Amphitryo, Asinaria, Aulularia, Bacchides, Captivi
by Plautus Titus Maccius
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[Transcriber's Note: Greek words have been transliterated and placed between marks.

Footnotes are collected at the end of each play. Where a footnote refers to an omitted passage, the verses before and after the omission have been numbered in parentheses: (182) (184) All other line numbers are from the original text.]

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With an English Translation by


In Five Volumes



Cambridge, Massachusetts HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS


First printed 1916

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Greek Originals of the Plays........vii Introduction.........................ix Bibliography.......................xvii I. Amphitruo, or Amphitryon..............1 II. Asinaria, or the Comedy of Asses....123 III. Aulularia, or the Pot of Gold.......231 IV. Bacchides, or the Two Bacchises.....325 V. Captivi, or the Captives............459 Index...............................569

[Transcriber's Note: The Index of Proper Names is not included in this e-text.]

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In this and each succeeding volume a summary will be given of the consensus of opinion[1] regarding the Greek originals of the plays in the volume and regarding the time of presentation in Rome of Plautus's adaptations. It may be that some general readers will be glad to have even so condensed an account of these matters as will be offered them.

The original of the Amphitruo is not now thought to have been a work of the Middle Comedy but of the New Comedy, very possibly Philemon's Nyx makra. A clue to the Greek play's date is found in the description of Amphitryon's battle with the Teloboians,[2] a battle fought after the manner of those of the Diadochi who came into prominence at the death of Alexander the Great. The date of the Plautine adaptation of this play, as in the case of the Asinaria, Aulularia, Bacchides,[3] and Captivi, is quite uncertain, beyond the fact that it no doubt belongs, like almost all of his extant work, to the last two decades of his life, 204-184 B.C. The Amphitruo is one of the five[4] plays in the first two volumes whose scene is not laid in Athens.

The Onagos of a certain Demophilus,[5] otherwise unknown to us, was the onginal of the Asinaria. The assertion of Libanus that he is his master's Salus[6] is thought to be a fling at the honours decreed certain of the Diadochi, who were called, while still alive, So:te:res. This possibility, together with the fact that the Pellaean[7] merchant and the Rhodian[8] Periphanes travel to Athens— northern Greece and the Aegaean therefore being pacified and Athens at peace with Macedon—would indicate that the Onagos was written while Demetrius Poliorcetes controlled Macedon, 294-288 B.C.

Very slender evidence connects the Aulularia with some unknown play of Menander's in which a miser is represented dedio:s me: ti to:n eidon ho kapnos oichoito phero:n. Euclio's distress[9] at seeing any smoke escape from his house seems at least to suggest that Plautus may have borrowed the Aulularia from Menander. The allusion to praefectum mulierum,[10] rather than censorem, would seem to show that in the original gynaikoi omon had been written; this would prove the Greek play to have been presented while Demetrius of Phalerum was in power at Athens (317-307 B.C.), where he introduced this detested office, which was done away with by 307 B.C.

Ritschl[11] has shown clearly enough that the original of the Bacchides was Menander's Dis exapato:n. The fact that Athens, Samos, and Ephesus are at peace, that the Aegaean is not swept by hostile fleets, that one can travel freely between Athens and Phoeis, together with the allusion to Demetrius,[12] lead one to believe that the Dis exapato:n was written either between the years 316-307 or 298-296 B.C.

The original of the Captivi is quite unknown, while the war between the Aetolians and Eleans gives the only clue to the date of this original. Hueffner[13] considers it probable that the war was that between Aristodemus and Alexander, and the Greek play was produced shortly after 314 B.C. Others[14] assume that the scene of the play would not be Aetolia unless Aetolia had become an important state, and that the war was therefore one of the third century B.C.

[Footnote 1: See especially Hueffner, De Plauti Comoediarum Exemplis Atticis, Goettingen, 1894; Legrand, Daos, Paris, 1910, English translation by James Loeb under title The New Greek Comedy, William Heinemann, 1916; Leo, Plautinische Forschungen, Berlin, 1912.]

[Footnote 2: Amph. 203 seq.]

[Footnote 3: Produced later than the Epidicus. Cf. Bacch. 214.]

[Footnote 4: Amphitruo, Thebes, Captivi, Aetolia, Cistellaria, Sicyon, Curculio, Epidaurus (the Caria first referred to in v. 67 was a Greek town, not the state in Asia Minor), Menaechmi, Epidamnus.]

[Footnote 5: Asin. Prol. 10-11.]

[Footnote 6: Asin. 713.]

[Footnote 7: Asin. 334.]

[Footnote 8: Asin. 499.]

[Footnote 9: Aulul. 299, 301.]

[Footnote 10: Aulul. 504.]

[Footnote 11: Ritschl, Parerga, pp. 405 seq. Cf. Menander, Fragments, 125, 126.]

[Footnote 12: Bacch. 912.]

[Footnote 13: Hueffner, op. cit. pp. 41-42.]

[Footnote 14: Cf. Legrand, op. cit. p. 18.]


Little is known of the life of Titus Maccius Plautus. He was born about 255 B.C. at Sarsina, in Umbria; it is said that he went to Rome at an early age, worked at a theatre, saved some money, lost it in a mercantile venture, returned to Rome penniless, got employment in a mill and wrote, during his leisure hours, three plays. These three plays were followed by many more than the twenty extant, most of them written, it would seem, in the latter half of his life, and all of them adapted from the comedies of various Greek dramatists, chiefly of the New Comedy.[15] Adaptations rather than translations they certainly were. Apart from the many allusions in his comedies to customs and conditions distinctly Roman, there is evidence enough in Plautus's language and style that he was not a close translator. Modern translators who have struggled vainly to reproduce faithfully in their own tongues, even in prose, the countless puns and quips, the incessant alliteration and assonance in the Latin lines, would be the last to admit that Plautus, writing so much, writing in verse, and writing with such careless, jovial, exuberant ease, was nothing but a translator in the narrow sense of the term.

Very few of his extant comedies can be dated, so far as the year of their production in Rome is concerned, with any great degree of certainty. The Miles Gloriosus appeared about 206, the Cistellaria about 202, Stichus in 200, Pseudolus in 191 B.C.; the Truculentus, like Pseudolus, was composed when Plautus was an old man, not many years before his death in 184 B.C.

Welcome as a full autobiography of Plautus would be, in place of such scant and tasteless biographical morsels as we do have, only less welcome, perhaps, would be his own stage directions for his plays, supposing him to have written stage directions and to have written them with something more than even modern fullness. We should learn how he met the stage conventions and limitations of his day; how successfully he could, by make-up and mannerism, bring on the boards palpably different persons in the Scapins and Bobadils and Doll Tear-sheets that on the printed page often seem so confusingly similar, and most important, we should learn precisely what sort of dramatist he was and wished to be.

If Plautus himself greatly cared or expected his restless, uncultivated, fun-seeking audience to care, about the construction of his plays, one must criticize him and rank him on a very different basis than if his main, and often his sole, object was to amuse the groundlings. If he often took himself and his art with hardly more seriousness than does the writer of the vaudeville skit or musical comedy of to-day, if he often wished primarily to gain the immediate laugh, then much of Langen's long list of the playwright's dramatic delinquencies is somewhat beside its intended point.

And in large measure this—to hold his audience by any means—does seem to have been his ambition: if the joke mars the part, down with the part; if the ludicrous scene interrupts the development of the plot, down with the plot. We have plenty of verbal evidence that the dramatist frequently chose to let his characters become caricatures; we have some verbal evidence that their "stage business" was sometimes made laughably extravagant; in many cases it is sufficiently obvious that he expected his actors to indulge in grotesqueries, well or ill timed, no matter, provided they brought guffaws. It is probable, therefore, that in many other cases, where the tone and "stage business" are not as obvious, where an actor's high seriousness might elicit catcalls, and burlesque certainly would elicit chuckles, Plautus wished his players to avoid the catcalls.

This is by no means the universal rule. In the writer of the Captivi, for instance, we are dealing with a dramatist whose aims are different and higher. Though Lessing's encomium of the play is one to which not all of us can assent, and though even the Captivi shows some technical flaws, it is a work which must be rated according to the standards we apply to a Minna von Barnhelm rather than according to those applied to a Pinafore: here, certainly, we have comedy, not farce.

But whatever standards be applied to his plays their outstanding characters, their amusing situations, their vigour and comicality of dialogue remain. Euclio and Pyrgopolynices, the straits of the brothers Menaechmus and the postponement of Argyrippus's desires, the verbal encounter of Tranio and Grumio, of Trachalio and the fishermen— characters, situations, and dialogues such as these should survive because of their own excellence, not because of modern imitations and parallels such as Harpagon and Parolles, the misadventures of the brothers Antipholus and Juliet's difficulties with her nurse, the remarks of Petruchio to the tailor, of Touchstone to William.

Though his best drawn characters can and should stand by themselves, it is interesting to note how many favourite personages in the modern drama and in modern fiction Plautus at least prefigures. Long though the list is, it does not contain a large proportion of thoroughly respectable names: Plautus rarely introduces us to people, male or female, whom we should care to have long in the same house with us. A real lady seldom appears in these comedies, and—to approach a paradox—when she does she usually comes perilously close to being no lady; the same is usually true of the real gentleman. The generalization in the Epilogue of The Captives may well be made particular: "Plautus finds few plays such as this which make good men better." Yet there is little in his plays which makes men—to say nothing of good men—worse. A bluff Shakespearean coarseness of thought and expression there often is, together with a number of atrocious characters and scenes and situations. But compared with the worst of a Congreve or a Wycherley, compared with the worst of our own contemporary plays and musical comedies, the worst of Plautus, now because of its being too revolting, now because of its being too laughable, is innocuous. His moral land is one of black and white, mostly black, without many of those really dangerous half-lights and shadows in which too many of our present day playwrights virtuously invite us to skulk and peer and speculate.

Comparatively harmless though they are, the translator has felt obliged to dilute certain phrases and lines.

The text accompanying his version is that of Leo, published by Weidmann, 1895-96. In the few cases where he has departed from this text brief critical notes are given; a few changes in punctuation have been accepted without comment. In view of the wish of the Editors of the Library that the text pages be printed without unnecessary defacements, it has seemed best to omit the lines that Leo brackets as un-Plautine[16]: attention is called to the omission in each case and the omitted lines are given in the note; the numbering, of course, is kept unchanged. Leo's daggers and asterisks indicating corruption and lacunae are omitted, again with brief notes in each case.

The translator gladly acknowledges his indebtedness to several of the English editors of the plays, notably to Lindsay, and to two or three English translators, for a number of phrases much more happily turned by them than by himself: the difficulty of rendering verse into prose— if one is to remain as close as may be to the spirit and letter of the verse, and at the same time not disregard entirely the contributions made by the metre to gaiety and gravity of tone—is sufficient to make him wish to mitigate his failure by whatever means. He is also much indebted to Professors Charles Knapp, K.C.M. Sills, and F.E. Woodruff for many valuable suggestions.

