STORIES. FROM- THE GREEK
TRAINING A CHORUS.
DIPHILUS, MENANDER, APOLLODORUS
BY THE -
REV. ALFRED J. CHURCH, M.A.
LATELY PROFESSOR OF LATIN IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON
WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS
AFTER THE ANTIQUE
SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED
ESSEX STREET, STRAND
IT has been said that the Greeks had three schools
of comedy, the old, the middle, and the new. The
old was the "Comedy of Politics." It took the form
of extravaganza or farce. The reader will find nine
specimens of it in this volume, all taken from Aris-
tophanes, who indeed is the only writer of this school
that is left to us. With the middle we need not now
concern ourselves. Possibly we may get some idea
of what it was like from the Women in Parliament
and the Plutus, two of Aristophanes's later plays.
The new comedy was the "Comedy of Manners."
It may be compared with the dramas that bear this
name on the modern stage, and also with the ordinary
novel. We have it only in the translations of Plautus
I have dealt very freely with my originals, not
indeed adding anything, but leaving out much, trans-
lating sometimes, and sometimes paraphrasing. Of
the liberty which I have allowed myself, I may give
an instance. In the Acharnians I have in one place
translated "drachmas" by "guineas," though "shil-
lings" would have been nearer' the truth. But the
context seemed to require it. It was necessary that
the envoys should be thought overpaid, and the word
"shillings" would not have given the impression.
I have many obligations to acknowledge. Perhaps
my largest debt is to the translation of Mr. Hookham
Frere. These I have even ventured to alter and
compress, and to mingle with them some of my own
renderings. I owe much to the admirable versions
by Mr. B. B. Rogers of the Wasps and the Peace,
and to the editions of Mr. Merry, one of the most
ingenious and felicitous of Aristophanes's critics. I
would mention also a translation of the Acharnians
by Mr. Billson, and of the Women in Parliament
by the Rev. R. Smith.- Mr. Lucas Collins's excellent
summaries in the "Ancient Classics for English
Readers" I have also found useful.
ALFRED J. CHURCH.
STORIES FROM THE OLD COMEDY.
THE ACHARNIANS. ARISTOPHANES .
THE KNIGHTS. ARISTOPHANES . .
PEACE. ARISTOPHANES . ...
THE WASPS. ARISTOPHANES . ..
THE CLOUDS. ARISTOPHANES . .
THE BIRDS. ARISTOPHANES . .
THE FROGS. ARISTOPHANES . .
THE PARLIAMENT OF WOMEN. ARISTOPHAI
PLUTUS. ARISTOPHANES . .
STORIES FROM THE NEW COMEDY.
THE BURIED TREASURE. PHILEMON .
THE GHOST. PHILEMON .
THE SHIPWRECK. DIPHILUS .
THE BROTHERS. MENANDER. .
THE GIRL OF ANDROS. MENANDER .
PHORMIO. APOLLODORUS . .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
TRAINING A CHORUS .......... 1.Fronlispiece
GENERAL DOBATTLE . . . 18
BLUSTER'S WAY .... ........... 32
TRYGEUS BRIBING HERMES WITH A GOLD CUP .... 68
CUR AND PINCHER. ... . . .100
PHEIDIPPIDES ...... . . .IIO
IRIS . .. .. . . 158
HERCULES AND POSEIDON . . .. 164
BACCHUS AND XANTHIAS . . ... .. 168
THE WOMEN'S CONSPIRACY. . .. . .204
ESCULAPIUS ..... . . . 230
PHILTO AND LESBIONICUS . . .. .248
THE TEMPLE OF APHRODITE . . ... .284
MICIO AND DEMEA . . ... ... 304
THE WRATH OF SIMO ... . . ... 324
PHAEDRIA AND THE MUSIC GIRL ........ 328
STORIES FROM THE OLD COMEDY.
STORIES FROM THE GREEK COMEDIANS.
The long struggle between Athens and Sparta which goes by the
name of the Peloponnesian war broke out early in 431 B.c. Athens
kept for a considerable time the command of the sea, but was unable
to resist in the field the overwhelming forces of Sparta and her allies.
Early in the summer of the first year of the war, Archidamus, one of
the kings of Sparta, entered the Athenian territory at the head of an
army of eighty thousand men. Pericles, who was then the leading
statesman of Athens, had persuaded his countrymen to dismantle their
country-houses and farms, and to bring all their movable and portable
property within the walls. Still the sight of the ravages of the invad-
ing host, which, of course, could be plainly seen from the walls, roused
the people almost to madness. The Athehians, though excelling in
maritime pursuits, were passionately fond of a country life, and it was
almost more than they could bear to see their farms and orchards and
olive-yards wasted with fire. Inferior as they were in numbers, they
loudly demanded to be led out against the invaders, and it was as
much as Pericles could do to keep them within the walls. The inhabi-
tants of the deme or township of Acharnas were prominent among the
malcontents. Acharnme was the richest and most populous of the
townships of Attica, contributing no less than ten thousand men to
the total force (about twenty-nine thousand) which Athens could put
into the field. The chief occupation of the place was charcoal-burning,
the woods of Mount Parnes being conveniently near. No place was
more interested in the question of peace and war, as it was here that
the Spartan king pitched his camp. The invasion was repeated year
after year, though on some few occasions various things happened to
prevent it. Not only did the Athenians lose greatly by the desolation
of their country, but they suffered much by being cooped up within the
walls of the city; a most fatal pestilence was thus caused in the second
year of the war. And it was but a small satisfaction to retaliate by
ravaging the coasts of the Peloponnesians, and by annually invading
the territory of Megara, a city which had concluded an alliance with
Sparta. There had always been a peace party in the state, and when
Pericles died, early in the third year of the war, this party became more
powerful. At the same time the war party conducted affairs less pru-
dently. The cautious policy of Pericles was discarded for remote
expeditions and out-of-the-way schemes. Aristophanes, in this play,
exhibited in February, 425 (it is the earliest comedy that has come
down to us), sets forth the views of the advocates of peace. He
expresses the feeling of distress caused by the desolation of the coun-
try, and also the dislike felt by prudent politicians for the extravagant
ideas of the war party. The play, or, as I may call it for my present
purpose, the story, opens in the Athenian place of Assembly (Pnyx).
Dicseopolis (Just-City), whose name I have Englished by "Mr. Hon-
esty," is sitting alone on one of the empty benches, and begins by
expressing his disgust at the indifference of his fellow-citizens.
"DEAR me!" said Mr. Honesty to himself, as he
got up and walked, about the empty place of As-
sembly at Athens, "how careless these people are
about their country Look at them there, lounging
among the market stalls, and dodging the rope.'
Even the magistrates are not here. As for peace -
nobody gives a thought to it. For myself, I think of
nothing else; I am here the first thing in the morn-
ing, and it is always 'peace,' 'peace' with me.
How I hate the city! How I long to see the fields
again, my own village, and my poor little farm No
fellows there bawling out, Buy my charcoal!' 'Buy
my oil!' 'Buy my everything!' There was no
1 A rope rubbed with red chalk, with which the police swept loiter-
ers into the place of Assembly.
buying there. Everything came off the estate, and
was to be had for nothing. Ah here they come at
last. Well, nobody shall say a word with my good-
will, except he speaks for peace."
After various preliminaries the magistrates took
their places, the people crowded in, and a herald
opened the proceedings by shouting out, "Does any
one wish to speak ? "
"Yes; I do," cried out a strange-looking creature,
dressed as if he had stepped down from a pedestal in
"What is your name? asked the herald.
"Demigod," said the stranger. "I am directly
descended from the goddess Demeter, and I am sent
by the gods to arrange for a peace between this city
and Sparta; only, unfortunately, I want a little ready
money for my journey, and I can't get the magis-
trates to advance it."
"This is a very sensible man," said Mr. Honesty.
The next moment he was amazed to see that the
presiding magistrate was sending the archers' to turn
the stranger out. "Hold !" he cried, "you insult
the people. Don't you know that the man wants to
give us peace ?"
Just at this moment there was a diversion. The-
herald shouted out, "Silence there! Make way for
the ambassadors from the Great King! "
"Gentlemen," said one of the ambassadors, coming
1 "Archers" would be about equivalent to police.
forward, "you.will remember that you sent us a few
years ago on an embassy to the Great King with a
poor allowance of a couple of guineas a day."
"Poor guineas!" muttered Mr. Honesty, "we shall
never see them again."
The ambassadors went on: "You ought to know,
gentlemen, that it was a very laborious service on
which you sent us. All day we had to ride in car-
riages, lying on soft cushions, with an awning over
"Very laborious!" growled Honesty. "I was on
guard all night, with nothing over me, and only a
mat under me."
Ambassador. "Then the barbarians entertained us,
and we were obliged to drink strong wine, without a
drop of water in it, if you will believe us, out of cups
of crystal or gold, for this, you must know, is the test
with them; the best man is he who can eat and
drink most. At the end of four years we reached
the royal palace, and found that His Majesty had
gone to the hills for his health. There he stayed
eight months, till the cure was complete. When he
came home he gave us audience, and entertained us
at a royal banquet, at which were served up oxen
baked whole in crust."
Honesty. "Oxen baked whole in crust! Did you
ever hear such a lie ?"
Amb. "Also there was served up to us a big bird,.
as big as a man, that they call the Chousibus."
THE A CHARNIANS.
Hon. "Chousibus indeed! You have choused us
out of our guineas."
Amb. "However, we did not go for nothing; we
have brought back with us a great Persian noble-
man. Sham-Artabas is his name; he is nothing less
than the King's Eye. Come forward, Sham-Artabas,
and explain to the people of Athens what the Great
King means to do for them."
On this, a curious creature, wearing a mask which
was all one big eye, came forward, followed by a
train of attendants in Persian attire. He muttered
something which sounded like -
"Artaman exarksam anapissonai satra."
"There! cried the ambassador, "didn't you hear
him? Don't you understand him?"
"Understand him!" said Mr. Honesty, "no; not
Amb. "Why, he said that the Great King means
to send us some gold. Tell them (turning to Sham-
Artabas), "tell them about the gold; speak louder
and more plainly."
The Eye spoke again.
"Gapey Greeks, gold a fooly jest."
