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THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 02

EURIPIDES
And yet you have made love to him. Well, it must have been without
knowing who he was. (The door of AGATHON'S house opens.) Ah! let us
step aside; here is one of his slaves bringing a brazier and some
myrtle branches; no doubt he is going to offer a sacrifice and pray
for a happy poetical inspiration for Agathon.
SERVANT OF AGATHON (standing on the threshold; solemnly)
Silence! oh, people! keep your mouths sedately shut! The CHORUS of
the Muses is moulding songs at my master's hearth. Let the winds
hold their breath in the silent Aether! Let the azure waves cease
murmuring on the shore!....
MNESILOCHUS
Bombax.
EURIPIDES
Be still! I want to hear what he is saying.
SERVANT
....Take your rest, ye winged races, and you, ye savage
inhabitants of the woods, cease from your erratic wandering....
MNESILOCHUS (more loudly)
Bombalobombax.
SERVANT
....for Agathon, our master, the sweet-voiced poet, is going....
MNESILOCHUS
....to be made love to?
SERVANT
Whose voice is that?
MNESILOCHUS
It's the silent Aether.
SERVANT
....is going to construct the framework of a drama. He is rounding
fresh poetical forms, he is polishing them in the lathe and is welding
them; he is hammering out sentences and metaphors; he is working up
his subect like soft wax. First he models it and then he casts it in
bronze....
MNESILOCHUS
....and sways his buttocks amorously.
SERVANT
Who is the rustic that approaches this sacred enclosure?
MNESILOCHUS
Take care of yourself and of your sweet-voiced poet! I have a
strong tool here both well rounded and well polished, which will
pierce your enclosure and penetrate you.
SERVANT
Old man, you must have been a very insolent fellow in your youth!
EURIPIDES (to the SERVANT)
Let him be, friend, and, quick, go and call Agathon to me.
SERVANT
It's not worth the trouble, for he will soon be here himself. He
has started to compose, and in winter it is never possible to round
off strophes without coming to the sun to excite the imagination.
EURIPIDES
And what am I to do?
SERVANT
Wait till he gets here.
(He goes into the house.)
EURIPIDES
Oh, Zeus! what hast thou in store for me to-day?
MNESILOCHUS
Great gods, what is the matter now? What are you grumbling and
groaning for? Tell me; you must not conceal anything from your
father-in-law.
EURIPIDES
Some great misfortune is brewing against me.
MNESILOCHUS
What is it?
EURIPIDES
This day will decide whether it is all over with Euripides or not.
MNESILOCHUS
But how? Neither the tribunals nor the Senate are sitting, for
it is the third day of the Thesmophoria.
EURIPIDES
That is precisely what makes me tremble; the women have plotted my
ruin, and to-day they are to gather in the Temple of Demeter to
execute their decision.
MNESILOCHUS
What have they against you?
EURIPIDES
Because I mishandle them in my tragedies.
MNESILOCHUS
By Posidon, you would seem to have thoroughly deserved your
fate. But how are you going to get out of the mess?
EURIPIDES
I am going to beg Agathon, the tragic poet, to go to the
Thesmophoria.
MNESILOCHUS
And what is he to do there?
EURIPIDES
He would mingle with the women, and stand up for me, if needful.
MNESILOCHUS
Would be present or secretly?
EURIPIDES
Secretly, dressed in woman's clothes.
MNESILOCHUS
That's a clever notion, thoroughly worthy of you. The prize for
trickery is ours.
(The door of AGATHON'S house opens.)
EURIPIDES
Silence!
MNESILOCHUS
What's the matter?
EURIPIDES
Here comes Agathon.

 

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