, ours; here’s Lateranus with us,
    The consul designate; at Nero’s death
    Corbulo and the eastern army... ’Tis no party:
    ’Tis all except a party.

    _Sen._             Patience, nephew.      550
    I weigh the names we count. I see . but . yet ...

    _Luc._ Nero once slain, ’tis needful for the hour
    To name an emperor. The pillaged world,
    That tasted five years of thy regence, loves thee;
    While those that would restore Rome’s public rule
    Will hail thy leadership.

    _Fla._              Princeps Senatus!

    _Sen._ Pray, how far hath this gone?

    _Luc._                         I have sounded many,
    And found them eager if but thou assent.
    Yet none knows that we ask thee.

    _PRISCUS._

                                     Thrasea knows.

    _Sen._ Ha! Priscus, thou hast been silent all this while:
    And what said Thrasea?

    _Pr._            In my credit, sir,
    I may not tell.

    _Sen._    Indeed! And while ye invite me
    To plunge into the bowels of Hell, and wrap me
    In the blóody purples of a murdered Cæsar,
    Thou wouldst hide from me, for some petty scruple,
    What my best friend says of it!

    _Pr._                     I should tell:—
    He said you would refuse.

    _Sen._              And he said right.
    I do refuse.

    _All._       Refuse!

    _Luc._         Uncle, consider!

    _Fla._ We cannot take that word, sir; ’tis not thine.
    The state requires thee: there is none but thou.      570

    _Sen._ My word is No, I will not.

    _Luc._                      Thou wilt nót?
    Wilt nót throne virtue in the seat of might?
    Not crown philosophy? and in thyself
    Fulfil the dream of wisdom, which the world
    Hath mocked at as impracticable?

    _Sen._                     Yea,
    And yet shall mock. ’Tis not for me. Ye think
    Because I am rich, that I despise not wealth;
    Because I have been involved in courtly faction,
    I loathe not crime; that what ye have seen to touch me,
    Thát I would handle. Can ye thus mistake me?
    And deem that I, being such an one to serve you,
    Might be entrapped with flattery,—that ye style me
    The one man worthy? ay, to rule the world
    Ye said: Well! I shall rule it; but not so.
    I make my throne here, and with these nibbed reeds
    Issue my edicts to the simple-hearted,
    To whom all rule shall come: Yes, it shall come
    If God’s will count for aught.

    _Pr._                    My lord, consider.
    This is the hour to set you right for ever.
    ’Twas of your doing Nero came to power:      590
    Now with one word you may blot out the past.

    _Sen._ Priscus, if thou didst think I was to blame
    For all the wrongs and crimes, which by thy speech
    Thou wouldst impute, wouldst thou be here to-day
    To hail me Cæsar? ’Tis a stingless taunt.

    _Lat._ Thou shalt not be reproached.

    _Fla._                         We do not blame thee.

    _Luc._ We ask but thy consent.

    _Sen._                   Shame, nephew; shame!

    _Lat._ Sir, you mistake: we ask not your consent
    Unto the deed.

    _Fla._   We take that on ourselves.

    _Lat._ We ask of thee but this: Nero once slain,
    Wilt thou be Cæsar?

    _Sen._        No, sir: I will not.

    _Fla._ Thou wilt not change thy books for provinces?

    _Sen._ No, sir.

    _Lat._    Dost thou refuse?

    _Luc._                      Oh, uncle, uncle!

    _Fla._ My lord, allow me.

    _Luc._              Hear what I would say.

    _Sen._ I know it, nephew, afore. Now let this end.
    ’Tis said.

    _Pr._ I was prepared, my lord, for this:
    And we at least may spare you further danger
    Of our suspicious conference. I go.      (_Moving._)

    _Sen._ The ill is done.

    _Fla._            One word. Nero must die;
    And whosoe’er but thou steps in his place                        610
    Must also die; for none is worthy. Come
    At once, ere more be slain. This ends not here.

    _Sen._ Thou dost say right: this ends not here: if more
    Shall die, thou bearest some blame of it. Farewell!
    God can bend all to good: this, which to me
    Seems ill, may not be so.

    _Lat._ (_going_).         Sir, I shall trust you.

    _Sen._ Indeed fear not. Now, for my safety & yours,
    Leave me, I pray. Farewell!

    _All_ (_going_).            Farewell!                    [_Exeunt._

    _Sen._ Nay, can it be? Fools! can it be they cried
    Seneca, Cæsar? My hand is trembling, my sense
    Swimming: ’tis true: my mortal stroke, & dealt me
    By would-be friends. The way that least I expected,
    When I least looked for it—yea—thus cometh Death.
    No hope. I am named. But ah! thou bloody tiger,
    Who slewest her that bare thee, now I that trained thee
    Might ... yea, I might.—The whole world for a bait
    Dangles upon the hook, and I refuse.
    I would not; nay, I could not ... What then do?
    Stand firm? with my poor palsied limbs,
    Stand firm? budge not a hair, as Burrus put it?                  630
    —So take rank in the monster’s tale of murders:
    My gravity in his comedy of crime:
    Suffer in my last act of serious life
    His hypocritical smile, his three or four
    Crocodile tears: be waved off with a smirk,
    ‘A sacrifice to the safety of the state’?
    Oft have I thought of death, to brave his terror,
    But ne’er forereckoned thus.... Why, it were better
    To give life its one chance, still play the game.
    That may well be: That I’ll do: all my skill
    Summon to aid me: else ’tis my death,—the end:
    That execrable nothing which no art
    Of painful thought can reconcile....

_Enter Paullina excitedly._

    _PAULLINA._

                                         Seneca, Seneca!
    The Circus Maximus is burned; the fire
    Hath reached the embankment—Ah, they have told you?

    _Sen._                                         Nay:
    What didst thou say?

    _Pau._         The fire, my lord, the fire.
    The Circus is burned down, and the Velabrum
    Is now a field of flame, that waves in the wind.
    Rome will be burned.

    _Sen._         A general calamity
    Might turn attention from me.

    _Pau._                  My lord, you are strange.

    _Sen._ Paullina, it matters not to me or thee
    If the whole world should burn: a little while
    And all is nought. There have been here this morning
    The heads of a conspiracy.

    _Pau._               A conspiracy!

    _Sen._ To murder Nero.

    _Pau._           Indeed I wonder not.

    _Sen._ But who is the man, thinkst thou, whom they would take
    To set up in his place; who, if they fail,
    Must fall a sacrifice? Who least desires
    The crown? Who least deserves the death? ’Tis he.

    _Pau._ Not thee! ah, ah, my lord, not thee!

    _Sen._                                Take comfort,
    Be brave, Paullina; check thy tears: there is hope;
    There is yet a hope. I shall renounce my wealth,
    Place my possessions all in Cæsar’s hands,
    And stripped to naked, harmless poverty
    Fly Rome and power for ever: such a life      665
    I have praised and well may lead—philosophy
    Graced by the rich graceth the poor, and I,
    Who have sought to crown her, may be crown’d by her.
    I’ll save my life’s last remnant with applause.
    Weep not, there’s hope: yes, there is yet a hope.



ACT ·• II


 _A room in the palace, with large windows at back, and doors right and
 left. The scene remains unchanged throughout the act._

_SENECIO, SCEVINUS and QUINTIAN._

_SCEVINUS._

’Tis abominable, sir. What’s your net loss?

_SENECIO._

I ask you, Quintian, as a man of culture and erudition, what do you
make of it?

_QUINTIAN._

You admit that Cæsar was not drunk?

_Se^{o.}_ Had he been drunk, he had had some excuse. ’Twas past
midnight when he burst in, turned us all out of bed, and ordered
the house to be pulled down; and I a married man. I have a wife and
daughters.

_Sce._ Married! well, I never knew that. So your house is pulled down.
681

_Se^{o.}_ And half the street, for that matter.

_Qu._ ’Twas done to stay the fire: ’twas well done.

_Se^{o.}_ But we were reckoning our danger past: and ’twas so
situated, that if he wished to protect his palace he had choice of
some four streets: and he chooses mine, and begins with me, my house,
Senecio’s house; Senecio his sworn comrade. I have played housebreaker
and looker on to him these eight years, and helped to save his life a
score of times from injured husbands and common fellows....

_Sce._ You do not stand with him as you did.

_Se^{o.}_ Nay, nor you.

_Qu._ And he hath made verses on me, which he will recite in all
company when I am present.

_Se^{o.}_ ’Tis that long-nosed cad Vatinius who hath undermined me.

_Sce._ And all of us. We are put down by a coarse pig.

_Qu._ He hath no true wit, no true humour. 701

_Sce._ The commoner a man is now, the better will he like him.

_Se^{o.}_ It used not to be so: he was once thick with me.

_Sce._ He hath sunk to depths.

_Qu._ With his acting and singing.

_Se^{o.}_ I believe ’twas he set fire to the city. I would the
earthquake had swallowed him!

_Qu._ Well, I’ll not be civil to his buffoon any longer.

_Se^{o.}_ A gentleman must draw the line somewhere.

_Sce._ Hark, then! Shall we unite in some plan of lordly revenge?

_Se^{o.}_ I care not; I’d as lief run him through and have done with it.

_Sce._ Are you in earnest? Mean you what you say? Would you join the
patriots?

_Se^{o.}_ I care not.

_Qu._ Could we not raise a quarrel between Tigellinus and Vatinius?

_Sce._ Poison the brutes both.

_Se^{o.}_ All three of ’em, damn ’em!

_Qu._ Hush thou! here they come.

_Enter Nero, Tigellinus and Vatinius._

    _NERO._

      Ha! Here’s my Quintian!      725
    The pale Parnassian reptile, that hath ne’er
    Moistened his leathery tongue in Hippocrene....
    Nay, laugh not so immoderately, I fear
    Your sides may split.

    _TIGELLINUS._

                          O no, thou god of the world,
    Thou hast practised them too well.

    _Qu._                        And I, your majesty,
    Am proud to move your jovial lips to smile.

    _VATINIUS._

      We all believe it, while thy writhing grin
    Makes us such sport.

    _Qu._ (_aside_).     Curse on this ugly brute!

    _Ner._ Mind him not, Quintian; we are in good spirits.
    We have worked all night like firemen, and saved the palace
    If not the city. Ha! Senecio, tell us,
    How stands it with thy house?

    _Se^{o.}_               Permit me, sire,
    To thank you for the imperial favour shewn
    To my poor dwelling.

    _Ner._         Thank Vatinius:
    ’Twas his idea.

    _Se^{o.}_       Then, sir, I thank thee humbly,—      740
    (_Aside._) Till I can kill thee.

    _Vat._                     The emperor and I
    Are glad to serve you; we are very free
    To all the race.

    _Ner._     ’Tis true:—Senecio,
    Thou wilt remember well the merry nights,
    When I and thou and Otho inaugurated
    My reign with freaks of license: since that time
    What steps we have made! I laugh when I recall
    Those timorous revellings in the dark, and how
    ’Twas deemed a scandal Cæsar should be seen
    Horse-racing. What misgivings when I first
    Opened my circus on the Vatican!
    But what applause! Then I saw Rome was with me,
    Nor ever have doubted since: in other games
    Outrunning popularity, till now,
    —My thanks to Tigellinus—there’s scarce one
    Of all the noblest houses that can brag
    It hath not sent some actor to the stage,
    Or wrestler to the theatre: and I crowned
    My triumph in Naples, when ye saw, ye heard,
    Ye applauded.—Would it be believed that when
    I came to the throne I might not, in my palace,
    Sing my own song at supper?

    _Se^{o.}_             Glorious Cæsar,
    The Gods deny you nothing.

    _Tig._               Thyself a god,
    By destiny their peer.

    _Vat._           Perfect Apollo!
    In music equal, and in medicine ... (_Acts taking poison_).

    _Tig._ (_hastily_). Above all gods in this, that full success
    Attests thy wisdom.

    _Ner._        Well, and is’t not sense
    To seek for happiness the natural way?
    Not by the notions of philosophers,
    Who fashion theoretic right and wrong      770
    From books; or if they judge mankind at all,
    Judge by themselves, who are unlike the rest,
    Scarce human. ’Tis the soundest principle
    To follow nature; and what nature is
    I well perceive. I judge all by myself:
    The appetites are universal gifts:
    Cæsar will never stoop to flatter Cæsar
    By such pretence of difference, nor withhold
    From others what himself loves. I believe
    That no man in the world worth calling man
    Is what philosophers term pure and good;—
    Nor woman either. All would gratify
    The strong desires of nature, and all shall,
    While I am emperor.

    _Tig._        Blessed be the god,
    Who first named thee for rule.

    _Sce._                   We all admire.

    _Ner._ Is it not sense?

    _Tig._            ’Tis commonsense.

    _Vat._                              I wonder
    None ever thought of it before.

    _Ner._                    Tut! fool;
    That is the greatness: ’tis the common thing
    For man to beat about. True genius
    Is but simplicity: all great inventions
    Seem first devices.

    _Tig._        ’Tis a revolution.

    _Ner._ Just so: in ethics as in politics.
    I let the world wag as it will; and if
    The world mistake its will, then I am Cæsar
    To wag it.

    _Vat._     Here’s a flaw, good wag; you judge
    The appetites of all men by your own:
    The standard is too high.

    _Ner._              We’ll see to that;
    By one experiment I’ll strangle doubt.
    This is my plan. I mean to hold a fête,
    Say at Agrippa’s pool:—the folk will need      800
    Some such diversion when the fire is o’er:—
    Thither I’ll draw all Rome, with novel shows,
    Sea-fights and monsters; round about the water,
    Along the bank, I shall have wine-booths set,
    Brilliant with luxury and enticement, wine
    Gratis; and to all comers night and day
    They shall stand open. Now I’ll have these booths
    Kept by the Roman ladies:—that’s my plan.
    They shall have license, everything permitted
    But interference. We will watch our Trojans,
    How they conduct themselves.

    _Vat._                 This is simplicity.

    _Ner._ (_aside to Tig._). And mark the disaffected.

    _Tig._ (_aside_).                                   Here’s a trap
    To catch all but the vermin.

    _Sce._                 A grand invention.

    _Ner._ The details, my good master, are for you:
    Our three friends here may help.

    _Sce., Se^{o.} and Qu._ (_bowing_). Our humble thanks.

_Enter a Servant._

    _Ner._ (_to Servant_). What is it?

    _SERVANT._

                          Lord Seneca is in attendance, sire.

    _Tig._ (_to Ner._). Send the old man home to his wife.

    _Ner._                            What can he come for?

    _Vat._ Is’t not the hour for lessons?

    _Ner._                          Now what say you
    To have him in, and make him of your council
    For the ordering of the fête (_To Serv._) Go shew
        him here.                                       [_Exit Servant._

    _Tig._ (_aside to Nero_). Jest not with this man, Cæsar;
        Thrasea and he
    Are your worst enemies.

    _Ner._            Mighty enemies!

    _Tig._ If there were no pretenders.

    _Ner._                        What do you mean?

    _Tig._ (_apart with Nero_). My only pleasure is thy service, Cæsar:
    If ’tis thy will that Tigellinus die,
    I’ll be thy sacrifice and welcome death.
    The mob shall tear me, as they tore Sejanus,
    And tread my mangled corpse on Tiber’s steps:
    But pardon Nature’s shudderings, they come
    At sound of these men’s names.

    _Ner._                   Why, know you not
    I am reconciled with Thrasea, since I put      831
    His motion to the senate? While he lets me
    Go my way, he goes his.

    _Tig._            And Seneca?

    _Ner._                        Pooh!

    _Tig._ Cæsar said well these men were not to fear,
    If there were no pretenders.

    _Ner._                 What pretenders?

    _Tig._ Sylla and Plautus are the first to name.

    _Ner._ Both are retired from Rome.

    _Tig._                       And whither, Cæsar?
    Mark you that Sylla is retired to Gaul,
    Fire to the tinderbox: those doughty legions
    Forget not how they crossed the Rubicon.
    And where is Plautus? close by Corbulo,
    Whose army is a créature of díscipline,
    To serve him as his fingers....

    _Ner._ Corbulo, now! my prince of generals,
    Rome’s trusty dexter arm.

    _Tig._              Trust not that giant!
    Nature packed not his mighty body full
    Of intrepidity for nought. I well
    Remember when I sat by him at supper,
    The day he took his baton; how his triumph
    Was undisguised; and whén Cæsar was mentioned—
    You happed to have won a horse-race....

    _Ner._                            And what said he?

    _Tig._ No word, else had I told it; he but hemmed:
    But the couch shook. In his big iron chest
    A thunder rumbled, such as Jove might make
    If he found Juno faithless.

    _Ner._                Ha, ha, ha!
    He’ll crunch us, think you, master? But this Sylla
    Is poor as a rat: and Plautus, if he is wealthy,
    Lives moderately.

    _Tig._      Poor men are poor in scruples:
    And rich men that live moderately, be sure,
    Hide some rich purpose.

    _Ner._            Had these men a purpose,
    It would be bruited.

    _Tig._         It is bruited.

    _Ner._                        Ha!      861
    That’s so?

    _Tig._     ’Tis also hoped that, being a pair,
    The one may fight the other and both be slain.

    _Ner._ That is a trouble we can spare them, master:
    That were a pity.—I thank you, Tigellinus:—
    Take you the order for their deaths; but mind,
    Secretly, secretly. Here’s Seneca.

 _Enter Seneca._ (_Scevinus, Senecio and Quintian still stand aside._)

    _Tig._ (_aside_). Two of my foes wiped out; now, Mister Seneca,
    I take you next.

    _Ner._ Good Seneca, what wouldst thou?

    _SENECA._

                                           Cæsar, I ask
    A private interview.

    _Ner._         ’Tis private here:
    This is my privy-council.

    _Vat._              Rome’s triumvirate.
    Ha, ha! we rule the world!      (_Tableau._)
              (_Gesturing._)   Come, trust thy secret
    In Cæsar’s ear, my lord.

    _Se^{o.}_ (_aside to Sce._). Let us make up
    To Seneca by going out.

