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PLUTUS by Aristophanes, Part 16

OLD WOMAN
Then I will summon someone in the house.
CHREMYLUS
No need. I am here myself. But what brings you here?
OLD WOMAN
Ah! a cruel, unjust fate! My dear friend, this god has made life
unbearable to me through ceasing to be blind.
CHREMYLUS
What does this mean? Can you be a female informer?
OLD WOMAN
Most certainly not.
CHREMYLUS
Have you drunk up your money then?
OLD WOMAN
You are mocking me! No! I am being devoured with a consuming fire.
CHREMYLUS
Then tell me what is consuming you so fiercely.
OLD WOMAN
Listen! I loved a young man, who was poor, but so handsome, so
well-built, so honest! He readily gave way to all I desired and
acquitted himself so well! I, for my part, refused him nothing.
CHREMYLUS
And what did he generally ask of you?
OLD WOMAN
Very little; he bore himself towards me with astonishing
discretion! perchance twenty drachmae for a cloak or eight for
footwear; sometimes he begged me to buy tunics for his sisters or a
little mantle for his mother: at times he needed four bushels of corn.
CHREMYLUS
That's very little, in truth; I admire his modesty.
OLD WOMAN
And it wasn't as a reward for his complacency that he ever asked
me for anything, but as a matter of pure friendship; a cloak I had
given would remind him from whom he had got it.
CHREMYLUS
It was a fellow who loved you madly.
OLD WOMAN
But it's no longer so, for the faithless wretch has sadly altered!
I had sent him this cake with the sweetmeats you see here on this dish
and let him know that I would visit him in the evening...
CHREMYLUS
Well?
OLD WOMAN
He sent me back my presents and added this tart to them, on
condition that I never set foot in his house again. Besides, he sent
me this message, "Once upon a time the Milesians were brave."
CHREMYLUS
An honest lad, indeed What do you expect? When poor, he would
devour anything; now he is rich, he no longer cares for lentils.
OLD WOMAN
Formerly he came to me every day.
CHREMYLUS
To see if you were being buried?
OLD WOMAN
No! he longed to hear the sound of my voice.
CHREMYLUS (aside)
And to carry off some present.
OLD WOMAN
If I was downcast, he would call me his little duck or his
little dove in a most tender manner...
CHREMYLUS (aside)
And then would ask for the money to buy a pair of sandals.
OLD WOMAN
When I was at the Mysteries of Eleusis in a carriage, someone made
eyes at me; he was so jealous that he beat me the whole of that day.
CHREMYLUS (aside)
That was because he liked to feed alone.
OLD WOMAN
He told me I had very beautiful hands.
CHREMYLUS (aside)
Aye, no doubt, when they handed him twenty drachmae.
OLD WOMAN
That my whole body breathed a sweet perfume.
CHREMYLUS (aside)
Yes, like enough, if you poured him out Thasian wine.
OLD WOMAN
That my glance was gentle and charming.
CHREMYLUS (aside)
He was no fool. He knew how to drag drachmae from a sex-starved
old woman.
OLD WOMAN
Ah! the god has done very, very wrong, saying he would support the
victims of injustice.
CHREMYLUS
Well, what should he do? Speak, and it shall be done.
OLD WOMAN
Compel him, whom I have loaded with benefits, to repay them in his
turn; if not, he does not merit the least of the god's favours.
CHREMYLUS
And did he not do this every night?
OLD WOMAN
He swore he would never leave me, as long as I lived.
CHREMYLUS
Aye, right but he thinks you are no longer alive.
OLD WOMAN
Ah! friend, I am pining away with grief.
CHREMYLUS (aside)
You are rotting away, it seems to me.

 

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