To see a commentary note, click on a blue square. To see the Latin text, click on a green square. To see a corresponding scene in Charles Johnson’s Fortune in her Wits, click on a grey square

DINON, AEMYLIO (wearing Morion’s clothing)

DIN. Are in your right mind, Aemylio? Aemylio, I say again, those clothes belong to the heir, I’m afraid they’ll disturb your brain.
AEM. Get yourself a new disguise, then talk to me afterwards. Although I am unaccustomed to having conversation with a mere servant, my downcast spirit befits these misfortunes. But inasmuch as you have shown yourself trusty, here’s my hand to kiss.
DIN. By heavens, I’ll make you kiss mine, if I apply my fists to your mouth.
AEM. By Hercules if you apply them, I’ll make you feel that I have a mouth. But don’t stand so close to me. I always loathe you mere servants, you worthless beasts. I know what you’re going to say : “I’m a soldier, I’ve mastered our enemies, I’ve been twice killed in action, a thousand times stabbed, and so forth.” Spare your effort: I’m giving nothing, fare you well.
DIN. As if we’re not familiar with each other. Stop this foolery, Aemylio.
AEM. So you may not be ignorant of my name, my comrade, I am called Aemylio.
DIN. So, my friend and comrade Aemylio, please answer me.
AEM. I give you leave to ask. Speak boldly.
DIN. May the gods damn you, you buffoon, I ask this first of the gods. Now I ask you, have you written the letter to Polyporus?
AEM. Hum? What say? We gentlemen tied up in great affairs do not always notice what has been said.
DIN. I want to see a copy of the letter to Polyporus. Do you hear me now?
AEM. Hum. Of the letter? It may be that I’ll show it to you.
DIN. It may be that I’ll reduce the size of your head if you don’t stop this foolery.
AEM. You insult me when I’m dressed this way? Read this quickly, I tell you. [Gives him the letter.]
DIN. Thanks be to all the gods, Mars and the rest, that for the benefit of my master and good friend, whom I freely cultivate, by my customary martial excellence I have taken your son and his two friends amidst the savage monsters of the sea, the herds of Nereus. Now I keep them enchained at home, where they are boasting of my victory. Hasten hither, if you want to ransom them. That’s all. Farewell. — Bombardomachides, general. Pray, does Bombardomachides write in this style?
AEM. That’s his daily speech, he talks like a character in a tragedy.
DIN. This matter is proceeding with a favorable omen, and according to plan. Now what are we doing?
AEM. I’ll play Bombardomachides, you play the jailer. Put on a beard and the rest. (He puts them on.). Hey, do it quickly. Now you’re a jailer plain and simple. Go, lead out the captives. Tell them the story in its proper order, how they have been captured by force and arms. I’ll wait for you here, go off. (Exit Dinon.)
Now I could swindle all men alive, even myself. I’m almost afraid lest this disguised Bombardomachides deceive even Aemylio. (Disguises himself.) Are you so perverse, you cloak? I’ll make you sit better. Hey! This crown is a pyramid. With it I’ll build myself up like an elephant, I’m wearing a turret. Look here, I’m most Bombardomachides-like.
GNO. (Within.) The sole salvation for the conquered is to hope for no salvation.
GEL. What did I do then? Did I not fight like the Hyrcanian tigress when her cubs are snatched away?
DIN. The most vigorously of you all.
GEL. Certainly, unless my memory deceives me.
MOR. I did something too.
GEL. Often the most brave are conquered. Tutor, be of good cheer.
GNO. Assuredly. For it is most truthfully said, It’s helpful to be of good cheer in a bad situation.
DIN. Follow me.
AEM. They’re here, I won’t appear yet. (Exit.)

DINON, GNOMICUS, GELASIMUS, MORION (wearing Aemylio’s clothes)

MOR. Hey Tutor, Tutor, I’m not Morion.
GNO. What say?
MOR. By the immortal gods I’m not, I know Morion well enough.
GNO. The maximum know thyself is heaven-sent.
MOR. No, no, I don’t know myself, by Hercules.
