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LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 03

LYSISTRATA
And not so much as the shadow of a lover! Since the day the
Milesians betrayed us, I have never once seen an eight-inch gadget
even, to be a leathern consolation to us poor widows.... Now tell
me, if I have discovered a means of ending the war, will you all
second me?
CLEONICE
Yes verily, by all the goddesses, I swear I will, though I have to
put my gown in pawn, and drink the money the same day.
MYRRHINE
And so will I, though I must be split in two like a flat-fish, and
have half myself removed.
LAMPITO
And I too; why to secure peace, I would climb to the top of
Mount Taygetus.
LYSISTRATA
Then I will out with it at last, my mighty secret! Oh! sister
women, if we would compel our husbands to make peace, we must
refrain...
CLEONICE
Refrain from what? tell us, tell us!
LYSISTRATA
But will you do it?
MYRRHINE
We will, we will, though we should die of it.
LYSISTRATA
We must refrain from the male altogether.... Nay, why do you
turn your backs on me? Where are you going? So, you bite your lips,
and shake your heads, eh? Why these pale, sad looks? why these
tears? Come, will you do it-yes or no? Do you hesitate?
CLEONICE
I will not do it, let the war go on.
MYRRHINE
Nor will I; let the war go on.
LYSISTRATA (to MYRRHINE)
And you say this, my pretty flat-fish, who declared just now
they might split you in two?
CLEONICE
Anything, anything but that! Bid me go through the fire, if you
will,-but to rob us of the sweetest thing in all the world, Lysistrata
darling!
LYSISTRATA (to MYRRHINE)
And you?
MYRRHINE
Yes, I agree with the others; I too would sooner go through the
fire.
LYSISTRATA
Oh, wanton, vicious sex! the poets have done well to make
tragedies upon us; we are good for nothing then but love and lewdness!
But you, my dear, you from hardy Sparta, if you join me, all may yet
be well; help me, second me, I beg you.
LAMPITO
'Tis a hard thing, by the two goddesses it is! for a woman to
sleep alone without ever a strong male in her bed. But there, peace
must come first.
LYSISTRATA
Oh, my darling, my dearest, best friend, you are the only one
deserving the name of woman!
CLEONICE
But if-which the gods forbid-we do refrain altogether from what
you say, should we get peace any sooner?
LYSISTRATA
Of course we should, by the goddesses twain! We need only sit
indoors with painted cheeks, and meet our mates lightly clad in
transparent gowns of Amorgos silk, and perfectly depilated; they
will get their tools up and be wild to lie with us. That will be the
time to refuse, and they will hasten to make peace, I am convinced
of that!
LAMPITO
Yes, just as Menelaus, when he saw Helen's naked bosom, threw away
his sword, they say.
CLEONICE
But, oh dear, suppose our husbands go away and leave us.
LYSISTRATA
Then, as Pherecrates says, we must "flay a skinned dog," that's
all.
CLEONICE
Fiddlesticks! these proverbs are all idle talk.... But if our
husbands drag us by main force into the bedchamber?
LYSISTRATA
Hold on to the door posts.
CLEONICE
But if they beat us?
LYSISTRATA
Then yield to their wishes, but with a bad grace; there is no
pleasure in it for them, when they do it by force. Besides, there
are a thousand ways of tormenting them. Never fear, they'll soon
tire of the game; there's no satisfaction for a man, unless the
woman shares it.
CLEONICE
Very well, if you must have it so, we agree.
LAMPITO
For ourselves, no doubt we shall persuade our husbands to conclude
a fair and honest peace; but there is the Athenian populace, how are
we to cure these folk of their warlike frenzy?
LYSISTRATA
Have no fear; we undertake to make our own people listen to
reason.
LAMPITO
That's impossible, so long as they have their trusty ships and the
vast treasures stored in the temple of Athene.

 

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