Prologue: A Translation from Terence's Brothers

Hapax Legomenon

Prologue: A Translation from Terence's Brothers

Laurie Tupper, '08

Seeing as how the poet sees his scribbles
are scrutinized by critics, and his rivals
have picked apart our upcoming performance,
the work will be its witness; you'll be the judges
of whether it should suffer praise or blame.
The Deathmates is a comedy by Diphilus:
Plautus made it the play Partners in Death.
In Greece there's a young man, who starts the show
by stealing away a hussy from her pimp.
This Plautus left alone. It's now picked up
in Brothers: he translates it word for word.
We'll act it for the first timeā€”don't forget,
you'll judge whether it's plagiarism, or
a scene recovered that was snubbed before.
Now, what those rivals say, that noble men
help out our boy, collaborate with him:
the things they think are insults most of all
he counts the greatest praise, for so he pleases
the men who please you all, and the whole public,
whose works on war, on leisure, and on trade
everyone's used sometimes, without pretension.
Now don't expect a plot synopsis here:
the old men first onstage will tell you part,
act out the rest. Your open-mindedness
will lend the poet's pen greater success.