Brunswick, Me.,

September, 1913.

[Footnote 15: The Asinaria was adapted from the Onagos of Demophilus; the Casina from the Kle:roumenoi, the Rudens from an unknown play, perhaps the Pe:ra, of Diphilus; the Stichus, in part, from the Adelphoi a' of Menander. Menander's Dis exapato:n was probably the source of the Bacchides, while the Aulularia and Cistellaria probably were adapted from other plays (titles unknown) by Menander. The Mercator and Trinummus are adaptations of Philemon's Emporos and The:sauros, the Mostellaria very possibly is an adaptation of his Phasma, the Amphitruo, perhaps, an adaptation of his Nyx makra.]

[Footnote 16: It seemed best to make no exceptions to this rule; even such a line as Bacchides 107 is therefore omitted. Cf. Lindsay, Classical Quarterly, 1913, pp. 1, 2, Havet, Classical Quarterly, 1913, pp. 120, 121.]


Principal Editions: Merula, Venice, 1472; the first edition. Camerarius, Basel, 1552. Lambinus, Paris, 1576; with a commentary. Pareus, Frankfurt, 1619, 1623, and 1641. Gronovius, Leyden, 1664-1684. Bothe, Berlin, 1809-1811. Ritschl, Bonn, 1848-1854; a most important edition; contains only nine plays. Goetz, Loewe, and Schoell, Leipzig, 1871-1902; begun by Ritschl, as a revision and continuation of the previous edition. Ussing, Copenhagen, 1875-1892; with a commentary. Leo, Berlin, 1895-1896. Lindsay, Oxford, 1904-1905. Goetz and Schoell. Leipzig, 1892-1904.

English Translations: Thornton, and others, London, second edition, 1769-1774; in blank verse. Sugden, London, 1893; the first five plays, in the original metres.

General: Ritschl, Parerga, Leipzig, 1845; Neue plautinische Excurse, Leipzig, 1869. Mueller, Plautinische Prosodie, Berlin, 1869. Reinhardstoettner (Karl von), Spaetere Bearbeitungen plautinischer Lustspiele, Leipzig, 1886. Langen, Beitraege zur Kritik und Erklaerung des Plautus, Leipzig, 1880; Plautinische Studien, Berlin, 1886. Sellar, Roman Poets of the Republic, Oxford, third edition, 1889, pp. 153-203. Skutsch, Forschungen zur lateinischen Grammatik und Metrik, Leipzig, 1892. Leo, Plautinische Forschungen, Berlin, 1895; second edition, 1912; Die plautinischen Cantica und die hellenistische Lyrik, Berlin, 1897. Lindsay, Syntax of Plautus, Oxford, 1907.


Ambrosianus palimpsestus (A), 4th century. Palatinus Vaticanus (B), 10th century. Palatinus Heidelbergensis (C), 11th century. Vaticanus Ursinianus (D), 11th century. Leidensis Vossianus (V), 12th century. Ambrosianus (E), 12th century. Londinensis (J), 12th century.

P = the supposed archetype of BCDVEJ.


Amphitruo, A. Palmer 1890. Asinaria, Gray; Cambridge, University Press, 1894. Aulularia, Wagner; London, George Bell & Sons, 1878. Captivi, Brix; 6th edition, revised by Niemeyer; Leipzig, Teubner, 1910. Captivi, Sonnenschein; London, W. Swan Sonnenschein & Allen, 1880. Captivi, W.M. Lindsay 1900.

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[Footnote 1: None of the Arguments prefixed to the plays is by Plautus. Their date is disputed, the acrostics having been written during the first century B.C., perhaps, the non acrostics later.]

In faciem versus Amphitruonis Iuppiter, dum bellum gereret cum Telobois hostibus, Alcmenam uxorem cepit usurariam. Mercurius formam Sosiae servi gerit absentis: his Alcmena decipitur dolis. postquam rediere veri Amphitruo et Sosia, uterque deluduntur in mirum modum. hinc iurgium, tumultus uxori et viro, donec cum tonitru voce missa ex aethere adulterum se Iuppiter confessus est. 10

While Amphitryon was engaged in a war with his foes, the Teloboians, Jupiter assumed his appearance and took the loan of his wife, Alcmena. Mercury takes the form of an absent slave, Sosia, and Alcmena is deceived by the two impostors. After the real Amphitryon and Sosia return they both are deluded in extraordinary fashion. This leads to an altercation and quarrel between wife and husband, until there comes from the heavens, with a peal of thunder, the voice of Jupiter, who owns that he has been the guilty lover.



*A*more captus Alcumenas Iuppiter *M*utavit sese in formam eius coniugis, *P*ro patria Amphitruo dum decernit cum hostibus. *H*abitu Mercurius ei subservit Sosiae. *I*s advenientis servum ac dominum frustra habet. *T*urbas uxori ciet Amphitruo, atque invicem *R*aptant pro moechis. Blepharo captus arbiter *V*ter sit non quit Amphitruo decernere. *O*mnem rem noscunt. geminos Alcumena enititur.[2]

Jupiter, being seized with love for Alcmena, changed his form to that of her husband, Amphitryon, while he was doing battle with his enemies in defence of his country. Mercury, in the guise of Sosia, seconds his father and dupes both servant and master on their return. Amphitryon storms at his wife: charges of adultery, too, are bandied back and forth between him and Jupiter. Blepharo is appointed arbiter, but is unable to decide which is the real Amphitryon. They learn the whole truth at last, and Alcmena gives birth to twin sons.




MERCURY, a god. SOSIA, slave of Amphitryon. JUPITER, a god. ALCMENA, wife of Amphitryon. AMPHITRYON, commander-in-chief of the Theban army. BLEPHARO, a pilot. BROMIA, maid to Alcmena.

Scaena Thebis.

Scene:—Thebes. A street before Amphitryon's house.



[Footnote 3: The genuineness of the Prologues of these plays has long been a moot question. The tendency of the more recent investigators has been to hold that all were, at least in part, written by Plautus himself.]



Ut vos in vostris voltis mercimoniis emundis vendundisque me laetum lucris adficere atque adiuvare in rebus omnibus et ut res rationesque vostrorum omnium bene me expedire voltis peregrique et domi bonoque atque amplo auctare perpetuo lucro quasque incepistis res quasque inceptabitis,

According as ye here assembled would have me prosper you and bring you luck in your buyings and in your sellings of goods, yea, and forward you in all things; and according as ye all would have me find your business affairs and speculations happy outcome in foreign lands and here at home, and crown your present and future undertakings with fine, fat profits for evermore;

et uti bonis vos vostrosque omnis nuntiis me adficere voltis, ea adferam, ea uti nuntiem quae maxime in rem vostram communem sient— 10 nam vos quidem id iam scitis concessum et datum mi esse ab dis aliis, nuntiis praesim et lucro—: haec ut me voltis adprobare adnitier,[4] (13) ita huic facietis fabulae silentium (15) itaque aequi et iusti his eritis omnes arbitri.

and according as ye would have me bring you and all yours glad news, reporting and announcing matters which most contribute to your common good (for ye doubtless are aware ere now that 'tis to me the other gods have yielded and granted plenipotence o'er messages and profits); according as ye would have me bless you in these things, then in such degree will ye (suddenly dropping his pomposity) keep still while we are acting this play and all be fair and square judges of the performance.

Nunc cuius iussu venio et quam ob rem venerim dicam simulque ipse eloquar nomen meum. Iovis iussu venio, nomen Mercurio est mihi. pater huc me misit ad vos oratum meus, 20 tam etsi, pro imperio vobis quod dictum foret, scibat facturos, quippe qui intellexerat vereri vos se et metuere, ita ut aequom est Iovem;

Now I will tell you who bade me come, and why I came, and likewise myself state my own name. Jupiter bade me come: my name is Mercury (pauses, evidently hoping he has made an impression). My father has sent me here to you to make a plea, yea, albeit he knew that whatever was told you in way of command you would do, inasmuch as he realized that you revere and dread him as men should Jupiter.

verum profecto hoc petere me precario a vobis iussit, leniter, dictis bonis. etenim ille, cuius huc iussu venio, Iuppiter non minus quam vostrum quivis formidat malum: humana matre natus, humano patre, mirari non est aequom, sibi si praetimet;

But the fact remains that he has bidden me make this request in suppliant wise, with gentle, kindly words. (confidentially) For you see, that Jupiter that "bade me come here" is just like any one of you in his horror of (rubbing his shoulders reflectively) trouble[A]: his mother being human, also his father, it should not seem strange if he does feel apprehensive regarding himself.

[Footnote A: Actors might be whipped on occasion.]

atque ego quoque etiam, qui Iovis sum filius, 30 contagione mei patris metuo malum. propterea pace advenio et pacem ad vos affero[5]: iustam rem et facilem esse oratam a vobis volo, nam iusta ab iustis iustus sum orator datus.

Yes, and the same is true of me, the son of Jupiter: once my father has some trouble I am afraid I shall catch it, too. (rather pompously again) Wherefore I come in peace and peace do I bring to you. It is a just and trifling request I wish you to grant: for I am sent as a just pleader pleading with the just for what is just.

nam iniusta ab iustis impetrari non decet, iusta autem ab iniustis petere insipientia est; quippe illi iniqui ius ignorant neque tenent. nunc iam huc animum omnes quae loquar advortite. debetis velle quae velimus: meruimus et ego et pater de vobis et re publica; 40

It would be unfitting, of course, for unjust favours to be obtained from the just, while looking for just treatment from the unjust is folly; for unfair folk of that sort neither know nor keep justice. Now then, pay attention all of you to what I am about to say. Our wishes should be yours: we deserve it of you, my father and I, of you and of your state.

nam quid ego memorem,—ut alios in tragoediis vidi, Neptunum Virtutem Victoriam Martem Bellonam, commemorare quae bona vobis fecissent,—quis bene factis meus pater, deorum regnator[6] architectust[7] omnibus?

Ah well, why should I—after the fashion of other gods, Neptune, Virtue, Victory, Mars, Bellona, whom I have seen in the tragedies recounting their goodness to you— rehearse the benefits that my father, ruler of the gods, hath builded up for all men?

sed mos numquam illi fuit patri meo,[8] ut exprobraret quod bonis faceret boni; gratum arbitratur esse id a vobis sibi meritoque vobis bona se facere quae facit.

It never was a habit of that sire of mine to twit good people with the good he did them; he considers you grateful to him for it and worthy of the good things he does for you.

Nunc quam rem oratum huc veni primum proloquar, 50 post argumentum huius eloquar tragoediae. quid? contraxistis frontem, quia tragoediam dixi futuram hanc? deus sum, commutavero.

