PEACE by Aristophanes, Part 16
What oracle ordered you to burn these joints of mutton in honour
of the gods?
This grand oracle of Homer's: "Thus vanished the dark war-clouds
and we offered a sacrifice to new-born Peace. When the flame had
consumed the thighs of the victim and its inwards had appeased our
hunger, we poured out the libations of wine." 'Twas I who arranged the
sacred rites, but none offered the shining cup to the diviner.
I care little for that. 'Tis not the Sibyl who spoke it.
Wise Homer has also said: "He who delights in the horrors of civil
war has neither country nor laws nor home." What noble words!
Beware lest the kite turn your brain and rob....
TRYGAEUS (to the SERVANT Who has returned with the libations) Look
out, slave! This oracle threatens our meat. Quick, pour the
libation, and give me some of the inwards.
I too will help myself to a bit, if you like.
The libation! the libation!
HIEROCLES (to the SERVANT)
Pour out also for me and give me some of this meat.
No, the blessed gods won't allow it yet; let us drink: and as
for you, get you gone, for that's their will. Mighty Peace! stay
ever in our midst.
Bring the tongue hither.
Relieve us of your own.
Here! and this into the bargain. (He strikes him.)
You will not give me any meat?
We cannot give you any until the wolf unites with the sheep.
I will embrace your knees.
'Tis lost labour, good fellow; you will never smooth the rough
spikes of the hedgehog....Come, spectators, join us in our feast.
And what am I to do?
You? go and eat the Sibyl.
No, by the Earth! no, you shall not eat without me; if you do
not give, I shall take; it's common property.
TRYGAEUS (to the SERVANT)
Strike, strike this Bacis, this humbugging soothsayer.
I take to witness....
And I also, that you are a glutton and an impostor. (To the
SERVANT) Hold him tight and I'll beat the impostor with a stick.
You look to that; I will snatch the skin from him which he has
stolen from us.
Let go that skin, you priest from hell! do you hear! Oh! what a
fine crow has come from Oreus! Stretch your wings quickly for
(HIEROCLES flees. TRYGAEUS and the SERVANT go into the house.)
Oh! joy, joy! no more helmet, no more cheese nor onions! No, I
have no passion for battles; what I love is to drink with good
comrades in the corner by the fire when good dry wood, cut in the
height of the summer, is crackling; it is to cook pease on the coals
and beechnuts among the embers, it is to kiss our pretty Thracian
while my wife is at the bath.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Nothing is more pleasing, when the rain is sprouting our
sowings, than to chat with some friend, saying, "Tell me, Comarchides,
what shall we do? I would willingly drink myself, while the heavens
are watering our fields. Come, wife, cook three measures of beans,
adding to them a little wheat, and give us some figs. Syra! call Manes
off the fields, it's impossible to prune the vine or to align the
ridges, for the ground is too wet to-day. Let someone bring me the
thrush and those two chaffinches; there were also some curds and
four pieces of hare, unless the cat stole them last evening, for I
know not what the infernal noise was that I heard in the house.
Serve up three of the pieces for me, slave, and give the fourth to
my father. Go and ask Aeschinades for some myrtle branches with
berries on them, and then, for it's on the same road, invite
Charinades to come and drink with me to the honour of the gods who
watch over our crops."
When the grasshopper sings his dulcet tune, I love to see the
Lemnian vines beginning to ripen, the earliest plant of all.
Likewise I love to watch the fig filling out, and when it has
reached maturity I eat it with appreciation, exclaiming, "Oh!
delightful season!" Then too I bruise some thyme and infuse it in
water. Indeed I grow a great deal fatter passing the summer in this