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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 07

I shall no longer have to tire myself out with work from
daybreak onwards?
No, 'twill be the women's business, and you can stay at home and
amuse yourself with farting the whole day through.
Well, what I fear for us fellows now is, that, holding the reins
of government, they will forcibly compel us...
To do what?
BLEPYRUS lay them.
And if we are not able?
They will give us no dinner.
Well then, do your duty; dinner and love-making form a double
Ah! but I hate compulsion.
But if it is for the public good, let us resign ourselves. It's an
old saying that our absurdest and maddest decrees always somehow
turn out for our good. May it be so in this case, oh gods, oh
venerable Pallas! But I must be off; so, good-bye to you!
Good-bye, Chremes.
(He goes back into his house.)
CHORUS (returning from the Assembly, still dressed like men;
March along, go forward. Is there some man following us? Turn
round, examine everywhere and keep a good look-out; be on your guard
against every trick, for they might spy on us from behind. Let us make
as much noise as possible as we tramp. It would be a disgrace for
all of us if we allowed ourselves to be caught in this deed by the
men. Come, wrap yourselves up well, and search both right and left, so
that no mischance may happen to us. Let us hasten our steps; here we
are close to the meeting-place whence we started for the Assembly, and
here is the house of our LEADER, the author of this bold scheme, which
is now decreed by all the citizens. Let us not lose a moment in taking
off our false beards, for we might be recognized and denounced. Let us
stand under the shadow of this wall; let us glance round sharply
with our eye to beware of surprises, while we quickly resume our
ordinary dress. Ah! here is our LEADER, returning from the Assembly.
Hasten to relieve your chins of these flowing manes. Look at your
comrades yonder; they have already made themselves women again some
while ago.
(They remove the beards as PRAXAGORA and the other women enter
from the right through the Orchestra.)
Friends, success has crowned our plans. But off with these
cloaks and these boots quick, before any man sees you; unbuckle the
Laconian straps and get rid of your staffs; (to the LEADER) and you
help them with their toilet. As for myself, I am going to slip quietly
into the house and replace my husband's cloak and other gear where I
took them from, before he can suspect anything.
There! it's done according to your bidding. Now tell us how we can
be of service to you, so that we may show you our obedience, for we
have never seen a cleverer woman than you.
Wait! I only wish to use the power given me in accordance with
your wishes; for, in the market-place, in the midst of the shouts
and danger, I appreciated your indomitable courage.
(Just as she is about to enter the house BLEPYRUS appears in the
Eh, Praxagora! where are you coming from?
How does that concern you, dear?
Why, greatly! what a silly question!
You don't think I have come from a lover's?
No, perhaps not from only one.
You can make yourself sure of that.
And how?
You can see whether my hair smells of perfume.
What? cannot a woman possibly be laid without perfume, eh!
The gods forfend, as far as I am concerned.
Why did you go off at early dawn with my cloak?
Acompanion, a friend who was in labour, had sent to fetch me.
Could you not have told me?
Oh, my dear, would you have me caring nothing for a poor woman
in that plight?
A word would have been enough. There's something behind all this.
No, I call the goddesses to witness! I went running off; the
poor woman who summoned me begged me to come, whatever might betide.


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