Imatges de pàgina
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Those mild and serene features, and disturb
The doves that nestle in your dimpling smiles.

ASPASIA.
Now, dear Xantippe, don't be angry with him;
Even Pericles, the most polite of men,
Cannot make prettier speeches,—they should win
The heart of any woman.

XANTIPPE.

By your leave,
Lady Aspasia, I will be angry
When I think proper. Have I not a right
To plague him when I please? What is the use
Of a husband, if you cannot scold him when
You are in the humour ?

ASPASIA.

Nay, my dear Xantippe, I really think a husband of more use Than what you mention : I find Pericles Convenient for a thousand little purposes, Besides being scolded.

ALCIBIADES.

What, in the name of Cupid, Could have bribed Socrates to give his hand To Tippet, as he calls her ?

XANTIPPE,

Alcibiades,
You are a wild, impertinent jackanapes;
A good-for-nothing, foppish libertine ;
A namby-pamby booby; a combination
Of a monkey and an ass ; a mere apology
For a man ; for you, indeed, to term me Tippet
O, breath and patience !-

SOCRATES.

Don't fatigue yourself, Meekest and mildest of all wives; and I Will answer Alcibiades : his question Was a frank question, truly,—and as frankly Will I reply,-in thy sweet presence, lady,I scorn to take advantage ; you shall hear Before your face, the words I will not say of you Behind your back.

ALCIBIADES.

When were her nails cut last? Pray keep them short, dear Socrates, and take Particular care of your ears—she looks as if She'd pinch them soundly.

SOCRATES.

Faith, and so she does ; And that I may be safe from her assault,

During the progress of my history,
I do beseech Aspasia and the ladies
To take my Tippet into special charge ;-
That's right-place her between you-hold her hands
Tight, or she'll scratch.— Now you shall hear my wooing.

ASPASIA.
Now don't be too sarcastic.

SOCRATES.

No, dear ladies,
I won't be too sarcastic-I will tell
The merry tale right merrily. When I
Was a bachelor-heaven bless the mark !--I was
Too happy, much too happy ;-So to qualify
My happiness by some discomfitures,
I looked out for a wife-ay, for a wife!
Most cross, perverse, wilful, intractable-
Methought if I would learn true heroism,
I must dare and bear all things-I must gain
An absolute conquest o'er myself, and curb
My temper, till strong fortitude and patience
Supplant all weakness, fretfulness, and anger ;-
And as I knew that all perfection grows
To what it is by practice, I resolved
To marry a downright shrew-ay, and to tame her :-
Such was my game-a dangerous one you'll say.
It was its dangerousness that made it pleasant.
I did not seek an amiable, sweet lady
Like our Aspasia;- loving hearts like hers
Are easily managed-aren't they, Pericles ?
I would not marry a meek simple maiden,
In whose warm love the current of my life
Might flow as smoothly as a Lethe. No,-
Such marriage were most dull, monotonous,
Insipid, nauseating from lusciousness.
I ran another course— I saw Xantippe,
A name proverbial for a downright vixen;
The terror of all Athens. Not a man
Would venture near her; mothers warned their daughters
Not to be like Xantippe. If babies cried,
Nurses knew how to hush them in a moment,
By whispering in their ears, “ Xantippe 's coming :".
Such were the charms I wanted in a bride;
I made my offer—was accepted,—and
You know the rest.

ALCIBIADES.
Say, have you not repented ?

SOCRATES.
Not a jot. I find delight in managing
Xantippe, just for the same reason, as

You, Alcibiades, prefer to ride
That restive steed of yours ;-the more he shows
His metal-rears, curvets, and plunges with you,
The more you love him.

ALCIBIADES.

Have you tamed your shrew, As you designed ?

Socrates.

Not quite,– but she's improving
Most rapidly ;-I'm not so often treated
To the housepail as I was, and curtain lectures
Are much less acid.

ALCIBIADES.
How did you conquer her?

Socrates.
By dint of laughing at her nonsenses ;
That man who knows the when and how to laugh
At a froward woman, always conquers her ;
Never forget yourself, nor lose your temper
About her,-treat her as a trifling toy
While she is one, and she will soon respect you ;
And in respecting you, respect herself,
And thus become respectable.