Hon. "Ah, that is plain enough! "
Amb. "Well, what do you make of it?"
Hon. "Why, that it is a foolish jest for us Greeks
to think that we shall get any gold."
1 Supposed to resemble the words with which a Persian edict
Amb. "You're quite wrong; he didn't say 'jest,'
but 'chest.' He told us that we should get chests
full of gold."
Hon. "Chests indeed! You're nothing but a swin-
dler. Stand off, now, and I will get the truth out of
the fellow. Now listen to me, Mr. Sham-Artabas,
and answer me plainly. You see this fist; if you
don't want a bloody nose of right royal purple, speak
the truth. Is the king going to send us any gold ?"
The Eye shook his head.
"Are the ambassadors cheating us?"
The Eye nodded.
"Well, anyhow, the creature knows how to nod in
While saying this he closely scrutinized the stran-
gers, and cried out, "I believe he comes from this
very city; and, now I come to look, I see two scoun-
drels in his train whom I know as well as I know my
own brother. Ho there, you rascal! what do you
"Silence!" shouted the herald; "the Senate in-
vites the King's Eye to dine in the Town Hall."
Hon. "Is not that enough to. make a man hang
himself? These rascals are to dine in the Town
Hall, and I am left outside here! But here comes
Demigod. Now, my good fellow, take these two
half-crowns, and make the best of your way to
Sparta, and conclude a separate peace for me, my
wife, my children, and my maid-servant. But whom
have we here?"
Silence!" cried the herald again, "for His Excel-
lency, the ambassador, returned from Thrace! "
"Gentlemen," said the ambassador, "I should not
have stayed so long-"
Hon. (aside). "If you had not been paid by the
Amb. "If it had not been for the snow, which
covered all the country and froze up all the rivers.
We passed the time drinking with King Sitalces,
who is a very good friend of yours, gentlemen; he
chalks up your name on the walls, for all the world
like a lover.
"Sweet Athens, fair
As for his son, a citizen as you know, he is passion-
ately fond of Athenian sausages, and would not be
satisfied till his father promised to send an army to
help us. The king swore that he would, aye, and so
big a one that we should say when we saw it, 'Good
heavens! what a tremendous flight of locusts!' "
Hon. "Well, you're right there. Locusts indeed!"
"These are the men," the ambassador went on,
pushing forward as he spoke a troop of deplorable
looking ragamuffins; "they are the fiercest fellows
in Thrace. Give them a trifle of a couple of shillings
a day, and they will worry the Bceotians out of their
"What! shouted Honesty, "a couple of shillings
a day for these beggars! How about our brave sea-
men, the men who really keep us safe? What do
they get? Two shillings! What an iniquity! Yes,
and one of the scoundrels has stolen my garlic. Ho
there, you magistrate, are you going to see a citizen
robbed before your eyes ? Well, if you won't listen,
I will put a stop to this. I protest against going on
with business. I felt a drop of rain."1
Hereupon the herald proclaimed, "The Thracians
must attend again on the first of next month. The
Assembly is adjourned."
"That is all right," said Honesty, "but I have lost
my luncheon all the same. However, here comes my
friend Demigod back. Welcome, Demigod! "
"It's a very poor welcome that I've had," said the
man, who was panting for breath. "As I was coming
along, some wild fellows charcoal-burners they
seemed to be smelt out the treaties of peace.
'What!' they cried, 'you bring treaties of peace,
when our vines are cut down to the ground! Stone
him! Down with him!' And they filled their pock-
ets with stones and ran howling after me."
Hon. "Let them howl. Have you brought the
"Yes, indeed," said Demigod, producing three
wine-skins, I have three samples of them. Here is
a five years' specimen; what do you think of it? "
1 This was the Greek form of parliamentary obstruction. The As-
sembly had to be adjourned for bad weather; that it had to be done if
a single member declared that he felt a drop of rain is doubtless an
THE A CHARNIANS.
Hon. "I don't like it at all. It smells of rosin-
no, not exactly rosin, but pitch and ship-tar."
Dem. Try this ten years' one, then; that may suit
Hon. "That's not much better. There is a kind
of acidity about it; some sort of taste, it seems to me,
of ambassadors going about to quicken allies, and
allies hanging back."
Dem. "Well, here's the thirty years' sort. What
do you think of that ? "
Hon. "Admirable! That's the kind for me. This
is pure nectar and ambrosia. No smack of 'every
man will provide himself with rations for three days'
here, but a 'go where you please' kind of taste in
one's mouth. I'll take this; no more wars for me,
but a jolly time on my own farm when the vintage
feast comes round again."
Dem. "Very good; but I must be off, or those
charcoal-burners will be down upon me."
Saying this, Demigod disappeared.
And now," said Honesty, "for a little festival of
At this point the charcoal-burners rushed in, in
hot pursuit of Demigod, a set of stout old fellows, all
grimy and black with their work. While they were
looking about for the fugitive, cursing his impudence
for thinking of peace when their vines and fig-trees
were burnt to the ground, and lamenting the burden
of years which had made them lag behind in the
race, they spied Honesty coming out with his house-
hold, prepared to celebrate the festival in the old
fashion. His daughter walked in front, bearing on
her head a basket with a long roll of bread in it;
Honesty himself carried a bowl of porridge, and two
slaves brought up the .rear.. The, worthy man was
very anxious that: everything should be done in order.
He cried "Silence!" to the spectators, told his wife to
go up to the roof and look on, and was very partic-
ular in his directions to his daughter. "Carry it
prettily, my dear," he said, "and look your primmest,
and mind no one filches your ornaments in the press.
You are a nice girl," he went on, as he saw how well
she behaved; "your husband will be a lucky man.
And now let me sing the song.
"Leader of the revel rout,
Of the drunken war and shout;
Half a dozen years are past,
Here we meet in peace at last;
All my wars and fights are o'er,
Drinking contests please me more;
If a drunken head should ache,
Bones and crowns we never break;
If we quarrel overnight
At a full carousing soak,
In the morning all is right,
And the shield hung out of sight
In the chimney smoke."
Scarcely had he finished, when the charcoal-burn-
ers, who had been in hiding, burst in, upon him,,
THE A CHARNIANS.
crying, "This is the scoundrel with the treaties!
Stone him Stone him !"
Hon. "What is all this about ? You'll break the
Charcoal-burners. Stone him Stone him! "
Hon. But why, my venerable friends ?"
C.-b. You ask us why! You're a traitor. You
have made peace on your own account."
Hon. "But you haven't heard why I made it."
C.-b. "No, and won't hear either. Stone him!
Hon. "How! hold!"
C.-b. "Why should we hold? You've made peace
with the Spartans."
Hon. "You won't listen, then ?"
C.-b. "Not to a word."
Hon. "Well, if you won't, I'll have my revenge.
I've got a young townsman of yours here, and as
sure as you throw a single stone, I'll run him
C.-b. "Good heavens! What does the fellow
mean? Has he got one of our children there?"
Hon. "Throw, throw if you want to. But he
dies the death."
So saying, he produced what looked like a baby in
long clothes, but turned out to be-a coal scuttle.
"Spare him! Spare him! cried the charcoal-burn-
ers, and shook out all the stones from their pockets,
while Honesty dropped his sword. After this he was
allowed to plead his cause.
But to plead it effectively he had to make sure of
rousing the compassion of his judges, and this, it
occurred to him, could not be better done than by
donning some of the pitiable rags with which Eurip-
ides, the tragedian, was wont to clothe the heroes of
his dramas. "I must make my way to Euripides,"
he cried, and hurried off to the poet's house. After
a little difficulty in discovering whether the great
man was at home or not, he was at home himself,
writing a play, the servant explained, but his mind
was out collecting verses,- the petitioner was allowed
an interview. Euripides, who was sitting in his gar-
ret, himself dressed in rags, that he might be more in
sympathy with his subject, which was, as usual, a
hero in reduced circumstances, demanded what his
Hon. "I implore you, my dear Euripides, to give
me some rags from that old play of yours. I have
to make my defence, and if I fail it means death."
Eurzipides. "What play? What rags? Do you
want those in which the luckless old CEneus' wres-
tled with fate ? "
1 The stories of these unfortunate heroes may be briefly told:
I. (Eneus, father of Tydeus, was king of zEtolia. Artemis, whose
sacrifices he had neglected, sent the Calydonian boar to ravage his
country. He was expelled from his kingdom by the sons of Agrius.
2. Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, blinded by his father (according to
one tradition, but not in Homer) on account of a false accusation.
3. Philoctetes, one of the chieftains who sailed to Troy. He was
bitten in the foot by an adder in the course of the voyage, and the
wound became so noisome that his corn"-ions could not endure his
THE 4 CHA4RNIANS.
Hon. "No, no; it must be some one far more
wretched than CEneus."
E. "The blind Phoenix, then?"
Hon. "No, not Phoenix; far worse off than he."
E. "What does the man want? The rags of the
beggar Philoctetes ?"
Hon. No; ten times more of a beggar than Phi-
E. Bellerophon, then, the blind Bellerophon ?"
Hon. No, not Bellerophon, though it is true that
he was a blind beggar and a terrible fellow to talk."
E. "I know the man you mean Telephus of
Hon. "Exactly; it is Telephus's rags I want."
E. (to his servant). "Boy, give this gentleman the
rags of Telephus. They are on the top of Thyestes's
and below Ino's."
Hon. "You have been very kind, Euripides, but if
you would give me also the Mysian hat."
E. "Here it is."
Hon. "And the beggar's staff."
E. "Take it, and vanish from jny marble halls."
Hon. "0 my soul! see how hard he is on me, arid
neighbourhood and put him ashore on the island of Lemnos, then unin-
4. Bellerophon, exiled on account of a false accusation, and after-
wards lamed by a fall from his winged horse Pegasus.
5. Telephus, Prince of Mysia, wounded by Achilles and afterwards
cured by the rust from the spear which had pierced him. The circum-
stances under which he appeared clothed in rags are not known to us,
I want a number of other things. Do give me a
wicker lamp-shade with a hole burnt in it."
E. "Know, fellow, that you bore me, and depart."
Hon. "Once more I ask-a cup with broken lip."