    _Sen._ As Cæsar wills.

    _Sce._ (_to Nero_).    Cæsar’s august permission!
    We are not stoics.

    _Ner._       I understand you, sir:
    You may withdraw.

    _Sce., Se^{o.} and Qu._ Our humble thanks.

                        [_Exeunt, bowing separately to Nero and Seneca._

    _Ner._ Now we are private.

    _Sen._               If your majesty
    Will lend me attention, I will put my business
    Shortly.

    _Ner._ I shall not interrupt.

    _Vat._                  Nor I;                                   880
    Unless I snore. (_Sits._)

    _Sen._ ’Tis fourteen years, Cæsar, since I was first
    Chosen your guide; and for eight years and more
    You have governed the empire not without my aid.
    Through all w^h time your kindness hath heaped ón me
    So many dignities and so much wealth,
    That nothing wants to my felicity
    Save some curtailment of it.—I can allege
    Precedents for my conduct: the divine Augustus,
    Who was your great-great-grandfather, permitted
    Marcus Agrippa to withdraw himself
    To Mitylenè and a private life:
    Mæcenas too he let abide in Rome,
    As in a foreign country, at his ease;—
    Whereof the one had served in all his wars,
    The other toiled at home; and each grown rich
    With presents answerable to their high deserts.
    As for myself, what I have done to merit
    Your prodigal favour,—being but a student,
    A teacher, a philosopher,—I say not:                             900
    But being enriched, it comforteth my mind
    ’Twas not for me to strive against your gifts.
    Both of us, sire, have filled our measure, you
    In giving all a prince should give a friend,
    I taking what a friend might from a prince.
      But now, sire, in my journey of life grown old,
    The business of my riches burdens me.
    And ’tis by envy augmented; which if you
    Be set above the sting of, yet ’tis known
    What curse to peace it is. Wherefore I pray,
    Let me retire. I crave your helping hand
    To ease me of my wealth: that I restore
    Whence first I had it, to yourself: receive it,
    I pray you, as your own. You, in your flower,
    May serve your generation, and permit
    Your old friends to betake themselves to rest.
    ’Twill be your praise, sire, to have enriched such men
    As could live happy in a mean estate.

    _Tig._ (_half aside_). There’s something behind this.

    _Ner._ (_to Tig._).                                   Silence, I bid!

    (_To Sen._) If, Seneca, I am able out of hand
    To meet thy long premeditated speech
    With equal answer, that I owe to thee,
    And thine instruction.—First thou didst allege
    Mæcenas and Agrippa: but from them
    Divine Augustus took not back their wealth;
    Which if they won in danger, yet I doubt not
    Thy weapons and thy hand would not have wanted
    Had I had need of them. But what I needed
    That gavest thou; such reason and good counsel
    As shall abide with me while my life lasteth.                    930
    Those goods material, which thou hadst of me,
    Are liable to perish; and I am shamed
    That thou, who art the first in my affection,
    Art not first also in wealth:—nay, there be slaves
    Own more than thou:—and for thine age, I know
    Thou’rt lusty for thy years, and able well
    To enjoy thy wealth and its commodities.
      Keep thy rewards still, and still do us service:
    If slipperiness of youth be overprone
    To what it should not, thou mayst draw us back;
    And our unseemly and unruly zeal
    Temper with kind advice. Harked I to thee,
    ’Tis not thy moderation we should hear of,
    Nay, nor thy ease, shouldst thou forsake our service:
    Rather my covetousness and thy fear
    Would be in all men’s mouths. ’Twould ill beseem
    Such a philosopher as thou, at cost
    Of thy friend’s infamy to win thy comfort.

    _Tig._ Hear, hear! ’Tis well said, Cæsar!

    _Vat._                              Admirable!
    But somewhat senecal.

    _Ner._          Embrace me, Seneca.                              950
    Let us be friends.

    _Vat._       Ye gods! I shall be jealous.
    Me too, my lord.

    _Sen._     If, Cæsar, in this embrace
    Power kissed philosophy, ’twere well with both.

    _Ner._ I have my own philosophy to kiss;
    Be thou content with thine.

    _Sen._                Nay, the wise man
    Is so convinced of truth, he seeks to impart it.

    _Ner._ I would impart my wisdom unto thee.

 (_A Messenger enters and speaks to Tigellinus, who goes out with him._)

    _Sen._ Alas! all schools alike spew out your doctrines,
    Zeno or Epicurus.

    _Ner._      That is because
    You all agree to teach what none believes,
    That pain and misery and death are nothing,
    But goodness all-sufficient. Tell me, Seneca,
    Can a good man be happy on the rack?

    _Vat._ Not if the rack be good.

    _Sen._                    Such questions, Cæsar,
    Have their fit time and place. I came to offer
    My wealth and counsel both; you refuse both,
    And let your fool mock me.—Knows he not whom
    Ill manners hurt, that thus he wounds his master?

    _Ner._ And better have no manners than be made,
    As thou, of manners only. Thou affectest                         970
    Insensibility; thy pompous maxims
    Of wordy wisdom thou wouldst pass for strong
    Because they are harsh, generous because inflated.
    Thy rhetoric is like a mouldy cake;
    I have eaten to loathing of it: I would no more.

    _Sen._ Look for no more. That speech delivers you.
    Whether my words are false and empty bubbles
    There’s nought to show, but ’twill appear the day
    When life must answer for it:—The condition,
    Cæsar, I accept, and do not fear the judgment.

                                               [_Bows to Nero and exit._

_Re-enter Tigellinus excitedly._

    _Tig._ My house is burning, Cæsar!

    _Ner._                       Well! if it be?
    By all the gods, vex me not now.

    _Tig._                     My house!

    _Ner._ And what’s thy house, curse it? when half the city
    Was burned to the ground, wert thou not cool? why now
    Fume for thy house?

    _Tig._        Cæsar, the Vatican!

    _Ner._ The Vatican!

    _Tig._        You may see it from the windows.

    _Ner._ (_going to window_). Then Rome will all be burned.

    _Tig._ (_aside_).                    And by thy foes.
    When the wínd was in the south, they fired the south:
    Now it hath changed, they fire the north.

    _Ner._ (_returning_).                     ’Tis true.
    I can do nó móre: it must búrn.

    _Tig._                    What, sire,                            990
    To tell the captains? May they use discretion
    To pull down?

    _Ner._ Bid them change the wind, man: bid them
    Snow from the south. Wóod must búrn; when ’tis burnt,
    I will rebuild in stone. Go: tell them that!
    Go, sir! Stay: hark! Have supper laid to-night
    On the palace roof, music beneath, and ladders
    Outside for the attendance.                    [_Exit Tig. and Vat._
                              If Rome must burn,
    Well, let me see it.                             (_Goes to window._)

_Enter Poppæa._

    _POPPÆA._

      Ah, Nero, Nero! Rome will all be burned.
    Canst thou do nought?

    _Ner._          Nothing. Come watch it with me.
    What are my spectacles to this? The gods
    Burn at my feet the capital of the world,
    ’Tis done for me to look on.

    _Pop._                 Hast thou a heart?

    _Ner._ There is no mischief, love, I am not a match for.
    Rome is a second Troy, but when Troy burned
    None built it up; but I will rebuild Rome:
    Its name shall be Neropolis.

    _Pop._                 Vain thou art!

    _Ner._ Eh! wouldst thou have it Poppæapolis?

    _Pop._ I would not jest to think of all the misery,
    These homeless thousands....

    _Ner._                 Seneca hath taught me
    The good man cannot suffer, and the bad                         1011
    Deserves ill-fortune.

    _Pop._          Woe to me! alas,
    That e’er I loved thee! one day too shall I
    Taste of thy scorn.

    _Ner._        Nay, love; thy will’s my law.
    Tell me what I shall do.

    _Pop._             If thou didst love me
    Thou wouldst not suffer Acte in the palace.

    _Ner._ Acte! what’s she to do with it now? and yet
    If that’s thy sorrow, she shall go to-day.
    Send the witch hither.

    _Pop._           And never to return.

    _Ner._ Send her at once. I promised thee.

                                                        [_Exit Poppæa._

                                              See how
    ’Tis private pleasure that she seeks, nought else:
    And Seneca the same. That’s the true fire,
    That burns unquenchable in all human hearts.
    Let it rage, and consume the rotten timbers
    Of old convention, the dry mouldering houses
    Of sad philosophy, that in their stead
    I may build up the free and ample structure
    Of modern wisdom. Ay, and let Rome burn.
    Blow, wind, and fan the flames till all’s consumed;
    That out of full destruction may arise                          1030
    The perfect city of my reconstruction,
    Beautiful, incombustible, Neronic;
    Good out of ill: or rather there’s no ill:
    ’Tis good’s condition, cradle: ’tis good itself.
      But now for Acte, my Acte: poor little Acte!
    That bearest all so patiently; the insult
    And domineering scorn, which this fine lady,
    Whom for her beauty I have made my empress,
    Pours on thy head! Thou shalt have full protection:
    I cannot give it here, but I can send thee
    To those who hate thy rival, and for that
    Will cherish thee. Thy rival! rob me of thee!
    Why, there’s no clown in my subservient world,
    No drudge of lot the vilest, but may smile
    Secure in tyranny of one fair province,
    Where young love first campaigned, the tender trust
    Of a devoted woman: and shall Cæsar
    Throw up this allmen’s joy? nay, here the heart rules:
    Who aims at thee wounds me.

_Re-enter Poppæa with Acte._

    I thank thee, love; now leave us. Hither, Acte!

 (_Poppæa goes out, and is seen to hide where she can be seen by the
 audience, and can overhear._)

    _ACTE._

    _Act._ Cæsar sent for me.                                       1051

    _Ner._ My sweetest, dearest girl: my only pleasure.
    I have ill news for thee.

    _Act._              Nought can seem ill
    Told me by Nero.

    _Ner._     Acte, thy noble Cæsar
    Is sometimes sad.

    _Act._      Ah, ’tis the fire: thou’rt sorry
    For thy poor folk. Would I had strength to cheer thee,
    If thou didst send for this.

    _Ner._                 No: but to see thee
    Doth comfort me. It comforts me to tell thee
    I am not happy.

    _Act._    Let the happiness
    Which thy love gives me, turn to thee again.                    1060

    _Ner._ Acte, I think, I know, Acte, that thou
    Art the only one in the world that truly loves me.

    _Act._ I wish it were no crime to wish I were.
    Yet I would have all love thee, since I know
    None can as I.

    _Ner._        And none hath loved so long:
    Thou wert my first delight.

    _Act._                Did Cæsar send
    To tell me this bad news?

    _Ner._              Nay, but I love to tell it:
    Now for the bad. Hark: thou must leave the palace:
    Poppæa is jealous, and the day draws near
    When she and I must solemnize our nuptials:
    Rome needs an heir.

    _Act._        I am not jealous óf her,
    If Cæsar love me; for I know that Cæsar
    Cannot be bound like other men.

    _Ner._                    ’Tis true:
    And I can send thee too where they will love thee;
    To Silia’s house; thou wilt be happier there.

    _Act._ I think so.

    _Ner._       This is not dismissal.

    _Act._                              Nay.

    _Ner._ ’Tis needful for thy sake.

    _Act._                      I know that Nero
    Will not love Acte less, when she is away
    From his dislikes.

    _Ner._       Ah, pretty sweet, thou know’st
    My secretest heart. Come, I will write a letter
    For thee to take to Silia. Come! (_The fire brightens._)

    _Act._ (_turning_).              O, Nero,                       1081
    The fire, the fire! I am frightened.

    _Ner._                         Hide thine eyes
    And think not of it.

    _Act._         Nay, but I can hear it,
    And smell the smoke.

    _Ner._         It shall not hurt thee, darling:
    And Silia’s house lies down beyond the Tiber,
    Far from the flames. Come, sweetest, thou shalt sit
    Beside me while I write the letter. Come!
    I treasure thee ’bove all I have. Fear not!

                           [_Exeunt Nero and Acte. Poppæa comes out from
                                   where she was hid. The fire rages._

    _Pop._ Accursed wretch! I knew it: she is thy wife.
    And I thy harlot. Yet I can dissemble—
    I can dissemble too—I, sanctified
    By long devotion to the Queen of heaven,
    Shelter too well thy godless head. I live
    To reign when thou art dead. Vain, hideous fool!
    Whose heart not murder scathes nor fire can scare,
    Proof by self-evil against all outer evil:
    There is one mischief that thou’rt not a match for,
    The hate of thy bed-fellow. I shall be avenged.

 (_There is at the end of this act such a tableau of fire as the stage
 machinery will allow of. The fire is first seen thro’ the windows when
 Tigellinus sends Nero to the window at line 986. At Acte’s speech,
 ‘Nero, the fire!’ it is very bright: and its climax is during Poppæa’s
 last speech._)



                               ACT ·• III


                               SCENE ·• 1

_A burned street in Rome: night._

    _THRASEA._

    In these burned streets I wander like a ghost:
    Rome is no more: O see, my memoried Rome,
    My senatorial city is burned and gone!                          1101
    The city of Camillus, whose abrupt
    And tortuous streets my ancestors have threaded,
    Here going about a tower of Servius,
    Here an Etruscan temple of carved wood,
    Here by some patriot tribune’s gabled home:
    All gone, as the free spirit that made it, gone:
    And I, like this old beam, in vain escaped
    The burning, shall be cast out, nor find place
    In the new Rome that Cæsar promises,
    O’erlaid with perfected monotony,
    The textbook ornaments of shallow taste,
    Imperial gewgaws.—What poet was it said
    That Desolation was a beautiful thing?
    What parricidal spirit? To cut down
    And burn the gnarl’d trunk of a thousand years,
    And plant the trifling shoot of one gay summer
    Rootless in the ground. (_Cries heard._) What noise is this?
    Some wretched Christian, that in blind revenge
    The maddened people sacrifice.

_Enter the mob carrying off Clitus—Epicharis following._

_MOB._

Burn him! To the Vatican! to the Vatican! Burn him!

_EPICHARIS._

Pity, pity, pity, sirs! He is guiltless, indeed he is guiltless. He is
my brother.

    _Thr._ Stay, ye mad fools! To what detestable,
    Forbidden crime of hellish witchcraft haste ye!

_Mob._ Here’s another. He’s a Christian. Seize him!

_Thr._ Hands off, fools! I am Thrasea.

    _Mob._ Thrasea!                                                 1130

_Thr._ Are ye Romans?

_Citizen._ ’Tis Nero’s order.

_Ep._ (_kneeling to Thrasea_). O sir, save thou my brother.

_Cit._ If thou wert Thrasea, man, thou wouldst not hinder us from
punishing them that fired the city.

_Mob._ On! on!

_Another Cit._ Nay, nor let any Christian woman touch thee.

_Mob._ To the Vatican! on! (_Going._)

_Thr._ Fools, I am Thrasea, and I bid you stay.

_Mob._ Burn him, burn him!                           [_Exeunt Mob, etc._

_Thr._ Stay! Are ye men?

_Ep._ O sir, ’tis my brother, my brother Clitus; save him!

_Thr._ What can I do? Alas, (_calls_) stay! stay! (_To Ep._) Thou
seest.                                                [_Exeunt running._

_Enter Lateranus and Flavus._

    _LATERANUS._

      This is the only way. The Fabian street
    Is blocked with red-hot ashes.

    _FLAVUS._

                                   Where’s this Natalis?

_Lat._ He should be here; we must wait for him.

_Fla._ You trust him, sir?

_Lat._ Yes.

_Fla._ And Piso?

_Lat._ Certainly.

_Fla._ It is hard, sir, for a man like me, to trust a man like Piso.
I yield to the choice of my betters, and the vote of the majority. I
would not split the party. Yet I wish we had persuaded Seneca!

_Lat._ So do I, and it cost him a pang to refuse. ’Twas only Thrasea’s
opinion that overweighted him.

_Fla._ Priscus ruined us.

_Lat._ There’s no choice for us now; and I doubt not we can make Piso
emperor. He hath a wider following than Seneca. But when we have set
him up, ’twill be in the power of any to pull him down.

_Fla._ And then Seneca: why not Seneca then?

_Lat._ Hush! who comes?

_Fla._ ’Tis Rufus.

_Enter Rufus._

_RUFUS._

Good evening, gentlemen; go you to Petronius’?

    _Fla._ We do, general.                                          1171

_Lat._ We wait for Natalis.

_Ruf._ Flavus, I’m glad of thee; hast thou heard of any new adherents?

_Fla._ Too many, general: and not the least some of Cæsar’s bosom
friends.

_Ruf._ Who are they?

_Fla._ There’s Scevinus, hot as fire, who drags with him Senecio and
Quintian, with one or two more filibustering fellows.

_Ruf._ The household contingent should help us when we come to close
quarters.

_Fla._ If they are to be trusted.

_Ruf._ If a man cannot be trusted to hate Nero for a week or ten days,
there’s little to reckon on in this world.

_Lat._ Here is Natalis.

_Enter Natalis._

_NATALIS._

All’s well. Piso is at Petronius’s.

_Ruf._ Hath he consented to head our party?

_Nat._ Yes, believe me. But you will find him cautious and delicate in
speaking of it.

_Fla._ If he speak not, how shall we trust him? He may turn on us.

_Nat._ My life for yours; my assurance; what oath you will ...

    _Ruf._ We know, Natalis, thou art a man of honour,
    One that would not deceive us, wert thou not
    As heartily with us as I know thou art.

    _Nat._ I am much hurt that Flavus questions Piso.

    _Ruf._ He knows not, sir, the perfect intimacy
    ’Twixt Piso and thee. For my part, I should think
    Piso unreliable, if I should find him                           1201
    Hasty and indiscreet in such a matter.

    _Fla._ I use but the same caution.

    _Nat._                       I do not blame you:
    But be assured he is won.—My part is done.
    Go you and prosper. Farewell, sirs.       (_Going._)

    _All._                        Farewell.             [_Exit Natalis._

    _Ruf._ ’Tis good, now let us to Petronius’.               [_Exeunt._


                              SCENE ·• 2

 _The previous scene withdraws, showing a supper-room in the house of
 PETRONIUS. Slaves removing the last of the feast. PETRONIUS, PISO,
 LUCAN, SCEVINUS, SENECIO, and QUINTIAN. Three places are empty._

    _PETRONIUS_ (_to Piso_).

