Plautus, Pot of Gold 213-242
by Tom Gardner
Megadorus: aetatem meam scis?
Euclio: scio esse grandem, item ut pecuniam.
Meg: certe edepol equidem te civem sine mala omni malitia
semper sum arbitratus et nunc arbitror.
Eug: aurum huic olet.
quid nunc me vis?
Meg: quoniam tu me et ego te qualis sis scio,
quae res recte vortat mihique tibique tuaeque filiae,
filiam tuam mi uxorem posco. promitte hoc fore.
Eug: heia, Megadore, haud decorum facinus tuis factis facis,
ut inopem atque innoxium abs te atque abs tuis me inrideas.
nam de te neque re neque verbis merui ut faceres quod facis.
Meg: neque edepol ego te derisum venio neque derideo,
neque dignum arbitror.
Eug: cur igitur poscis meam gnatam tibi?
Meg: ut propter me tibi sit melius mihique propter te et tuos.
Eug: venit hoc mihi, Megadore, in mentem, ted esse hominem divitem,
factiosum, me autem esse hominem pauperum pauperrimum;
nunc si filiam locassim meam tibi, in mentem venit
te bovem esse et me esse asellum: ubi tecum coniunctus siem,
ubi onus nequeam ferre pariter, iaceam ego asinus in luto,
tu me bos magis haud respicias, gnatus quasi numquam siem.
et te utar iniquiore et meus me ordo inrideat,
neutrubi habeam stabile stabulum, si quid divorti fuat:
asini me mordicibus scindant, boves incursent cornibus.
hoc magnum est periclum, ab asinis ad boves transcendere.
Meg: quam ad probos propinquitate proxime te adiunxeris,
tam optumum est. tu condicionem hanc accipe, ausculta mihi,
atque eam desponde mi.
Eug: at nihil est dotis quod dem.
Meg: ne duas.
dum modo morata recte veniat, dotata est satis.
Eug: eo dico, ne me thensauros repperisse censeas.
Meg: novi, ne doceas. desponde.
Meg: Do you know my age?
Eug: I know that it’s great, just like your wealth.
Meg: Certainly, by Pollux! I for one have always thought that you were a citizen without any faults or malice, and I think the same thing now.
Eug: [aside] He smells gold!
[aloud] What do you want from me now?!
Meg: Since you know what I am like and I know what you are like, may this affair turn out well for me and for you and for your daughters: I ask for your daughter as my wife. Promise me that this will come about.
Eug: Come now, Megadorus, it’s hardly a decent doing that you’re doing with these deeds, given that you’re laughing at me, a man who’s poor and, moreover, who’s harmless to you and your family. For I’ve done and said nothing to you that merits what you’re doing now.
Meg: And, truly, I haven’t come to laugh at you, nor am I laughing at you, nor do I think you deserve it.
Eug: Then why do you request my daughter for yourself?
Meg: For your benefit, on account of me; and, on account of you and your family, for my benefit.
Eug: What comes to mind, Megadorus, is that you are a wealthy fellow, with a promising political future, but I am the poorest of the poor; now if I were to arrange for my daughter to be yours, it comes to mind that you are an ox, and I’m just a little donkey: when I am bound to you, when I can’t bear my burden as much, I, as the donkey, would lie in the mud, and you, as the ox, would hardly pay any more attention to me than if I had never been born. I could not associate with you as my equal and members of my own class would laugh at me. On neither side would I have a stable stable. Should there be a divorce: the donkeys would rend me with their teeth, the oxen would rush at me with their horns. This is a great danger, to cross over from donkeys to oxen.
Meg: The more closely you join yourself to honourable men through family relations, the better it is. You are to accept this match, obey me, and betroth her to me.
Eug: But there’s no dowry for me to give.
Meg: Don’t worry. So long as she comes with the right morals, that is dowry enough.
Eug: I’m telling lest you assess me as if I’ve found treasures.
Meg: I know, don’t lecture me. Betroth her.
Eug: So be it.