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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 11

BLEPYRUS AND CHREMES
Marvellously well.
PRAXAGORA
I must now go to the market-place to receive the property that
is going to be placed in common and to choose a woman with a loud
voice as my HeraLD. I have all the cares of state on my shoulders,
since the power has been entrusted to me. I must likewise go to busy
myself about establishing the common meals, and you will attend your
first banquet to-day.
BLEPYRUS
Are we going to banquet?
PRAXAGORA
Why, undoubtedly! Furthermore, I propose abolishing the whores.
BLEPYRUS
And what for?
PRAXAGORA
It's clear enough why; so that, instead of them, we may have the
first-fruits of the young men. It is not meet that tricked-out
slaves should rob free-born women of their pleasures. Let the
courtesans be free to sleep with the slaves.
BLEPYRUS
I will march at your side, so that I may be seen and that everyone
may say, "Look at the Dictator's husband!"
(He follows PRAXAGORA into their house.)
CHREMES
As for me, I shall arrange my belongings and take inventory of
them, in order that I may take them to the market-place.
(He departs.)
(There is an interlude of dancing by the CHORUS, after which
CHREMES returns with his belongings and arranges them in a long
line.)
CHREMES
Come hither, my beautiful sieve, I have nothing more precious than
you, come, all clotted with the flour of which I have poured so many
sacks through you; you shall act the part of Canephorus in the
procession of my chattels. Where is the sunshade carrier? Ah! this
stew-pot shall take his place. Great gods, how black it is! it could
not be more so if Lysicrates had boiled the drugs in it with which
be dyes his hair. Hither, my beautiful mirror. And you, my tripod,
bear this urn for me; you shall be the water-bearer; and you, cock,
whose morning song has so often roused me in the middle of the night
to send me hurrying to the Assembly, you shall be my flute-girl.
Scaphephorus, do you take the large basin, place in it the
honeycombs and twine the olive-branches over them, bring the tripods
and the phial of perfume; as for the humble crowd of little pots, I
will just leave them behind.
CITIZEN (watching CHREMES from a distance)
What folly to carry one's goods to the common store; I have a
little more sense than that. No, no, by Posidon, I want first to
ponder and calculate over the thing at leisure. I shall not be fool
enough to strip myself of the fruits of my toil and thrift, if it is
not for a very good reason; let us see first which way things turn.
(He walks over to CHREMES) Hi! friend, what means this display of
goods? Are you moving or are you going to pawn your stuff?
CHREMES
Neither.
CITIZEN
Why then are you setting all these things out in line? Is it a
procession that you are starting off to Hiero, the public crier?
CHREMES
No, but in accordance with the new law that has been decreed, I am
going to carry all these things to the market-place to make a gift
of them to the state.
CITIZEN
Oh! bah! you don't mean that.
CHREMES
Certainly.
CITIZEN
Oh! Zeus the Deliverer! you unfortunate man!
CHREMES
Why?
CITIZEN
Why? It's as clear as noonday.
CHREMES
Must the laws not be obeyed then?
CITIZEN
What laws, you poor fellow?
CHREMES
Those that have been decreed.
CITIZEN
Decreed! Are you mad, I ask you?
CHREMES
Am I mad?
CITIZEN
Oh! this is the height of folly!
CHREMES
Because I obey the law?
CITIZEN
Is that the duty of a smart man?
CHREMES
Absolutely.
CITIZEN
Say rather of a ninny.
CHREMES
Don't you propose taking what belongs to you to the common stock?
CITIZEN
I'll take good care I don't until I see what the majority are
doing.
CHREMES
There's but one opinion, namely, to contribute every single thing one
has.

 

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