      That’s the last dish, my lord: a little banquet
    Of fruit remains, and, best of all my supper,
    Three jars of Otho’s wine.

    _PISO._

                               Ha! merry Otho,
    Become a man of affairs. Drink we to him
    And Lusitania.

    _LUCAN_ (_rising excitedly_).

                   A toast with Otho’s name!
    Republican integrity!

    _Pet._          What a fuss,
    Lucan, you make, because a gentleman
    Is honest. What else could you expect of Otho?

    _SENECIO._

    When, too, there’s nought worth stealing in his province.

    _Pis._ (_to Petr._). You, sir, would underrate high qualities,
    Being proved in them yourself. Bithynia
    Praises you still, though Rome forgets your zeal
    In the grace of your retirement. Will you never
    Mix in affairs again?

    _Pet._          Nothing could tempt me.                         1220
    The very thought of travelling wearies me,
    And the occupation of the mind in matters
    That any clerk is fit for.—Yet I praise
    The world and all its fret: its vanity,
    Advertisement, vulgarity and dirt
    Are precious for one thing; they make retirement
    Positive joy. Blest are the gods who sit
    On changeless seats. I think they framed the world
    That they might look upon it and rejoice
    They lived not in it: that’s its use to me.

    _Luc._ True, as Rome says, Petronius, thou art steeped
    In gross epicurism.

    _Pet._        Bravo, stoic!
    I may be what men say: yet very few
    Are what they show the world: there’s a screw-twist
    In every mind. It is the sensuous man
    Follows asceticism: the passionate man
    Who is practised in reserve. Why _Know thyself_,
    Unless to hide thyself? Look at the houses
    Of our philosophers: the epicurean,
    Who holds the happiness of life depends                         1240
    On small accessories, lives in discomfort:
    The stoic, he who says all outward matters
    Concern him not a pin, orders his home
    With scrupulous care; however nice your taste,
    There’s not a better host.

    _QUINTIAN._

                               You’d tell us then
    You set no store by elegance and culture.

    _Pet._ Eh! I´ may bé an exception, sir: and yet
    I’d have you think I most love elegance
    Where ’tis most rare and out of reach of the world.
    I’d not without reserve praise Lucan’s style                    1250
    In poetry.

    _SCEVINUS._

               Nor his matter.

    _Se^{o.}_            Yes, his matter,
    Where he laments the fall of the republic;
    ‘_But if the fates could find no other way
    For Cæsar to succeed_’ ... what was’t he said?

    _Qu._ ‘_All crimes and horrors we with joy regard,
    Since thou, O Nero, art our great reward._’ (_Laughter._)

    _Luc._ Let that be read with what I have written since.
    What thinkest thou, Senecio, of the days
    When thou wert Nero’s darling? If what thou didst
    Be as well condoned by what thou goest to do,
    As what I wrote shall be by what I write,
    Thou’lt be a hero.

    _Sce._       Hear, hear!

    _Pet._ (_who has motioned the slaves out_). Really, sirs,
    You grow obscure.

    _Pis._      Explain.

    _Sce._               Ay, speak your mind.

    _Luc._ I ask then, is Senecio still content
    To share in Nero’s deeds?

    _Se^{o.}_           Nay, I abjure them.

    _Luc._ (_coming to him_). Patriot, I take thy hand!

    _Sce._                                        And I.

    _Qu._                                                And I.

    _Luc._ Ye too abjure the bloody tyrant’s guilt?
    Would ye see Rome free, let us make an oath
    By black Styx, and invoke the gods of crime!

    _Pet._ Hey-day! here’s tinsel!—Let me refill your cup,
    Piso; the gold mellows this ruby juice,                         1271
    As music comforts poetry, and the eye
    Assists the palate (_pouring_).

    _Luc._       Is’t not true, Petronius,
    Thou dost hate Nero too? Thou hast held aloof
    From all his crimes. Thou sippest an exile’s wine,
    Thou laughest and art comfortable: ah! man,
    Stop well thine ears with luxury, lest thou hear
    The shrieks in Cæsar’s garden, where men burn
    To light his revels up.

    _Se^{o.}_         Ay, burned alive,
    Because he saith they burned the city,—and he
    Did it himself: would he were burned.

    _Qu._                           I heard him
    Whisper to Tigellinus, ‘I had liefer
    ’Twere all burnt than a little; help it, master!’
    And so it was.—

    _Pet._ I have come to see the purpose of this supper.
    (_To Piso_) The company, my lord, was gathered here
    By Fænius Rufus: he and other two
    Have disappointed me ... My lord, I see
    My house was chosen for security.
    I’ll take it as a compliment: you are welcome
    To all but my attention. Ha! I think
    Here be the others.—(_Letting in Rufus, Lateranus and
        Flavus._) Welcome, my lords!

    _Ruf._ I fear we are late, Petronius.

    _Pet._                          Make excuse
    To my most honoured guest.                     (_They bow to Piso._)

    _Pis._                 Ye are come in time
    To share the best of wine.

    _Pet._                 Pray serve yourselves:
    I go to close the door ’gainst listeners.

    _Ruf._ (_to Luc._). Ye have broached the business?

    _Luc._ (_to Ruf._).                                Yes. (_Motioning._)

    _Ruf._                                            Nay, I’ll sit here,
    And fill my cup.      (_Sitting._)

    _Pis._     And you too, sirs, be seated.

    _Ruf._ (_pouring_). I saw a sight as I came here: the mob
    Dragging some wretched Christian to be burned.
    And all the while his sister ran beside,                        1301
    With her vain anguish heightening their fury:
    And he! ... believe me, I never saw a man
    In all my life look better pleased.—I quaff
    To Piso.

    _All_ (_toasting_). Piso! Piso!

    _Ruf._                    And what saith
    Calpurnius Piso?

    _Pis_.           How, general?

    _Ruf._                   You consent?

    _Pis._ Consent to what?

    _Luc._            Speak, Rufus.

    _Lat._                          Let the general
    Make our proposals to his lordship.

    _All._                        Hear, hear! (_Petronius returns._)

    _Ruf._ My lords and gentlemen, since I am chosen
    To expound the common thought.... It sprang at first,
    I think, of the earthquake: seeing Cæsar’s life
    So near extinguished, as it was, at Naples,
    It came into our minds that no provision
    Was made for the succession; which neglect,
    In case of accident, might cause disturbance,                   1315
    And saddle us with an upstart. We agreed
    To choose our Cæsar; but, to shield ourselves,
    Would sound him privately.

    _Pis._               My noble friends,
    Ye are justified by circumstance: I share
    Your fears, and was acquainted with your purpose.
    But, ere I stand committed to your party,
    What are their names? Have you them writ?

    _Luc._                              No, no.
    We write no names.

    _Pis._       Who be they?

    _Ruf._                    You see us here.
    There are besides, my tribunes Statius Proximus
    And Granius Silvanus: my centurions
    Scaurus and Paullus. There’s Sulpitius Asper,
    And Julius Tugerinus, Martius Festus,
    Proculus, a whole list,—Munatius Gratus,
    Vulcatius Avaricus....

    _Pis._           And the consul
    Vestinus?

    _Ruf._    Nay.

    _Pis._   Thrasea and Priscus?

    _Ruf._                        No.                               1330

    _Pis._ We lack the senatorials then:  perhaps
    Seneca is with us?

    _Ruf._       Nay, nor he, my lord.

    _Pis._ You mentioned Proculus: doth Proculus
    Bring all the navy?

    _Ruf._        Nay, our Proculus
    Is not Volusius.

    _Pis._     Nor the navy either!

    _Se^{o.}_ I know the Admiral, my lord: let me
    Sound him, if he hangs back.

    _Fla._                 No hangers-back.

    _Ruf._ Your name, my lord, when we may mention it,
    Is all-sufficient.

    _Pis._       I give not my name
    Till Nero is dead.

    _Fla._       That will be soon.

    _Sce._                          Three days.

    _Pis._ Indeed! how know you?

    _Sce._                 Here I show you a sword
    I have whetted for the deed.

    _Fla._                 Eh, sir! and who
    Named thee?

    _Sce._      Myself to Capitolian Jove
    Offered myself and weapon.

    _Fla._               And what, I pray,
    Said Jupiter?

    _Pet._        Peace, peace! Here in my house
    Let me be chairman.——
    I’ll ask Scevinus first to state his plan.

    _Fla._ Yes, state it, sir.

    _Sce._               I would set fire to his house,
    And stab him as he hurried to and fro.

    _Pet._ Enough of fire. The palace is already
    Half-burned, and what remains of it is prospectively
    Lord Piso’s.—Subrius Flavus, what’s your scheme?

    _Fla._ I’d kill him when he is singing on the stage,
    In face of all the people, a sacrifice
    To his Greek Apollo.

    _Pet._         Not ill thought of, sir;
    But who’s to do it?—Well, Senecio?

    _Se^{o.}_ Why fix the time or place? Let all here swear
    That the first one of us who can approach him
    Shall stab him to the heart.

    _Ruf._                 Yes, and be killed for it.
    ’Tis rare that Cæsar goes unguarded now.                        1360

    _Luc._ You bid us sacrifice our lives, but I
    Would gaze, like Cassius, on my glorious deed.

    _Pet._ Then, Lucan, have you a plan?

    _Luc._                         I should propose
    To leave the deed to Rufus: he commands
    The needful force.

    _Pet._       Well, Rufus?

    _Ruf._                    ’Tis not easy,
    As Lucan thinks: and if he escape our swords,
    ’Tis death to us all. There is but one way free
    Of personal risk.—If my lord would invite him
    To an entertainment at his house at Naples,
    We might be sure of him.

    _Pis._ (_rising_).       What! Good Heavens, General!
    Take you me for a Jew? An entertainment!
    My house!

    _Pet._    Hear, hear!

    _Pis._        Rufus, and all my friends,
    Hear me. While Nero lives, my life’s in danger:
    Yet will I never move to take him off.
    If you shall choose to do it, or if he die,
    I’ll be your Cæsar: there’s no more to say.
    I leave you to consult. (_Going._)

    _Pet._            Not in my house.
    As chairman I adjourn the meeting: nay,
    I have done more than my duty.

    _Luc._                   And why, Petronius,
    Wilt thou not join us?

    _Pet._           Rather, I beg you each,                        1380
    Whoever may be Cæsar, to remember
    My innocence, and leave me to myself.

    _Pis._ Why, for your very virtue I shall need you.

    _Pet._ Indeed, my lord, you know me not: my habits
    Are incompatible with business.
    You have eaten with me now, but, late as ’tis,
    Your supper is my breakfast; and while you
    Go to your beds, I shall begin my day:
    Like an old lion....

    _Luc._         Or like an owl.

    _Pet._                         Well, sparrow,
    Or like an owl, that makes his day of night,
    And when men stir hies to his barn; so I:
    And by this trick of time shut myself off
    From half the curse of life. You little think
    What charm the witching night hath for her lovers:
    How her solemnity doth deepen thought,
    And bring again the lost hellenic Muse
    To sing from heaven: or on moonlit swards
    Of fancy shadows in transfigured scene
    The history of man.—Thus, like a god,
    I dwell; and take the early morning cries                       1400
    For calls to sleep; and from divinity
    Fall to forgetfulness, while bustling day
    Ravages life; and know no more of it,—
    Your riot and din, the plots and crimes of Rome,—
    Than doth a diver in Arabian seas,
    Plunging for pearls beneath the lonely blue:
    But o’er my slumbering head soft airs of dreamland
    Rock their wild honey-blooms, till the shy stars
    Once more are venturing forth, and I awake.
    Is not that something?

    _Pis._           Ha, ha! Well, good-night!
    I mean good-morning. Yet ere we depart
    I’ll take each by the hand,—you, sir, and you,—
    And let it be an earnest of my favour
    In time to come: I shall remember all.
    Consult meanwhile with Rufus: I shall see him,
    And shall myself make ready.

    _Pet._                 The slaves, my lord,
    Are sent away: I’ll show you to the street:
    Come: you shall see me undo the doors, and say
    I care well for my safety. Pray keep silence.

                                                              [_Exeunt._

                               SCENE ·• 3

             _The next morning: a room in Lucan’s house._

                          _Enter a Servant._

                              _SERVANT._

Scarce an hour after sunrise, and two ladies for my master already.
This it is to be a poet. One gives no name; the other is Thrasea’s
daughter, Priscus’ young wife. I am to take her first: though the other
looks the more pressing. (_Goes to side, and returns ushering Fannia._)
If my lady will kindly wait here a moment.

    _FANNIA._

      Is your master not up?

    _Serv._ He was late last night, my lady; and is now breakfasting.

    _Fan._ Will he not see me?                                      1430

    _Serv._ Yes, my lady.                                       [_Exit._

    _Fan._ It is then as we feared: Lucan was there.
    He is one of the conspiracy of Piso,
    And he was at Petronius’ house last night:
    I come too late.

_Enter Lucan, hurriedly._

    LUCAN.

      Fannia, good-morning!

    _Fan._ Good-morning, cousin!

    _Luc._ What brings you here so early?

    _Fan._ Ah! if I am not too late! My husband sent me
    To save thy life.

    _Luc._ (_excitedly_). What’s this?

    _Fan._                       These were his words,
    ‘Bid him, by all we love and hold in common,
    Withdraw from the conspiracy.’

    _Luc._ (_aside_).              ’Tis nothing.——
    (_To Fan._). I thank thee. Take this answer to the message,
    ‘I bid him, by the love we hold in common,
    Join the conspiracy.’

    _Fan._          Judge, my dear cousin,
    By them that hold aloof how ill ’tis plotted.

    _Luc._ Then rather win the hearts that hold aloof,
    Than tamper with the movers.

    _Fan._                 Sir, my husband....

    _Luc._ Thou hast the fairest star in heaven to guide thee.

    _Fan._ Let him guide thee.

    _Luc._               I must not hear thee, cousin.
    Write down my name ’mong the tyrannicides.                      1450
    I know I have thy prayers; and to say truth,
    I need them: ’tis an anxious time: indeed
    While we talk here, a secret messenger
    Awaits me: the suspense distracts me. Excuse me!...
    Farewell!... I must....

    _Fan._            Ah, Lucan, Lucan!

    _Luc._                              Give
    My loving thanks to Priscus.

    _Fan._                 Alas! Farewell.
    May the gods aid thee!                                      [_Exit._

    _Luc._ In sleep or action is my mind at ease:
    Betwixt the two, each moment is a world
    Of scared imaginations. Better suffer
    One worst at once, than all the thousand tortures
    The making mind invents. Who is this woman,
    That I should dread her message with more fear
    Than I would grant to death?

_Enter Epicharis._

    Come in! Ah, lady, I fear there’s something ill?
    Com’st thou from ... say, bringst thou a secret message?
    What is’t? Ay, sit and speak.

    _EPICHARIS_ (_sitting_).      Art thou the poet Lucan?

    _Luc._                                           I am.

    _Ep._                                                  ’Tis well.
    I bring this book. (_Giving._)

    _Luc._       Ha! a passport: from whose hand?

    _Ep._ A courtier gave it to me in lieu of money.

    _Luc._ (_aside_). The copy I gave to Quintian.——
                                      Was it Quintian?

    _Ep._ No, sir. Ask not his name.

    _Luc._                     Tell me thy message;
    Or if this book is all, what is thy price?

    _Ep._ Sir, I was told this book, if given to Nero,
    Would be thy death. ’Tis writ by thee?                          1475

    _Luc._                           It is.

    _Ep._ Then thou dost hate him.

    _Luc._ (_aside_).              What should this lead to?——
    Thy manner frights me, lady, not thy matter.
    Who art thou, pale and breathless as the grave,
    That comest thus?

    _Ep._       My name is Epicharis.
    Three days ago, sir, when this book was given me,
    I thought to bring it back to thee, from whom
    No doubt ’twas stolen, and win gold for my silence.
    To-day I ask not money; but much more
    I’ll ask, if by this chance I have found in Rome
    The man to avenge me.

    _Luc._          Avenge thee? What is thy wrong?
    Tremble not so.

    _Ep._     Wilt thou? Art thou the man?
    Dost thou hate Nero?

    _Luc._         Pray, lady, be still.

    _Ep._ Sir, canst thou help me?

    _Luc._                   If thou art wronged by Nero,
    Lady, I can and will help thee.

    _Ep._                     And thou
    Thyself too art in danger.

    _Luc._               In greater danger
    Than thou surmisest.

    _Ep._          If all wait their turn,
    Who shall be left to avenge?

    _Luc._                 I do not wait.
    Let me beseech thee, lady, master this passion,
    And tell thy grief.

    _Ep._         My grief? nay, that’s past telling:
    There are no words for that. Yet fear not, sir;
    I can be quiet while I tell my story.

    _Luc._ Be comforted to know thou tellest to one,
    Thy sworn ally, before thou sayst a word.
    To his strong mortal anger add thy cause.

    _Ep._ I shall, sir; I can. All womanly soft feeling
    I have driven for ever from me; and I have sworn
    A pact with tears, that I will shed not one                     1502
    Till I be avenged.

    _Luc._       Trust me; and tell thy wrong.

    _Ep._ I live at Naples, sir; my mother keeps
    The tavern where the sailors most resort.
    My father died five years ago, and then
    It happened that my brother, my only brother,—
    Whose generous nature blamed the life of gain
    That there we led,—left us, and was ere-long
    Inveigled by the Christian sect. It happened
    He met their leader Paulus,—whom ’twas said
    Burrus protected,—for he came by Naples,
    And there my brother heard him, and after had
    Strange visions, and believed the end of the world
    Was near, and Christ would come to reign in Rome,
    And other doctrines taught by Paul; and lately,
    Three days ago, he saw Paul in a dream,
    Who beckoned him to Rome. Hither he came,
    And I soon after him, being full of fear,
    Knowing the ill-odour of his sect, and him
    Inclined to boast it; and so I came. The Christians
    Were seized last night, and my poor brother, sir,
    Though unknown, unsuspected and unchallenged,
    Gave himself up. Now all is over.

