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- The Acharnians - 12/12 -


Slave, unhook my spear and bring it to me.

DICAEOPOLIS Slave, slave, take the sausage from the fire and bring it to me.

LAMACHUS Come, let me draw my spear from its sheath. Hold it, slave, hold it tight.

DICAEOPOLIS And you, slave, grip, grip well hold of the skewer.

LAMACHUS Slave, the bracings for my shield.

DICAEOPOLIS Pull the loaves out of the oven and bring me these bracings of my stomach.

LAMACHUS My round buckler with the Gorgon's head.

DICAEOPOLIS My round cheese-cake.

LAMACHUS What clumsy wit!

DICAEOPOLIS What delicious cheese-cake!

LAMACHUS Pour oil on the buckler. Hah! hah! I can see reflected there an old man who will be accused of cowardice.

DICAEOPOLIS Pour honey on the cake. Hah! hah! I can see an old man who makes Lamachus of the Gorgon's head weep with rage.

LAMACHUS Slave, full war armour.

DICAEOPOLIS Slave, my beaker; that is MY armour.

LAMACHUS With this I hold my ground with any foe.

DICAEOPOLIS And I with this with any tosspot.

LAMACHUS Fasten the strappings to the buckler; personally I shall carry the knapsack

DICAEOPOLIS Pack the dinner well into the basket; personally I shall carry the cloak.

LAMACHUS Slave, take up the buckler and let's be off. It is snowing! Ah! 'tis a question of facing the winter.

DICAEOPOLIS Take up the basket, 'tis a question of getting to the feast.

CHORUS We wish you both joy on your journeys, which differ so much. One goes to mount guard and freeze, while the other will drink, crowned with flowers, and then sleep with a young beauty, who will excite him readily.

I say it freely; may Zeus confound Antimachus, the poet-historian, the son of Psacas! When Choregus at the Lenaea, alas! alas! he dismissed me dinnerless. May I see him devouring with his eyes a cuttle-fish, just served, well cooked, hot and properly salted; and the moment that he stretches his hand to help himself, may a dog seize it and run off with it. Such is my first wish. I also hope for him a misfortune at night. That returning all-fevered from horse practice, he may meet an Orestes,[1] mad with drink, who breaks open his head; that wishing to seize a stone, he, in the dark, may pick up a fresh stool, hurl his missile, miss aim and hit Cratinus.[2]

f[1] An allusion to the paroxysms of rage, as represented in many tragedies familiar to an Athenian audience, of Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, after he had killed his mother. f[2] No doubt the comic poet, rival of Aristophanes.

SLAVE OF LAMACHUS Slaves of Lamachus! Water, water in a little pot! Make it warm, get ready cloths, cerate greasy wool and bandages for his ankle. In leaping a ditch, the master has hurt himself against a stake; he has dislocated and twisted his ankle, broken his head by falling on a stone, while his Gorgon shot far away from his buckler. His mighty braggadocio plume rolled on the ground; at this sight he uttered these doleful words, "Radiant star, I gaze on thee for the last time; my eyes close to all light, I die." Having said this, he falls into the water, gets out again, meets some runaways and pursues the robbers with his spear at their backsides.[1] But here he comes, himself. Get the door open.

f[1] Unexpected wind-up of the story. Aristophanes intends to deride the boasting of Lamachus, who was always ascribing to himself most unlikely exploits.

LAMACHUS Oh! heavens! oh! heavens! What cruel pain! I faint, I tremble! Alas! I die! the foe's lance has struck me! But what would hurt me most would be for Dicaeopolis to see me wounded thus and laugh at my ill-fortune.

DICAEOPOLIS (ENTERS WITH TWO COURTESANS) Oh! my gods! what bosoms! Hard as a quince! Come, my treasures, give me voluptuous kisses! Glue your lips to mine. Haha! I was the first to empty my cup.

LAMACHUS Oh! cruel fate! how I suffer! accursed wounds!

DICAEOPOLIS Hah! hah! hail! Knight Lamachus! (EMBRACES LAMACHUS.)

LAMACHUS By the hostile gods! (BITES DICAEOPOLIS.)

DICAEOPOLIS Ah! Great gods!

LAMACHUS Why do you embrace me?

DICAEOPOLIS And why do you bite me?

LAMACHUS 'Twas a cruel score I was paying back!

DICAEOPOLIS Scores are not evened at the Feast of Cups!

LAMACHUS Oh! Paean, Paean!

DICAEOPOLIS But to-day is not the feast of Paean.

LAMACHUS Oh! support my leg, do; ah! hold it tenderly, my friends!

DICAEOPOLIS And you, my darlings, take hold of this, both of you!

LAMACHUS This blow with the stone makes me dizzy; my sight grows dim.

DICAEOPOLIS For myself, I want to get to bed; I am bursting with lustfulness, I want to be bundling in the dark.

LAMACHUS Carry me to the surgeon Pittalus.

DICAEOPOLIS Take me to the judges. Where is the king of the feast? The wine-skin is mine!

LAMACHUS That spear has pierced my bones; what torture I endure!

DICAEOPOLIS You see this empty cup! I triumph! I triumph!

CHORUS Old man, I come at your bidding! You triumph! you triumph!

DICAEOPOLIS Again I have brimmed my cup with unmixed wine and drained it at a draught!

CHORUS You triumph then, brave champion; thine is the wine-skin!

DICAEOPOLIS Follow me, singing "Triumph! Triumph!"

CHORUS Aye! we will sing of thee, thee and thy sacred wine-skin, and we all, as we follow thee, will repeat in thine honour, "Triumph, Triumph!"


The Acharnians - 12/12

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