E. "Take it and perish, trouble of my house!"
Hon. "And yet again a pitcher plugged with sponge."
E. "Fellow, -you rob me of my work; and yet
I give it- go!"
Hon. "Oh! yet once more I beg
One thing which lacking I am all undone;
O dearest, sweetest singer, may the gods
Destroy me, if I ask but one thing more,
One only, single, solitary boon,
A plant of chevril from your mother's store."
E. "The man insults us; close the palace doors."
Thus clad, and laying his head on the chopping-
block, to be ready, if he failed to make out his case,
for instant execution, Honesty proceeded to defend
You blame me for making peace," this was the
substance of his argument, "but what was the war
about? Why, the most trumpery thing in the world!
A girl is kidnapped from our neighbours of Megara.
Our neighbours kidnap two girls from us, and the
mighty Pericles, forsooth, must bring out his thunder
and lightning, for all the world like Olympian Zeus,
till all Greece was in a turmoil. Then came his
decree, short and sharp: 'No one from Megara shall
1 Aristophanes is never weary of joking about the low extraction of
Euripides's mother. It was said that she had sold vegetables.
THE A CHARNIANS.
have any trade with Athens.' Our neighbours, being
half starved, go to the Spartans and ask them to
intercede. The Spartans beg us to repeal these
decrees. Once, twice, thrice they ask, and we refuse.
Then they go to war. But say, were these poor
people so very wrong after all? Suppose the Spar-
tans had manned a boat, and stolen a puppy-dog
from one of the islands, would you have sat quietly
down under the insult? Not so; you would have
launched three hundred ships, and all the city would
have been in an uproar with troops marching and
crews clamouring for pay and rations, and we should
have had newly gilt statues of the goddess carried
about the street, and wineskins, and strings of onions
and garlic in nets, and singing girls, and bloody
noses. No, no; they only did just what we should
Honesty's eloquence converted half his enemies;
the other half called the darling of the war party,
General Dobattle, to their aid. He came at once, in
full armour, wearing a helmet with an enormously
large crest, and declaiming in pompous tones,
"Whence falls this sound of battle on mine ear?
Who needs my help? The great Dobattle's here!
Whose summons bids me to the field repair?
Who wakes my slumbering Gorgon from her lair?"
"Dear me!" cried Honesty, pretending to be
frightened; "what an awful plume! What kind of
bird does it come from? A white-feathered boastard
[bustard] by chance ?"
Dobattle. "Fellow,; thou diest!"
Hon. "You're not the man to do it."
Dobat. "Do you know you're speaking to a gene-
ral, you beggar ?"
Hon. "Beggar! Beggar in your teeth! You a
general! Only one-of the draw-his-pay sort!"
Dobat. "I was duly elected. "
Hon. "Elected! yes, by half a dozen cuckoos. I
am sick of the whole business; white-haired men
serving in the ranks, and you and your young sprigs
of nobility off on an embassy to Thrace or Sicily or
heaven knows where!-but always drawing pay."
Dobat. "We were duly elected."
Hon. "But why is it always you, and never honest
fellows such as he? Here, Coaldust, did you ever
go on an embassy? He shakes his head. And yet
he would have done admirably for it. Or you, Heart-
of-Oak? Or you, Bend-in-the-Shoulders ? No, you
see, not one of them."
Dobat. 0 sovereign people, shall I bear such
Hon. "All things are borne, so Dobattle is paid."
On this Dobattle marched off, finding that he could
make nothing of his antagonist. "Hereby I pro-
claim," he said, as he departed, "that I will harass
the men of the Peloponnesus night and day."
"And I," said Honesty, "hereby proclaim that I
open a market for the men of the Peloponnesus and
their allies, and that they may come and buy and sell
with me, but not with General Dobattle."
The other half of the charcoal-burners now pro-
claimed their conversion, and Honesty, encouraged
by their support, set about marking out the boun-
daries of his market, appointed constables to see that
the regulations were observed, and set up. in the midst
a pillar with the terms of the treaty engraved upon it.
The first dealer that presented himself was one of
the neighbours from Megara. The poor fellow had
got nothing to sell but his two little girls; still he
was delighted to see an Athenian market again.
"Market of Athens, hail! For as a child
Longs for its mother, have I longed for thee!"
Then he turned to the children: But you, the
luckless children of a luckless sire, what is to be do!n
with you? Would you sooner be sold or starve at
"Sell us, sell us, dear papa!" cried the two in
"Yes; but who will buy you? It would be a
sheer loss. Hold! I have an idea. Put these pet-
titoes on and these little snouts, and mind you grunt
and whine and kick about like pigs. If you don't, I
shall have to carry you back home, and you will be
worse starved than ever. Mr. Honesty, do you
want to buy some pigs? "
Hon. "What? Who is this? A man from Me-
Megarian. "Yes; I have come to market."
Hon. "And how are you getting on ?"
Megar. As hungry as thunder."
Hon. "And your government? What is that
Megar. "Doing its best to ruin us."
Hon. "Well, what have you got in your sack
there? Salt ? "
Megar. "Salt? How could it be salt, when you
have got all our salt-pans ?"
Hon. "Garlic, then ?"
Megar. "Garlic indeed! How could it be garlic
when you came and dug up the very roots, like so
many field-mice ?"
Hon. "What is it, then?"
Megar. "Pigs, pigs for sacrifice."
Hon. "Oh! indeed."
Megar. "Yes, pigs. Don't you hear them squeak?"
(Aside) Squeak, you little wretches, or it will be the
worse for you."
"Wee, wee," squeaked the two daughters.
Hon. "Can they feed without their mother?"
Megar. "I should think they could, and without
their father either."
Hon. "What do you want for them ?" after some
Megar. This I will sell for a rope of onions, and
the other for a bushel of salt."
Hon. "Very good; I'11 take them. Stand there a
"That's good business," said the man to himself.
"I only wish I could sell my wife and mother at the
At this point one of the informers, who made a
living out of denouncing contraband goods, made his
appearance. "Who are you?" he said to the man
"A man of Megara, come to sell pigs," was the
"I denounce you and your goods as contraband of
war. Here, hand them over."
Mr. Honesty, Mr. Honesty," screamed the man,
"I am being denounced "
"Constable," said Honesty, "put the fellow out;
no informers are allowed in this market. And here,
my good friend, is the garlic and the salt. And now
"Farewell indeed," said the poor man; "but it is
not our way in Megara to fare well."
A dealer from Boeotia was the next to come. The
man had a heavy basket on his back, and was fol-
lowed by slaves similarly burdened. "That's a pretty
load," he said, as he put the basket on the ground.
"And now, my friend, what will you buy ?"
"What have you got?"
"Got? Why, everything, as a body may say; all
the good things of Thebes,- marjoram, penny-royal,
rush-mats, lamp-wicks, ducks, jackdaws, partridges,
coots, sandpipers, divers."
"Why, you are like a north wind in winter, with
all the birds you bring."
"Yes, and I've got geese, and hares, and foxes,
and moles, and hedgehogs, and weasels, and moun-
tain cats, and -what do you think ? -eels from
"What! Eels? Let me see the eels."
The Boeotian held out a fine eel in his hand, and
addressed it with profound respect: -
"First-born of fifty daughters of the lake,
Come forth and greet the stranger."
The Athenian answered in a similar strain: -
"0 my child,
O long regretted and recovered late,
Welcome, thrice welcome! Hark ye there, my man
Prepare the stove, the bellows, and behold,
At last behold her here, the best of eels,
Loveliest and best, after six weary years
Returned to bless us. Bear her gently in.
O eel, so fair thou art, that e'en in death
Still would I fain possess thee-stewed with beet!"
Baotian. "Yes, very good; but what are you
going to give me for her?"
Hon. "Oh I take this as a sort of perquisite; but
if you have anything else for sale I shall be glad to
THE A CHARNIANS.
Beot. Everything is for sale."
Hon. "Well, what do you say for the lot ? I sup-
pose you won't mind taking a return cargo ?"
Bceot. "Certainly not; but what is there that you
have in Athens and we haven't, got in Bceotia ?"
Hou. "Anchovies? Crockery?"
Baot. "Anchovies and crockery we have in plenty.
But surely there is something that you have, and we
have not "
Hon. "Ah! I have it. Ho there! Bring out the
informer; pack him as so much crockery."
Beot. "Excellent! excellent! I should make ever so
much money by exhibiting him as a mischievous ape."
Hon. "See there; there is another of the same
Baeot. He is very small."
Hon. "Yes, but very bad."
Informer the second came in. "What goods are
these," he said.
"Mine," replied the Boeotian. "We be come from
Informer. "Then I denounce them. They come
from the enemy's country."
Bceot. "What! denounce the birds and beasts?
What harm have they done ?"
Inf. "Yes, and I denounce you, too."
Bacot. "Me! What have you to say against me ?"
Inf. "Just to satisfy the bystanders I will explain.
You have brought in larhp-wicks. That means a
plot to burn the arsenal."
Honesty interrupted at this point. What in the
world do you mean? Burn the arsenal with the
wick of a lamp! "
Hon. "But how?"
Inf. Listen! This Boeotian rascal would catch a
water-spider, fasten the wick on its back, wait for a
strong north wind, light the wick, and send the
spider with it into the harbour. Let the fire once
catch a single vessel, and the whole place would be
in a blaze."
"Stop his mouth!" cried Honesty. "Tie a hay-
band round him, and send him off."
The charcoal-burners, by this time thoroughly con-
verted to peace views, were so delighted that they
burst out into song.
"To preserve him safe and sound,
You must have him fairly bound
With a cordage nicely wound,
Up and down and round and round;
Honesty took up the strain: -
"I shall have a special care;
He's a piece of paltry ware;
As you strike him here or there, [strikes him]
Don't you hear his cries declare
That he's partly cracked?"
C.-b. "How, then, is he fit for use?"
Hon. "As a stove-jar for abuse,
Plots and lies he cooks and brews,
Slander and seditious news."
C.-b. "Have you stowed him safe enough?"
Hon. "Never fear; he's hearty stuff;
Fit for usage hard and rough,
Fit to beat, and fit to cuff,
To toss and fling.
You can hang him up or down,
By the heels or by the crown."
The Bceotian bade one of his servants take the
package on his back and march off with it.