Now first as to the favour I have come to ask, and then you shall hear the argument of our tragedy. What? Frowning because I said this was to be a tragedy? I am a god: I'll transform it.

eandem hanc, si voltis, faciam ex tragoedia comoedia ut sit omnibus isdem vorsibus. utrum sit an non voltis? sed ego stultior, quasi nesciam vos velle, qui divos siem.

I'll convert this same play from tragedy to comedy, if you like, and never change a line. Do you wish me to do it, or not? But there! how stupid of me! As if I didn't know that you do wish it, when I'm a deity.

teneo quid animi vostri super hac re siet: faciam ut commixta sit: sit tragicomoedia. nam me perpetuo facere ut sit comoedia, 60 reges quo veniant et di, non par arbitror. quid igitur? quoniam his servos quoque partes habet, faciam sit, proinde ut dixi, tragicomoedia.

I understand your feelings in the matter perfectly. I shall mix things up: let it be tragi-comedy. Of course it would never do for me to make it comedy out and out, with kings and gods on the boards. How about it, then? Well, in view of the fact that there is a slave part in it, I shall do just as I said and make it tragi-comedy.

nunc hoc me orare a vobis iussit Iuppiter, ut conquaestores singula in subsellia eant per totam caveam spectatoribus, si cui favitores delegates viderint, ut is in cavea pignus capiantur togae;

Now here is the favour Jove bade me ask of you: (with great solemnity) let inspectors go from seat to seat throughout the house, and should they discover claqueurs planted for the benefit of any party, let them take as security from all such in the house—their togas.

sive qui ambissint palmam histrionibus, sive cuiquam artifici, si per scriptas litteras 70 sive qui ipse ambissit seu per internuntium, sive adeo aediles perfidiose cui duint, sirempse legem iussit esse Iuppiter, quasi magistratum sibi alterive ambiverit.

Or if there be those who have solicited the palm for actors, or for any artist—whether by letter, or by personal solicitation, or through an intermediary—or further, if the aediles do bestow the said palm upon anyone unfairly, Jove doth decree that the selfsame law obtain as should the said party solicit guiltily, for himself or for another, public office.

virtute dixit vos victores vivere, non ambitione neque perfidia: qui minus eadem histrioni sit lex quae summo viro? virtute ambire oportet, non favitoribus. sat habet favitorum semper qui recte facit, si illis fides est quibus est ea res in manu. 80

'Tis worth has won your wars for you, saith he, not solicitation or unfairness: why should not the same law hold for player as for noblest patriot? Worth, not hired support, should solicit victory. He who plays his part aright ever has support enough, if it so be that honour dwells in those whose concern it is to judge his acts.

hoc quoque etiam mihi pater in mandatis dedit, ut conquaestores fierent histrionibus: qui sibi mandasset delegati ut plauderent quive quo placeret alter fecisset minus, eius ornamenta et corium uti conciderent.

This injunction, too, did Jove lay upon me: that inspectors should be appointed for the actors, to the end that whosoever has enjoined claqueurs to clap himself, or whosoever has endeavoured to compass the failure of another, may have his player's costume cut to shreds, also his hide.

mirari nolim vos, quapropter Iuppiter nunc histriones curet; ne miremini: ipse hanc acturust Iuppiter comoediam. quid? admirati estis? quasi vero novom nunc proferatur, Iovem facere histrioniam; 90

I would not have you wonder why Jove is now regardful of actors; do not so: he himself, Jove, will take part in this comedy. What? Surprised? As if it were actually a new departure, this, Jove's turning actor!

etiam, histriones anno cum in proscaemo hic Iovem invocarunt, venit, auxilio is fuit[9] (92) hanc fabulam, inquam, hic Iuppiter hodie ipse aget, (94) et ego una cum illo. nunc vos animum advortite, dum huius argumentum eloquar comoediae.

Why, just last year when the actors on this very stage called upon Jupiter, he came,[B] and helped them out. This play, then, Jove himself will act in to-day, and I along with him. Now give me your attention while I unfold the argument of our comedy.

[Footnote B: An allusion to some play in which Jupiter appeared in time to save some situation.]

Haec urbs est Thebae. in illisce habitat aedibus Amphitruo, natus Argis ex Argo patre, quicum Alcumena est nupta, Electri filia. is nunc Amphitruo praefectust legionibus, 100 nam cum Telobois bellum est Thebano poplo.

This city here is Thebes. In that house there (pointing) dwells Amphitryon, born in Argos, of an Argive father: and his wife is Alcmena, Electrus's daughter. At present this Amphitryon is at the head of the Theban army, the Thebans being at war with the Teloboians.

is prius quam hinc abut ipsemet in exercitum, gravidam Alcumenam uxorem fecit suam. nam ego vos novisse credo iam ut sit pater meus, quam liber harum rerum multarum siet quantusque amator sit quod complacitum est semel.

Before he himself left to join his troops, his wife, Alcmena, was with child by him. (apologetically) Now I think you know already what my father is like—how free he is apt to be in a good many cases of this sort and what an impetuous lover he is, once his fancy is taken.

is amare occepit Alcumenam clam virum usuramque eius corporis cepit sibi, et gravidam fecit is eam compressu suo. nunc de Alcumena ut rem teneatis rectius, 110 utrimque est gravida, et ex viro et ex summo Iove.

Well, Alcmena caught his fancy, without her husband knowing it, and he enjoyed her and got her with child. So now Alcmena, that you may see it quite clearly, is with child by both of them, by her husband and by almighty Jove.

et meus pater nunc intus hic cum illa cubat, et haec ob eam rem nox est facta longior, dum cum illa quacum volt voluptatem capit; sed ita adsimulavit se, quasi Amphitruo siet.

And my father is there inside this very moment with her in his arms, and it is on this account that the present night has been prolonged while he enjoys the society of his heart's delight. All this in the guise of Amphitryon, you understand.

Nunc ne hunc ornatum vos meum admiremini, quod ego huc processi sic cum servili schema: veterem atque antiquam rem novam ad vos proferam, propterea ornatus in novom incessi modum.

Now don't be surprised at this get-up of mine and because I appear here in the character of a slave as I do: I am going to submit to you a new version of a worn and ancient tale, hence my appearance in a new get-up.

nam meus pater intus nunc est eccum Iuppiter; 120 in Amphitruonis vertit sese imaginem omnesque eum esse censent servi qui vident: ita versipellem se facit quando lubet.

The point is, my father Jupiter is now inside there, mark you. He has turned himself into the very image of Amphitryon, and all the servants that see him believe that's who he is. See how he can change his skin when he likes!

ego servi sumpsi Sosiae mi imaginem, qui cum Amphitruone abiit hinc in exercitum, ut praeservire amanti meo possem patri atque ut ne, qui essem, familiares quaererent, versari crebro hic cum viderent me domi; nunc, cum esse credent servom et conservom suom, haud quisquam quaeret qui siem aut quid venerim. 130

And as for me, I have assumed the form of Amphitryon's slave Sosia, who went away to the army with him, my idea being to subserve my amorous sire and not have the domestics ask who I am when they see me busy about the house here continually. As it is, when they think I am a servant and one of their own number, not a soul will ask me who I am or what I've come for.

Pater nunc intus suo animo morem gerit: cubat complexus cuius cupiens maxime est; quae illi ad legionem facta sunt memorat pater meus Alcumenae: illa illum censet virum suom esse, quae cum moecho est. ibi nunc meus pater memorat, legiones hostium ut fugaverit, quo pacto sit donis donatus plurimis.

So now my father is inside indulging his heart's desire as he lies there with his arms around the lady-love he particularly dotes on. He is telling Alcmena what happened during the campaign: and she all the time thinking him her husband when he's not. On he goes there with his stories of putting the legions of the foe to flight and being presented with prizes galore.

ea dona, quae illic Amphitruoni sunt data, abstulimus: facile meus pater quod volt facit. nunc hodie Amphitruo veniet huc ab exercitu 140 et servos, cuius ego hanc fero imaginem.

The prizes Amphitryon did receive there we stole—things my father fancies do come easy to him! Now Amphitryon will return from the army to-day, and the slave I am representing, too.

nunc internosse ut nos possitis facilius, ego has habebo usque in petaso pinnulas; tum meo patri autem torulus inerit aureus sub petaso: id signum Amphitruoni non erit. ea signa nemo horum familiarium videre poterit: verum vos videbitis.

To make it easier for you to tell us apart I shall always wear this little plume on my hat: yes, and as for my father he will have a little gold tassel hanging from his: Amphitryon will not have this mark. They are marks that none of the household here will be able to see, but you will.

sed Amphitruonis illic est servos Sosia: a portu illic nunc cum lanterna advenit. abigam iam ego illum advenientem ab aedibus. 150 adeste: erit operae pretium hic spectantibus Iovem et Mercurium facere histrioniam.

(looking down street) But there is Amphitryon's servant Sosia—just coming from the harbour with a lantern. I'll bustle him away from the house as soon as he gets here. Watch now! It will be worth your while to attend when Jove and Mercury take up the histrionic art. (steps aside)



(Time, night.)


Qui me alter est audacior homo aut qui confidentior, iuventutis mores qui sciam, qui hoc noctis solus ambulem? quid faciam nunc, si tres viri me in carcerem compegerint? inde cras quasi e promptaria cella depromar ad flagrum, nec causam liceat dicere mihi, neque in ero quicquam auxili nec quisquam sit quin me malo omnes esse dignum deputent.


(stopping and peering around timorously) Who's a bolder man, a more audacious man than I am—know all about the young bloods and their capers, I do, yet here I am strolling around all alone at this time of night! (seems to hear something and jumps) What if the police should lock me up in jail? To-morrow I should be taken out of that preserve closet and get served—to a rope's end; and not a word would they let me say for myself,[C] and not a bit of help could I get from master, and there wouldn't be a soul but what would reckon I deserved a hiding.

[Footnote C: Being a slave]

ita quasi incudem me miserum homines octo validi caedant: 159-160 ita peregre adveniens hospitio publicitus accipiar. 161-162 haec eri immodestia coegit, me qui hoc noctis a portu ingratiis excitavit. nonne idem hoc luci me mittere potuit?

Those eight strong wardens would pound my poor carcass just as if I was an anvil: that is how I should be entertained on coming home from abroad—a public reception. (disgustedly) It's master's impatience forced me into this, routing me out from the harbour at this time of night, against my will. Might have sent me on the same errand by daylight, mightn't he?

opulento homini hoc servitus dura est, hoc magis miser est divitis servos noctesque diesque assiduo satis superque est, quod facto aut dicto adeost opus, quietus ne sis.

