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success! Ye Gods! Who could ever have imagined it? Tell me, Sosie, how it happened.' 'I
will, gladly, Madam; and, without boasting, I can tell you, with the greatest accuracy, the
details of this victory. Imagine, therefore, Madam, that Telebos is on this side. (He marks
the places on his hand, or on the ground.) It is a city really almost as large as Thebes. The
river is, say, there. Here, our people encamped; and that space was occupied by our
enemies. On a height, somewhere about here, was their infantry; and, lower down, on the
right side, was their cavalry. After having addressed prayers to the Gods, and issued all
the orders, the signal was given. The enemy, thinking to turn our flank, divided their
horse soldiers into three platoons; but we soon chilled their warmth, and you shall see
how. Here is our vanguard ready to begin work; there, were the archers of our king,
Creon; and here, the main army (some one makes a slight noise), which was just going to
. . . Stay; the main body is afraid'; I think I hear some noise.
MERC. (Under the form of Sosie.) Under this mask which resembles him, I will drive
away the babbler from here. His unfortunate arrival may disturb the pleasures our lovers
are tasting together.
SOS. My heart revives a little; perhaps it was nothing. Lest anything untoward should
happen, however, I will go in to finish the conversation.
MERC. I shall prevent your doing that unless you are stronger than Mercury.
SOS. This night seems to me unusually long. By the time I have been on the way, either
my master has taken evening for morning, or lovely Phoebus slumbers too long in bed
through having taken too much wine.
MERC. With what irreverence this lubber speaks of the Gods! My arm shall soon
chastise this insolence; I shall have a fine game with him, stealing his name as well as his
SOS. Ah! upon my word, I was right: I am done for, miserable creature that I am! I see a
man before our house whose mien bodes me no good. I will sing a little to show some
semblance of assurance.
(He sings; and, when Mercury speaks, his voice weakens, little by little.)
MERC. What rascal is this, who takes the unwarrantable licence of singing and
deafening me like this? Does he wish me to curry his coat for him?
SOS. Assuredly that fellow does not like music.