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Aristophanes Index


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PLUTUS by Aristophanes, Part 12

WIFE
And did not the god come?
CARIO
He did not tarry; and when he was near us, oh! dear! such a good
joke happened. My belly was quite blown up, and I let a thunderous
fart!
WIFE
Doubtless the god pulled a wry face?
CARIO
No, but Iaso blushed a little and Panacea turned her head away,
holding her nose; my farts are not perfume.
WIFE
And what did the god do?
CARIO
He paid not the slightest heed.
WIFE
He must then be a pretty coarse kind of god?
CARIO
I don't say that, but he's used to tasting stools.
WIFE
Impudent knave, go on with you!
CARIO
Then I hid myself in my bed all a-tremble. Asclepius did the round
of the patients and examined them all with great attention; then a
slave placed beside him a stone mortar, a pestle and a little box.
WIFE
Of stone?
CARIO
No, not of stone.
WIFE
But how could you see all this, you arch-rascal, when you say
you were hiding all the time?
CARIO
Why, great gods, through my cloak, for it's not without holes!
He first prepared an ointment for Neoclides; he threw three heads of
Tenian garlic into the mortar, pounded them with an admixture of
fig-tree sap and lentisk, moistened the whole with Sphettian
vinegar, and, turning back the patient's eyelids, applied his salve to
the interior of the eyes, so that the pain might be more excruciating.
Neoclides shrieked, howled, sprang towards the foot of his bed and
wanted to bolt, but the god laughed and said to him, "Keep where you
are with your salve; by doing this you will not go and perjure
yourself before the Assembly."
WIFE
What a wise god and what a friend to our city
CARIO
Thereupon he came and seated himself at the head of Plutus' bed,
took a perfectly clean rag and wiped his eyelids; Panacea covered
his head and face with a purple cloth, while the god whistled, and two
enormous snakes came rushing from the sanctuary.
WIFE
Great gods!
CARIO
They slipped gently beneath the purple cloth and, as far as I
could judge, licked the patient's eyelids; for, in less time than even
you need, mistress, to drain down ten beakers of wine, Plutus rose up;
be could see. I clapped my hands with joy and awoke my master, and the
god immediately disappeared with the serpents into the sanctuary. As
for those who were lying near Plutus, you can imagine that they
embraced him tenderly. Dawn broke and not one of them had closed an
eye. As for myself, I did not cease thanking the god who had so
quickly restored to Plutus his sight and had made Neoclides blinder
than ever.
WIFE
Oh! thou great Asclepius! How mighty is thy power! (To CARIO)
But tell me, where is Plutus now?
CARIO
He is approaching, escorted by an immense crowd. The rich, whose
wealth is ill-gotten, are knitting their brows and shooting at him
looks of fierce hate, while the just folk, who led a wretched
existence, embrace him and grasp his hand in the transport of their
joy; they follow in his wake, their heads wreathed with garlands,
laughing and blessing their deliverer; the old men make the earth
resound as they walk together keeping time. Come, all of you, all,
down to the very least, dance, leap and form yourselves into a CHORUS;
no longer do you risk being told, when you go home. "There is no
meal in the bag."
WIFE
And I, by Hecate! I will string you a garland of cakes for the
good tidings you have brought me.
CARIO
Hurry, make haste then; our friends are close at hand.
WIFE
I will go indoors to fetch some gifts of welcome, to celebrate
these eyes that have just been opened.
(She goes back into the house.)
CARIO
Meantime I am going forth to meet them.
(Exit)

(Interlude of dancing by the CHORUS.)
PLUTUS
I adore thee, oh! thou divine sun, and thee I greet, thou city,
the beloved of Pallas: be welcome, thou land of Cecrops, which hast
received me. Alas! what manner of men I associated with! I blush to
think of it. While, on the other hand, I shunned those who deserved my
friendship; I knew neither the vices of the ones nor the virtues of
the others. A two-fold mistake, and in both cases equally fatal! Ah!
what a misfortune was mine! But I want to change everything; and in
the future I mean to prove to mankind that, if I gave to the wicked,
it was against my will.

 

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