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THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 17

SECOND OLD WOMAN
I'm the one he must go with according to the law.
THIRD OLD WOMAN
Not if an uglier old woman than yourself appears.
YOUNG MAN
But if you kill me at the outset, how shall I afterwards go to
find this beautiful girl of mine?
THIRD OLD WOMAN
That's your problem. But begin by obeying.
YOUNG MAN
Of which one must I rid myself first?
THIRD OLD WOMAN
Don't you know? Come here.
YOUNG MAN
Then let the other one release me.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Come to my house.
YOUNG MAN
If this dame will let me go.
THIRD OLD WOMAN
No, by all the gods, I'll not let you go.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Nor will I.
YOUNG MAN
You would make very bad boatwomen.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Why?
YOUNG MAN
Because you would tear your passengers to pieces in dragging
them on board.
THIRD OLD WOMAN
Then come along, do, and hold your tongue.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
No, by Zeus, come with me.
YOUNG MAN
It's clearly a case for the decree of Cannonus; I must cut
myself in two in order to lay you both. But how am I to work two
oars at once?
THIRD OLD WOMAN
Easily enough; you have only to eat a full pot of onions.
YOUNG MAN
Oh! great gods! here I am close to the door and being dragged in!
SECOND OLD WOMAN (to THIRD OLD WOMAN)
You will gain nothing by this, for I shall rush into your house
with you.
YOUNG MAN
Oh, no! no! to suffer a single misfortune than two.
THIRD OLD WOMAN
Ah! by Hecate, whether you wish it or not.
YOUNG MAN
What a fate is mine, that I must make love to such a stinking
harridan the whole night through and all day; then, when I am rid of
her, I have still to tackle a brick-coloured hag! Am I not truly
unfortunate? Ah! by Zeus the Deliverer; under what fatal star must I
have been born, that I must sail in company with such monsters! But if
my bark sinks in the sewer of these strumpets, may I be buried at
the very threshold of the door; let this hag be stood upright on my
grave, let her be coated alive with pitch and her legs covered with
molten lead up to the ankles, and let her be set alight as a funeral
lamp.
(The YOUNG MAN is dragged off by the two OLD WOMEN, one on each
arm.)
(Interlude of dancing by the CHORUS.)
A SERVANT-MAID To PRAXAGORA (she comes from the banquet)
What happiness is the people's! what joy is mine, and above all
that of my mistress! Happy are ye, who form CHORUSes before our house!
Happy are ye, both neighbours and fellow-citizens! Happy am I
myself! I am but a servant, and yet I have poured on my hair the
most exquisite essences. Let thanks be rendered to thee, Oh, Zeus! But
a still more delicious aroma is that of the wine of Thasos; its
sweet bouquet delights the drinker for a long time, whereas the others
lose their bloom and vanish quickly. Therefore, long life to the
wine-jars of Thasos! Pour yourselves out unmixed wine, it will cheer
you the whole night through, if you choose the liquor that possesses
most fragrance. (To the CHORUS) But tell me, friends, where is my
mistress's husband?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Wait for him here; he will no doubt pass this way.
MAID-SERVANT
Ah! there he is just going to dinner. Oh! master! what joy! what
blessedness is yours!
BLEPYRUS
Mine?
MAID-SERVANT
None can compare his happiness to yours; you have reached its
utmost height, you who, alone out of thirty thousand citizens have not
yet dined.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Aye, here is undoubtedly a truly happy man.
MAID-SERVANT
Where are you off to?
BLEPYRUS
I am going to dine.
MAID-SERVANT
By Aphrodite, you will be the last of all, far and away the
last. Yet my mistress has bidden me take you and take with you these
young girls. Some Chian wine is left and lots of other good things.
Therefore hurry, and invite likewise all the spectators whom we have
pleased, and such of the judges as are not against us, to follow us;
we will offer them everything they can desire.

 

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