THE ACHARNIANS by Aristophanes, Part 12
What a plague to Athens!
Be reassured, Megarian. Here is the price for your two sowlets,
the garlic and the salt. Farewell and much happiness!
Ah! we never have that amongst us.
Oh, I'm sorry if I said the wrong thing
Farewell, dear little sows, and seek, far from your father, to
munch your bread with salt, if they give you any.
(He departs and DICAEOPOLIS takes the "sows" into his house.)
Here is a man truly happy. See how everything succeeds to his
wish. Peacefully seated in his market, he will earn his living; woe to
Ctesias, and all other informers who dare to enter there! You will not
be cheated as to the value of wares, you will not again see Prepis
wiping his big arse, nor will Cleonymus jostle you; you will take your
walks, clothed in a fine tunic, without meeting Hyperbolus and his
unceasing quibblings, without being accosted on the public place by
any importunate fellow, neither by Cratinus, shaven in the fashion
of the adulterers, nor by this musician, who plagues us with his silly
improvisations, that hyper-rogue Artemo, with his arm-pits stinking as
foul as a goat, like his father before him. You will not be the butt
of the villainous Pauson's jeers, nor of Lysistratus, the disgrace
of the Cholargian deme, who is the incarnation of all the vices, and
endures cold and hunger more than thirty days in the month.
(A BOEOTIAN enters, followed by his slave, who is carrying a large
assortment of articles of food, and by a troop of flute players.)
By Heracles! my shoulder is quite black and blue. Ismenias, put
the penny-royal down there very gently, and all of you, musicians from
Thebes, strike up on your bone flutes "The Dog's Arse."
(The Musicians immediately begin an atrocious rendition of a vulgar
Enough, damn you; get out of here Rascally hornets, away with you!
Whence has sprung this accursed swarm of Chaeris fellows which comes
assailing my door?
(The Musicians depart.)
Ah! by Iolas! Drive them off, my dear host, you will please me
immensely; all the way from Thebes, they were there piping behind me
and they have completely stripped my penny-royal of its blossom. But
will you buy anything of me, some chickens or some locusts?
Ah! good day, Boeotian. eater of good round loaves. What do you
All that is good in Boeotia, marjoram, penny-royal, rush-mats,
lampwicks, ducks, jays, woodcocks, water-fowl, wrens, divers.
A regular hail of birds is beating down on my market.
I also bring geese, hares, foxes, moles, hedgehogs, cats, lyres,
martins, otters and eels from the Copaic lake.
Ah! my friend, you, who bring me the most delicious of fish, let
me salute your eels.
BOEOTIAN (in tragic style)
Come, thou, the eldest of my fifty Copaic virgins, come and
complete the joy of our host.
Oh! my well-beloved, thou object of my long regrets, thou art here
at last then, thou, after whom the comic poets sigh, thou, who art
dear to Morychus. Slaves, hither with the stove and the bellows.
Look at this charming eel, that returns to us after six long years
of absence. Salute it, my children; as for myself, I will supply
coal to do honour to the stranger. Take it into my house; death itself
could not separate me from her, if cooked with beet leaves.
And what will you give me in return?
It will pay for your market dues. And as to the rest, what do
you wish to sell me?
On what terms? For ready-money or in wares from these parts?
I would take some Athenian produce, that we have not got in
Phaleric anchovies, pottery?
Anchovies, pottery? But these we have. I want produce that is
wanting with us and that is plentiful here.
Ah! I have the very thing; take away an informer, packed up
carefully as crockery-ware.
By the twin gods! I should earn big money, if I took one; I
would exhibit him as an ape full of spite.
DICAEOPOLIS (as an informer enters)
Hah! here we have Nicarchus, who comes to denounce you.
How small he is!