    _Luc._                      Thou meanest....

    _Ep._ I could not stay him. I saw him taken. One Thrasea,       1525
    A senator, whose voice seemed powerful with them,
    Joined his commands with my poor prayers in vain:
    ’Twas Nero’s order.

    _Luc._        Was he burned?

    _Ep._                        Ye gods,
    If there be any gods; if there be Christ,
    Or Zeus, or Jove, or who you will, look down,
    Avenge!

    _Luc._  Thou shalt be avenged.

    _Ep._                    I know not, sir,
    Where I have been, nor how my brother suffered:
    He had no fear; he welcomed death: and yet,—
    Ah! what I saw! were it assured a dream,
    I would not live after that dream; the memory
    Would make a horror of joy. I pray to die,
    Die and forget; but first live and avenge him:
    I will do that: help me or show me how.

    _Luc._ Can thy just hate teach thy tongue silence, lady?

    _Ep._ Fear not my tongue: fear nothing: were I not brave,
    Should I be alive? should I be here?

    _Luc._                         My secret,
    That I shall tell thee, is my life. I am one
    Of a conspiracy to rid the world
    Of this black monster.

    _Ep._            Thou art? thou art? Thou tellst me
    That I may join? Alas, that I am a woman.

    _Luc._ Prove now thy mastery of thyself by reasoning
    In sober terms.

    _Ep._     I can.

    _Luc._ (_showing the book_). Who gave thee this?

    _Ep._ Senecio.

    _Luc._   Ha! Senecio! can it be....

    _Ep._ Thou mayst not think it, sir, seeing me to-day:
    But yesterday thou wouldst have well believed
    I might have lovers.

    _Luc._         ... At Naples, at this tavern,
    Hast thou acquaintance with the Admiral?                        1551

    _Ep._ I know him well.

    _Luc._           How doth he stand towards Cæsar?

    _Ep._ He hates him.

    _Luc._        Yes, but would he join our party?
    We have no means to sound him: this Senecio
    Has taken it on himself. I did not trust him;
    Now I suspect him.

    _Ep._        You would win the navy?

    _Luc._ ’Tis that.

    _Ep._       I could approach him.

    _Luc._                            I think thou mayst.
    Bide with me here to-day; for ere we talk
    Thou must have food & sleep. I shall speak with thee
    More confidently then: thou art now o’erstrained.

    _Ep._ I shall not sleep.

    _Luc._             To the distracted heart,
    To whom this life is hell, nature hath given
    A perfect boon, the numbing poppy-juice:
    Soothed by its gracious power thou wilt sleep well.
    My mother shall attend thee: she knows all.



                               ACT ·• IV


                              SCENE ·• 1

_The tavern at Naples_ (_as in I. 2_).

_GRIPUS, MARINERS and SENECIO._

_GRIPUS._

I say weather permitting: it’s always weather permitting. 1568

_MARINERS._

_1st Mar._ There was no weather permitting in it. I heard the Admiral
say he had his orders to sail for the Adriatic, and the ships at Formiæ
were to join him here last night.

_Gri._ Weather permitting.

_1st M._ No: no weather permitting. If it had been weather permitting,
would they have put out in the teeth of a sou’-wester? that’s what I
look at.

_2nd M._ No sailor would have done it; least of all Regulus.

_Gri._ Then ’twas Cæsar’s fault not to have said weather permitting.

_3rd M._ Eight firstrates: the pick of the fleet.

_1st M._ Nay, seven, mate. The Ulysses is put in for repairs.

_SENECIO._

What is it you talk of, fellows?

_1st M._ Why, where have you been, sir? Half the fleet’s ashore off
Misenum.

_Se^{o.}_ Wrecked?

_Gri._ Ay, that they be.

_Enter Epicharis._

_EPICHARIS._

Is it true, Gripus? Is the squadron lost?

_Gri._ True enough.

_Ep._ Was the Admiral with them?

_1st M._ Regulus: ’twas Regulus at Formiæ, lady.

_Ep._ Not Proculus?

_1st M._ Nay, he’s with his ships in the bay.

_Ep._ And the crews?

_2nd M._ Ther’ll not be many stand up, when they come ashore.

_Ep._ Poor fellows! And whose fault was this?

_Gri._ Cæsar’s, I say, lady: and none else.

_Se^{o.}_ Epicharis, see, I am returned. 1600

_Ep._ Well, I see you, sir. Have you been to Rome and back so soon?

_Se^{o.}_ Yes, my house is pulled down. But I saw the Christians burned.

_Ep._ Hark, sir; I have news for you. (_Takes him aside and speaks with
him._)

_Enter Proculus._

_PROCULUS._

What! a dozen of you fellows here! Up with you! be sharp, and off to
the point. See if you can’t be of some use. You may save a life or two
yet.

_Mar._ We have no orders, my lord.

_Pro._ Where do you expect to find your orders? Go and help your mates.
You may get into a scrape yourselves some day.

_Mar._ Very willing, my lord; so we be sent. (_All drain their cups
standing._)

_Pro._ Come, leave your possets.

_Mar._ Ay, ay, my lord.                              [_Exeunt Mariners._

_Pro._ Epicharis, wine!

_Ep._ Gauran, my lord?

_Pro._ Yes.—And you, sir, I think are the gentleman that begged to go
aboard the fleet to get clear of the earthquake. What did I tell you?

_Se^{o.}_ You did not tell me, my lord, that Cæsar ordered you to be
shipwrecked. (_Epicharis serves Pro. with wine._)

_Pro._ Well, ’twas his doing: I’ll bear no blame of it. Three days ago
it was Cæsar’s intention to go to Greece; we must therefore be ready
to meet him at Brundisium. Never had more stringent orders. Now he has
forgot all about it, and gone to Rome: and I have lost a third of the
fleet for nothing. May all the gods....

_Ep._ The fire took him to Rome.

_Se^{o.}_ The Romans, my lord, can never spare him long: their bread
depends on him.

_Pro._ Can’t that old shrimper Tigellinus feed ’em on sprats?

_Se^{o.}_ Hi, hi!

_Pro._ Well, sir!

_Se^{o.}_ I shan’t tell.

_Ep._ The wine will soothe you, my lord. (_Refilling his cup, she signs
to Senecio, who goes out._)

_Pro._ Thank you, lass.

_Ep._ Did Cæsar give the order himself?

_Pro._ Don’t talk to me. Ha, that fellow’s gone, is he? He is not one
to blab?

_Ep._ How should I know, my lord?

_Pro._ What’s his name?

_Ep._ Senecio.

_Pro._ Senecio, yes, of course: one of Nero’s intimates: and I called
Tigellinus an old shrimper: ’twould cost me my life if he heard it.

_Ep._ No man is safe. 1650

_Pro._ Nor woman either, Epicharis: guard your tongue.

_Ep._ I am a Greek, my lord.

    _Pro._ What’s that to serve thee?

    _Ep._                       Nothing truly; and yet
    I have no share in Rome’s reproach; I laugh
    Rather to see my country’s conquerors
    Themselves enslaved. I have no pride in Cæsar:
    Let him be a madman, one day burn his city,
    The next day wreck his fleet,—poison his brother,—
    Murder his mother,—behead his wife,—I care not.
    Let all his courtiers be curs, and he
    Sing in the theatre.... In Greece a tyrant
    Had little heart for singing; nay, at night
    He slept not, thinking what undaunted spirits
    Were lying wide-awake for torturing shame
    Till they could kill him.

    _Pro._              By Jove, thou hast a tongue!

    _Ep._ And they that like it not may cut it out.

    _Pro._ Drink with me, lass (_offers his cup_).

    _Ep._                I would I were a Roman
    But for one day.

    _Pro._     I love thee for thy spirit.

    _Ep._ Thou lov’st to hear the words thou dar’st not say.

    _Pro._ Well, give me more.

    _Ep._                Greek as I am, my lord,
    And woman, were I now as near to Cæsar
    As I am to you, I’d stab him to the heart.

    _Pro._ I would not stay thee.

    _Ep._                   But thou wouldst not do it.

    _Pro._ Bah! thou’rt a Greek to brag what thou wouldst do:       1675
    I am a Roman, and would do the thing
    Before I spake it.

    _Ep._        Yet mightst never do it.

    _Pro._ Thou know’st me not.

    _Ep._                 Then none knows thee, my lord.
    Were there a plot among the brave in Rome,
    Which they should fear to break to thee, and say
    We know him not, we cannot risk to sound him,
    A woman might; then should they send a woman,
    Some woman that thou lov’st, to learn thy mind,
    What wouldst thou say?

    _Pro._           Then were it time to speak.

    _Ep._ The brave in Rome have plotted: I am the woman—
    Their messenger.

    _Pro._     What! a conspiracy?
    ’Gainst Cæsar’s life?

    _Ep._           They bid thee bring the navy.

    _Pro._ Art thou in earnest?

    _Ep._                 I am a Greek, my lord;
    And risk my life for Roman liberty.

    _Pro._ What are their names?

    _Ep._                  The best in Rome.

    _Pro._                                   Who are they?

    _Ep._ In time I’ll tell their names.

    _Pro._                         And what the plot?

    _Ep._ In three days Cæsar will be slain: ’tis asked
    Of thee that thou wilt bring thy ships to Ostia,
    And seize the granaries till Rome is ours.

    _Pro._ What are their names?

    _Ep._                  With fair security
    I will tell all.

    _Pro._     And what security
    For me?

    _Ep._   Enough, my lord, even in this risk
    To well content thee.

    _Pro._          Tell me the chief names.

    _Ep._ When I have won thee.

    _Pro._                Thou hast won me: tell.

    _Ep._ In good time all.

    _Pro._            What would they have me do?

    _Ep._ First bring the officers whose names are here (_Giving a paper_)
    To meet me here to-night. Then I shall see
    Who is to trust.

    _Pro._ (_reading the paper_). Give me the names of those
    Who sent thee.

    _Ep._    In good time.

    _Pro._                 I would not harm thee.

    _Ep._ Thou canst not.

    _Pro._          See, Epicharis, I’ll help thee
    Out of this mischief. Give me up the names,
    And thou shalt be informer.

    _Ep._                 Ah, Proculus,
    Play not that part; thou that so oft in secret
    Hast cursed the tyrant to me; now play not
    That part; it cannot serve thee: be true, Proculus,
    To the nobleness within thee, that hast not only
    A heart sufficient, but in face and figure
    Lookest the hero: thou that mightest stand
    For a statue of Brutus, and outdo the man
    As nature made him: Be thou from this day
    Named with the noblest; Proculus the brave,
    Who turned the tide ’gainst Nero, and delivered
    Romans from shame and slavery;—or wilt thou
    Be Proculus the futile; Proculus,
    Who aided first infamous Anicetus
    To murder Agrippina, and then perceiving
    Remorseful Cæsar cast out his gross tool,
    Sought to win favour of the parricide,—
    And vainly tried to stay the avenger’s hands,—
    And sold a trustful woman whom he had loved,                    1725
    On the eve of liberty?

    _Pro._           That day’s not come.
    Look to thyself, and I will win thy safety.
    To-night thou wilt set forth with me to Rome:
    In two days I shall bring thee before Cæsar.
    Then, if thou tell these names, thou wilt go free,
    And mayst be rich. Thou canst not ’scape: be ready
    In one hour hence.                                          [_Exit._

    _Ep._        Ah, wretched Roman slave,
    Thy paltry spirit hath baulked me: go thy way;
    Thou knowest nought: thou’rt in my power; thou too,
    If I could turn aside, shouldst bleed for Clitus:
    He hated thee, condemned thee, and thou deservest.
    But what care I for thee? what is’t to me
    That Piso be set up on Nero’s throne?
    Only make void that throne, only tear out
    That monster from the world. As for thee, Proculus,
    I know thee and can outwit thee: I have my tale
    Ready, and false Senecio for my witness.
    Where is Senecio?—I have yet an hour.                       [_Exit._



                               SCENE ·• 2

                          _A street in Rome._

         _Enter SCEVINUS, followed by NATALIS and LATERANUS._

                              _SCEVINUS._

      No more, sirs: let me go. This sword shall do it.
    I am sworn.

    _LATERANUS._

                Stay, stay, sir! stay! be more discreet.

    _Sce._ I know there’s not a man among you all
    Durst risk his life but I. I have made my will:
    I have set my house in order. Cæsar dies,
    Dies by this hand to-day.

    _NATALIS._

                              For heaven’s sake, stay, sir!
    Have patience. Piso is unprepared.

    _Lat._                       Scevinus,                          1750
    Thou art bound to abide by and respect the voice
    Of the party.—We do not choose thee.—

    _Sce._                            Whóm chóose ye?

    _Lat._ No scheme is ready as yet. The matter needs
    More judgment than thou usest.

    _Nat._                   And more caution.

    _Sce._ Caution and judgment are for cowards. By God
    I have sworn. ’Tis by this hand Cæsar shall die.

    _Nat._ (_to Lat._). We must prevent him.

    _Lat._ (_to Nat._).                    Shall we seize him?

    _Sce._                                                 My lords,
    I thank you for your counsel. Go now to Piso,
    And make him ready: I shall to the palace
    To screen my purpose in some usual conduct.
    To-night all will be over.—Fare-you-well.                   [_Exit._

    _Lat._ Come after him, Natalis: we must make
    A show of yielding, and delude him gently
    By mock convincement; else he’ll ruin all.                [_Exeunt._


                               SCENE ·• 3

           _A room in the palace. NERO and POPPÆA meeting._

                                _NERO._

      Empress! the emperor of the world salutes thee,
    Bows to thee.

    _POPPÆA._

                  And embraceth?

    _Ner._                 And embraceth.—
    Didst thou sleep well in thy new chamber?

    _Pop._                              I did.

    _Ner._ How doth it please?

    _Pop._               ’Tis fine. It hath no fault,
    Save that it lies so far from thine.

    _Ner._                         In that
    See how I trust thee.

    _Pop._          I shall need my litter
    In this new palace: ’tis a morning’s journey
    From end to end. What distances!

    _Ner._                     Yes, space:
    Grandeur in space: we cannot emulate
    Starry distinctions and ethereal peace;
    Mortal conditions hamper us ... yet I’ll teach                  1775
    The world what may be done; and my new Rome
    Shall stand for a type: the streets all laid out broad,
    Straight and intelligible; and all the houses
    Of fireproof stone from Alba and Gabii.
    In four years ’twill be finished.

    _Pop._                      Four whole years
    Of rubbish-heaps and hammering?

    _Ner._                    Come see
    The plans in the library.

    _Pop._              Would you believe
    The plans of architects can cheer a woman?

    _Ner._ If thou wert happy thou wouldst love to see
    All that I do, and for my sake admire.
    I wish that thou wert happier. Think, Poppæa,
    What cause thou hast, being for thy peerless beauty
    Chosen the world’s Augusta. I could wish
    Thou didst smile oftener.

    _Pop._              Well, consider, love,
    I have cause for care.

    _Ner._           I wish that thou couldst sing:
    Music can cheer. Dost thou remember once,
    When thou wast fearful in a thunderstorm,
    How I diverted thee with sprightly music?
    Then I should love if, when I came to see thee,
    I heard thy voice afar, and in thy chamber....

(_Vatinius interrupts, entering noisily._)

    Who’s there? (_Vatinius gives a note to Nero._)
    (_Reads._) ‘Proculus the admiral is come from Naples
    With secret tidings; he hath a lady with him!’
    (_To Vat._) Let him in, or his tidings, or his lady,
    Whichever is most secret—or all three.                 [_Exit Vat._
    (_To Poppæa, who is going._) Thou needst not go, love.

    _Pop._                                          Why! if ’tis a lady.

    _Ner._ Pooh! ’tis some state affair.

    _Pop._                         I hate affairs.              [_Exit._

    _Ner._ Marriage rúins a woman: and how quickly!
    And I to lead the ape-dance, who am sworn
    To rid the world of this and all its plagues!                   1805

 _Enter Tigellinus with Proculus and Epicharis; Vatinius following._

    _Ner._ Good-day, Lord Proculus; what brings you here?

    _PROCULUS._ Forgive the intrusion, Cæsar.

    _Ner._                              The lady’s looks
    Are ample excuse. You ask leave to be married?

    _Pro._ Nay, Cæsar; I accuse her.

    _Ner._                     Bravo! divorce?

    _TIGELLINUS_ (_aside to Nero_).

    His story is urgent.

    _Ner._         What is it?

    _EPICHARIS._               Mighty Cæsar,
    This is a charge ’gainst me: a foolish charge
    Not worth your ear. I have a witness with me
    Would make short matter of it, might he enter.

    _Ner._ By all means. Why, sir, did you keep him back?
    His name?

    _Ep._     Senecio.

    _Ner._       Good. We know him, lady.
    Vatinius, fetch him in. (_Exit Vat._) What is the charge?

    _Pro._ This woman, sire....

    _Ner._ (_interrupting_). What is thy name, fair lady?

    _Ep._ Epicharis, your majesty.

    _Pro._                   This lady
    Was known to me at Naples.

    _Ner._               I understand:
    Spare your excuses.

    _Pro._        At a tavern.

    _Ner._                     Ho!
    You sailors! (_Vat. re-enters with Senecio._)
    (_To Epicharis_) See your witness, lady, is come.

    _Pro._ She took occasion of her intimacy
    To draw me into a plot ’gainst Cæsar’s life.

    _Ner._ Ha!

    _Pro._ Entrusted by conspirators at Rome
    Three days ago to tamper with me.

    _Ner._                      By heaven!
    And thou dost laugh? (_to Epic._)

    _Ep._          Will Cæsar hear the end?

    _Ner._ (_to Pro._). Give me the names at once.

    _Pro._                                   I know no names,
    Cæsar; she would not tell.