GNO. So who are you?
MOR. How could I know that?
GEL. Fie, fie, you’re the same man.
MOR. I am? That’s good. But where do these clothes come from, Gelasimus?
GEL. I’ve no idea.
MOR. You’ve no idea, Gelasimus? Does that suffice? What shall I answer to Father? What shall I do? Do you see, Tutor?
GNO. I don’t envy you, I’m more amazed.
MOR. Hey! This hat! I see you all through its holes.
GNO. As if it has windows.
MOR. Windows! No, doors, it has doors, Gelasimus. Woe is me!
GEL. All men of genius are unusually unfortunate. Would that I had guarded against this fault, my parents predicted it to me.
MOR. And to me. I heeded them, and yet I’ve lost my clothes.
GNO. I gave you the same admonition, or rather, I had you admonished that “I hate a boy of precocious wit,’ said an admirable man.” But why am I speaking elegantly in the midst of my miseries? Gelasimus, now I can truly say to you, I, the poet Ovid, perished because of my genius.
DIN. Unless you think otherwise, I’ll fetch my master. For he wants to meet you.
GNO. No, as you wish. If he should want something of me, the poet has taught me to answer, I whom you seek am here, Trojan Aeneas.
MOR. Him see me in these clothes? Tell him who I am, Tutor.
DIN. They’re waiting for you, take care not to stumble. [Aside to Aemylio.] Do you hear me too? Take care to restrain your laughter, for that’s a risk.
AEM. Pish, I’ve got my face in my hands.
GEL. He bears himself regally, like that Indian stone which is said to dazzle the eye of all beholders.
GNO. Godlike in his face and his shoulders!
MOR. I’m all shaking and shivering. I’m about to puke.
AEM. When I conquered the savage foe with warlike thunder, I am able to conquer and to grant life. My mind knows not how to be broken, but it can be swayed.
GNO. Oh, whom shall I remember you as, soldier? For your countenance is scarce mortal, nor does your voice sound human. O surely a goddess!
AEM. I can take away the light of day, and grant the light. Thus is said to be the power of lightning-equipped Jove, thus my Mars prevails in the midst of battle. You are well enough experienced in what I can accomplish by arms. I grant these things in turn, thus seems right to Destiny and to myself.
MOR. What shall I do? My fear has fallen down to my posterior, my soul yearns to escape by the back door.
GEL. How warlike is his speech! I don’t dare play jokes on this man.
AEM. Wherefore I have sent a swift messenger to Polyporus, that he may lead you hence safe and sound.
GNO. Maecenas, born of royal ancestors, both my bulwark and my sweet delight!
MOR. Now I’ll revive, for he’s talking about whiskey.
GEL. How the fierce fellow’s growing mild now! Not much otherwise does the hyena (a marvelous thing!) change from a male to a female. It’s the mark of a good wit to manufacture similes, and sometimes I display a neat comparison in my jokes.
AEM. Who art thou? Either speak your name, or hold a long silence.
MOR. Me? Your servant —
AEM. What strikes mine ears? Hah!
MOR. — most devoted to your service.
AEM. Away with these twists and turns.
MOR. I am my father’s eldest son by birth.
AEM. I ask your name.
MOR. Would it were worthy of your hearing.
AEM. I am baffled. Your name?
GEL Just as (by your good leave) you are called Bombardomachides, in much the same way I rejoice in the name of Gelasimus. [Aside.] I jokingly compare my name with his so that I might flatter him the more. (He writes.) I shrewdly got on Bombardomachides’ good side on February 2.
AEM. Your name?
GNO. But if your desire to learn my name is so great, although my mind shudders to remember and shrinks back with grief, I shall begin. My name is Gnomicus (if it please your), or Gnomico.
AEM. Save your politesse, I’m going back inside. (Exit.)
GEL. Surer than sure he nodded to me with his whole head as he took his departure, he admires my wit. Good Lord, he’s captivated!
MOR. I won’t answer him boorishly, Gelasimus. Good, Morion, I don’t want people to call me uneducated, though I lack clothing.
DIN. Do you mind leaving?