This is where it comes hard slaving it for a nabob, this is where a plutocrat's servant is worse off—night and day there's work enough and more for him, no end, always something to be done, yes, or said, so that you can't rest.

ipse dominus dives, operis et laboris expers, 170 quodcumque homini accidit libere, posse retur: aequom esse putat, non reputat laboris quid sit[10] (172) ergo in servitute expetunt multa iniqua: (174) habendum et ferundum hoc onust cum labore.

And your plutocrat of a master, that never does a handsturn of work himself, takes it for granted that any whim that comes into a man's head can be gratified: yes, he counts that the fair thing, and never takes account of how much the work is. Ah, I tell you, there's a great deal of injustice this slavery lets you in for: you've got to take your load and carry it, and that is work.


Satius me queri illo modo servitutem: hodie qui fuerim liber, cum nunc potivit pater servitutis, his qui verna natus est queritur.

(aside) It would be more in order for Mercury to do some of this grumbling about menial station—was free this very day, and now his father has made a slave of him. It's this fellow, a born drudge, that is grumbling.


Sum vero verna verbero: num numero mi in mentem fuit, 180 dis advenientem gratias pro meritis agere atque alloqui? ne illi edepol si merito meo referre studeant gratiam, aliquem hominem allegent qui mihi advenienti os occillet probe, quoniam bene quae in me fecerunt ingrata ea habui atque inrita.

(frightened again) I need a drubbing, I do, drudge that I am. I was not too quick, was I, to think of addressing the gods and giving 'em due thanks on my arrival? Oh Lord! if they took a notion to pay me back my dues, they'd commission some one to mash my face for me in fine shape on my arrival, now that I haven't appreciated the good turns they've done me and have let 'em go for nothing. (makes sure he is safe)


Facit ille quod volgo haud solent, ut quid se sit dignum sciat.

(aside) Rather uncommon that,—his knowing what he deserves to get.


Quod numquam opinatus fui neque alius quisquam civium sibi eventurum, id contigit, ut salvi poteremur domi. victores victis hostibus legiones reveniunt domum, duello exstincto maximo atque internecatis hostibus.

What I never dreamed would happen nor anyone else on our side, either, has happened, and here we are safe and sound. (magnificently) Our legions come back victorious, our foes vanquished, a mighty contest concluded and our enemies massacred to a man.

quod multa Thebano poplo acerba obiecit funera, 190 id vi et virtute militum victum atque expugnatum oppidum est imperio atque auspicio eri mei Amphitruonis maxime. praeda atque agro adoriaque adfecit populares suos regique Thebano Creoni regnum stabilivit suom.

The town that has brought an untimely death to many a Theban citizen has been crushed and captured by the strength and valour of our soldiery, aye, and chiefly under the command and auspices of my own master, Amphitryon. He has furnished forth his countrymen with booty and land and fame, and fixed King Creon firm upon his Theban throne.

me a portu praemisit domum, ut haec nuntiem uxori suae, ut gesserit rem publicam ductu imperio auspicio suo. ea nunc meditabor quo modo illi dicam, cum illo advenero. si dixero mendacium, solens meo more fecero.

(subsiding) As for me, he has sent me on ahead home from the harbour to tell his wife the news: how the state was served under the leadership, command, and auspices of—his very own self. (meditating) Now let me think how I am to tell her the tale when I get there. If I do work in a lie or two, it won't be anything extraordinary for me.

nam cum pugnabant maxume, ego tum fugiebam maxume; verum quasi adfuerim tamen simulabo atque audita eloquar. 200 sed quo modo et verbis quibus me deceat fabularier, prius ipse mecum etiam volo his meditari. sic hoc proloquar.

The fact is, it was just when they were doing their hardest fighting that I was doing my hardest running. Oh well, I'll pretend I was there just the same, and recite what I heard tell about it. But the neatest way to narrate my story— and the words to use—I must practise a bit by myself beforehand here.

Principio ut illo advenimus, ubi primum terram tetigimus, continuo Amphitruo delegit viros primorum principes; eos legat, Telobois iubet sententiam ut dicant suam; si sine vi et sine hello velint rapta et raptores tradere, si quae asportassent redderent, se exercitum extemplo domum reducturum, abituros agro Argivos, pacem atque otium dare illis; sin aliter sient animati neque dent quae petat, sese igitur summa vi virisque eorum oppidum oppugnassere. 210

(pauses) Here's how we'll begin. (lays lantern down and addresses supposed Alcmena importantly) First and foremost, when we reached there, as soon as we had touched land, straightway Amphitryon picks out the most illustrous of his captains. These he sends forth as legates and bids convey his terms to the Teloboians, to wit: should they wish, without contention and without strife, to deliver up pillage and pillagers and restore whatsoever they had carried off, he himself would lead his army home forthwith and the Argives would leave their land and grant them peace and quietude; but were they otherwise disposed, and disinclined to yield what he sought, he would thereupon with all the force at his command make onslaught on their city.

Haec ubi Telobois ordine iterarunt quos praefecerat Amphitruo, magnanimi viri freti virtute et viribus superbe nimis ferociter legates nostros increpant, respondent bello se et suos tutari posse, proinde uti propere irent, de suis finibus exercitus deducerent. haec ubi legati pertulere, Amphitruo castris ilico producit omnem exercitum. Teloboae contra ex oppido legiones educunt suas nimis pulcris armis praeditas.

When Amphitryon's ambassadors had duly made this proclamation to the Teloboians, they, doughty warriors, confiding in their courage and glorying in their strength, made right rough and haughty answer to our embassy, saying that they could defend themselves and theirs by force of arms, and that accordingly they should depart at once and lead their troops out from the Teloboian borders. On receiving this report from his legates, Amphitryon at once led forth his whole army from camp. And from the city, too, the Teloboians led out their legions in goodly panoply.

postquam utrimque exitum est maxima copia, dispertiti viri, dispertiti ordines, 220 nos nostras more nostro et modo instruximus legiones, item hostes contra legiones suas instruont.

After both sides had marched out in full force, troops arrayed, and ranks arrayed, we drew up our legions according to our usual method and manner: our foemen likewise draw up their legions facing ours.

deinde utrique imperatores in medium exeunt, extra turbam ordinum colloquontur simul. convenit, victi utri sint eo proelio, urbem agrum aras focos seque uti dederent.

Then forward into the centre of the field stride the leaders of both hosts, and there out beyond the serried lines they hold colloquy. This pact was made, that they who were conquered in this battle should surrender city and land, shrines, homes, and persons.

postquam id actum est, tubae contra utrimque occanunt, consonat terra, clamorem utrimque efferunt. imperator utrimque, hinc et illinc, Iovi vota suscipere, utrimque hortari exercitum. 230

This done, the trumpets blared on either side; earth echoes; on either side the battle cry is raised. The generals on either side, both here and there, offer their vows to Jove, and on either side cheer their warriors.

tum pro se quisque id quod quisque potest et valet edit, ferro ferit, tela frangunt, boat caelum fremitu virum, ex spiritu atque anhelitu nebula constat, cadunt volnerum vi viri.

Then each man lays about him with his every ounce of strength and strikes home with his blade: lances shiver: the welkin rings with the roar of heroes: up from their gasping, panting breath a cloud arises: men drop beneath the weight of wounds.

Denique, ut voluimus, nostra superat manus: hostes crebri cadunt, nostri contra ingruont vi[11] feroces. sed[12] fugam in se tamen nemo convortitur nec recedit loco quin statim rem gerat; animam omittunt prius quam loco demigrent: 240 quisque ut steterat iacet optinetque ordinem.

At last, as we wished, our host prevails: the foemen fall in heaps: on and on we press, fired by our might. Yet for all that, none turns in flight nor yields an inch, but stands his ground and hews away. They lose their lives sooner than quit their post. As each had stood, so he lies, and keeps the line unbroken.

hoc ubi Amphitruo erus conspicatust, ilico equites iubet dextera inducere. equites parent citi: ab dextera maximo cum clamore involant impetu alacri, foedant et proterunt hostium copias iure iniustas.

When my lord Amphitryon noted this, he straightway ordered that the cavalry on our right be led to the charge. Swift they obey, and with terrific yells swooping down from the right in mad career they mangle and trample underfoot the forces of our foes and right our wrongs. (wipes his brow and meditates)


Numquam etiam quicquam adhuc verborum est prolocutus perperam: namque ego fui illi in re praesenti et meus, cum pugnatum est, pater.

(aside) Not a single, solitary word of fiction has he uttered yet: for I was there myself while the battle was actually going on, and my father too.


Perduelles penetrant se in fugam; ibi nostris animus additust: 250 vortentibus Telobois telis complebantur corpora, ipsusque Amphitruo regem Pterelam sua obtruncavit manu. haec illic est pugnata pugna usque a mani ad vesperum— hoc adeo hoc commemini magis, quia illo die inpransus fui— sed proelium id tandem diremit nox interventu suo.

(gathering himself together) Their warriors take to flight; at this new courage animates our men. When the Teloboians turn their backs we stick them full of spears, and Amphitryon himself cut down King Pterelas with his own hand. This fight was fought out all through the day there from morn till eve. (reflectively) I remember this point more distinctly because that noon I went without my lunch. But darkness at last intervened and terminated the engagement.

postridie in castra ex urbe ad nos veniunt flentes principes: velatis manibus orant ignoscamus peccatum suom, deduntque se, divina humanaque omnia, urbem et liberos indicionem atque in arbitratum cuncti Thebano poplo. post ob virtutem ero Amphitruoni patera donata aurea est, 260 qui Pterela potitare solitus est rex. haec sic dicam erae nunc pergam eri imperium exequi et me domum capessere.

The following day their foremost men come tearfully from the city to our camp, their hands veiled in suppliant wise, and entreat us to pardon their transgression: and one and all they surrender their persons, their entire possessions sacred and profane, their city and their children to the Theban people to have and to hold as they deem fit. Then, for his valour, my lord Amphitryon was presented with a golden bowl from which King Pterelas was wont to drink. (heaves deep sigh of relief) This is how I will tell it to the mistress. Now I'll go finish up the job for master and take myself home. (picks up lantern)


Attat, illic huc iturust. ibo ego illi obviam, neque ego huc hominem hodie ad aedis has sinam umquam accedere; quando imago est huius in me, certum est hominem eludere. et enim vero quoniam formam cepi huius in med et statum, decet et facta moresque huius habere me similes item, itaque me malum esse oportet, callidum, astutum admodum atque hunc, telo suo sibi, malitia a foribus pellere. sed quid illuc est? caelum aspectat. observabo quam rem agat. 270

(aside) Oho! about to come this way! I'll step up and meet him. The fellow shall never reach this house at present: I won't have it. Now that I am his double I fully intend to befool the fellow. And I say, considering I have taken on his looks and dress, it is appropriate for me to ape his ways and general conduct, too. I must be a sly rapscallion, then, shifty as the deuce, yes, and drive him away from the door with his own weapon, roguery. (looking at Sosia who is gaping at the stars) What's he at, though? Staring at the sky! I must keep an eye on him.


