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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Prologue of ‘Trinummus’
By Plautus (c. 254–184 B.C.)
 
Translation of William Cranston Lawton

Enter Two Female Figures
MOTHER—Follow, my daughter, to fulfill your task.
  Daughter—I follow, ignorant what the end may be.
  Mother—’Tis here: lo, yonder house; go straightway in.  [Exit daughter.]
[To the audience]—Now, lest you err, I’ll give you guidance brief,—
At least if you will promise to attend.        5
Who then I am, and she who passed from here
Within, if you but hearken, I will tell.
First, Plautus made my name Extravagance,
And called my daughter yonder, Poverty.
But why impelled by me she entered there,        10
Hearken and lend your ears while I explain.
A certain youth, who in that house abides,
Has squandered, with my aid, his heritage.
And seeing he can no longer nourish me,
I have given my daughter to abide with him.—        15
Do not expect the argument of our play.
The old men coming yonder will make clear
The story. In Greek, ‘Thesaurus’ was it called.
Philemon wrote it. Plautus rendering it
In barbarous speech, called it ‘Trinummus’: now        20
He begs the drama may retain the name.
That’s all. Farewell. In silence now attend.

  [As these characters do not appear again, Plautus “made their names” here only. That is, this passage claims at least to be from the dramatist’s own hand.]
 
 
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