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THE ACHARNIANS by Aristophanes, Part 14

FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
You see, citizens, you see the good fortune which this man owes to
his prudence, to his profound wisdom. You see how, since he has
concluded peace, he buys what is useful in the household and good to
eat hot. All good things flow towards him unsought. Never will welcome
the god of war in my house; never shall he sing the "Harmodius" at
my table; he is a sot, who comes feasting with those who are
overflowing with good things and brings all manner of mischief in
his train. He overthrows, ruins, rips open; it is vain to make him a
thousand offers, to say "be seated, pray, and drink this cup, profered
in all friendship"; he burns our vine-stocks and brutally spills on
the ground the wine from our vineyards.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
This man, on the other hand, covers his table with a thousand
dishes; proud of his good fortunes, he has had these feathers cast
before his door to show us how he lives. (A woman appears, bearing the
attributes of Peace.) Oh, Peace! companion of fair Aphrodite and of
the sweet Graces, how charming are thy features and yet I never knew
it! Would that Eros might join me to thee, Eros crowned with roses
as Zeuxis shows him to us! Do I seem somewhat old to thee? I am yet
able to make thee a threefold offering; despite my age I could plant a
long row of vines for you; then beside these some tender cuttings from
the fig; finally a youn, vinestock, loaded with fruit, and all
around the field olive trees, to furnish us with oil wherewith to
anoint us both at the New Moons.
(A HeraLD enters.)
HeraLD
Oyez, oyez! As was the custom of your forebears, empty a full
pitcher of wine at the call of the trumpet; he who first sees the
bottom shall get a wine-skin as round and plump as Ctesiphon's belly.
DICAEOPOLIS (coming out of the house; to his family within)
Women, children, have you not heard? Faith! do you not heed the
HeraLD? Quick! let the hares boil and roast merrily; keep them
turning; withdraw them from the flame; prepare the chaplets; reach
me the skewers that I may spit the thrushes.
LEADER OF FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
I envy you your wisdom and even more your good cheer.
DICAEOPOLIS
What then will you say when you see the thrushes roasting?
LEADER OF FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
Ah! true indeed!
DICAEOPOLIS
Slave! stir up the fire.
LEADER OF FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
See, how he knows his business, what a perfect cook! How well he
understands the way to prepare a good dinner!
(A HUSBANDMAN enters in haste.)
HUSBANDMAN
Ah! woe is me!
DICAEOPOLIS
Heracles! What have we here?
HUSBANDMAN
A most miserable man.
DICAEOPOLIS
Keep your misery for yourself.
HUSBANDMAN
Ah! friend! since you alone are enjoying peace, grant me a part of
your truce, were it but five years.
DICAEOPOLIS
What has happened to you?
HUSBANDMAN
I am ruined; I have lost a pair of steers.
DICAEOPOLIS
How?
HUSBANDMAN
The Boeotians seized them at Phyle.
DICAEOPOLIS
Ah! poor wretch! and do you still wear white?
HUSBANDMAN
Their dung made my wealth.
DICAEOPOLIS
What can I do in the matter?
HUSBANDMAN
Crying for my beasts has lost me my eyesight. Ah! if you care
for poor Dercetes of Phyle, anoint mine eyes quickly with your balm of
peace.
DICAEOPOLIS
But, my poor fellow, I do not practise medicine.
HUSBANDMAN
Come, I adjure you; perhaps I shall recover my steers.
DICAEOPOLIS
Impossible; away, go and whine to the disciples of Pittalus.
HUSBANDMAN
Grant me but one drop of peace; pour it into this little reed.
DICAEOPOLIS
No, not a particle; go and weep somewhere else.
HUSBANDMAN (as he departs)
Oh! oh! oh! my poor beasts!
LEADER OF SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
This man has discovered the sweetest enjoyment in peace; he will
share it with none.
DICAEOPOLIS (to a slave)
Pour honey over this tripe; set it before the fire to dry.
LEADER OF SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
What lofty tones he uses! Did you hear him?
DICAEOPOLIS (to the slaves inside the house)
Get the eels on the gridiron!
LEADER OF SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
You are killing me with hunger; your smoke is choking your
neighbours, and you split our ears with your bawling.
DICAEOPOLIS
Have this fried and let it be nicely browned.
(He goes back into the house. A WEDDING GUEST enters, carrying a
package.)
WEDDING GUEST
Dicaeopolis! Dicaeopolis!
DICAEOPOLIS
Who are you?

 

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