ACT III
Scene VI
 

MERCURY, SOSIE

MERCURY
Stop. What have you come to poke your nose in here for, you impudent turn-spit?

SOSIE
Ah! Gently, gently, for mercy's sake!

MERCURY
Ah! You have come back again! I shall tan your hide for you.

SOSIE
Ah! Brave and generous I, compose yourself, I beseech you. Sosie, spare Sosie a little, and do not divert yourself by knocking yourself down.

MERCURY
Who gave you liberty to call yourself by that name? Did I not expressly forbid you to do so, under penalty of experiencing a thousand cuts from the cane?

SOSIE
It is a name we both may bear at the same time, under the same master. I am recognised as Sosie everywhere; I permit you to be he, permit me to be so, too. Let us leave it to the two Amphitryons to give vent to their jealousies, and, though they contend, let the two Sosies live in the bonds of peace.

MERCURY
No, one is quite enough; I am determined not to allow any division.

SOSIE
You shall have precedence over me; I will be the younger, and you shall be the elder.

MERCURY
No: a brother is a nuisance, and not to my taste; I intend to be the only son.

SOSIE
O barbarous and tyrannical heart! Allow me at least to be your shadow.

MERCURY
Not at all.

SOSIE
Let your soul humanise itself with a little pity! Allow me to be near you in that capacity: I shall be everywhere so submissive a shadow that you will be pleased with me.

MERCURY
No quarter; the law is immutable. If you again have the audacity to go in there, a thousand blows shall be the fruit.

SOSIE
Alas! Poor Sosie, to what miserable disgrace are you reduced!

MERCURY
So? Your lips presume again to give yourself a name I forbid!

SOSIE
No, I did not intend myself; I was speaking of an old Sosie, who was formerly a relative of mine, and whom, with the utmost barbarity, they drove out of the house at dinner hour.

MERCURY
Take care you do not fall into that idiocy if you wish to remain among the number of the living.

SOSIE
How I would thwack you if I had the courage, for your wretched puffed up pride, you double son of a strumpet!

MERCURY
What do you say?

SOSIE
Nothing.

MERCURY
I am sure you muttered something.

SOSIE
Ask anyone; I do not breathe.

MERCURY
Nevertheless I am absolutely certain that something about a son of a strumpet struck my ear.

SOSIE
It must have been a parrot roused by the beautiful weather.

MERCURY
Adieu. If your back itches for a currying, here is where I live.

SOSIE
O Heavens! What a cursed hour is the dinner hour to be turned out of doors! Come, let us yield to fate in our affliction. Let us today follow blind caprice, and join the unfortunate Sosie to the unfortunate Amphitryon: it is a suitable union. I see he is coming in good company.