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Aristophanes Index


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PEACE by Aristophanes, Part 05

WAR
What is it? Again you come back without it?
TUMULT
The Spartans too have lost their pestle.
WAR
How, varlet?
TUMULT
They had lent it to their allies in Thrace, who have lost it for
them.
TRYGAEUS
Long life to you, Thracians! My hopes revive, pluck up courage,
mortals!
WAR
Take all this stuff; I am going in to make a pestle for myself.
(He goes in, followed by TUMULT.)
TRYGAEUS (coming out of his hiding-place)
Now is the time to sing as Datis did, as he masturbated at high
noon, "Oh pleasure! oh enjoyment! oh delights!" Now, oh Greeks! is the
moment when freed of quarrels and fighting, we should rescue sweet
Peace and draw her out of this pit, before some other pestle
prevents us. Come, labourers, merchants, workmen, artisans, strangers,
whether you be domiciled or not, islanders, come here, Greeks of all
countries, come hurrying here with picks and levers and ropes! This is
the moment to drain a cup in honour of the Good Genius.
(The CHORUS enters; it consists of labourers and farmers from
various Greek states.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Come hither all! quick, to the rescue! All peoples of Greece,
now is the time or never, for you to help each other. You see
yourselves freed from battles and all their horrors of bloodshed.
The day hateful to Lamachus has come. (To TRYGAEUS) Come then, what
must be done? Give your orders, direct us, for or swear to work this
day without ceasing, until with the help of our levers and our engines
we have drawn back into light the greatest of all goddesses, her to
whom the olive is so dear.
TRYGAEUS
Silence! if War should hear your shouts of joy he would bound
forth from his retreat in fury.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Such a decree overwhelms us with joy; how different to the
edict, which bade us muster with provisions for three days.
TRYGAEUS
Let us beware lest the cursed Cerberus prevent us even from the
nethermost bell from delivering the goddess by his furious howling,
just as he did when on earth.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Once we have hold of her, none in the world will be able to take
her from us. Huzza! huzza!
TRYGAEUS
You will work my death if you don't subdue your shouts. War will
come running out and trample everything beneath his feet.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Well then! Let him confound, let him trample, let him overturn
everything! We cannot help giving vent to our joy.
TRYGAEUS
Oh! cruel fate! My friends! in the name of the gods, what
possesses you? Your dancing will wreck the success of a fine
undertaking.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
It's not I who want to dance; it's my legs that bound with
delight.
TRYGAEUS
Enough, please, cease your gambols.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
There! That's all.
TRYGAEUS
You say so, and nevertheless you go on.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Yet one more figure and it's done.
TRYGAEUS
Well, just this one; then you must dance no more.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
No, no more dancing, if we can help you.
TRYGAEUS
But look, you are not stopping even now.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
By Zeus, I am only throwing up my right leg, that's all.
TRYGAEUS
Come, I grant you that, but pray, annoy me no further.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Ah! the left leg too will have its fling; well, that's its
right. I am so happy, so delighted at not having to carry my buckler
any more. I fart for joy and I laugh more than if I had cast my old
age, as a serpent does its skin.
TRYGAEUS
No, it's not time for joy yet, for you are not sure of success.
But when you have got the goddess, then rejoice, shout and laugh;
thenceforward you will be able to sail or stay at home, to make love
or sleep, to attend festivals and processions, to play at cottabos,
live like true Sybarites and to shout, Io, io!
CHORUS (singing)
Ah! God grant we may see the blessed day. I have suffered so much;
have so oft slept with Phormio on hard beds. You will no longer find
me a bitter and angry judge....
TRYGAEUS (singing)
Nor, naturally, hard in your ways, as heretofore.
CHORUS (singing)
....but turned indulgent and grown younger by twenty years through
happiness. We have been killing ourselves long enough, tiring
ourselves out with going to the Lyceum and returning laden with
spear and buckler.-But what can we do to please you? Come, speak;
for 'tis a good Fate that has named you our LEADER.

 

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