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Lysistrata


Aristophanes, Richard Francois Philippe Brunck (tr)



Part 1

LYSISTRATA

At si quis in ædem Bacchi vocasset eas, aut Panos, aut Coliadis, aut Genetyllidis,[1] ne transire quidem liceret præ multitudine tympanorum: nunc autem nulla adest hic mulier. Verumtamen hæc vicina mea foras exit. Salve, ô Calonice.

CALONICE

Et tu mecastor salve, Lysistrata. Sed quid conturbata es? exporge frontem, carissima: non enim te decent contracta supercilia.

LYSISTRATA

Sed, ô Calonice, uritur mihi cor, et valde me piget sexus nostri, quoniam viri existimant nos esse nequam.

CALONICE

Quippe tales pol sumus.

LYSISTRATA

Quumque edictum illis fuerit huc convenire, deliberaturis de re non levi, dormiunt, nec veniunt.

CALONICE

Sed, ô carissima, venient. Mulieribus domo prodire non ita facile est. Alia enim marito operam dat: alia famulum excitat: alia puerum in lecto collocat, alia lavat, alia cibo in os indito placat.

LYSISTRATA

Sed erant magis necessaria curanda ipsis.

CALONICE

Quid autem est, mea Lysistrata, cur nos mulieres convocas? Quænam illa res est aut quanta?

LYSISTRATA

Magna.[2]

CALONICE

Num etiam crassa?

LYSISTRATA

Ita me servet Jupiter, crassa.

CALONICE

Quî fit ergo, ut non veniamus?

LYSISTRATA

Nihil tale est: cito enim convenissemus. Sed est quiddam a me quæsitum, multis vigiliis in omnes partes versatum.

CALONICE

Mirabor, ni subtile quid sit versatum istud in omnes partes.

LYSISTRATA

Adeo subtile, ut universæ Græciæ salus sita sit in mulieribus.

CALONICE

In mulieribus? Parum ergo abest, quin nulla sit.

LYSISTRATA

Ita ut arbitri nostri sit, salvam esse rempublicam, aut nullos superesse, nec Peloponnesios—

CALONICE

Nullos superesse edepol optimum est.

LYSISTRATA

Bœotiosque omnes perire funditus.

CALONICE

Non omnes, quæso; sed anguillas excipe.[3]

LYSISTRATA

De Athenis autem nil tale ominabor: tu ipsa conjecturam facias. Si vero convenerint huc mulieres ex Bœotia simul et Peloponneso, nosque Atticæ, communiter servabimus Græciam.

CALONICE

Sed quid possent mulieres prudenter agere et præclare? nosne, quæ sedemus pigmentis nitentes, ornamentis excultæ, crocotas gestantes, et Cimbericas rectas, et peribaridas?

LYSISTRATA

Immo enimvero hæc ipsa sunt, a quibus salutem spero; crocotulæ, et unguenta, et peribarides, et anchusa, et pellucidæ tunicæ.

CALONICE

Quo tandem modo?

LYSISTRATA

Ita ut illorum, qui nunc vivunt, virorum contra alium hastam nemo tollat.

CALONICE

Crocotam ergo, ita me Ceres amet et Proserpina, mihi tingendam curabo.

LYSISTRATA

Nec clypeum sumat.

CALONICE

Cimbericam induam.

LYSISTRATA

Nec gladiolum.

CALONICE

Peribaridas emam.

LYSISTRATA

Annon ergo adesse mulieres oportebat?

CALONICE

Quin pol volando venisse oportuit dudum.

LYSISTRATA

Sed, pro dolor! videbis eas esse nimis Atticas, dum omnia faciunt justo tardius.[4] At nec ex maritimis ulla mulier adest, nec ex Salamine.[5]

CALONICE

Sed has scio in celocibus trajecisse matutinas.

LYSISTRATA

Nec, quas sperabam et confidebam ego primas hic adfore, Acharnenses mulieres veniunt.[6]

CALONICE

Attamen Theagenis uxor,[7] tanquam horsum venire cupiens Hecatæ simulacrum consuluit. Sed ecce accedunt quædam: item aliæ etiam. Hem, hem! undenam sunt?

LYSISTRATA

Ex Anagyro.

CALONICE

Edepol ut dicis. Anagyrus[8] ergo mihi videtur commotus.

MYRRHINA

Num tardius advenimus, ô Lysistrata? quid ais? cur taces?

