[DEM.] Nostrapte culpa facinus ut malis expediat esse,
dum nimium dici nos bonos studemus et benignos.
ita fugias ne praeter casam, quod aiunt. nonne id sat erat
accipere ab illo iniuriam? etiam argentumst ultro obiectum,
ut sit qui vivat dum aliud aliquid flagiti conficiat.
[DEM.] eis nunc praemiumst qui recta prava faciunt.
[DEM.] ut stultissume quidem illi rem gesserimus.
(Terence, Phormio 766-772)
[DEM.] We’ve only ourselves to blame if dishonesty pays, while we’re so keen to maintain a reputation for honesty and kindness. When on the run, make for home, as the saying goes. Wasn’t it enough for us to be tricked by this fellow, without throwing him money as well to live on until his next outrageous scheme?
[DEM.] These days the prize goes to those who turn right into wrong.
[DEM.] We’ve been absolute fools in the way we’ve handled this business.
(tr. John Barsby)
CHR. At ego illi neque do neque despondeo.
SYR. non? quam ob rem?
CHR. quam ob rem? me rogas? homini—
SYR. ut lubet.
non ego dicebam in perpetuom ut illam illi dares,
verum ut simulares.
CHR. non meast simulatio:
ita tu istaec tua misceto, ne me admisceas.
egon quoi daturus non sum, ut ei despondeam?
SYR. scite poterat fieri;
et ego hoc, quia dudum tu tanto opere suaseras
SYR. ceterum equidem istuc, Chremes,
aequi bonique facio.
CHR. atqui quam maxume
volo te dare operam ut fiat, verum alia via.
SYR. fiat, quaeratur aliquid. sed illud quod tibi
dixi de argento quod ista debet Bacchidi,
id nunc reddendumst illi: neque tu scilicet
illuc confugies: “quid mea? num mihi datumst?
num iussi? num illa oppignerare filiam
meam me invito potuit?” verum illud, Chremes,
dicunt: “ius summum saepe summast malitia.
CHR. haud faciam.
(Terence, Heaut. 779-797)
CHR. But I won’t marry her to him! I won’t engage her to
SYR. Won’t you? Why not?
CHR. Why not?! Are you asking me that? A man who—
SYR. (interrupting) As you like. I wasn’t saying that you should give her to him permanently, but that you should pretend.
CHR. It’s not my style to pretend: you cook up those schemes of yours without mixing me up in them! Me engage her to a man I’m not going to marry her to?!
SYR. I thought you would.
CHR. Certainly not!
SYR. It could have been done cleverly; and the only reason I embarked on this was because you’d urged me earlier so insistently.
CHR. I believe you.
SYR. But that really doesn’t bother me in the slightest, Chremes.
CHR. But I do want you to work as hard as you can to make it happen, only some other way!
SYR. All right, let me think of something.—But do you remember what I told you about the money that the girl owes Bacchis? That’s got to be paid over to her now. And I’m sure you won’t fall back on saying ‘What’s it got to do with me? It wasn’t given to me, was it? Was it on my orders? Could she offer my daughter as security without my consent?’ It’s true what they say, Chremes: the highest legalism is often the lowest cunning.
CHR. I won’t do that!
(tr. Peter Brown)
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)
LACH. Pro deum atque hominum fidem, quod hoc genus est, quae haec est coniuratio!
utin omnes mulieres eadem aeque studeant nolintque omnia
neque declinatam quicquam ab aliarum ingenio ullam reperias!
itaque adeo uno animo omnes socrus oderunt nurus.
viris esse advorsas aeque studiumst, similis pertinaciast,
in eodemque omnes mihi videntur ludo doctae ad malitiam. et
ei ludo, si ullus est, magistram hanc esse satis certo scio.
(Terence, Hecyra 198-204)
LACH. In the name of gods and men, what a breed they are, what a gang of conspirators! All women have identical likes and dislikes about everything! You can’t find a single one whose character differs in any respect from the others! In particular, all mothers-in-law with one accord hate their daughters-in-law; and they’re all just as keen to oppose their husbands and just as determined. I reckon that they’ve all been schooled to wickedness in the same school, and I’m quite sure that, if there is such a school, (pointing to Sostrata) she’s the headmistress. (tr. John Barsby)