GEL. Where to?
DIN. To the place from whence you were brought.
GEL. In that narrow, dark cell, I pray? Which I just now called Hell Gate as a joke.
DIN. That’s it, until Polyporus —
MOR. So let’s go. I like the darkness, for if I look at these rags any more, I’ll weep copiously.
GNO. Plautus wrote a comedy entitled The Captives. You were a prophetic bard, oh Plautus, for “prophetic bard” is an ambiguous word. For we are captives, and the will of Zeus was fulfilled.
MOR. Tutor, Tutor, come back quickly, Tutor.
GNO. What is it?
MOR. Nothing now, but somebody bit me on the back. Let’s go, comrades. (Exeunt.)


AEM. I’m all consumed, Gnomicus’ lice are assaulting me. Nor do I have one of his maxims with which to console myself in my misery. For this is the way of the world, that the noble man constantly receives a beating. It’s uncertain what I should do, so sudden is this business. Hey, Dinon, come here quickly. Dinon, I say. (Enter Dinon.)
DIN. Is it going well with you? What do you want?
AEM. How can I? Just now in the street —
DIN. Bombardomachides?
AEM. You said it. I’m nothing.
DIN. How soon will he be here, pray?
AEM. He’s all but here, there’s scarce a second for planning. He’ll be wholly wrathful, then he’ll speak pure stones.
DIN. Yes, and the mill, clubs, chains. I’m more afraid he won’t speak such things. Don’t you have any excuse?
AEM. Hum! This is very clever. Yes, this is the way it will be — Dinon, do as follows.
DIN. What?
AEM. Hey, you slug, don’t you get it?
DIN. What, you evil thing, am I do gather what you have in mind from the look on your face?
AEM. Quickly go upstairs, and as soon as he enters make sure you make a horrible noise. As if (do you understand?), as if you were a demon.
DIN. For what purpose?
AEM. Pish, it’s a delay to tell you this, get going.
DIN. I’m going, but did you see the soldier yourself?
AEM. With these two eyes, I say. You’re tedious.
DIN. I’m going. You’ll say I’m a genuine demon. (Exit.)
AEM. But look, he’s here! I’m resolved to delay the gentleman somehow.


BOM. What is this place, what region, what quarter of the world? Where am I? Under the the sun’s rising, or under the pivot of the icy Bear? Does the far-flung land of the western sea give a limit to Ocean? O greetings, house, and you, my household gods. Am I seeing you, my homeland? Or does your cheating image deceive my eyes? It does not deceive, I see full well.
AEM. There’s no need. Just stay here and I’ll deceive you full well. Hum. — That’s full of danger. — I’ll try this way first.
BOM. I’ll knock upon my door, I’ll knock it with my foot. (Aemylio knocks.) Who anticipates me? Who seeks death for himself? Do I see a real body, or am I deceived by an evil specter? It’s real, I’ll ascertain what it wants.
AEM. Arouse thy sword, prepare to do thy duty. For I’ll make mincemeat out of the soldier, and later eat it down.
BOM. Oh the crime! Who, born in this Scythian forest, though his mother be a tigress, or his father a lion, who ever spoke, that terror of the furthest world, a cannibal, belching human food from his mouth? I shall depart, and yield place to this madness, for I can withstand death, but it shames me to be eaten, and the greatest part of fortitude is prudence.
AEM. Who’s there? Hey, come back, if you’re on guard against evil.
BOM. I’m not afraid, but I’m all a-tremble. I’m not the soldier, young man, I believe you are wrong.
AEM. By all the gods and goddesses! You say I’m wrong?
BOM. I don’t say so, but great men are often wrong. Do not be wrathful, for wrath is an evil thing.
AEM. Do you know where in the world Bombardomachides is?
BOM. I do not know.
AEM But I wouldn’t trust you if you weren’t on oath.
BOM. By heaven and heaven’s torches, he is not known to me. [Aside.] With my tongue I swear, my mind is unsworn.
AEM. But you’re good and familiar with the man?