"Well," said Honesty, looking after the party,
"you've got a queer piece of goods with you; if you
do make anything of him, you will be the first person
that ever got anything good out of an informer."
A slave now appeared with a message: "General
Dobattle sends five shillings, and wishes to buy a
dish of quails and a good-sized eel from Copais."
Hon. "General Dobattle! And who, pray, is
General Dobattle ?"
Messenger. "The fierce and hardy warrior; he that wields
The Gorgon shield and waves the triple plume."
Hon. "Let him wave his triple plume over a mess
of salt fish; quite good enough for him."
By this time it was noised about that Honesty had
got some of that precious commodity, peace, and he
was overwhelmed with applications for it. A coun-
tryman came in groaning and lamenting.
"What's all this about?" asked Honesty.
Oh, my dear friend," said the man, "just a little
drop of peace."
Hon. "What's the matter?"
Countryman. "I'm ruined, I'm ruined! The Bceo-
tians came down this morning and carried off my
pair of plough oxen. They were all my living."
The lucky possessor would not part with a drop.
The only petitioner that succeeded was a bridesmaid
whom the bride had sent with a little bottle. She
wanted," she said, "just a little drop to keep her hus-
band at home." Mr. Honesty was willing to oblige
a lady, and sent her away with the bottle full, ex-
plaining that the bride must use it the next time there
was a ballot for recruits.
Meanwhile, General Dobattle had come in person
to try whether he could not succeed better than his
messenger. But before he could open his mouth, a
despatch from the War Office arrived. "You are
hereby directed to muster your men, and march to
the mountain passes. There you must ambush in the
snow, information having been received that a ma-
rauding party is coming from the Bceotian frontier."
Hardly had he read the despatch when a message
came for Honesty. It was to this effect: "You are
hereby requested to come with all your belongings to
the temple of Bacchus. The company are waiting
for you, and everything is ready,- plum cake and
plain, confectionery, fruits preserved and fresh,
savouries and sweets, flowers and perfumes." And
now began a bustle of preparation on either side.
T/Ae General. Quick with my knapsack!"
Hon. "Quick with my dinner and wine !"
Gen. Give me a bunch of leeks."
Hon. "Veal cutlets for me."
Gen. Let me see the salt fish. It does not smell
Hon. How fresh this mullet is! Cook it on the
Gen. "Bring me the lofty feather of my crest."
Hon. "Bring doves and quails ; I scarce know which is
Gen. Behold this snowy plume of dazzling white !"
Hon. "Behold this roasted dove, a savoury sight!"
This was past all bearing, and the General at,
tempted to draw his sword, but found it rusted to the
scabbard. On the other hand, Honesty was going to
defend himself with the spit, but had first to disen-
gage it from the roast meat. However, they didn't
come to blows. The General contented himself with.
a threat: Pour oil upon the shield. What do I see
in it? An old man frightened to death because he
is going to be tried for cowardice."
"Ah!" said Honesty, "pour honey on the pancake.
What do I see in it? A jolly old fellow, who tells
the Dobattles and the Gorgons to go and hang them-
The General marched off to the frontier, while
Honesty went to the feast, the charcoal-burners
bidding the two rivals farewell in the following
Go your ways in sundry wise,
Each upon his enterprise.
One determined to carouse,
With a garland on his brbws;
T'other bound to pass the night
In a military plight
Undelighted and alone;
With his head upon a stone."
After a while a message arrived from the seat of
war. He said:-
"Slaves of Dobattle, make the water hot;
Make embrocations and emollients ready,
And bandages and plasters for your Lord;
His foot is' maimed and crippled with a stake,
Which pierced it as he leapt across a ditch;
His ankle-bone is out, his head is broken,
The Gorgon on his shield is smashed and spoilt;
The cock's plume on his helmet soiled with dirt."
Immediately afterwards the General himself ap-
peared in the sorriest plight, and at the same time
Honesty, who had won the prize at the feast by fin-
ishing a gallon of wine, came in supported by his
Dobat. "Strip off th' encumbrance of this warlike gear
And take me to my bed."
Hon. "And for me,
My bed, I take it, is the fittest place."
THE A CHARNIANS. 29
Dobat. "0 bear me to the public hospital!"
Hon. "Where is the ruler of the feast? The prize
Is mine, this empty gallon testifies."
C.-b. "Then take the wineskin as your due:
We triumph and r f ice with you."
The campaign which followed the production of the Acharnians
greatly encouraged the war party, and dashed the hopes of the advo-
cates of peace. The most important victory of the year is referred to
in the story about to be told, and must be briefly described. As the
result of a series of operations, which it is needless to relate in detail,
a body of four hundred and twenty Spartan soldiers were blockaded in
Sphacteria, an island close to Pylos on the western coast of the Pelopon-
nesus (near the modern Navarino). For some time the siege dragged
on, the Athenian generals seeming unable to bring it to a successful
issue. The demagogue, Cleon, censured their incompetency in the
Assembly at Athens, and declared that were he in command, he would
bring the Spartans to Athens within a few days. He was taken at his
word, almost compelled to go, and, strange to say, whether from trick,
skill, or the audacity of ignorance, accomplished his task. Such a dis-
aster had never before happened to Sparta. The men whose lives were
in danger were a considerable part of the fighting power of the state.
The Spartan authorities at once asked for an armistice, and to secure it
consented to hand over their fleet to the Athenian admiral in command
on the spot. This done, they sent an embassy to Athens and opened
negotiations for peace, offering most favourable terms, all, in fact, that
could reasonably have been expected. These, however, were rejected,
and the war went on. Aristophanes exhibited the play of the Knig/ts
(so called from the chorus, which was supposed to consist of the Gen-
tlemen" of Athens, a class next to the wealthiest). We are told that
Cleon was at this time so powerful and so much dreaded that the peo-
ple who manufactured masks for the theatre refused to make one that
would represent the demagogue's features. Aristophanes, who acted
the character himself, possibly because he could not find an actor will-
ing to undertake it, had to "make up" for the part by smearing his
face with the lees of wine.
It is only fair to say that a view of Cleon's character and policy very
different from that which we get from Aristophanes, and, it may be
added, from Thucydides, may be found.in some modern writers, notably
in Mr. Grote and Sir George Cox. ("Greek Statesmen," second
It should be explained that there are five characters in the story:
z. Demos (people), who is represented as a selfish old man, of a very
uncertain and fickle temper, very hard on old servants who have done
well for him for years, and taking up with new favourites who humour
his caprices and minister to his appetites. The original of this is the
2 and 3. Two old servants whom I call Victor and Hearty. They are
now out of favour with their master, thanks to the interference of a new-
comer, Bluster (or the Tanner), and look about for some means of get-
ting rid of their oppressor. The originals are two well-known Athenian
soldiers and statesmen, Nicias (nike-victory) and Demosthenes
(sthenos-strength, and demos--the people). These names nowhere
occur in the play, but the characters were doubtless recognized at once
by the resemblance of their masks to the features of the originals.
4. Bluster (or the Tanner) = Cleon.
5. The Sausage-seller, destined to be Demos's new favourite.
A body of "Knights" or Gentlemen is present, and takes the part
of Bluster's enemies.
"WHAT a scandal and a shame it is!" cried Hearty,
coming out of Demos's house, followed by Victor;
"ever since Master brought home that scoundrel
Bluster, not a day passes without his thrashing us
unmercifully; confound him, I say! "
"And I say so, too," cried Victor, rubbing his
arms and shoulders.
Hearty. "Well, it is no good cursing and crying.
We must do something. What do you propose ?"
Victor. "Can't you propose something yourself ?"
H. "No, no! I look to you."
V "Well, I have thought of something. Say'run.'"
H. "Very good. I say it: 'run.' "
V. "Now say' away.'"
H. "Quite so: 'away.' "
V "Now both together very quick: first 'run,'
then 'away.' "
H. "Here you have it: 'run away.' "
V "Well, doesn't that sound sweet ?"
H. "I don't know. I seem to hear the crack of a
whip somewhere about."
V. "Then we must think of something else."
H. "Shall I tell the state of things to our friends
here ?" pointing to a little crowd of people that had
V. "You could not do. better."
H. "Listen, then, my good friends. We have a
master at home here, a rough, passionate old gentle-
man, and just a little deaf. The first of last month
he bought a new slave, Bluster by name, who had
worked in a tanner's yard. A more wicked, lying
fellow there never was. Well, he got to know our
master's ways, and flattered and wheedled him with
this kind of thing--'You'll take a bath, sir; you've
done business enough for one day, and here's a little
trifle of money that has just come in for you,' 2 and,
'Can I serve .you with anything, sir?' And as sure
S1 In the play Hearty addresses the spectators.
2 Lit. "Take your three obals." This was the sum which an Athe-
nian citizen received for acting as a juror. The custom was introduced
as. any one of us got something nice ready for the old
gentleman, he would lay hands on it and give .it to
him. Why, this very morning I had made some
Spartan pudding,1 and he comes in the most rascally
way and carries it off, and serves it up as his own.
Yes, the pudding that I had made. He won't let one
of us go near the old gentleman, but stands behind
him with a great flap of his own leather, and keeps
us all off like so many flies. Then he tells lies about
us and we get flogged. Or he goes round among us
and blackmails us. 'You know,' he says, 'what a
beating Barker got the other day. It was all through
me; and if you don't make it worth my while you'll
catch it ten times worse.' If we say no, then old
Demos knocks us down and tramples on us till we
haven't any breath left in us. That's about the
state of things -isn't it ?" he went on, turning to
Victor. The question is what are we to do ?"
V. "I see nothing so good as the runaway trick."
H. "Run away! It is impossible. The fellow
has his eyes everywhere."
V "Then there is nothing left for it but to die.
Only we must die like men."
H. "Well, what is your idea ?"
V "I think that we should drink bull's blood.
We can't do better than follow Themistocles."
H. "Bull's blood indeed! the blood of the grape,
I say! Then we might have some happy inspiration."
1 See Introduction.
V. "What? Do you think getting tipsy will help
H. "Yes, I do, you poor water-pitcher. Do you
mean to doubt the inspiration of wine ? Where can
you find anything more potent ? Is there anything
that men can't do when they are drunk? Wealth,
prosperity, good luck, helping their friends, every-
thing is easy to them. Bring me a pitcher of wine.