Certe edepol, si quicquamst aliud quod credam aut certo sciam, credo ego hac noctu Nocturnum obdormivisse ebrium. nam neque se Septentriones quoquam in caelo commovent, neque se Luna quoquam mutat atque uti exorta est semel, nec Iugulae neque Vesperugo neque Vergiliae occidunt. ita statim stant signa, neque nox quoquam concedit die.

My goodness, if there's anything I can believe or know for sure, I surely do believe old Nocturnus went to bed this night in liquor. Why, the Great Bear hasn't moved a step anywhere in the sky, and the moon's just as it was when it first rose, and Orion's Belt, and the Evening Star, and the Pleiades aren't setting, either. Yes, the constellations are standing stock still, and no sign of day anywhere.


Perge, Nox, ut occepisti, gere patri morem meo: optumo optume optumam operam das, datam pulchre locas.

(aside) Go on as you have begun, Night: oblige my father: you're doing splendidly in a splendid work for a splendid deity: you'll find it a fine investment.


Neque ego hac nocte longiorem me vidisse censeo, nisi item unam, verberatus quam pependi perpetem; 280 eam quoque edepol etiam multo haec vicit longitudine. credo edepol equidem dormire Solem, atque adpotum probe; mira sunt nisi invitavit sese in cena plusculum.

I don't think I ever did see a longer night—barring that one when I got whipped and was left strung up till morning. And goodness me, in length this one's way ahead of even that one. Gad, I certainly do believe old Sol's asleep, asleep and dead drunk. It's a wonder if he hasn't drunk his own health a bit too much at dinner.


Ain vero, verbero? deos esse tui similis putas? ego pol te istis tuis pro dictis et male factis, furcifer, accipiam; modo sis veni huc: invenies infortunium.

(aside) So, you scoundrel? Think the gods are like yourself, eh? By heaven, I'll give you a reception to match this talk and roguery of yours, you gallows-bird. Just you be good enough to step this way, and you shall meet with a mishap.


Ubi sunt isti scortatores, qui soli inviti cubant? haec nox scita est exercendo scorto conducto male.

Where are those young blades that hate a lonely couch? Here is your lovely night for gallivanting with an expensive lady.


Meus pater nunc pro huius verbis recte et sapienter facit, qui complexus cum Alcumena cubat amans animo obsequens. 290

(aside) According to this chap, my father's making good, intelligent use of his time—loving to his heart's content with Alcmena in his fond embrace.


Ibo ut erus quod imperavit Alcumenae nuntiem. sed quis hic est homo, quem ante aedis video hoc noctis? non placet.

Now for the message master told me to give mistress. (aside as he moves toward house and sees Mercury) But who's that fellow in front of the house at this time o' night? (halts, frightened) I don't like it.


Nullust hoc metuculosus aeque.

(aside) Of all the pusillanimous rogues!


Mi in mentem venit, illic homo hoc de umero volt pallium detexere.

(aside) It looks to me as if this fellow wants to take my cloak off for me.


Timet homo: deludam ego illum.

(aside) Our friend is scared: we'll have some sport with him.


Perii, dentes pruriunt; certe advenientem hic me hospitio pugneo accepturus est. credo misericors est: nunc propterea quod me meus erus fecit ut vigilarem, hic pugnis faciet hodie ut dormiam. oppido interii. obsecro hercle, quantus et quam validus est.

(aside) Oh Lord, my teeth do—itch! He's going to give me a welcome on my arrival, he surely is,—a fisty welcome! He's a kind-hearted soul, I do believe. Seeing how master's kept me awake all night, he's going to up with his fists now and put me to sleep. Oh, I'm dead entirely! For God's sake look at the size of him, and strong, heavens!


Clare advorsum fabulabor, ut his auscultet quae loquar; 300 igitur magis demum maiorem in sese concipiet metum, agite, pugni, iam diu est quom ventri victum non datis: iam pridem videtur factum, heri quod homines quattuor in soporem collocastis nudos.

(aside) I'll speak out aloud, so that he can hear what I say, and then I warrant he'll feel shakier still. (loudly, with melodramatic fierceness) Fists, be up and doing! 'Tis long since ye have made provision for my paunch. It seems an age since yesterday when ye stripped stark four men and laid them away in slumber.


Formido male, ne ego hic nomen meum commutem et Quintus fiam e Sosia; quattuor nudos sopori se dedisse hic autumat; metuo ne numerum augeam illum.

(aside) Oh, but I'm awfully scared my name will be changed here and now, from Sosia to Sosia the Fifth. Four men he's stripped already and sent to slumberland, so he says: I'm afraid I'm going to swell that list.


Em, nunciam ergo: sic volo.

(tightening his girdle) There, now then! 'Tis well.


Cingitur; certe expedit se.

(aside) Loins girded! He is surely getting ready for business.


Non feret quin vapulet.

He shall not escape a trouncing.


Quis homo?

(aside, anxiously) Who, who?


Quisquis homo huc profecto venerit, pugnos edet.

I tell ye, any man that comes this way shall eat fists.


Apage, non placet me hoc noctis esse: cenavi modo: 310 proin tu istam cenam largire, si sapis, esurientibus.

(aside) No you don't! I don't care about eating at this time o' night. It wasn't long ago I dined. So if you've got any sense, you just bestow that dinner on the hungry.


Haud malum huic est pondus pugno.

(examining his right fist) There's some weight in that fist.


Perii, pugnos ponderat.

(aside) I'm finished! He's a-weighing his fists!


Quid si ego illum tractim tangam, ut dormiat?

(sparring) What if I should stroke him softly into somnolence?


Servaveris, nam contiuas has tris noctes pervigilavi.

(aside) You'd save my life: I haven't slept a wink for three nights running.

Mer. Pessumest, facimus nequiter, ferire malam male discit manus; alia forma esse oportet quem tu pugno legeris.

(swinging heavily) Downright sinful, this! This is a shame! 'Tis wrong of my arm to learn really to jab a jaw! (to arm as he feels biceps) Merely graze a man with thy fist and his shape must needs be altered.


Illic homo me interpolabit meumque os finget denuo.

(aside) That bully's going to do me up and mould my face all over again for me.


Exossatum os esse oportet quem probe percusseris.

The face that thou shalt smite in earnest is bound thereafter to be boneless.


Mirum ni hic me quasi murenam exossare cogitat. ultro istunc qui exossat homines, perii, si me aspexerit. 320

(aside) Sure enough he's reckoning on boning me like a lamprey. I—I object to these man-boners. It's all up if he catches sight of me.


Olet homo quidam malo suo.

(sniffing the air) Ha! I smell somebody, and woe to him!


Ei, numnam ego obolui?

(aside) Oh, dear! It can't be he's got a whiff of me?


Atque haud longe abesse oportet, verum longe hinc afuit.

Aye, and he must be near at hand, albeit he has been afar from here.


Illi homo superstitiosust.

(aside) The fellow's got second sight.


Gestiunt pugni mihi.

My fists are rampant.


Si in me exercituru's, quaeso in parietem ut primum domes.

(in low tone) If you intend to put 'em through their paces on me, for heaven's sake break 'em in first on the wall.


Vox mi ad aures advolavit.

A voice hath flown unto my ear.


Ne ego homo infelix fui, qui non alas intervelli: volucrem vocem gestito.

(aside) There you are! I swear I am an unlucky devil not to have clipped its wings, and me with such a bird-like voice.


Illic homo a me sibi malam rem arcessit iumento suo.

Yon wight doth summon me to wallop his beast's back for him.


Non equidem ullum habeo iumentum.

(aside) Never a beast do I own, not I.


Onerandus est pugnis probe.

He needs a lusty load of buffets.


Lassus sum hercle, navi ut vectus huc sum: etiam nunc nauseo; vix incedo inanis, ne ire posse cum onere existimes. 330

(in low tone) Oh Lord! and me all done up with that sea trip home! I'm seasick even now. It's all I can do to stump along empty handed, so don't think I can travel with a load.


Certe enim his nescio quis loquitur.

Yea, of a truth some one is talking here.


Salvos sum, non me videt: nescioquem loqui autumat; mihi certo nomen Sosiaest.

(in lower tone) Saved! He doesn't see me. It's Some one he says is talking: and my same is Sosia, I know that for a fact.


Hinc enim mihi dextra vox auris, ut videtur, verberat.

Yes, a voice from the right here, as it seems, doth strike my ear.


Metuo, vocis ne vicem hodie hic vapulem, quae hunc verberat.

(aside) I'm afraid he'll soon pummel me instead of my voice for its striking him. (steps forward timidly)


Optume eccum incedit ad me.

Oho! Splendid! He moves this way.


Timeo, totus torpeo. non edepol nunc ubi terrarum sim scio, si quis roget, neque miser me commovere possum prae formidine. ilicet, mandata eri perierunt una et Sosia. verum certum est confidenter hominem contra conloqui, qui possim videri huic fortis, a me ut abstineat manum. 340

(aside) I'm scared, I'm simply stiff! Good gracious, I don't know where in the world I am, not if anyone asked me. Oh dear, I can't move a step for fear! This ends me! Master's orders are done for, and Sosia, too. But I'm resolved—I'm going to speak right up to him boldly, so that I can make him think I'm a dangerous character and let me be. (tries to swagger)


Quo ambulas, tu qui Volcanum in cornu conclusum geris?

Whither dost stroll, thou who conveyest (pointing to lantern) Vulcan pent within yon horn?


Quid id exquiris tu, qui pugnis os exossas hominibus?

What dost want to know for, thou who bonest folks' faces for 'em with yon fists?


Servosne es an liber?

Art slave or free?

Sos. Utcumque animo conlibitum est meo.

Whichever I please.


Ain vero?

So? In sooth?


Aio enim vero.

Yes, so in sooth.



Thou whipped slave!


Mentiris nunc.

You lie: I'm none.


At iam faciam ut verum dixas dicere.

(advancing) But I shall soon make thee say 'tis true.


Quid eo est opus?

(shrinking back) Oh, what's the use of that?


Possum scire, quo profectus, cuius sis aut quid veneris?

(sternly) May I be informed where thou art bound, who owns thee, or why thou camest? (halts)


Huc eo, eri iussu, eius sum servos. numquid nunc es certior?

(encouraged) I'm bound for here—master's orders—and I'm his slave. Are you any wiser now?


Ego tibi istam hodie, sceleste, comprimam linguam.

I'll soon make thee hold thy tongue, miscreant!


Haud potes: bene pudiceque adservatur.

No chance, she's chaperoned in nice modest fashion.


Pergin argutarier? quid apud hasce aedis negoti est tibi?

Still at thy quips, eh? What business hast thou at this house?


Immo quid tibi est? 350

Well, and what have you?


