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Acharnians   


Why, what has happened?
AMPHITHEUS
I was hurrying to bring your treaty of truce, but some old dotards
from Acharnae got scent of the thing; they are veterans of Marathon,
tough as oak or maple, of which they are made for sure-rough and
ruthless. They all started shouting: "Wretch! you are the bearer of
a treaty, and the enemy has only just cut our vines!" Meanwhile they
were gathering stones in their cloaks, so I fled and they ran after me
shouting.
DICAEOPOLIS
Let 'em shout as much as they please! But have you brought me
treaty?
AMPHITHEUS
Most certainly, here are three samples to select from, this one is
five years old; taste it.
(He hands DICAEOPOLIS a bottle.)
DICAEOPOLIS
Faugh!
AMPHITHEUS
What's the matter?
DICAEOPOLIS
I don't like it; it smells of pitch and of the ships they are
fitting out.
AMPHITHEUS (handing him another bottle)
Here is another, ten years old; taste it.
DICAEOPOLIS
It smells strongly of the delegates, who go around the towns to
chide the allies for their slowness.
AMPHITHEUS (handing him a third bottle)
This last is a truce of thirty years, both on sea and land.
DICAEOPOLIS
Oh! by Bacchus! what a bouquet! It has the aroma of nectar and
ambrosia; this does not say to us, "Provision yourselves for three
days." But it lisps the gentle numbers, "Go whither you will." I
accept it, ratify it, drink it at one draught and consign the
Acharnians to limbo. Freed from the war and its ills, I shall
celebrate the rural Dionysia.
AMPHITHEUS
And I shall run away, for I'm mortally afraid of the Acharnians.
(AMPHITHEUS runs off. DICAEOPOLIS goes into his house, carrying
his truce. The CHORUS of ACHARNIAN CHARCOAL BURNERS enters, in
great haste and excitement.)

LEADER OF THE CHORUS
This way all! Let us follow our man; we will demand him of
everyone we meet; the public weal makes his seizure imperative. Ho,
there! tell me which way the bearer of the truce has gone.
CHORUS (singing)
He has escaped us, he has disappeared. Damn old age! When I was
young, in the days when I followed Phayllus, running with a sack of
coals on my back, this wretch would not have eluded my pursuit, let
him be as swift as he will.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
But now my limbs are stiff; old Lacratides feels his legs are
weighty and the traitor escapes me. No, no, let us follow him; old
Acharnians like our selves shall not be set at naught by a
scoundrel....
CHORUS (singing)
....who has dared, by Zeus, to conclude a truce when I wanted
the war continued with double fury in order to avenge my ruined lands.
No mercy for our foes until I have pierced their hearts like sharp
reed, so that they dare never again ravage my vineyards.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Come, let us seek the rascal; let us look everywhere, carrying our
stones in our hands; let us hunt him from place to place until we trap

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