I'll moisten my understanding till the inspiration
V. "You'll ruin us with your drink."
H. Ruin you! Nothing of the kind. Off with
you and bring the wine."
Victor ran off and in a few minutes reappeared
carrying a pitcher of wine. "Well!" he said, "it
was lucky that I got it without any one seeing."
H. Tell me, what was Bluster doing ?"
V. "He had gorged himself with half-digested
confiscations, and was lying fast asleep and snoring
on a heap of his own hides."
Hearty went on drinking and thinking. At last
he started up, crying :-
"Thine is the thought, good Genius, not mine own."
V "What is it?"
H. "That you go and steal the prophecies that
Bluster keeps indoors."
This was not really to Victor's liking. However,
he went, and came back with them. One he knew
to be especially precious. Bluster, he explained, had
been so fist asleep that he knew nothing of what
was being done. Hearty took the writing and looked
at it and asked for another cup of wine. "Well,"
said his companion after a pause, "what says the
H. "Another cup."
V. Does it say 'another cup' ?"
H. "0 Bacis! "1
V "What is it?"
H. Quick with the cup "
V Bacis seems to have been very fond of cups."
H. "0 scoundrel of a Bluster! I don't wonder you
kept this prophecy so close, for it shows how your
fall will be brought about."
V. "Quick, tell me what does it say?"
H. "It says that it is ordained that first of all a
hemp-jobber shall rule the city."
V. "That's jobber number one. Go on."
IH. "After him a calves-jobber."
V "Jobber number two. But what is to happen
H. He is to prosper till a greater scoundrel than
he shall come, a daring, thieving rascal, a tanner by
trade, and Bluster by name."
V "And what of him? Is there another jobber
1 Bacis was a well-known author of prophecies, the Nostradamus or
Mother Shipton of those days.
H. "Yes; one with a noble business."
V. "What is it?"
H. "Must I tell you ?"
H. "Then listen. A sausage-seller shall drive out
the man of hides."
V. "A sausage-seller! Good heavens! what a
trade where are we to find him? "
H. "We must look for him. And, as I am alive,
there he comes just in the nick of time.
"Blest sausage-seller, best and dearest, come,
Saviour of Athens, saviour of thy friends!"
The sausage-seller, greatly astonished at this ad-
dress, wanted to know what was meant, and was told
to put down his tray and then kiss the earth, and
make a reverence to the gods. Again he asked what
they wanted, and was again addressed with profound
"Thrice happy child of wealth, little to-day,
To-morrow growing great beyond compare,
Of Athens, dear to heaven, lord and chief."
Sausage-seller. "Come, come, don't make game of
me; let me wash my paunches and sell my sausages."
H. "Paunches indeed, and sausages! Look here.
Do you see these crowds of people?"
S.-s. "Yes, I see 'em."
H. "Well, you'll be their lord and master. Every-
thing Assembly, Senate, admirals, generals will
be under your heel."
S.-s. "What? my heel?"
H. "Yes; and that is not all. Get up on this
stall and look at the islands."
The sausage-seller climbed on to the stall, which
was supposed to command a view of the islands in
the .Egean Sea, tributary to Athens, as members of
the Delian Confederacy.1 "Yes, I see them," he said.
H. "You see their ports and their merchant ves-
H. "And are you not a lucky man ? Now look
a little further; look at Asia with your right eye,
and Carthage with your left."
S.-s. I don't see much happiness in squinting."
H. "All this is yours to buy and sell. So the
prophecy says." -
S.-s. "What! mine, and I a sausage-seller?"
H. "That's the very thing that makes your title,
because you are a low-bred, vulgar, impudent fellow."
S.-s. "I don't see how I am fit for such a big
H. "Not fit! What do you mean? I am afraid
that you have something good on your conscience.
Are you by any chance a gentleman by birth?"
1 The Delian Confederacy was originally a league of Greek states,
especially of the islands in the Egean, formed after the Persian war to
make a combined resistance to any future attack from the Persians.
By degrees it became an Athenian empire. Many of the islands pre-
ferred making a money payment to furnishing ships and crews. They
thus became entirely dependent on Athens.
S.-s. "A gentleman? Bless me, no. I am come
of as poor a lot as any in the town."
H. "What luck! You could not have started
S.-s. "But I've got no education; just a little
writing, and that very bad."
H. "Well, that's against you, that you can write
at all. Greatness here, you must understand, is not
for educated, respectable people. Dunces and black-
guards get it. So don't you let the chance slip.
Now listen to the prophecy: -
"Whene'er the eagle in his pride,
With crooked claws and leather hide,
Shall seize the black, blood-eating snake,
Then shall great Bluster's tan-pits quake;
And Zeus shall give high rule and place
To men of sausage-selling race,
Unless, perchance, it please them more
To sell the sausage as before.
Do you understand all this? No? Well, listen:
the leather eagle is Bluster. His claws are his way
of pouncing on people's money. The snake, of
course, is a black pudding. Snakes are long and
black, so are black puddings; snakes are full of
blood, so are black puddings. There's a prophecy
for you! "
S.-s. "Yes, it sounds fine. But how shall I be
able to manage the people?"
H. "Manage the people? The easiest thing in
the world. Do just as you have been doing. Mangle
and mash everything. Flavour and spice to suit the
people's taste. You have got every qualification for a
demagogue. You have a vile voice, you are low-
born, you are ill-bred. Absolutely nothing is want-
ing, and here are the prophecies fitting in. So make
your prayer to the god of Boobydom, and tackle the
S.-s. "Yes; but who will be on my side? The rich
are afraid of him, and as for the poor, they shake
in their shoes."
H. Who will be on your side ? Why, a thousand
gentlemen of Athens who scorn and detest him, aye,
and every honest man in the city."
At this point there was a terrified cry from behind,
"He's coming! he's coming! and Bluster rushed
out of the house, vowing vengeance against every-
body. The sausage-seller was about to take to his
heels, when Hearty entreated him to stand firm, as
his friends were at hand. The next moment the
promised host of gentlemen appeared on the scene,
and gaining confidence by their support, the sausage-
seller came forward and confronted his adversary.
A fierce contest followed, in which each combatant
sought to overpower his adversary with abuse and
Bluster. "I charge this man with treason. He
sells sausages to the Peloponnesian fleet."
S.-s. "I charge this man with worse than that.
He runs into the Town Hall with his belly empty,
and runs out with it full."
B. "Dog and villain, you shall die."
S.-s. "I can scream ten times as high."
B. "I'll o'erbear you and out-bawl you."
S.-s. "I'll out-scream you and out-squall you."
B. "Stare at me without a wink."
S.-s. "Never do I blush or blink."
B. "I can steal and own to stealing;
That's a thing I know you dare not."
S.-s. "That is nothing; when I'm dealing,
I can swear to things that are not,
And, though hundreds saw, I care not."
Bluster was still unconvinced that he had found his
match and more; and the sausage-seller related for
the encouragement of his backers incidents in his
bringing up which fully justified their hopes. "It is
not for nothing," he said, "that ever since I was a
child I have been cuffed and beaten, that I have
been fed on scraps, and yet grown to the big crea-
ture that I am. Oh! I used to play rare tricks.
I would say to a cook, 'See, there's a swallow, the
spring is coming,' and when he looked away I stole
a bit of his meat. Mostly I got clear off; but in
case any one saw me, I swore that I had never taken
it. I remember a great politician in those days, who
saw me do it, saying, 'This child will be a great man
with the people some day.'"
After another fierce encounter of words, the two
fell to blows, Bluster getting the worst of it, espe-
cially when they closed, and the sausage-seller tripped
him by a specially nasty trick. Enraged at being
thus worsted, he rushed off to the Senate, threatening
informations, charges of treason, and other dreadful
"He's gone to the Senate," said the sausage-
seller's backers to him. "Now's your time to show
your mettle, if you are the mighty thief and liar that
you pretend to be."
"I'm after him," said the fellow, and off he went,
having been duly rubbed with grease to make him
slippery, and primed with garlic, like a fighting-cock,
to give him courage. Before very long he was back,
and told his backers, who had been getting a little
anxious about him, the story of how he had fared.
"I followed him," he said, "close upon his heels
to the Senate House. There he was storming and
roaring, bellowing out words like thunderbolts, raving
against the aristocrats, calling them traitors and what
not, and the Senate sat listening, looking sharp as
mustard. And when I saw they took in all his lies,
and how he was cheating them, I muttered a prayer,
'Hear me, Powers of Fraud, and Boobydom, and ye
Spirits of the Market and the Street, the places
where I was bred, and thou, great Impudence, hear
me, and help, giving me courage, and a ready tongue,
and a shameless voice.' And when I had ended
my prayer, I took courage, for I knew that the Great
Spirits had heard me, and cried aloud, 'O Senators,
I have come with good news, for I was resolved that
none should hear them before you. Never since the
war broke upon us, no, never have I seen anchovies
cheaper.' Their faces changed in a moment; it
was like a calm after a storm. Then I moved that
they should lay hands on all the bowls in the town,
and go to buy the anchovies before the price went
up. At that they shouted and clapped their hands.
Then Bluster, seeing what a hit I had made, and
knowing of old how to deal with them, said, I pro-
pose, gentlemen, that in consideration of the happy
event that has been reported to the Senate, we have
a good-news sacrifice to the goddess of a hundred
oxen.' That took the Senate, you may be sure.
Well, I wasn't going to be outdone with his oxen;
so I bid over him. I propose,' I said, that the
sacrifice be of two hundred oxen! And furthermore,
that we sacrifice a thousand goats to Artemis, if
sprats should be fifty a penny.' That brought the
Senate round to me again. And when he saw it he
lost his head, and began to stammer out some non-
sense, till the archers dragged him away. And what
did he, when the Senators were just off after their
anchovies, but try to keep them. 'Stop a moment,
gentlemen,' he said, 'to hear what the herald from
Sparta has got to say; he has come about peace.'
