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


AEM. Are you sure Polyporus has arrived?
DIN. If I’ve seen anything, it’s certain, unless my eyes deceive me.
AEM. It would be surprising if they didn’t sometimes deceive you, if they’re yours. For, however great you are, you are nothing but slyness. But, if it please you, where did you see him? Is your eyesight good since we’ve begun to mint money? Ha! Can he be handled? I hope he’s received the letter!
DIN. He got it just now in the harbor. And he’s hastening here, brimming with tears.
AEM. How do you know that?
DIN. When I saw him, I approached on tiptoe, stood close, held my breath, and when I began to observe him, in this way I overheard his words. So you dress up as Bombardomachides, so we may receive the the gentleman. You be here. When he asks where Bombardomachides lives, I’ll bring him he here by the back door.
AEM. But I gave the keys back to the soldier.
DIN. Pish! There are six hundred reasons why you can ask for it back. Just go away. But what will we do with the captives? They’re absent, most conveniently.
AEM. Oh! I’ll inform Polyporus it’s not the right time for him to see them, and tell him to come back tomorrow. Are these plans sufficiently polished? Oh luck, with what favorable things you’ve heaped me today! Let’s depart, my dearest Dinon.
DIN. Oh my sweetest Aemylio, let’s depart. (Exeunt.)


PS. So do you see how I have valued everything lower than your genius? For many princes have sought me for their consort, whom I sent packing to their chagrin, because they were unschooled.
GEL. Let the gods do with me as they will, yet I shall rejoice about your power (for I too am wealthy and wellborn enough in my own country), no less than about the affect that this marriage is destined to be of benefit to the whole world. For they will bestow immortal glory on whoever is born of you by my seed, and he shall be the Supreme Generalissimo of Jokes.
PS. For my part, I desire to give birth to a poet.
GEL. By my faith, you will bear one. For I babbled in meter, and in place of milk I sucked the water of Helicon, and, again, I often took my naps on twin-peaked Parnassus. But, to confess the truth, no poems flow from me with such a facile inspiration as epigrams or satires, for (as you are aware) I am wont to deride men most humorously.
PS. Oh, by all the Muses! How you intermingle witticisms, drawn from all manner of sources, into your sayings!
GEL. Ha, ha, he, you’ve noticed? But I’ve forborne to speak of them, so I might discover whether you could understand them on your own.
MOR. They’re conversing intimately. I’m afraid lest he’ll forestall me in capturing her attention, for I love her more than wine and sugar, and if she does not reciprocate my love may she go to the place in the prison which is called the Tullianum.
GEL. Let us depart, my Sappho, so our marriage may be celebrated by some clergyman. Morion, you go home.
MOR. Don’t esteem me so contemptuously. I disputed in public today just as much you did, and I refuted the man.
PS. I’ll make fun of this blockhead with the worst punishments unless he flees away from here quickly. Oh heavenly goddesses! I’m ruined, I’m dead. Father’s coming here looking for me, and with drawn sword he’s threatening death for everybody.
MOR. Oh, oh, I can’t look at Bombardomachides! He’s fiercer than fierce, just now he refused to joke with me.
GEL. By Hercules, we’re as dead as the Dead Sea. There again, willy nilly, I can’t restrain myself from joking. Is there no hiding-place here?
MOR. Oh, please show me one. Now I could lie in the eye of a needle. Do you have any cheese? For I could do a fine job of concealing myself in it, mouse-like.
GEL. No, no, you’re wrong, Morion, for then you’d eat up your hiding-place. How I’m poking fun at him even in this great danger!
PS. Woe is me! There’s a barrel inside — How he has picked up his step! How his eyes are glaring with wrath! — Hide yourself there, if you wish.
MOR. A barrel? Give it to me, good woman, it will never embarrass me to take my example from Diogenes. Would that it were full, as quick as possible I’d empty it for myself!
PS. Follow me. I’ll look out for you soon, Gelasimus.
MOR. Yes, as long as I’m in the clear. A barrel? Heavens, that’s a wonderful house. (Exeunt Psecas, Morion.)
GEL. Oh, oh, I seem to hear the soldier’s uproar. I’ll give him my back or give him forfeits, as the King of Macedon did for me. Oh, now he’s come, I know. I’ll lie here, as if I were dead. Indeed, I don’t want to observe my fate. (He lies down. Psecas enters.)
PS. Ha, ha, he!
GEL. Oh! He’s here!
PS. Arise, Gelasimus, fear no evil.
GEL. Certainly, Bombardomachides, I never married your daughter, nor did I ever want to.
PS. What?
GEL. No, don’t murder me. Remember, I beg you, the military jokes which I made up for you, indeed I also made them march on Iambus’ feet.
PS Oh, Venus! Witty sallies! Look at me, Gelasimus, Father isn’t here.
GEL. Oh my Sappho. Where is your father? Has he come, pray?
PS. Nor is he coming. I invented this on purpose, so that we might get married without Morion for a witness.
GEL. (Gets up.) Ha! I know this indeed, and I too pretended on purpose to be afraid — But are we not in safe water now? — Didn’t I do a witty job of dissimulation? — Surely I hear something — I hope he hasn’t come.
PS. Don’t be afraid. But there’s need for haste, lest Father catch us in earnest.
GEL. You speak the truth. Let’s make haste, my Muse, my Urania. How I love you, my Polyhymna, my Melpomene! (Exeunt.)

