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LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 16

HeraLD
Why, everything is turned upside down at Sparta; and all the
allies have erections. We simply must have Pellene.
MAGISTRATE
What is the reason of it all? Is it the god Pan's doing?
HeraLD
No, it's all the work of Lampito and the women who are acting at
her instigation; they have kicked the men out from between their
thighs.
MAGISTRATE
But what are you doing about it?
HeraLD
We are at our wits' end; we walk bent double, just as if we were
carrying lanterns in a wind. The jades have sworn we shall not so much
as touch them till we have all agreed to conclude peace.
MAGISTRATE
Ah! I see now, it's a general conspiracy embracing all Greece.
Go back to Sparta and bid them send envoys plenipotentiary to treat
for peace. I will urge our Senators myself to name plenipotentiaries
from us; and to persuade them, why, I will show them my own tool.
HeraLD
What could be better? I fly at your command.
(They go out in opposite directions.)
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
No wild beast is there, no flame of fire, more fierce and
untamable than woman; the leopard is less savage and shameless.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
And yet you dare to make war upon me, wretch, when you might
have me for your most faithful friend and ally.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Never, never can my hatred cease towards women.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
Well, suit yourself. Still I cannot bear to leave you all naked as
you are; folks would laugh at you. Come, I am going to put this
tunic on you.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
You are right, upon my word! it was only in my confounded fit of
rage that I took it off.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
Now at any rate you look like a man, and they won't make fun of
you. Ah! if you had not offended me so badly, I would take out that
nasty insect you have in your eye for you.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Ah! so that's what was annoying me so Look, here's a ring, just
remove the insect, and show it to me. By Zeus! it has been hurting
my eye for a long time now.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
Well, I agree, though your manners are not over and above
pleasant. Oh I what a huge great gnat! just look! It's from
Tricorythus, for sure.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
A thousand thanks! the creature was digging a regular well in my
eye; now that it's gone, my tears can flow freely.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
I will wipe them for you-bad, naughty man though you are. Now,
just one kiss.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
A kiss? certainly not
LEADER OF CHORUS OF WOMEN
Just one, whether you like it or not.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Oh! those confounded women! how they do cajole us! How true the
saying: " 'Tis impossible to live with the baggages, impossible to
live without 'em!" Come, let us agree for the future not to regard
each other any more as enemies; and to clinch the bargain, let us sing
a choric song.
COMBINED CHORUS OF WOMEN AND OLD MEN (singing)
We desire, Athenians, to speak ill of no man; but on the
contrary to say much good of everyone, and to do the like. We have had
enough of misfortunes and calamities. If there is any man or woman who
wants a bit of money-two or three minas or so; well, our purse is
full. If only peace is concluded, the borrower will not have to pay
back. Also I'm inviting to supper a few Carystian friends, who are
excellently well qualified. I have still a drop of good soup left, and
a young porker I'm going to kill, and the flesh will be sweet and
tender. I shall expect you at my house to-day; but first away to the
baths with you, you and your children; then come all of you, ask no
one's leave, but walk straight up, as if you were at home; never fear,
the door will be... shut in your faces!
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Ah! here come the envoys from Sparta with their long flowing
beards; why, you would think they wore pigstyes between their thighs.
(Enter the LACONIAN ENVOYS afflicted like their HeraLD.) Hail to you,
first of all, Laconians; then tell us how you fare.
LACONIAN ENVOY
No need for many words; you can see what a state we are in.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Alas! the situation grows more and more strained! the intensity of
the thing is simply frightful.
LACONIAN ENVOY
It's beyond belief. But to work! summon your Commissioners, and
let us patch up the best peace we may.
LEADER OF CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Ah! our men too, like wrestlers in the arena, cannot endure a
rag over their bellies; it's an athlete's malady, which only
exercise can remedy.
(The MAGISTRATE returns; he too now has an evident reason to
desire peace.)
MAGISTRATE
Can anybody tell us where Lysistrata is? Surely she will have some
compassion on our condition.

 

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