'Peace!' they all cried with one voice (that's be-
cause they knew that anchovies were cheap), 'we
don't want peace; let the war go on.' Then they
bellowed to the magistrate to dismiss the Senate, and
leapt over the railings. But meanwhile I got down
to the market and bought up all the fennel, and gave
it to them for sauce, when they were at their wits'
end where to find any. How' much they made of
me, to be sure! I bought the whole Senate, you
may believe me, for three ha'porth of fennel! "
His backers, delighted at the story, greeted him
with a song of triumph:-
"You have managed our task on an excellent plan,
You certainly are a most fortunate man;
Soon the villain shall meet
A more excellent cheat,
Of devices more various,
Of tricks more nefarious.
But gird up your loins for another endeavour,
And be sure you will find us as faithful as ever."
And, indeed, the man had need of all his courage;
for the next moment Bluster arrived, furious at his
defeat, and swelling, as his adversaries said, like a
wave of the sea. "Ah!" he cried, "you contrived
to get the better of me in the Senate; but come
along to the Assembly, and you shall see. Pray come
out, my dear Demos," he went on, for they were just
in front of Demos's house; "pray come out for a
moment." The sausage-seller joined in, "Yes, father,
come out by all means."-" Come, dearest Demos,"
said Bluster, "come and see how they are insulting
The old man bounced out in a rage. "What is all
this noise about? Get away with you! See what a
disturbance you have made. Well, Bluster, who has
been hurting you ?"
B. "This fellow, with his young bloods, has been
D. "And why?"
B. "Only because I love you."
D. (turning to the sausage-seller). "And who are
you, sir ?"
S.-s. "One who loves you far better than this fel-
low. Aye, that I do, and so do other good men and
true; only, unhappily, you won't have anything to.do
with them, but give yourself up to lamp-sellers, and
cobblers, and tanners, and such low folk."
B. "But I have done Demos good service."
S.-s. "How, pray?"
B. Did I not sail to Pylos, and come back bring-
ing my Spartan prisoners?"
S.-s. "Yes; and I, on my walks the other day,
saw a dish of meat that somebody else had cooked,
and filched it."
B. "Well, Demos, call an assembly, and settle
which is your best friend."
S.-s. "Settle it by all means, but not in the Pnyx."1
D. "I can't sit anywhere else."
S.-s. "Then I am a lost man. The old gentleman
is sensible enough at home; but once let him settle
IThe Pnyx was the place of Assembly at Athens.
himself on those stone seats, and he takes leave of
However, his friends encouraged him; he plucked
up spirit, and, when Demos had taken his seat in the
Pnyx, boldly confronted his rival. "Demos," began
Bluster, "now listen to me: -
"If I should despise you, or ever advise you
Against what is best for your comfort and rest,
Or neglect to attend you, defend you, befriend you,
May I perish and pine; may this carcase of mine
Be withered and dried, and curried beside,
And straps for your harness cut out from the hide."
The sausage-seller was not behindhand. "Listen
to me," he said:-
"O Demos, if I tell one word of a lie,
If any man more can dote or adore,
With so tender a care, then I make it my prayer,
My prayer and my wish to be stewed in a dish,
To be sliced and be slashed, to be minced and be hashed,
And like offal remains that are left by the cook,
To the place of the dead be dragged off on a hook."
B. "Demos, had you ever a better friend than I
have been? Haven't I piled up heaps of money in
your treasury, torturing and squeezing and threaten-
ing, caring nothing for any man, as long as I could
do you a good turn ?"
S.-s. "There is nothing wonderful about that. I
can do all that for you. I can filch another man's
loaves and serve them up at your table. But I have
something better for you than that. Is it not a fact
that you, who fought the Persians at Marathon and
conquered them so gloriously, have been sitting here
ever since with nothing between you and the hard
stone? Look at this cushion that I have stitched
together for you. Get up, my dear sir; and now will
you sit down again ? Never again will you have to
rub what you made so sore at Salamis."
D. My dear sir, who are you? One of the fam-
ily of Harmodius,1 I fancy. I never saw a more
truly patriotic thing."
B. "Well, that is a trumpery little thing to make
so much of."
S.-s. "I dare say; but you have trapped him with
baits five times smaller."
B. Now, I'll wager my life that there never was
a man who loved Demos more than I."
S.-s. "You love him! and you have let him live
now for eight years in tubs2 and crannies and turrets
on the wall! Ah you have shut him in, like bees in
a hive, and taken his honey, too. And when the am-
bassadors brought proposals for peace, -and a very
good peace, too, -you kicked them out."
1 Harmodius and Aristogeiton, two Athenian nobles, assassinated
Hipparchus, who was one of the sons of Peisistratus, and, along with
his brother Hippias, had succeeded to his despotic power. Though
the assassins seem to have had no other motive than to avenge a pri-
vate wrong, their memory was always honoured in Athens, as if they
had acted from the purest patriotism.
2The poor Athenians during the siege were driven to live in any
place where they could find shelter,
B. "And quite right, too. It has all been done to
make him lord of Greece; for what do the prophe-
cies say? Listen: -
"If he still perseveres, for a period of years,
He shall sit in Arcadia, judging away,
In splendour and honour, for fivepence a day."
S.-s. Arcadia indeed! Much you thought about
Arcadia! What you are thinking about is how to
make a purse for yourself out of the tribute, while
Demos thanks to the dust that you kick up can
see nothing of what is going on. But let him once
get back to his farm, and get up his courage with a
dish of porridge, and tackle an olive cake, and he
will make you pay for all your villainies."
B. "0 my dear Demos! don't believe him. You
have never had a better friend, or a more watchful.
Haven't I kept you up? Haven't I watched night
and day, and discovered reasons, plots, and conspir-
acies without end ?"
S.-s. "Oh, yes; we all know what you mean by
your reasons and plots. You are just like the fel-
lows that fish for eels. When the water is clear, they
catch nothing; when they stir up the mud, then they
have excellent sport. You confound everything with
your talk about treason, and, when nobody is looking,
pocket your fees and your bribes. But come; answer
me this: you with all your leather, have you ever
given him a single skin to mend his old boots with?"
D. "That he hasn't, I swear."
S.-s. "Does not that show what sort of a fellow
he is? Now, look here at this nice pair of shoes;
I bought them on purpose for you to wear."
D. "This is the very best patriot I ever saw."
S.-s. "Look again. It's winter now, and this fel-
low knew that you were getting on in years, and
yet he has never given you a tunic. Now, see this
nice one with two sleeves' that I have bought you."
D. "Why, this is a better thing than even The-
mistocles ever thought of; not that the PeireSus2
wasn't a good idea, but it wasn't so good as this
B. (offering a leather cloak). "Take this, my dear
sir; it will keep you admirably warm."
D. (turning up his nose). "Take it away; it smells
most abominably of hides."
S.-s. "Of course it does; this is part of a regular
plan to choke you."
Demos had sat awhile, buried in thought, and
weighing against each other the claims and services
of the two rival candidates for his favour. At last
he roused himself from his reverie and spoke.
"I have come to the conclusion that the sausage-
seller is the best friend that the workingman has
ever had. You, Bluster, have made great pretences,
1 Slaves wore a tunic with one sleeve only.
2 The great harbour of Athens, the importance of which, for the
welfare of Athens, Themistocles was the first to see.
and done me nothing but mischief. Hand me over
my ring. You shall not be my steward any longer."
B. "Take it; take it; if you will not let me be
your steward, you will find a far worse."
Demos took the ring and examined it. "Why,"
he said, "this is not my ring. The device is not the
same, or I have lost my eyesight."
S.-s. "What was the device ?"
D. "A steak of beef ready cooked."
S.-s. "That is certainly not here."
D. "Not the steak? What is it, then?"
S.-s. "Why, a cormorant standing on a rock with
his mouth wide open."
Demos was on the point of giving the sausage-
seller another ring as the sign of his appointment,
when Bluster entreated him to wait awhile, at least
till he had heard the prophecies that he (Bluster)
had got at home referring to him. There was a
whole chestful, he declared, and they were full of
the most delightful things that were to happen here-
The sausage-seller was not to be outdone. He
had prophecies, too, at home; a whole attic and two
flats were full of them. Bluster boasted that his
were by the famous prophet Bacis. Mine," retorted
the sausage-seller, "are by Bacis's elder brother,
Glanis." Both of them went to fetch these precious
documents, and both returned staggering under a
load. "Now," said Demos to Bluster, "hand me
that one that I like so much, of how I shall become
an eagle in the clouds."
Bluster reads : -
Son of Erectheus, mark and ponder well
This holy warning from Apollo's cell.
He bids thee guard the sacred sharp-toothed whelp,
Who for thy sake doth bite and bark and yelp;
Guard and protect him from the chattering jay,
So shall thy juries all be kept in pay."
D. "What is all this about? What is meant by
Erectheus and the dog and the jay ? "
B. "I am the dog; I bark for you, and Apollo
says that you are to take care of me."
S.-s. It is nothing of the kind. I have got the
true oracle about the dog. Listen to this: -
"Son of Erectheus, ever at thy feast
Beware the dog, the greedy, filching beast.
He wags his tail, still fawning as you eat,
But when you look away he steals the meat."
D. "That sounds much better, Glanis."
B. Listen again to this :-
1 The poorer class of Athenians depended very much on the pay of
three oboli, or half a drachma (represented by fourpence farthing in
English money, if measured by weight, but actually equivalent to
more) which they received for performing the office of jurymen. The
practice of making this payment is supposed to have been begun by
Pericles, but the pay was increased by Cleon. It may be compared,
riot so much in itself, but in its political significance, to the distribution
of money and corn under the empire at Rome.
"In sacred Athens shall a woman dwell;
There shall she bear a lion fierce and fell;
With many gnats the noble beast shall fight,
Guarding, as dam her cubs, the people's right;
Him must thou shelter, for the public good,
With iron bulwarks and a wall of wood.
I am the lion; Apollo commands you to take care of
D. "You the lion? Why, a moment ago you
were a dog."
S.-s. "Ah sir, but he hides the true sense of the
prophecy of the lion and the wooden wall in which
Apollo says you are to keep him."
D. "What is it?"
S.-s. "Of course it is the stocks; you are to keep
him in the stocks."
D. "Good! That is a prophecy that seems very
likely to be fulfilled. But I have not heard about
the eagle yet."