BOM. I’m familiar with him in some fashion. Indeed, I may know him, and possibly I do not. He seems to be brave, and a good man to boot.
AEM. Thus you praise my enemy to my face?
BOM. I only said “he seems,” he’s not a good man.
AEM. You’re rightly paying attention to my intention. If he enters this house within a month, I’ll give him a trimming according to his deserts that he’ll forever hate this place worse than a snake.
BOM. [Aside.] I’ll return to the countryside, the wise man shuns peril.
AEM. [Aside.] Ha, ha, ha, ha, what a change of clothes can do!
BOM. [Overhearing.] What words does he pour forth? — I’ve seen his face before — Come back, I say, sometimes ’tis best to return. It’s him. Do you, a slave, delude your master? What whirlwind will bear me headlong through the air and wrap me in black mist, that it will snatch this great crime from mine eyes?
AEM. [Aside.] The thing’s undone, I’m ruined. [Aloud.] I rejoice that you’ve arrived in safety, are you still in vigorous health? I did this as a joke, I beg you to forgive my joking.
BOM. You beg? This is to be feared. Some trickery’s afoot.
AEM. [Aside.] Now I’ll play up to the gentleman. [Aloud.] I wanted to find out whether I was sufficiently concealed by this disguise. You recognized me all along though you zealously dissimulated. He who’ll try to trick you is certainly wasting his effort.
BOM. I recognized you before I saw you. But I like to play tricks back on those who are tricking me.
AEM. I know. But where are Eucomissa and my sister?
BOM. They’re following behind. Girls accompany me?
AEM. Why are we wasting words here? I’ll go meet them and tell them to return home.
BOM. Tell me why.
AEM. Because where in the world would they live here?
BOM. At home.
AEM. What? Hasn’t it been a month since anyone set foot in there?
BOM. Stop, I don’t want to be fooled with.
AEM. Hey, haven’t I told you this yet? I quite forgot, has the thing become so old for me? That house is an abode for spectres, evil demons, and bad spirits. They talk together every day, they howl, they groan, they weep, they creak, they scream, they make a thousand different sounds. The day wouldn’t be long enough for me to tell you what monstrosities happen here.
BOM. You speak of a marvelous thing, which no day will believe, yet of which no day will keep silent. You tell me these things in good faith?
AEM. Yes, I tell you, I haven’t gone more or less ten days with an undamaged head, this thing has unexpectedly struck me with such fear.
BOM. You were afraid? A servant of mine should not have feared anything.
AEM. Right, if he were like yourself. Master, since perhaps you don’t believe me, come, let’s enter, I’ll arrange for you to hear everything yourself.
BOM. I dread nothing, but me not believe you? Let me believe this more, and yet I’ll dread nothing.
AEM. I’d prefer you to be a witness to this thing, but do as you want. I’ll go meet them, and bring them here, unless you order me otherwise.
BOM. Me stand so near these monsters by myself? That’s good. Depart — Return, Aemylio, — Yet I dread nothing.
AEM. I understand, you’re tired.
BOM. I dread nothing, by Jove. That’s all, depart.
AEM. Gladly. Ha, ha, ha. (Exit.)
BOM. My mind is in a panic, it shudders, a great danger is at hand. I am afire with rage, I am snatched away, I know not where, but I am snatched. Spectres rioting in my house? The ruler of high heaven sees this, and he does not envelop the world with his dreadful thunder? O patient sun, you may shrink back, and sink the broken day in mid-heaven.
DIN. (Above.) Oh, oh, oh.
BOM. You have killed me over-late —- In my unhappiness I know not what to do, for I hear something — And you, oh Neptune — Oh, what am I to do. I’m dead — [He sees his friends.] They return in time, which is the first of all things.


AEM. What is it, master, are you afraid?
BOM. Me be afraid? By all the gods and goddess! First may the sea flood the arctic Wain, the greedy tide of the Sicilian straight stand still, ripe crops grow from the Ionian sea, and dark night illuminate all the lands. Me be afraid?
AEG. Evil demons? Oh gods! For me it’s a fever to hear this word.