LYSISTRATA

Non laudo, Myrrhina, modo advenientem in re tanta.

MYRRHINA

Vix enim in tenebris cingulum inveni, sed, si res urget, fare præsentibus nobis.

LYSISTRATA

Immo potius opperiamur paulisper, dum Bœotiæ et Peloponnesiæ mulieres veniant.

MYRRHINA

Multo tu rectius dicis: et ecce jam hæc Lampito accedit.

LYSISTRATA

O carissima Lacæna, salve Lampito. Quam formosa videris, ô dulcissima! quam pulchro colore, quam vegeto es corpore! vel taurum strangulare possis.

LAMPITO

Næ istuc ecastor credo, siquidem corpus exerceo, et subsultans pede podicem ferio.[9]

LYSISTRATA

Quam bellas habes papillas!

LAMPITO

Tanquam victimam pertractatis me.

LYSISTRATA

Hæc autem adolescentula altera, cujas est?

LAMPITO

Primaria ecastor femina Bœotia venit ad vos.

LYSISTRATA

Pol Bœotia est, pulchrumque habens campum.

CALONICE

Et pol mundum, vulso pulegio.[10]

LYSISTRATA

Quænam vero est illa altera puella?

LAMPITO

Bona quidem ecastor, sed Corinthia.

LYSISTRATA

Bona edepol videtur, ut illic esse solent.[11]

LAMPITO

Jam vero quis congregavit mulierum hunc cœtum?

LYSISTRATA

Ipsa ego.

LAMPITO

Dic igitur nobis, quid velis.

LYSISTRATA

Ita sane, carissima.

MYRRHINA

Dic tandem quodnam sit serium illud negotium.

LYSISTRATA

Jam dicam. Sed priusquam dicam, vos hoc interrogabo pauxillum quidpiam.

MYRRHINA

Quidquid voles.

LYSISTRATA

Liberorum vestrorum patres nonne desideratis absentes in milita? Sat enim scio unicuique vostrûm peregre abesse virum.

CALONICE

Meus quidem vir jam quinque menses, ô miser, abest in Thracia observans Eucratem.[12]

LYSISTRATA

Meus vero totos sex menses ad Pylum.[13]

LAMPITO

Meus autem, si quando ab exercitu redeat, mox adnexo sibi clypeo evolat.

LYSISTRATA

Sed nec mœchi relicta est scintilla. Ex quo enim nos prodiderunt Milesii, ne olisbum quidem vidi octo digitos longum, qui nobis esset coriaceum auxilium. Velletisne ergo, si quam ego fabricam invenero, bello mecum finem imponere?

MYRRHINA

Per Deas juro me velle, si me oporteat vel encyclum hocce opponere pignori, sumtamque pecuniam hoc ipso die ebibere.[14]

CALONICE

Ego vero mihi videor vel rhombi instar meipsam dissectura, et dimidium mei datura.

LAMPITO

Ego vero vel ad Taygetum[15] ascenderem, si ibi Pacem sim visura.

LYSISTRATA

Dicam ergo; siquidem res celanda non est. Nobis enim, ô mulieres, si volumus cogere viros ad colendam pacem, abstinendum est—

MYRRHINA

Quo? dic.

LYSISTRATA

Facietisne ergo?

MYRRHINA

Faciemus, si vel nos mori oporteat.

LYSISTRATA

Abstinendum igitur nobis est a pene. Quid mihi aversamini? quorsum itis? Vos inquam, cur labra distorquetis, et renuitis? cur color mutatur? cur lacrima fluit? facietisne, an non facietis? aut quid cogitatis?

MYRRHINA

Non fecerim, sed bellum serpat.

CALONICE

Nec edepol ego, sed bellum serpat.

LYSISTRATA

Hoccine dicis tu, rhombe? atqui modo aiebas te vel dimidium tui abscissuram.

CALONICE

Aliud, aliud quidquid voles. Vel per ignem, si oporteat, incedere volo. Hoc potius, quam quod de pene dicebas, ad quem nihil est quod compares, ô cara Lysistrata.

LYSISTRATA

Tu vero, quid?

LAMPITO

Et ego volo per ignem.

