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Aristophanes Index


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LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 18

LYSISTRATA
Agree, my friends, agree.
MAGISTRATE
But then what city shall we be able to stir up trouble in?
LYSISTRATA
Ask for another place in exchange.
MAGISTRATE
Ah! that's the ticket! Well, to begin with, give us Echinus, the
Maliac gulf adjoining, and the two legs of Megara.
LACONIAN ENVOY
No, by the Dioscuri, surely not all that, my dear sir.
LYSISTRATA
Come to terms; never make a difficulty of two legs more or less!
MAGISTRATE (his eye on PEACE)
Well, I'm ready to strip down and get to work right now.
(He takes off his mantle.)
LACONIAN ENVOY (following out this idea)
And I also, to dung it to start with.
LYSISTRATA
That's just what you shall do, once peace is signed. So, if you
really want to make it, go consult your allies about the matter.
MAGISTRATE
What allies, I should like to know? Why, we are all erected;
there's no one who is not mad to be mating. What we all want is to
be in bed with our wives; how should our allies fail to second our
project?
LACONIAN ENVOY
And ours too, for certain sure!
MAGISTRATE
The Carystians first and foremost by the gods!
LYSISTRATA
Well said, indeed! Now go and purify yourselves for entering the
Acropolis, where the women invite you to supper; we will empty our
provision baskets to do you honour. At table, you will exchange
oaths and pledges; then each man will go home with his wife.
MAGISTRATE
Come along then, and as quick as may be.
LACONIAN ENVOY
Lead on; I'm your man.
MAGISTRATE
Quick, quick's the word, say I.
(They follow LYSISTRATA into the Acropolis.)
CHORUS OF WOMEN (singing)
Embroidered stuffs, and dainty tunics, and flowing gowns, and
golden ornaments, everything I have, I offer them to you with all my
heart; take them all for your children, for your girls, in case they
are chosen Canephori. I invite you every one to enter, come in and
choose whatever you will; there is nothing so well fastened, you
cannot break the seals, and carry away the contents. Look about you
everywhere. . . you won't find a blessed thing, unless you have
sharper eyes than mine. And if any of you lacks corn to feed his
slaves and his young and numerous family, why, I have a few grains
of wheat at home; let him take what I have to give, a big twelve-pound
loaf included. So let my poorer neighbours all come with bags and
wallets; my man, Manes, shall give them corn; but I warn them not to
come near my door, but-beware the dog!
(Another MAGISTRATE enters, and begins knocking at the gate.)
SECOND MAGISTRATE
I say, you, open the door! (To the WOMEN) Go your way, I tell
you. (As the women sit down in front of the gate) Why, bless me,
they're sitting down now; I shall have to singe 'em with my torch to
make 'em stir! What impudence! I won't take this. Oh, well, if it's
absolutely necessary, just to please you, we'll have to take the
trouble.
AN ATHENIAN
And I'll share it with you.

(He brandishes the torch he is carrying and the CHORUS OF WOMEN
departs. The CHORUS OF OLD MEN follows shortly after.)

SECOND MAGISTRATE
No, no, you must be off-or I'll tear your hair out, I will; be
off, I say, and don't annoy the Laconian envoys; they're just coming
out from the banquet-ball.
ATHENIAN
Such a merry banquet I've never seen before! The Laconians were
simply charming. After the drink is in, why, we're all wise men, every
one of us.
MAGISTRATE
It's only natural, to be sure, for sober, we're all fools. Take my
advice, my fellow-countrymen, our envoys should always be drunk. We go
to Sparta; we enter the city sober; why, we must be picking a
quarrel directly. We don't understand what they say to us, we
imagine a lot they don't say at all, and we report home all wrong, all
topsy-urvy. But, look you, to-day it's quite different; we're
enchanted whatever happens; instead of Clitagora, they might sing us
Telamon, and we should clap our hands just the same. A perjury or
two into the bargain, why! What does that matter to merry companions
in their cups? (The two CHORUSES return.) But here they are back
again! Will you begone, you loafing scoundrels.
(The CHORUSES retire again.)
ATHENIAN
Ah ha! here's the company coming out already.

(Two CHORUSes, one Laconian and one Athenian, enter, dancing to
the music of flutes; they are followed by the women under the
LEADERship of LYSISTRATA.)

A LACONIAN
My dear, sweet friend, come, take your flute in hand; I would fain
dance and sing my best in honour of the Athenians and our noble
selves.

 

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