|SYRISCUSYoud dodge whats fair.|
Davus And you, unchancy, blackmail me.
| SyriscusYou have no right to whats not yours. Lets leave the case|
|To some third person.|
Davus I agree. Lets arbitrate.
| SyriscusWho shall it be?|
Davus For my part anyone will suit.
|It serves me right, for why did I go shares with you?|
[Enter Smicrines from the house of Charisius.]
|SCENE: Syriscus, Davus, Smicrines.|
SyriscusWill you take him as judge?
Davus Luck help me, yes!
Syriscus [to Smicrines] Good sir,
|Now, by the gods, could you give us a moments time?|
| SmicrinesGive you? And wherefore?|
Syriscus Weve a question in dispute.
| SmicrinesWhats that to me, pray?|
Syriscus Some impartial judge for this
|Were seeking now, and so, if nothing hinders you,|| 10|
|Adjust our quarrel.|
Smicrines Rascals marked for misery!
|Dressed in your goat-skins, do you walk and talk of law?|
| SyriscusBut none the less the matters short and easily|
|Decided. Grant the favor, father. By the gods,|
|Do not despise us, for at all times it behooves|| 15|
|That justice gain the upper hand, yes, everywhere,|
|And every one that comes along should take his part|
|In looking out for this. It is the common lot|
|We all must share.|
Davus [aside] Ive grappled no mean orator,
|Why did I give him part in this?|
Smicrines Will you abide
|By my decision? Say.|
Syricus and Davus [together] Of course.
Smicrines Ill hear. For whats
|To hinder? [To Davus.]|
You! you close-mouthed fellow there! Speak first.
| DavusIll start a little further back, not simply tell|
|His part, that I may make the matter plain to you.|
|Within this bushy thicket here, hard by this place|| 25|
|My flock I was a-herding, now, perhaps, good sir,|
|Some thirty days gone by, and I was all alone,|
|When I came on a little infant child exposed|
|With necklace and with some such other ornaments.|
| Syriscus [interrupting]Of these, just these, were talking.|
Davus He wont let me speak!
| Smicrines [to Syriscus]If you put in your chatter, with this stick of mine|
|Ill fetch you one.|
Davus And serve him right.
Smicrines [to Davus] Speak on.
Davus I will.
|I took him up and with him went off to my house,|
|I had in mind to rear himtwas my notion then|
|But overnight came counsel, as it does to all,|| 35|
|And with myself I reasoned: What have I to do|
|With rearing children and the trouble? Where shall I|
|Find so much money? What anxiety for me!|
|Thus minded was I. Back unto my flock again|
|At daybreak. Came this fellowhes a charcoal man|| 40|
|Unto this selfsame place to saw out tree-stumps there.|
|Now he had had acquaintance with me heretofore,|
|And so we fell to talking. Noticing my gloom|
|Says he: Whys Davus anxious? Now why not? says I,|
|For Im a meddler. And I tell him of the facts:|| 45|
|How I had found, how owned the child. And straightway then|
|Ere I could tell him everything, he begged and begged:|
|So, Davus, blessed be your lot! at every word|
|Exclaiming: Give to me the baby! So, good luck|
|Be yours! So, be you free. For Ive a wife, he says,|| 50|
|And she gave birth unto a baby and it died|
|(Meaning this woman here that holds the baby now)|
| Smicrines [to Syriscus]You begged?|
Davus [to Syriscus, who at first fails to answer] Syriscus!
Syriscus Yes, I did.
Davus The live-long day
|He pestered me, and when he urged, entreated me|
|I promised him; I gave the child and off he went|| 55|
|Calling down countless blessings, seized my hands and kissed|
|And kissed them.|
Smicrines [to Syriscus] You did this?
Syriscus I did.
Davus Well, off he went.
|Just now he meets me with his wife, and suddenly|
|Lays claim to all the things then with the child exposed|
|(Now these were small and worthless, merely nothing)claims|| 60|
|That he should have them; says hes treated scurvily|
|Because I will not give them, claim them for myself.|
|But I declare hed better feel some gratitude|
|For what he did get by his begging. If I fail|
|To give him all, no need to bring me to account.|| 65|
|If even walking with me he had found these things,|
|And twere a Share-all Windfall, he had taken this,|
|I that. But when I made the find alone, do you,|
|Although you were not by, do you, I say, expect|
|To have it all yourself, and not one thing for me?|| 70|
|In fine, I gave you of my own, with free-will gave:|
|If this still pleases you, then keep it even now,|
|But if it doesnt suit and if youve changed your mind|
|Why, then return it. Dont commit nor suffer wrong.|
|But, part by my consent and part by forcing me,|| 75|
|That you get allthat were not fair. Ive said my say.|
| SyriscusHas said his say?|
Smicrines Youre deaf?
