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Aristophanes Index


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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 16

FIRST OLD WOMAN
Obey the law.
YOUNG MAN
But if a fellow-citizen, a friend, came to pay my ransom?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
No man may dispose of anything above a medimnus.
YOUNG MAN
But may I not enter an excuse?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
There's no evasion.
YOUNG MAN
I shall declare myself a merchant and so escape service.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Beware what you do!
YOUNG MAN
Well! what is to be done?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Follow me.
YOUNG MAN
Is it absolutely necessary?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Yes, as surely as if Diomedes had commanded it.
YOUNG MAN
Well then, first spread out a layer of origanum upon four pieces
of wood; bind fillets round your head, bring phials of scent and place
a bowl filled with lustral water before your door.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Will you buy a chaplet for me too?
YOUNG MAN
Yes, if you outlast the tapers; for I expect to see you fall
down dead as you go in.
YOUNG GIRL (running out of her house)
Where are you dragging this unfortunate man to?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
To my own bed.
YOUNG GIRL
That's not right. A young fellow like him is not of the age to
suit you. You ought to be his mother rather than his wife. With
these laws in force, the earth will be filled with Oedipuses.
(She takes him away with her.)
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Oh! you cursed pest! it's envy that makes you say this; but I will
be revenged.
(She goes back into her house.)
YOUNG MAN
By Zeus the Deliverer, what a service you have done me, by freeing
me of this old wretch! with what ardour I will show you my gratitude
in a substantial form!
(Just as he begins to go in with the YOUNG GIRL an even older and
uglier woman enters.)
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Hi! you there! where are you taking that young man to, in defiance
of the law? The decree ordains that he must first sleep with me.
YOUNG MAN
Oh! what a misfortune! Where does this hag come from? She's a more
frightful monster than the other even.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Come here.
(She takes him by the arm.)
YOUNG MAN (to the YOUNG GIRL)
Oh! I beg you, don't let me be led off by her!
SECOND OLD WOMAN
It's not I but the law that leads you off.
YOUNG MAN
No, it's not the law, but an Empusa with a body covered with
blemishes and blotches.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Follow me, my handsome little friend, come along quickly without
any more ado.
YOUNG MAN
Oh! let me go to the can first, so that I may gather my wits
somewhat. Else I should be so terrified that you would see me
letting out something yellow.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Never mind! you can crap, if you want, in my house.
YOUNG MAN
More than I want to, I'm afraid; but I offer you two good
securities.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
I don't require them.
(A THIRD OLD WOMAN, the ugliest yet, now appears.)
THIRD OLD WOMAN
Hi! friend, where are you off to with that woman?
YOUNG MAN
I am not going with her, but am being dragged by force. Oh!
whoever you are, may heaven bless you for having had pity on me in
my dire misfortune. (Turns round and sees the THIRD OLD WOMAN.) Oh
Heracles! oh Pan! oh Corybantes! oh Dioscuri! Why, she is still more
awful! Oh! what a monster! great gods! Are you an ape plastered with
white lead, or the ghost of some old hag returned from the dark
borderlands of death?
THIRD OLD WOMAN (taking his other arm)
No jesting! Follow me.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
No, come this way.
THIRD OLD WOMAN
I will never let you go.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Nor will I.
YOUNG MAN
But you will rend me asunder, you cursed wretches.

 

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Aristophanes Index

 

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