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 Johnsons Fortune in her Wits, click on a grey square
ACT II, SCENE i
DINON, AEMYLIO (wearing Morions clothing)
DIN. Are in your right mind, Aemylio? Aemylio, I say again, those clothes belong to the heir, Im afraid theyll 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, heres my hand to kiss.
DIN. By heavens, Ill make you kiss mine, if I apply my fists to your mouth.
AEM. By Hercules if you apply them, Ill make you feel that I have a mouth. But dont stand so close to me. I always loathe you mere servants, you worthless beasts. I know what youre going to say : Im a soldier, Ive mastered our enemies, Ive been twice killed in action, a thousand times stabbed, and so forth. Spare your effort: Im giving nothing, fare you well.
DIN. As if were 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 Ill show it to you.
DIN. It may be that Ill reduce the size of your head if you dont stop this foolery.
AEM. You insult me when Im 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. Thats all. Farewell. — Bombardomachides, general. Pray, does Bombardomachides write in this style?
AEM. Thats 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. Ill play Bombardomachides, you play the jailer. Put on a beard and the rest. (He puts them on.). Hey, do it quickly. Now youre 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. Ill wait for you here, go off. (Exit Dinon.)
Now I could swindle all men alive, even myself. Im almost afraid lest this disguised Bombardomachides deceive even Aemylio. (Disguises himself.) Are you so perverse, you cloak? Ill make you sit better. Hey! This crown is a pyramid. With it Ill build myself up like an elephant, Im wearing a turret. Look here, Im 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, Its helpful to be of good cheer in a bad situation.
DIN. Follow me.
AEM. Theyre here, I wont appear yet. (Exit.)
ACT II, SCENE ii
DINON, GNOMICUS, GELASIMUS, MORION (wearing Aemylios clothes)
MOR. Hey Tutor, Tutor, Im not Morion.
GNO. What say?
MOR. By the immortal gods Im not, I know Morion well enough.
GNO. The maximum know thyself is heaven-sent.
MOR. No, no, I dont know myself, by Hercules.
GNO. So who are you?
MOR. How could I know that?
GEL. Fie, fie, youre the same man.
MOR. I am? Thats good. But where do these clothes come from, Gelasimus?
GEL. Ive no idea.
MOR. Youve no idea, Gelasimus? Does that suffice? What shall I answer to Father? What shall I do? Do you see, Tutor?
GNO. I dont envy you, Im 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 Ive 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, Ill 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. Theyre waiting for you, take care not to stumble. [Aside to Aemylio.] Do you hear me too? Take care to restrain your laughter, for thats a risk.
AEM. Pish, Ive 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. Im all shaking and shivering. Im 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 dont 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 Ill revive, for hes talking about whiskey.
GEL. How the fierce fellows growing mild now! Not much otherwise does the hyena (a marvelous thing!) change from a male to a female. Its 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 fathers 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, Im 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, hes captivated!
MOR. I wont answer him boorishly, Gelasimus. Good, Morion, I dont 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. Thats it, until Polyporus —
MOR. So lets go. I like the darkness, for if I look at these rags any more, Ill 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. Lets go, comrades. (Exeunt.)
ACT II, SCENE iii
AEM. Im 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. Its 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 —
AEM. You said it. Im nothing.
DIN. How soon will he be here, pray?
AEM. Hes all but here, theres scarce a second for planning. Hell be wholly wrathful, then hell speak pure stones.
DIN. Yes, and the mill, clubs, chains. Im more afraid he wont speak such things. Dont you have any excuse?
AEM. Hum! This is very clever. Yes, this is the way it will be — Dinon, do as follows.
AEM. Hey, you slug, dont 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, its a delay to tell you this, get going.
DIN. Im going, but did you see the soldier yourself?
AEM. With these two eyes, I say. Youre tedious.
DIN. Im going. Youll say Im a genuine demon. (Exit.)
AEM. But look, hes here! Im resolved to delay the gentleman somehow.
ACT II, SCENE iv
BOM. What is this place, what region, what quarter of the world? Where am I? Under the the suns 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. Theres no need. Just stay here and Ill deceive you full well. Hum. — Thats full of danger. — Ill try this way first.
BOM. Ill knock upon my door, Ill 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? Its real, Ill ascertain what it wants.
AEM. Arouse thy sword, prepare to do thy duty. For Ill 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. Whos there? Hey, come back, if youre on guard against evil.
BOM. Im not afraid, but Im all a-tremble. Im not the soldier, young man, I believe you are wrong.
AEM. By all the gods and goddesses! You say Im wrong?
BOM. I dont 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 wouldnt trust you if you werent on oath.
BOM. By heaven and heavens torches, he is not known to me. [Aside.] With my tongue I swear, my mind is unsworn.
AEM. But youre good and familiar with the man?
BOM. Im 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, hes not a good man.
AEM. Youre rightly paying attention to my intention. If he enters this house within a month, Ill give him a trimming according to his deserts that hell forever hate this place worse than a snake.
