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The Thesmophoriazusae   


AGATHON
Here are mine.
MNESILOCHUS
Will they fit me? (To AGATHON) You don't like a loose fit.
AGATHON
Try them on. Now that you have all you need, let me be taken
inside.
(The eccyclema turns and AGATHON disappears.)
EURIPIDES
You look for all the world like a woman. But when you talk, take
good care to give your voice a woman's tone.
MNESILOCHUS (falsetto)
I'll try my best.
EURIPIDES
Come, get yourself to the temple.
MNESILOCHUS
No, by Apollo, not unless you swear to me....
EURIPIDES
What?
MNESILOCHUS
....that, if anything untoward happen to me, you will leave
nothing undone to save me.
EURIPIDES
Very well! I swear it by the Aether, the dwelling-place of the
king of the gods.
MNESILOCHUS
Why not rather swear it by the sons of Hippocrates?
EURIPIDES
Come, I swear it by all the gods, both great and small.
MNESILOCHUS
Remember, it's the heart, and not the tongue, that has sworn;
for the oaths of the tongue concern me but little.
EURIPIDES
Hurry up! The signal for the meeting has just been raised on the
Temple of Demeter. Farewell.
(They both depart. The scene changes to the interior of the
Thesmophorion, where the women who form the chorus are
assembled. Mnesilochus enters, in his feminine attire, striving
to act as womanly as possible, and giving his voice as female a
pitch and lilt as he can; he pretends to be addressing his
slave-girl.)

MNESILOCHUS
Here, Thratta, follow me. Look, Thratta, at the cloud of smoke
that arises from all these lighted torches. Ah! beautiful
Thesmophorae! grant me your favours, protect me, both within the
temple and on my way back! Come, Thratta, put down the basket and take
out the cake, which I wish to offer to the two goddesses. Mighty
divinity, oh, Demeter, and thou, Persephone, grant that I may be
able to offer you many sacrifices; above all things, grant that I
may not be recognized. Would that my well-holed daughter might marry a
man as rich as he is foolish and silly, so that she may have nothing
to do but amuse herself. But where can a place be found for hearing
well? Be off, Thratta, be off; slaves have no right to be present at
this gathering.
(He sits down amongst the women.)
WOMAN HERALD
Silence! Silence! Pray to the Thesmophorae, Demeter and Cora; pray
to Plutus, Calligenia, Curotrophus, the Earth, Hermes and the
Graces, that all may happen for the best at this gathering, both for
the greatest advantage of Athens and for our own personal happiness!
May the award be given her who, by both deeds and words, has most
deserved it from the Athenian people and from the women! Address these
prayers to heaven and demand happiness for yourselves. Io Paean! Io
Paean! Let us rejoice!

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