B. "Listen then:-
"Soon shalt thou soar aloft on eagle's wings,
Acknowledged lord of earth, and king of kings."
S.-s. And now hear mine -
"Earth and the Red Sea shall your rule obey,
While comfit cake you munch from day to day,
Sitting on juries in Ecbatana."
D. I think Glanis is a better prophet than Bacis.
But now listen, you two. Have done with your
promises and prophecies. The man that serves me
up the best dinner I shall make manager-in-chief.
Away with you, and see what you can get for me."
The two competitors ran off in furious haste, and
the gentlemen who had been backing the sausage-
seller took the opportunity of reproaching the old
man with his easy surrender to unworthy favourites.
"Worthy Demos, your estate
Is a glorious thing and great;
All men trembling bow them down,
As before a despot's frown;
But you're easy of belief,
So that every rogue and thief
Finds you ready to his hand.
Flattery you can't withstand;
What your last advisers say
Ever will your judgment sway."
Demos makes reply: -
"You're a fine set of sparks, but your wits are but weak;
What you think is a folly is only a freak;
Believe me, my friends, I am not what I seem,
I am quite wide awake, though you think that I dream;
I pamper these thieves, but I smash them to bits
As soon as the right opportunity fits."
"If that's what you meant, we approve your intent;
If you keep them like beasts, fattened up for your feasts,
Fed high in the stall, till occasion shall call,
And a nice little vote puts a knife to their throat,
And your cook serves them up when you dine or you sup."
At this point the two competitors returned and
began their final struggle. Bluster put a chair for
his master, but the sausage-seller outdid him by
putting a table.
B. (handing a disk). See, here's a pudding which
I made at Pylos."
S.-s. (handing another). "Here are some cheese-
cakes which the goddess has made with her own
D. Mighty goddess, what a big hand you have "
B. "Here's some pease-pudding."
S.-s. Here's a fine mess of porridge."
B. "Here's a batter pudding, also from the
S.-s. And here's a savoury stew with sippets that
she sends you."
B. "Taste this pancake."
S.-s. "Try these fritters and this cup of wine."
D. "The wine is excellent."
S.-s. "So it should be, for she mixed it herself."
B. "Here, I have got a slice of cake for you."
S.-s. "And here, I have got a whole cake."
B. (aside to the S.-s.). "Here is hare pie. When
will you get hare pie?"
S.-s. (to himself). "How shall I get hare pie. 0
my soul, invent some knavish trick!"
B. "Do you see the hare pie, you poor devil ?"
S.-s. "Never mind (pretending to look away). They
are coming to me."
B. "Who? Who?"
S.-s. Some envoys with bags of silver."
B. (looking eagerly round). "Where? Where?"
S.-s. Can't you let the strangers alone ? (Snatches
at the hare pie while Bluster is looking about him, and'
offers it to Demos.) See, my dear Demos, the hare
pie I have got for you."
B. "Why, the villain has taken my dish."
S.-s. "Just what you did at Pylos, my friend."
D. "Tell me, how did you thihk of stealing it? "
S.-s. (piously). "The thought was born of heaven,
the theft was mine."
B. I took all the trouble."
S.-s. "But I served it up."
D. "Who hands it gets the thanks."
S.-s. Come now, can't you decide, my dear sir,
who treats you best ?"
D. How am I to judge ?"
S.-s. "I will tell you. Look at my basket and
see what is in it, and then look at his. That will
This Demos did. The sausage-seller's was found
to be practically empty. Bluster's had all kinds of
good things in it, especially the rest of the cake, of
which he had only served up a small slice to his
master. This roused Demos's wrath to the utmost.
"O villain!" he cried, "and this is the way you
have been cheating me."
B. "I stole for my country's good."
D. "For your country's good indeed! Take
away his crown."
Bluster, seeing that it was all qver with him, took
it off with a pathetic farewell:-
"Farewell, my crown, farewell! I yield thee up
Unwilling. Some new lord shall wear thee now,
One not more thievish but more fortunate."'
S.-s. "0 Zeus of Hellas, thine the victory !"
And now it turned out that Demos had indeed
made a most fortunate choice in his new favourite.
The sausage-seller retired with his master, and after
a short interval appeared again, crying, "Silence!
Have done with your litigation; close the courts; I
bring good news."
Kn. "Oh, glory of Athens, the holy, and help of our island
For what happy event, thro' our streets, shall the
steam of our sacrifice rise?"
S.-s. "I have given new youth to our Demos; I have
made him all lovely and fair."
Kn. "0 deviser of wondrous devices, now where may we
see him, O where?"
S.-s. "'Tis the Athens of old where he dwelleth, the city
with violets crowned."
IK. "Oh, say how arrayed, with what aspect, henceforth
shall our Demos be found?"
S.-s. "You shall see him again in his beauty, as he was
when he sat at the board
Of old with the just Aristides and Miltiades, Mara-
1 A parody on the farewell which the dying Alcestis takes of her
Farewell; another wife shall own thee now,
Some wife not purer but more fortunate.
And so indeed it was. The old man came forward,
changed to a handsome youth, and wearing in his
hair the old-fashioned ornament of the grasshopper,
symbol of the antiquity of the Athenian race. Not a
little ashamed was he when his new adviser reminded
him of the follies of the past; how he would listen
to any unprincipled politician that proclaimed him-
self his friend; how he would spend the public
money, not in equipping fleets, but in feeing the
jurymen. But he is resolved to be wiser in the
future. Orators who appeal to his selfish fears shall
be tossed headlong into the pit.' The seamen shall
have all their pay the very moment of their return
to port. No one whose name stands on the roll for
military service shall be permitted to evade the obli-
"And now," said the new minister, when he had
heard all these good resolutions, "see what I have
got for you "
And he led out the lovely figure of Peace.
"Where did you find her?" cried Demos.
"Bluster hid her away in his house," replied the
minister, "that you might not catch sight of her.
Take her; she is yours; and live henceforth in the
country home where you are always so happy."
1 The "barathron," into which criminals were hurled. We may
compare the Tarpeian rock and the Tullianum at Rome.
An interval of four years separated the production of the Acharnians
from that of the play with which I am now dealing.
The successes achieved by Athens in the years 427-5 B.c., especially
the capture of the Spartan garrison of Pylos,- an event to which fre-
quent allusions are made in the Knights, were succeeded in 423 by
great disasters. The Athenians had long coveted the fertile country of
their Boeotian neighbours, a country widely different from their own
barren though picturesque and attractive land. They had once as-
serted their supremacy over it, and had maintained it for seven years,
till dispossessed by the disastrous defeat of Coronea in B.C. 440. And
now, again encouraged by a sense of immunity from invasion, -they
had threatened to put all their prisoners to death if a Spartan army
should again cross their frontiers, they attempted to renew it. Their
hopes were again crushed. The whole military force of the city, except
a few small detachments that were serving elsewhere, was routed by
the Boeotians at Delium. Another defeat, even more serious, at least
as threatening more widely reaching consequences, followed. The
reverse at Delium did nothing more than convince the Athenians that
certain hopes which they had long entertained must be abandoned for-
ever; but the losses which were sustained in the following year in
Thrace deprived them of possessions which they had long regarded as
their own, and threatened to bring down their whole empire in ruin.
Brasidas, probably the ablest man that Sparta ever produced, succeeded,
by a remarkable combination of military skill and attractive personal
character, in detaching from Athens some of its most important de-
pendencies on the northwest coast of the .Egean. Amphipolis and
other cities of Thrace were now in the hands of the Spartans. Athens
made a great effort to stay the tide of Spartan victory, despatching tfe
largest force she could raise to attempt the recapture of Amphipolis.
The effort failed totally and even disgracefully; the Athenian forces
were routed under the walls of that city, routed almost without
making a struggle.
But this disaster had its compensations. The Spartans lost but eight
killed in the battle, but among the eight was Brasidas; and Brasidas
was not only a very able soldier, but he was vehemently opposed to
peace. Among the slain on the Athenian side was Cleon, the noto-
rious leader of the war party. And now came the triumph of the peace
party in the two states. Aristophanes, conscious that he had the ma-
jority of his fellow-citizens on his side, again did his best to promote
his favourite object. The Peace was exhibited in January, 321. About
three months afterwards peace for the period of fifty years was made,
and, a few days later, an alliance, offensive and defensive, between Sparta
and Athens was concluded. (This is known in history as the "Peace
"Now, my man," said the steward of Trygeus
the Athenian to one of the under-slaves, "bring
another cake for the beast." With much grumbling
the man obeyed, and fetched first one, then another,
and then, again, several more, till the creature was
But what was the beast? Nothing less than an
enormously large dung-beetle which Trygeus had
contrived to catch, and which he kept in one of the
courts of his house, and was feeding up till it should
grow big enough and strong enough to help him in
carrying out a certain purpose of his. The fact was,
that Trygaus, like many another Athenian citizen,
was heartily sick of the war, and had got the idea
into his head that, if he could contrive to get up to
the palace of Zeus, he might persuade the god to
fulfil his wish, which was, to put it shortly, to secure
Peace, -long-banished, long-desired Peace. His first
plan was to get some very thin scaling-ladders made,
and to scramble up to heaven by means of them.
Unfortunately they broke, and brought him down
with them to the ground. After this he got the
beetle, and proposed to fly on its back up to the
The animal having finished its meal, Trygaeus
mounted on its back, and was preparing to start, first
giving his steed sundry cautions not to set off at too
great a pace, or to put itself out of breath. The
steward entreated his master to give up the idea,
and after vainly endeavouring forcibly to stop him,
called to the old gentleman's daughter to come and
help him. Accordingly the girl came running out of
the house into the court-yard, where Trygmeus, who
had now risen some way from the ground, was pre-
paring to fly off. "Father," she said, "surely it
isn't true that you are thinking of leaving us and
going to the crows?' Tell me the truth, if you love
Trygeus. "Yes, it is true. The fact is, that I
can't bear to hear you poor creatures saying to me,
'Papa, give us some bread,' when I haven't got a
stiver of money in the house to buy it with. Only
let me succeed in this plan of mine, and I will give
you, not only bread, but the biggest buns that you
SGoing to the crows" was the Greek equivalent for our "going
to the dogs," as a proverbial expression for going to ruin.