Rex Creo vigiles nocturnos singulos semper locat.

King Creon posts separate sentries about here every night.


Bene facit: quia nos eramus peregre, tutatust domi; at nunc abi sane, advenisse familiares dicito.

(in superior manner) Much obliged. Seeing we were abroad, he's kept guard for us at home. But now you can be off: say the family servants have got back.


Nescio quam tu familiaris sis: nisi actutum hinc abis, familiaris accipiere faxo haud familiariter.

Thou a family servant, indeed! Unless thou dost disappear instantly, I warrant ye I'll welcome servants of the family with strange familiarity.


Hic inquam habito ego atque horunc servos sum.

Here's where I live, I tell you. This is my master's house.


At scin quo modo? faciam ego hodie te superbum, nisi hinc abis.

But knowest thou what? I'll soon be making an exalted man of thee, an' thou decampest not.


Quonam modo?

Exalted! How is that?


Auferere, non abibis, si ego fustem sumpsero.

You shall be carried off on people's shoulders—no walking— once I take my club to you.


Quin me esse huius familiai familiarem praedico.

I'm a member of the household here, I do avow.


Vide sis quam mox vapulare vis, nisi actutum hinc abis. 360

Kindly consider how soon you want a thrashing, unless you vanish instantly.


Tun domo prohibere peregre me advenientem postulas?

So you want to forbid me the house when I'm getting back from foreign parts, you?


Haecine tua domust?

Is this the house where you belong?


Ita inquam.

That's what I say.


Quis erus est igitur tibi?

Who is your master, then?

Sos. Amphitruo, qui nunc praefectust Thebanis legionibus, quicum nupta est Alcumena.

Amphitryon, now in command of the Theban army, and his wife is Alcmena.


Quid ais? quid nomen tibi est?

How say you? Your name!


Sosiam vocant Thebani, Davo prognatum patre.

Sosia the Thebans call me, Sosia, son of Davus.


Ne tu istic hodie malo tuo compositis mendaciis advenisti, audaciai columen, consutis dolis.

Ah! 'twas an evil hour for thee, when thou camest here, thou pinnacle of impudence, with thy premeditated lies and patched-up fabrications.


Immo equidem tunicis consutis huc advenio, non dolis.

You're wrong, I vow: I've come with my tunic patched up, not my fabrications.


At mentiris etiam: certo pedibus, non tunicis venis.

Ha, lying again! Thou dost clearly come with thy feet, not thy tunic.


Ita profecto.

(dryly) Naturally.


Nunc profecto vapula ob mendacium. 370

And naturally now get thrashed for fibbing. (advances)


Non edepol volo profecto.

(retreats) Oh dear, I object, naturally.


At pol profecto ingratiis. hoc quidem profecto certum est, non est arbitrarium.

Oh well, naturally that is immaterial. My "naturally," at least, is a cold hard fact, no matter of opinion. (beats him)


Tuam fidem obsecro.

(squirming) Easy, easy, for Heaven's sake!


Tun te audes Sosiam esse dicere, qui ego sum?

Durst say that thou art Sosia when I am he?



Murder! murder!


Parum etiam, praeut futurum est, praedicas. quoius nunc es?

(continuing to beat him) Murder? A mere nothing compared with what is coming. Whose are you now?


Tuos, nam pugnis usu fecisti tuom. pro fidem, Thebani cives.

Yours! Your fists have got a title to me by limitation. Help, Thebans, help!


Etiam clamas, carnifex? loquere, quid venisti?

So? Bellowing, varlet? Speak up, why camest thou?


Ut esset quem tu pugnis caederes.

Just to give you some one to punch, sir.


Cuius es?

Whose are you?


Amphitruonis, inquam, Sosia.

Amphitryon's Sosia, I tell you.


Ergo istoc magis, quia vaniloquo's, vapulabis: ego sum, non tu, Sosia.

Well then, you shall be pummelled the more for talking nonsense. You Sosia! I am he myself.


Ita di faciant, ut tu potius sis atque ego te ut verberem. 380

(in low tone) I wish to God you were, instead of me, and I was thumping you.


Etiam muttis?

Ha! Muttering, eh?


Iam tacebo.

I won't, I won't, sir!


Quis tibi erust?

Who is your master?


Quem tu voles.

Anyone you like, sir.


Quid igitur? qui nunc vocare?

Indeed? And your name now?


Nemo nisi quem iusseris.

Nothing but what you order, sir.


Amphitruonis te esse aiebas Sosiam.

You were saying you were Amphitryon's Sosia.


Peccaveram. nam Amphitruonis[13] socium ne me esse volui dicere.

All a mistake, sir; "Amphitryon's associate" I meant, sir, really I did.


Sciebam equidem nullum esse nobis nisi me servom Sosiam. fugit te ratio.

Ah, I knew quite well there was no servant Sosia at our place except me. You made a slip.


Utinam istuc pugni fecissent tui.

Oh, how I wish your fists had!


Ego sum Sosia ille quem tu dudum esse aiebas mihi.

I am that Sosia you claimed to be a while ago.


Obsecro ut per pacem liceat te alloqui, ut ne vapulem.

For heaven's sake, sir, let me have a word with you in peace without getting pummelled.


Immo indutiae parumper fiant, si quid vis loqui.

No peace—but I consent to a short armistice, if you have anything to say.


Non loquar nisi pace facta, quando pugnis plus vales. 390

I won't say it, not unless peace is made: your fists are too much for me.


Dic si quid vis, non nocebo.

Out with what you want: I shall not hurt you!


Tuae fide credo?

Can I take your word for that?



You can.


Quid si falles?

What if you fool me?


Tum Mercurius Sosiae iratus siet.

(solemnly) Then may Sosia feel the wrath of Mercury!


Animum advorte. nunc licet mihi libere quidvis loqui. Amphitruonis ego sum servos Sosia.

Listen here, sir. Now I'm free to come out plain with anything. I am Amphitryon's Sosia, I am.


Etiam denuo?

(advancing) What? Again?


Pacem feci, foedus feci. vera dico.

(vigorously) I made peace—I struck a treaty! It's the truth.



Be thrashed to you!


Ut libet quid tibi libet fac, quoniam pugnis plus vales; verum, utut es facturus, hoc quidem hercle haud reticebo tamen.

Suit yourself, do what suits you, seeing your fists are too much for me. (doggedly) But just the same, no matter what you do, I won't keep that back, by gad, not that.


Tu me vivos hodie numquam facies quin sim Sosia.

You shall never live to make me anyone but Sosia, never.


Certe edepol tu me alienabis numquam quin noster siem; nec nobis praeter med alius quisquam est servos Sosia.[14] 400

And by thunder, you shall never do me out of being our family's servant. No sir, and I'm the only servant Sosia we have.


Hic homo sanus non est.

The man is crazy.


Quod mihi praedicas vitium, id tibi est. (402) quid, malum, non sum ego servos Amphitruonis Sosia? nonne hac noctu nostra navis huc ex portu Persico venit, quae me advexit? nonne me huc erus misit meus?

Crazy? You're putting your own complaint off on to me. (half to himself) See here, dash it, an't I Amphitryon's servant Sosia? Didn't our ship arrive this night from Port Persicus, and I on it? Didn't my own master send me here?

nonne ego nunc sto ante aedes nostras? non mi est lanterna in manu? non loquor, non vigilo? nonne hic homo modo me pugnis contudit? fecit hercle, nam etiam misero nunc mihi malae dolent. quid igitur ego dubito, aut cur non intro eo in nostram domum?

An't I standing in front of our own house this minute? Haven't I got a lantern in my hand? An't I talking? An't I awake? Didn't this chap just give me a bruising? Lord, but he did! Why, my poor jaws ache even now. What am I hesitating for, then? Or why don't I go inside our house?


Quid, domum vostram?

What? Your house?


Ita enim vero.

Yes, just so.

Mer. Quin quae dixisti modo 410 omnia ementitu's: equidem Sosia Amphitruonis sum. nam noctu hac soluta est navis nostra e portu Persico, et ubi Pterela rex regnavit oppidum expugnavimus. et legiones Teloboarum vi pugnando cepimus, et ipsus Amphitruo optruncavit regem Pterelam in proelio.

You lie, I tell you: your every word has been a lie. I am Amphitryon's Sosia, beyond dispute. Why, this very night we unmoored and left Port Persicus; and we have seized the city where King Pterelas held sway; and we subdued the legions of the Teloboians by our sturdy onslaught; and Amphitryon himself slew King Pterelas on the field of battle.


Egomet mihi non credo, cum illaec autumare illum audio; hic quidem certe quae illic sunt res gestae memorat memoriter. sed quid ais? quid Amphitruoni doni a Telobois datum est?

(aside) I can't believe my own ears when I hear that fellow going on so. My word, he certainly does reel our doings there all off pat. (aloud) But I say—what was Amphitryon presented with from the Teloboian spoils?


Pterela rex qui potitare solitus est patera aurea.

A golden bowl that King Pterelas was wont to drink from.


Elocutus est. ubi patera nunc est?

(aside) He's hit it! (aloud) Where is the bowl now?


Est in cistula; 420 Amphitruonis obsignata signo est.

In a little chest, sealed with Amphitryon's signet.


Signi dic quid est?

What's on the signet, tell me that?


Cum quadrigis Sol exoriens. quid me captas, carnufex?

Sol rising in a four horse chariot. (blustering) Why this attempt to catch me, caitiff?


Argumentis vicit, aliud nomen quaerundum est mihi. nescio unde haec hic spectavit. iam ego hunc decipiam probe; nam quod egomet solus feci, nec quisquam alius affuit, in tabernaclo, id quidem hodie numquam poterit dicere. si tu Sosia es, legiones cum pugnabant maxume, quid in tabernaclo fecisti? victus sum, si dixeris.

(aside) This evidence settles me. I've got to find me a new name. I don't understand where he saw all this from. (reflecting) Ah, now I'll trick him in good style. Yes, something I did when I was all alone, and not another soul there, in the tent,—he'll never be able to tell me about that, anyway. (aloud) Well, if you're Sosia, what did you do in the tent when the soldiers were in the thick of the fight? Answer me that and I give in.


Cadus erat vini: inde implevi hirneam.

There was a cask of wine: I drew off a jugful.


Ingressust viam.

(aside) He's on the right track.


Eam ego, ut matre fuerat natum, vini eduxi meri. 430

Then I drained it, wine pure as it came from its mother.


Factum est illud, ut ego illic vini hirneam ebiberim meri. mira sunt nisi latuit intus illic in illac hirnea.

(aside) That's a fact—I did drink off a jug of wine, neat. Most probably the fellow was hiding in that same jug!


Quid nunc? vincon argumentis, te non esse Sosiam?

Well, have I convinced you that you are not Sosia?


Tu negas med esse?

