Miles Gloriosus, or The Braggart Captain

Act Four, Scene Eight

Enter PALAESTRIO and PHILOCOMASIUM from the CAPTAIN’S house.

PALAESTRIO
to PHILOCOMASIUM. Prithee, when will you this day make an end of your weeping?

PHILOCOMASIUM
What can I do but weep? I am going away hence where I have spent my days most happily.

PALAESTRIO
See, there’s the man that has come from your mother and sister. (pointing to PLEUSICLES.)

PHILOCOMASIUM
I see him.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Palaestrio, do you hear?

PALAESTRIO
What is your pleasure?

PYRGOPOLINICES
Aren’t you ordering those presents to be brought out which I gave her?

PLEUSICLES
Health to you, Philocomasium.

PHILOCOMASIUM
And health to you.

PLEUSICLES
Your mother and sister bade me give their love to you.

PHILOCOMASIUM
Heaven prosper them.

PLEUSICLES
They beg you to set out, so that, while the wind is fair, they may set sail. But if your mother’s eyes had been well, she would have come[1] together with me.

PHILOCOMASIUM
I’ll go; although I do it with regret-duty compels me.

PLEUSICLES
You act wisely.

PYRGOPOLINICES
If she had not been passing her life with myself, this day she would have been a blockhead.

PHILOCOMASIUM
I am distracted at this, that I am estranged from such a man. For you are able to make any woman what-ever abound in wit; and because I was living with you, for that reason I was of a very lofty spirit. I see that I must lose that loftiness of mind. Pretends to cry.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Don’t weep.

PHILOCOMASIUM
I can’t help it when I look upon you.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Be of good courage.

PHILOCOMASIUM
I know what pain it is to me.

PALAESTRIO
I really don’t wonder now, Philocomasium, if you were here with happiness to yourself, when I, a servant–as I look at him, weep because we are parting pretends to cry, so much have his beauty, his manners, his valour, captivated your feelings.

PHILOCOMASIUM
Prithee, do let me embrace you before I depart?

PYRGOPOLINICES
By all means

PHILOCOMASIUM
embracing him. O my eyes! O my life!

PALAESTRIO
Do hold up the woman, I entreat you, lest she should fall. He takes hold of her, and she pretends to faint.

PYRGOPOLINICES
What means this?

PALAESTRIO
Because, after she had quitted you, she suddenly became faint, poor thing.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Run in and fetch some water.

PALAESTRIO
I want no water, but I had rather you would keep at a distance. Prithee, don’t you interfere till she comes to.

PYRGOPOLINICES
observing PLEUSICLES, who is holding PHILOCOMASIUM in his arm. They have their heads too closely in contact between them; I don’t like it; he is soldering his lips[2] to hers. What the plague are you about?

PLEUSICLES
I was trying whether she was breathing or not.

PYRGOPOLINICES
You ought to have applied your ear then.

PLEUSICLES
If you had rather, I’ll let her go.

PYRGOPOLINICES
No, I don’t care; do you support her.

PALAESTRIO
To my misery, I’m quite distracted.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Go and bring here from in-doors all the things that I have given her.

PALAESTRIO
And even now, household God, do I salute thee before I depart; my fellow-servants, both male and female, all farewell, and happy may you live; prithee, though absent, among yourselves bestow your blessings upon me as well.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Come, Palaestrio, be of good courage.

PALAESTRIO
Alas! alas! I cannot but weep since from you I must depart.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Bear it with patience.

PHILOCOMASIUM
feigning to recover. Ha! how’s this? What means it? Hail, O light!

PLEUSICLES
Are you recovered now?

PHILOCOMASIUM
Prithee, what person am I embracing? I’m undone. Am I myself?

PLEUSICLES
in a low voice. Fear not, my delight.

PYRGOPOLINICES
What means all this?

PALAESTRIO
Just now she swooned away here. * * * * * * I fear and dread that this, at last, may take place[3] too openly.

