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Aristophanes Index


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LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 07

LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Hot, great gods! Enough, enough!
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
I'm watering you, to make you bloom afresh.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Alas! I am too dry! Ah, me how! how I am trembling with cold!
(A MAGISTRATE enters, with a few Scythian policemen.)
MAGISTRATE
These women, have they made din enough, I wonder, with their
tambourines? bewept Adonis enough upon their terraces? I was listening
to the speeches last assembly day, and Demostratus, whom heaven
confound! was saying we must all go over to Sicily-and lo! his wife
was dancing round repeating: "Alas! alas! Adonis, woe is me for
Adonis!" Demostratus was saying we must levy hoplites at Zacynthus-and
there was his wife, more than half drunk, screaming on the house-roof:
"Weep, weep for Adonis!"-while that infamous Mad Ox was bellowing away
on his side.-Do you not blush, you women, for your wild and uproarious
doings?
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
But you don't know all their effrontery yet! They abused and
insulted us; then soused us with the water in their water-pots, and
have set us wringing out our clothes, for all the world as if we had
bepissed ourselves.
MAGISTRATE
And well done too, by Posidon! We men must share the blame of
their ill conduct; it is we who teach them to love riot and
dissoluteness and sow the seeds of wickedness in their hearts. You see
a husband go into a shop: "Look you, jeweller," says he, "you remember
the necklace you made for my wife. Well, the other evening, when she
was dancing, the catch came open. Now, I am bound to start for
Salamis; will you make it convenient to go up to-night to make her
fastening secure?" Another will go to the cobbler, a great, strong
fellow, with a great, long tool, and tell him: "The strap of one of my
wife's sandals presses her little toe, which is extremely sensitive;
come in about midday to supple the thing and stretch it." Now see
the results. Take my own case-as a Magistrate I have enlisted
rowers; I want money to pay them, and the women slam the door in my
face. But why do we stand here with arms crossed? Bring me a
crowbar; I'll chastise their insolence!-Ho! there, my fine fellow!
(to one of the Scythians) what are, you gaping at the crows for?
looking for a tavern, I suppose, eh? Come on, bring crowbars here, and
force open the gates. I will put a hand to the work myself.
LYSISTRATA (opening the gate and walking out)
No need to force the gates; I am coming out-here I am. And why
bolts and bars? What we want here is not bolts and bars and locks, but
common sense.
MAGISTRATE (jumping nervously, then striving manfully to regain his
dignity)
Really, my fine lady! Where is my officer? I want him to tie
that woman's hands behind her back.
LYSISTRATA
By Artemis, the virgin goddess! if he touches me with the tip of
his finger, officer of the public peace though he be, let him look out
for himself!
(The first Scythian defecates in terror.)
MAGISTRATE (to another officer)
How now, are you afraid? Seize her, I tell you, round the body.
Two of you at her, and have done with it!
CLEONICE
By Pandrosos! if you lay a hand on her, Ill trample you
underfoot till the crap comes out of you!
(The second Scythian defecates in terror.)
MAGISTRATE
Look at the mess you've made! Where is there another officer? (To
the third Scythian) Bind that minx first, the one who speaks so
prettily!
MYRRHINE
By Phoebe, if you touch her with one finger, you'd better call
quick for a surgeon!
(The third Scythian defecates in terror.)
MAGISTRATE
What's that? Where's the officer? (To the fourth Scythian) Lay
hold of her. Oh! but I'm going to stop your foolishness for you all
CLEONICE
By the Tauric Artemis, if you go near her, I'll pull out your
hair, scream as you like.
(The fourth Scythian defecates in terror.)
MAGISTRATE
Ah! miserable man that I am! My own officers desert me. What ho!
are we to let ourselves be bested by a mob of women? Ho! Scythians
mine, close up your ranks, and forward!
LYSISTRATA
By the holy goddesses! you'll have to make acquaintance with
four companies of women, ready for the fray and well armed to boot.
MAGISTRATE
Forward, Scythians, and bind them!
(The Scythians advance reluctantly.)
LYSISTRATA
Forward, my gallant companions; march forth, ye vendors of grain
and eggs, garlic and vegetables, keepers of taverns and bakeries,
wrench and strike and tear; come, a torrent of invective and insult!
(They beat the Scythians who retire in haste.) Enough, enough now
retire, never rob the vanquished!
(The women withdraw.)
MAGISTRATE
How unfortunate for my officers!
LYSISTRATA
Ah, ha! so you thought you had only to do with a set of
slave-women! you did not know the ardour that fills the bosom of
free-born dames.

 

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