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Suavius fhould have been tranflated more agreeable; a fenfe which it commonly bore in the time of Plautus.-Sweeter feems here uncouth.
Was this a law in force, we should not fee The white net fpread to take our neighbour's goods. The commentators have both mifread, and misunderstood, this pafiage, and it is, therefore, no wonder if they have led the Tranflator into their mistake. Not knowing what to make of albo ariete, and modeftly concluding, according to custom, that what they did not understand muft needs be wrong, some of them, to reconcile it to their ignorance, had the hardiness to alter the text to albo rete; which, indeed, made abfolute nonfenfe of it. The allufion is military; the metaphorical conftruction this, We should fee none of thofe fellows who lay fiege to other mens goods with a white ram.' The real fenfe,
We should fee none of thofe informers who, by infidious means, get poffeffion of the property of others.' The applica tion of the metaphor, which is very happy, would probably have occurred to them, if they had recollected the following paffage in Pliny: EQUUM (qui nunc ARIES appellatur) in muralibus machinis primum epeum ad Trojam. Plin. Nat. Hift. lib. vii. cap. 56. The infidious conduct of the informer reprefented by the equally infidious inftrument of the equus al Trojam, qui nunc aries appellatur, gives to the allufion the greatest propriety.
If the Tranflator of thefe comedies has fallen into any confiderable error, it is when, through too great diffidence, he has departed from himfelf, and too implicitly given into the opinions of the commentators-that generation of moles, for ever groping and blundering, who, in general, without tafte, penetration, or judgment, fell into the moft miferable quibbling, and torturing of words. Mr. W. with all his merit, we can hardly forgive for his acquiefcence in their interpretation of the following paffage :
IB. ACT V. Sc. I.
The commentators will have aquilam in this place to ftand for aquulam, a little water: now, not to mention that Toxilus calls for this article afterwards.
Date aquam manibus,
nothing can be more clear than that this expreffion is a continuation of the military metaphor with which he beginsHoftibus vitis, civibus falvis, &c. Hic ftatui volo primum
The enemy fubdued, the state in fafety,
Here shall my ftandard firft be placed, the eagle.
The Perfian abounds with more unaffected wit and nature than almost any other of the comedies of Plautus. It is interfperfed with fine fentiments, and the general purpofe is truly comical, if not moral. A mifchievous Pandar, impofed upon by the art of Toxilus (who had previous connections with him. fufficient to make him wifh for revenge) and drawn in to purchafe a freeman's daughter, under pretence that he was a Perfian flave, when he finds his mistake, and that he has thrown away his money, becomes a fine fubject for comic ridicule. He appears venting his rage in the laft act, when he finds Toxilus and his coadjutors exulting over his misfortunes.
ACT V. SCENE I.
TOXILUS. The foe fubdu'd, the citizens all fafe,
Go out then and prepare-Before the door,
[to the flaves.
Set down the couches here-Bring every thing
The water plac'd-Here will I make all gay,
The water plac'd-] The original is aquilam, the eagle, which the Romans carried on their enfigns. The commentators feem to agree, that the fpeaker ufes it for aguulam, a little water, in order to make a kind of jeu des mots (as the French call it) on the words. That the Romans ufed warm and cold water both before their meals, moft probably to wash their hands, appears from many paffages in our author.
Age accumbe igitur--cedo aquam
Moftellaria, A& I. Scene III. v. 150.
Affiftance I've fo eafily accomplish'd
The thing I wish'd for, may have fome reward-
Enter LEMNISELENE, SAGARISTIO, and PÆGNIUM.
Go to Why don't you come then and carefs me?
Prithee, why don't you take us to our couches
Tox. Your wifh is mine-
Tox. Come, Sagariitio, come and take
SAG. I care not much 'bout that,
SAG. All in good time's too late.
Attend the prefent business-Take your couch-
To wash our hands-Set fupper on the table-
For you shall be the mistress of our feast-
LEM. You've made us happy all-
my dear-] The original is, ceulus meus, my eye. made ufe of by Plautus in an endearing fente.
Oculus and ocellus are often
Curculio, A& I. Scene III. v. 47.
Sticbus, A&t V. Scene VI. v. 3.
+ Do you but make, &c] The original in most of the editions is cedò parem. Aldus and Lambin read cedo partem. If the former is adhered to, it is, fay the commentators, addreffed to Toxilus, and means, do you provide a mistress for me, that I may be as bappy as you are. If the latter, it means, give me the money, according to
Bene vale, ocule mi'Adieu, my dear
Meus oculus, da mibi favium
Give me a kifs, you regue
1 with feven cups-] This is an allufion to the game the Romans called turulia, which were races with chariots, which they were to drive round the courie. The Grecians drove round twelve times. Therefore pergræcari, to drink like Grecians, was to drink largely. Limiers from M. De L'Oeuvre.
My hand prefents this cup to yours-
Enter DORDALUS at a distance.
Who are, who fhall be, or whoe'er have been,
Has been to me the worst of days-That cheat
But ha-What fee I-Do but look at them!
Tox. This furely must be Dordalus-
Tox. Let him come-
I'll inflant dafh your eye out with my cup
What fay't thou, gallows!-Wearer out of fcourges! How thou haft cheated me this day, how hamper d me! How lent a hand about this Perfian too!
• I've loft my filver book] The commentators give themselves much trouble in explaining this paffage, which to us feems very eaty to be understood. Dordalus, by his having parted with the girl who had brought grift to his mill, in order to have a fum of money, and by the purchate he had just made of a girl whom he was obliged to give up, lofes both the money, and the one as well as the other of theie perfons, at the fame time. Herein feems to be the whole mystery of this paffage, which on following the difpofition of the piece, and not lofing fight of the fubject, as moft com. mentators do, by quitting things for words, is very clear. LIMIERS.
Water to wash bis feet-] The commentators inform us, that it was the custom of the Gentiles as well as Jews, to have their flaves wash the feet of their guests before they fat down to meals. Lambin, not aware of this, will have it to be ironical.
If you were wife, you'd wrangle fomewhere elfe..
Tox. Give him a bowl of wine-
You fool me now-Flout on as you were wont-
What a facetious, princely ftrut thou'st got-
Tox. As you've begun
Have at you, pandar
DOR. Oh! undone,
He has almost knock'd me down-
Play on your pranks at will, while far from hence
PAG. See how I obey
Why should not you obey then, in return,
All my commands, and do what I perfuade you?
PAG. Why, take a rope, a flout one though,
DOR. You'd beft be cautious how
PAG. Well, well-Ufe your staff,
Tox. Come Pagnium,
I'll utterly deftroy you all, by Pollux !
Come, carry round the wine, and in full bumpers--
You fool me now- w-] After these words a fenteme is not tranflated. The learned reader will know the reafon.
bave done-] The original is da paufam. Greek, naveis, a ceffation. + might not pass through you!-] We have tranflated it literally. The speaker means, I wish your drink would poifon you.