EU. Oh Venus! You and I, my Aegle, are in great disagreement. For, as they say, it’s my meat and drink to talk about these things. Psecas, Psecas, I say. This little maid is deaf. You’ve seen evil demons, haven’t you?
PS. No, if it please you, but I know a woman who knows somebody who has seen them.
EU. What appearance did they have, Psecas?
PS. One was dog-like, with a fiery face and eyes, the feet of a frog, a black color, and a tail as long as — and it screamed boh, boh, like a lion.
AEG. Oh wonderful! I’m shaking all over.
EU. Heavens, she’s changing color. It screamed like a lion. Go on, Psecas.
PS. We all fled.
EU. So you were there?
PS. No, if it please you, but the woman my friend Pholocomasium knows fled.
EU. Oh, now I understand, Psecas. Continue.
PS. She said another was as similar to a man as water is to water, and he was stark naked.
EU. Stark? Oh Venus! By heavens, I greatly want to see these evil demons.
PS. Indeed, if you knew them better, Eucomissa, you’d want to all the more. For he had — Ha, ha, he, I can’t think about it without laughing.
EU. What did he have, Psecas?
PS. You don’t understand? He had —
EU. What? Speak up.
PS. — such a big thing. We all began to admire —
AEG. Eucomissa, this is exactly the evil demon which I told you I saw in my sleep day before yesterday.
EU. Are there no evil demons more harmful than those, Psecas?
PS. Yes, they’re of all kinds. For some lurk under the guise of a black cat with six feet, some under that of a bat, and of other animals too. Indeed I know some who walk about at night dressed in a sheet. And so it often comes about that all the night watchmen and keepers of the peace who would go mad hide themselves at length in brothels and drink together all night out of fear. After dinner, if it please you, we’ll converse more about this matter.
EU. Now let’s go to see the spectres.
AEG. Do you see who’s here, Eucomissa?
EU. I’d prefer the spectres, but perhaps he’s one who I reckon among their number.


AEG. So he strikes you as silly, whom you are soon going to marry?
EU. By heavens, I’d sooner marry the evil demon Psecas spoke about, the one so like a man.
AEG. But I wouldn’t prefer Jupiter carrying that reward without which Jupiter would be worthless.
CAL. S. Greetings, Bombardomachides, we’ve come to welcome you.
BOM. Thank you. But a great sorrow attacks my mind. Lo, the lofty beauties of the wall, the built-up rafters, how greatly gleams this unhappy house! Whoever trusts in rule and lords it, powerful in his great hall, yet dreads not the fickle gods, should look at me and you, my house.
CAL. S. What’s he saying, Aemylio? (Uses his spectacles.) I see nothing here, Aemylio.
AEM. But within you will be able to, without four eyes.
CAL. J. If that’s so, father, let them use our house, that place survives.
CAL. S. I’ve never seen better advice offered. What to you think, Bombardomachides? There you can give your daughter in marriage to this boy of mine.
BOM. The advice is good, and cheers my heart.
CAL. J. But where’s the girl? Did you leave her in the countryside?
BOM. You should often reflect. Often what you seek is at hand.
CAL. J. I’m amazed stars can remain hidden so long. (Kisses her.) I rejoice you have returned in safety, and I regard this as my return as well, for I was absent with you. Forgive a man love-blinded, if I failed to see you.
EU. If you never see us again we’ll gladly forgive you, we women are merciful by nature.
AEG. You’re love-blinded, Calliphanes? No, you are very healthy in your eyes, because you see what neither exists, nor will exist, when you call us stars.
CAL. J. Nay, Aegle, I told the truth! For if the pretty name of stars were not yet bestowed on heaven’s lights, because of a certain resemblance to yourselves they could obtain it now.
PS. O Diana! With all my heart I adore these darling little confabulations!
BOM. Calliphanes, the like was never cast before my eyes, although with my feet I’ve trod on all the lands of Asia, Europe, America, and Africa, and other places which I know, but of which I do not speak.
CAL. S. I remember the same thing happening to me when I was a boy, at the age of — hum — I was studying grammar then. At the age of — hum! Fifty-two years ago — hum! The number does not add up. Oh — Fifty-three, assuredly that was the year.
