You, who remain here, get chopped wood and everything needed for
the sacrifice ready.
Don't I look like a diviner preparing his mystic fire?
Undoubtedly. Will anything that it behooves a wise man to know escape
you? Don't you know all that a man should know, who is distinguished
for his wisdom and inventive daring?
There! the wood catches. Its smoke blinds poor Stilbides. I am now
going to bring the table and thus be my own slave.
 A celebrated diviner, who had accompanied the Athenians on their
expedition to Sicily. Thus the War was necessary to make his calling pay
and the smoke of the sacrifice offered to Peace must therefore be
unpleasant to him.
You have braved a thousand dangers to save your sacred town. All
honour to you! your glory will be ever envied.
Hold! Here are the legs, place them upon the altar. For myself,
I mean to go back to the entrails and the cakes.
...it does not please the blessed gods that we should stop the War until
the wolf uniteth with the sheep.
How, you cursed animal, could the wolf ever unite with the sheep?
As long as the wood-bug gives off a fetid odour, when it flies; as
long as the noisy bitch is forced by nature to litter blind pups, so
long shall peace be forbidden.
Then what should be done? Not to stop War would be to leave it
to the decision of chance which of the two people should suffer the most,
whereas by uniting under a treaty, we share the empire of Greece.
You will never make the crab walk straight.
You shall no longer be fed at the Prytaneum; the war done,
oracles are not wanted.
You will never smooth the rough spikes of the hedgehog.
Will you never stop fooling the Athenians?
What oracle ordered you to burn these joints of mutton in honour
of the gods?
This grand oracle of Homer's: "Thus vanished the dark war-clouds
and we offered a sacrifice to new-born Peace. When the flame had
consumed the thighs of the victim and its inwards had appeased our
hunger, we poured out the libations of wine." 'Twas I who arranged
the sacred rites, but none offered the shining cup to the diviner.
 Of course this is not a bona fide quotation, but a whimsical
adaptatioin of various Homeric verses; the last is a coinage of his own,
and means, that he is to have no part, either in the flesh of the victim or
in the wine of the libations.
I care little for that. 'Tis not the Sibyl who spoke it.
And I also, that you are a glutton and an impostor. Hold him tight
and beat the impostor with a stick.
You look to that; I will snatch the skin from him which he has stolen
from us. Are you going to let go that skin, you priest from hell! do you
hear! Oh! what a fine crow has come from Oreus! Stretch your wings
quickly for Elymnium.
 The skin of the victim, that is to say.
 A temple in Euboea, close to Oreus. The servant means, "Return where
you came from."
Oh! joy, joy! no more helmet, no more cheese nor onions! No, I
have no passion for battles; what I love, is to drink with good
comrades in the corner by the fire when good dry wood, cut in
the height of the summer, is crackling; it is to cook pease on the coals
and beechnuts among the embers, 'tis to kiss our pretty Thracian
while my wife is at the bath. Nothing is more pleasing, when the rain
is sprouting our sowings, than to chat with some friend, saying,
"Tell me, Comarchides, what shall we do? I would willingly drink myself,
while the heavens are watering our fields. Come, wife, cook three
measures of beans, adding to them a little wheat, and give us some figs.
Syra! call Manes off the fields, 'tis impossible to prune the vine or to
align the ridges, for the ground is too wet to-day. Let someone bring me
the thrush and those two chaffinches; there were also some curds and
four pieces of hare, unless the cat stole them last evening, for I
know not what the infernal noise was that I heard in the house.
Serve up three of the pieces for me, slave, and give the fourth to
my father. Go and ask Aeschinades for some myrtle branches with
berries on them, and then, for 'tis the same road, you will invite
Charinades to come and drink with me to the honour of the gods who
watch over our crops." When the grasshopper sings his dulcet tune,
I love to see the Lemnian vines beginning to ripen, for 'tis the earliest
plant of all. I love likewise to watch the fig filling out, and when it
has reached maturity I eat with appreciation and exclaim, "Oh!
delightful season!" Then too I bruise some thyme and infuse it in
water. Indeed I grow a great deal fatter passing the summer in this
way than in watching a cursed captain with his three plumes and his
military cloak of a startling crimson (he calls it true Sardian purple),
which he takes care to dye himself with Cyzicus saffron in a battle;
then he is the first to run away, shaking his plumes like a great yellow
prancing cock, while I am left to watch the nets. Once back again
in Athens, these brave fellows behave abominably; they write down these,
they scratch through others, and this backwards and forwards two or
three times at random. The departure is set for to-morrow, and some
citizen has brought no provisions, because he didn't know he had to go;
he stops in front of the statue of Pandion, reads his name, is
dumbfounded and starts away at a run, weeping bitter tears.
The townsfolk are less ill-used, but that is how the husbandmen
are treated by these men of war, the hated of the gods and of men,
who know nothing but how to throw away their shield. For this reason,
if it please heaven, I propose to call these rascals to account, for they
are lions in times of peace, but sneaking foxes when it comes to fighting.
 This was the soldier's usual ration on duty.
 Slaves often bore the name of the country of their birth.
 Because of the new colour which fear had lent his chlamys.