LYSISTRATA

O libidinosum sexum omnem nostrum! non temere est, quod de nobis fiunt Tragœdiæ: nihil enim sumus, nisi _Neptunus et scapha_.[16] Sed, ô cara Lacæna (tu enim si fueris sola mecum, perditam rem adhuc restituere poterimus) adsentire mihi.

LAMPITO

Per ecastor[17] difficile est feminas dormire solas sine mentula. Hoc tamen perpeti oportet: nam pacem fieri oportet maxime.

LYSISTRATA

O carissima et sola harum femina.

MYRRHINA

Si autem, quod absit, quam maxime abstineamus a quo tu dicis, magisne eapropter fiet pax?

LYSISTRATA

Multo magis, ita me ament Divæ. Si enim domi sederemus pigmentis oblitæ et in amorginis[18] subucilis nudæ insederemus glabro cunno, arrigerent viri, et coire cuperent: nos autem si non accederemus, at nos contineremus, sat scio mox pacem eos facturos.

LAMPITO

Sane Menelaus olim conspectis, ut puto, Helenæ nudis papillis, ensem abjecit.

MYRRHINA

Quid vero, ô misella, si nos omiserint viri?

LYSISTRATA

Tum istud Pherecratis adhibe, _Canem excoriatum excoriare_.[19]

MYRRHINA

Nugæ sunt ista simulacra. Si vero comprehensas in cubiculum vi traxerint nos?

LYSISTRATA

Renitere apprehensis foribus.

MYRRHINA

At si verberent?

LYSISTRATA

Tum præbe, sed maligne. Nulla enim his inest voluptas, si per vim fiant. Aliisque modis molestia eos afficere oportet. Nec dubites, quin ocius defatigentur: nunquam enim ex eo voluptatem vir capiet, ni mulieri simul jucundum sit.

MYRRHINA

Si vobis hoc videtur, nobis itidem videtur.

LAMPITO

Et nos quidem nostris viris persuadebimus, ut ubique sine dolo malo pacem colant. Sed Atheniensium colluviem quomodo quis adducere possit, ut ne rursus delicias faciat?

LYSISTRATA

Ne sis sollicita: nos, quod in nobis erit, nostratibus persuadebimus.

LAMPITO

Nequicquam, quamdiu in triremes conferentur studia, et in Divæ æde adservabitur immensa illa pecuniæ vis.

LYSISTRATA

Sed et hoc etiam bene provisum et præcautum est: occupabimus enim arcem hodie. Nam provectioribus ætate mulieribus hoc mandatum est negotium, ut, dum nos hæc constituimus, sub specie sacrificandi occupent arcem.

LAMPITO

Omnino fieri possit: etenim sic bene autumas.

LYSISTRATA

Cur ergo non hæc quamprimum, ô Lampito, jurejurando confirmamus, ut irrupta sint?

LAMPITO

Jusjurandum modo concipito, ut juremus.

LYSISTRATA

Recte autumas. Ubi est Scythæna?[20] quo spectas? Pone in conspectu clypeum supinum: et mihi det hostias aliquis.

MYRRHINA

Lysistrata, quo sacramento nos adstringes?

LYSISTRATA

Quonam? In clypeum, ut Æschylum aiunt fecisse quondam, ove mactata—[21]

MYRRHINA

Ne, quæso, mea Lysistrata, juraveris in clypeum quicquam super pace.

LYSISTRATA

Quodnam erit ergo jusjurandum?

MYRRHINA

Si sumtum alicunde album equum immolemus, et super eo juremus.

LYSISTRATA

Quorsum album equum?

MYRRHINA

Sed quomodo jurabimus nos?

LYSISTRATA

Edepol tibi dicam, si velis. Collocato supino grandi calice nigro, in eum immolemus Thasii[22] vini urceum, et juremus aquam in calicem nos non infusuras.

LAMPITO

Dii boni, quale juramentum! dicere nequeam quantum illum probem. Intus efferat aliquis foras calicem et urceum.

LYSISTRATA

O carissimæ mulieres, quanta vis fictilium! hoc sumto calice statim quis hilarabitur: eum depone, et hostiam mihi prehende. O Suada domina, et amicitiæ phiala, propitia mulieribus accipe hæc sacra.

MYRRHINA

Boni coloris est sanguis et pulchre profluit.

LAMPITO

Quin etiam, ita me Castor amet, suave olet.

LYSISTRATA

Sinite primam me, ô mulieres, jurare.

MYRRHINA

Non, per Venerem; nisi sortita fueris.