Syriscus Hes said his say. All right
|Then I come after. All alone this fellow here|
|The baby found and all of this hes telling now|
|He tells correctly, father, and it happened so.|| 80|
|I do not contradict. I did entreat and beg|
|And I received it from him. Yes, he tells the truth.|
|A certain shepherd, fellow laborer of his|
|With whom he had been talking, now brings word to me|
|That with the baby he had found some ornaments.|| 85|
|On this account, see, father, he is here himself!|
|Give me the baby, wife. [Takes the child from his wifes arms.]|
Now, Davus, here from you
|Hes asking back the necklace and the souvenirs,|
|For he declares that these were placed upon himself|
|For his adorning, not for piecing out your keep.|| 90|
|I too join in, and ask for them, as guardian|
|You made me that by giving him. And now, good sir,|
|Methinks t is yours to settle whether it be right|
|These golden trinkets and whatever else there be|
|As given by his mother, whosoeer she was,|| 95|
|Be put by for the baby till he come of age|
|Or this sneak-thief who stripped him is to have these things,|
|Belonging unto others, if he found them first!|
|Why didnt I, youll say, when first I took the child,|
|Demand them then of you? It was not then as yet|| 100|
|Within my power to speak thus in the childs behalf;|
|And even now Im here demanding no one thing|
|Thats mine, mine only. Windfall! Share-all! None of that!|
|No finding when tis question of a person wronged.|
|That is not finding, simple confiscation that!|| 105|
|And look at this too, father. Maybe this boy here|
|Was born above our station. Reared mongst working-folk|
|He will despise our doings, his own level seek|
|And venture on some action suiting noble birth:|
|Will go a-lion-hunting; carry arms; or run|| 110|
|A race at games. Youve seen tragedians, I know,|
|And all of this you understand. Those heroes once,|
|Pelias, Neleus, by an aged man were found,|
|A goat-herd in his goat-skin dressed as I am now,|
|And, when he noticed they were better born than he,|| 115|
|He tells the matter, how he found, how took them up.|
|He gave them back their wallet, with birth-tokens filled.|
|And thus they found out clearly all their history,|
|And they, the one-time goat-herds, afterwards were kings.|
|But had a Davus found those things and sold them off,|| 120|
|That he might profit by twelve drachmas for himself,|
|Through all the coming ages they had been unknown|
|Who were such great ones and of such a pedigree.|
|And so it is not fitting, father, that I here|
|Should rear his body and that Davus seize meanwhile|| 125|
|His lifes hope for the future, make it disappear.|
|A youth about to wed his sister once was stopped|
|By just such tokens. One a mother found and saved.|
|This one a brother. Since, O father, all mens lives|
|Are liable to dangers, we must watch, look out,|| 130|
|By long ahead providing what is possible.|
|Well, if you are not suited, give him back, says he.|
|This is his stronghold in the matter, as he thinks.|
|But thats no justice. Must you give up what is his,|
|Then in addition would you claim to have the child|| 135|
|That more securely you may play the rogue again|
|If some of his belongings Fortune has preserved?|
|Ive said my say.|
[To Smicrines.] Give verdict as you hold is just.
| SmicrinesWell, this decisions easy: All that was exposed|
|Together with the child goes with him, I decide.|| 140|
| DavusAll right. But now, the baby?|
Smicrines Zeus, I wont decide
|Hes yours whod wrong him, but hes his who came to aid,|
|This mans who stood against you, you whod injure him.|
| SyriscusNow yours be many blessings!|
Davus Nay, a verdict rank!
|By Zeus the saviour! I, the sole discoverer,|| 145|
|Am stripped of all and he who did not find receives!|
|Am I to hand these over?|
Davus A verdict rank
|Else may no blessing ever light on me!|
Syriscus Come. Quick!
| DavusGood Heracles, how I am treated!|
Syriscus Loose your sack
|And show us, for its there you carry them.|
[To Smicrines, about to leave.] Nay, stop.
|I beg, a little, till he gives them up.|
Davus [aside] Why did
|I let him judge our case?|
Smicrines Come, give, you quarry-slave!
| Davus [handing over the tokens]What shameful treatment!|
Smicrines [to Syriscus] Have you all?
