MEN. Chreme, tantumne ab re tuast oti tibi
aliena ut cures ea quae nil ad te attinent?
CHR. homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.
vel me monere hoc vel percontari puta:
rectumst ego ut faciam; non est te ut deterream.
MEN. mihi sic est usus; tibi ut opus factost face.
CHR. an quoiquamst usus homini se ut cruciet?
CHR. si quid laborist nollem. sed quid istuc malist?
quaeso, quid de te tantum meruisti?
CHR. ne lacruma atque istuc, quidquid est, fac me ut sciam:
ne retice, ne verere, crede inquam mihi:
aut consolando aut consilio aut re iuvero.
MEN. scire hoc vis?
CHR. hac quidem causa qua dixi tibi.
CHR. at istos rastros interea tamen
adpone, ne labora.
CHR. quam rem agis?
MEN. sine me vocivom tempus nequod dem mihi
CHR. non sinam, inquam.
MEN. ah! non aequom facis.
CHR. hui! tam gravis hos, quaeso?
MEN. sic meritumst meum.
CHR. nunc loquere.
MEN. filium unicum adulescentulum
habeo. ah! quid dixi? habere me? immo habui, Chremes;
nunc habeam necne incertumst.
CHR. quid ita istuc?
(Terence, Heaut. 76-96)
MEN. Chremes, have you got so much time to spare from your own work that you interest yourself in other people’s affairs when they don’t concern you at all?
CHR. I’m a man; I don’t regard any man’s affairs as not concerning me. You should regard me either as offering advice or as seeking enlightenment: if it’s right, I want to do it myself; if it isn’t, I want to discourage you.
MEN. This is how I have to behave; you can behave as you need to.
CHR. Does anyone have to torment himself?
MEN. I do.
CHR. If there’s some trouble, I’m sorry. But what’s the matter with you? Tell me, what have you done to earn so much punishment at your own hands?
MEN. (bursting into tears) Oh dear!
CHR. Stop crying! Tell me about it, whatever it is. Don’t keep it to yourself! Don’t feel ashamed; trust me, I tell you. I’ll help you, whether with consolation or advice or money.
MEN. Do you want to know about it?
CHR. Yes, for the reason I’ve given you.
MEN. (finally agreeing) I’ll tell you.
CHR. But meanwhile put your mattock down; you don’t have to tire yourself out. (Moves to take it from him)
MEN. (backing away) Certainly not!
CHR. What are you playing at?
MEN. Let me be! I don’t want to give myself a moment’s rest from hardship!
CHR. (taking the mattock from him) I won’t let you, I tell you!
MEN. Hey, that’s not fair!
CHR. (surprised at its weight) What! Such a heavy one?
MEN. That’s what I deserve.
CHR. (after putting it down on the ground) Now speak.
MEN. (starting on his story) I have one son, a young lad.— But why did I say I have a son? I had one, Chremes; now I don’t know whether I have one or not!
CHR. What do you mean by that?
MEN. I’ll tell you.
(tr. Peter Brown)