    _Ner._               No names? and whom
    Wert thou then to conspire with?

    _Pro._                     She would tell
    Nothing of her confederates, unless
    I brought together certain officers,
    Whose loyalty I know suspicious.

    _Ner._                     Dost thou? By God,
    I’ll have théir names.

    _Pro._           I was to sail to Rome,
    And seize the granaries.

    _Ner._             Enough. Now, madam;
    What dost thou answer?

    _Ep._            If Cæsar need an answer
    To a charge so empty, ’tis enough to say
    I have never been in Rome.

    _Ner._               ’Tis not enough.
    Didst thou speak to the Admiral in the sense
    He avers?

    _Ep._     I humbly crave great Cæsar’s pardon
    For jesting with his name.

    _Ner._               Thou didst? and why?

    _Ep._ Here is my witness; Lord Senecio
    Will say that my story is true. Holding with him
    Some talk of Proculus, I laid a wager
    That I could make the Admiral believe
    Anything, no matter how ridiculous:
    And this we hit on. Then straight he comes in,
    And if I went too far, ’twas in my fear
    To lose my money.

    _Ner._      Is this so, Senecio?

    _SENECIO._

      ’Twas so, sire; I backed the Admiral, and lost.

    _Ner._ (_to Proc._). You sailors are so clumsy. You are a fool.

    _Pro._ Sire! on my life ’twas true. ’Twas not a jest:
    She would outface me.

    _VATINIUS._

                          As Octavia did
    That old sea-mutton Anicetus.

    _Tig._ Hish!

    _Ner._       First, sir,
    Send me these same suspicious officers.
    Meanwhile for her,—thy rank may win thy tale
    So much respect,—she goes not free. (_To Tig._) Good master,
    Keep her in custody.

    _Ep._ (_aside to Proculus_). Hear me! I warn thee.
    Join, or be first to die!

    _Pro._              Now, Cæsar, again
    She invites me to conspire.

    _Ner._                Come, man; she mocks thee:
    She hath won the privilege. (_To Tig._) Take her away;
    But treat her well. You follow me: I go
    To judge the cases argued yesterday.
    No folly, Proculus, like being in earnest,
    When others are all jesting.

                           [_Exeunt. Tigellinus with Epicharis: Proculus
                                    and Vatinius with Nero._


                               SCENE ·• 4

                       _A room in Piso’s house._

                      _Enter PISO with NATALIS._

                          _PISO_ (_at door_).

      Show them in here, Natalis; I must see them.

                                                            [_Exit Nat._

    ’Tis dangerous: Rufus should know better. Five,
    Five of them here together! ’tis enough
    To damn an innocent: mere information
    By any vagabond. Why should they come?

 _Re-enter Natalis with Rufus, Lateranus, Lucan, Flavus and Asper._

    Come in, my lords; come in.

    _All._                Good-day, Lord Piso.

    _Pis._ Your purpose, gentlemen? Ye would not come
    In such a dangerous body to my house
    Without great cause.

    _RUFUS._

                         ’Tis urgency, my lord.
    We have met to-day, and voted with one voice
    Immediate action. That madman Scevinus
    Hath taken the whole affair upon himself,
    And full of mystery walks at large, parading
    His self-importance; wearing on his face
    The secret of our lives. You must come forward,
    Or we are lost.

    _Pis._    I shall not move.

    _Ruf._                      My lord!                            1880
    My lord! my lord! (_A servant has been speaking with
        Natalis at the door._)

    _NATALIS_ (_to Piso_).

                      Here is another come.

    _Pis._ Bring him in.—(_To Ruf._) Nay, Rufus, I shall
       not move.                                            [_Exit Nat._
    Why should you come to me? I made no promise
    But this, when Nero is dead, to be your Cæsar.

    _ASPER._

      The men, my lord, whose hands you grasped in faith
    Need your support. A Cæsar we must have;
    Stand by us or withdraw.

    _Pis._             May I ask the name
    Of the last speaker?

    _Asp._         Asper, my lord.

    _Pis._                         By heaven!
    Asper thou art.

_Re-enter Natalis with Senecio._

    _Nat._ Betrayal! betrayal!

    _SENECIO_ (_excitedly_).   My lords, we are betrayed.

    _All._ Betrayed!

    _Pis._     Scevinus is it?

    _Se^{o.}_                  No. Proculus,
    The Admiral. He hath brought to Nero a woman
    From Naples, who was sent to gain him over.

    _LUCAN_ (_aside_).

    Epicharis failed me!

    _Pis._ A woman too!

    _Ruf._ What names hath she betrayed?

    _Se^{o.}_                      No names at all.
    She outfaced the Admiral with a lie, and I
    Swore it was true.

    _Pis._       Hath she not mentioned me?

    _Se^{o.}_ No, my lord, none.

    _Luc._ (_aside_). Well done!

    _Pis._ Maybe then she knows nothing.        1900

    _Se^{o.}_                      Ay, she knows:
    She told me.

    _Luc._ You?

    _Se^{o.}_   Yes; me, sir.

    _Pis._              What is her name?

    _Se^{o.}_ Epicharis.

    _Ruf._         Who is Epicharis?

    _Pis._ Ay, who is she? how came she in the plot?

    _Se^{o.}_ Lucan perhaps may know.

    _Luc._                      I have heard the name,
    And mentioned with my uncle, the physician.
    If that is what Senecio means, ’tis nought.

    _FLAVUS._

      Where is she? let us see her.

    _Se^{o.}_                 Tigellinus
    Hath her in custody.

    _Ruf._         She will be questioned.

    _Fla._ We must not wait.

    _Pis._             Who, now, is guilty of this?
    I have other evidence too that your secret
    Has been ill-kept, gentlemen.—When I sent
    A messenger to Seneca this morning,
    He was refused admission.—Seneca knows.

    _LATERANUS._

      My lords, we are all in danger: there’s no time
    To investigate. Act,—act ere we be lost!

    _Ruf._ But how to act?

    _Lat._ The plan I have always urged:
    Remember, sirs, how Julius fell. To-morrow
    Are the Circensian games, Nero will come:
    I, under the pretence of some request,
    Will kneel to him, as Cimber knelt to Cæsar;
    And as I beg my boon I’ll drag him down,
    If one of you will slay him.

    _Fla._                 That will I.

    _Asp._ And I.

    _Se^{o.}_     Or Lord Scevinus.

    _Ruf._                    Better, Sir,
    Do without him. And I still hold my plan
    The best, that Cæsar should be asked to supper:     1925
    Then nought were risked. Once more I pray Lord Piso
    To save unneeded bloodshed.

    _Pis._                I could not do it:
    Nor were it wise, in face of the great pity
    Such treachery would stir.

    _Asp._               And the delay:
    To-morrow is late.

    _Ruf._       Then Lateranus hath it:
    We adopt his disposition. You, my lord,
    Must be by dawn to-morrow in Ceres’ temple
    Clad in imperial purple: I with my guards
    Will keep the doors; and when the deed is done
    Will bring you forth, and lead you through the city,
    Proclaiming you with shouts.

    _Pis._                 Well, let it be so.
    I give consent. Let nothing stop you now:
    But each man learn his part and act it bravely.
    Your lives are forfeit. Secrecy and despatch—
    And now depart.

    _Ruf._    Be you in Ceres’ temple.

    _Pis._ I understand. I shall await you there.
    Action, Rufus, is now your only hope;
    Let nothing stop you. Fail me not.

    _Ruf._                       Nay, trust me.

    _Lat._ Bravo, Lord Piso.

    _Fla. and Asp._    Hail, great Cæsar!

    _Pis._                                Hush!
    Depart your different ways: be no more seen
    Than cannot be avoided. I see none
    Until to-morrow.

    _All_ (_going_). To-morrow! to-morrow!                    [_Exeunt._


                               SCENE ·• 5

 _A room in the palace. Enter NERO and TIGELLINUS with a drawn sword_
                                 (R.).

    _Ner._ Fury and Hell! Murder me, would he! A plot,
    A damnable hellish plot! Stab me! by God,
    Arrest him and fetch him hither.      1950

    _Tig._                     Bethink you, Cæsar,
    Now of Epicharis.

    _Ner._      Ah, true, by heaven!
    The impudent drab: she knew it all. Send straight
    To the prison, and have her questioned. Rack and fire:
    Torture truth from her.

    _Tig._            I will. Whist! Cæsar, I see
    The man himself.

    _Ner._     Come out! he may be armed.
    We’ll close the doors upon him and shut him in,
    Till we have got assistance.                 [_Exeunt hastily_ (L.).

_Enter Scevinus and Quintian_ (R.).

    _SCEVINUS._

    How the sun shines to-day, Quintian! Great Phœbus,
    The Python-slayer, smiles upon my deed.

    _QUINTIAN._

    Hush! walls have ears.

    _Sce._           When the gods favour a man,
    They set his mind at ease: he disregards
    Your fearful chances. Think you, Quintian,
    ’Tis the April air intoxicates me so,
    And floats my head with birdlike confidence?
    Is it the April morning air? Ah, no;
    ’Tis the air of the eve of liberty.—Is that
    Not poetry, good fellow?

    _Qu._              Well, they say
    Occasion makes a poet of any man.

    _Sce._ It pleases me to walk about the palace,
    And count the columns: with my eye I measure
    The carven friezes and gold roofs, and say
    All this is thine, Scevinus: stretch but forth
    Thy hand and take it from its master: give it
    Back to the world. These busts, Hellenic statues,
    All these are thine, Scevinus! Let us go       1975
    To the western court, where we may gaze on Rome.

    _Qu._ Ay, if you will.

    _Sce._           All this is thine, Scevinus!
    Open the door!

    _Qu._    ’Tis closed.

    _Sce._ (_trying it_).       Shut fast! ’Tis strange.
    I never knew this door shut up before.

    _Qu._ We can go back the same way we came in,
    And round by the north corridor.

    _Sce._ We will.      (_Going hurriedly back to first door._)
    By God, ’tis closed too: fast. We are locked in.

    _Qu._ What can it mean?

    _Sce._ (_going again to the second door_). They both are fast.

    _Qu._                                                    I hear
    Footsteps without.

    _Sce._       Here, here! my dagger: take it.

    _Qu._ Nay, curse thee, I’ll not have it.

    _Sce._                             They will search me.

    _Qu._ Throw it out of the window.

    _Sce._ (_throwing_).              So!

    _Qu._                           They are coming.

    _Sce._ By God, Quintian, I forgot. It was the dagger
    That should have pierced my heart, if I was taken.

    _Qu._ Brave it out. I know nothing.

_Re-enter Nero and Tigellinus preceded by Guards_ (L.).

    _Ner._ Ha! Quintian too, my feathery Quintian.
    (_To Tig._) What of him, master?

    _Tig._ (_to Ner._).              Send him out.

    _Ner._                                   Begone, sir:
    And thank thy littleness.

    _Qu._               I am Cæsar’s slave.                     [_Exit._

    _Ner._ Now, sir, we have thee; we know all: go down,
    Fall on thy knees. (_Sce. kneels._) Confess, and tell me first
    Why in the temple of Capitoline Jove
    Thou didst present and dedicate a sword.

    _Tig._ This sword, sir, sharpened too, and tempered freshly.

    _Sce._ Most mighty Cæsar, I know not on oath
    Why I am treated thus. What of this sword?

    _Ner._ Is it not thine?

    _Sce._            Pray let me see it near.                      2000

    _Tig._ I’d like to put it, sir, where thou couldst feel
    More than thou saw’st of it. Dost see it now?

    _Sce._ ’Tis mine. O sacred heirloom of my house,
    Left to my father by my grandfather....

    _Ner._ Invoke not thy curst ancestors to me.

    _Sce._ It hath been stolen from me: some slave, Cæsar,
    Knowing the store I set by it, hath purloined it.

    _Tig._ One of those thieves whom thou three days ago
    Didst liberate,—when thou mad’st thy will—? We know.
    Why didst thou that?

    _Sce._         It is the time of year
    I fix my household, and reward my servants.
    And for my will, it is my habit oft
    To change the disposition of my goods,
    As they change, and my friends.

    _Ner._                    Thou hast changed thy friends,
    Say’st thou, of late! As for thy change of will,
    Thy little damnèd will, the estate of felons
    Passes to Cæsar at their execution.

    _Tig._ And why, sir, shouldst thou lay up in thy house
    A store of bandages, styptics and drugs
    Good for fresh wounds?

    _Sce._           I did not: I pray you, Cæsar,
    Who hath informed against me?

    _Ner._                  Question me,
    Wilt thou?

    _Tig._ He hath been seen, sire, with Natalis.

    _Sce._ Never, I know him not.

    _Ner._                  Get up, sir.—Take him
    To torture, till he tell.

    _Sce._              Cæsar, I pray
    Have me not tortured. I am innocent.      2025

    _Ner._ Villain, I’ll have thee drawn out limb from limb;
    And thou shalt taste at leisure from this sword
    What stabbing is. Take him away.

    _Sce._                     Nay, Cæsar,
    Have me not tortured. I am innocent.

    _Tig._ Take him off, guards.

    _Sce._                 Indeed I am innocent.
    Cæsar, Oh Cæsar!             [_Exeunt Guards carrying off Scevinus._

    _Tig._ The informer Milichus, Scevinus’ slave,
    Saith he was with Natalis, Piso’s man:
    Shall I seize Piso?

    _Ner._        Not yet, no, I am safe
    Here in the palace. Have the city guarded,
    And go first to the prison: look thyself
    To the torture of Epicharis: from her
    Learn all, and bring it to me here. A woman
    Is delicately nerved: use thy full art
    Most exquisitely.

    _Tig._      She hath confessed by this:
    I sent at once.

    _Ner._    Return then soon.

    _Tig._                      I shall.                        [_Exit._

    _Ner._ A plot! and this contemptible Scevinus
    I could almost forgive; that woman never.
    She fooled me to my face, laughed as she fooled me:
    A Common woman! Cæsar! me! on the eve
    Of being the ridicule of history:
    My wisdom a mockery,—my insight,—to the end of time
    Schoolboys to laugh at turning of my page,
    The favourite tale to spice their dreary task.
    Nero! and I who, when my very mother,
    She who upraised me, dared to plot against me,
    Scrupled not, I, for my world-reaching schemes
    And absolute power, I scrupled not to hide
    Sonship in Cæsardom: yes, and for that
    Have oped my soul-gates to the powers of hell,
    And daily face spectres of horror, ghostly
    Environments, the blue upbraiding lips
    Of shadowy forms, that kiss in mockery,
    And poison peace upon the paths of sleep.
      To have borne in vain the murderer’s scaring plague,
    To be by a common woman—killed: I doubt not,
    Had but occasion served, she would have done it.
    Have laughed to do it, laughed on when ’twas done.
    Ah! by that lately-laughing, cherruping mouth
    Shall all her damned conspirators be snared:
    Yes, and a thousand times shall she scream truth,
    Ere I will hear; a thousand times shriek forth
    The names of those her shrieks shall shriek to hell,
    Ere she go after them. (_Re-enter Tigellinus._) What, Tigellinus!
    What saith Epicharis?

    _Tig._          Nothing.

    _Ner._                   Nothing?

    _Tig._                            Nothing.
    Cæsar will never get a word from her.

    _Ner._ Thou hast not killed her, fool?

    _Tig._                           Nay, Cæsar: but no corpse
    Keeps better silence.

    _Ner._          Where’s thy art, man? Use
    Rack, redhot pincers, the slow fire ...

    _Tig._ Not all together make her give a sound.

    _Ner._ Persist.

    _Tig._    They do; but ’tis beyond our power
    To match the first pangs; and they moved her not.
    I came to say we had forgot Senecio.

    _Ner._ True: take him.

    _Tig._           And to torture?

    _Ner._                           Rack him well.
    But make this woman speak. Use better art.      2080

    _Tig._ I found the torturers sitting round their task:
    Their zest had cooled. Without a cry or scream
    ’Tis a dull sport.

    _Ner._       She is a Christian, then.

    _Tig._ The Christians never plot: I think in that,
    Cæsar, you wrong them.

    _Ner._           I? Thou know’st them little:
    They are the time’s worst plague. I do not care
    If they burned Rome or no: were they all burned
    ’Twould richly compensate the world. Hark, friend!
    The people might be masters; what they lack
    This Christ provides. Were I to prophesy,
    I’d say that should their cursed doctrines spread,
    They would one day drown all, learning and beauty,
    Wisdom and rule and art. For that I hate them,
    And love to destroy them. I AM THEIR ANTI-CHRIST.



                                ACT ·• V


                               SCENE ·• 1

 _A strong room in the palace dungeon. TIGELLINUS seated at a table
 CENTRE. NATALIS scared, and with his hands bound behind him, stands_
 R. _before two Guards_.

    _TIGELLINUS_ (_to Guards_).

      Leave him.—                                      [_Exeunt Guards._
    Natalis, thou hast had a taste of the rack?

    _NATALIS_ (_kneels_).

      Mercy, my lord; have mercy on me I pray thee:
    I will tell all, and better without torture.

    _Tig._ So far I have had mercy, sir: I have shown thee
    In this Epicharis what thou mayst look for,      2100
    Should I lack mercy. Canst thou too be silent?

    _Nat._ Nay, my lord, nay. My lord, I am not brave.
    Knowing I cannot suffer, I will speak truth
    Without the torture.

    _Tig._         Truth, fool! what is that?
    I haggle not with thee for thine own tale:
    That cannot serve thee. I require of thee
    Such answers as best please me.

    _Nat._                    I will confess.

    _Tig._ Thou hast betrayed thy master Piso; now
    Tell me, was Seneca in this conspiracy?

    _Nat._ No, my lord.

    _Tig._ (_calling_). Guards!

    _Nat._                I swear he was not. (_Enter Guards._)

    _Tig._                                    Guards!
    Take him to torture.

    _Nat._         Oh, my lord, have pity!
    Ask me not this.

    _Tig._     I’ll ask thee nothing else
    While thou art parting with thy skin. Once more:
    Was Seneca in this conspiracy?

    _Nat._ He was.

