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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 05

What does this mean? My wife has vanished! it is nearly daybreak
and she does not return! I had to take a crap! I woke up and hunted in
the darkness for my shoes and my cloak; but grope where I would, I
couldn't find them. Meanwhile Mr. O'Shit was already knocking on the
door and I had only just time to seize my wife's little mantle and her
Persian slippers. But where shall I find a place where I can take a
crap? Bah! One place is as good as another at night-time; no one
will see me. Ah! what a damned fool I was to take a wife at my age,
and how I could thrash myself for having acted so stupidly! It's
certainty she's not gone out for any honest purpose. But the thing
to do now is to take a crap.
(He squats.)
A MAN (looking out of the window of the house next door)
Who's that? Is that not my neighbour Blepyrus? Why, yes, it's no
other. Tell me, what's all that yellow about you? Can it be Cinesias
who has befouled you so?
No, no, I only slipped on my wife's tunic to come out in.
And where is your cloak?
I cannot tell you; I hunted for it vainly on the bed.
And why did you not ask your wife for it?
Ah! why indeed! because she is not in the house; she has run away,
and I greatly fear that she may be doing me an ill turn.
But, by Posidon, it's the same with myself. My wife has
disappeared with my cloak, and what is still worse, with my shoes as
well; I cannot find them anywhere.
Nor can I my Laconian ones; but as I urgently needed to crap, I
popped my feet into these slippers, so as not to soil my blanket,
which is brand new.
What does it mean? Can some friend have invited her to a feast?
I expect so, for she does not generally misconduct herself, as far
as I know.
What are you doing, making well-ropes? Are you never going to be
done? As for myself, I would like to go to the Assembly, and it is
time to start, but I've got to find my cloak; I have only one.
I am going to have a look too, when I have finished crapping;
but I really think there must be a wild pear obstructing my rectum.
Is it the one which Thrasybulus spoke about to the Lacedaemonians?
Oh! oh! oh! stopped up I am! Whatever am I to do? It's not
merely for the present that I am frightened; but when I have eaten,
where is my crap to find an outlet now? This damned McPear fellow
has bolted the door. Call a doctor; but who is the cleverest in this
branch of the science? Amynon? Perhaps he would not come. Ah!
Antisthenes! Let him be brought to me, cost what it will. To judge
by his noisy sighs, that man knows what an arse wants, when it needs
to crap. Oh! venerated Ilithyia! I shall burst unless the door gives
way. Have pity! pity! Let me not become a thunder-mug for the comic
(Enter CHREMES, returning from the Assembly.)
Hi! friend, what are you doing there? You're not crapping, are
BLEPYRUS (finding relief at last)
Oh! there! it is over and I can get up again.
What's this? You have your wife's tunic on.
It was the first thing that came to my hand in the darkness. But
where are you coming from?
From the Assembly.
Is it already over then?
Why, it is scarcely daylight.
I did laugh, ye gods, at the vermilion rope-marks that were to
be seen all about the Assembly.
Did you get the triobolus?
Would it had so pleased the gods! but I arrived just too late, and
am quite ashamed of it; I bring back nothing but this empty wallet.
But why is that?
There was a crowd, such as has never been seen at the Pnyx, and
the folk looked pale and wan, like so many shoemakers, so white were
they in hue; both I and many another had to go without the triobolus.
Then if I went now, I should get nothing.
No, certainly not, nor even had you gone at the second cock-crow.
Oh! what a misfortune! "Oh, Antilochus! no triobolus! Even death
would be better! I am undone!" But what can have attracted such a
crowd at that early hour?


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