Peace (cont'd)
 

CHORUS
You, who remain here, get chopped wood and everything needed for the sacrifice ready.

TRYGAEUS
Don't I look like a diviner preparing his mystic fire?

CHORUS
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?

TRYGAEUS
There! the wood catches. Its smoke blinds poor Stilbides.[1] I am now going to bring the table and thus be my own slave.

[1] 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.

CHORUS
You have braved a thousand dangers to save your sacred town. All honour to you! your glory will be ever envied.

SERVANT
Hold! Here are the legs, place them upon the altar. For myself, I mean to go back to the entrails and the cakes.

TRYGAEUS
I'll see to those; I want you here.

SERVANT
Well then, here I am. Do you think I have been long?

TRYGAEUS
Just get this roasted. Ah! who is this man, crowned with laurel, who is coming to me?

SERVANT
He has a self-important look; is he some diviner?

TRYGAEUS
No, I' faith! 'tis Hierocles.

SERVANT
Ah! that oracle-monger from Oreus.[1] What is he going to tell us?

[1] A town in Euboea on the channel which separated that island from Thessaly.

TRYGAEUS
Evidently he is coming to oppose the peace.

SERVANT
No, 'tis the odour of the fat that attracts him.

TRYGAEUS
Let us appear not to see him.

SERVANT
Very well.

HIEROCLES
What sacrifice is this? to what god are you offering it?

TRYGAEUS (TO THE SERVANT)
Silence!--(ALOUD.) Look after the roasting and keep your hands off the meat.

HIEROCLES
To whom are you sacrificing? Answer me. Ah! the tail[1] is showing favourable omens.

[1] When sacrificing, the tail was cut off the victim and thrown into the fire. From the way in which it burnt the inference was drawn as to whether or not the sacrifice was agreeable to the deity.

SERVANT
Aye, very favourable, oh, loved and mighty Peace!

HIEROCLES
Come, cut off the first offering[1] and make the oblation.

[1] This was the part that belonged to the priests and diviners. As one of the latter class, Hierocles is in haste to see this piece cut off.

TRYGAEUS
'Tis not roasted enough.

HIEROCLES
Yea, truly, 'tis done to a turn.

TRYGAEUS
Mind your own business, friend! (TO THE SERVANT.) Cut away. Where is the table? Bring the libations.

HIEROCLES
The tongue is cut separately.

TRYGAEUS
We know all that. But just listen to one piece of advice.

HIEROCLES
And that is?

TRYGAEUS
Don't talk, for 'tis divine Peace to whom we are sacrificing.

HIEROCLES
Oh! wretched mortals, oh, you idiots!

TRYGAEUS
Keep such ugly terms for yourself.

HIEROCLES
What! you are so ignorant you don't understand the will of the gods and you make a treaty, you, who are men, with apes, who are full of malice?[1]

[1] The Spartans.

TRYGAEUS
Ha, ha, ha!

HIEROCLES
What are you laughing at?

TRYGAEUS
Ha, ha! your apes amuse me!

HIEROCLES
You simple pigeons, you trust yourselves to foxes, who are all craft, both in mind and heart.

TRYGAEUS
Oh, you trouble-maker! may your lungs get as hot as this meat!

HIEROCLES
Nay, nay! if only the Nymphs had not fooled Bacis, and Bacis mortal men; and if the Nymphs had not tricked Bacis a second time...[1]

[1] Emphatic pathos, incomprehensible even to the diviner himself; this is a satire on the obscure style of the oracles. Bacis was a famous Boeotian diviner.

TRYGAEUS
May the plague seize you, if you don't stop wearying us with your Bacis!

HIEROCLES
...it would not have been written in the book of Fate that the bends of Peace must be broken; but first...

TRYGAEUS
The meat must be dusted with salt.

HIEROCLES
...it does not please the blessed gods that we should stop the War until the wolf uniteth with the sheep.

TRYGAEUS
How, you cursed animal, could the wolf ever unite with the sheep?

HIEROCLES
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.

TRYGAEUS
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.

HIEROCLES
You will never make the crab walk straight.

TRYGAEUS
You shall no longer be fed at the Prytaneum; the war done, oracles are not wanted.

HIEROCLES
You will never smooth the rough spikes of the hedgehog.

TRYGAEUS
Will you never stop fooling the Athenians?