    _Tig._   Just as I thought; hold fast to that;
    Else, by great Jupiter, the things thou hast seen
    Are nothing.—Take him off and send in the other.

                                          [_Exeunt Guards with Natalis._

    Now I am rid of Seneca. This method
    Is easy and short. The foolish rich Scevinus
    May serve me another way.

 _Enter two Guards with Scevinus, whose hands are bound before him._

    (_To Guards._) Leave him.—(_Exeunt Guards._) Scevinus,
    Cæsar hath ordered thee the rack.

    _SCEVINUS_ (_kneels_).

                                      My lord,
    Have pity upon me I beg. I turn informer.
    I will betray it all: I withhold nothing.

    _Tig._ Thou hast seen the torture of Epicharis....

    _Sce._ O, my dear lord, not that! mercy!

    _Tig._                             Since she
    Hath baulked my inquisitors, I have promised them
    Some noisy victim to restore their credit.

    _Sce._ Not me, not me!

    _Tig._           And why not thee? I think thee
    A likely fellow.

    _Sce._     My lord, I am too tender.
    The least prick of my finger, or if the wine      2130
    I drink be overheated, ’tis enough
    To put me in a frenzy: I should die
    At first stretch of the rack.

    _Tig._                  Pooh! man: they’d keep thee
    Alive for a week.—

    _Sce._        O spare me, good Tigellinus!
    Spare me, I pray, kind Tigellinus, spare me!

    _Tig._ Shall I? and if I do, what is it worth?
    Hast thou two thousand sesters?

    _Sce._                    Oh, my lord,
    I have not the tenth of it.

    _Tig._ (_calling_).         Guards!

    _Sce._                        I swear I have not. (_Enter Guards._)

    _Tig._ Get up, that is the price.—Guards, take him off.—
    I’ll make good use of thee.

    _Sce._                Sir, I might find it.

    _Tig._ (_motioning Guards back_). Hark, thou canst raise the money,
        and mayst write
    From prison to thy friends: and if ’tis paid
    To me to-night, I will respect thy wish.—
    Guards, take this prisoner to the outer cell;
    Let him there write what missives he desires,
    And see they be delivered in the city.

                                                   [_Exeunt severally._


                               SCENE ·• 2

                    _A room in the house of Piso._

                   _Enter FLAVUS and PISO, meeting._

                               _FLAVUS._

      My lord, I come from Rufus.

    _PISO._

                                  Give thy message.

    _Fla._ Natalis and Scevinus both are taken.
    All must be known; and your complicity
    The first: meanwhile Rufus is unsuspected;
    Cæsar hath summoned him to sit as judge
    In trial of the accused this afternoon.
    He has therefore this last hope, but only this,
    That you with all your friends proceed at once
    To the fort of the guard: he will proclaim you there,
    Relying on the people, who well know
    Your prudence, and may passively accept
    The revolution as a thing accomplished.
    Seeing you countenance it, and have your title
    Supported by the guards.

    _Pis._             Calls he this hope?
    ’Tis the forlorn hope.

    _Fla._           Desperation, my lord,
    Is not despair. I venture it with gladness.

    _Pis._ So do not I. I am no doubt betrayed
    Already and watched.

    _Fla._         Rufus may still be clear:
    The informers will not name him while the guards
    Remain their last resource.

    _Pis._                Bid him act quickly,
    And for himself.

    _Fla._     My lord, he looks to you.
    Unless you appear we cannot gain the people.
    Consider how we have all trusted our lives
    To your concerted action: now stand forth
    And help us as you can.

    _Pis._            Stay, man; consider
    How I have trusted my life to your action;
    And what ye have done with it: my stake in this
    Compares no more with thine than does my prize
    In the success with thine: I should be Cæsar,
    Thou Flavus still: so, if we fail, I suffer
    In like degree, my family dishonoured,
    My rich estates cónfiscate, my innocent,
    Honest dependants, whom I count by thousands,
    All plunged in misery: to them my duties
    Forbid this reckless hazard.—Return to Rufus,
    And say so much. I utter no reproach
    ’Gainst thee nor any other; I forgive
    What reproach thou didst hint. I know thou’rt brave;
    Thou hast wished well, and I with thee; but now
    Our ill-built ship founders. I am your captain;
    My word is each man for himself: my part
    I shall act no less bravely, that I see
    All goes to the bottom.

    _Fla._            Defer, my lord, to the last.
    I’ll save you if I may. I will go armed
    To the trial.

    _Pis._        Act for thyself; think not of me.
    Now bear my word to Rufus. Go this way.

                                            [_Exit, showing Flavus out._


                               SCENE ·• 3

 _The previous scene withdraws and discovers an open court of the
 palace disposed for the trial, the seats in a half-circle. Nero’s
 at centre, back, the seat for the Judge at left front: the raised
 platform for the accused at right front. Guards behind NERO, and
 lining the half-circle._

 _Enter LUCAN, FLAVUS and ASPER_ (L.). _They stand talking under cover
     of Judge’s seat. Guards and most of audience are assembled._

                               _LUCAN._

      Rufus will do his best: trust we to Rufus
    To minimize the matter; ’tis his interest.

    _FLAVUS._

      If Cæsar come unguarded, I will kill him.

    _ASPER._

      I will stand by thee. Is Lateranus here?

    _Luc._ He said he should not come. I pray you both
    Wait: let us first see who is betrayed.

    _Fla._                            Go thou,
    And wait thy death. (_Lucan goes to his place._)

    _Asp._        Let us die bravely, Flavus;
    ’Tis all we can. (_Coming forward to centre._)

    _Fla._     We will. Ah, see! he is guarded.      2200

 _Enter_ R. _Nero, Tigellinus and Rufus; preceded by Guards, who thrust
 Flavus and Asper back, making passage for Cæsar._

    _NERO_ (_at centre_).

      Here is our court. I love the open air:
    It savours more of justice, heavenly justice;
    And while we sit, we breathe. Rufus, ascend.

    (_Showing Judge’s seat._)

    Cæsar is plaintiff, and in his own cause
    Might bear a bias: so I make thee judge.
    My counsel, Tigellinus, sit by me. (_They sit._)

    _Fla._ (_to Asp._) I’ll not despair. I’ll keep my dagger ready.
    Be near him if I rush. (_Asper takes a seat on Rufus’ proper left._)

    _Ner._           Is it in order. Rufus,
    That I speak first?

    _RUFUS._

                        ’Twere well for form’s sake, Cæsar,
    To state the purpose of this court, and read
    The names of those denounced. Where are the informers?

    _Ner._ Bring in the prisoners.—As for this court, general,
    ’Tis called to inquire upon a matter known
    To most here: they that know it not may gather it
    As we proceed; I will premise thus far:—
    You will hear certain citizens confess
    That they, with others whom they name, were joined
    In a conspiracy to murder another,
    And him your chiefest citizen, myself.
    Rome at the first had kings, and being returned
    To an autocratic rule, in the exigency
    Of wide dominion, I, her king, her Cæsar,
    Her prætor, tribune, consul, typify
    The general weal: who aims at my life, aims
    At Rome and all. Therefore, though Cæsar needs
    No sanction to his sentence, he invites
    The public ear unto the public wrong,
    That all, before the guilty are arrested,
    May hear the evidence, and self-impeachment
    Of the two chief informers. There they are;                     2230
    Natalis and Scevinus.—(_They have been brought in
       guarded during Nero’s speech, and now stand up._ R.)
    As plaintiff I shall watch the case, as Cæsar
    I watch the judge. Proceed!

    _TIGELLINUS._         Scevinus.

    _SCEVINUS._                     Here, sir.

    _Tig._ Thou in this writing hast confessed the truth
    Of all the several charges brought against thee
    By thy slave Milichus.

    _Sce._           I have, my lord.


    _Tig._ ’Tis true there was a plot ’gainst Cæsar’s life,
    And thou the instrument?

    _Sce._             My lord, ’tis true:
    I crave great Cæsar’s mercy.

    _Tig._                 In hope of that,
    And moved by late contrition, thou hast revealed
    The names of thy confederates.

    _Sce._                   I have.

    _Ruf._ Will Cæsar let me scan the information?

    _Ner._ No need. Take each in turn.

    _Tig._ (_to Sce._).                I ask thee, therefore,
    Now to confirm this paper in open court.
    Who was the head of this conspiracy?
    The man who thought to sit in Cæsar’s place,
    When ye had murdered Cæsar?

    _Sce._                Calpurnius Piso.

    _Tig._ Stand forth, Natalis.

    _NATALIS._             Here, my lord.

    _Tig._                                Art thou
    Of Piso’s household?

    _Nat._         I am, my lord.

    _Tig._                        Then thou
    Shouldst know: was Piso head of this conspiracy?

    _Nat._ He was, my lord.

    _Ner._            Judgment!—

    _Ruf._ Arrest Calpurnius Piso on this charge.

    _Ner._ (_to Tig._). Send and arrest him. (_Tig. speaks to those
       behind._)

    _Fla._ (_to Ruf._).                      Let me by thee, Rufus!—
    Send me to Cæsar with some paper, Rufus!—
    Now I may reach him.—To save Piso, Rufus!—

    _Ruf._ (_to Flav., thrusting him back_). Be still!

    _Tig._ (_looking up_). Order! who speaks?

    _Ner. whispers to Tigellinus, who sets two Guards before
       Nero’s seat._

    _Ruf._ (_to Flav._). See, fool; he hath smelt thee.

    _Tig._ I’ll ask Natalis further if he knew
    Of any other chief man in the state
    Cognizant of this plot, or joined therein.

    _Nat._ Calpurnius Piso was the chief, my lord.

    _Tig._ No other? and I have here thy writing!

    _Fla._ (_aside to Rufus_).                    Now,
    General, thy turn is come.

    _Ruf._ (_to Natalis_).     Speak, sir!

    _Nat._                           I pray,
    Rufus, to urge not this: nay, from my heart
    I say ...

    _Tig._    ’Tis written here.

    _Ruf._                 This witness, Cæsar,
    I do not trust.

    _Tig._    Carry Natalis out
    To torture.

    _Nat._ I will speak.

    _Tig._         Then name, sir, name!

    _Nat._ Seneca.

    _Ruf._   Seneca!

    _Tig._           Yes, Seneca.
    Let Seneca be arrested. Judge, what sayst thou?

    _Ruf._ Let Seneca be arrested.

    _Fla._ (_to Ruf._).            Villain thou art!

    _Ner._ (_to Tigell. who has whispered to him_).  Leave
    Seneca to me.      2270

    _Tig._ These are the heads. Now will I read three names:
    Tell me, Scevinus, if I read aright:
    Quintian, Senecio, Lucan.

    _Sce._              I denounce them.

    _Ner._ Three hypocritical and fawning curs,
    The lap-dogs of the palace. Where áre they?

    _Tig._ They are here, Cæsar.—Quintian, stánd forth.

    _QUINTIAN._

                                                         Here,
    My lord.

    _Tig._ Dost thou confess?

    _Qu._               I give Scevinus
    The lie direct.

    _Ner._    We found thee in his company,
    The hour of his arrest.

    _Qu._             Cæsar, I knew
    Of nothing ’gainst thy life. ’Tis true that oft
    I have spoken against Vatinius; were he Cæsar,
    I should be guilty: but yourself have loved
    To prick me to it; and so, maybe, my tongue
    Hath given Scevinus undeserved occasion
    To think me of his party.

    _Ner._              Rufus, judge!

    _Ruf._ I look for evidence.

    _Tig._                Dost thou?—Then, Quintian,
    To save thy life wilt thou inform?

    _Qu._                        I will.

    _Tig._ Then was not Lucan with you?

    _Qu._                         He was.

    _Ner._                                O Quintian,
    Quintian! if I forgave thee for thy treason,
    I could not for thy folly. Arrest him.

    _Ruf._                           Arrest Quintian.
    The next?

    _Tig._    Senecio, General, hath confessed.
    His evidence we will take later. Where is
    Lucan?

    _Luc._ I am here, my lord, ready to answer.

    _Ruf._ Then let us hear thine answer.

    _Luc._                          I deny
    The charge of treason: but so far confess
    My intimacy with the accused, that oft
    My zeal for senatorial forms hath led me
    To listen to them, when the words that passed
    Might tell against me: and if I was betrayed
    By antiquarian taste, to trust these men      2300
    Against advice and warning ...

    _Ner._                   Ah! thou sayest
    Against advice. Who warned thee?

    _Luc._                     Cæsar, I said ...

    _Ner._ Sir, I will know who warned thee of this plot,
    And warned not me.

    _Luc._       Sire, I meant not so much.

    _Tig._ We heard thee.

    _Luc._          I make appeal to Rufus, whether
    I must betray the innocent.

    _Ner._                If thou look
    For thine own pardon.

    _Tig._          We can make thee speak.

    _Ruf._ Tell us, sir, who these wondrous patriots were,
    Who set thy private safety above Cæsar’s.

    _Luc._ If Cæsar bids me speak, I may hide nothing.
    I will confess it was my mother, Atilia,
    Who warned me against these men. Punish not her
    For not betraying her son.

    _Ner._               Nay, sir, but thee
    Who in this bungle of prevarication
    Betrayest thine own mother. Judge!

    _Ruf._                       Arrest him.

    _Luc._ I am arrested, Cæsar, not condemned.

    _Ner._ Thou’lt see. Stand by!—(_To Tigell._) Another woman! why
    Comes not Epicharis?

    _Tig._         I know no cause
    For the delay. I’ll send again.

    _Ner._                    Do so.
    (_To Scevinus._)  Go on, sir: who is next?

    _Sce._                               Plautius Lateranus.

    _Ner._ Plautius Lateranus! Have more care
    Whom thou accusest. This is one bounden to me
    By special favours: from disgrace I raised him
    To sit among the senate, and now he is chosen
    Consul.

    _Tig._  Dost thou denounce him?

    _Sce._                    I do, my lord.      2325

    _Ner._ Whom then can Cæsar trust? Judge, Rufus, judge!

    _Tig._ Judge!

    _Ruf._        Let him be arrested.

    _Ner._                       Send to his house.

_Enter an Officer._

    _OFFICER._

      Cæsar, being sent to arrest Calpurnius Piso,
    We found him dead.

    _Ruf._       Dead! how?

    _Ner._                  Is Piso dead?

    _Fla._ (_to Rufus_). See how thou hast ruined all!

    _Ruf._ (_to Flavus_).                              Speak not to me!

    _Off._ He died by his own hand as we arrived.
    I viewed the body.

    _Tig._       He must have killed himself
    To escape the confiscation.

    _Ner._                Bah! he hath robbed
    The treasury.

    _Tig._        We shall have pickings yet.

    _Ruf._ Cæsar, the untimely suicide of the accused
    Confirms the charge against him in so far
    As he hath declined to meet it. But the trial
    Falls to the ground: we lose both the defence
    And the chief witness.

    _Ner._           Not so. My chief object
    Remains, and my chief witness.—(_To Tig._) Where is Epicharis?

    _Tig._ I see a litter passing ’neath the trees.

    _Ner._ Meet them, and bring her in.—

                                                    [_Exit Tigellinus._

    I now produce a woman in the court.
    Her name Epicharis: she lives at Naples,
    And there was used by the conspirators
    To tamper with the navy: the Admiral
    Arrested her; but she, being charged before me,
    Turned off suspicion with a specious tale,
    Which I more readily believed, because
    I hate informers, nor will lightly think                        2350
    Evil of anyone. Senecio
    Confirmed her story, but hath since confessed
    He knew it false: himself, as he affirms,
    Was not in Piso’s confidence; this woman
    Knew all. Now Piso towards Senecio
    Trusted too much in trusting but a little,
    Trusting Epicharis much he trusted well:
    For in the extreme of torture she hath not flinched,
    Nor given a sound: but seeing her silence now
    Confuted by so many tongues, she hath yielded,
    And promised to speak truth. See, here she is.

 _During this speech Epicharis has been borne in on the litter, and is
 set down at the centre of the stage._

    Her speech shall now unmask what traitorous faces
    Still screen their villany.

    _Ruf._                A woman, Cæsar;
    And in the pangs of torture, and fear of death!
    What evidence is this?

    _Ner._           What would ye object?

    _Ruf._ Shall Romans have their free lives played with thus?

    _Ner._ What puts thee in fear? Silence!—Epicharis,
    I bid thee now speak truth before the court.
    Piso is dead. Thou seest thy comrades taken.
    Truth may not save thy life: yet speak the truth
    As thy last hope. Let no man interrupt her.

    _EPICHARIS_ (_speaks from the litter_).

      Cæsar, I thank thee that in all my torture
    Thou hast spared my tongue to tell thee truth at last:
    That I am admitted where my free confession
    May reach the public ear, nay not denied      2375
    Thine own ear, and for that I thank thee most;
    And for my torture I thank thee too: ’tis proved
    I speak not lightly, and must be well believed.
      Thou bidst me, mighty Cæsar, tell thee truth:
    Weak is my tongue to tell the mighty truths
    Cæsar dare hear, and none hath dared to tell:
    And I die ... hearken quickly. Of all thou seest
    There is not one whom thou canst trust: all hate thee ...
    Yet needst thou not, great Cæsar, fear them much;
    For all are cowards: nay, there is not among them
    One brave enough to kill thee. And yet again,
    Great Cæsar, I counsel thee to fear them too;
    For all the world ’gainst one will have their way.
      I know thou fear’st. Then who is most thy foe?
    Whom first to kill? That I can tell thee, Cæsar:
    For none of all thou seest, or ever saw’st,
    Or wilt see again, nay, not thy murdered mother,
    Thy poisoned brother, thy beheaded wife,
    Whose bloody ghosts watch on the banks of hell
    To mark thy doom, none hateth thee as I,
    Defieth thee as I, curseth thee as I.
    O emperor of the world, thine hour is come.
    Within thy cankered soul dwell side by side
    Remorse and vanity to drive thee mad:
    The grecian furies hound thee, the christian devils
    Dispute for thee. Fly to thy dunghill, Cæsar,      2401
    Where thou must perish ...