LYSISTRATA

Prehendite omnes calicem, ô Lampito, dicatque pro vobis una, quæcunque ego dixero; vos vero in eadem jurabitis et rata habebitis: _Nec adulter, nec vir ullus est—_

MYRRHINA

_Nec adulter, nec vir ullus est._

LYSISTRATA

_Qui ad me accedet rigente nervo._ Dic.

MYRRHINA

_Qui ad me accedet rigente nervo._ Papæ! labant genua mea, o Lysistrata.

LYSISTRATA

_Domi casta degam ætatem—_

MYRRHINA

_Domi casta degam ætatem._

LYSISTRATA

_Crocotam gestans et comta—_

MYRRHINA

_Crocotam gestans et comta._

LYSISTRATA

_Ut meus vir quam maxime incendatur—_

MYRRHINA

_Ut meus vir quam maxime incendatur._

LYSISTRATA

_Nec unquam sponte viro meo morem geram—_

MYRRHINA

_Nec unquam sponte viro meo morem geram._

LYSISTRATA

_Si vero me invitam vi cogat—_

MYRRHINA

_Si vero me invitam vi cogat._

LYSISTRATA

_Maligne ei præbebo et motus non addam._

MYRRHINA

_Maligne ei præbebo et motus non addam._

LYSISTRATA

_Non tollam calceos sursum ad lacunar._

MYRRHINA

_Non tollam calceos sursum ad lacunar._

LYSISTRATA

_Non conquiniscam instar leœnæ in cultri manubrio._

MYRRHINA

_Non conquiniscam instar leœnæ in cultri manubrio._

LYSISTRATA

_Hæc si rata habeam, liceat mihi hinc bibere._

MYRRHINA

_Hæc si rata habeam, liceat mihi, hinc bibere._

LYSISTRATA

_Si vero transgrediar, aqua impleatur calix._

MYRRHINA

_Si vero transgrediar, aqua impleatur calix._

LYSISTRATA

Vosne omnes jurejurando hæc firmatis?

CALONICE

Ita, per Jovem.

LYSISTRATA

Age, ego sacrificabo hanc hostiam.

MYRRHINA

Partem modo, ô cara, ut statim ab initio amicæ inter nos simus.

LAMPITO

Quis ille clamor?

LYSISTRATA

Hoc illud est, quod dicebam. Nam mulieres arcem Deæ jam occuparunt. Sed, ô Lampito, tu quidem abi, et res vestras compone: has autem relinque nobis hîc obsides. Nos vero cum ceteris, quæ sunt in arce, mulieribus, una occludamus ingressæ ostium repagulis.

MYRRHINA

Nonne putatis contra nos suppetias venturos mox viros?

LYSISTRATA

Flocci eos non facio. Non enim tantas minas, nec tantum ignem ferentes venient, ut claustra hæc reserare possint, nisi ea, qua diximus, conditione.

MYRRHINA

Nunquam certe, ita me Venus amet. Frustra enim nos mulieres vocaremur invictæ et scelestæ.

[1] At Athens more than anywhere the festivals of Bacchus (Dionysus) were celebrated with the utmost pomp--and also with the utmost licence, not to say licentiousness.

Pan---the rustic god and king of the Satyrs; his feast was similarly an occasion of much coarse self-indulgence.

Aphrodité Colias--under this name the goddess was invoked by courtesans as patroness of sensual, physical love. She had a temple on the promontory of Colias, on the Attic coast--whence the surname.

The Genetyllides were minor deities, presiding over the act of generation, as the name indicates. Dogs were offered in sacrifice to them--presumably because of the lubricity of that animal.

At the festivals of Dionysus, Pan and Aphrodité women used to perform lascivious dances to the accompaniment of the beating of tambourines. Lysistrata implies that the women she had summoned to council cared really for nothing but wanton pleasures.

[2] An obscene _double entendre_; Calonicé understands, or pretends to understand, Lysistrata as meaning a long and thick "membrum virile"!

[3] The eels from Lake Copaïs in Boeotia were esteemed highly by epicures.

[4] This is the reproach Demosthenes constantly levelled against his Athenian fellow-countrymen--their failure to seize opportunity.

[5] An island of the Saronic Gulf, lying between Magara and Attica. It was separated by a narrow strait--scene of the naval battle of Salamis, in which the Athenians defeated Xerxes--only from the Attic coast, and was subject to Athens.

