THE ACHARNIANS by Aristophanes, Part 15
A young bridegroom sends you these viands from the marriage feast.
Whoever he be, I thank him.
And in return, he prays you to pour a glass of peace into this
vase, that he may not have to go to the front and may stay at home
to make love to his young wife.
Take back, take back your viands; for a thousand drachmae I
would not give a drop of peace. (A young woman enters) But who is she?
She is the matron of honour; she wants to say something to you
from the bride privately.
Come, what do you wish to say? (The MATRON OF HONOUR whispers in
his ear.) Ah! what a ridiculous demand! The bride burns with longing
to keep her husband's tool at home. Come! bring hither my truce; to
her alone will I give some of it, for she is a woman, and, as such,
should not suffer under the war. Here, friend, hand me your vial.
And as to the manner of applying this balm, tell the bride, when a
levy of soldiers is made, to rub some in bed on her husband, where
most needed. (The MATRON OF HONOUR and the WEDDING GUEST depart.)
There, slave, take away my truce! Now, quick, bring me the
wine-flagon, that I may fill up the drinking bowls!
(The slave leaves. A HeraLD enters.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS (in tragic style)
I see a man, "striding along apace, with knitted brows; he seems
to us the bearer of terrible tidings."
HeraLD (in tragic style)
Oh! toils and battles and Lamachuses!
(He knocks on LAMACHUS' door.)
LAMACHUS (from within; in tragic style)
What noise resounds around my dwelling, where shines the glint
(He comes out of his house.)
The Generals order you forthwith to take your battalions and
your plumes, and, despite the snow, to go and guard our borders.
They have learnt that a band of Boeotians intend taking advantage of
the Feast of Cups to invade our country.
Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much! It's
cruel, not to be able to enjoy the feast!
Oh! warlike host of Lamachus!
Wretch! do you dare to jeer me?
Do you want to fight this four-winged Geryon?
Oh! oh! what fearful tidings!
Ah! ah! I see another HeraLD running up; what news does he bring
(Another HeraLD enters.)
What is the matter?
Come quickly to the feast and bring your basket and your cup; it
is the priest of Bacchus who invites you. But hasten, the guests
have been waiting for you a long while. All is ready-couches,
tables, cushions, chaplets, perfumes, dainties and whores to boot;
biscuits, cakes, sesamebread, tarts, lovely dancing women, and the
"Harmodius." But come with all speed.
Oh! hostile gods!
This is not astounding; you have chosen this great ugly Gorgon's
head for your patron. (To a slave) You, shut the door, and let someone
get ready the meal.
Slave! slave! my knapsack!
Slave! slave! a basket!
Take salt and thyme, slave, and don't forget the onions.
Get some fish for me; I cannot bear onions.
Slave, wrap me up a little stale salt meat in a fig-leaf.
And for me some nice fat tripe in a fig-leaf; I will have it
Bring me the plumes for my helmet.
Bring me wild pigeons and thrushes.
How white and beautiful are these ostrich feathers!
How fat and well browned is the flesh of this wood-pigeon!
LAMACHUS (to DICAEOPOLIS)
My friend, stop scoffing at my armour.
DICAEOPOLIS (to LAMACHUS)
My friend, stop staring at my thrushes.