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Aristophanes' ECCLESIAZUSAE (Women In Council) Complete

A Literal Translation, with Notes.

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CHORUS. I am betaking myself to the banquet with this torch in my hand according to custom. But why do you tarry, Blepyrus? Take these young girls with you and, while you are away a while, I will whet my appetite with some dining-song. I have but a few words to say: let the wise judge me because of whatever is wise in this piece, and those who like a laugh by whatever has made them laugh. In this way I address pretty well everyone. If the lot has assigned my comedy to be played first of all, don't let that be a disadvantage to me; engrave in your memory all that shall have pleased you in it and judge the competitors equitably as you have bound yourselves by oath to do. Don't act like vile courtesans, who never remember any but their last lover. It is time, friends, high time to go to the banquet, if we want to have our share of it. Open your ranks and let the Cretan rhythms regulate your dances.[734]

SEMI-CHORUS. Ready; we are ready!

CHORUS. And you others, let your light steps too keep time. Very soon will be served a very fine menu[*]--oysters-saltfish-skate-sharks'-heads left-over-vinegar-dressing-laserpitium-leek-with-honey-sauce-thrush blackbird-pigeon-dove-roast-cock's-brains-wagtail-cushat-hare-stewed in-new-wine-gristle-of-veal-pullet's-wings.[735] Come, quick, seize hold of a plate, snatch up a cup, and let's run to secure a place at table. The rest will have their jaws at work by this time.

[* Transcriber's note: In the original, all following words until 'wings' are connected with hyphens, i.e. they form one word.]

SEMI-CHORUS. Let up leap and dance, Io! evoë! Let us to dinner, Io! evoë. For victory is ours, victory is ours! Ho! Victory! Io! evoë!

[734] Nothing is known as to these Cretan rhythms. According to the Scholiast, this is a jest, because the Cretans, who were great eaters, sat down to table early in the morning. This is what the Chorus supposes it is going to do, since 'The Ecclesiazusae' was played first, i.e. during the forenoon.

[735] This wonderful word consists, in the original Greek, of seventy-seven syllables. For similar burlesque compounds see the 'Lysistrata,' 457, 458; 'Wasps,' 505 and 520. Compare Shakespeare, 'Love's Labour's Lost,' Act V. sc. 1: "I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus." This is outdone by Rabelais' Antipericatametaanaparbeugedamphicribrationibus.

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