EU. Father, may I see these shades and evil spirits?
BOM. See them? I fear not, daughter. Do as you wish.
EU. Open the door, Aemylio.
AEM. I’m ruined forever. I very greatly fear that these evil demons may not be honorable. Are you in your right mind? Do you imagine they appear before your eyes as an illusion?
EU. Do they speak?
AEM. They do that well enough, but in a horrible manner. Take care not to breathe.
EU. Psecas will dispute with them.
PS. I’m ready enough, Aemylio, I’ve disputed with a demon before now.
AEM. I know you’re in good voice. No doubt you’ll overwhelm them if you employ the drums, the cannon, the bugles, and the bells of your mouth.
PS. Thus you treat me in such unworthy ways? Do you take pride in those clothes? Where’d you get them, Aemylio mine?
AEM. Pish, I’ll tell you when I have the leisure. What say you, Calliphanes?
Where’s the key? Hand it over.
CAL. S. Why are you standing there, you piece of stone? Why don’t you open the door?
AEM. You old coot, may the gods — He has one foot in Charon’s skiff (along with himself), yet walks with the other.
EU. Oh, don’t you hear the evil spirits?
BOM. Hah!
CAL. J. It’s nothing, the door’s creaking.
AEG. Creaking? Oh the nasty doors!
DIN. (Above.) Oho, oho, oho, oho. Burn down, cast down, smite down, throw down the house.
BOM. Oh. oh — Farewell, and fear nothing.
EU. Where are you going, Father?
BOM. I can’t stand to see so many fearful people at once. (Exit Bombardomachides.)
AEG. (Below.) Please let’s go, Calliphanes.
GNO. If I cannot sway the gods above, I’ll move Acheron.
Oh, a poetic demon!
AEG. And undoubtedly the most frenzied of them all.
CAL. S. These are marvels. I’ve never seen the like, if not fifty-three years ago.
MOR. (Below.) Oh, assuredly I’m in the Pit.
EU. Oh Psecas, what should I do?
PS. What? I’ll risk a conversation. What’s your name, demon?
AEM. Really? Are you hopelessly stupid? Beware lest it snatch you to horrible great trouble.
PS. Me? It doesn’t dare, I’ll scratch out the villain’s eyes.
GNO. Ζεῦ πάτερ Ἴδηθεν μεδέων κύδιστε μεγιστε,
καὶ ποταμοὶ καὶ γαῖα, καὶ οἱ ὑπένερθε καμóντας,
ὑμεῖς μάρτυροι ἔστε.
PS. Yes, even if you speak Hebrew, I completely understand you.
AEG. Get away, stupid girl, this is Greek to you.
DIN. Oho, slut!
PS. Oh the crime! I’ll go in, don’t hold me back. I’ll fly against his face. Me be called a slut by an evil spirit? You lie, you wicked demon, you lie.
AEM. My goodness, this woman’s an evil demon!
AEG. Oh Venus! Don’t you see anything, Eucomissa?
EU. Most certainly. Where is it?
AEG. A great black bear!
EU. By the immortal gods! With a fiery tail.
CAL. J. Where is it? I see nothing at all.
AEM. Nothing? Look around. How his eyes gleam! Watch out for the evil thing, Psecas. For undoubtedly it’s come to eat you.
PS. Oh!
CAL. S.. What are they saying, Aemylio?
AEM. That great beast there — just look.
CAL. S. Where are my spectacles? Oh, unless I’m mistaken that’s a leopard. What’s this monster? Son, let’s go pray to the gods.
DIN. I’ll kill, I’ll murder, I’ll slay, I’ll capture, I’ll seize everybody right away. (Noise above.)
EU. Oh, Aegle! Give me your hand and let’s flee. (Exeunt. Chains rattle below.)
AEM. Ha, ha, he, come down so I can you kiss you, my good evil demon. (Exit.)
DIN. I’m coming. Burn down, cast down, smite down, throw down, et cetera. (He comes down.

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