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The Ecclesiazusae   


Listen. "The women have decreed that if a young man desires a
young girl, he can only lay her after having satisfied an old woman;
and if he refuses and goes to seek the maiden, the old women are
authorized to seize him and drag him in."
YOUNG MAN
Alas! I shall become a Procrustes.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Obey the law.
YOUNG MAN
But if a fellow-citizen, a friend, came to pay my ransom?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
No man may dispose of anything above a medimnus.
YOUNG MAN
But may I not enter an excuse?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
There's no evasion.
YOUNG MAN
I shall declare myself a merchant and so escape service.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Beware what you do!
YOUNG MAN
Well! what is to be done?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Follow me.
YOUNG MAN
Is it absolutely necessary?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Yes, as surely as if Diomedes had commanded it.
YOUNG MAN
Well then, first spread out a layer of origanum upon four pieces
of wood; bind fillets round your head, bring phials of scent and place
a bowl filled with lustral water before your door.
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Will you buy a chaplet for me too?
YOUNG MAN
Yes, if you outlast the tapers; for I expect to see you fall
down dead as you go in.
YOUNG GIRL (running out of her house)
Where are you dragging this unfortunate man to?
FIRST OLD WOMAN
To my own bed.
YOUNG GIRL
That's not right. A young fellow like him is not of the age to
suit you. You ought to be his mother rather than his wife. With
these laws in force, the earth will be filled with Oedipuses.
(She takes him away with her.)
FIRST OLD WOMAN
Oh! you cursed pest! it's envy that makes you say this; but I will
be revenged.
(She goes back into her house.)
YOUNG MAN
By Zeus the Deliverer, what a service you have done me, by freeing
me of this old wretch! with what ardour I will show you my gratitude
in a substantial form!
(Just as he begins to go in with the YOUNG GIRL an even older and
uglier woman enters.)

SECOND OLD WOMAN
Hi! you there! where are you taking that young man to, in defiance
of the law? The decree ordains that he must first sleep with me.
YOUNG MAN
Oh! what a misfortune! Where does this hag come from? She's a more
frightful monster than the other even.
SECOND OLD WOMAN
Come here.

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