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The Ecclesiazusae   


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?
PRAXAGORA
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.
FIRST WOMAN
There's no doubt of that; but the worst of it is our inexperience.
PRAXAGORA
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.
SECOND WOMAN
Oh you stupid thing! is there ever a one among us cannot use her
tongue?
PRAXAGORA
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.)
SECOND WOMAN
Oh! great gods! my dear Praxagora, do look here! Is it not
laughable?
PRAXAGORA
How laughable?
SECOND WOMAN
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?
SECOND WOMAN
I do.
PRAXAGORA
Then put on this chaplet and success be with you.
SECOND WOMAN
There!
PRAXAGORA
Well then I begin.
SECOND WOMAN
Before drinking?
PRAXAGORA
Hah! she wants to drink!
SECOND WOMAN
Why, what else is the meaning of this chaplet?
PRAXAGORA
Get you hence! you would probably have played us this trick also
before the people.
SECOND WOMAN
Well! don't the men drink then in the Assembly?
PRAXAGORA
Now she's telling us the men drink!
SECOND WOMAN
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.
PRAXAGORA
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

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