THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 13
"Your entreaties are vain. Never shall I wed your brother; never
shall I betray the faith I owe my husband, Menelaus, who is fighting
"What are you saying? Turn your face towards me."
"I dare not; my cheeks show the marks of the insults I have been
forced to suffer."
"Oh! great gods! I cannot speak, for very emotion.... Ah! what
do I see? Who are you?"
"And you, what is your name? for my surprise is as great as
"Are you Grecian or born in this country?"
"I am Grecian. But now your name, what is it?"
"Oh how you resemble Helen!
"And you Menelaus, if I can judge by these pot-herbs."
"You are not mistaken, 'tis none other than that unfortunate
mortal who stands before you."
"Ah! how you have delayed coming to your wife's arms! Press me
to your heart, throw your arms about me, for I wish to cover you
with kisses. Carry me away, carry me away, quick, quick, far, very far
By the goddesses, woe to him who would carry you away! I should
thrash him with my torch.
"Do you propose to prevent me from taking my wife, the daughter of
Tyndareus, to Sparta?"
You seem to me to be a cunning rascal too; you are in collusion
with this man, and it wasn't for nothing that you kept babbling
about Egypt. But the hour for punishment has come; here is the
Magistrate with his Scythian.
This is getting awkward. Let me hide myself.
And what is to become of me, poor unfortunate man that I am?
Don't worry. I shall never abandon you, as long as I draw breath
and one of my numberless artifices remains untried.
The fish has not bitten this time.
(A MAGISTRATE enters, accompanied by a Scythian policeman.)
Is this the rascal Clisthenes told us about? Why are you trying to
make yourself so small? Officer, arrest him, fasten him to the post,
then take up your position there and keep guard over him. Let none
approach him. A sound lash with your whip for him who attempts to
break the order.
Excellent, for just now a rogue almost took him from me.
Magistrate, in the name of that hand which you know so well how to
bend when money is placed in it, grant me a slight favour before I
Order the archer to strip me before lashing me to the post; the
crows, when they make their meal on the poor old man, would laugh
too much at this robe and head-dress,
It is in that gear that you must be exposed by order of the
Senate, so that your crime may be patent to the passers-by.
MNESILOCHUS (as the SCYTHIAN seizes him)
Oh! cursed robe, the cause of all my misfortune! My last hope is
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Let us now devote ourselves to the sports which the women are
accustomed to celebrate here, when time has again brought round the
mighty Mysteries of the great goddesses, the sacred days which
Pauson himself honours by fasting and would wish feast to succeed
feast, that he might keep them all holy. Spring forward with a light
step, whirling in mazy circles; let your hands interlace, let the
eager and rapid dancers sway to the music and glance on every side
as they move.
Let the CHORUS sing likewise and praise the Olympian gods in their
pious transport. It's wrong to suppose that, because I am a woman
and in this temple, I am going to speak ill of men; but since we
want something fresh, we are going through the rhythmic steps of the
round dance for the first time.
Start off while you sing to the god of the lyre and to the
chaste goddess armed with the bow. Hail I thou god who flingest thy
darts so far, grant us the victory! The homage of our song is also due
to Here, the goddess of marriage, who interests herself in every
CHORUS and guards the approach to the nuptial couch. I also pray
Hermes, the god of the shepherds, and Pan and the beloved Graces to
bestow a benevolent smile upon our songs.
Let us lead off anew, let us double our zeal during our solemn
days, and especially let us observe a close fast; let us form fresh
measures that keep good time, and may our songs resound to the very
heavens. Do thou, oh divine Bacchus, who art crowned with ivy,
direct our CHORUS; 'tis to thee that both my hymns and my dances are
dedicated; oh, Evius, oh, Bromius, oh, thou son of Semeld, oh,
Bacchus, who delightest to mingle with the dear CHORUSes of the nymphs
upon the mountains, and who repeatest, while dancing with them, the
sacred hymn, Euios, Euios, Euoi! Echo, the nymph of Cithaeron, returns
thy words, which resound beneath the dark vaults of the thick
foliage and in the midst of the rocks of the forest; the ivy enlaces
thy brow with its tendrils charged with flowers.