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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 09

BLEPYRUS
And how about the man who has no land, but only gold and silver
coins, that cannot be seen?
PRAXAGORA
He must bring them to the common stock, and if he fails he will be
a perjured man.
BLEPYRUS
That won't worry him much, for has he not gained them by perjury?
PRAXAGORA
But his riches will no longer be of any use to him.
BLEPYRUS
Why?
PRAXAGORA
The poor will no longer be obliged to work; each will have all
that he needs, bread, salt fish, cakes, tunics, wine, chaplets and
chick-pease; of what advantage will it be to him not to contribute his
share to the common wealth? What do you think of it?
BLEPYRUS
But is it not the biggest robbers that have all these things?
CHREMES
Yes, formerly, under the old order of things; but now that all
goods are in common, what will he gain by not bringing his wealth into
the general stock?
BLEPYRUS
If someone saw a pretty wench and wished to lay her, he would take
some of his reserve store to make her a present and stay the night
with her; this would not prevent him claiming his share of the
common property.
PRAXAGORA
But he can sleep with her for nothing; I intend that women shall
belong to all men in common, and each shall beget children by any
man that wishes to have her.
BLEPYRUS
But all will go to the prettiest woman and try to lay her.
PRAXAGORA
The ugliest and the most flat-nosed will be side by side with
the most charming, and to win the latter's favours, a man will first
have to get into the former.
BLEPYRUS
But what about us oldsters? If we have to lay the old women first,
how can we keep our tools from failing before we get into the Promised
Land?
PRAXAGORA
They will make no resistance. Never fear; they will make no
resistance.
BLEPYRUS
Resistance to what?
PRAXAGORA
To the pleasure of the thing. This is the way that matters will be
ordered for you.
BLEPYRUS
It's very well conceived for you women, for every wench's hole
will be filled; but what about the men? The women will run away from
the ugly ones and chase the good-looking.
PRAXAGORA
The ugly will follow the handsomest into the public places after
supper and see to it that the law, which forbids the women to sleep
with the big, handsome men before having satisfied the ugly shrimps,
is complied with.
BLEPYRUS
Thus ugly Lysicrates' nose will be as proud as the handsomest
face?
PRAXAGORA
Yes, by Apollo! this is a truly popular decree, and what a
set-back it will be for one of those elegants with their fingers
loaded with rings, when a man with heavy shoes says to him, "Give
way to me and wait till I have done; you will pass in after me."
BLEPYRUS
But if we live in this fashion, how will each one know his
children?
PRAXAGORA
The youngest will look upon the oldest as their fathers.
BLEPYRUS
Ah! how heartily they will strangle all the old men, since even
now, when each one knows his father, they make no bones about
strangling him! then, my word! won't they just scorn and crap upon the
old folks!
PRAXAGORA
But those around will prevent it. Hitherto, when anyone saw an old
man beaten, he would not meddle, because it did not concern him;
buff now each will fear the sufferer may be his own father and such
violence will be stopped.
BLEPYRUS
What you say is not so silly after all; but it would be highly
unpleasant were Epicurus and Leucolophas to come up and call me
father.
CHREMES
But it would be far worse, were...
BLEPYRUS
Were what?
CHREMES
...Aristyllus to embrace you and style you his father.
BLEPYRUS
He'll regret it if he does!
CHREMES
For you would smell vilely of mint if he kissed you. But he was
born before the decree was carried, so that you have not to fear his
kiss.
BLEPYRUS
It would be awful. But who will till the soil?

 

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