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A monologue from the play by Titus Maccius Plautus
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plautus, vol. II. Trans. Paul Nixon. London: William Heinemann, 1917.
Ah, yes, yes, there’s nothing in the world like love, no bloom like its bloom; not a thing can you mention that has more flavour and more savour. Upon my soul, it’s most surprising that cooks,
with all their use of spices, don’t use this one spice that excels them all. Why, when you spice a dish with love it’ll tickle every palate, I do believe. Not a thing can be either salt or sweet without a dash of love:
it will turn gall, bitter thought it be, to honey–an old curmudgeon to a [self-consciously] pleasing and polished gentleman. It is more from my own case than from hearsay I draw this conclusion.
Now that I’m in love with Casina, how I have bloomed out! I’m more natty than nattiness itself. I keep all the perfumers on the jump; wherever there’s a nice scent to be had, I get scented, so as to please her.
[preening himself] And it seems to me I do please her. [pauses] But my wife does torment me by–living! [glancing toward his house; stiffens] I see her, standing there with a sour look.
And unless she’s gone deaf, she’s heard every word. Well, I suppose I must greet this bad bargain of mine with some smooth talk. [to audience, hopefully]
Unless there’s anyone here who would like to substitute for me. [vainly waits for reply; turns to his wife, fondly] And how goes it with my dear and my delight?