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Aristophanes Index


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PLUTUS by Aristophanes, Part 11

CHREMYLUS
So that hussy has gone at last! But let us make haste to put
Plutus to bed in the Temple of Asclepius.
BLEPSIDEMUS
Let us make haste; else some bothering fellow may again come to
interrupt us.
CREMYLUS (loudly)
Cario, bring the coverlets and all that I have got ready from
the house; let us conduct the god to the temple, taking care to
observe all the proper rites.

(CARIO comes out of the house with a
bundle under one arm and leading PLUTUS with the other.
CHREMYLUS and BLEPSIDEMUS join him and all four of them depart.)

(Interlude of dancing by the CHORUS.)
CARIO
Oh! you old fellows, who used to dip out the broth served to the
poor at the festival of Theseus with little pieces of bread hollowed
like a spoon, how worthy of envy is your fate! How happy you are, both
you and all just men!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
My good fellow, what has happened to your friends? You seem the
bearer of good tidings.
CARIO
What joy-for my master and even more for Plutus! The god has
regained his sight; his eyes sparkle with the greatest brilliancy,
thanks to the benevolent care of Asclepius.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Oh! what transports of joy! oh! what shouts of gladness!
CARIO
Aye! one is compelled to rejoice, whether one will or not.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
I will sing to the honour of Asclepius, the son of illustrious
Zeus, with a resounding voice; he is the beneficent star which men
adore.
CHREMYLUS' WIFE (coming out of the house)
What mean these shouts? Is there good news? With what impatience
have I been waiting in the house, and for so long too!
CARIO
Quick! quick, some wine, mistress. And drink some yourself,
(aside) it's much to your taste. I bring you all blessings in a lump.
WIFE
Where are they?
CARIO
In my words, as you are going to see.
WIFE
Have done with trifling! come, speak.
CARIO
Listen, I am going to tell you everything from the feet to the
head.
WIFE
Oh! don't throw anything at my head.
CARIO
Not even the happiness that has come to you?
WIFE
No, no, nothing ... to annoy me.
CARIO
Having arrived near to the temple with our patient, then so
unfortunate, but now at the apex of happiness, of blessedness, we
first led him down to the sea to purify him.
WIFE
Ah! what a singular pleasure for an old man to bathe in the cold
seawater!
CARIO (in the manner of the tragic messenger)
Then we repaired to the temple of the god. Once the wafers and the
various offerings had been consecrated upon the altar, and the cake of
wheaten-meal had been banded over to the devouring Hephaestus, we made
Plutus lie on a couch according to the rite, and each of us prepared
himself a bed of leaves.
WIFE
Had any other folk come to beseech the deity?
CARIO
Yes. Firstly, Neoclides, who is blind, but steals much better than
those who see clearly; then many others attacked by complaints of
all kinds. The lights were put out and the priest enjoined us to
sleep, especially recommending us to keep silent should we hear any
noise. There we were all lying down quite quietly. I could not
sleep; I was thinking of a certain stew-pan full of pap placed close
to an old woman and just behind her head. I had a furious longing to
slip towards that side. But just as I was lifting my head, I noticed
the priest, who was sweeping off both the cakes and the figs on the
sacred table; then he made the round of the altars and sanctified
the cakes that remained, by stowing them away in a bag. I therefore
resolved to follow such a pious example and made straight for the pap.
WIFE
You rogue! and had you no fear of the god?
CARIO
Aye, indeed! I feared that the god with his crown on his head
might have been near the stew-pan before me. I said to myself, "Like
priest, like god." On hearing the noise I made the old woman put out
her hand, but I hissed and bit it, just as a sacred serpent might have
done. Quick she drew back her hand, slipped down into the bed with her
head beneath the coverlets and never moved again; only she let flee
a fart in her fear which stank worse than a weasel. As for myself, I
swallowed a goodly portion of the pap and, having made a good feed,
went back to bed.

 

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