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Aristophanes Index


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THE ACHARNIANS by Aristophanes, Part 13

DICAEOPOLIS
But all pure evil.
NICARCHUS
Whose are these goods?
DICAEOPOLIS
Mine, they come from Boeotia, I call Zeus to witness.
NICARCHUS
I denounce them as coming from an enemy's country.
BOEOTIAN
What! you declare war against birds?
NICARCHUS
And I am going to denounce you too.
BOEOTIAN
What harm have I done you?
NICARCHUS
I will say it for the benefit of those that listen; you
introduce lampwicks from an enemy's country.
DICAEOPOLIS
Then you even denounce a wick.
NICARCHUS
It needs but one to set an arsenal afire.
DICAEOPOLIS
A wick set an arsenal ablaze! But how, great gods?
NICARCHUS
Should a Boeotian attach it to an insect's wing, and, taking
advantage of a violent north wind, throw it by means of a tube into
the arsenal and the fire once get hold of the vessels, everything
would soon be devoured by the flames.
DICAEOPOLIS
Ah! wretch! an insect and a wick devour everything!
(He strikes him.)
NICARCHUS (to the CHORUS)
You will bear witness, that he mishandles me.
DICAEOPOLIS (to the BOEOTIAN)
Shut his mouth. Give me some hay; I am going to pack him up like a
vase, that he may not get broken on the road.
(The INFORMER is bound and gagged and packed in hay.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Pack up your goods carefully, friend; that the stranger may not
break it when taking it away.
DICAEOPOLIS
I shall take great care with it. (He hits the INFORMER on the head
and a stifled cry is heard.) One would say he is cracked already; he
rings with a false note, which the gods abhor.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
But what will be done with him?
DICAEOPOLIS
This is a vase good for all purposes; it will be used as a
vessel for holding all foul things, a mortar for pounding together
law-suits, a lamp for spying upon accounts, and as a cup for the
mixing up and poisoning of everything.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
None could ever trust a vessel for domestic use that has such a
ring about it.
DICAEOPOLIS
Oh! it is strong, my friend, and will never get broken, if care is
taken to hang it head downwards.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS (to the BOEOTIAN)
There! it is well packed now!
BOEOTIAN
Well then, I will proceed to carry off my bundle.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Farewell, worthiest of strangers, take this informer, good for
anything, and fling him where you like.
DICAEOPOLIS
Bah! this rogue has given me enough trouble to pack! Here!
Boeotian, pick up your pottery.
BOEOTIAN
Stoop, Ismenias, that I may put it on your shoulder, and be very
careful with it.
DICAEOPOLIS
You carry nothing worth having; however, take it, for you will
profit by your bargain; the informers will bring you luck.
(The BOEOTIAN and his slave depart; DICAEOPOLIS goes into his house;
a slave comes out of LAMACHUS' house.)
SLAVE
Dicaeopolis!
DICAEOPOLIS (from within)
What's the matter? Why are you calling me?
SLAVE
Lamachus wants to keep the Feast of Cups, and I come by his
order to bid you one drachma for some thrushes and three more for a
Copaic eel.
DICAEOPOLIS (coming out)
And who is this Lamachus, who demands an eel?
SLAVE (in tragic style)
He is the terrible, indefatigable Lamachus, who is always
brandishing his fearful Gorgon's head and the three plumes which
o'ershadow his helmet.
DICAEOPOLIS
No, no, he will get nothing, even though he gave me his buckler.
Let him eat salt fish while he shakes his plumes, and, if he comes
here making any din, I shall call the inspectors. As for myself, I
shall take away all these goods; (in tragic style) I go home on
thrushes' wings and black-birds' pinions. (He goes into his house.)

 

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