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The Thesmophoriazusae   


SECOND WOMAN
What belongs to the priestess?
MNESILOCHUS
Here, take it.
(He throws her the Cretan robe.)
SECOND WOMAN
Ah! unfortunate Mica! Who has robbed you of your daughter, your
beloved child?
FIRST WOMAN
That wretch. But as you are here, watch him well, while I go
with Clisthenes to the Magistrates and denounce him for his crimes.
MNESILOCHUS
Ah! how can I secure safety? what device can I hit on? what can
I think of? He whose fault it is, he who hurried me into this trouble,
will not come to my rescue. Let me see, whom could I best send to him?
Ha! I know a means taken from Palamedes; like him, I will write my
misfortune on some oars, which I will cast into the sea. Where might I
find some oars? Hah! what if I took these statues instead of oars,
wrote upon them and then threw them towards this side and that. That's
the best thing to do. Besides, like oars they are of wood.
(singing)
Oh! my hands, keep up your courage, for my safety is at stake.
Come, my beautiful tablets, receive the traces of my stylus and be the
messengers of my sorry fate. Oh! oh! this R looks miserable enough!
Where is it running to then? Come, off with you in all directions,
to the right and to the left; and hurry yourselves, for there's much
need indeed!
(He sits down to wait for Euripides. The Chorus turns and faces
the audience.)

LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Let us address ourselves to the spectators to sing our praises,
despite the fact that each one says much ill of women. If the men
are to be believed, we are a plague to them; through us come all their
troubles, quarrels, disputes, sedition, griefs and wars. But if we are
truly such a pest, why marry us? Why forbid us to go out or show
ourselves at the window? You want to keep this pest, and take a
thousand cares to do it. If your wife goes out and you meet her away
from the house, you fly into a fury. Ought you not rather to rejoice
and give thanks to the gods? for if the pest has disappeared, you will
no longer find it at home. If we fall asleep at friends' houses from
the fatigue of playing and sporting, each of you comes prowling
round the bed to contemplate the features of this pest. If we seat
ourselves at the window, each one wants to see the pest, and if we
withdraw through modesty, each wants all the more to see the pest
perch herself there again. It is thus clear that we are better than
you, and the proof of this is easy. Let us find out which is the worse
of the two sexes. We say, "It's you," while you aver, "it's we."'
Come, let us compare them in detail, each individual man with a woman.
Charminus is not equal to Nausimache, that's certain. Cleophon is in
every respect inferior to Salabaccho. It's a long time now since any
of you has dared to contest the prize with Aristomache, the heroine of
Marathon, or with Stratonice.
Among the last year's Senators, who have just yielded their
office to other citizens, is there one who equals Eubule? Not even
Anytus would say that. Therefore we maintain that men are greatly
our inferiors. You see no woman who has robbed the state of fifty
talents rushing about the city in a magnificent chariot; our
greatest peculations are a measure of corn, which we steal from our
husbands, and even then we return it to them the very same day. But we
could name many amongst you who do quite as much, and who are, even
more than ourselves, gluttons, parasites, cheats and kidnappers of
slaves. We know how to keep our property better than you. We still
have our cylinders, our beams, our baskets and our surshades;
whereas many among you have lost the wood of your spears as well as

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