display | more...

next scene  ·  previous scene

Project Gutenberg etext, adapted for E2

Aristophanes: Peace—Scene 8



Scene 8





TRYGAEUS
Ah! 'tis a rough job getting to the gods! my legs are as good as
broken through it. How small you were, to be sure, when seen from
heaven! you had all the appearance too of being great rascals; but seen
close, you look even worse.

SERVANT
Is that you, master?

TRYGAEUS
So I've been told.

SERVANT
What has happened to you?

TRYGAEUS
My legs pain me; it is such a plaguey long journey.

SERVANT
Oh! tell me...

TRYGAEUS
What?

SERVANT
Did you see any other man besides yourself strolling about in
heaven?

TRYGAEUS
No, only the souls of two or three dithyrambic poets.

SERVANT
What were they doing up there?

TRYGAEUS
They were seeking to catch some lyric exordia as they flew by
immersed in the billows of the air.

SERVANT
Is it true, what they tell us, that men are turned into stars after death?

TRYGAEUS
Quite true.

SERVANT
Then who is that star I see over yonder?

TRYGAEUS
That is Ion of Chios,1 the author of an ode beginning "Morning"; as soon
as ever he got to heaven, they called him "the Morning Star."

f1 A tragic and dithyrambic poet, who had written many pieces, which
had met with great success at Athens.

SERVANT
And those stars like sparks, that plough up the air as they dart
across the sky?1

f1 The shooting stars.

TRYGAEUS
They are the rich leaving the feast with a lantern and a light inside it.
--But hurry up, show this young girl into my house, clean out the bath,
heat some water and prepare the nuptial couch for herself and me.
When 'tis done, come back here; meanwhile I am off to present this one
to the Senate.

SERVANT
But where then did you get these pretty chattels?

TRYGAEUS
Where? why in heaven.

SERVANT
I would not give more than an obolus for gods who have got to
keeping brothels like us mere mortals.

TRYGAEUS
They are not all so, but there are some up there too who live by this trade.

SERVANT
Come, that's rich! But I bethink me, shall I give her something to eat?

TRYGAEUS
No, for she would neither touch bread nor cake; she is used to
licking ambrosia at the table of the gods.

SERVANT
Well, we can give her something to lick down here too.

CHORUS
Here is a truly happy old man, as far as I can judge.

TRYGAEUS
Ah! but what shall I be, when you see me presently dressed for
the wedding?

CHORUS
Made young again by love and scented with perfumes, your lot
will be one we all shall envy.

TRYGAEUS
And when I lie beside her and caress her bosoms?

CHORUS
Oh! then you will be happier than those spinning-tops who call
Carcinus their father.1

f1 It has already been mentioned that the sons of Carcinus were dancers.

TRYGAEUS
And I well deserve it; have I not bestridden a beetle to save
the Greeks, who now, thanks to me, can make love at their ease and
sleep peacefully on their farms?

SERVANT
The girl has quitted the bath; she is charming from head to foot,
both belly and buttocks; the cake is baked and they are kneading
the sesame-biscuit;1 nothing is lacking but the bridegroom's virility.

f1 It was customary at weddings, says Menander, to give the bride
a sesame-caked as an emblem of fruitfulness, because sesame is the most
fruitful of all seeds.

TRYGAEUS
Let us first hasten to lodge Theoria in the hands of the Senate.

SERVANT
But tell me, who is this woman?

TRYGAEUS
Why, 'tis Theoria, with whom we used formerly to go to Brauron,1
to get tipsy and frolic. I had the greatest trouble to get hold of her.

f1 An Attic town on the east coast, noted for a magnificent temple,
in which stood the statue of Artemis, which Orestes and Iphigenia
had brought from the Tauric Chersonese and also for the Brauronia,
festivals that were celebrated every four years in honour of the goddess.
This was one of the festivals which the Attic people kept with the greatest
pomp, and was an occasion for debauchery.

SERVANT
Ah! you charmer! what pleasure your pretty bottom will afford me
every four years!

TRYGAEUS
Let us see, who of you is steady enough to be trusted by the Senate
with the care of this charming wench? Hi! you, friend! what are you
drawing there?

SERVANT
I am drawing the plan of the tent I wish to erect for myself on
the isthmus.1

f1 Competitors intending to take part in the great Olympic, Isthmian and
other games took with them a tent, wherein to camp in the open. Further,
there is an obscene allusion which the actor indicates by a gesture.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.