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THE CYCLOPS by Euripides, Part 03

ODYSSEUS
Shall I let thee taste the wine unmixed, to start with?
SILENUS
A reasonable offer; for of a truth a taste invites the purchase.
ODYSSEUS
Well, I haul about a cup as well as the skin.
SILENUS
Come, let it gurgle in, that I may revive my memory by a pull at
it.
ODYSSEUS (pouring)
There then!
SILENUS (smelling it)
Ye gods! what a delicious scent it has!
ODYSSEUS
What! didst thou see it?
SILENUS
No, i' faith, but I smell it.
ODYSSEUS
Taste it then, that thy approval may not stop at words.
SILENUS (taking a drink)
Zounds! Bacchus is inviting me to dance; ha! ha!
ODYSSEUS
Did it not gurgle finely down thy throttle?
SILENUS
Aye that it did, to THE ENDs of my fingers.
ODYSSEUS
Well, we will give thee money besides.
SILENUS
Only undo the skin, and never mind the money.
ODYSSEUS
Bring out the cheeses then and lambs.
SILENUS
I will do so, with small thought of any master. For let me have
a single cup of that and I would turn madman, giving in exchange for
it the flocks of every Cyclops and then throwing myself into the sea
from the Leucadian rock, once I have been well drunk and smoothed
out my wrinkled brow. For if a man rejoice not in his drinking, he
is mad; for in drinking it's possible for this to stand up straight,
and then to fondle breasts, and to caress well tended locks, and there
is dancing withal, and oblivion of woe. Shall not I then purchase so
rare a drink, bidding the senseless Cyclops and his central eye go
hang?
(SILENUS goes into the cave.)
LEADER
Hearken, ODYSSEUS, let us hold some converse with thee.
ODYSSEUS
Well, do so; ours is a meeting of friends.
LEADER
Did you take Troy and capture the famous Helen?
ODYSSEUS
Aye, and we destroyed the whole family of Priam.
LEADER
After capturing your blooming prize, were all of you in turn her
lovers? for she likes variety in husbands; the traitress! the sight of
a man with embroidered breeches on his legs and a golden chain about
his neck so fluttered her, that she left Menelaus, her excellent
little husband. Would there had never been a race of women born into
the world at all, unles it were for me alone!
SILENUS (reappearing with food)
Lo! I bring you fat food from the flocks, king ODYSSEUS, the young
of bleating sheep and cheeses of curdled milk without stint. Carry
them away with you and begone from the cave at once, after giving me a
drink of merry grape-juice in exchange.
LEADER
Alack! yonder comes the Cyclops; what shall we do?
ODYSSEUS
Then truly are we lost, old sir! whither must we fly?
SILENUS
Inside this rock, for there ye may conceal yourselves.
ODYSSEUS
Dangerous advice of thine, to run into the net!
SILENUS
No danger; there are ways of escape in plenty in the rock.
ODYSSEUS
No, never that; for surely Troy will groan and loudly too, if we
flee from a single man, when I have oft withstood with my shield a
countless host of Phrygians. Nay, if die we must, we will die a
noble death; or, if we live, we will maintain our old renown at
least with credit.

(The CYCLOPS enters as SILENUS goes into the cave. The CYCLOPS,
not noticing ODYSSEUS and his companions, addresses the CHORUS in
anger.)

CYCLOPS
A light here! hold it up! what is this? what means this
idleness, your Bacchic revelry? Here have we no Dionysus, nor clash of
brass, nor roll of drums. Pray, how is it with my newly-born lambs
in the caves? are they at the teat, running close to the side of their
dams? Is the full amount of milk for cheeses milked out in baskets
of rushes? How now? what say you? One of ye will soon be shedding
tears from the weight of my club; look up, not down.
LEADER
There! my head is bent back till I see Zeus himself; I behold both
the stars and Orion.
CYCLOPS
Is my breakfast quite ready?
LEADER
'Tis laid; be thy throat only ready.

 

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