AEMYLIO (in military costume), DINON,

AEM. I allow him entry. Throw open the door.
POL. Are you the soldier, so distinguished in the fighting art?
AEM. You name me by a true paraphrase.
POL. If you are he, you captured my son.
AEM. If I captured your son, you are the father of my captive.
POL. So for this sake I have come here to you, that I may give you money for their persons. Therefore I pray you to set me free as soon as you can, nor let their be any delay in you for the taking of the ransom. I yearn to see them, and to embrace the unhappy men. I’m as much a father to the captive as I was when I was father to the free man.
AEM. Some kings await me now. You may return tomorrow.
POL. For a father seeking his son that “tomorrow” is a year.
BOMBARDOMACHIDES (Within.) Do the keys greet your eyes?
CALLIPHANES SENIOR (Within.) Unless they can find them, let the door-hinges be broken down. Let there be no delay created for the exorcist when he arrives.
BOM. Now I declare war upon my doors. Afterwards I shall make them dread my foot. (Bombardomachides breaks down the door.)
AEM. We are most murdered, Dinon. Hey! Who’s at the door?


BOM. Oh! Do I discern a specter? Does a deceitful vision sport before my eyes? I can’t keep up these iambics, I’m so very much afraid.
CAL. S. Ha! What is it? Why are you shaking so?
BOM. Cold, not fear, makes me shiver.
AEM. Dinon, all our hope depends on you. You must be a demon again, our salvation cannot be achieved in any other way.
DIN. Don’t be downcast, we’ll do a fine job of handling these gentlemen.
CAL. S. I don’t see anything yet — hum — the leopard’s come back, that’s the very leopard I saw before.
DIN. Oho, oho, oho. Burn down, cast down, smite down, throw down the house. Ho, ho, cast down, smite down the house.
POL. What are these deliriums? Are they stirred up by black bile?
DIN. Polla d’ ananta, katanta, paranta te, dochmia t’ elthon.
AEM. Phrikta drakontokomon, edaizeto phyla giganton.
POL. Whatever this may be, either these men are very crazy, or some monster is at hand. By what route can I flee?
BOM. Oh! I beg you, good demon, don’t come so near. Oh!
POL. Are you genuinely afraid of me? I’m as much a man as you. I’m here looking for Bombardomachides.
BOM. You’re looking for me? Pray depart, I’ve no business with you. Oh, please!
DIN. Polla d’ ananta, katanta.
AEM. Paranta te, dochmia t’ elthon.
CAL. S. Oh! I’m very afraid that these demons are hounding me because by my injustice I forced my son into a wedding!
BOM. I’d prefer to be standing in the midst of a battle than in this place. Would that — (what shall I do?) — Would that I were now dead, but I cannot die.
POL. Unquestionably this is a dream. This thing makes me so doubtful that I don’t know who I am, or where.
BOM. By Hercules, I’ll shut my eyes, I can’t see anything.
DIN. I’ll kill, I’ll murder, I’ll slay, I’ll capture, I’ll seize, I’ll bump, I’ll thump everybody right away.
BOM. Indeed I’m not afraid, I don’t see anything.
CAL. S. Nothing? Are you blind, Bombardomachides? Take these spectacles.
AEM. Polyphlosboio thalasses. (Bombardomachides, reaching out his hand, accidentally knocks off Aemylio’s tiara.)
BOM. Oh!
AEM. Oh Dinon, it’s all over, we can’t get out of here.
BOM. My servant? The unworthy, grave crime! Jupiter, from every side thunder with violence. Shoot your flames, fill the heaven-stolen light with your bolts — Now I can talk in iambics again.
CAL. S. By the gods! Has a servant used you thus for his entertainment? Let some people hang him high and there choke out his breath. You rascal, do you terrify us old men at your whim?
BOM. He couldn’t terrify me, I feared nothing.
CAL. S. I’m not in control of my mind, I’m so afire with rage. Thus do you allow this, Bombardomachides? Kill them.
BOM. You speak of the punishment’s conclusion, I want the punishment. I’m afire with rage. Being innocent, why do I dwell amidst these men? The whole image of murder wanders before my eyes.
DIN. Oh! Gods damn you, Aemylio.
AEM. Rather, with a calm mind we should bear what we must bear. I see that now I cannot pretend anything.
POL. I cannot wonder enough at these frustrations. Hey, is Bombardomachides the soldier here?
BOM. So you don’t know me? I myself am Bombardomachides (carried over into the following verse).
POL. Are you ready to give me back my son?
BOM. I’ll give back the son I have, but I don’t have any.
POL. But what evil trouble is driving you? Look, here’s the letter of yours that I just received in the harbor.
BOM. Hah! Bombardomachides, general? Aemylio wrote that, oh the great misdeed! I am swept along in all directions, uncertain, savage, not of sound mind. How can I avenge myself? (He beats Dinon and snatches off his beard.)
POL. Oh good gods! What am I seeing? Dinon the servant? Hey! Dinon! What are you doing here? Where’s my son?
DIN. Aemylio, what I am I to do in these difficulties? I’m going to confess everything.
AEM. Hang yourself, if you wish. I was born with the gods angry.
CAL. S These gentlemen are cooking up some great fabrication. As near as I can see so far, this servant has cut you up limb by limb, I’ll make him confess everything. Hey, whippers! Who’s inside? Whippers, I say!
POL. No, let them take off their shirts and cover each other with lashes until we’ve found out everything to our satisfaction.
BOM. You’ve not spoken badly, let it happen now. Come here, servants, your master commands it. (Enter whippers.)
