Quarrel Between Slaves

Plautus Mostellaria 1-39

grumio. Come out into the open from the kitchen, if you please, [you] rascal, [you] who are displaying [your] verbal wit to me amid your dishes. Come out of the house, [you] ruin of [our] master. By Pollux, if I'm alive (lit., will live), I will take vengeance on you thoroughly in the country. Come out of the kitchen, I'm telling [you], [you] smell-lover. Why are you hiding? tranio. Why are you shouting, damn it, here in front of the house? Do you think you are [still] in the country? Go away from the house! Go away to the country, go away immediately, go away from the door! (hitting Grumio) There [you are]! Is this what you wanted? grumio. Yikes! Why are you hitting me? tranio. Because you are alive.

grumio. I will put up with [it]. Just let the old man come. Just let him come safely whom you are ruining (lit., eating) in his absence (lit., [when] absent).

tranio. What you say is neither likely nor true, [you] blockhead, [namely]

that a person can eat someone [who is] absent. grumio. Do you, a real city smart aleck, a darling of the people, throw the country in my face? [You] certainly [do this], I think, because you know that in the near future you will be consigned to the mill. By Hercules, within a few seasons, Tranio, you will increase the country population, [namely] the iron mob. Now, while you want to and can, drink, waste property, corrupt [our] excellent young master, drink night and day, act like Greeks, buy mistresses, set [them] free, feed parasites, stock up for sumptuous banquets. Did the old man give you these instructions when he went abroad from here? Will he find [his] property here looked after in this way? Do you think that this is the duty of a good slave, [namely] that he should ruin both the property and the son of his master? For I consider that [person] ruined when he devotes himself to these actions. He who previously was considered to surpass all the Athenian youth in sobriety and self-restraint (lit, than whom no one from all the Athenian youth was previously considered equally sober and more self-restrained), now takes the prize (lit., holds the palm) for the very opposite. This has been done through you and your instruction, tranio. Damn it, why do you care about me or what I do? Tell me, aren't there cattle in the country that you should be tending? We like to drink, fornicate, bring prostitutes home. I'm doing these things on the responsibility of my back, not yours. grumio. How audaciously he talks!

tranio. But may Jupiter and all the gods destroy you! Yuck! You have a stink of garlic [about you].

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