enough to possess ourselves of the management of affairs. Let us
save the ship of state, which just at present none seems able either
to sail or row.
FIRST WOMAN (in a tragic style)
But where shall we find orators in an Assembly of women?
Nothing simpler. Is it not said that the cleverest speakers are
those who get made love to most often? Well, thanks to the gods, we
are that by nature.
There's no doubt of that; but the worst of it is our inexperience.
That's the very reason we are gathered here, in order to prepare
the speech we must make in the Assembly. Hasten, therefore, all you
who know aught of speaking, to fix on your beards.
Oh you stupid thing! is there ever a one among us cannot use her
Come, look sharp, on with your beard and become a man. As for
me, I will do the same in case I should have a fancy for getting on to
the platform. Here are the chaplets.
(They all put on their beards.)
Oh! great gods! my dear Praxagora, do look here! Is it not
Our beards look like broiled cuttle-fishes.
PRAXAGORA (pretending to be the herald)
Priest, bring in the cat. Step forward, please Silence,
Ariphrades! Come and take your seat. Now, who wishes to speak?
Then put on this chaplet and success be with you.
Well then I begin.
Hah! she wants to drink!
Why, what else is the meaning of this chaplet?
Get you hence! you would probably have played us this trick also
before the people.
Well! don't the men drink then in the Assembly?
Now she's telling us the men drink!
Yes, by Artemis, and neat wine too. That's why their decrees
breathe of drunkenness and madness. And why libations, why so many
ceremonies, if wine plays no part in them? Besides, they abuse each
other like drunken men, and you can see the archers dragging more than
one uproarious drunkard out of the market-place.
Go back to your seat, you are wandering.
SECOND WOMAN (returning to her seat)
Ah! I should have done better not to have muffled myself in this