|
A New and Complete Translation

Essay 98

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 [†]8 April 1768[98.1]

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The elimination of the doubled pairs of brothers also renders the relationship between the two young men cockeyed and false.[98.2] I hold it against the German Aeschinus that he “often believed he had to participate in Ctesipho’s foolishness in order to wrest him, as his cousin, from public disgrace and danger.”[*][98.3] What? His cousin? And is it really appropriate for his real father to respond: “I approve of the care and prudence you have shown in this, and I will not prohibit you going forward”?[98.4] What does the father not prohibit his son to do? To take part in the follies of a rowdy cousin? In fact, he should forbid him from doing that. He really ought to say to him: “Try to keep your cousin away from committing foolishness as much as possible. But if you find that he absolutely insists on it, then distance yourself from him, for your good name must be more precious to you than his is.”

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 We only forgive a blood brother for going any further in this. Only with real brothers does it give us joy when one boasts of the other:

[…] Illius opera nunc vivo! Festivum caput,

qui omnia sibi post putarit esse prae meo commodo:

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0             maledicta, famam, meum amorem & peccatum in se transtulit.[98.5]

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 For we do not wish to see wisdom set any limits on brotherly love. Of course, it is true that our author knew how to spare his Aeschinus the foolishness that Terence’s Aeschinus commits on behalf of his brother. He transformed a violent abduction into a little scuffle, in which his well-bred youth played no part other than wanting to prevent it. But nonetheless he has this well-bred youth do far too much for a poorly raised cousin. Is it really likely he would ever allow his cousin to bring a little creature like Citalise into his house?[98.6] Into his father’s house? Under the eyes of his virtuous beloved? It is not because of the seductive Damis,[†] that plague of young people, that the German Aeschinus allows his debauched cousin the use of his house; it simply serves the convenience of the writer.[98.7]

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 How perfectly this all hangs together in Terence’s play! How correctly and necessarily he motivates even the most trivial detail! Aeschinus takes by force, from the house of a slave trader, a girl his brother is in love with. But he does it less to accommodate his brother’s desires than to prevent a greater evil. The slave trader wants to send the girl to a foreign market right away, and the brother wants to follow her; he would rather leave his fatherland than lose sight of the object of his love.[‡][98.8] Aeschinus learns of this resolution in the nick of time. What should he do? He quickly seizes the girl and brings her into his uncle’s house, in order to reveal the whole business to this good man. For the girl has been taken, but her owner must still be paid. Micio pays without hesitation, and rejoices –not over what the young men have done, but rather over the brotherly love he sees as the reason for their action, and over the trust they have placed in him. The chief part is done; why should he not throw in a little something to give them a perfectly enjoyable day?

[…] argentum annumeravit ilico.

dedit praeterea in sumptum dimidium minae.[98.9]

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 He has bought the girl for Ctesipho, why shouldn’t he allow him to enjoy himself with her in his house? According to the ancient customs, there is nothing here that contradicts virtue and respectability whatsoever.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 But not so in our Brothers! The benevolent father’s house is abused in the most unseemly manner. First, without his knowledge, but in the end, even with his consent. Citalise is a far more disreputable person than the psaltria in Terence, and our Ctesipho actually wants to marry her.[98.10] If this is what the Terentian Ctesipho had planned with his psaltria, the Terentian Micio would have conducted himself very differently in the affair. He would have shown Citalise the door and would have come to an agreement with the father on the most powerful means to keep such a wantonly emancipated boy in check.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 In general the German Ctesipho is depicted as far too corrupt from the very beginning, and here, too, our author has departed from his model. There is a passage that always makes me shudder, where he converses with his cousin about his father.[§][98.11]

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 LEANDER: But how does that accord with the respect and love you owe your father?

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 LYCAST: Respect? Love? Hm! He had better not ask those of me.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 LEANDER: He should not to ask them of you?

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 LYCAST: No, certainly not. I am not fond of my father. I would be lying if I said so.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 LEANDER: Brutal son! You are not thinking through what you are saying. Not to love the one who gave you life! You may say such things now, while he is still alive. But once you have lost him, then I will ask you again.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 LYCAST: Hm! I don’t exactly know what would happen then. In any case, I would probably still not actually be wrong. For I think he would not do any better. He says to me nearly every day: “If I were only rid of you! If you were only gone!” You call that love? Can you ask me to love him again?

