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THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 14

SCYTHIAN (he speaks with a heavy foreign accent)
You shall stay here in the open air to wail.
MNESILOCHUS
Archer, I adjure you.
SCYTHIAN
You're wasting your breath.
MNESILOCHUS
Loosen the wedge a little.
SCYTHIAN
Aye, certainly.
MNESILOCHUS
Oh by the gods! why, you are driving it in tighter.
SCYTHIAN
Is that enough?
MNESILOCHUS
Oh! Oh! Ow! Ow! May the plague take you!
SCYTHIAN
Silence! you cursed old wretch! I am going to get a mat to lie
upon, so as to watch you close at hand at my ease.
MNESILOCHUS
Ah! what exquisite pleasures Euripides is securing for me! But,
oh, ye gods! oh, Zeus the Deliverer, all is not yet lost! I don't
believe him the man to break his word; I just caught sight of him
appearing in the form of Perseus, and he told me with a mysterious
sign to turn myself into Andromeda. And in truth am I not really
bound? It's certain, then, that be is coming to my rescue; for
otherwise he would not have steered his flight this way.
(As Andromeda, singing)
Oh Nymphs, ye virgins who are so dear to me, how am I to
approach him? how can I escape the sight of this Scythian? And Echo,
thou who reignest in the inmost recesses of the caves, oh! favour my
cause and permit me to approach my spouse. A pitiless ruffian has
chained up the most unfortunate of mortal maids. Alas! I bad barely
escaped the filthy claws of an old fury, when another mischance
overtook me! This Scythian does not take his eye off me and he has
exposed me as food for the crows. Alas! what is to become of me, alone
here and without friends! I am not seen mingling in the dances nor
in the games of my companions, but heavily loaded with fetters I am
given over to the voracity of a Glaucetes. Sing no bridal hymn for me,
oh women, but rather the hymn of captivity, and in tears. Ah! how I
suffer! great gods! how I suffer! Alas! alas! and through my own
relatives too! My misery would make Tartarus dissolve into tears!
Alas! in my terrible distress, I implore the mortal who first shaved
me and depilated me, then dressed me in this long robe, and then
sent me to this Temple into the midst of the women, to save me. Oh!
thou pitiless Fate! I am then accursed, great gods! Ah! who would
not be moved at the sight of the appalling tortures under which I
succumb? Would that the blazing shaft of the lightning would
wither.... this barbarian for me! The immortal light has no further
charm for my eyes since I have been descending the shortest path to
the dead, tied up, strangled, and maddened with pain.
(In the following scene EURIPIDES, from off stage, impersonates
Echo.)
EURIPIDES
Hail! beloved girl. As for your father, Cepheus, who has exposed
you in this guise, may the gods annihilate him.
MNESILOCHUS
And who are you whom my misfortunes have moved to pity?
EURIPIDES
I am Echo, the nymph who repeats all she hears. It was I, who last
year lent my help to Euripides in this very place. But, my child, give
yourself up to the sad laments that belong to your pitiful condition.
MNESILOCHUS
And you will repeat them?
EURIPIDES
I will not fail you. Begin.
MNESILOCHUS (singing)
"Oh! thou divine Night! how slowly thy chariot threads its way
through the starry vault, across the sacred realms of the Air and
mighty Olympus."
EURIPIDES (singing)
Mighty Olympus.
MNESILOCHUS (singing)
"Why is it necessary that Andromeda should have all the woes for
her share?
EURIPIDES (singing)
For her share.
MNESILOCHUS (speaking)
"Sad death!
EURIPIDES
Sad death!
MNESILOCHUS
You weary me, old babbler.
EURIPIDES
Old babbler.
MNESILOCHUS
Oh! you are too unbearable.
EURIPIDES
Unbearable.
MNESILOCHUS
Friend, let me talk by myself. Do please let me. Come, that's
enough.

 

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