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THE CYCLOPS by Euripides, Part 02

ODYSSEUS
Pray tell us, sirs, of some river-spring whence we might draw a
draught to slake our thirst, or of someone willing to sell victuals to
mariners in need.
Why, what is this? We seem to have chanced upon a city of the
Bromian god; here by the caves I see a group of Satyrs. To the
eldest first I bid "All hail!
SILENUS
All hail, sir! tell me who thou art, and name thy country.
ODYSSEUS
ODYSSEUS of Ithaca, king of the Cephallenians' land.
SILENUS
I know him for a prating knave, one of Sisyphus' shrewd offspring.
ODYSSEUS
I am the man; abuse me not.
SILENUS
Whence hast thou sailed hither to Sicily?
ODYSSEUS
From Ilium and the toils of Troy.
SILENUS
How was that? didst thou not know the passage to thy native land?
ODYSSEUS
Tempestuous winds drove me hither against my will.
SILENUS
God wot! thou art in the same plight as I am.
ODYSSEUS
Why, wert thou too drifted hither against thy will?
SILENUS
I was, as I pursued the pirates who carried Bromius off.
ODYSSEUS
What land is this and who are its inhabitants?
SILENUS
This is mount Aetna, the highest point in Sicily.
ODYSSEUS
But where are the city-walls and ramparts?
SILENUS
There are none; the headlands, sir, are void of men.
ODYSSEUS
Who then possess the land? the race of wild creatures?
SILENUS
The Cyclopes, who have caves, not roofed houses.
ODYSSEUS
Obedient unto whom? or is the power in the people's hands?
SILENUS
They are rovers; no man obeys another in anything.
ODYSSEUS
Do they sow Demeter's grain, or on what do they live?
SILENUS
On milk and cheese and flesh of sheep.
ODYSSEUS
Have they the drink of Bromius, the juice of the vine?
SILENUS
No indeed! and thus it is a joyless land they dwell in.
ODYSSEUS
Are they hospitable and reverent towards strangers?
SILENUS
Strangers, they say, supply the daintiest meat.
ODYSSEUS
What, do they delight in killing men and eating them?
SILENUS
No one has ever arrived here without being butchered.
ODYSSEUS
Where is the Cyclops himself? inside his dwelling?
SILENUS
He is gone hunting wild beasts with hounds on Aetna.
ODYSSEUS
Dost know then what to do, that we may be gone from the land?
SILENUS
Not I, ODYSSEUS; but I would do anything for thee.
ODYSSEUS
Sell us food, of which we are in need.
SILENUS
There is nothing but flesh, as I said.
ODYSSEUS
Well, even that is a pleasant preventive of hunger.
SILENUS
And there is cheese curdled with fig-juice, and the milk of kine.
ODYSSEUS
Bring them out; a man should see his purchases.
SILENUS
But tell me, how much gold wilt thou give me in exchange?
ODYSSEUS
No gold bring I, but Dionysus' drink.
SILENUS (joyfully)
Most welcome words! I have long been wanting that.
ODYSSEUS
Yes, it was Maron, the god's son, who gave me a draught.
SILENUS
What! Maron whom once I dandled in these arms?
ODYSSEUS
The son of the Bacchic god, that thou mayst learn more certainly.
SILENUS
Is it inside the ship, or hast thou it with thee?
ODYSSEUS
This, as thou seest, is the skin that holds it, old sir.
SILENUS
Why, that would not give me so much as a mouthful.
ODYSSEUS
This, and twice as much again as will run from the skin.
SILENUS
Fair the rill thou speakest of, delicious to me.

 

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