THE WASPS by Aristophanes, Part 10
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (taking this up in song)
.... let yourself be won over by his words; come, be not too
obstinate or too perverse. Would that I had a relative or kinsman to
correct me thus! Clearly some god is at hand and is now protecting you
and loading you with benefits. Accept them.
I will feed him, I will give him everything that is suitable for
an old man; oatmeal gruel, a cloak, soft furs, and a wench to rub
his tool and his loins. But he keeps silent and will not utter a
sound; that's a bad sign.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
He has thought the thing over and has recognized his folly; he
is reproaching himself for not having followed your advice always. But
there he is, converted by your words, and wiser now, so that he will
no doubt alter his ways in the future and always believe in none but
Now why this lamentation?
PHILOCLEON (in tragic style)
A truce to your promises! What I love is down there, down there
I want to be, there, where the HeraLD cries, "Who has not yet voted?
Let him rise!" I want to be the last of all to leave the urn. Oh, my
soul, my soul! where art thou? come! oh! dark shadows, make way for
me! By Heracles, may I reach the court in time to convict Cleon of
Come, father, in the name of the gods, believe me!
Believe you! Ask me anything, anything, except one.
What is it? Let us hear.
Not to judge any more! Before I consent, I shall have appeared
Very well then, since you find so much pleasure in it, go down
there no more, but stay here and deal out justice to your slaves.
But what is there to judge? Are you mad?
Everything as in a tribunal. If a servant opens a door secretly,
you inflict upon him a simple fine; that's what you have repeatedly
done down there. Everything can be arranged to suit you. If it is warm
in the morning, you can judge in the sunlight; if it is snowing,
then seated at your fire; if it rains, you go indoors; and if you
don't rise till noon, there will be no Thesmothetes to exclude you
from the precincts.
The notion pleases me.
Moreover, if a pLEADER is long-winded, you will not be hungering
and chafing and seeking vengeance on the accused.
But could I judge as well with my mouth full?
Much better. Is it not said, that the dicasts, when deceived by
lying witnesses, have need to ruminate well in order to arrive at
Well said, but you have not told me yet who will pay my salary.
So much the better; in this way I shall be paid by myself. Because
that damned jester, Lysistratus, played me an infamous trick the other
day. He received a drachma for the two of us and went on the
fish-market to get it changed and then brought me back three mullet
scales. I took them for obols and crammed them into my mouth; but
the smell choked me and I quickly spat them out. So I dragged him
before the court.
And what did he say to that?
Well, he pretended I had the stomach of a cock. "You have soon
digested the money," he said with a laugh.
You see, that is yet another advantage.
And no small one either. Come, do as you will.
Wait! I will bring everything here.
(He goes into the house.)
PHILOCLEON (to himself)
You see, the oracles are coming true; I have heard it foretold,
that one day the Athenians would dispense justice in their own houses,
that each citizen. would have himself a little tribunal constructed in
his porch similar to the altars of Hecate, and that there would be
such before every door.
BDELYCLEON (returning with slaves who are carrying various objects)
There, what do you think of that? I have brought you everything
needful and much more into the bargain. See, here is a thunder-mug in
case you have to pee; I shall hang it up beside you.
Good idea! Right useful at my age. You have found the true
alleviation of bladder troubles.
Here is a fire, and near to it are lentils, should you want to
have a bite to eat.