He fays, 'tis Some-one speaks: now verily

My name is Sofia.

MERC. As it seems, the voice

indulged the expreffion. I fhall juft quote fufficient for the uninformed reader to understand the use that was made of this am biguous term. When Uyes had put out the fingle eye of Polyphemus, the giant, by his bellowing, gathered a crowd of Cyclops together about the cave in which he had fhut himself up, who naturally asked him, "What hurts thee?" &c..

he replies

Friends, No-Man kills me: No-Man in the hour
Of fleep oppreffes me with fraudful pow'r.
"If No-Man hurts thee, but the hand divine
"Inflict disease, it fits thee to refign:
"To Jove and to thy father Neptune pray,"

The brethren cried, and instant strode away.

To which

Pope's ODYSSEY. B. IX.

Euripides (after Homer) has the like dialogue between the

Cyclops (Polyphemus) and the Chorus.

Chorus. What makes you, Cyclops, thus exclaim?

Cyclops: O I'm undone!

Chorus. You feem a filthy figure.

. Cyclops. I am moft wretched.

And tumbled down among the embers.

Has been

my ruin.

Chorus. Surely you got drunk,

Cyclops. No-MAN

Chorus. No-MAN then has hurt you.

Cyclops. No-MAN has blinded me.

Chorus. You are not blind then.

Lvcian has a very humourous dialogue on the fame subject.

There is the fame kind of humour in Shakespeare's Much a-de about Nothing, A&t III. Scene V. where an ignorant watchman, overhearing a converfation, mistakes an expreffion ufed by one of the party for a perfon's name.

Borachio.-Seeft thou not, what a deformed thief this fashion is? Watchman. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief these seven years, &c.


Upon the right here strikes my ear.

Sos. I fear,

I shall be beaten for my voice that ftrikes him.
MERC. He's coming tow❜rds me-Good.

Sos. I'm fore afraid ;

I'm numb'd all over.-Now could I not tell,
If any one should ask me, where I am :
Nor can I budge a foot, I am fo frighten❜d.—
All's over; I have loft my master's orders,
And Sofia with them.-Yet I am refolv'd
To face this fellow, and befpeak him boldly;
I'll feem as valiant as I can, that he



May keep hands off me. (advances towards the door)

You there, that

MERC. You, Sir, whither go you? carry Vulcan in your horn?

Sos. Who made you an examiner? you, who bone 255

Men with your fifts?

MERC. Are you a slave, or free?

Sos. Which ever likes me.

MERC. Say'ft thou?

Sos. Ay, I fay it.

MERC. You want a drubbing,

Sos. Now you lye, I don't.

V. 254.] Vulcanum in cornu geris. Meaning light or fire. The allufion is obvious; Vulcan was the God of fire.

V. 258.] The original is,

Merc. Verbero. Sos. Mentiris nunc jam.

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This is a mere pun. Verboro, as Mercury defigned by it, is often used by our author as a Noun Subftantive, to fignify fellow that deferved trashing, or that had been used to it. It is alfo a Verb, fignifying I thrash. Sofia, in his reply, chufes to understand it in the latter fenfe, and as Mercury had not touched

MERC. I'll make you own it.

Sos. Wherefore?

MERC. I must know

Whofe you are, where you're going, what's your



Sos. My way lies here: I am my maftet's fervant : What are you now the wifer?

MERC. I fhall make you

Hold that foul tongue of your's.

Sos. You cannot do it:

I keep it pure and clean.

MERC. How! prating still?

What business have you at this house ?

What business have you here?

Sos. And

pray 265

MERC. King Creon fets

A watch here ev'ry night.

Sos. 'Tis gracious in him

To guard our house, the while we are abroad.
But prithee now go in, and tell the family
Some of their fellow-fervants are arriv'd.


MERC. Whose fellow you may be I know not; but if

You don't be gone this inftant, I fhall give you

him, fays mentiris nunc jam-" Now you lye." I have endeavoured to preferve the equivoque by ufing the word want, as much as to fay, in one sense, you want (OUGHT TO HAVE) a beating, and in the other, I don't want (DESIRE) one.

V. 264.] This is another pun, to which the learned reader will perceive I have given a different turn from what is underftood to be implied in the original.


Such a reception, fellow, as you will not

Take in good fellowship.

Sos. I tell you, I

Live here, and am a fervant of this house.


MERC. D'ye mind? unless you take yourself away,

I fhall exalt you.

Sos. How?

MERC. You fhall be carry'd:

If I but take a cudgel, you'll not walk,

I promise you.

Sos. Nay, but I do affirm,

That I'm a fervant in this family.


MERC. Look to't-you'll have a drubbing, if you


Be gone this inftaut.

Sos. Would you then defire

To drive me from my home, when I am just

Arriv'd here from abroad?

Sos. It is I fay.

V. 274.] Sof.

MERC. Is this your home?

Adveniffe familiares dicito.

Merc. Nefcio quàm tu familiaris es: nifi actutum hinc abis,
Familiaris, accipiere faxo haud familiariter.

This whole paffage is a pun upon the word familiaris, which commonly means a flave, or fervant, of the houfe or family, In my tranflation I have adopted Cooke's turn of expreffion, as I think it very happy.


V. 277-8.] Facium te fuperbum-Auferere, non abibis. This is a joke of the fame caft with the preceding ones. interprets it as meaning,-that, after being heartily drubbed,



a person is not able to ftand upon his legs, but is lifted carried off. Others suppose, that Mercury threatens to kill Sofia, and understand the paffage as alluding to a dead corpfe.being






MERC. Who is your master then ?

Sos. Amphitryon, general of the Theban troops, The husband of Alcmena.

MERC. Ha! what say you?

What is your name?

Sos. Our Thebans call me Sofia,

The fon of Davus.

MERC. To thy fore mishap


Art thou arriv'd, thou monfter of effrontery!- 290 With made up lies, and patch'd up knaveries.

Sos. I'm come with patch'd cloaths it is true, not knaveries.

MERC. You lye, 'tis with your feet you come, not

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V. 293.] This perhaps will be looked upon as the pooreft joke in the whole ftring of them in this scene. It must be confeffed, that they appear indeed rather low and farcical; but yet they are in character from Sofia, and Mercury who declares v. 149 of this scene,

As I've affum'd his form and garb, 'twere fit

I fhould refemble him in deeds and manners.

Befides we ought not to be too pofitive in pronouncing on the wit and humour of the ancients, as perhaps what may appear flat and infipid to us, was by them highly relished on account of its allufion to well known customs or expreffions, or its agreeing with the then reigning tafte. The buffooneries of fome of Plautus's flaves were undoubtedly as well received in his time, as the abfurdities of Shakespeare's clowns were in his.


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