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THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 01

410 BC
THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE
by Aristophanes
anonymous translator
CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY
EURIPIDES
MNESILOCHUS, Father-in-law of Euripides
AGATHON
SERVANT OF AGATHON
HeraLD
WOMEN
CLISTHENES
A MAGISTRATE
A SCYTHIAN POLICEMAN
CHORUS OF THESMOPHORIAZUSAE-Women
celebrating the THESMOPHORIA
(SCENE:-Behind the orchestra are two buildings, one the house of
the poet AGATHON, the other the Thesmophorion. EURIPIDES enters
from the right, at a rapid pace, with an air of searching for
something; his father-in-law MNESILOCHUS, who is extremely aged,
follows him as best he can, with an obviously painful expenditure
of effort.)

MNESILOCHUS
Great Zeus! will the swallow never appear to end the winter of
my discontent? Why the fellow has kept me on the run ever since
early this morning; he wants to kill me, that's certain. Before I lose
my spleen antirely, Euripides, can you at least tell me where you
are leading me?
EURIPIDES
What need for you to hear what you are going to see?
MNESILOCHUS
How is that? Repeat it. No need for me to hear....
EURIPIDES
What you are going to see.
MNESILOCHUS
Nor consequently to see....
EURIPIDES
What you have to hear.
MNESILOCHUS
What is this wiseacre stuff you are telling me? I must neither see
nor hear?
EURIPIDES
Ah! but you have two things there that are essentially distinct.
MNESILOCHUS
Seeing and hearing?
EURIPIDES
Undoubtedly.
MNESILOCHUS
In what way distinct?
EURIPIDES
In this way. Formerly, when Aether separated the elements and bore
the animals that were moving in her bosom, she wished to endow them
with sight, and so made the eye round like the sun's disc and bored
ears in the form of a funnel.
MNESILOCHUS
And because of this funnel I neither see nor hear. Ah! great gods!
I am delighted to know it. What a fine thing it is to talk with wise
men!
EURIPIDES
I will teach you many another thing of the sort.
MNESILOCHUS
That's well to know; but first of all I should like to find out
how to grow lame, so that I need not have to follow you all about.
EURIPIDES
Come, hear and give heed!
MNESILOCHUS
I'm here and waiting.
EURIPIDES
Do you see that little door?
MNESILOCHUS
Yes, certainly.
EURIPIDES
Silence!
MNESILOCHUS
Silence about what? About the door?
EURIPIDES
Pay attention!
MNESILOCHUS
Pay attention and be silent about the door? Very well.
EURIPIDES
That is where Agathon, the celebrated tragic poet, dwells.
MNESILOCHUS
Who is this Agathon?
EURIPIDES
He's a certain Agathon....
MNESILOCHUS
Swarthy, robust of build?
EURIPIDES
No, another.
MNESILOCHUS
I have never seen him. He has a big beard?
EURIPIDES
Have you never seen him?
MNESILOCHUS
Never, so far as I know.

 

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