You deny it, do you?


Quid ego ni negem, qui egomet siem?

Of course I deny it, being Sosia myself.


Per Iovem iuro med esse neque me falsum dicere.

No, I am,—I swear it by Jupiter, and swear I'm not lying, too!


At ego per Mercurium iuro, tibi Iovem non credere; nam iniurato scio plus credet mihi quam iurato tibi.

But I swear by Mercury that Jupiter disbelieves you. Why, man, he will take my bare word against your solemn oath, no doubt about it.


Quis ego sum saltem, si non sum Sosia? te interrogo.

For mercy's sake who am I, if I'm not Sosia? I ask you that.


Ubi ego Sosia nolim esse, tu esto sane Sosia; nunc, quando ego sum, vapulabis, ni hinc abis, ignobilis. 440

When I do not wish to be Sosia, be Sosia yourself, by all means. Now that I am he, you either pack, or take a thrashing, you unknown riff raff.


Certe edepol, quom illum contemplo et formam cognosco meam, quem ad modum ego sum—saepe in speculum inspexi—nimis similest mei; itidem habet petasum ac vestitum: tam consimilest atque ego; sura, pes, statura, tonsus, oculi, nasum vel labra, malae, mentum, barba, collus: totus. quid verbis opust?

(aside, looking him over carefully) Upon my soul, now I look him over, and consider my own looks, my own appearance— I've peeped in a mirror many a time—he is precious like me. Has on a travelling hat, yes, and clothes the same as mine. He's as like me as I am myself! Same leg—foot— height—haircut—eyes—nose—lips, even—jaw— chin—beard— neck—everything. Well—well, well, well!

si tergum cicatricosum, nihil hoc similist similius. sed quom cogito, equidem certo idem sum qui semper fui. novi erum, novi aedis nostras; sane sapio et sentio. non ego illi obtempero quod loquitur, pultabo foris.

If he's got a backful of whip scars, you couldn't find a liker likeness anywhere. (pause) But—when I think it over—I'm positive I'm the same man I always was, of course I am. (with growing conviction) I know master, I know our house. I'm sane and sound, I've got my senses. I won't take any notice of what he says, not I. I'll knock at the door (moves toward Amphitryon's house)


Quo agis te?

(blocking him off) Where now?





Quadrigas si nunc inscendas Iovis 450 atque hinc fugias, ita vix poteris effugere infortunium.

(advancing) And shouldst thou climb into Jupiter's four horse chariot and seek to flee, e'en so thou canst hardly fly misfortune.


Nonne erae meae nuntiare quod erus meus iussit licet?

I can tell my own mistress what my own master ordered me to tell her, can't I?


Tuae si quid vis nuntiare: hanc nostram adire non sinam. nam si me inritassis, hodie lumbifragium hinc auferes.

Thy own mistress, aye,—whatever likes thee: but never shalt thou approach ours here. Yea, provoke me, and thou draggest hence a shipwreck of a man. (advancing)


Abeo potius. di immortales, obsecro vostram fidem, ubi ego perii? ubi immutatus sum? ubi ego formam perdidi? an egomet me illic reliqui, si forte oblitus fui? nam hic quidem omnem imaginem meam, quae antehac fuerat, possidet.

(retreating) Don't, don't,—I'll be off! (aside) Ye immortal gods! For heaven's sake, where did I lose myself? Where was I transformed? Where did I drop my shape? I didn't leave myself behind at the harbour, did I, if I did happen to forget it? For, my word, this fellow has got hold of my complete image, mine that was!

vivo fit quod numquam quisquam mortuo faciet mihi. ibo ad portum atque haec uti sunt facta ero dicam meo; 460 nisi etiam is quoque me ignorabit; quod ille faxit Iuppiter, ut ego hodie raso capite calvos capiam pilleum.

Here I am alive and folks carry my image—more than anyone will ever do when I'm dead. I'll go down to the harbour and tell my master all about these goings on—that is unless he doesn't know me, too,—and I hope to Jupiter he won't, so that I may shave my hair off this very day and stick my bald head in a freeman's cap. [EXIT Sosia.

I. 2.

Scene 2.


Bene prospere hoc hodie operis processit mihi: amovi a foribus maximam molestiam, patri ut liceret tuto illam amplexarier. iam ille illuc ad erum cum Amphitruonem advenerit, narrabit servom hinc sese a foribus Sosiam amovisse; ille adeo illum mentiri sibi credet, neque credet huc profectum, ut iusserat.

Well, my little affair has progressed finely, famously. I have sent a confounded nuisance to the right-about from the door and given my father a chance to embrace the lady there in safety. Now when our friend gets back there to his master, Amphitryon, he'll tell his tale how it was servant Sosia that packed him off. Yes, and then Amphitryon will think he is lying, and never came here as he ordered.

erroris ambo ego illos et dementiae 470 complebo atque omnem Amphitruonis familiam, adeo usque, satietatem dum capiet pater illius quam amat. igitur demum omnes scient quae facta. denique Alcumenam Iuppiter rediget antiquam coniugi in concordiam.

I'll muddle up the pair of them, bedevil them completely, and Amphitryon's whole household, too, and keep it up till my father has his fill of her whom he loves: then all shall know the truth, but not before. And finally Jupiter will renew the former harmony between Alcmena and her spouse.

nam Amphitruo actutum uxori turbas conciet atque insimulabit eam probri; tum meus pater eam seditionem illi in tranquillum conferet. nunc de Alcumena dudum quod dixi minus, hodie illa pariet filios geminos duos 480

For you see, Amphitryon, will be raging at his wife shortly, and accusing her of playing him false: then my father will step in and quell the riot. Now about Alcmena—something I left unsaid a while ago—now she shall bring forth twin sons,

alter decumo post mense nascetur puer quam seminatust, alter mense septumo; eorum Amphitruonis alter est, alter Iovis: verum minori puero maior est pater, minor maiori. iamne hoc scitis quid siet?

one being a ten months' boy, the other a seven. One is Amphitryon's child, the other Jove's: the younger boy, however, has the greater father, and vice versa. You see how it is now, do you?

sed Alcumenae huius honoris gratia pater curavit uno ut fetu fieret, uno ut labore absolvat aerumnas duas[15]. (488) quamquam, ut iam dudum dixi, resciscet tamen 49l Amphitruo rem omnem. quid igitur? nemo id probro profecto ducet Alcumenae; nam deum non par videtur facere, delictum suom suamque ut culpam expetere in mortalem ut sinat.

But out of consideration for Alcmena here, my father has provided that there shall be only one parturition: he intends to make one labour suffice for two. But Amphitryon, though, as I told you some time since, will be informed of the whole affair. But what of that? Certainly no one will hold Alcmena guilty: no, no, it would seem highly unbecoming for a god to let a mortal take the consequences of his misdeeds and his indiscretions.

orationem comprimam: crepuit foris. Amphitruo subditivos eccum exit foras cum Alcumena uxore usuraria.

(listening) Enough of this: there goes the door. Ah, the counterfeit Amphitryon comes out with his borrowed wife, Alcmena! (steps aside)

I. 3.

Scene 3.


Iup. Jup.

Bene vale, Alcumena, cura rem communem, quod facis; atque inperce quaeso: menses iam tibi esse actos vides. 500 mihi necesse est ire hinc; verum quod erit natum tollito.

Good-bye and God bless you, my dear. Continue to look out for our common interests, and do be sure not to overdo: you are near your time now, you know. I am obliged to leave you—but don't expose the child.


Quid istuc est, mi vir, negoti, quod tu tam subito domo abeas?

(plaintively) Why, my husband, what is it takes you away so suddenly?

Iup. Jup.

Edepol haud quod tui me neque domi distaedeat; sed ubi summus imperator non adest ad exercitum, citius quod non facto est usus fit quam quod facto est opus.

No weariness of you and home, I swear to that. But when the commander-in-chief is not with his army, things are much more liable to go wrong than right.


Nimis hic scitust sycophanta, qui quidem meus sit pater. observatote eum, quam blande muliori palpabitur.

(aside) Ah, he's a sly old dodger—does me[D] credit, my father does! Notice how suavely he'll smooth her down.

[Footnote D: Mercury was the patron god of roguery.]


Ecastor te experior quanti facias uxorem tuam.

(pouting) Oh yes, I'm learning how much you think of your wife.

Iup. Jup.

Satin habes, si feminarum nulla est quam aeque diligam?

(fondly) Isn't it enough that you're the dearest woman in the world to me? (embraces her)


Edepol ne illa si istis rebus te sciat operam dare 510 ego faxim ted Amphitruonem esse malis, quam Iovem.

(aside) Now, now, sir! Just let the lady up yonder (pointing thumb heavenward) learn of your performances here, and I'll guarantee you'd rather be Amphitryon than Jove.


Experiri istuc mavellem me quam mi memorarier. prius abis quam lectus ubi cubuisti concaluit locus. heri venisti media nocte, nunc abis. hocin placet?

Actions speak louder than words. Here you are leaving me before your place on the couch had time to get warm. You came last night at midnight, and now you are going. Does that seem right?


Accedam atque hanc appellabo et subparasitabor patri. numquam edepol quemquam mortalem credo ego uxorem suam sic ecflictim amare, proinde ut hic te ecflictim deperit.

(aside) I'll go slip a word in and play henchman to my father. (to Alcmena, stepping up) Lord, ma'am, I don't believe there's a mortal man alive loves his own wife (glancing slyly at Jupiter) so madly as the mad way he dotes on you.

Iup. Jup.

Carnufex, non ego te novi? abin e conspectu meo? quid tibi hanc curatio est rem, verbero, aut muttitio? quon ego iam hoc scipione—

(angrily) You rascal, don't I know you? Out of my sight, will you! What business have you to interfere with this matter, or to breathe a word about it, you scamp? I'll take my cane this instant and—


Ah noli.

(seizing his arm) Oh, please don't!

Iup. Jup.

Muttito modo. 520

You just breathe a word now!


Nequiter paene expedivit prima parasitatio.

(aside dryly) The henchman's first try at henching pretty nearly came to grief.

Iup. Jup.

Verum quod tu dicis, mea uxor, non te mi irasci decet. clanculum abii a legione: operam hanc subrupui tibi, ex me primo ut prima scires, rem ut gessissem publicam. ea tibi omnia enarravi. nisi te amarem plurimum, non facerem.

But as to what you say, precious,—you oughtn't to be cross with me. It was on the sly that I left my troops: this is a stolen treat, stolen for your sake, so that your first news of how I served my country might come first from me. And now I have told you the whole story. I wouldn't have done such a thing, if I hadn't loved you with all my heart.


Facitne ut dixi? timidam palpo percutit.

(aside) Doing as I said, eh? Stroking her down, patting her back, poor thing.

Iup. Jup.