 Meaning, that he deserts his men in mid-campaign, leaving them
to look after the enemy.
 Ancient King of Athens. This was one of the twelve statues,
on the pedestals of which the names of the soldiers chose for departure
on service were written. The decrees were also placarded on them.
Oh! oh! what a crowd for the nuptial feast! Here! dust the
tables with this crest, which is good for nothing else now. Halloa!
produce the cakes, the thrushes, plenty of good jugged hare and the
Trygaeus, my best of friends, what a fine stroke of business you
have done for me by bringing back Peace! Formerly my sickles would not
have sold at an obolus apiece; to-day I am being paid fifty drachmae
for every one. And here is a neighbour who is selling his casks for
the country at three drachmae each. So come, Trygaeus, take as many
sickles and casks as you will for nothing. Accept them for nothing;
'tis because of our handsome profits on our sales that we offer you
these wedding presents.
Thanks. Put them all down inside there, and come along quick to
the banquet. Ah! do you see that armourer yonder coming with a
Alas! alas! Trygaeus, you have ruined me utterly.
What! won't the crests go any more, friend?
You have killed my business, my livelihood, and that of this
poor lance-maker too.
Come, come, what are you asking for these two crests?
Aye, so that I may not be accused of robbing the State, by
blocking up an oar-hole in the galley.
 The trierarchs stopped up some of the holes made for the oars, in
order to reduce the number of rowers they had to supply for the galleys;
they thus saved the wages of the rowers they dispensed with.
Ah! here come the guests, children from the table to relieve themselves;
I fancy they also want to hum over what they will be singing presently.
Hi! child! what do you reckon to sing? Stand there and give me
the opening line.
THE SON OF LAMACHUS
"Glory to the young warriors..."
Oh! leave off about your young warriors, you little wretch; we are
at peace and you are an idiot and a rascal.
SON OF LAMACHUS
"The skirmish begins, the hollow bucklers clash against each other."
 These verses and those which both Trygaeus and the son of Lamachus
quote afterwards are borrowed from the 'Iliad.'
Bucklers! Leave me in peace with your bucklers.
SON OF LAMACHUS
"And then there came groanings and shouts of victory."
Groanings! ah! by Bacchus! look out for yourself, you cursed
squaller, if you start wearying us again with your groanings and
SON OF LAMACHUS
Then what should I sing? Tell me what pleases you.
"'Tis thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen," or something
similar, as, for instance, "Everything that could tickle the palate
was placed on the table."
SON OF LAMACHUS
"'Tis thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen and, tired of
warfare, unharnessed their foaming steeds."
That's splendid; tired of warfare, they seat themselves at table;
sing, sing to us how they still go on eating after they are satiated.
SON OF LAMACHUS
"The meal over, they girded themselves..."
Oh! oh! I could indeed have sworn, when I was listening to you,
that you were the son of some warrior who dreams of nothing but
wounds and bruises, of some Boulomachus or Clausimachus; go and sing
your plaguey songs to the spearmen.... Where is the son of Cleonymus?
Sing me something before going back to the feast. I am at least certain
he will not sing of battles, for his father is far too careful a man.
 Boulomachus is derived from [two Greek words meaning] to wish
for battle; Clausimachus from [two others], the tears that battles cost.
The same root [for] 'battle' is also contained in the name Lamachus.
SON OF CLEONYMUS
"An inhabitant of Sais is parading with the spotless shield which
I regret to say I have thrown into a thicket."
 A distich borrowed from Archilochus, a celebrated poet of the seventh
century B.C., born at Paros, and the author of odes, satires, epigrams and
elegies. He sang his own shame. 'Twas in an expedition against Sais,
not the town in Egypt as the similarity in name might lead one to believe,
but in Thrace, that he had cast away his buckler. "A might calamity truly!"
he says without shame. "I shall buy another."
Tell me, you little good-for-nothing, are you singing that for your father?
And dishonoured your family. But let us go in; I am very certain,
that being the son of such a father, you will never forget this song
of the buckler. You, who remain to the feast, 'tis your duty
to devour dish after dish and not to ply empty jaws. Come, put heart
into the work and eat with your mouths full. For, believe me,
poor friends, white teeth are useless furniture, if they chew nothing.
Never fear; thanks all the same for your good advice.
You, who yesterday were dying of hunger, come, stuff yourselves
with this fine hare-stew; 'tis not every day that we find cakes
lying neglected. Eat, eat, or I predict you will soon regret it.
Silence! Keep silence! Here is the bride about to appear! Take
nuptial torches and let all rejoice and join in our songs. Then,
when we have danced, clinked our cups and thrown Hyperbolus through
the doorway we will carry back all our farming tools to the fields and
shall pray the gods to give wealth to the Greeks and to cause us all
to gather in an abundant barley harvest, enjoy a noble vintage,
to grant that we may choke with good figs, that our wives may prove
fruitful, that in fact we may recover all our lost blessings, and that
the sparkling fire may be restored to the hearth.
Come, wife, to the fields and seek, my beauty, to brighten and enliven
my nights. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus! oh! thrice happy man, who so well deserve
your good fortune!