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THE WASPS by Aristophanes, Part 18

BDELYCLEON
Oh! oh! you debauched old dotard! you are amorous, it seems, of
pretty baggages; but, by Apollo, it shall not be with impunity!
PHILOCLEON
Ah! you would be very glad to eat a lawsuit in vinegar, you would.
BDELYCLEON
Only a rascal would steal the flute-girl away from the other
guests.
PHILOCLEON
What flute-girl? Are you distraught, as if you had just returned
from Pluto?
BDELYCLEON
By Zeus! But here is the Dardanian wench in person.
PHILOCLEON
Nonsense. This is a torch that I have lit in the public square
in honour of the gods.
BDELYCLEON
Is this a torch?
PHILOCLEON
A torch? Certainly. Do you not see it is of several different
colours?
DELYCLEON
And what is that black part in the middle?
PHILOCLEON
That's the pitch running out while it burns.
BDELYCLEON
And there, on the other side, surely that is a girl's bottom?
PHILOCLEON
No. That's just a small bit of the torch, that projects.
BDELYCLEON
What do you mean? what bit? Hi! you woman! come here!
PHILOCLEON
Oh! What do you want to do?
BDELYCLEON
To take her away from you and lead her off. You are too much
worn out and can do nothing.
(He takes the girl into the house.)
PHILOCLEON
Listen to me! One day, at Olympia, I saw Euphudion boxing
bravely against Ascondas; he was already aged, and yet with a blow
from his fist he knocked down his young opponent. So watch out that
I don't blacken your eves.
BDELYCLEON (who has returned)
By Zeus! you have Olympia at your finger-ends!
(A BAKER'S WIFE enters with an empty basket; she brings CHAEREPHON
with her as witness.)
BAKER'S WIFE (to CHAEREPHON)
Come to my help, I beg you, in the name of the gods! This cursed
man, when striking out right and left with his torch, knocked over ten
loaves worth an obolus apiece, and then, to cap the deal, four others.
BDELYCLEON
Do you see what lawsuits you are drawing upon yourself with your
drunkenness? You will have to plead.
PHILOCLEON
Oh, no, no! a little pretty talk and pleasant tales will soon
settle the matter and reconcile her with me. Not so, by the
goddesses twain! It shall not be said that you have with impunity
spoilt the wares of Myrtia, the daughter of Ancylion and Sostrate.
PHILOCLEON
Listen, woman, I wish to tell you a lovely anecdote.
BAKER'S WIFE
By Zeus, no anecdotes for me, thank you.
PHILOCLEON
One night Aesop was going out to supper. A drunken bitch had the
impudence to bark near him. Aesop said to her, "Oh, bitch, bitch!
you would do well to sell your wicked tongue and buy some wheat."
BAKER'S WIFE
You make a mock of me! Very well! I don't care who you are, I
shall summons you before the market inspectors for damage done to my
business. Chaerephon here shall be my witness.
PHILOCLEON
But just listen, here's another will perhaps please you better.
Lasus and Simonides were contesting against each other for the singing
prize. Lasus said, "Damned if I care."
BAKER'S WIFE
Ah! really, did he now!
PHILOCLEON
As for you, Chaerephon, can you be witness to this woman, who
looks as pale and tragic as Ino when she throws herself from her
rock...at the feet of Euripides?
(The BAKER'S WIFE and CHAEREPHON depart.)
BDELYCLEON
Here, I suppose, comes another to summons you; he has his
witness too. Ah! unhappy indeed we are!
(A badly bruised man enters.)
ACCUSER
I summons you, old man, for outrage.
BDELYCLEON
For outrage? Oh! in the name of the gods, do not summons him! I
will be answerable for him; name the price and I will be more more
grateful still.
PHILOCLEON
I ask for nothing better than to be reconciled with him; for I
admit I struck him and threw stones at him. So, first come here.
Will you leave it in my hands to name the indemnity I must pay, if I
promise you my friendship as well, or will you fix it yourself?
ACCUSER
Fix it; I like neither lawsuits nor disputes.

 

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