[6] A deme, or township, of Attica, lying five or six miles north of Athens. The Acharnians were throughout the most extreme partisans of the warlike party during the Peloponnesian struggle. See 'The Acharnians.'

[7] The precise reference is uncertain, and where the joke exactly comes in. The Scholiast says Theagenes was a rich, miserly and superstitious citizen, who never undertook any enterprise without first consulting an image of Hecaté, the distributor of honour and wealth according to popular belief; and his wife would naturally follow her husband's example.

[8] A deme of Attica, a small and insignificant community--a 'Little Pedlington' in fact.

[9] In allusion to the gymnastic training which was _de rigueur_ at Sparta for the women no less than the men, and in particular to the dance of the Lacedaemonian girls, in which the performer was expected to kick the fundament with the heels--always a standing joke among the Athenians against their rivals and enemies the Spartans.

[10] The allusion, of course, is to the 'garden of love,' the female parts, which it was the custom with the Greek women, as it is with the ladies of the harem in Turkey to this day, to depilate scrupulously, with the idea of making themselves more attractive to men.

[11] Corinth was notorious in the Ancient world for its prostitutes and general dissoluteness.

[12] An Athenian general strongly suspected of treachery; Aristophanes pretends his own soldiers have to see that he does not desert to the enemy.

[13] A town and fortress on the west coast of Messenia, south-east part of Peloponnese, at the northern extremity of the bay of Sphacteria--the scene by the by of the modern naval battle of Navarino-- in Lacedaemonian territory; it had been seized by the Athenian fleet, and was still in their possession at the date, 412 B.C., of the representation of the 'Lysistrata,' though two years later, in the twenty-second year of the War, it was recovered by Sparta.

[14] The Athenian women, rightly or wrongly, had the reputation of being over fond of wine. Aristophanes, here and elsewhere, makes many jests on this weakness of theirs.

[15] The lofty range of hills overlooking Sparta from the west.

[16] In the original "we are nothing but Poseidon and a boat"; the allusion is to a play of Sophocles, now lost, but familiar to Aristophanes' audience, entitled 'Tyro,' in which the heroine, Tyro, appears with Poseidon, the sea-god, at the beginning of the tragedy, and at the close with the two boys she had had by him, whom she exposes in an open boat.

[17] "By the two goddesses,"--a woman's oath, which recurs constantly in this play; the two goddesses are always Demeter and Proserpine.

[18] One of the Cyclades, between Naxos and Cos, celebrated, like the latter, for its manufacture of fine, almost transparent silks, worn in Greece, and later at Rome, by women of loose character.

[19] The proverb, quoted by Pherecrates, is properly spoken of those who go out of their way to do a thing already done--"to kill a dead horse," but here apparently is twisted by Aristophanes into an allusion to the leathern 'godemiche' mentioned a little above; if the worst comes to the worst, we must use artificial means. Pherecrates was a comic playwright, a contemporary of Aristophanes.

[20] Literally "our Scythian woman." At Athens, policemen and ushers in the courts were generally Scythians; so the revolting women must have _their_ Scythian "Usheress" too.

[21] In allusion to the oath which the seven allied champions before Thebes take upon a buckler, in Aeschylus' tragedy of 'The Seven against Thebes,' v. 42.

[22] A volcanic island in the northern part of the Aegaean, celebrated for its vineyards.
Lysistrata
Aristophanes

Part 1

LYSISTRATA

If they were trysting for a Bacchanal, A feast of Pan or Colias or Genetyllis, The tambourines would block the rowdy streets, But now there's not a woman to be seen Except--ah, yes--this neighbour of mine yonder.

Good day Calonice.

CALONICE

Good day Lysistrata. But what has vexed you so? Tell me, child. What are these black looks for? It doesn't suit you To knit your eyebrows up glumly like that.

LYSISTRATA

Calonice, it's more than I can bear, I am hot all over with blushes for our sex. Men say we're slippery rogues--

CALONICE

And aren't they right?

LYSISTRATA

Yet summoned on the most tremendous business For deliberation, still they snuggle in bed.

CALONICE

My dear, they'll come. It's hard for women, you know, To get away. There's so much to do; Husbands to be patted and put in good tempers: Servants to be poked out: children washed Or soothed with lullays or fed with mouthfuls of pap.

