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Aristophanes: Peace—Scene 13



Scene 13





TRYGAEUS
Ah! here come the guests, children from the table to relieve themselves;
I fancy they also want to hum over what they will be singing presently.
Hi! child! what do you reckon to sing? Stand there and give me
the opening line.

THE SON OF LAMACHUS
"Glory to the young warriors..."

TRYGAEUS
Oh! leave off about your young warriors, you little wretch; we are
at peace and you are an idiot and a rascal.

SON OF LAMACHUS
"The skirmish begins, the hollow bucklers clash against each other."1

f1 These verses and those which both Trygaeus and the son of Lamachus
quote afterwards are borrowed from the 'Iliad.'

TRYGAEUS
Bucklers! Leave me in peace with your bucklers.

SON OF LAMACHUS
"And then there came groanings and shouts of victory."

TRYGAEUS
Groanings! ah! by Bacchus! look out for yourself, you cursed
squaller, if you start wearying us again with your groanings and
hollow bucklers.

SON OF LAMACHUS
Then what should I sing? Tell me what pleases you.

TRYGAEUS
"'Tis thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen," or something
similar, as, for instance, "Everything that could tickle the palate
was placed on the table."

SON OF LAMACHUS
"'Tis thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen and, tired of
warfare, unharnessed their foaming steeds."

TRYGAEUS
That's splendid; tired of warfare, they seat themselves at table;
sing, sing to us how they still go on eating after they are satiated.

SON OF LAMACHUS
"The meal over, they girded themselves..."

TRYGAEUS
With good wine, no doubt?

SON OF LAMACHUS
"...with armour and rushed forth from the towers, and a terrible
shout arose."

TRYGAEUS
Get you gone, you little scapegrace, you and your battles! You sing
of nothing but warfare. Who is your father then?

SON OF LAMACHUS
My father?

TRYGAEUS
Why yes, your father.

SON OF LAMACHUS
I am Lamachus' son.

TRYGAEUS
Oh! oh! I could indeed have sworn, when I was listening to you,
that you were the son of some warrior who dreams of nothing but
wounds and bruises, of some Boulomachus or Clausimachus;1 go and sing
your plaguey songs to the spearmen.... Where is the son of Cleonymus?
Sing me something before going back to the feast. I am at least certain
he will not sing of battles, for his father is far too careful a man.

f1 Boulomachus is derived from [two Greek words meaning] to wish
for battle; Clausimachus from [two others], the tears that battles cost.
The same root [for] 'battle' is also contained in the name Lamachus.

SON OF CLEONYMUS
"An inhabitant of Sais is parading with the spotless shield which
I regret to say I have thrown into a thicket."1

f1 A distich borrowed from Archilochus, a celebrated poet of the seventh
century B.C., born at Paros, and the author of odes, satires, epigrams and
elegies. He sang his own shame. 'Twas in an expedition against Sais,
not the town in Egypt as the similarity in name might lead one to believe,
but in Thrace, that he had cast away his buckler. "A might calamity truly!"
he says without shame. "I shall buy another."

TRYGAEUS
Tell me, you little good-for-nothing, are you singing that for your father?

SON OF CLEONYMUS
"But I saved my life."

TRYGAEUS
And dishonoured your family. But let us go in; I am very certain,
that being the son of such a father, you will never forget this song
of the buckler. You, who remain to the feast, 'tis your duty
to devour dish after dish and not to ply empty jaws. Come, put heart
into the work and eat with your mouths full. For, believe me,
poor friends, white teeth are useless furniture, if they chew nothing.

CHORUS
Never fear; thanks all the same for your good advice.

TRYGAEUS
You, who yesterday were dying of hunger, come, stuff yourselves
with this fine hare-stew; 'tis not every day that we find cakes
lying neglected. Eat, eat, or I predict you will soon regret it.

CHORUS
Silence! Keep silence! Here is the bride about to appear! Take
nuptial torches and let all rejoice and join in our songs. Then,
when we have danced, clinked our cups and thrown Hyperbolus through
the doorway we will carry back all our farming tools to the fields and
shall pray the gods to give wealth to the Greeks and to cause us all
to gather in an abundant barley harvest, enjoy a noble vintage,
to grant that we may choke with good figs, that our wives may prove
fruitful, that in fact we may recover all our lost blessings, and that
the sparkling fire may be restored to the hearth.

TRYGAEUS
Come, wife, to the fields and seek, my beauty, to brighten and enliven
my nights. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus! oh! thrice happy man, who so well deserve
your good fortune!

TRYGAEUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
What shall we do to her?

SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
What shall we do to her?

FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
We will gather her kisses.

SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
We will gather her kisses.

CHORUS
Come, comrades, we who are in the first row, let us pick up
the bridegroom and carry him in triumph. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

TRYGAEUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
You shall have a fine house, no cares and the finest of figs.
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

TRYGAEUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
The bridegroom's fig is great and thick; the bride's very soft and tender.

TRYGAEUS
While eating and drinking deep draughts of wine, continue to
repeat: Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

TRYGAEUS
Farewell, farewell, my friends. All who come with me shall have
cakes galore.





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Peace, by Aristophanes



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