PYRGOPOLINICES
What is that you say?

PALAESTRIO
I fear that someone may turn it to your discredit, while all these things are being carried after us through the city.

PYRGOPOLINICES
I have given away my own property, and not theirs. I care but little for other people. Be off then, go with the blessing of the Gods.

PALAESTRIO
‘Tis for your sake I say it.

PYRGOPOLINICES
I believe you.

PALAESTRIO
And now farewell!

PYRGOPOLINICES
And heartily farewell to you!

PALAESTRIO
to PLEUSICLES and PHILOCOMASIUM as they leave. Go you quickly on; I’ll overtake you directly; I wish to speak a few words with my master. To PYRGOPOLINICES. Although you have ever deemed others more faithful to yourself than me, still do I owe you many thanks for all things; and if such were your feelings, I would rather be a slave to you by far than be the freedman of another.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Be of good courage.

PALAESTRIO
Ah me! When it comes in my mind, how my manners must be changed, how womanish manners must be learnt, and the military ones forgotten!

PYRGOPOLINICES
Take care and be honest.

PALAESTRIO
I can be so no longer; I have lost all inclination[4].

PYRGOPOLINICES
Go, follow them; don’t linger.

PALAESTRIO
Fare you right well.

PYRGOPOLINICES
And heartily fare you well.

PALAESTRIO
Prithee, do remember me; if perchance I should happen to be made free, I’ll send the news to you; don’t you forsake me[5].

PYRGOPOLINICES
That is not my habit.

PALAESTRIO
Consider every now and then how faithful I have been to you. If you do that, then at last you’ll know who is honest towards you and who dishonest.

PYRGOPOLINICES
I know it; I have often found that true, as well before as to-day in especial.

PALAESTRIO
Do you know it? Aye, and this day I’ll make you hereafter say still more how true it is.

PYRGOPOLINICES
I can hardly refrain from bidding you to stay.

PALAESTRIO
Take you care how[6] you do that. They may say that you are a liar and not truthful, that you have no honor; they may say that no one of your slaves is trustworthy except my-self. If, indeed, I thought you could do it with honor, I should advise you. But it cannot be; take care how you do so.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Be off; I’ll be content then, whatever happens.

PALAESTRIO
Then, fare you well.

PYRGOPOLINICES
‘Twere better you should go with a good heart.

PALAESTRIO
Still, once more, farewell. Exit.

PYRGOPOLINICES
Before this affair, I had always thought that he was a most rascally servant; still, I find that he is faithful to me. When I consider with myself, I have done unwisely in parting with him. I’ll go hence at once now to my love here: the door, too, I perceive, makes a noise there.


  1. She would have come: Thornton justly observes that this excuse for the pretended mother not making her appearance is fair enough, but there is no reason alleged why the sister should not come, except that we may suppose that she stays to nurse and comfort her sick parent.
  2. He is soldering his lips: “Ferruminat” is a strong expression here; it literally means to weld iron with iron. hammering it in a red-hot state
  3. May take place: Palaestrio cannot help exclaiming against the indiscreet conduct of the lovers. The Captain overhears him, and asks him what is the matter. He adroitly turns it off, by saying, “that if thus openly —- the goods and furniture are carried through the city, he very much fears that his, master will be censured for his extreme prodigality.”
  4. Lost all inclination: A pun is thought to be intended here on the word “lubidnem,” but of so wretched a nature that it is not worth any further allusion to it.
  5. Don’t you forsake me: He hypocritically entreats his master not to desert him in need, should he be made free, and be thereby thrown entirely upon his own resources.
  6. Take you care how: There is considerable drollery in his anxiety lest his master should suddenly change his mind and refuse to let him go. His situation would, indeed, under such circumstances have proved an unfortunate one.

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Miles Gloriosus, or The Braggart Captain by The Comedies of Plautus. Henry Thomas Riley. London. G. Bell and Sons. 1912. Digitized by Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University, oved to Pressbooks by Ryerson Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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