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A PLEASANT AND FINE CON

CEITED COMAEDIE, CALLED

MENECHMUS,

Taken out of the most excellent Poet Plautus.

ACT I.

SCENE 1.-Enter PENICULUS a Parasite.

PENICULUS was given mee for my name when I was yong, bicause like a broome I swept all cleane away, where so ere I become: Namely all the vittels which are set before mee.

Now in my judgement,

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men that clap iron bolts on such captives as they
would keepe safe, and tie those servants in chaines,
who they thinke will run away, they commit an
exceeding great folly: my reason is, these poore
wretches enduring one miserie upon an other,
never cease devising how by wrenching asunder their 10
gives, or by some subtiltie or other they may escape
such cursed bands. If then ye would keep a man
without all suspition of running away from ye, the
surest way is to tie him with meate, drinke and
ease: Let him ever be idle, eate his belly full, and 15
carouse while his skin will hold, and he shall never,

I warrant ye, stir a foote. These strings to tie one
by the teeth, passe all the bands of iron, steele, or

what metall so ever, for the more slack and easie
ye make them, the faster still they tie the partie 20
which is in them. I speake this upon experience
of my selfe, who am now going for Menechmus,
there willingly to be tied to his good cheare: he is
commonly so exceeding bountifull and liberall in
his fare, as no marveyle though such guestes as my 25
selfe be drawne to his table, and tyed there in his
dishes. Now because I have lately bene a straunger
there, I meane to visite him at dinner: for my
stomacke mee-thinkes even thrusts me into the
fetters of his daintie fare. But yonder I see his 30
doore open, and himselfe readie to come foorth.

SCENE 2.-Enter MENECHMUS talking backe to his wife within.

If ye were not such a brabling foole and mad-
braine scold as yee are, yee would never thus crosse
your husbande in all his actions. 'Tis no matter, let
her serve me thus once more, Ile send her home to

her dad with a vengeance. I can never go foorth
a doores, but shee asketh mee whither I go? what
I do? what busines? what I fetch? what I carry?
* As though she were a Constable or a toll-gatherer.
I have pamperd her too much: she hath servants
about her, wooll, flax, and all things necessary to
busie her withall, yet she watcheth and wondreth
whither I go. Well sith it is so, she shall now have
some cause, I mean to dine this day abroad with a
sweet friend of mine.

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ΙΟ

Pen. Yea marry now comes hee to the point that 15 prickes me this last speech gaules mee as much

as it would doo his wife; If he dine not at home, I
am drest.

Men. We that have Loves abroad, and wives at home,

are miserably hampred, yet would every man could 20
tame his shrewe as well as I doo mine. I have now
filcht away a fine ryding cloake of my wives, which
I meane to bestow upon one that I love better.
Nay, if she be so warie and watchfull over me, I
count it an almes deed to deceive her.

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Pen. Come, what share have I in that same ?

Men. Out alas, I am taken.

Pen. True, but by your friend.

Men. What, mine owne Peniculus ?

Pen. Yours (i faith) bodie and goods if I had any.
Men. Why thou hast a bodie.

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Pen. Yea, but neither goods nor good bodie.

Men. Thou couldst never come fitter in all thy life.

Pen. Tush, I ever do so to my friends, I know how to come alwaies in the nicke. Where dine ye to-day? 35 Men. Ile tell thee of a notable pranke.

Pen. What did the Cooke marre your meate in the dressing? would I might see the reversion. Men. Tell me didst thou see a picture, how Jupiters Eagle snatcht away Ganimede, or how Venus stole 40 away Adonis ?

Pen. Often, but what care I for shadowes, I want
substance.

Men. Looke thee here, looke not I like such a picture?
Pen. O ho, what cloake have ye got here?
Men. Prethee say I am now a brave fellow.
Pen. But hearke ye, where shall we dine?
Men. Tush, say as I bid thee man.
Pen. Out of doubt ye are a fine man.

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Men. What? canst adde nothing of thine owne?

Pen. Ye are a most pleasant gentleman.

Men. On yet.

Pen. Nay not a word more, unlesse ye tell mee how

you and your wife be fallen out.

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Men. Nay I have a greater secret then that to impart 55

to you.

Pen. Say your minde.

Men. Come farther this way from my house.

Pen. So, let me heare.

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Pen. ('Tis pittie ye were not made a water-man to row

in a wherry.

Men. Why?

Pen. Because ye go one way, and looke an other, stil

least your wife should follow ye.

matter, Ist not almost dinner time?

Men. Seest thou this cloake?

Pen. Not yet. Well what of it?

But what's the

Men. This same I meane to give to Erotium.

Pen. That's well, but what of all this?

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Men. There I meane to have a delicious dinner pre

pard for her and me.

Pen. And me.

Men. And thee.

Pen. O sweet word. What, shall I knock presently
at her doore?

Men. I knocke. But staie too Peniculus, let's not be
too rash. Oh see she is in good time comming forth.
Pen. Ah, he now lookes against the sun, how her
beames dazell his eyes.

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80

Enter EROTIUM.

Eroti. What mine owne Menechmus, welcome sweete

heart.

Pen. And what am I, welcome too?

Erot. You Sir? ye are out of the number of my wel

come guests.

*Pen. I am like a voluntary souldier, out of paie. 186 Men. Erotium, I have determined that here shal be pitcht a field this day; we meane to drinke for the heavens: And which of us performes the bravest service at his weopon the wine boll, yourselfe as Captaine shall paie him his wages according to his deserts.

Erot. Agreed.

Pen. I would we had the weapons, for my

pricks me to the battaile.

valour

Men. Shall I tell thee sweete mouse? I never looke upon thee, but I am quite out of love with my wife.

Eroti. Yet yee cannot chuse, but yee must still weare something of hers: what's this same?

Men. This? such a spoyle (sweete heart) as I tooke from her to put on thee.

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Ero. Mine owne Menechmus, well woorthie to be my 105 deare, of all dearest.

Pen. Now she showes her selfe in her likenesse, when shee findes him in the giving vaine, she drawes close to him.

Men. I think Hercules got not the garter from Hypolita 110 so hardly, as I got this from my wife. Take this, and with the same, take my heart.

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