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The Thesmophoriazusae   


Start off while you sing to the god of the lyre and to the
chaste goddess armed with the bow. Hail I thou god who flingest thy
darts so far, grant us the victory! The homage of our song is also due
to Here, the goddess of marriage, who interests herself in every
chorus and guards the approach to the nuptial couch. I also pray
Hermes, the god of the shepherds, and Pan and the beloved Graces to
bestow a benevolent smile upon our songs.
Let us lead off anew, let us double our zeal during our solemn
days, and especially let us observe a close fast; let us form fresh
measures that keep good time, and may our songs resound to the very
heavens. Do thou, oh divine Bacchus, who art crowned with ivy,
direct our chorus; 'tis to thee that both my hymns and my dances are
dedicated; oh, Evius, oh, Bromius, oh, thou son of Semeld, oh,
Bacchus, who delightest to mingle with the dear choruses of the nymphs
upon the mountains, and who repeatest, while dancing with them, the
sacred hymn, Euios, Euios, Euoi! Echo, the nymph of Cithaeron, returns
thy words, which resound beneath the dark vaults of the thick
foliage and in the midst of the rocks of the forest; the ivy enlaces
thy brow with its tendrils charged with flowers.
SCYTHIAN (he speaks with a heavy foreign accent)
You shall stay here in the open air to wail.
MNESILOCHUS
Archer, I adjure you.
SCYTHIAN
You're wasting your breath.
MNESILOCHUS
Loosen the wedge a little.
SCYTHIAN
Aye, certainly.
MNESILOCHUS
Oh by the gods! why, you are driving it in tighter.
SCYTHIAN
Is that enough?
MNESILOCHUS
Oh! Oh! Ow! Ow! May the plague take you!
SCYTHIAN
Silence! you cursed old wretch! I am going to get a mat to lie
upon, so as to watch you close at hand at my ease.
MNESILOCHUS
Ah! what exquisite pleasures Euripides is securing for me! But,
oh, ye gods! oh, Zeus the Deliverer, all is not yet lost! I don't
believe him the man to break his word; I just caught sight of him
appearing in the form of Perseus, and he told me with a mysterious
sign to turn myself into Andromeda. And in truth am I not really
bound? It's certain, then, that be is coming to my rescue; for
otherwise he would not have steered his flight this way.
(As Andromeda, singing)
Oh Nymphs, ye virgins who are so dear to me, how am I to
approach him? how can I escape the sight of this Scythian? And Echo,
thou who reignest in the inmost recesses of the caves, oh! favour my
cause and permit me to approach my spouse. A pitiless ruffian has
chained up the most unfortunate of mortal maids. Alas! I bad barely
escaped the filthy claws of an old fury, when another mischance
overtook me! This Scythian does not take his eye off me and he has
exposed me as food for the crows. Alas! what is to become of me, alone
here and without friends! I am not seen mingling in the dances nor
in the games of my companions, but heavily loaded with fetters I am
given over to the voracity of a Glaucetes. Sing no bridal hymn for me,
oh women, but rather the hymn of captivity, and in tears. Ah! how I
suffer! great gods! how I suffer! Alas! alas! and through my own
relatives too! My misery would make Tartarus dissolve into tears!
Alas! in my terrible distress, I implore the mortal who first shaved
me and depilated me, then dressed me in this long robe, and then
sent me to this Temple into the midst of the women, to save me. Oh!

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