The Thracians will retire, and present themselves the day after 6 to-morrow; for the Prytanes 7 dismiss the assembly. Ah me, unhappy man! Not yet, until I cease running; for I am obliged to escape from the Acharnians by flight. But I fled, while they pursued and bellowed. Then let them bellow.
Aye marry, here are three samples. These are for five years.
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Take and taste. They please me not, because they smell of pitch and naval preparations.
This too smells very sharply of embassies to our towns, as it were of delay amongst the allies. Well, this is for thirty 3 years, both by land and sea. O Dionysia! And I, freed from war and toils, will go within and celebrate the rural Dionysia. While 1 I will escape from the Acharnians. But declare to me, if any one knows where in the world he that bears the peace has turned. He is fled away; he is vanished and gone.
Alas my years, wretched man that I am! In the days of my youth, when, bearing a load of coals, I followed Phayllus in the race, this truce-bearer would not have so easily escaped, when pursued by me; neither would he have so nimbly slipped off. But now, since at length my shin is stiffened, and the legs of the aged Lacratides are wearied, he is gone. He must be pursued; for never let 2 him laugh at us, nor one who, by having escaped the Acharnians, old men as we are, made peace, O Jove and ye gods, with our foes, against whom, on account of my estates, hostile war is increased by me; and I will not give over until, like a rush, I stick right into them sharp, painful, up to the hilt, so that they may never again trample on my vines.
We must seek for the fellow, and look towards Ballene, 3 and pursue him from land to land, 4 until at length he be found: for I could not be surfeited with pelting him with stones. Silence, each of you.
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Did you hear, friends, the proclamation of silence? This is the very person whom we are seeking for. Hither, each of you; get out of his way; for the man, as it seems, is coming out to sacrifice. Use no ill-omened words: use no ill-omened words. Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] Let the basket-bearer advance a little forward. Let Xanthias set up the Phallus erect. Do you, my daughter, put down the basket, that we may commence the rites. Mother, reach here the soup-ladle, that I may pour some soup upon this pan-cake.
Come, daughter, take care that, pretty as you are, you bear the basket prettily, with a verjuice face. How blest the man who shall wed you, and beget upon you pussies to—stink no less than you, as soon as it is dawn. Proceed, and in the crowd take especial care, that no one secretly nibbles off your golden ornaments.
O Xanthias, 1 you two must hold the Phallus erect behind the basket-bearer, and I following will sing the Phallic hymn; and do you, wife, look at me from the house-top. O Phales, Phales! This is the very fellow, this: pelt, pelt, pelt, pelt; strike, strike the wretch, each of you; will you not pelt? Do you ask this? You are shameless and abominable, O betrayer of your country, who, having made a peace without us, 1 canst look me in the face. Shall we hear you? You shall perish; we will overwhelm you with stones.
I will not be patient; nor do thou utter a word to me, for I hate thee still more than Cleon, whom I will 2 cut up into shoe-soles for the Knights. Not of all, you villain? Hast thou the audacity, pray, openly to say this to us? Then shall I spare you? Not of all, not of all; but I here, who address you, could prove abundantly that they have even been injured in some cases.
This expression is dreadful and heart-troubling, if you shall dare to speak to us in defence of our foes.
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And if I speak not what is just, and am not approved of by the people, I shall be ready to speak with this neck of mine over a chopping-block. Tell me, fellow-tribesmen, why spare we our stones, so as not to card 4 this fellow into a scarlet rag? How again a black burning coal has blazed up within you! Will you not hear, will you not hear, pray, 1 O sons of the Acharnians? Then I will sting you; for I will kill in turn the dearest of your friends, since I have hostages of you, whom I will take and butcher.
Tell me, 3 fellow-tribesmen, what word is this, with which he threatens us Acharnians? Has he shut up within a child of any of those present? Pelt, if ye will, for I will kill this one. I shall quickly know who of you cares at all for coals. How we are undone! But do not do what you purpose; by no means, O by no means!
Be assured that I will kill him: 4 cry on, for I will not hear you. Will you then kill this my companion in age, the friend of colliers? First, then, 5 empty your stones upon the ground.
But see that some stones are not lying in ambush somewhere in your cloaks. They have been shook out on the ground.
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No excuses; lay down your weapon; since this is shaken with the whirl in the dance. So then you were all of you going 2 to raise a war-cry, and the coals of Parnes all but met with their death, and that too on account of the unnatural conduct of their fellow-tribesmen; and under the influence of fear the coal-basket, like a cuttle-fish, squirted upon me abundant coal-dust. But place here the chopping-block and begin to speak, as you yourself determined the punishment.
Lo, behold! And yet I greatly fear, for I know the humour of the rustics to be wondrous tickled, if any quack praise them and their city, right or wrong: and there unknowingly they are bought and sold. For he dragged me into the senate-house, and calumniated me, and spoke lies against me, and roared like the torrent Cycloboros, and drenched me so that I almost perished altogether, getting into dirty quarrels. Now, therefore, in the first place permit me. Why shuffle in this way, and deal subtilly, and contrive delays?
Rightly, old man. His mind, collecting scraps of poetry abroad, is not within, while he himself within is making tragedy with his legs lying up. Thrice happy Euripides! Call him out. Euripides, dear little Euripides, 1 hearken if ever you did to any man. Well then, I will be wheeled out; but I have no leisure to descend.
You make verses with your legs lying up, when you might with them down. No 2 wonder you make your characters lame. But why wear you the rags from tragedy, a piteous attire? No wonder you make your characters beggars. Come, I beseech you by your knees, Euripides, give me some little rag from your old drama, 3 for I must speak a lengthy speech to the chorus; and if I speak it badly it brings me death. What rags? What ragged garments does the man require? Not Bellerophon; yet he too, whom I mean, was lame, an importunate beggar, and the deuce at talking.
Slave, give him the rags of Telephus: they lie above the Thyestean rags, between 1 those of Ino and his. O Jupiter, that seest through 2 and beholdest all things on every side, grant me to dress myself like a most wretched man. I will give it; for you devise subtleties with a sagacious intellect. Mayest thou be happy! How I am filled now with quibbles!
My soul,—for thou seest how I am driven away from his house, though in want of many articles of dress,—now be thou importunate, teasing, and earnest in prayer. Euripides, give me a little basket burnt through with a lamp. Take it, and be damned! By Jove, aside, you know not yet what ills you work yourself. Fellow, you will rob me of my tragedy. I am going: and yet what shall I do? Hear, sweetest Euripides! If I obtain this, I will depart, and will not come any more. Give me some withered green-stuff for my little basket.