Nunc, ne legio persentiscat, clam illuc redeundum est mihi, ne me uxorem praevertisse dicant prae re publica.

Now I must slip back, so that my men may not get wind of this and say I put my wife ahead of the public welfare.


Lacrimantem ex abitu concinnas tu tuam uxorem.

(tearfully) And make your own wife cry at your leaving her!

Iup. Jup.

Tace, ne corrumpe oculos, redibo actutum.

(affectionately) Hush! Don't spoil your eyes: I shall be back soon.


Id actutum diu est. 530

That "soon" is a long, long time.

Iup. Jup.

Non ego te hic lubens relinquo neque abeo abs te.

It's not that I like to leave you here and go away.


Sentio, nam qua nocte ad me venisti, eadem abis.

So I perceive—going away the same night you came to me! (clings to him)

Iup. Jup.

Cur me tenes? tempus est: exire ex urbe prius quam lucescat volo. nunc tibi hanc pateram, quae dono mi illi ob virtutem data est, Pterela rex qui potitavit, quem ego mea occidi manu, Alcumena, tibi condono.

Why do you hold me? It is time: I wish to get out of the city before daybreak. (producing a golden bowl) Here is the bowl they presented me for bravery on the field—the one King Pterelas used to drink from, whom I killed with my own hand—take it as a gift from me, Alcmena.


Facis ut alias res soles. ecastor condignum donum, qualest qui donum dedit.

(taking bowl eagerly) That is so like you! Oh, your gift just matches the giver!


Immo sic: condignum donum, qualest cui dono datumst.

Oh no, not the giver—that gift matches the getter.

Iup. Jup.

Pergin autem? nonne ego possum, furcifer, te perdere?

(savagely) So? At it again? Is there no choking you off, you jailbird? No? (advances with upraised cane)


Noli amabo, Amphitruo, irasci Sosiae causa mea. 540

(holding him back) Please, Amphitryon, don't be angry with Sosia on my account.

Iup. Jup.

Faciam ita ut vis.

(halting) Anything you please.


Ex amore hic admodum quam saevos est.

(aside) Love has made an out-and-out savage of him.

Iup. Jup.

Numquid vis?

(kissing Alcmena and turning to go) Nothing else, then?


Ut quom absim me ames, me tuam te absente tamen.

This,—even though I am not near you, love me still, your own true wife, absent or not.


Eamus, Amphitruo. lucescit hoc iam.

Let's go, sir; it is getting light already.

Iup. Jup.

Abi prae, Sosia, Iam ego sequar. numquid vis?

Go ahead, Sosia; I shall be with you in a moment. [EXIT Mercury. (kisses Alcmena again and turns to go) Nothing further?


Etiam: ut actutum advenias.

Yes, yes—do come back soon.

Iup. Jup.

Licet, prius tua opinione hic adero: bonum animum habe. nunc te, nox, quae me mansisti, mitto uti cedas die, ut mortalis inlucescat luce clara et candida. atque quanto, nox, fuisti longior hac proxuma, tanto brevior dies ut fiat faciam, ut aeque disparet. sed dies e nocte accedat. ibo et Mercurium sequar. 550

Indeed I will: I shall be here sooner than you think. Come, come, cheer up! (embraces her and moves away) [EXIT Alcmena INTO HOUSE, SADLY. Now, Night, who hast tarried for me, I dismiss thee: give place to Day, that he may shine upon mortals in radiance and splendour. And Night, since thou wert longer than the last, I shall make the day so much the shorter, that there may be fair adjustment. But let day issue forth from night. Now to follow after Mercury. [EXIT Jupiter.



(Half an hour has elapsed.)



Age i tu secundum.

(to lagging Sosia) Here you! After me, come!


Sequor, subsequor te.

Coming, sir! Right at your heels.


Scelestissimum te arbitror.

It's my opinion you are a damned rascal.


Nam quam ob rem?

(hurt) Oh sir, why?


Quia id quod neque est neque fuit neque futurum est mihi praedicas.

(angrily) Because what you tell me is not so, never was so, never will be.


Eccere, iam tuatim facis tu, ut tuis nulla apud te fides sit.

See there now! Just like you—you can never trust your servants.


Quid est? quo modo? iam quidem hercle ego tibi istam scelestam, scelus, linguam abscidam.

(misunderstanding) What? How is that? Well, by heaven now, I'll cut out that villainous tongue for you, you villain!


Tuos sum, proinde ut commodumst et lubet quidque facias tamen quin loquar haec uti facta sunt hic, numquam ullo modo me potes deterrere. 560

(stubbornly) I am yours, sir: so do anything that suits your convenience and taste. However, I shall tell everything just as it happened here, and you shall never frighten me out of that, never.


Scelestissime, audes mihi praedicare id, domi te esse nunc, qui hic ades?

You confounded rascal, do you dare tell me you are at home this very minute, when you are here with me?


Vera dico.

It is a fact, sir.


Malum quod tibi di dabunt, atque ego hodie dabo.

A fact you shall soon suffer for—the gods will see to that, and so will I.


Istuc tibist in manu, nam tuos sum.

That rests with you, sir: I am your man.


Tun me, verbero, audes erum ludificari? tunc id dicere audes, quod nemo umquam homo antehac vidit nec potest fieri, tempore uno homo idem duobus locis ut simul sit?

You dare make fun of me, scoundrel, your master? You dare tell me a thing no one ever saw before, an impossible thing—the same man in two places at one time?


Profecto, ut loquor res ita est.

Really, sir, it is just as I say.


Iuppiter te perdat.

Jove's curse on you!


Quid mali sum, ere, tua ex re promeritus? 570

What harm have I done you to be punished, sir?


Rogasne, improbe, etiam qui ludos facis me?

Harm? You reprobate! Still making a joke of me, are you?


Merito maledicas mihi, si id ita factum est.[16] verum haud mentior, resque uti facta dico.

You would have a right to call me names, if that was so. But I am not lying, sir: it happened just as I say.


Homo hic ebrius est, ut opinor.

The man is drunk, I do believe.


Utinam ita essem.

(heartily) Wish I was!


Optas quae facta. 575

(dryly) Your wish is already gratified.



Is it?


Tu istic. ubi bibisti?

It is. Where did you get drink?


Nusquam equidem bibi.

I did not, not I, nowhere.


Quid hoc sit 576 hominis?

(despairingly) What am I to make of the fellow?


Equidem decies dixi: domi ego sum, inquam, ecquid audis? 577 et apud te adsum Sosia idem. satin hoc plane, satin diserte, 578 ere, nunc videor tibi locutus esse?

I have told you how it is ten times over: I am at home, I say. Do you hear that? Yes, and I am here with you, the same Sosia. There sir, do you think that is putting it plainly enough, lucidly enough for you?


Vah, 579 apage te a me.

(shoving him aside) Bah! Get away with you.


Quid est negoti? 580

What is the matter?


Pestis te tenet.

You have the plague.


Nam quor istuc dicis? equidem valeo el salvos sum recte, Amphitruo.

Why, what do you say that for? Really, sir, I feel well, I am all right.


At te ego faciam 583 hodie proinde ac meritus es, ut minus valeas et miser sis, 584a salvos domum si rediero: iam 584b sequere sis, erum qui ludificas 585a dictis delirantibus, 585b

But I shall soon see you get your deserts: you will not feel so well, you will be wretched enough, once I get back home all right. Be so good as to follow me, you that make a butt of your master with your idiotic drivel.

qui quoniam erus quod imperavit neglexisti persequi, nunc venis etiam ultro inrisum dominum: quae neque fieri possunt neque fando umquam accepit quisquam profers, carnifex; quoius ego hodie in tergum faxo ista expetant mendacia.

Seeing you neglected to carry out your master's orders, you now have the effrontery to come and laugh at him, to boot,— with your tales of what can never happen, what no man ever heard of, you rapscallion. By heaven, those lies of yours shall fall on your own back, I promise you!


Amphitruo, miserrima istaec miseria est servo bono, 590 apud erum qui vera loquitur, si id vi verum vincitur.

(plaintively) It is hard, sir, horribly hard, on a good servant that tells his master plain facts to have his facts confuted by a flogging.


Quo id, malum, pacto potest nam—mecum argumentis puta— fieri, nunc uti tu et hic sis et domi? id dici volo.

Curse it! How in the world is it possible—argue it out with me—for you to be here now, and at home, too? Tell me that, will you?


Sum profecto et hic et illic. hoc cuivis mirari licet, neque tibi istuc mirum[17] magis videtur quam mihi.

I am here and I am there, I positively am. I don't care who wonders at it: it is no more wonderful to you than it is to me, sir.


Quo modo?

How is that?


Nihilo, inquam, mirum magis tibi istuc quam mihi; neque, ita me di ament, credebam primo mihimet Sosiae, donec Sosia illic egomet fecit sibi uti crederem. ordine omne, uti quicque actum est, dum apud hostis sedimus, edissertavit. tum formam una abstulit cum nomine. 600 neque lac lactis magis est simile quam ille ego similest mei. nam ut dudum ante lucem a portu me praemisisti domum—

I say it is not a bit more wonderful to you than to me. So help me heaven, I didn't believe my own self, Sosia, at first, not till that other Sosia, myself, made me believe him. He reeled off every thing just as it happened while we were on the field there with the enemy; and besides, he had stolen my looks along with my name. One drop of milk is no more like another than that I is like me. Why, when you sent me ahead home from the harbour before dawn a while ago—


Quid igitur?

What then?


Prius multo ante aedis stabam quam illo adveneram.

I was standing in front of the house long before I got there.


Quas, malum, nugas? satin tu sanus es?

What confounded rubbish! Are you actually in your senses?


Sic sum ut vides.

You can see for yourself I am.


Huic homini nescio quid est mali mala obiectum manu, postquam a me abiit.

The fellow is bewitched somehow: the evil hand has been laid on him since he left me.


Fateor, nam sum obtusus pugnis pessume.

Right you are! Evil? The way I got beaten to jelly was damned evil.


Quis te verberavit?

Who was it beat you?


Egomet memet, qui nunc sum domi.

I beat myself—the I that is at home now.


Cave quicquam, nisi quod rogabo te, mihi responderis. omnium primum iste qui sit Sosia, hoc dici volo.

Mind now, not a word but what I ask you. In the first place, I wish to be informed who that Sosia is.


Tuos est servos.

Your own slave.


Mihi quidem uno te plus etiam est quam volo, 610 neque postquam sum natus habui nisi te servom Sosiam.

As a matter of fact, I have one too many in you already, and never in my life did I own a slave named Sosia except yourself.


At ego nunc, Amphitruo, dico: Sosiam servom tuom praeter me alterum, inquam, adveniens faciam ut offendas domi, Davo prognatum patre eodem quo ego sum, forma, aetate item qua ego sum. quid opust verbis? geminus Sosia hic factust tibi.

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