AEM. I show myself a vigorous man, I’ve got great confidence in my shoulder blades. Be of good cheer, Dinon.
DIN. Indeed I’m a Stoic, I’ll tell you, I never feel pain. We’ll die, I’m well aware. If something happens contrary to expectations I’ll count it a gain.
BOM. You hear, servant? Fetch us two scourges. (The servant exits, and returns with the whips.)
CAL. S. Meanwhile, while there’s time you take off their cloaks. Hah! Whipping-posts, you mock us old men? (They take off their cloaks.)
AEM. (To the whipper.) Worry about something else, villain. Can’t I take this off? By Hercules, I don’t want to receive a beating in my noble garments. I know what it is to receive a beating.
DIN. Oh the wonderful thing! [Sings.] “Only such an art is to be called liberal.” Brave enough, Aemylio?
BOM. You’re laughing? But soon a river will fall from your eyes.
CAL. S. Look here, hand them the whips quickly. Unless they vigorously inflict punishments on each other, I should all but murder them, and you load them down with your fisticuffs.
DIN. I see we must take our exercise. Come, my Commodity, let us begin.
AEM. Let us begin, my Opportunity.
DIN. By Hercules I yield place to you, you’re the greater ne’er-do-well.
CAL. S. By Hercules, they’re playing. Hey, whippers, make their fists stick to their jaws. I’d give you both over to death, were it up to me.
AEM. (To a whipper.) You go hang, we’ve no need of your assistance. Doesn’t Dinon seem sufficient to give me a beating?
DIN. Take that, my second self!
AEM. My good genius! (Thus they whip each other in turn.)
DIN. My Pylades!
AEM. My Orestes!
BOM. I like this method of whipping. It’s so like war.
CAL. S. You’ve done well, pause a moment. Now ask them what you will.
POL. What’s been done with my son, with his tutor and Gelasimus?
DIN. We wiped their snotty noses, and took their money.
AEM. And their clothes. See your Morion’s costume? These look far better on me.
POL. Oh these men’s bold faces!
DIN. I’ll tell all. Pay attention, for the tale’s most witty. First of all, we made them drunk so they’d go to sleep.
AEM. Then I swapped Morion’s clothes with my own.
DIN. Then we kept them here in chains, as if they were captives.
AEM. Then we wrote the letter to swindle you too.
DIN. Then we thoroughly frightened Bombardomachides with fake spectres.
BOM. So that I should fear empty spectres, you wicked thing! I wish the crew of demons were here now.
POL. Oh the impudence! Oh the wicked ways! Why did I deserve such a great thing of you?
AEM. Ha, ha! You pleasant man! We should have spared you? When you sired a dullard, you did this for the sake of the clever. A fool is a good thing to be shared by all.
CAL. S. I’m stupefied! The thing’s that strange.
DIN. Indeed, now I’ll conceal nothing. Aemylio, I don’t want it to go better for you because of these schemes than for me. Eucomissa —
AEM. Dinon! Oh you evil person! (Whips him.)
BOM. You dare mutter? Rather you should be more mute than a fish.
DIN. — married Aemylio today, and may the gods make it turn out happily.
BOM. What strikes my ear? Bear me far away, ye mad typhoons, bear me there where the goes the day when stolen hence. Oh who will show me my daughter? I shall traverse distant, closed, hidden, lonely, trackless roads, no place will hinder me. (Exit Bombardomachides.)
AEM. Now I’m completely ruined, this lies hard in my heart, that for my sake it will go worse for Eucomissa. Other than that I must go without her, so far I feel no pain.
CAL. S. If she were mine, I’d turn my fatherly mind completely away from her, and throw the wretched girl out of the family. If in this way my son — But he doesn’t want to, or, if he greatly desired to, he couldn’t enter into any scheme without me sniffing it out first.
DIN. Indeed, he’s undoubtedly free of this fault. He’s never taken any guilt upon himself, except that, contrary to your order, and contrary to what you earnestly commanded, today he married Aegle.
CAL. S. Aegle? That can’t be. No, no, he doesn’t dare. But whatever it may be, I’ll look into it. If this is true, he’ll be chased outdoors together with that wife of his.
AEM. Whoever you are, stranger, I don’t want to beg you to be my spokesman, for I’ve stood firm against these evils. But that you procure Eucomissa peace from her father, this I beg and pray. Come, even if I’ve deserved little from you, I’m your fellow countryman.
POL. Mine?
AEM. If England is your country.
POL. How has it happened that you’re a servant?
AEM. By Fortune’s fault, by heavens, for I’m born of a very wealthy merchant, but thus chance carried with my little sister so that he captured me as a little boy.
POL. Woe is me!
AEM. Why the tears, pray? That befits me more.
POL. Because by what you say you call to mind my own misery. For I too have lost a little daughter together with her brother. Where were you captures?
AEM. On shipboard, when my father crossed over into Spain, bent on trade and devoted to his business.
POL. What was the ship’s name?
AEM. The Castor and Pollux.
POL. Good gods, the more I investigate, the more and more it agrees. If it is as this thing indicates, then I’m the most blessed man on earth. How many years ago?
AEM. Eighteen years next month.
POL. The gods want to rescue me from a lost cause. If these things are true, I don’t doubt but you are mine. For the rest, the soldier is here, he’ll tell me more.


