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THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 12

MNESILOCHUS
I have contracted quite a squint by looking round for him, and yet
Euripides does not come. Who is keeping him? No doubt he is ashamed of
his cold Palamedes. What will attract him? Let us see! By which of his
pieces does he set most store? Ah! I'll imitate his Helen, his
last-born. I just happen to have a complete woman's outfit.
SECOND WOMAN
What are you ruminating about now? Why are you rolling up your
eyes? You'll have no reason to be proud of your Helen, if you don't
keep quiet until one of the Magistrates arrives.
MNESILOCHUS (as Helen)
"These shores are those of the Nile with the beautiful nymphs,
these waters take the place of heaven's rain and fertilize the white
earth, that produces the black syrmea."
SECOND WOMAN
By bright Hecate, you're a cunning varlet.
MNESILOCHUS
"Glorious Sparta is my country and Tyndareus is my father."
SECOND WOMAN
He your father, you rascal! Why, it's Phrynondas.
MNESILOCHUS
"I was given the name of Helen."
SECOND WOMAN
What! you are again becoming a woman, before we have punished
you for having pretended it the first time?
MNESILOCHUS
"A thousand warriors have died on my account on the banks of the
Scamander."
SECOND WOMAN
Would that you had done the same!
MNESILOCHUS
"And here I am upon these shores; Menelaus, my unhappy husband,
does not yet come. Ah! Why do I still live?"
SECOND WOMAN
Because of the criminal negligence of the crows!
MNESILOCHUS
"But what sweet hope is this that sets my heart a-throb? Oh, Zeus!
grant it may not prove a lying one!"
(EURIPIDES enters.)
EURIPIDES (as Menelaus)
"To what master does this splendid palace belong? Will he
welcome strangers who have been tried on the billows of the sea by
storm and shipwreck?"
MNESILOCHUS
"This is the palace of Proteus."
SECOND WOMAN
Of what Proteus? you thrice cursed rascal! how he lies! By the
goddesses, it's ten years since Proteas died.
EURIPIDES
"What is this shore whither the wind has driven our boat?"
MNESILOCHUS
"'Tis Egypt."
EURIPIDES
"Alas! how far we are from own country!
SECOND WOMAN
Don't believe that cursed fool. This is Demeter's Temple.
EURIPIDES
"Is Proteus in these parts?"
SECOND WOMAN
Ah, now, stranger, it must be sea-sickness that makes you so
distraught! You have been told that Proteas is dead, and yet you ask
if he is in these parts.
EURIPIDES
"He is no more! Oh! woe! where lie his ashes?"
MNESILOCHUS
"'Tis on his tomb you see me sitting."
SECOND WOMAN
You call an altar a tomb! Beware of the rope!
EURIPIDES
"And why remain sitting on this tomb, wrapped in this long veil,
oh, stranger lady?"
MNESILOCHUS
"They want to force me to marry a son of Proteus."
SECOND WOMAN
Ah! wretch, why tell such shameful lies? Stranger, this is a
rascal who has slipped in amongst us women to rob us of our trinkets.
MNESILOCHUS (to SECOND WOMAN)
"Shout! load me with your insults, for little care I."
EURIPIDES
"Who is the old woman who reviles you, stranger lady?
MNESILOCHUS
"'Tis Theonoe, the daughter of Proteus."
SECOND WOMAN
I! Why, my name's Critylle, the daughter of Antitheus, of the deme
of Gargettus; as for you, you are a rogue.

 

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