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Project Gutenberg etext, adapted for E2

Aristophanes: Peace—Scene 12



Scene 12





TRYGAEUS
Oh! oh! what a crowd for the nuptial feast! Here! dust the
tables with this crest, which is good for nothing else now. Halloa!
produce the cakes, the thrushes, plenty of good jugged hare and the
little loaves.

A SICKLE-MAKER
Trygaeus, where is Trygaeus?

TRYGAEUS
I am cooking the thrushes.

SICKLE-MAKER
Trygaeus, my best of friends, what a fine stroke of business you
have done for me by bringing back Peace! Formerly my sickles would not
have sold at an obolus apiece; to-day I am being paid fifty drachmae
for every one. And here is a neighbour who is selling his casks for
the country at three drachmae each. So come, Trygaeus, take as many
sickles and casks as you will for nothing. Accept them for nothing;
'tis because of our handsome profits on our sales that we offer you
these wedding presents.

TRYGAEUS
Thanks. Put them all down inside there, and come along quick to
the banquet. Ah! do you see that armourer yonder coming with a
wry face?

A CREST-MAKER
Alas! alas! Trygaeus, you have ruined me utterly.

TRYGAEUS
What! won't the crests go any more, friend?

CREST-MAKER
You have killed my business, my livelihood, and that of this
poor lance-maker too.

TRYGAEUS
Come, come, what are you asking for these two crests?

CREST-MAKER
What do you bid for them?

TRYGAEUS
What do I bid? Oh! I am ashamed to say. Still, as the clasp is
of good workmanship, I would give two, even three measures
of dried figs; I could use 'em for dusting the table.

CREST-MAKER
All right, tell them to bring me the dried figs; 'tis always better
than nothing.

TRYGAEUS
Take them away, be off with your crests and get you gone; they are
moulting, they are losing all their hair; I would not give a single
fig for them.

A BREASTPLATE-MAKER
Good gods, what am I going to do with this fine ten-minae
breastplate, which is so splendidly made?

TRYGAEUS
Oh, you will lose nothing over it.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
I will sell it to you at cost price.

TRYGAEUS
'Twould be very useful as a night-stool...

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
Cease your insults, both to me and my wares.

TRYGAEUS
...if propped on three stones. Look, 'tis admirable.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
But how can you wipe, idiot?

TRYGAEUS
I can pass one hand through here, and the other there, and so...

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
What! do you wipe with both hands?

TRYGAEUS
Aye, so that I may not be accused of robbing the State, by
blocking up an oar-hole in the galley.1

f1 The trierarchs stopped up some of the holes made for the oars, in
order to reduce the number of rowers they had to supply for the galleys;
they thus saved the wages of the rowers they dispensed with.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
So you would pay ten minae1 for a night-stool?

f1 The mina was equivalent to about three pounds, ten shillings.

TRYGAEUS
Undoubtedly, you rascal. Do you think I would sell my rump for
a thousand drachmae?1

f1 Which is the same thing, since a mina was worth a hundred drachmae.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
Come, have the money paid over to me.

TRYGAEUS
No, friend; I find it hurts me to sit on. Take it away, I won't buy it.

A TRUMPET-MAKER
What is to be done with this trumpet, for which I gave sixty
drachmae the other day?

TRYGAEUS
Pour lead into the hollow and fit a good, long stick to the top;
and you will have a balanced cottabos.1

f1 For 'cottabos' see note above.

TRUMPET-MAKER
Ha! would you mock me?

TRYGAEUS
Well, here's another notion. Pour in lead as I said, add here a dish
hung on strings, and you will have a balance for weighing the figs
which you give your slaves in the fields.

A HELMET-MAKER
Cursed fate! I am ruined. Here are helmets, for which I gave a
mina each. What I to do with them? who will buy them?

TRYGAEUS
Go and sell them to the Egyptians; they will do for measuring
loosening medicines.1

f1 Syrmoea, a kind of purgative syrup much used by the Egyptians,
made of antiscorbutic herbs, such as mustard, horse-radish, etc.

A SPEAR-MAKER
Ah! poor helmet-maker, things are indeed in a bad way.

TRYGAEUS
That man has no cause for complaint.

SPEAR-MAKER
But helmets will be no more used.

TRYGAEUS
Let him learn to fit a handle to them and he can sell them for
more money.1

f1 As wine-pots or similar vessels.

SPEAR-MAKER
Let us be off, comrade.

TRYGAEUS
No, I want to buy these spears.

SPEAR-MAKER
What will you give?

TRYGAEUS
If they could be split in two, I would take them at a drachma
per hundred to use as vine-props.

SPEAR-MAKER
The insolent dog! Let us go, friend.


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