    _Ner._               Will none there stop her mouth?

    _Ep._ Plague-spotted, abhorred for ever—by all—accurst—

    _Asp._ Let no man interrupt her!

    _Ner._                     Who spoke? Arrest him.—

 _Epicharis’ last words are spoken as the Soldiers surround her. She
 struggles on the litter violently, and falls back dead. Other Guards
 arrest Asper._

Who art thou, sir? thy name?

_Asp._ My name is Asper. I am centurion under Rufus.

_Ner._ Rufus, Know’st thou thy man?

    _Ruf._          I grieve, sire, it is true:
    He is one of my centurions.

    _Ner._                Question him.

    _Tig._ (_who is standing by Epicharis, to Nero_). Epicharis is dead.

    _Ner._ Ye have killed her, fools?
    Hath she got quit?

    _Tig._       ’Twas her own doing, Cæsar:
    She meshed her neck among the cords, and so
    Hath reft her of what little life remained.

    _Ner._ Remove her to the prison, and let physicians
    Attend her at once.

    _Tig._        She is dead. (_They carry Epicharis out._)

    _Ner._                     Rufus, proceed
    With thy centurion.

    _Asp._        If all hate thee, Cæsar,
    How wilt thou bid that hater question this?

    _Ruf._ What, fellow?

    _Asp._         Thou that sittest there to judge,
    And shouldst stand here, wilt thou dare question me?

    _Ruf._ I, fellow?

    _Ner._      Ha! Rufus, thou turnest pale.

    _Ruf._ With anger I turn pale, that in your presence
    A traitor should defame me.

    _Ner._                Be cool, sir:
    Thou wast suspected, now accused thou art.
    Thou hast but one appeal: In thy worst case      2423
    ’Tis to thy friends (_pointing to accused_).

    _Ruf._        Call not those men my friends.

    _Ner._ I’ll see. Speak, traitors all; was Rufus with you?

    _Luc., Sce., and others._ He was. He is guilty.

    _Ner._                            Arrest the judge.

    _Ruf._                                    Who dares?
    What officer of mine dares raise his hand
    Against his general?

    _CASSIUS._

                         That will I, my lord;
    Knowing that thou deservest more than all.

    _Ruf._ Help! help!—(_To Flavus._) Now, man, strike now or never.

    _Fla._                                                     Hush!
    I am the last.                  (_Rufus is seized after a struggle._)

    _Ner._ (_stepping down_). Now will I mount myself the
       judge’s seat.               (_Fla. rushes forward to stab Nero._)

    _Ner._ Ha! Murder! (_Tigellinus, who has watched Flavus,
       intercepts him. Flavus is seized._)

    _Tig._       Clear the Court!

 _The inner line of Guards faces outwards, and all present except the
 prisoners are driven from centre into the wings, and the court begins
 to clear._

    Ner. (_to Flavus, who is held before him_). Who art thou, sir?

    _Fla._ A tribune and an honest soldier, Cæsar;
    And none more faithful, while you well deserved.
    But I began to hate you from the day
    You killed your mother, and debased yourself,
    Performing to the people: and I am freed
    From all my oaths, by all the gods in heaven,
    With all the world; and sworn with half the world
    To kill thee or be killed.

    _Ner._               Fool! I shall kill thee,
    With thy half world, and rule the other half.

    (_The curtain fells, or scene shuts across._)


                              SCENE ·• 4

_A room in the palace. Enter Tigellinus._

    _TIGELLINUS._

      Rufus, my rival, is condemned to die:
    The city troops are mine: I am secure:
    Cæsar I hold by flattery, Rome by force.
    Sophronius Tigellinus of Agrigentum!
    Of Agrigentum,—well done! be content.
    Thou hast the second place in all the world,
    And rulest the first; while of thine envious foes,
    Sulla, Plautus, and Piso, all three are dead:      2450
    A few remain: but on the Spaniard Seneca
    Shall the Sicilian eagle swoop to-night,
    As on a flying hare. Poppæa, in this
    My keen ally, hunts with me eagerly.

    _Enter Nero and Poppæa._

    Hail, mighty Cæsar! fairest Augusta, hail! (_They salute._)
    The assassin hath not hurt thy spirits?

    _NERO._

                                            Fear not,
    I have dined.

    _Tig._        Dined well, I pray the gods.

    _Ner._                               Superbly.—
    We sent to speak with thee of Seneca;
    What should be done.

    _Tig._         What hath been done already?

    _Ner._ Hark, I will tell thee. I sent a letter to him,
    Pressing the information of Natalis;—
    ‘Why, if thou knewest of this plot’—I said—
    ‘Didst not thou warn me? And if thou knewest not,
    What was thy reason why thou didst refuse
    Audience to Piso, alleging that such meetings
    Were good for neither; adding also, _I hold
    Thy life needful for mine_?’ Now I await
    His answer.

    _Tig._      The tribune is returned.

    _Ner._                         Impossible;
    Seneca is in Campania.

    _Tig._           Nay, your majesty;
    He is in the suburbs: he returned to-day,
    Trusting his wit before his innocence.

    _Ner._ Go, fetch the tribune in.                 [_Exit Tigellinus._

    _POPPÆA._

                                          Why dally thus?

    _Ner._ I dally not: I go the shortest way
    To find if he be guilty.

    _Pop._             Stick you at that?

    _Ner._ Romans are free. There is no man can be touched          2475
    On an unproven charge.

    _Pop._           Are you not Cæsar?

    _Ner._ Cæsar administers the law, while it
    Can minister to him.

_Re-enter Tigellinus._

    _Tig._         Here is his answer written.

    _Ner._ Read it us, Tigellinus.

    _Tig._                   If I can ...
    The letters are so pinched and shaky ... it needs
    The scholarship of Cæsar.

    _Ner._              Give it to me.
    (_Reads._) ‘To Cæsar, Lucius Annæus Seneca
    Greeting ... In answer to thy message; first
    ’Tis true that once Natalis came to me
    From Piso, and begged that I would visit him:
    And I excused myself on plea of sickness,
    And need of quiet: As to the words imputed,
    However I may prize thy safety, Cæsar,
    I have no cause to set a private person’s
    Above my own; nor do I stoop to flattery,
    As well thou knowest; nor to such shallow arts
    As would hide treason in a salutation.’

    _Tig._ Is that the sum?

    _Ner._            ’Tis all. He is not guilty.

    _Tig._ Not guilty!

    _Ner._       Nay.

    _Pop._            Why, he confesses it.

    _Ner._ I know the man: his mind is here at ease.
    The style is pithy and careless. When he has aught
    To excuse, he is wordy.

    _Tig._            He was wordy enough
    In the matter of Agrippina, true.

    _Ner._                      Well, sir!

    _Pop._ And in the matter of Britannicus.

    _Ner._ Why raise these matters now?                             2500

    _Tig._                        These are the matters
    That Seneca harps on: while he lives they live.

    _Pop._ These are the deeds Epicharis charged against thee.

    _Tig._ This was the root of Flavus’ hate.

    _Pop._                              ’Tis this
    The people mean, who whisper when I pass,
    ‘Octavia, Octavia.’

    _Tig._        And he now persuades
    Half Rome ’twas not himself who did these things,
    But thou ... which thou, permitting him to live,
    Indorsest with thy name; dost set, I say,
    The imperial warrant on the black account:
    As orphans sign away their patrimony
    To scheming uncles; as unwitting pupils
    To crafty tutors fall a prey.

    _Ner._                  One lesson
    He taught me perfectly, that is to hate him.

    _Pop._ Thy hate and love go by half measures, Nero.

    _Tig._ ’Twere pretty, Cæsar, wert thou a private person,
    To play the philosopher upon the man
    Who led thee astray—albeit to sacrifice
    Thy wife and friend,—if he who saved thy life
    May style himself thy friend ...

    _Ner._                     Yes, friend; thou savedst
    My life to-day.

    _Tig._    And yet saved not, if thou                            2520
    Wilt throw it straight away, and with thy saviour’s.

    _Ner._ Stay, I am resolved: I will not vex you further:
    I yield. I know there is no man in the world,
    Nor ever was, but hath his flaw: In some
    ’Tis a foul blot, that in the eye of nature
    Stands out unpardonable and unredeemed
    By all the school of virtues, howsoe’er
    They dance in grace around it: In another
    ’Tis like a beauty-mark, a starry mole
    Which on a virgin’s body but sets off                           2530
    The dazzling flesh, that else were self-extinguished
    In its own fairness.—Yet by these flecks and flaws,
    Whate’er they be, ’tis fated that men fall:
    And thus may I, nay must; unless in time
    I heed good warning, for my fault is gross.
    I am over-generous; yes; ye say it; I know it.
    That is my flaw. It is because my schemes
    Are wider than his own, that Seneca hates me:
    Because the world hath tasted more of freedom
    Under my rule than under any Cæsar
    Who went before—and that can no man question—
    It is for this my throne hath more been envied,
    And by more plots and treacheries besieged,
    Than ever others were: and when I saw
    (My safety and the people’s good being one)
    I must make holocaust of private feelings
    To that which helped the whole, then ’twas for that
    The bungling crowd condemned me, & where I looked
    For gratitude to be my consolation,
    I met reproach. ’Twas Seneca, ye say,                           2550
    Who did those things. ’Tis true those deeds were his
    In reason and connivence; but in the act,
    Doing and suffering they were mine, and are.
    Yet now, if he withdraw his countenance,
    Condemn, wear vulgar horror on his face,
    And turn men’s hearts against me, what could move
    My anger more if I were vain or cruel?
    No. Have your will;—and if I hinder not,
    He cannot blame me; since I do but play
    Seneca to your Cæsar.

    _Tig._          I thank thee, sire.
    He dies to-night; or shall we wait to have him
    Compose the palliation?

    _Ner._            Jest not; ’tis done.                  [_Exit Tig._

    _Pop._ You have talked too long, Nero; come in & rest.

    _Ner._ He was my tutor once, and once I loved him.

    _Pop._ You might have done it with a nod.

    _Ner._                              He is old:
    I rob him not of much. The end of life
    Is tedious, I believe. Come back, Poppæa;
    And while we are in our prime, let us be merry
    And thank the gods.                                       [_Exeunt._


                               SCENE ·• 5

                           (_As epilogue._)

_Scene withdraws and shows Seneca’s garden in the suburbs: a table set
                          out under a tree._

                 _Enter SENECA, THRASEA, and PRISCUS._

                               _SENECA._

      This way: I have bid them set a table, Thrasea,
    Under my favourite tree. Here let us sit,
    And watch the April sunset; the mild air
    Permits this summer pleasure.

    _THRASEA._

                                  I long doubted
    Whether to come upon an invitation
    Written before these troubles.                                  2575

    _Sen._                   You did well
    Not to desert me. Fannia too shall comfort
    My grieved Paullina.—Here is the best wine
    Of all my vineyards: drink to my long journey:—
    But first remember solemnly our friends
    Who have already died to-day: I pour
    This cup to them, and specially must name
    My nephew Lucan.

    _Thr._     ’Tis an ancient custom.

    _Sen._ (_offering to Thrasea_).          And should be kept.

    _Thr._ (_taking and sprinkling_). I’ll name the gentle Piso.

    _PRISCUS_ (_taking from Thrasea_).

      This to Epicharis.      (_Sprinkling._)

    _Thr._         Well spoken, son.
    No better wish than that we all may die
    Bravely as she.

    _Sen._    So be it! Now let us sit.      (_They sit._)
    And I between (_sitting_). I would so spend this hour,.
    That ye shall not forget it in after-days,
    When ye think of me. ’Tis the last time, friends,
    That ye will sup with me.

    _Pr._               Nay, say not so:
    I trust you have escaped.

    _Sen._              Look on yon sun:
    An hour hence he will set; and now he sinks
    Smiling eternal promises. Ye both
    Shall see him rise, but I—I shall not see it.
    This tree shall hang its branches, and another
    May sit and comfort his poetic sadness.
    As I have done, only not I: I only
    Not here ... not there, where I have been: all things
    Have hitherto existed with me, henceforth
    All will exist without me.

    _Pr._                Have more hope.                            2600

    _Sen._ Nay, it is so; what else could Cæsar mean?

    _Thr._ Your answer may convince him.

    _Sen._                         Nay, good Thrasea;
    These be the last hours of my life: I’d say
    To you, my friends, what I have most at heart.
    And first rejoice with me that I depart
    With all my senses perfect, not as some,
    Tortured by pain and praying for release;
    Nor like a man, who walking in the dark,
    Comes to a brink upright, and steppeth over
    Unhesitatingly, because he knows not.
    Nor is my term much shortened, I shall die
    Like aged Socrates, and with his hope
    That the spirit doth not perish;—I mean not
    A senseless immortality of fame:
    That I shall have, but more I’ll have; I dream
    Of life in which I may be Seneca again,
    Seneca still.

    _Thr._ Now if thou couldst convince us,
    Seneca, of that, ’twere worthy thy last hour.
    Teach me to picture what thou thinkst to see,
    That land betwixt oblivion and regret;
    Where is’t? how is it?

    _Sen._           It lies not in the scope
    Of demonstration, Thrasea; but my heart
    Bears witness to it: the best that I could say
    Is in my books. What all mankind desires,
    The mind requires; what it requires believes:                   2625
    And calls it truth. I hold that one God made us,
    And at our death receives our spirits kindly:
    We shall meet elsewhere those whom we leave here.

    _Pr._ This will not comfort Romans: Nero again,
    And Tigellinus....

    _Sen._       Why may there not be
    Distinction, Priscus, as old fables tell;
    Rewards for good, and punishments for ill?
    The myths are gross and brutal, but philosophy
    Finds reason in religion.

    _Thr._              Then the vulgar,
    ’Gainst whom you have waged your philosophic war,
    Hold the last truth.

    _Sen._         The sanction of all truth
    Lies in our common nature. A religion
    Based on the truth of what all men desire
    Must carry all before it.

    _Thr._              But you said
    Philosophy found reason in religion.
    What is your ground?

    _Sen._         My first is this, that else
    All were unjust. It needs a second life
    To set this even.

    _Thr._      You have not found in life
    Its own reward?

    _Sen._    Nay, I have not.

    _Thr._                     I know not
    If ’tis not sadder, this profound impeachment
    Of God’s whole constitution as we see it,
    Than the belief that death’s our end of all.
    To live in conscious harmony with nature
    May satisfy our being; but religion
    Looks like the poetry which childhood makes                     2650
    To cloke its empty terrors, or bedizen
    Its painted idols: such is my persuasion.

    _Pr._ And mine.

    _Sen._    Ah, Priscus, thou art young. I once
    Looked forward into life with a proud heart,
    Nor saw the exigency and irony
    Of all-subduing Fate. Consider, Priscus,
    Whether your father’s virtue or Nero’s crimes
    Have found their recompense.

    _Pr._                  If Thrasea’s heart
    Is comforted by virtue, sir, and Nero
    Made wretched by his crime ...

    _Sen._                   Then put it thus:
    If any were to make a tragedy
    Of these events, how would it pass or please,
    If Nero lived on at the end unpunished,
    Triumphing still o’er good?

    _Thr._                Yes, Seneca:
    But see you make not now your god of the stage
    The God of Nature. Our true tragedy
    Is just this outward riddle, and the god
    That mends all, comes not in pat at his cue
    On a machine, but liveth in our hearts
    Resolving evil faster than it falls,
    As the sun melts the snow.

    _Sen._               ’Tis not enough,
    Thrasea, ’tis not enough: there must be more.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Hear you a tramping? That is Cæsar’s men:
    They will surround the garden. Come aside.

    (_Comes to front with Thrasea._)

    Stand by me, Thrasea, to the last. I would not                  2675
    Slur the last act of life. Be thou my witness
    Of word and deed.

_Enter Paullina with Fannia, who goes to Priscus._

    _PAULLINA._

                     O Seneca, they are come;
    They are come again.

    _Sen._         Dear wife, remember, and help me.—
    See, friends, the sun is almost set; ’tis time
    We went within.

    _Pau._    Alas! (_weeping._)

    _Sen._ (_to Paullina_). Thy tears distract me,
    And shame us both.

_Enter a Centurion._

    _CENTURION._

                       Annæus Seneca!

    _Sen._ Well, sir: thy message? Art not thou Silvanus,
    That stoodst with Rufus and with Subrius Flavus?
    How hast thou wriggled out?

    _Cent._               I am Silvanus,
    And bring thee Cæsar’s bidding.

    _Sen._                    Is it death?

    _Cent._ ’Tis death.

    _Pau._        Shame on thee.

    _Sen._                       Hush, wife: be brave.—A man
    Need not be shamed, sirs, that his wife bewail him.
    (_To Paullina._) Go thou, Paullina, fetch my will.

    _Cent._                                      Stay, madam:
    ’Tis not allowed.

    _Sen._      This is unkind: my wealth
    Was Cæsar’s gift: but now he takes from me
    More than he ever gave, my life: ’tis mean
    To grudge me my last freedom, the little use
    I’d make of his old favours. I but wished
    To leave mementoes to three loving friends,
    Who have supped with me to-night.—In lieu thereof
    The example of my constancy shall be
    More lively undelayed by gentle speeches
    And farewell gifts. Come with me, all is ready.

    _Cent._ I await thee.

    _Sen._          Farewell, friends! Farewell, Paullina!

    _Pau._ Not to me here.

    _Sen._           Yes, we must part: the day
    Is not much hastened. See how skeleton-like
    Already the hand, with which I go to shear
    The filmy threads of life.

    _Pau._               But I will die
    With thee.

    _Sen._     Be still. Let not thy heart rebel.
    Now is the hour of proof.

    _Pau._              If ’twere God’s will.

    _Sen._ All is God’s will: and as we lived together
    In love, so now we part.

    _Pau._             Why should we part?
    What thou doest I will do: I fear not death.
    I’ll hold my little candle by thy sun....

    _Sen._ It may not be. Use thy high courage rather
    To live. Yes, live in peace: live long.

    _Pau._                            With thee
    Murdered! Alas!