CAL. S. So come out, you disgrace of a man, with your wife, who’s thrice a witch. If I live, I’ll make you have more than enough of her.
AEG. I beg you profusely, old man, that you spew up onto me whatever is making you ill, since in that way you’ll return to your kindly self. All the fault is mine. As far as you’re concerned, he’s harmless, by the gods the fault is mine.
CAL. J. No, no,be careful not to believe her, Father. It’s much fairer your wrath be poured out on me. By my wheedlings I drove her into a marriage against her will.
POL. If it should be no trouble, lend me your ears a moment, soldier.
BOM. My innards burn with rage, my liver is afire. They burn, I say, yet speak out what you will.
EU. Oh Aemylio! Is this way in which our marriage is celebrated? I fear lest I’ll be widowed on the same day I am married.
AEM. Just keep up your good spirits, my life, he’ll do you no harm. Don’t feel sorry for my misfortune, for I swear by the gods, if I slept in your arms tonight alone, tomorrow’s the day I’d want to kill myself so no care would ever spoil that happiness. But, thanks be to the gods, my hope is placed on something better.
POL. Yes, you’ve done a fine job of explaining the whole thing to me. Greetings, my unhoped-for son. When I look at you, how happiness overwhelms me and overflows in my hear
t! Where’s your sister?
AEM. Here she is herself, my dearest father. How many pleasures today has brought me!
POL. Now you’re my girl. Ha, ha. A son and a daughter? Come, soldier, make yourself well-disposed towards my daughter’s marriage.
BOM. I don’t refuse, I concede all, old man, because a man has wed my daughter of the sort I want to wed her.
AEM. You hear, Eucomissa? I seem to be reborn.
EU. And I to be remarried. Oh, my Aemylio.
CAL. S. How he has perked up my ears with his talk! My son, since you adore this girl so wretchedly, there’ll be no trouble from me about you having her for your wife.
CAL. J. Truly you’re my father, and nearest to the gods themselves.
DIN. Amidst so many joys, as I perceive, I’m to get a beating. Aemylio, I want to appeal to you about that common business of yours and mine. Do you remember that costume in which I first found you? Indeed, it’s by my aid that all these things have turned out well for you.
AEM. You lent me this aid at interest, Dinon, for you’ll always live with me, I’ll pay all your bills.
DIN. Oh my Commodity! My good genius!
AEM. You earned it, by Hercules. For just now, my Opportunity, how industriously you whipped me!
DIN. You earned it, by Hercules. I’d wear myself out whipping you once again, my Aemylio, for the sake of your pleasure.
AEM. But pray, my father, is Morion my brother?
POL. Not at all. For when I lost you unfortunates, lest I seem entirely bereft I brought up a newborn son of my servant as mine. He’s the one whom you see, Morion.


