PEACE by Aristophanes, Part 17
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
...than in watching a damned lieutenant with three plumes and
military cloak of crimson, very livid indeed; he calls it the real
Sardian purple, but if he ever has to fight in this cloak he'll dye it
another colour, the real Cyzicene yellow, he the first to run away,
shaking his plumes like a buff hippalectryon, and I am left to do
the real work. Once back again in Athens, these brave fellows behave
abominably; they write down these, they scratch through others, and
this backwards and forwards two or three times at random. The
departure is set for to-morrow, and some citizen has brought no
provisions, because he didn't know he had to go; he stops in front
of the statue of Pandion, reads his name, is dumbfounded and starts
away at a run, weeping bitter tears. The townsfolk are less
ill-used, but that is how the husbandmen are treated by these men of
war, the hated of the gods and of men, who know nothing but how to
throw away their shield. For this reason, if it please heaven, I
propose to call these rascals to account, for they are lions in
times of peace, but sneaking foxes when it comes to fighting.
TRYGAEUS (coming out of his house, followed by the SERVANT)
Oh! oh! what a crowd for the nuptial feast! Here! dust the
tables with this crest, which is good for nothing else now. Halloa!
produce the cakes, the thrushes, plenty of good jugged hare and the
(A SICKLE-MAKER enters with a comrade; one carries sickles, the
Trygaeus, where is Trygaeus?
I am cooking the thrushes.
Trygaeus, my best of friends, what a fine stroke of business you
have done for me by bringing back Peace! Formerly my sickles would not
have sold at an obolus apiece, to-day I am being paid fifty drachmae
for every one. And here is a neighbour who is selling his casks for
the country at three drachmae each. So come, Trygaeus, take as many
sickles and casks as you will for nothing. Accept them for nothing;
it's because of our handsome profits on our sales that we offer you
these wedding presents.
Thanks. Put them all down inside there, and come along quick to
the banquet. Ah! do you see that armourer yonder coming with a wry
(Enter an armourer, followed by other personages who represent the
various specialized trades which have profited by the war, a
crest-maker, a manufacturer of breastplates, a trumpet-maker, a
helmet-maker, a polisher of lances; each carries a sample of his
products. The armourer is the only one who speaks.)
Alas! alas! Trygaeus, you have ruined me utterly.
What! won't the crests go any more, friend?
You have killed my business, my livelihood, and that of this
poor lance maker too.
Come, come, what are you asking for these two crests?
What do you bid for them?
What do I bid? Oh! I am ashamed to say. Still, as the clasp is
of good workmanship, I would give two, even three measures of dried
figs; I could use them for dusting the table.
All right, tell them to bring me the dried figs. (To the
crest-maker) That's better than nothing, my friend.
Take them away, be off with your crests and get you gone; they are
moulting, they are losing all their hair; I would not give a single
fig for them.
Good gods, what am I going to do with this fine ten-mina
breastplate, which is so splendidly made?
Oh, you will lose nothing over it. Sell it to me at cost price. It
would be very useful as a thunder-mug...
Cease your insults, both to me and my wares.
...if propped on three stones. (He sits on it.) Look, it's
But how can you wipe yourself, idiot?
TRYGAEUS (with appropriate gestures)
I can put one hand through here, and the other there, and so...
What! do you wipe yourself with both hands?
Aye, so that I may not be accused of robbing the State, by
blocking up an oar-hole in the galley.
Would you crap in a thunder-mug that cost ten minae?
Undoubtedly, you rascal. Do you think I would sell my arse for a
Come, have the money paid over to me.
No, friend; I find it pinches my bottom. Take it away, I won't buy
What is to be done with this trumpet, for which I gave sixty
drachmae the other day?