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PEACE by Aristophanes, Part 14

TRYGAEUS (to the SERVANT who has returned with a sheep and a vase
of water)
Come, seize the basket and take the lustral water and hurry to
circle round the altar to the right.
There! that's done. What is your next bidding?
Wait. I take this fire-brand first and plunge it into the water.
Now quick, quick, you sprinkle the altar. Give me some barley-seed,
purify yourself and hand me the basin; then scatter the rest of the
barley among the audience.
You have thrown it?
Yes, by Hermes! and all the spectators have had their share.
At least the women got none.
Oh! their husbands will give them some this evening.
Let us pray! Who is here? Are there any good men?
Come, give me the water, so that I may sprinkle these people.
Faith! they are indeed good, brave men.
(He throws the lustral water on hem.)
You believe so?
I am sure, and the proof of it is that we have flooded them with
lustral water and they have not budged an inch.
Let us pray, then, as soon as we can.
Yes, let us pray.
Oh! Peace, mighty queen, venerated goddess, thou, who presidest
over CHORUSes and at nuptials, deign to accept the sacrifices we offer
Receive it, greatly honoured mistress, and behave not like the
courtesans, who half open the door to entice the gallants, draw back
when they are stared at, to return once more if a man passes on. But
do not thou act like this to us.
No, but like an honest woman, show thyself to thy worshippers, who
are worn with regretting thee all these thirteen years. Hush the noise
of battle, be a true Lysimacha to us. Put an end to this
tittle-tattle, to this idle babble, that set us defying one another.
Cause the Greeks once more to taste the pleasant beverage of
friendship and temper all hearts with the gentle feeling of
forgiveness. Make excellent commodities flow to our markets, fine
heads of garlic, early cucumbers, apples, pomegranates and nice little
cloaks for the slaves; make them bring geese, ducks, pigeons and larks
from Boeotia and baskets of eels from Lake Copais; we shall all rush
to buy them, disputing their possession with Morychus, Teleas,
Glaucetes and every other glutton. Melanthius will arrive on the
market last of all; they'll say, "no more eels, all sold!" and then
he'll start groaning and exclaiming as in his monologue of Medea, "I
am dying, I am dying! Alas! I have let those hidden in the beet escape
me!" And won't we laugh? These are the wishes, mighty goddess, which
we pray thee to grant. (To the SERVANT) Take the knife and slaughter
the sheep like a finished cook.
No, the goddess does not wish it.
And why not?
Blood cannot please Peace, so let us spill none upon her altar.
Then go and sacrifice the sheep in the house, cut off the legs and
bring them here; thus the carcase will be saved for the Choregus.
(The SERVANT goes into the house with the sheep.)
CHORUS (singing)
You, who remain here, get chopped wood and everything needed for
the sacrifice ready.
Don't I look like a diviner preparing his mystic fire?
CHORUS (singing)
Undoubtedly. Will anything that a wise man ought to know escape
you? Don't you know all that a man should know, who is distinguished
for his wisdom and inventive daring?
There! the wood catches. Its smoke blinds poor Stilbides. I am now
going to bring the table and thus be my own slave.
(He goes into the house.)
CHORUS (singing)
You have braved a thousand dangers to save your sacred town. All
honour to you I your glory will be ever envied.
TRYGAEUS (returning with a table)
Wait. Here are the legs, place them upon the altar. For myself,
I mean to go back to the entrails and the cakes.
(He is about to go into the house.)
SERVANT (going in ahead of him)
I'll take care of them.
But I want you here.
SERVANT (returning)
Well then, here I am. Do you think I have taken long?
Just get this roasted. Ab who is this man, crowned with laurel,
who is coming to me?


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