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Even the strictest discipline would not tempt a child to such unnatural attitudes. The heart that, for whatever reason, is capable of such attitudes should be deemed nothing other than base. If we are to take the part of the debauched son against the strict father, then his excesses must not reveal a heart that is fundamentally wicked; they must be nothing but excesses of temperament, youthful indiscretions, follies of caprice and willfulness. Terence and Menander depicted their Ctesipho according to this principle.[98.12] No matter how strictly his father treats him, not a single mean word against his father escapes his lips. And he makes up for the one instance that could be seen as such in the most excellent manner. He would like to enjoy his lover in peace for at least a couple of days; he rejoices that his father is back at work in the country and hopes that he tires himself out, that he tires himself so much that he will not be able to get out of bed for three whole days. A rash wish! But we see what he adds:

[…] utinam quidem!

quod cum salute ejus fiat, ita se defetigarit velim

ut triduo hoc perpetuo prorsum e lecto nequeat surgere.[98.13]

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Quod cum salute ejus fiat! As long as he doesn’t come to any harm! – So right! So right, dear boy! Always go where joy and love call you. For you, we gladly turn a blind eye! The wickedness you commit will not be very wicked! You have a stricter overseer in yourself than even your father is! – And there are several lines of this type in the scene from which this passage is taken. The German Ctesipho is a cunning piece of work, comfortable with lies and deceit; the Roman, on the other hand, is thrown into utter confusion by a small subterfuge he could use to justify his absence to his father:

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 CTE:   Rogitabit me: ubi fuerim? quem ego hodie toto non vidi die

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0             quid dicam?

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 SYR:                nilne in mentemst?

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 CTE:                                                   numquam quicquam.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 SYR:                                                                            tanto nequior.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0             cliens, amicus, hospes nemost vobis?

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 CTE:                                                               sunt. quid postea?

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 SYR:    hisce opera ut data sit?

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 CTE:                                       quae non data sit? non potest fieri.[98.14]

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 That naïve, ingenuous “quae non data sit!” The good young man seeks an excuse, and the mischievous servant proposes that he lie. A lie! No, that can’t be done: “non potest fieri!


35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 [*]Act I, Sc. 3, p. 18.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 [†] p. 30.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 [‡] Act 2, Sc. 4.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 AES:    hoc mihi dolet, nos paene sero scisse et paene in eum locum

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 redisse ut, si omnes cuperent, nil tibi possent auxiliarier.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 CTE:   pudebat.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 AE:                  ah! stultitiast istaec, non pudor. tam ob parvulam

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 rem paene e patria! turpe dictu. deos quaeso ut istaec prohibeant.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 [§] Act 1, Sc. 6.

  • 44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0
  • [98.1] Actually published Easter (March) 1769.
  • [98.2] Lessing continues, from [97], his discussion (begun in [96]) of the differences between Romanus’s comedy Die Brüder [The Brothers] and Terence’s Adelphi [The Brothers]. Terence’s play has two pairs of brothers: Micio and Demea (Philidor and Lysimon in Die Brüder), and Demea’s sons Aeschinus and Ctesipho (Leander and Lycast in Die Brüder). Romanus changes the younger set to cousins. See [70.6] for the origins of Die Brüder, and [70.7] for the plot of Terence’s play.
  • [98.3] The citations given by Lessing in his footnotes do not align with the 1763 edition available through our Works Cited. In our edition, this line (which Lessing alters slightly) and the following line can be found in Act I, Sc. 2; see Romanus 9.
  • [98.4] See Romanus 10.
  • [98.5] “It’s thanks to him that I’m alive. The wonderful fellow! He saw everything else as second to my interests. He took upon himself the insults, the gossip, my troubles, my misdeeds” (Act 2, Sc. 5). Tr. by John Barsby, in Terence Adelphi/The Brothers 2: 281. Tr. note: There is a slight variation in Lessing’s Latin text, which substitutes “amorem” (love) for “laborem” (troubles).
  • [98.6] Citalise: Lycast’s love interest; Romanus’s substitute for the unnamed “music girl” in Terence’s play.
  • [98.7] In Die Brüder, the reprobate cousin Lycast threatens to stay with Damis, an unsavory character who does not appear in the play, if his virtuous cousin Leander (the “German Aeschinus”) will not house him. See Romanus 19–20.
  • [98.8] For an English translation of the quotation in Lessing’s footnote, see Terence, Adelphi/The Brothers 2: 281–3.
  • [98.9] “He counted out the money on the spot, and gave us half a mina on top to spend on the party” (Act 3, Sc. 3). Tr. John Barby, in Terence Adelphi/The Brothers 2: 295.
  • [98.10] psaltria: music-girl. “our Ctesipho”: Lycast.
  • [98.11] In our edition these lines appear in Act 1, Sc. 5; see Romanus 16–17.
  • [98.12] Terence’s play is a Roman adaptation of Menander’s Greek comedy of the same name.
  • [98.13] “I only hope he is. As long as he doesn’t come to any harm, I’d like him to get himself so exhausted that for the next three days he can’t get out of bed at all” (Act 4, Sc. 1). Tr. John Barsby, in Terence Adelphi/The Brothers 2: 309.
  • [98.14] “CTE: He’ll ask me where I’ve been. ‘I haven’t seen you all day,’ he’ll say. What shall I tell him?/ SYR: Can’t you think of anything?/ CTE: Nothing at all./ SYR: So much the worse for you. Don’t you people have clients, friends, guest-friends?/ CTE: Yes, we do. What of it?/ SYR: So you can say you’ve been offering your services to them./ CTE: When I haven’t? It can’t be done.” Tr. John Barsby in Terence, Adelphi/The Brothers 2: 311.
  • [†] Text in blue indicates passages ommitted by Zimmern in her 1890 translation.
Page 99

Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/hamburg/essay-98/