But who do I see? Gelasimus, the friend of my Morion? Greetings, Gelasimus.
GEL. Oh Polyporus, greetings. You don’t know how blessed I am. Where’s Bombardomachides?
PS. There. Don’t you see him?
GEL. He’s not the Bombardomachides with whom I slyly insinuated myself.
PS. Pish, do you think I don’t know who my own father is?
GEL. No, no. On bended knee, your son Gelasimus here begs that you bless him and his marriage.
BOM. What came out of your mouth? You’re my son?
GEL. Perhaps you imagine I am saying this as a joke, because I’m a habitual joker, but indeed I’m speaking seriously. Remove the veil, my Muse. Look here, do you recognize your daughter?
ALL Ha, ha, he.
PS. No, don’t be surprised. I married this donkey, but by my precepts I’ll quickly make him well-mannered enough. Greetings, Eucomissa, now I’m of your rank,we’ll converse amicably and consult as to what is to be done with our husbands, if they don’t obey us.
GEL. You deny this is your daughter?
ALL Ha, ha, he.
GEL. Why are you laughing, you evil things? I didn’t make a joke here.
AEM. Gelasimus, put this in your notebook too: I’ve had a clever trick played on me on February 2.
GEL. I don’t want them to laugh at me this way, I know well enough what that is. Should I take your daughter as a wife? Bah, she’s clever. That’s enough for me. I have most wittily removed this disgrace from myself.
MOR. (Inside.) Oh! I can’t catch my breath. Please, good woman —
AEM. Ha! What’s this?
PS. So that the wine won’t run out during so many marriages, I bestow upon you this full barrel. (Exit.)
CAL. S. I don’t remember ever seeing so many frustrations and so many strange things in a comedy. Ha! What’s happening?

PSECAS, MORION in a barrel

PS. Here’s my wine for you!
MOR. (In the barrel.) No, no, I’m not wine. (Comes out of the barrel.) Ha! Who am I looking at? I’ll put myself inside again. (Goes back in.)
GEL. Get out, get out I say, Diogenes. Oh Morion, how I’m laughing at you!
MOR. Do I see my father? Oh Father, are you here? I’ve been made a wit in these parts. I teach men how to joke.
POL. Henceforth don’t call me your father, for you’re my servant, whom up to now I have reared in place of my son.
MOR. Oh! Perhaps you don’t recognize me in these clothes. I am indeed Morion, ask Gelasimus. We’ve been captives here.
POL. No, no, now you’re free. But by the gods you’re not mine, I’ll take you back to your father when we cross over into England.


GEL. Oh, Tutor! Wonderful things indeed have happened today, you’ll learn everything within. But you, Tutor, and Morion gather up all our joking-kit, for you’ll return to England with me, and there we’ll open this school at Cambridge. There are a great many buyers of jokes there.
MOR. Right. Then if you refuse to be my father, don’t be any more. Tutor, I am not Polyporus’ eldest son by birth.
GNO. Truly, as the comic poet has it, the gods treat us like balls.
CAL. S. Meanwhile you all come into my house for dinner. I’ll entertain you frugally.
GNO. I like your idea. If there are any spectators of these things present, with the poet I shall tell them farewell and applaud. Now shut the streams, boys, the meadows have drunk enough. Let him burst, whoever bursts with envy.


He’s right, the play is over, except that we should bid you farewell. And we pray that this be mutual, and you bid me the same to us. Thus there will be no shipwreck. For if we have pleased you, as that admirable gentleman Gnomicus observes, “we’re now in safe waters,” as the proverb has it.