    _Sen._    Give me thy last embrace.

    _Pau._ Was not my faith then true? Are we not one?

    _Sen._ Yes, yes: we are one.

    _Pau._                 Then now forbid me not
    To die with thee.

    _FANNIA._

                      Do not this thing, madam!

    _Pau._ Nay, hold me not!

    _Sen._             Paullina, dost thou make
    This desperate choice truly with all thy heart?

    _Pau._ With all my heart.

    _Sen._              Thou dost? Dear wife, I thought
    Cæsar could part us: now I can forgive him.—
    To you, my friends, farewell! Thrasea, farewell!
    Priscus, farewell! Fannia, farewell!—Paullina,
                                    (_Taking her hand_)
    Since thou canst dare, we will go hand in hand
    To learn the mighty secret; we will set forth
    Together unto the place where all have gone.                    2724

                                  End



NOTES


THE FEAST OF BACCHUS

(From 2nd edition).


NOTE I.

This attempt to give _Menander_ to the english stage is based Upon his
‘Heautontimorumenos’ as we know it through _Terence_. That play, though
marked by roman taste, is a work of high excellence; but as it stands
would be unpresentable to a christian audience, chiefly on account of
the story of _Antiphila’s_ exposure, which must deprive _Chremes_ of
sympathy. And, since the liberties which _Terence_ took with _Menander_
cannot be determined, it was but mannerly to extend the necessary
alteration, and suppress the slaves with their tedious and difficult
intrigue. Thus altered, only about one-sixth of the latin original
remains; and the play is perhaps not so sound in plot as _Terence_
made it, and is still weighted with the badness of his _Bacchis_
[_Gorgo_]; but it has the advantage of being more easily followed. The
construction of the modern stage required the opening change. All that
is beautiful in _Terence_, and therefore possibly most of what was
_Menander’s_, has been carefully preserved; and some extant fragments
of his have also found a lodging.

The metre is a line of six stresses, written according to rules of
english rhythm; and its correspondence with the latin comic trimeter
iambic is an accident. Whatever a stress may carry, it should never
be made to carry more than one long syllable with it,—the comic vein
allowing some license as to what is reckoned as long;—but as there
are no conventional, or merely metric stresses (except sometimes in
the sixth place; and in the third, when the midverse break usual in
english six-stressed verse is observed, or that place is occupied by a
proper name), the accompanying long and short syllables may have very
varied relation of position with regard to their carrying stress. Where
more than four short unstressed syllables come together, a stress is
distributed or lost; and in some conditions of rhythm this may occur
when only four short syllables come together; and this distributed
stress occurs very readily in the second, fourth, and fifth places.
Such at least seem some of the rhythmic laws, any infringement of which
must be regarded as a fault or liberty of writing: and the best has not
been made of the metre. A natural emphasizing of the sense gives all
the rhythm that is intended.

The author thinks that so much explanation is due to the reader,
because the verse is new. He has been told that it will be said by the
critics to be prose; but that if it were printed as prose, they might
pronounce it to be verse: and this is the effect aimed at; since a
comic metre which will admit colloquial speech without torturing it
must have such a loose varying rhythm.


NOTE II.

(From Montaigne’s essays, II. 8.)

‘Feu M. le Mareschal de Monluc, ayant perdu son filz qui mourut
en l’Isle de Maderes, brave Gentilhomme à la verité, et de grande
esperance, me faisoit fort valoir entre ses autres regrets, le
desplaisir et creve-cœur qu’il sentoit de ne s’estre jamais communiqué
à luy: et sur cette humeur d’une gravité et grimace paternelle, avoir
perdu la commodité de gouster et bien cognoistre son filz; et aussi de
luy declarer l’extreme amitié qu’il luy portoit, et le digne jugement
qu’il faisoit de sa vertu. “Et ce pauvre garçon, disoit-il, n’a rien
veu de moy qu’une contenance refroignée et pleine de mespris; et a
emporté cette creance, que je n’ay sceu ny l’aimer ny l’estimer selon
son merite. A qui guardoy-je à descouvrir cette singuliere affection
que je luy portoy dans mon ame? Estoit-ce pas luy qui en devoit
avoir tout le plaisir et toute l’obligation? Je me suis contraint et
gehenné pour maintenir ce vain masque: et y ay perdu le plaisir de sa
conversation, et sa volonté quant et quant, qu’il ne me peut avoir
portée autre que bien froide, n’ayant jamais receu de moy que rudesse,
ny senti qu’une façon tyrannique.” Je trouve cette plainte estoit
bien prise et raisonable.’ It surprises me that Montaigne does not
in this place refer to Menedemus. In the tenth essay, Des Livres, he
writes thus of Terence: ‘Quant an bon Terence, la mignardise, et les
graces du langage latin, je le trouve admirable à representer au vif
les mouvemens de l’ame, et la condition de nos mœurs: à toute heure
nos actions me rejettent à luy: Je ne le puis lire si souvent que
je n’y treuve quelque beauté et grace nouvelle.... Sa gentilesse et
sa mignardise nous retiennent par tout. Il est partout si plaisant,
_Liquidus, puroque simillimus amni_, et nous remplit tant l’ame de ses
graces, que nous en oublions celles de sa fable.’


NERO, PART II

(From 1st edition).


_ON ENCLITICS, ETC._

In the fifth chapter of the _Life of Johnson_, the following story
is given by Boswell: ‘His schoolfellow and friend. Dr. Taylor, told
me a pleasant anecdote of Johnson’s triumphing over his pupil, David
Garrick. When that great actor had played some little time at Goodman’s
Fields, Johnson and Taylor went to see him perform, and afterwards
passed the evening at a tavern with him and old Giffard. Johnson, who
was ever depreciating stage-players, after censuring some mistakes in
emphasis, which Garrick had committed in the course of that night’s
acting, said, “The players, Sir, have got a kind of rant, with which
they run on, without any regard either to accent or emphasis.” Both
Garrick and Giffard were offended at this sarcasm, and endeavoured
to refute it; upon which Johnson rejoined, “Well now, I’ll give you
something to speak, with which you are little acquainted, and then we
shall see how just my observation is. That shall be the criterion. Let
me hear you repeat the ninth commandment. _Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbour._” Both tried at it, said Dr. Taylor,
and both mistook the emphasis, which should be upon _not_ and _false
witness_. Johnson put them right, and enjoyed his victory with glee.’
Johnson was of course wrong, and Garrick right, at least if he accented
the _shalt_ in the usual way.

A friend of mine once told me that when he was a boy at St. Paul’s
school it fell to his lot to recite the passage in Shakespeare’s
_Julius Cæsar_, where Brutus and Cassius quarrel. and in the following
lines

    _Cass._        I am a soldier, I,
    Older in practice, abler than yourself
    To make conditions.

    _Bru._              Go to, you áre not, Cassius.

    _Cass._ I am.

    _Bru._ I say you are nót.

when he stressed them correctly, as here shown, he was censured and
told to say ‘Go to; you are nót, Cassius.’ However on the day of
performance he lost his presence of mind, and did it right.

These two illustrations of pedantry refusing to conform to idiom will
explain the occasion of many of the accents, with which I have thought
it necessary to disfigure my text; for a good number of them will be
found to be common enclitics. The rest are all put as guides to the
dramatic rhythm, and many of them to ensure the usual pronunciation of
words in verses the rhythm of which depends on it, but which I found
some readers stumble at, so that they would rather mispronounce the
word than accept the intended rhythm.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the present edition the numeration of the lines is copied from the
first edition.


                          OXFORD: HORACE HART

                       PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY



UNIFORM EDITION OF ROBERT BRIDGES’ POETICAL WORKS

_CONTENTS._

 VOLUME I: Prometheus the Firegiver—Eros and Psyche—The Growth of
 Love—Notes. Small post 8vo, 6_s._

 VOLUME II: Shorter Poems—New Poems—Notes. Small post 8vo, 6_s._

 VOLUME III: The First Part of Nero—Achilles in Scyros—Notes. Small
 post 8vo, 6_s._

 VOLUME IV: Palicio—The Return of Ulysses—Notes. Small post 8vo, 6_s_.

 VOLUME V: The Christian Captives—Humours of the Court—Notes. Small
 post 8vo, 6_s._

 VOLUME VI: The Feast of Bacchus—Second Part of the History of
 Nero—Notes.

_SOME PRESS OPINIONS._

_GUARDIAN._—‘The new edition is as dainty a one as any poet could
desire for his work, and it will no doubt win for Mr. Bridges a
considerable portion of the many new readers whom he deserves.’

_WORLD._—‘Beautiful and scholarly.... Mr. Bridges has firmly
established himself in the favour of students of poetry, and the
present edition should still further extend the appreciation of a
writer whose work is always poetic and sincere.’

_BOOKMAN._—‘Mr. Bridges is more than an excellent craftsman.... He
is of those that speak to the heart, and not merely to the aesthetic
senses.’

_DAILY CHRONICLE._—‘Mr. Bridges is an artist whose work cannot fail to
give pleasure to all who care for artistry in English verse.... We find
here in full measure his sane and manly spirit, his love of life, of
beauty and of England, his refinement of thought and of form, his cool
and fresh lyric quality.’

_SCOTSMAN._—‘This new edition cannot but do good to English poetry all
the world over, if it makes Mr. Bridges and his work better known than
they are.’

_GLASGOW HERALD._—‘Mr. Robert Bridges, as a poet, has one supreme
merit. He is always clear, pure, and understandable; so that it is
ever a pleasure to read his verse, which is charged with knowledge of
nature, her aspects, moods, and melodies.... Indeed, in reading the
poems of Mr. Bridges one cannot but think that he is a reincarnation of
some of the noble ancient poets.’

_ST. JAMES’S GAZETTE._—‘Mr. Bridges is a poet who has established the
right to be read as a whole by all who take contemporary literature
seriously.’



FOURTH IMPRESSION. Small Crown 8vo, 5_s._

SONGS OF ACTION.

BY A. CONAN DOYLE.

_PUNCH._—‘Dr. Conan Doyle has well named his verse “Songs of Action.”
It pulsates with life and movement, whether the scenes be laid on sea
or land, on ship or on horseback.’

_WORLD._—‘Dr. Conan Doyle has the gift of writing good rattling songs
with all the swing of Rudyard Kipling.... His songs are full of high
spirits and "go".’

Mr. QUILLER COUCH in the _SPEAKER_.—‘You may like them or not; you may
think they were as easy to write as they are hard to get out of your
memory; I make bold to promise that you will find it difficult to shut
your memory upon them.’

_PALL MALL GAZETTE._—‘We congratulate Dr. Doyle on a volume that will
add to his reputation.’

_ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS._—‘Some of the most stirring rhymes of this
age of new-awakened “Imperialism.” Two little pieces in particular,
“The Song of the Bow,” and “A Ballad of the Ranks,” deserve to become
classics of their kind.’

_WESTMINSTER GAZETTE._—‘Dr. Conan Doyle’s songs are happily named. They
are full of movement, and are for the most part moving. Especially
full-blooded and buoyant are the hunting songs.’

_BOOKMAN._—‘There is no question but that, if Mr. Kipling be first
favourite with the soldiers, Mr. Doyle should be their Laureate’s
lieutenant, and that huntsmen and golfers should have his songs in
their hearts and upon their lips.’

       *       *       *       *       *

Fcap. 8vo, 5_s._

SONGS OF AN ENGLISH ESAU.

BY CLIVE PHILLIPPS-WOLLEY,

Author of ‘One of the Broken Brigade,’ ‘The Chicamon Stone,’ &c.

_TIMES._—‘These are bracing songs, full of the Imperial spirit, of
healthy sentiment and fresh air, and not without a true sense of poetic
style.’

_DAILY TELEGRAPH._—‘Stirring verses.... The patriotic note sounds
through most of them, and rings clear and true.’

_OUTLOOK._—‘They throb with love of Britain and Empire, and are
appropriately virile and straightforward.’

_DUNDEE ADVERTISER._—‘Establishes the author as a minor Kipling....
The book breathes Imperialism, loyalty, and native confidence, and it
stimulates British pride like a draught of wine.’

       *       *       *       *       *


WORKS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.


 THE POEMS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. New and Cheaper Edition.
 Complete in one volume, with Portrait and Facsimile of the MS. of _A
 Sonnet from the Portuguese_. Large Crown 8vo, bound in cloth, gilt
 top, 3_s._ 6_d._

 THE POETICAL WORKS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. Uniform Edition. Six
 volumes in set binding, Small Crown 8vo, 5_s._ each.

 _This Edition is uniform with the Seventeen-Volume Edition of
 Mr. Robert Browning’s Works. It contains several Portraits and
 Illustrations._

MRS. BROWNING’S WORKS. IN THREE POCKET VOLUMES. Printed upon India
Paper, with a Portrait-Frontispiece to each Volume. Fcap. 8vo, 2_s._
6_d._ each net, in limp cloth; or 3_s._ net in leather.

AURORA LEIGH. With an Introduction by ALGERNON Charles Swinburne, and a
Frontispiece. Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 3_s._ 6_d._

A SELECTION FROM THE POETRY OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. FIRST
SERIES, Crown 8vo, 3_s._ 6_d._ Second Series, Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

POEMS. Small fcap. 8vo, bound in Art linen, with cut or uncut edges,
1_s._ (Also supplied in leather binding.)

 EXTRACT FROM PREFATORY NOTE BY MR. ROBERT BROWNING.

 ‘In a recent _Memoir of Elizabeth Barrett Browning_, by JOHN H.
 INGRAM, it is observed that “such essays on her personal history
 as have appeared, either in England or elsewhere, are replete with
 mistakes or misstatements.” For these he proposes to substitute “a
 correct if short memoir”; but, kindly and appreciative as may be Mr.
 Ingram’s performance, there occur not a few passages in it equally
 "mistaken and misstated".’

THE LETTERS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. Edited, with Biographical
Additions, by Frederic G. Kenyon. In two vols. With Portraits. Fourth
Edition. Crown 8vo, 15_s._ net.

THE LETTERS OF ROBERT BROWNING AND ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. Fourth
Impression. With Two Portraits and Two Facsimile Letters. 2 vols.,
Crown 8vo, 21_s._

⁂ _These Volumes are uniform with_ ‘THE LETTERS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT
BROWNING.’

       *       *       *       *       *


ROBERT BROWNING’S WORKS AND ‘LIFE AND LETTERS.’


 THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ROBERT BROWNING. Edited and Annotated
 by AUGUSTINE BIRRELL, K.C., M.P., and FREDERIC G. KENYON. In
 two vols., Large Crown 8vo, bound in cloth, gilt top, with a
 Portrait-Frontispiece to each volume, 7_s._ 6_d._ per volume.

⁂ An Edition has also been printed on Oxford India Paper. This can be
obtained only through booksellers, who will furnish particulars as to
price, &c.

 UNIFORM EDITION OF THE WORKS OF ROBERT BROWNING. Seventeen vols. Small
 Crown 8vo, lettered separately, or in set binding, 5_s._ each.

This edition contains Three Portraits of Mr. Browning at different
periods of life, and a few Illustrations.


_CONTENTS OF THE VOLUMES._

    1. PAULINE: and SORDELLO.

    2. PARACELSUS: and STRAFFORD.

    3. PIPPA PASSES: KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES:
        THE RETURN OF THE DRUSES: and A SOUL’S TRAGEDY.
        With a Portrait of Mr. Browning.

    4. A BLOT IN THE ’SCUTCHEON: COLOMBE’S BIRTHDAY: and MEN AND WOMEN.

    5. DRAMATIC ROMANCES: and CHRISTMAS EVE AND EASTER DAY.

    6. DRAMATIC LYRICS: and LURIA.

    7. IN A BALCONY: and DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.
        With a Portrait of Mr. Browning.

    8. THE RING AND THE BOOK. Books 1 to 4.
        With two Illustrations.

    9. THE RING AND THE BOOK. Books 5 to 8.

    10. THE RING AND THE BOOK. Books 9 to 12.
        With a Portrait of Guido Franceschini.

    11. BALAUSTION’S ADVENTURE: PRINCE HOHENSTIEL-SCHWANGAU,
        Saviour of Society: and FIFINE AT THE FAIR.

    12. RED COTTON NIGHTCAP COUNTRY: and THE INN ALBUM.

    13. ARISTOPHANES’ APOLOGY,
        including a Transcript from Euripides, being the Last Adventure
        of Balaustion: and THE AGAMEMNON OF AESCHYLUS.

    14. PACCHIAROTTO, and How he Worked in Distemper;
        with other Poems: LA SAISIAZ: and THE TWO POETS OF CROISIC.

    15. DRAMATIC IDYLS, First Series: DRAMATIC IDYLS, Second Series:
        and JOCOSERIA.

    16. FERISHTAH’S FANCIES:
        and PARLEYINGS WITH CERTAIN PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE IN THEIR DAY.
        With a Portrait of Mr. Browning.

    17. ASOLANDO: Fancies and Facts:
        and BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTES TO THE POEMS.

 ROBERT BROWNING’S WORKS. In Eight Pocket Volumes. Printed upon India
 Paper, with a Portrait-Frontispiece to each Volume. Fcap. 8vo, 2_s._
 6_d._ each net in limp cloth; or 3_s._ net in leather. Or the eight
 volumes in a gold-lettered case, 22_s._ 6_d._ net in cloth; or 28_s._
 6_d._ net in leather.

 A SELECTION FROM THE POETICAL WORKS OF ROBERT BROWNING. SECOND SERIES,
 Crown 8vo, 3_s._ 6_d._

 POCKET VOLUME OF SELECTIONS FROM THE POETICAL WORKS OF ROBERT
 BROWNING. Small Fcap. 8vo, bound in Art-linen, with cut or uncut
 edges, price ONE SHILLING. (Also supplied in leather binding.)

 THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF ROBERT BROWNING. By MRS. SUTHERLAND ORR. With
 Portrait, and Steel Engraving of Mr. Browning’s Study in De Vere
 Gardens. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, 12_s._ 6_d._


LONDON: SMITH, ELDER & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE, S.W.





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