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THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 10

FIRST WOMAN
To the front.
CLISTHENES (from in front)
No.
FIRST WOMAN (from behind)
Ah! it's behind now.
CLISTHENES
Why, friend, it's just like the Isthmus; you keep pulling your
stick backwards and forwards more often than the Corinthians do
their ships
FIRST WOMAN
Ah! the wretch! this is why he insulted us and defended Euripides.
MNESILOCHUS
Aye, wretch indeed, what troubles have I not got into now!
FIRST WOMAN
What shall we do?
CLISTHENES
Watch him closely, so that he does not escape. As for me, I'll
go to report the matter to the magistrates.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Let us kindle our lamps; let us go firmly to work and with
courage, let us take off our cloaks and search whether some other
man has not come here too; let us pass round the whole Pnyx, examine
the tents and the passages. Come, be quick, let us start off on a
light toe and rummage all round in silence. Let us hasten, let us
finish our round as soon as possible.
CHORUS (singing)
Look quickly for the traces that might show you a man hidden here,
let your glance fall on every side; look well to the right and to
the left. If we seize some impious fellow, woe to him! He will know
how we punish the outrage, the crime, the sacrilege. The criminal will
then acknowledge at last that gods exist; his fate will teach all
men that the deities must be revered, that justice must be observed
and that they must submit to the sacred laws. If not, then woe to
them! Heaven itself will punish sacrilege; being aflame with fury
and mad with frenzy, all their deeds will prove to mortals, both men
and women, that the deity punishes injustice and impiety, and that she
is not slow to strike.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
But I think I have now searched everywhere and that no other man
is hidden among us.
FIRST WOMAN
Where are you flying to? Stop! stop! Ah! miserable woman that I
am, he has torn my child from my breast and has disappeared with it.
MNESILOCHUS
Scream as loud as you will, but you'll never feed him again. If
you do not let me go this very instant, I am going to cut open the
veins of his thighs with this cutlass and his blood shall flow over
the altar.
FIRST WOMAN
Oh! great gods! oh! friends, help me! terrify him with your
shrieks, triumph over this monster, permit him not to rob me of my
only child.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Oh! oh! venerable Moirai, what fresh attack is this? It's the
crowning act of audacity and shamelessness! What has he done now,
friends, what has he done?
MNESILOCHUS
Ah! your insolence passes all bounds, but I know how to curb it!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
What a shameful deed! the measure of his iniquities is full!
FIRST WOMAN
Aye, it's shameful that he should have robbed me of my child.
CHORUS (singing)
It's past belief to be so criminal and so impudent!
MNESILOCHUS (singing)
Ah! you're not near THE END of it yet.
CHORUS (singing)
Little I care whence you come; you shall not return to boast of
having acted so odiously with impunity, for you shall be punished.
MNESILOCHUS (speaking)
You won't do it, by the gods!
CHORUS (singing)
And what immortal would protect you for your crime?
MNESILOCHUS (speaking)
You talk in vain! I shall not let go the child.
CHORUS (singing)
By the goddesses, you will not laugh presently over your crime and
your impious speech. For with impiety, as 'tis meet, shall we reply to
your impiety. Soon fortune will turn round and overwhelm you.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Come there, bring some firewood. Let's roast the wretch as quickly
as we can.
FIRST WOMAN
Bring faggots, Mania! (To MNESILOCHUS) You will be nothing but
charcoal soon.
MNESILOCHUS
Grill away, roast me, but you, my child, take off this Cretan robe
and blame no one but your mother for your death. But what does this
mean? The little girl is nothing but a skin filled with wine and
shod with Persian slippers. Oh! you wanton, you tippling women, who
think of nothing but wine; you are a fortune to the drinking-shops and
are our ruin; for the sake of drink, you neglect both your household
and your shuttle!
FIRST WOMAN
Faggots, Mania, plenty of them.
MNESILOCHUS
Bring as many as you like. But answer me; are you the mother of
this brat?

 

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Aristophanes Index

 

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