LYSISTRATA

But I tell you, here's a far more weighty object.

CALONICE

What is it all about, dear Lysistrata, That you've called the women hither in a troop? What kind of an object is it?

LYSISTRATA

A tremendous thing!

CALONICE

And long?

LYSISTRATA

Indeed, it may be very lengthy.

CALONICE

Then why aren't they here?

LYSISTRATA

No man's connected with it; If that was the case, they'd soon come fluttering along. No, no. It concerns an object I've felt over And turned this way and that for sleepless nights.

CALONICE

It must be fine to stand such long attention.

LYSISTRATA

So fine it comes to this--Greece saved by Woman!

CALONICE

By Woman? Wretched thing, I'm sorry for it.

LYSISTRATA

Our country's fate is henceforth in our hands: To destroy the Peloponnesians root and branch--

CALONICE

What could be nobler!

LYSISTRATA

Wipe out the Boeotians--

CALONICE

Not utterly. Have mercy on the eels! [Footnote: The Boeotian eels were highly esteemed delicacies in Athens.]

LYSISTRATA

But with regard to Athens, note I'm careful Not to say any of these nasty things; Still, thought is free.... But if the women join us From Peloponnesus and Boeotia, then Hand in hand we'll rescue Greece.

CALONICE

How could we do Such a big wise deed? We women who dwell Quietly adorning ourselves in a back-room With gowns of lucid gold and gawdy toilets Of stately silk and dainty little slippers....

LYSISTRATA

These are the very armaments of the rescue. These crocus-gowns, this outlay of the best myrrh, Slippers, cosmetics dusting beauty, and robes With rippling creases of light.

CALONICE

Yes, but how?

LYSISTRATA

No man will lift a lance against another--

CALONICE

I'll run to have my tunic dyed crocus.

LYSISTRATA

Or take a shield--

CALONICE

I'll get a stately gown.

LYSISTRATA

Or unscabbard a sword--

CALONICE

Let me buy a pair of slipper.

LYSISTRATA

Now, tell me, are the women right to lag?

CALONICE

They should have turned birds, they should have grown wings and flown.

LYSISTRATA

My friend, you'll see that they are true Athenians: Always too late. Why, there's not a woman From the shoreward demes arrived, not one from Salamis.

CALONICE

I know for certain they awoke at dawn, And got their husbands up if not their boat sails.

LYSISTRATA

And I'd have staked my life the Acharnian dames Would be here first, yet they haven't come either!

CALONICE

Well anyhow there is Theagenes' wife We can expect--she consulted Hecate. But look, here are some at last, and more behind them. See ... where are they from?

CALONICE

From Anagyra they come.

LYSISTRATA

Yes, they generally manage to come first.

_Enter_ MYRRHINE.

MYRRHINE

Are we late, Lysistrata? ... What is that? Nothing to say?

LYSISTRATA

I've not much to say for you, Myrrhine, dawdling on so vast an affair.

MYRRHINE

I couldn't find my girdle in the dark. But if the affair's so wonderful, tell us, what is it?

LYSISTRATA

No, let us stay a little longer till The Peloponnesian girls and the girls of Bocotia Are here to listen.

MYRRHINE

That's the best advice. Ah, there comes Lampito.

_Enter_ LAMPITO.

LYSISTRATA

Welcome Lampito! Dear Spartan girl with a delightful face, Washed with the rosy spring, how fresh you look In the easy stride of your sleek slenderness, Why you could strangle a bull!

LAMPITO

I think I could. It's frae exercise and kicking high behint.

[Footnote: The translator has put the speech of the Spartan characters in Scotch dialect which is related to English about as was the Spartan dialect to the speech of Athens. The Spartans, in their character, anticipated the shrewd, canny, uncouth Scotch highlander of modern times.]

LYSISTRATA

What lovely breasts to own!

LAMPITO

Oo ... your fingers Assess them, ye tickler, wi' such tender chucks I feel as if I were an altar-victim.

LYSISTRATA

Who is this youngster?

LAMPITO

A Boeotian lady.

LYSISTRATA

There never was much undergrowth in Boeotia, Such a smooth place, and this girl takes after it.

CALONICE

Yes, I never saw a skin so primly kept.

LYSISTRATA

This girl?

LAMPITO

A sonsie open-looking jinker! She's a Corinthian.

LYSISTRATA

Yes, isn't she Very open, in some ways particularly.

