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THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 16

SCYTHIAN (lifting up MNESILOCHUS' robe)
But look at his tool; it's pretty big.
EURIPIDES
Give me your hand, that I may descend near this young maiden. Each
man has his own particular weakness; as for me I am aflame with love
for this virgin.
SCYTHIAN
Oh! I'm not jealous; and as he has his arse turned this way,
why, I don't care if you make love to him.
EURIPIDES
"Ah! let me release her, and hasten to join her on the bridal
couch."
SCYTHIAN
If you are so eager to make the old man, you can bore through
the plank, and so get at him.
EURIPIDES
No, I will break his bonds.
SCYTHIAN
Beware of my lash!
EURIPIDES
No matter.
SCYTHIAN
This blade shall cut off your head.
EURIPIDES
"Ah! what can be done? what arguments can I use? This savage
will understand nothing! The newest and most cunning fancies are a
dead letter to the ignorant. Let us invent some artifice to fit in
with his coarse nature."
(He departs.)
SCYTHIAN
I can see the rascal is trying to outwit me.
MNESILOCHUS
Ah! Perseus! remember in what condition you are leaving me.
SCYTHIAN
Are you wanting to feel my lash again!
CHORUS (singing)
Oh! Pallas, who art fond of dances, hasten hither at my call.
Oh! thou chaste virgin, the protectress of Athens, I call thee in
accordance with the sacred rites, thee, whose evident protection we
adore and who keepest the keys of our city in thy hands. Do thou
appear, thou whose just hatred has overturned our tyrants. The
womenfolk are calling thee; hasten hither at their bidding along
with Peace, who shall restore the festivals. And ye, august goddesses,
display a smiling and propitious countenance to our gaze; come into
your sacred grove, the entry to which is forbidden to men; 'tis
there in the midst of the sacred orgies that we contemplate your
divine features. Come, appear, we pray it of you, oh, venerable
Thesmophorae! Is you have ever answered our appeal, oh! come into
our midst.
(During this ode the SCYTHIAN falls asleep. At THE END of it
EURIPIDES returns, thinly disguised as an old procuress; the
CHORUS recognizes him, the SCYTHIAN does not; he carries a harp,
and is followed by a dancing girl and a young flute-girl.)
EURIPIDES
Women, if you will be reconciled with me, I am willing, and I
undertake never to say anything ill of you in future. Those are my
proposals for peace.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And what impels you to make these overtures?
EURIPIDES (to the CHORUS)
This unfortunate man, who is chained to the post, is my
father-in-law; if you will restore him to me, you will have no more
cause to complain of me; but if not, I shall reveal your pranks to
your husbands when they return from the war.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
We accept peace, but there is this barbarian whom you must buy
over.
EURIPIDES
I'll take care of that. Come, my little wench, bear in mind what I
told you on the road and do it well. Come, go past him and gird up
your robe. And you, you little dear, play us the air of a Persian
dance.
SCYTHIAN (waking)
What is this music that makes me so blithe?
EURIPIDES
Scythian, this young girl is going to practise some dances,
which she has to perform at a feast presently.
SCYTHIAN
Very well! let her dance and practise; I won't hinder her. How
nimbly she bounds! just like a flea on a fleece.
EURIPIDES
Come, my dear, off with your robe and seat yourself on the
Scythian's knee; stretch forth your feet to me, that I may take off
your slippers.
SCYTHIAN
Ah! yes, seat yourself, my little girl, ah! yes, to be sure.
What a firm little titty! it's just like a turnip.
EURIPIDES (to the flute-girl)
An air on the flute, quick! Are you afraid of the Scythian?
SCYTHIAN
What a nice arse! Hold still, won't you? A nice twat, too.
EURIPIDES
That's so! (To the dancing girl) Resume your dress, it is time
to be going.
SCYTHIAN
Give me a kiss.
EURIPIDES
Come, give him a kiss.
SCYTHIAN
Oh! oh! oh! my god, what soft lips! like Attic honey. But might
she not stay with me?
EURIPIDES
Impossible, officer; good evening.
SCYTHIAN
Oh! oh! old woman, do me this pleasure.
EURIPIDES
Will you give a drachma?
SCYTHIAN
Aye, that I will.
EURIPIDES
Hand over the money.
SCYTHIAN
I have not got it, but take my quiver in pledge. I'll bring her
back. (To the dancing girl) Follow me, my fine young wench. Old woman,
you keep an eye on this man. But what's your name?
EURIPIDES
Artemisia.
SCYTHIAN
I'll remember it, Artemuxia.
(He takes the dancing girl away.)
EURIPIDES (aside)
Hermes, god of cunning, receive my thanks! everything is turning
out for the best. (To the flute-girl) As for you, friend, go along
with them. Now let me loose his bonds. (To MNESILOCHUS) And you,
directly I have released you, take to your legs and run off full
tilt to your home to find your wife and children.
MNESILOCHUS
I shall not fail in that as soon as I am free.
EURIPIDES (releasing MNESILOCHUS)
There! It's done. Come, fly, before the Scythian lays his hand
on you again.
MNESILOCHUS
That's just what I am doing.
(Both depart in haste.)
SCYTHIAN (returning)
Ah! old woman! what a charming little girl! Not at all a prude,
and so obliging! Eh! where is the old woman? Ah! I am undone! And
the old man, where is he? Hi, old woman, old woman Ah! Ah! but this is
a dirty trick! Artemuxia! she has tricked me, that's what the little
old woman has done! Get clean out of my sight, you cursed quiver!
(Picks it up and throws it across the stage.) Ha! you are well named
quiver, for you have made me quiver indeed. Oh! what's to be done?
Where is the old woman then? Artemuxia!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Are you asking for the old woman who carried the lyre?
SCYTHIAN
Yes, yes; have you seen her?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
She has gone that way along with the old man.
SCYTHIAN
Dressed in a long robe?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Yes; run quick, and you will overtake them.
SCYTHIAN
Ah! rascally old woman! Which way has she fled? Artemuxia!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Straight on; follow your nose. But, hi! where are you running to
now? Come back, you are going exactly the wrong way.
SCYTHIAN
Ye gods! ye gods! and all this while Artemuxia is escaping.
(He runs off.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Go your way! and a pleasant journey to you! But our sports have
lasted long enough; it is time for each of us to be off home; and
may the two goddesses reward us for our labours!


THE END

 

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