SERVANT) Hold him tight and I'll beat the impostor with a stick.
You look to that; I will snatch the skin from him which he has
stolen from us.
Let go that skin, you priest from hell! do you hear! Oh! what a
fine crow has come from Oreus! Stretch your wings quickly for
(HIEROCLES flees. TRYGAEUS and the SERVANT go into the house.)
Oh! joy, joy! no more helmet, no more cheese nor onions! No, I
have no passion for battles; what I love is to drink with good
comrades in the corner by the fire when good dry wood, cut in the
height of the summer, is crackling; it is to cook pease on the coals
and beechnuts among the embers, it is to kiss our pretty Thracian
while my wife is at the bath.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Nothing is more pleasing, when the rain is sprouting our
sowings, than to chat with some friend, saying, "Tell me, Comarchides,
what shall we do? I would willingly drink myself, while the heavens
are watering our fields. Come, wife, cook three measures of beans,
adding to them a little wheat, and give us some figs. Syra! call Manes
off the fields, it's impossible to prune the vine or to align the
ridges, for the ground is too wet to-day. Let someone bring me the
thrush and those two chaffinches; there were also some curds and
four pieces of hare, unless the cat stole them last evening, for I
know not what the infernal noise was that I heard in the house.
Serve up three of the pieces for me, slave, and give the fourth to
my father. Go and ask Aeschinades for some myrtle branches with
berries on them, and then, for it's on the same road, invite
Charinades to come and drink with me to the honour of the gods who
watch over our crops."
When the grasshopper sings his dulcet tune, I love to see the
Lemnian vines beginning to ripen, the earliest plant of all.
Likewise I love to watch the fig filling out, and when it has
reached maturity I eat it with appreciation, exclaiming, "Oh!
delightful season!" Then too I bruise some thyme and infuse it in
water. Indeed I grow a great deal fatter passing the summer in this
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
...than in watching a damned lieutenant with three plumes and
military cloak of crimson, very livid indeed; he calls it the real
Sardian purple, but if he ever has to fight in this cloak he'll dye it
another colour, the real Cyzicene yellow, he the first to run away,
shaking his plumes like a buff hippalectryon, and I am left to do
the real work. Once back again in Athens, these brave fellows behave
abominably; they write down these, they scratch through others, and
this backwards and forwards two or three times at random. The
departure is set for to-morrow, and some citizen has brought no
provisions, because he didn't know he had to go; he stops in front
of the statue of Pandion, reads his name, is dumbfounded and starts
away at a run, weeping bitter tears. The townsfolk are less
ill-used, but that is how the husbandmen are treated by these men of
war, the hated of the gods and of men, who know nothing but how to
throw away their shield. For this reason, if it please heaven, I
propose to call these rascals to account, for they are lions in
times of peace, but sneaking foxes when it comes to fighting.
TRYGAEUS (coming out of his house, followed by the SERVANT)
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
(A SICKLE-MAKER enters with a comrade; one carries sickles, the