Plautus' Curculio: ACT V, SCENE III

Plautus’ Curculio
Act V        Scene III

ENTER Cappadox.


CAPPADOX: People that say bankers are ill trusted talk rubbish. Why, they are well and ill trusted both, I tell you–and what is more, I have proved it myself this very day. Money is not ill trusted to men that never repay you; it is gone for good. That Lyco, for example, in trying to raise forty pounds for me, went to every single bank. Nothing coming of it, I begin dunning him at the top of my lungs. He summons me before the magistrate I was horribly afraid he would settle with me in court. But his friends coerced him, and he paid me out of his own cash in hand. Now I must hurry home. (goes toward his house)

THERAPONTIGONUS: (stepping forward) Ah there, pimp, I want you!

PHAEDROMUS: (joining the Captain) And I want you.

CAPPADOX: (without stopping) But I want neither of you.

THERAPONTIGONUS: (menacingly) Stop there, please, and hurry up and disgorge my money in a hurry.

CAPPADOX: (to Captain) What have you to do with me? (to Phaedromus) Or you?

THERAPONTIGONUS: This–to-day I intend to transform you into a catapeltic arrow, and send you spinning like a missile from a catapult.

PHAEDROMUS: And to-day I intend to make quite a fop of you and make you sleep with a little dog–I mean dog-chain.

CAPPADOX: Yes, and I intend to put you both in a good stout cell to rot.

PHAEDROMUS: Get him by the neck! Off to the gallows with him!

THERAPONTIGONUS: (seizing Cappadox roughly) He will prefer to go of his own accord, come what may.

CAPPADOX: (struggling) In the name of heaven and earth! Dragged off in this fashion, with no sentence, no witnesses against me! Planesium–and you, Phaedromus–for mercy s sake, help me!

PLANESIUM: Brother, I beg you! don’t let him be condemned and ruined! I was well used, treated modestly, at his house.

THERAPONTIGONUS: Through no choice of his. You can thank Aesculapius here for that; for if he had been healthy, he would have packed you off anywhere he could, long ago.

PHAEDROMUS: (to the Captain and Cappadox) Give me your attention and let me see if I can settle your difficulties. (to Captain) Let go of him. (Therapontigonus does so) Come here, pimp. I’ll state my opinion, that is, if you both are willing to accept my verdict.

THERAPONTIGONUS: We leave it to you

CAPPADOX: That is, provided–Lord, yes!–provided you decide no one is to get away with my money.

THERAPONTIGONUS: Money you promised?

CAPPADOX: Promised? How?

PHAEDROMUS: With your tongue.

CAPPADOX: I now deny it the same way. This tongue was given me to talk with, not to ruin myself with.

PHAEDROMUS: It’s no use. Get him by the neck.

CAPPADOX: (as Therapontigonus advances) Here, here, I’ll do as you say!

THERAPONTIGONUS: Now that you are decent, answer me what I ask.

CAPPADOX: (sullenly) Ask what you like.

THERAPONTIGONUS: Did you not promise that, if anyone claimed this girl as free, you would refund all the money ?

CAPPADOX: (tentatively) I don’t recollect saying that.

THERAPONTIGONUS: What? You deny it?

CAPPADOX: (gaining courage) Yes, by gad, I do deny it. In whose presence? Where?

THERAPONTIGONUS: In my presence and in banker Lyco’s.

CAPPADOX: Hold your tongue, will you?


CAPPADOX: I don’t care a straw for you, not I. You needn’t try to scare me.

THERAPONTIGONUS: (to Phaedromus) In my own presence and Lyco’s he did make that promise.

PHAEDROMUS: I believe you fully. (judicially) Now, see here, pimp, to inform you of my opinion: this girl is free, this gentleman (indicating Therapontigonus) is her brother, she being his sister and about to be my wife; do you refund his money. This is my decision.

THERAPONTIGONUS: Yes, and you will soon make your bed in gaol, unless my money is refunded.

CAPPADOX: (ireful) By gad, Phaedromus, you have been a rotten judge! You shall rue it, too, and as for you, Captain, may all the powers above destroy you! (turning to go) Follow me, you.

THERAPONTIGONUS: Follow you where?

CAPPADOX: To my banker’s, to the court! Yes, sir, there is where I settle with all my creditors.

THERAPONTIGONUS: It will be to gaol, not to court I drag you, unless you refund my money.

CAPPADOX: I hope to heaven you come to a bad end–and now you know my feelings!


CAPPADOX: Yes, by gad, so indeed.

THERAPONTIGONUS: (baring his arms) I do know these fists of mine.

CAPPADOX: (less vigorously) What then?

THERAPONTIGONUS: "What then," eh? Provoke me, and they will pacify you, my man, right speedily. (advances)

CAPPADOX: (as Phaedromus, too, looks threatening) Come on, then, take your money, quick!

THERAPONTIGONUS: (grandly, accepting it) Very well.

PHAEDROMUS: Captain, you will dine with me. The wedding takes place to-day.

THERAPONTIGONUS: And may it turn out well for me and for both of you! (to audience) Spectators, your applause.




Roman Comedy Navigation Bar