Syriscus I think so, yes.
| SmicrinesYou have, unless he swallowed something down while I|
|Gave verdict of conviction.|
Syriscus Id not believe he could.
[To Smicrines who turns to leave.]
|Nay, then, good sir, may Luck attend you. Sooner far|
|Id have the judges all like you.|
[Exit Smicrines to city.] Davus But how unjust,
|O Heracles! This verdict, was it not too rank?|
| SyriscusYou were a rascal, rascal you!|
Davus Look out yourself,
|Yes, you now, that you keep these trinkets safe for him.|| 160|
|Aye, mark you well, Ill ever have an eye on you.|
[Exit Davus towards Mt. Parnes.]
| Syriscus [calling after him]Go hang! Go gang your gait! But you, my wife, take these|
|And carry them in here to our young masters house.|
|For meanwhile here we will await Chærestratus|
|And in the morning well start off to work again|| 165|
|When we have made our payments. Stop! Lets count them first,|
|Count over, one by one. Have you a basket 1 there?|
|Here, loose your dress, and drop them in.|
[While Syriscus examines the tokens and his wife holds out the fold of her dress Onesimus comes out of the house of Chærestratus.]
SCENE: Syriscus, Onesimus.
Onesimus [to himself] A slower chef
|Nobody ever saw. Why, this time yesterday|
|Long since they had their wine.|
Syriscus [talks to his wife of the trinkets without noticing Onesimus] Now this one seems to be
|A sort of rooster and a tough one too! Take that.|
|And here is something set with stones. This ones an axe.|
| Onesimus [becoming aware of Syriscus and his occupation]Whats this?|
Syriscus [still failing to notice Onesimus] This ones a ring of plated gold. Inside
|Its iron. On the seal is carveda bull?or goat?|
|I cant tell which, and one Cleostratus is he|| 175|
|That made itso the letters say.|
Onesimus [interrupting] I say, show me!
| Syriscus [startled into handing him the ring]Well, there! But who are you?|
Onesimus The very one!
Syriscus Who is?
| OnesimusThe ring.|
Syriscus What ring dye mean? I dont know what you mean.
| OnesimusCharisiuss ring, my masters ring!|
Syriscus Youre cracked!
| OnesimusThe one he lost.|
Syriscus Put down that ring, you wretched man!
| OnesimusOur ring? Put down for you? Where did you get it from?|
| SyriscusApollo and the gods! What awful strait it is,|
|To bring off safe an orphan babys property!|
|The first to come forthwith has plunder in his eyes,|
|Put down that ring, I say.|
Onesimus Youd jest with me, you would?
|Its masters ring. By your Apollo and the gods!|
| SyriscusId have my throat cut sooner than give in at all|
|To him, I vow. Thats settled. I will have the law|
|On each and all by turns. The boys they are, not mine.|
[Returns to enumerating the tokens.]
|This ones a collar. Take it, you. [To his wife.] A chitons flap|| 190|
|Of purple, this. Go, take them in.|
[His wife with the child and tokens, except the ring, goes in.] Now tell me, you.
|Whats this youre saying to me?|
Onesimus I? This ring is his,
|Charisiuss. Once when drunk, or so he said,|
|He lost it.|
Syriscus Im Chærestratuss tenant slave.
|So either save it carefully or give to me|| 195|
|That I may keep and safe deliver.|
Onesimus I prefer
|Myself as guard.|
Syriscus To me that matters not one whit,
|For both of us are going, as it seems, in here.|
|Into the selfsame place.|
Onesimus Just now its no good time
|Perhaps, when guests are coming in, to tell him this|| 200|
|Our story, but to-morrow|
Syriscus I will wait till then.
|To-morrow, in a word, Im ready to submit|
|This case to anyone you like.|
[Exit Onesimus into the house of Chærestratus.] Now this time, too,
|Ive come off not so badly, but it seems as though|
|A man must give up all besides and practice law.|| 205|
|By this means, nowadays, is everything kept straight.|
[Exit Syriscus into the house.]
[Enter a group of revellers, probably from the city.]
[END OF ACT.]