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LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 13

WOMAN
Yes, indeed, I see him; but who is he?
LYSISTRATA
Look, look! do any of you recognize him?
MYRRHINE (joyfully)
I do, I do! it's my husband Cinesias.
LYSISTRATA
To work then! Be it your task to inflame and torture and torment
him. Seductions, caresses, provocations, refusals, try every means!
Grant every favour,-always excepting what is forbidden by our oath
on the wine-bowl.
MYRRHINE
Have no fear, I'll do it.
LYSISTRATA
Well, I shall stay here to help you cajole the man and set his
passions aflame. The rest of you withdraw.
(CINESIAS enters, in obvious and extreme sexual excitement. A
slave follows him carrying an infant.)
CINESIAS
Alas! alas! how I am tortured by spasm and rigid convulsion! Oh! I
am racked on the wheel!
LYSISTRATA
Who is this that dares to pass our lines?
CINESIAS
It is I.
LYSISTRATA
What, a man?
CINESIAS
Very much so!
LYSISTRATA
Get out.
CINESIAS
But who are you that thus repulses me?
LYSISTRATA
The sentinel of the day.
CINESIAS
For the gods' sake, call Myrrhine.
LYSISTRATA
Call Myrrhine, you say? And who are you?
CINESIAS
I am her husband, Cinesias, son of Paeon.
LYSISTRATA
Ah! good day, my dear friend. Your name is not unknown amongst us.
Your wife has it forever on her lips; and she never touches an egg
or an apple without saying: "This is for Cinesias."
CINESIAS
Really and truly?
LYSISTRATA
Yes, indeed, by Aphrodite! And if we fall to talking of men, quick
your wife declares: "Oh! all the rest, they're good for nothing
compared with Cinesias."
CINESIAS
Oh! please, please go and call her to me!
LYSISTRATA
And what will you give me for my trouble?
CINESIAS
Anything I've got, if you like. (Pointing to the evidence of
his condition) I will give you what I have here!
LYSISTRATA
Well, well, I will tell her to come.
(She enters the Acropolis.)
CINESIAS
Quick, oh! be quick! Life has no more charms for me since she left
my house. I am sad, sad, when I go indoors; it all seems so empty;
my victuals have lost their savour. And all because of this erection
that I can't get rid of!
MYRRHINE (to LYSISTRATA, over her shoulder)
I love him, oh! I love him; but he won't let himself be loved. No!
I shall not come.
CINESIAS
Myrrhine, my little darling Myrrhine, what are you saying? Come
down to me quick.
MYRRHINE
No indeed, not I.
CINESIAS
I call you, Myrrhine, Myrrhine; won't you please come?
MYRRHINE
Why should you call me? You do not want me.
CINESIAS
Not want you! Why, here I stand, stiff with desire!
oMYRRHINE
Good-bye.
(She turns, as if to go.)
CINESIAS
Oh! Myrrhine, Myrrhine, in our child's name, hear me; at any
rate hear the child! Little lad, call your mother.
CHILD
Mamma, mamma, mamma!
CINESIAS
There, listen! Don't you pity the poor child? It's six days now
you've never washed and never fed the child.
MYRRHINE
Poor darling, your father takes mighty little care of you!
CINESIAS
Come down, dearest, come down for the child's sake.
MYRRHINE
Ah! what a thing it is to be a mother! Well, well, we must come
down, I suppose.
CINESIAS (as MYRRHINE approaches)
Why, how much younger and prettier she looks! And how she looks at
me so lovingly! Her cruelty and scorn only redouble my passion.

 

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