HIEROCLES
What oracle ordered you to burn these joints of mutton in honour of the gods?

TRYGAEUS
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.[1]

[1] 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.

HIEROCLES
I care little for that. 'Tis not the Sibyl who spoke it.[1]

[1] Probably the Sibyl of Delphi is meant.

TRYGAEUS
Wise Homer has also said: "He who delights in the horrors of civil war has neither country nor laws nor home." What noble words!

HIEROCLES
Beware lest the kite turn your brain and rob...

TRYGAEUS
Look out, slave! This oracle threatens our meat. Quick, pour the libation, and give me some of the inwards.

HIEROCLES
I too will help myself to a bit, if you like.

TRYGAEUS
The libation! the libation!

HIEROCLES
Pour out also for me and give me some of this meat.

TRYGAEUS
No, the blessed gods won't allow it yet; let us drink; and as for you, get you gone, for 'tis their will. Mighty Peace! stay ever in our midst.

HIEROCLES
Bring the tongue hither.

TRYGAEUS
Relieve us of your own.

HIEROCLES
The libation.

TRYGAEUS
Here! and this into the bargain (STRIKES HIM).

HIEROCLES
You will not give me any meat?

TRYGAEUS
We cannot give you any until the wolf unites with the sheep.

HIEROCLES
I will embrace your knees.

TRYGAEUS
'Tis lost labour, good fellow; you will never smooth the rough spikes of the hedgehog.... Come, spectators, join us in our feast.

HIEROCLES
And what am I to do?

TRYGAEUS
You? go and eat the Sibyl.

HIEROCLES
No, by the Earth! no, you shall not eat without me; if you do not give, I take; 'tis common property.

TRYGAEUS (TO THE SERVANT)
Strike, strike this Bacis, this humbugging soothsayer.

HIEROCLES
I take to witness...

TRYGAEUS
And I also, that you are a glutton and an impostor. Hold him tight and beat the impostor with a stick.

SERVANT
You look to that; I will snatch the skin from him which he has stolen from us.[1] 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.[2]

[1] The skin of the victim, that is to say.
[2] A temple in Euboea, close to Oreus. The servant means, "Return where you came from."

CHORUS
Oh! joy, joy! no more helmet, no more cheese nor onions![1] 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[2] 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,[3] while I am left to watch the nets.[4] 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,[5] 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.

[1] This was the soldier's usual ration on duty.
[2] Slaves often bore the name of the country of their birth.
[3] Because of the new colour which fear had lent his chlamys.
[4] Meaning, that he deserts his men in mid-campaign, leaving them to look after the enemy.
[5] 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.

TRYGAEUS
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 little loaves.

A SICKLE-MAKER Trygaeus, where is Trygaeus?

TRYGAEUS
I am cooking the thrushes.

SICKLE-MAKER
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.

TRYGAEUS
Thanks. Put them all down inside there, and come along quick to the banquet. Ah! do you see that armourer yonder coming with a wry face?

A CREST-MAKER Alas! alas! Trygaeus, you have ruined me utterly.

TRYGAEUS
What! won't the crests go any more, friend?

CREST-MAKER
You have killed my business, my livelihood, and that of this poor lance-maker too.

TRYGAEUS
Come, come, what are you asking for these two crests?

CREST-MAKER
What do you bid for them?

TRYGAEUS
What do I bid? Oh! I am ashamed to say. Still, as the clasp is of good workmanship, I would give two, even three measures of dried figs; I could use 'em for dusting the table.

CREST-MAKER
All right, tell them to bring me the dried figs; 'tis always better than nothing.

TRYGAEUS
Take them away, be off with your crests and get you gone; they are moulting, they are losing all their hair; I would not give a single fig for them.

A BREASTPLATE-MAKER Good gods, what am I going to do with this fine ten-minae breastplate, which is so splendidly made?

TRYGAEUS
Oh, you will lose nothing over it.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
I will sell it to you at cost price.

TRYGAEUS
'Twould be very useful as a night-stool...

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
Cease your insults, both to me and my wares.

TRYGAEUS
...if propped on three stones. Look, 'tis admirable.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
But how can you wipe, idiot?

TRYGAEUS
I can pass one hand through here, and the other there, and so...

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
What! do you wipe with both hands?