BOM. [Aside.] Ill 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? — Ive seen his face before — Come back, I say, sometimes tis best to return. Its 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 things undone, Im ruined. [Aloud.] I rejoice that youve 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 trickerys afoot.
AEM. [Aside.] Now Ill 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 wholl 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. Theyre following behind. Girls accompany me?
AEM. Why are we wasting words here? Ill 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? Hasnt it been a month since anyone set foot in there?
BOM. Stop, I dont want to be fooled with.
AEM. Hey, havent 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 wouldnt 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 havent 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 dont believe me, come, lets enter, Ill arrange for you to hear everything yourself.
BOM. I dread nothing, but me not believe you? Let me believe this more, and yet Ill dread nothing.
AEM. Id prefer you to be a witness to this thing, but do as you want. Ill go meet them, and bring them here, unless you order me otherwise.
BOM. Me stand so near these monsters by myself? Thats good. Depart — Return, Aemylio, — Yet I dread nothing.
AEM. I understand, youre tired.
BOM. I dread nothing, by Jove. Thats 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. Im dead — [He sees his friends.] They return in time, which is the first of all things.
ACT II, SCENE v
AEMYLIO, EUCOMISSA, AEGLE, PSECAS, BOMBARDOMACHIDES, SERVANT
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 its a fever to hear this word.
EU. Oh Venus! You and I, my Aegle, are in great disagreement. For, as they say, its my meat and drink to talk about these things. Psecas, Psecas, I say. This little maid is deaf. Youve seen evil demons, havent 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! Im shaking all over.
EU. Heavens, shes 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, youd want to all the more. For he had — Ha, ha, he, I cant think about it without laughing.
EU. What did he have, Psecas?
PS. You dont 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, theyre 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, well converse more about this matter.
EU. Now lets go to see the spectres.
AEG. Do you see whos here, Eucomissa?
EU. Id prefer the spectres, but perhaps hes one who I reckon among their number.
ACT II, SCENE vi
CALLIPHANES SENIOR, CALLIPHANES JUNIOR, AEMYLIO, EUCOMISSA, &c.
AEG. So he strikes you as silly, whom you are soon going to marry?
EU. By heavens, Id sooner marry the evil demon Psecas spoke about, the one so like a man.
AEG. But I wouldnt prefer Jupiter carrying that reward without which Jupiter would be worthless.
CAL. S. Greetings, Bombardomachides, weve 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. Whats 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 thats so, father, let them use our house, that place survives.
CAL. S. Ive 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 wheres the girl? Did you leave her in the countryside?
BOM. You should often reflect. Often what you seek is at hand.
CAL. J. Im 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 well gladly forgive you, we women are merciful by nature.
AEG. Youre 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 heavens 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 Ive 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. Im 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. Im ready enough, Aemylio, Ive disputed with a demon before now.
AEM. I know youre in good voice. No doubt youll 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? Whered you get them, Aemylio mine?
AEM. Pish, Ill tell you when I have the leisure. What say you, Calliphanes?
CAL. J. Wheres the key? Hand it over.
CAL. S. Why are you standing there, you piece of stone? Why dont you open the door?
AEM. You old coot, may the gods — He has one foot in Charons skiff (along with himself), yet walks with the other.
EU. Oh, dont you hear the evil spirits?
CAL. J. Its nothing, the doors 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 cant stand to see so many fearful people at once. (Exit Bombardomachides.)
AEG. (Below.) Please lets go, Calliphanes.
GNO. If I cannot sway the gods above, Ill move Acheron.
CAL. J. Oh, a poetic demon!
AEG. And undoubtedly the most frenzied of them all.
CAL. S. These are marvels. Ive never seen the like, if not fifty-three years ago.
MOR. (Below.) Oh, assuredly Im in the Pit.
EU. Oh Psecas, what should I do?
PS. What? Ill risk a conversation. Whats your name, demon?
AEM. Really? Are you hopelessly stupid? Beware lest it snatch you to horrible great trouble.
PS. Me? It doesnt dare, Ill scratch out the villains 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! Ill go in, dont hold me back. Ill fly against his face. Me be called a slut by an evil spirit? You lie, you wicked demon, you lie.
AEM. My goodness, this womans an evil demon!
AEG. Oh Venus! Dont 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 its come to eat you.
CAL. S.. What are they saying, Aemylio?
AEM. That great beast there — just look.
CAL. S. Where are my spectacles? Oh, unless Im mistaken thats a leopard. Whats this monster? Son, lets go pray to the gods.
DIN. Ill kill, Ill murder, Ill slay, Ill capture, Ill seize everybody right away. (Noise above.)
EU. Oh, Aegle! Give me your hand and lets flee. (Exeunt. Chains rattle below.)
AEM. Ha, ha, he, come down so I can you kiss you, my good evil demon. (Exit.)
DIN. Im coming. Burn down, cast down, smite down, throw down, et cetera. (He comes down.)
Go to Act III