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Aristophanes Index


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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 15

FIRST OLD WOMAN (reappearing suddenly)
What are you knocking for? Are you looking for me?
YOUNG MAN
What an idea!
FIRST OLD WOMAN
But you were tapping at the door.
YOUNG MAN
Death would be sweeter.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Why do you come with that torch in your hand?
YOUNG MAN
I am looking for a man from Anaphlystia.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
What's his name?
YOUNG MAN
Oh! it's not Sebinus, whom no doubt you are expecting.
FIRST OLD WOMAN (taking him by the arm)
By Aphrodite, you must, whether you like it or not.
YOUNG MAN (shaking her off
We are not now concerned with cases dated sixty years back; they
are remanded for a later day; we are dealing only with those of less
than twenty.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
That was under the old order of things, sweetheart, but now you
must first busy yourself with us.
YOUNG MAN
Aye, if I want to, according to the rules of draughts, where we
may either take or leave.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
But it's not according to the rules of draughts that you take your
seat at the banquet.
YOUNG MAN
I don't know what you mean; it's at this door I want to knock.
FIRST OLD WOMAN (standing in his way)
Not before knocking at mine first.
YOUNG MAN (haughtily)
For the moment I really have no need for old leather.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
I know that you love me; perhaps you are surprised to find me at
the door. But come, let me kiss you.
YOUNG MAN (pulling back; sarcastically)
No, no, my dear, I am afraid of your lover.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Of whom?
YOUNG MAN
The most gifted of painters.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
And who is he?
YOUNG MAN
The artist who paints the little bottles on coffins. But get you
indoors, lest he should find you at the door.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
I know what you want.
YOUNG MAN
I can say as much of you.
FIRST OLD WOMAN (hanging on to him)
By Aphrodite, who has granted me this good chance, I won't let you
go.
YOUNG MAN
You are drivelling, you little old hag.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Rubbish! I am going to lead you to my couch.
YOUNG MAN
What need for buying hooks? I will let her down to the bottom of
the well and pull up the buckets with her old carcase, for she's
crooked enough for that.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
A truce to your jeering, poor boy, and follow me.
YOUNG MAN
Nothing compels me to do so, unless you have paid the levy of five
hundredths for me.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Look, by Aphrodite, there is nothing that delights me as much as
sleeping with a lad of your years.
YOUNG MAN
And I abhor such as you, and I will never, never consent.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
But, by Zeus, here is something will force you to it.
(She shows him a document.)
YOUNG MAN
What's that?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
A decree, which orders you to enter my house.
YOUNG MAN
Read it out then, and let's hear.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Listen. "The women have decreed that if a young man desires a
young girl, he can only lay her after having satisfied an old woman;
and if he refuses and goes to seek the maiden, the old women are
authorized to seize him and drag him in."
YOUNG MAN
Alas! I shall become a Procrustes.

 

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