TRYGAEUS
Aye, so that I may not be accused of robbing the State, by blocking up an oar-hole in the galley.[1]

[1] 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.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
So you would pay ten minae[1] for a night-stool?

[1] The mina was equivalent to about three pounds, ten shillings.

TRYGAEUS
Undoubtedly, you rascal. Do you think I would sell my rump for a thousand drachmae?[1]

[1] Which is the same thing, since a mina was worth a hundred drachmae.

BREASTPLATE-MAKER
Come, have the money paid over to me.

TRYGAEUS
No, friend; I find it hurts me to sit on. Take it away, I won't buy it.

A TRUMPET-MAKER What is to be done with this trumpet, for which I gave sixty drachmae the other day?

TRYGAEUS
Pour lead into the hollow and fit a good, long stick to the top; and you will have a balanced cottabos.[1]

[1] For 'cottabos' see note above.

TRUMPET-MAKER
Ha! would you mock me?

TRYGAEUS
Well, here's another notion. Pour in lead as I said, add here a dish hung on strings, and you will have a balance for weighing the figs which you give your slaves in the fields.

A HELMET-MAKER Cursed fate! I am ruined. Here are helmets, for which I gave a mina each. What I to do with them? who will buy them?

TRYGAEUS
Go and sell them to the Egyptians; they will do for measuring loosening medicines.[1]

[1] Syrmoea, a kind of purgative syrup much used by the Egyptians, made of antiscorbutic herbs, such as mustard, horse-radish, etc.

A SPEAR-MAKER Ah! poor helmet-maker, things are indeed in a bad way.

TRYGAEUS
That man has no cause for complaint.

SPEAR-MAKER
But helmets will be no more used.

TRYGAEUS
Let him learn to fit a handle to them and he can sell them for more money.[1]

[1] As wine-pots or similar vessels.

SPEAR-MAKER
Let us be off, comrade.

TRYGAEUS
No, I want to buy these spears.

SPEAR-MAKER
What will you give?

TRYGAEUS
If they could be split in two, I would take them at a drachma per hundred to use as vine-props.

SPEAR-MAKER
The insolent dog! Let us go, friend.

TRYGAEUS
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..."

TRYGAEUS
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."[1]

[1] These verses and those which both Trygaeus and the son of Lamachus quote afterwards are borrowed from the 'Iliad.'

TRYGAEUS
Bucklers! Leave me in peace with your bucklers.

SON OF LAMACHUS
"And then there came groanings and shouts of victory."

TRYGAEUS
Groanings! ah! by Bacchus! look out for yourself, you cursed squaller, if you start wearying us again with your groanings and hollow bucklers.

SON OF LAMACHUS
Then what should I sing? Tell me what pleases you.

TRYGAEUS
"'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."

TRYGAEUS
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..."

TRYGAEUS
With good wine, no doubt?

SON OF LAMACHUS
"...with armour and rushed forth from the towers, and a terrible shout arose."

TRYGAEUS
Get you gone, you little scapegrace, you and your battles! You sing of nothing but warfare. Who is your father then?

SON OF LAMACHUS
My father?

TRYGAEUS
Why yes, your father.

SON OF LAMACHUS
I am Lamachus' son.

TRYGAEUS
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;[1] 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.

[1] 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."[1]

[1] 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."

TRYGAEUS
Tell me, you little good-for-nothing, are you singing that for your father?

SON OF CLEONYMUS
"But I saved my life."

TRYGAEUS
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.

CHORUS
Never fear; thanks all the same for your good advice.

TRYGAEUS
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.

CHORUS
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.

TRYGAEUS
Come, wife, to the fields and seek, my beauty, to brighten and enliven my nights. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus! oh! thrice happy man, who so well deserve your good fortune!

TRYGAEUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
What shall we do to her?

SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
What shall we do to her?

FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
We will gather her kisses.

SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
We will gather her kisses.

CHORUS
Come, comrades, we who are in the first row, let us pick up the bridegroom and carry him in triumph. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus! Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

TRYGAEUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
You shall have a fine house, no cares and the finest of figs. Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

TRYGAEUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
The bridegroom's fig is great and thick; the bride's very soft and tender.

TRYGAEUS
While eating and drinking deep draughts of wine, continue to repeat: Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

CHORUS
Oh! Hymen! oh! Hymenaeus!

TRYGAEUS
Farewell, farewell, my friends. All who come with me shall have cakes galore.