ALCIBIADES.

I think Manly good nature, mixed with manly firmness, Wins in the end; but if you get in a pet with them, They call you petty-have the laugh on their side, Despise you, - ridicule you, just because You are indeed ridiculous.

SOCRATES.

Sweet friends, Bear this in mind, and marry who you will You may be happy! 'Tis the way I've treated Xantippe; I am very kind to her virtues, And rather blind to her faults; believe me, ladies, She can appreciate generosity, Each day her better nature, which is love, Scatters the clouds of silly little jealousies : See,-even now, the smile and tear combine In her large eyes ;-You love me, don't you, Tippet? Come, show them all what a dear coaxing wife You can be, when you like to be! . Xantippe (throwing her arms round his neck).

Heaven bless him, His kindness always conquers my resentment.

ACT III.

Scene I.- Garden of Academus.
Enter CHÆREPHON, ALCIBIADES, PHÆDON, PLATO and XENOPHON.

ALCIBIADES.
Where hast thou been, dear Chærephon? we've missed
Your eloquent little tattle, many a day;
Where played you truant ?

CHÆREPHON.

Where you seldom go,
You philosophical geniuses :-I've been
To consult the Delphian Oracle.

ALCIBIADES.

And what,
In the name of the miraculous, has made
Our Chærephon a wizard hunter ? If
I were but in a jesting humour now,
I'd tickle the story into such a farce,
That all the frogs of Aristophanes
Should split their croaking sides, and die of envy
To be outdone in their own way.

Xenophon.

Don't laugh,
You elegant wag of the world ; if you've a fault,
'Tis want of due solemnity; believe me,
Oracles are no joking matters : nine
Times out of ten, they answer marvellous truly.

ALCIBIADES.
If they are well paid for it.

PLATO.

Fy, fy, you scorner !
Our cousin Xenophon speaks most happily
Of the good old Oracles, and they deserve it ;
I'll not pretend to tell you how or why,-
By inspiration-or by chance-work; but
The Delphian rarely blunders. Well, my Chærephon,
What was your quære?

CHEREPHON.

Oh, the inquisitiveness
Of these same sages !--that's a leading question,
As lawyers call it ;-at one fell swoop,
You'd tear the very heart of my mystery out;
However, as you are friends and gentlemen,
I'll answer frankly :- I did ask the Oracle,
Who was the wisest man?

ALCIBIADES.

What the response ?

CHÆREPHON. Socrates.

ALCIBIADES. By Jove, 'twas a good hit? I never heard The Oracle speak more shrewdly to the point; Well done, white prophetess! Your sentence strikes The instinct of my conscience, as the light Of heaven my eye: my very heart re-echoes The verdict.

PHÆDON.

Bravissimo! Alcibiades,
The oracle must be true, indeed, since thou,
The all-suspicious—the all-secular one
Swearest it genuine. Well, I'm glad of this ;
'Twill much enlarge the just fame of our master
Among the sceptical, incredulous knaves
Of Athens. And the rich grandees will now
Think that there must be something in this Socrates,
When Oracles themselves grow panegyrical
Of him they slighted so. And, by the by,
Since charity begins at home, I'll mention
We shall not want our due share of the kudos;
For we derive a light from Socrates,
Like planets from the sun, borrowing the glories
Of the reflected brightness they glint back
Eternally.

XENOPHON.
And did you tell our master
This news?

CHÆREPHON.

O yes; I ran with throbbing heart And kindling lips to tell him.

ALCIBIADES.

How did Socrates Receive the intelligence ?

CHÆREPHON.

Why, first he smiled,
And then the tears started into his eyes;
But he said nothing.

PHÆDON.

There is more of meaning
In the silence of our Socrates than in
The shout of a million.

ALCIBIADES.

Well, I love him for it;
Merit and modesty are mottoed livingly
In his whole singular nature. I love him more
Than I could think it possible for me
To love aught but myself. I think our Socrates
A something better than a mere philosopher.

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