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LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 08

MAGISTRATE
Ardour! yes, by Apollo, ardour enough-especially for the wine-cup!
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Sir, sir what good are words? they are of no avail with wild
beasts of this sort. Don't you know how they have just washed us
down-and with no very fragrant soap!
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
What would you have? You should never have laid rash hands on
us. If you start afresh, I'll knock your eyes out. My delight is to
stay at home as coy as a young maid, without hurting anybody or moving
any more than a milestone; but 'ware the wasps, if you go stirring
up the wasps' nest!
CHORUS OF OLD MEN (singing)
Ah! great gods! how get the better of these ferocious creatures?
'tis past all bearing! But come, let us try to find out the reason
of the dreadful scourge. With what end in view have they seized the
citadel of Cranaus, the sacred shrine that is raised upon the
inaccessible rock of the Acropolis?
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN (to the MAGISTRATE)
Question them; be cautious and not too credulous. It would be
culpable negligence not to pierce the mystery, if we may.
MAGISTRATE (addressing the women)
I would ask you first why you have barred our gates.
LYSISTRATA
To seize the treasury; no more money, no more war.
MAGISTRATE
Then money is the cause of the war?
LYSISTRATA
And of all our troubles. It was to find occasion to steal that
Pisander and all the other agitators were forever raising revolutions.
Well and good! but they'll never get another drachma here.
MAGISTRATE
What do you propose to do then, pray?
LYSISTRATA
You ask me that! Why, we propose to administer the treasury
ourselves.
MAGISTRATE
You do?
LYSISTRATA
What is there in that to surprise you? Do we not administer the
budget of household expenses?
MAGISTRATE
But that is not the same thing.
LYSISTRATA
How so-not the same thing?
MAGISTRATE
It is the treasury supplies the expenses of the war.
LYSISTRATA
That's our first principle-no war!
MAGISTRATE
What! and the safety of the city?
LYSISTRATA
We will provide for that.
MAGISTRATE
You?
LYSISTRATA
Yes, we!
MAGISTRATE
What a sorry business!
LYSISTRATA
Yes, we're going to save you, whether you like it or not.
MAGISTRATE
Oh! the impudence of the creatures!
LYSISTRATA
You seem annoyed! but it has to be done, nevertheless.
MAGISTRATE
But it's the very height of iniquity!
LYSISTRATA (testily)
We're going to save you, my good man.
MAGISTRATE
But if I don't want to be saved?
LYSISTRATA
Why, all the more reason!
MAGISTRATE
But what a notion, to concern yourselves with questions of peace
and war!
LYSISTRATA
We will explain our idea.
MAGISTRATE
Out with it then; quick, or... (threatening her).
LYSISTRATA (sternly)
Listen, and never a movement, please!
MAGISTRATE (in impotent rage)
Oh! it is too much for me! I cannot keep my temper!
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
Then look out for yourself; you have more to fear than we have.
MAGISTRATE
Stop your croaking, you old crow! (To LYSISTRATA) Now you, say
what you have to say.
LYSISTRATA
Willingly. All the long time the war has lasted, we have endured
in modest silence all you men did; you never allowed us to open our
lips. We were far from satisfied, for we knew how things were going;
often in our homes we would hear you discussing, upside down and
inside out, some important turn of affairs. Then with sad hearts,
but smiling lips, we would ask you: Well, in today's Assembly did they
vote peace?-But, "Mind your own business!" the husband would growl,
"Hold your tongue, please!" And we would say no more.
CLEONICE
I would not have held my tongue though, not I!

 

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