A Greek Slave
Dialogue Following Song No. 21 Act II
(Heliodorus and Diomed appear on the balcony. Saturnalia slaves break up into groups.)
Heliodorus: There's your chance. Go out in the world and enjoy yourself. Disappear with the crowd and never come back to Rome. I'll give you your freedom.
Diomed: My freedom is not yours to give. You sold me to the Princess.
Heliodorus: I sold the Princess too. But what's that to you? If you are going to run away what does it matter whom you run away from?
Diomed: My honour is pledged.
Heliodorus: Honour! The honour of a slave! Well, well, that's the worst of belonging to the lower classes, you are expected to keep your word.
(Some of the slaves see Diomed and Heliodorus)
Slaves: There's Diomed!
Melanopis: And Heliodorus! My Heliodorus!
Archias: Hullo, master! Have you given any love philtres to the wrong people lately?
Nepia: How are the Oracle's tips? Any winners?
Heliodorus: Bah! Impudence! How I hate a public holiday! Give a slave his liberty and he takes more liberties! (To Diomed) If ever you let me see your face again, you are a fool! Off! I shan't miss you!
(Heliodorus exits into Villa)
Archias: (To Diomed) Well, my Eros immortalised by my artist's chisel as the God of Love I suppose you are too proud to speak to anyone beneath the rank of a Princess!
1st Slave: The Great Diomed! (Laugh)
2nd Slave: The Aristocratic Diomed! (Laugh)
3rd Slave: Imperial Diomed! Where's your purple toga?(Laugh)
Diomed: (Coming down) Laugh away, boys, jeer at me if you like; it's always safe to make fun of a friend in misfortune.
Archias: Misfortune! And you betrothed to the beautiful Antonia! You are the luckiest slave alive!
Diomed: There's no luck in getting the lovliest lady in the world if she does not happen to be the one you want.
Slaves: He's right there!
Page created 27 November 2001