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PEACE by Aristophanes, Part 03

TRYGAEUS (as the Machine hoists him higher)
I'll see to it. Good-bye! (To the Athenians) You, for love of whom
I brave these dangers, do ye neither fart nor crap for the space of
three days, for, if, while cleaving the air, my steed should scent
anything, he would fling me head foremost from the summit of my hopes.
Now come, my Pegasus, get a-going with up-pricked ears and make
your golden bridle resound gaily. Eh! what are you doing? What are you
up to? Do you turn your nose towards the cesspools? Come, pluck up a
spirit; rush upwards from the earth, stretch out your speedy wings and
make straight for the palace of Zeus; for once give up foraging in
your daily food.-Hi! you down there, what are you after now? Oh! my
god! it's a man taking a crap in the Piraeus, close to the
whorehouses. But is it my death you seek then, my death? Will you
not bury that right away and pile a great heap of earth upon it and
plant wild thyme therein and pour perfumes on it? If I were to fall
from up here and misfortune happened to me, the town of Chios would
owe a fine of five talents for my death, all because of your damned
Alas! how frightened I am! oh! I have no heart for jests. Ah!
machinist, take great care of me. There is already a wind whirling
round my navel; take great care or, from sheer fright, I shall form
food for my beetle.... But I think I am no longer far from the gods;
aye, that is the dwelling of Zeus, I perceive. (The beetle descends
and comes to a halt in front of the house of Zeus. TRYGAEUS
dismounts and knocks at the door.) Hullo! Hi! where is the doorkeeper?
Will no one open?
Hermes (from within)
I think I can sniff a man. (Opening the door) Why, what plague
is this?
A horse-beetle.
Oh! impudent, shameless rascal! oh! scoundrel! triple scoundrel!
the greatest scoundrel in the world! how did you come here? Oh!
scoundrel of all scoundrels! your name? Reply.
Triple scoundrel.
Your country?
Triple scoundrel.
Your father?
My father? Triple scoundrel.
By the Earth, you shall die, unless you tell me your name.
I am Trygaeus of the Athmonian deme, a good vine-dresser, little
addicted to quibbling and not at all an informer.
Why do you come?
I come to bring you this meat.
Hermes (changing his tone)
Ah! my good friend, did you have a good journey?
Glutton, be off! I no longer seem a triple scoundrel to you. Come,
call Zeus.
Ah! ah! you are a long way yet from reaching the gods, for they
moved yesterday.
To what part of the earth?
Eh! of the earth, did you say?
In short, where are they then?
Very far, very far, right at the furthest end of the dome of
But why have they left you all alone here?
I am watching what remains of the furniture, the little pots and
pans, the bits of chairs and tables, and odd wine-jars.
And why have the gods moved away?
Because of their wrath against the Greeks. They have located War
in the house they occupied themselves and have given him full power to
do with you exactly as he pleases; then they went as high up as ever
they could, so as to see no more of your fights and to hear no more of
your prayers.
What reason have they for treating us so?
Because they have afforded you an opportunity for peace more
than once, but you have always preferred war. If the Laconians got the
very slightest advantage, they would exclaim, "By the Twin Brethren!
the Athenians shall smart for this." If, on the contrary, the latter
triumphed and the Laconians came with peace proposals, you would
say, "By Demeter, they want to deceive us. No, by Zeus, we will not
hear a word; they will always be coming as long as we hold Pylos."
Yes, that is quite the style our folk do talk in.
So that I don't know whether you will ever see Peace again.
Why, where has she gone to then?


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