LAMPITO

But who's garred this Council o' Women to meet here?

LYSISTRATA

I have.

LAMPITO

Propound then what you want o' us.

MYRRHINE

What is the amazing news you have to tell?

LYSISTRATA

I'll tell you, but first answer one small question.

MYRRHINE

As you like.

LYSISTRATA

Are you not sad your children's fathers Go endlessly off soldiering afar In this plodding war? I am willing to wager There's not one here whose husband is at home.

CALONICE

Mine's been in Thrace, keeping an eye on Eucrates For five months past.

MYRRHINE

And mine left me for Pylos Seven months ago at least.

LAMPITO

And as for mine No sooner has he slipped out frae the line He straps his shield and he's snickt off again.

LYSISTRATA

And not the slightest glitter of a lover! And since the Milesians betrayed us, I've not seen The image of a single upright man To be a marble consolation to us. Now will you help me, if I find a means To stamp the war out.

MYRRHINE

By the two Goddesses, Yes! I will though I've to pawn this very dress And drink the barter-money the same day.

CALONICE

And I too though I'm split up like a turbot And half is hackt off as the price of peace.

LAMPITO

And I too! Why, to get a peep at the shy thing I'd clamber up to the tip-top o' Taygetus.

LYSISTRATA

Then I'll expose my mighty mystery. O women, if we would compel the men To bow to Peace, we must refrain--

MYRRHINE

From what? O tell us!

LYSISTRATA

Will you truly do it then?

MYRRHINE

We will, we will, if we must die for it.

LYSISTRATA

We must refrain from every depth of love.... Why do you turn your backs? Where are you going? Why do you bite your lips and shake your heads? Why are your faces blanched? Why do you weep? Will you or won't you, or what do you mean?

MYRRHINE

No, I won't do it. Let the war proceed.

CALONICE

No, I won't do it. Let the war proceed.

LYSISTRATA

You too, dear turbot, you that said just now You didn't mind being split right up in the least?

CALONICE

Anything else? O bid me walk in fire But do not rob us of that darling joy. What else is like it, dearest Lysistrata?

LYSISTRATA

And you?

MYRRHINE

O please give me the fire instead.

LYSISTRATA

Lewd to the least drop in the tiniest vein, Our sex is fitly food for Tragic Poets, Our whole life's but a pile of kisses and babies. But, hardy Spartan, if you join with me All may be righted yet. O help me, help me.

LAMPITO

It's a sair, sair thing to ask of us, by the Twa, A lass to sleep her lane and never fill Love's lack except wi' makeshifts.... But let it be. Peace maun be thought of first.

LYSISTRATA

My friend, my friend! The only one amid this herd of weaklings.

CALONICE

But if--which heaven forbid--we should refrain As you would have us, how is Peace induced?

LYSISTRATA

By the two Goddesses, now can't you see All we have to do is idly sit indoors With smooth roses powdered on our cheeks, Our bodies burning naked through the folds Of shining Amorgos' silk, and meet the men With our dear Venus-plats plucked trim and neat. Their stirring love will rise up furiously, They'll beg our arms to open. That's our time! We'll disregard their knocking, beat them off-- And they will soon be rabid for a Peace. I'm sure of it.

LAMPITO

Just as Menelaus, they say, Seeing the bosom of his naked Helen Flang down the sword.

CALONICE

But we'll be tearful fools If our husbands take us at our word and leave us.

LYSISTRATA

There's only left then, in Pherecrates' phrase, _To flay a skinned dog_--flay more our flayed desires.

CALONICE

Bah, proverbs will never warm a celibate. But what avail will your scheme be if the men Drag us for all our kicking on to the couch?

LYSISTRATA

Cling to the doorposts.

CALONICE

But if they should force us?

LYSISTRATA

Yield then, but with a sluggish, cold indifference. There is no joy to them in sullen mating. Besides we have other ways to madden them; They cannot stand up long, and they've no delight Unless we fit their aim with merry succour.

CALONICE

Well if you must have it so, we'll all agree.

LAMPITO

For us I ha' no doubt. We can persuade Our men to strike a fair an' decent Peace, But how will ye pitch out the battle-frenzy O' the Athenian populace?

LYSISTRATA

I promise you We'll wither up that curse.

LAMPITO

I don't believe it. Not while they own ane trireme oared an' rigged, Or a' those stacks an' stacks an' stacks O' siller.

