Nunc quid petam mea causa aequo animo attendite.
Hecyram ad vos refero, quam mihi per silentium
numquam agere licitumst; ita eam oppressit calamitas.
eam calamitatem vostra intellegentia
sedabit, si erit adiutrix nostrae industriae.
quom primum eam agere coepi, pugilum gloria
(funambuli eodem accessit exspectatio),
comitum conventus, strepitus, clamor mulierum
fecere ut ante tempus exirem foras.
vetere in nova coepi uti consuetudine
in experiundo ut essem; refero denuo.
primo actu placeo; quom interea rumor venit
datum iri gladiatores, populus convolat,
tumultuantur, clamant, pugnant de loco.
ego interea meum non potui tutari locum.
nunc turba nulla est: otium et silentiumst:
agendi tempus mihi datumst; vobis datur
potestas condecorandi ludos scaenicos.
nolite sinere per vos artem musicam
recidere ad paucos: facite ut vostra auctoritas
meae auctoritati fautrix adiutrixque sit.
si numquam avare pretium statui arti meae
et eum esse quaestum in animum induxi maxumum
quam maxume servire vostris commodis,
sinite impetrare me, qui in tutelam meam
studium suom et se in vostram commisit fidem,
ne eum circumventum inique iniqui irrideant.
mea causa causam accipite et date silentium,
ut lubeat scribere aliis mihique ut discere
novas expediat posthac pretio emptas meo.
(Terence, Hecyra 28-57)
Now for my sake listen to my request with open minds. I am presenting “The Mother-in-Law” to you again, which I have never been allowed to play in silence; it has been so dogged by disaster. But your good sense, allied to my efforts, can mitigate the disaster. The first time I tried to perform the play, I was forced off the stage early; there was talk of boxers—and added to that a promise of a tightrope walker—crowds of supporters, general uproar, and women screaming. I decided to use my old practice on this new play and continue the experiment: I put it on a second time. The first act went well. But then a rumour arose that there was going to be a gladiatorial show: crowds rushed in, with much confusion, shouting, and fighting for places, and in these circumstances I couldn’t preserve my place. Now there is no disturbance; all is peace and quiet. I have the chance to perform the play, and you the opportunity to add lustre to the dramatic festivals. Do not allow the dramatic art to fall into the hands of a few through your negligence. Make sure that your influence aids and abets my influence. I have never priced my art on the basis of greed; I have adopted the principle that the greatest reward for me is to serve your interests the best. So let me prevail on you not to allow an author who has entrusted his career to my keeping and himself to your protection to be cheated and unfairly derided by unfair critics. For my sake listen to my plea and grant me silence, so that other authors may be encouraged to write and it may be worth my while in the future to put on new plays bought at my own expense. (tr. John Barsby)