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The Thesmophoriazusae   


searching every nook, fearing there may be some hidden lover. We can
do nothing as we used to, so many are the false ideas which he has
instilled into our husbands. Is a woman weaving a garland for herself?
It's because she is in love. Does she let some vase drop while going
or returning to the house? her husband asks her in whose honour she
has broken it: "It can only be for that Corinthian stranger." Is a
maiden unwell? Straightway her brother says, "That is a colour that
does not please me." And if a childless woman wishes to substitute
one, the deceit can no longer be a secret, for the neighbours will
insist on being present at her delivery. Formerly the old men
married young girls, but they have been so calumniated that none think
of them now, thanks to that line of his: "A woman is the tyrant of the
old man who marries her." Again, it is because of Euripides that we
are incessantly watched, that we are shut up behind bolts and bars,
and that dogs are kept to frighten off the adulterers. Let that
pass; but formerly it was we who had the care of the food, who fetched
the flour from the storeroom, the oil and the wine; we can do it no
more. Our husbands now carry little Spartan keys on their persons,
made with three notches and full of malice and spite. Formerly it
sufficed to purchase a ring marked with the same sign for three obols,
to open the most securely sealed-up door! but now this pestilent
Euripides has taught men to hang seals of worm-eaten wood about
their necks. My opinion, therefore, is that we should rid ourselves of
our enemy by poison or by any other means, provided he dies. That is
what I announce publicly; as to certain points, which I wish to keep
secret, I propose to record them on the secretary's minutes.
CHORUS (singing)
Never have I listened to a cleverer or more eloquent woman.
Everything she says is true; she has examined the matter from all
sides and has weighed up every detail. Her arguments are close,
varied, and happily chosen. I believe that Xenocles himself, the son
of Carcinus, would seem to talk mere nonsense, if placed beside her.
SECOND WOMAN
I have only a very few words to add, for the last speaker has
covered the various points of the indictment; allow me only to tell
you what happened to me. My husband died at Cyprus, leaving me five
children, whom I had great trouble to bring up by weaving chaplets
on the myrtle market. Anyhow, I lived as well as I could until this
wretch had persuaded the spectators by his tragedies that there were
no gods; since then I have not sold as many chaplets by half. I charge
you therefore and exhort you all to punish him, for does he not
deserve it in a thousand respects, he who loads you with troubles, who
is as coarse toward you as the vegetables upon which his mother reared
him? But I must back to the market to weave my chaplets; I have twenty
to deliver yet.
CHORUS (singing)
This is even more animated and more trenchant than the first
speech; all she has just said is full of good sense and to the
point; it is clever, clear and well calculated to convince. Yes! we
must have striking vengeance on the insults of Euripides.
MNESILOCHUS
Oh, women! I am not astonished at these outbursts of fiery rage;
how could your bile not get inflamed against Euripides, who has spoken
so ill of you? As for myself, I hate the man, I swear it by my
children; it would be madness not to hate him! Yet, let us reflect a
little; we are alone and our words will not be repeated outside. Why
be so bent on his ruin? Because he has known and shown up two or three
of our faults, when we have a thousand? As for myself, not to speak of
other women, I have more than one great sin upon my conscience, but
this is the blackest of them. I had been married three days and my
husband was asleep by my side; I had a lover, who had seduced me
when I was seven years old; impelled by his passion, he came
scratching at the door; I understood at once he was there and was
going down noiselessly. "Where are you going?" asked my husband. "I am

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