LYSISTRATA

I've thought the whole thing out till there's no flaw. We shall surprise the Acropolis today: That is the duty set the older dames. While we sit here talking, they are to go And under pretence of sacrificing, seize it.

LAMPITO

Certie, that's fine; all's working for the best.

LYSISTRATA

Now quickly, Lampito, let us tie ourselves To this high purpose as tightly as the hemp of words Can knot together.

LAMPITO

Set out the terms in detail And we'll a' swear to them.

LYSISTRATA

Of course.... Well then Where is our Scythianess? Why are you staring? First lay the shield, boss downward, on the floor And bring the victim's inwards.

CAILONICE

But, Lysistrata, What is this oath that we're to swear?

LYSISTRATA

What oath! In Aeschylus they take a slaughtered sheep And swear upon a buckler. Why not we?

CALONICE

O Lysistrata, Peace sworn on a buckler!

LYSISTRATA

What oath would suit us then?

CALONICE

Something burden bearing Would be our best insignia.... A white horse! Let's swear upon its entrails.

LYSISTRATA

A horse indeed!

CALONICE

Then what will symbolise us?

LYSISTRATA

This, as I tell you-- First set a great dark bowl upon the ground And disembowel a skin of Thasian wine, Then swear that we'll not add a drop of water.

LAMPITO Ah, what aith could clink pleasanter than that!

LYSISTRATA Bring me a bowl then and a skin of wine.

CALONICE My dears, see what a splendid bowl it is; I'd not say No if asked to sip it off.

LYSISTRATA Put down the bowl. Lay hands, all, on the victim. Skiey Queen who givest the last word in arguments, And thee, O Bowl, dear comrade, we beseech: Accept our oblation and be propitious to us.

CALONICE What healthy blood, la, how it gushes out!

LAMPITO An' what a leesome fragrance through the air.

LYSISTRATA Now, dears, if you will let me, I'll speak first.

CALONICE Only if you draw the lot, by Aphrodite!

LYSISTRATA SO, grasp the brim, you, Lampito, and all. You, Calonice, repeat for the rest Each word I say. Then you must all take oath And pledge your arms to the same stern conditions--

LYSISTRATA To husband or lover I'll not open arms

CALONICE

_To husband or lover I'll not open arms_

LYSISTRATA

Though love and denial may enlarge his charms.

CALONICE

_Though love and denial may enlarge his charms._ O, O, my knees are failing me, Lysistrata!

LYSISTRATA

But still at home, ignoring him, I'll stay,

CALONICE

_But still at home, ignoring him, I'll stay,_

LYSISTRATA

Beautiful, clad in saffron silks all day.

CALONICE

_Beautiful, clad in saffron silks all day._

LYSISTRATA

If then he seizes me by dint of force,

CALONICE

_If then he seizes me by dint of force,_

LYSISTRATA

I'll give him reason for a long remorse.

CALONICE

_I'll give him reason for a long remorse._

LYSISTRATA

I'll never lie and stare up at the ceiling,

CALONICE

_I'll never lie and stare up at the ceiling,_

LYSISTRATA

Nor like a lion on all fours go kneeling.

CALONICE

_Nor like a lion on all fours go kneeling._

LYSISTRATA

If I keep faith, then bounteous cups be mine.

CALONICE

_If I keep faith, then bounteous cups be mine._

LYSISTRATA

If not, to nauseous water change this wine.

CALONICE _If not, to nauseous water change this wine._

LYSISTRATA

Do you all swear to this?

MYRRHINE

We do, we do.

LYSISTRATA

Then I shall immolate the victim thus. _She drinks._

CALONICE

Here now, share fair, haven't we made a pact? Let's all quaff down that friendship in our turn.

LAMPITO

Hark, what caterwauling hubbub's that?

LYSISTRATA

As I told you, The women have appropriated the citadel. So, Lampito, dash off to your own land And raise the rebels there. These will serve as hostages, While we ourselves take our places in the ranks And drive the bolts right home.

CALONICE

But won't the men March straight against us?

LYSISTRATA

And what if they do? No threat shall creak our hinges wide, no torch Shall light a fear in us; we will come out To Peace alone.

CALONICE

That's it, by Aphrodite! As of old let us seem hard and obdurate.

LAMPITO _and some go off; the others go up into the Acropolis._








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