Girl. "But, dear papa, how are you going ? Ships
can't carry you."
T. "I have got a winged horse. None of your
sea-voyages for me."
G. "What! a beetle, papa? How can you get to
heaven on a beetle ?"
T. "'Tis the only living creature that ever got to
heaven; so JEsop tells us."
G. "Oh, it's past all believing, that such a nasty,
creeping creature should get so far "
T. "Yes; but it did, when it went to break the
eagle's eggs." 1
G. "But why not mount Pegasus ?"
T. "Far too expensive to feed, my dear."
G. "Well, if you must go, take care you don't fall
off. If you should, the fall would be sure to lame
you, and then Euripides would make you the hero of
one of his tragedies. Think of that! "2
T. "I'll see to that. Good. by, my dear."
Finally, not without running many risks, chiefly
from the animal's inclination to descend in search of
its favourite food, the rider reached his destination,
1 Esop's fable, according to the scholiasts (it is not found in the
existing fables ascribed to him), was this: The eagle carried off the
young beetles; thereupon the beetle flew to the eagle's nest and
pushed the young birds out of it. The eagle went to Zeus to com-
plain, who bade the bird build again in his- own bosom. But when it
had done so, and laid more eggs, the beetle came buzzing about the
god's ears, and he, jumping up to scare it away, dropped and broke
2 For this compare the Ackarnians.
and found himself outside the celestial palace. He
at once called loudly for admittance. Hermes, who
was acting as porter, opened accordingly, and was
not a little astonished and disgusted at what he saw.
"What is this ?" he said. "A beetle-horse," said the
visitor. "Away with you, then, you and your beetle-
horse," cried the god. Trygeus, however, had come
prepared to overcome this obstacle, and made his
peace with a piece of flesh that he had brought with
him. "And now," said he, "step in, and tell Zeus
that I want to see him."
Hermes. "Oh! that's impossible. You can't see
the gods; they are gone to the seventh heaven."
T. "But how come you to be here, then ?"
H. Oh, they left me to look after a few little mat-
ters, pots and pans, and so forth, that they left here."
T. But why did they go away ?"
H. "Because they were displeased with the
Greeks. That is why they went away, and left War
settled here for good. He is to do what he likes
with you. They are not going to look at you with
your everlasting fighting any more."
T. "Oh, but why is this ? What have we done?"
H. "When they wanted Peace, you were always
for War. First the Spartans would get a little the
better of the fight, and then it was, 'These Athenian
rascals shall suffer for it.' Then you had a turn of
luck, and it was, 'No, no, we won't listen; as long
as we keep Pylos, we shall always have them on
T. "Yes, yes; that is exactly what we said."
H. "The end of it all is that you will probably
never see Peace again."
T. "What? Where is she gone, then?"
H. "War has thrown her into a deep pit."
T. "What pit?"
H. "The one you see down there. Just look at
the heap of stones he has piled on the top to prevent
you from getting her out."
T. "And what does he mean to do with us?"
H. "That I can't say. I only know that last
night he brought a monstrously large mortar into the
T. "What can he want with a mortar ?
H. "He is thinking of pounding the cities up in
it. But I must be going. I hear him. making a
noise inside, and I think that he is coming out."
The next moment, War, a fully armed figure, with
a great nodding plume, came out of the palace of the
gods, carrying in his hands a huge mortar, and mut-
tering, as he went, about a bad time coming for men.
He set the mortar on the ground, and began throw-
ing in the ingredients for a salad. First came leeks.
"You'll be nicely pounded up, my friends," said he,
as ne threw them in.1
SThe joke cannot be translated. The explanation is this: The
Greek word for a leek is prason. War accordingly throws in a town
called Prasie. This was on the Spartan coast, and had been taken by
Pericles early in the war. Hence the remark of Trygeus that follows.
That doesn't matter to us," said Trygaeus; that's
a blow for our friends the Spartans."
"That's a bad lookout for Megara," was Trygaeus's
After garlic came cheese.
Trygaeus rubbed his hands. Now for the Sicili-
ans," he said.'
But the next ingredient did not find him so indif-
ferent. It was honey, actual Attic honey from
"Hold !" he cried; "none of that. That costs
sixpence a pound."
"Now," .said War to his boy Hubbub, dealing him
at the samd time a sharp rap on the knuckles, "bring
me a pestle."
We haven't got one, master," said Hubbub. We
moved in only yesterday."
War. "Then run. and borrow one from Athens."
Hubbub. "I'm off, or I shall catch it."
This is a terrible thing," said Trygaeus. "If that
varlet brings back a pestle, there'll soon be nothing
left of our cities."
In a short time Hubbub returned. The Athenian
pestle had been lost.2
1 Megara was famous for its garlic, and Sicily for its cheese.
2 The Athenian pestle, as has been explained in the introduction,
was Cleon, one of the chief advocates of the war; the Spartan pestle,
of course, was Brasidas.
W. "Then fetch the Spartan pestle, and be quick
T. "This is an anxious moment."
In a short time Hubbub returned empty-handed,
and in a great state of dismay.
W. How now ? Why haven't you brought it ?"
H. The Spartan pestle is lost, master."
W. How is that, you rascal? "
H. "They sent it to some folk somewhere Thrace-
way,1 and they lost it."
T. "And they did quite right, too. By the great
Twin-brethren, all may be. well yet! "
W. "Hubbub, take the things indoors. I will
make another pestle for myself."
Overjoyed to see War depart, Trygmus shouted
out, calling on all Greeks to take the opportunity of
ridding themselves of their troubles by pulling Peace
out of the cave in which she had been imprisoned.
A miscellaneous crowd of husbandmen, natives
and foreigners, dwellers in the islands and dwellers
on the mainland, answered to the call, and came
hurrying in, furnished with crowbars and ropes, and
loudly expressing their delight at accomplishing the
rescue of Peace, best and greatest of goddesses.
"Hush!" cried Trygeus; "make less noise, or
you'll rouse War, who is indoors there."
Husbandmen. "Oh, we were so glad to hear your
1 Brasidas, as has been stated in the introduction, was killed at
Amphipolis in Thrace.
proclamation! So different it was from that hate-
.ful 'Come with three days' rations.apiece !'"
T. "Yes; but remember Cerberus down there.
With his blustering and barking he may do what he
did when he was up here, and hinder us from drag-
ging the lovely goddess out of her cave."
Hus. Hinder us Nothing shall tear her from
us, if we only once get hold of her."
T. "I tell you that you'll be the ruin of the whole
business with your dancing and singing. Why can't
you keep your tongues and your feet still ? "
The husbandmen protested that they could not
help themselves. Their legs would dance whether
they wished or not. All Trygaus's cautions and
exhortations were in vain. They begged for only
one more turn with the right leg, and when this
was granted, for only one turn with the left, and
wound up with a vigorous movement of both.
"Wait," cried Trygaus, "till you've got her safe.
Then you may really rejoice." So delighted was
he with the prospect that he broke out into a
Oh, then you'll have time to laugh and to shout,
To stop in your homes, or go sailing about,
To feast and to sleep and the kottabos 1 play,
To be merry all night, and be merry all day."
1 A favourite game among the Greeks. There were various forms
of it, the most easily described being one in which the object of the
players was to sink a number of little saucers that were floating about
in a bowl of water by throwing wine into them from a distance,
The husbandmen replied with another:--
0 thrice blessed day may I see it at last!
I've had trouble enough in the time that is past!
No more will you see me so stern and severe,
But tender and younger by many a year,
When our troubles are gone, and no more we appear
Day by day on parade with a shield and a spear.
Only tell us our work, and we'll do what we can,
For you are our master, most fortunate man."
Trygaus then began to inspect the stones that
covered the pit in which Peace was immured, and
to consider the best way of moving them. At this
moment Hermes appeared, and loudly protested
against the daring deed on which they were about
to venture. Trygaeus and his friends entreated him
not to betray them. At first he absolutely refused
to listen. The death penalty had been proclaimed
by Zeus against all that presumed to dig in that
place, and he could not but denounce the offenders.
Prayers seemed in vain till Trygeus bethought him
of working upon his fears. I'll tell you," said he,
"about a great and dreadful secret, no less than a
plot against the gods."
Hermes. "Go on; you may say something worth
T. "Well; it is this. The Moon and that ter-
rible rascal the Sun have been plotting against you
now for many years; they are intending, in short, to
betray Greece to the barbarians."
H. But why are they doing this ?"
72 "Why? Because while we sacrifice to you,
the barbarians sacrifice to them: so, of course, they
want to get us out of the way, and then they will
get all the sacrifices themselves."
H. "Oh! I see; and that, I suppose, is the reason
why they have been filching part of our days, and
nibbling off bits from their rounds."
T. "Just so, my dear Hermes; so lend us a hand,
and help to pull Peace out of the cave; and it is to
you that we'll keep all the great feasts, -the feast
of Athen6, the feast of Zeus, and the feast of
Adonis, and all the rest of them. Yes; all the cities
will sacrifice to you as Hermes the Saviour. And
here, my dear Hermes, by way of earnest, is a gold
cup." (Produces a gold cup.)
H. Dear me! how very pitiful the sight of the
gold makes me. Now, my men, it is for you to do
the rest. Up with your shovels, and work away."
7. But let us first do our duty to the gods.
Hermes, hold out the cup, and we'll begin with liba-
tions and prayers."
H. "Silence for the libation! "
T. "I pour and pray. Let this glad morn begin
All joy to Greece; and he who lends to-day
A willing hand ne'er carry shield again."
1 Among the terrors and calamities which preceded and accom-
panied the Peloponnesian war, Thucydides (1.23) mentions "eclipses
of the sun more frequent than had ever been recorded before." One
of these happened in the first year of the war (August 3, 431), and
another in the eleventh (March 2[, 421).
Hus. "Yea, let him spend his days in peace, and sit,
His wife beside him, by a blazing hearth."
T. If any armourer, who would sell his arms,
Love battle more than peace, a curse upon him !"
Hts. "And whoso, greedy for a general's.pay,
Holds back and helps us not, a curse upon him "
T. "Again I pour to Hermes, to the Hours,
The sister Graces, and the Queen of Love,
And fond Desire."
Hus. "And shall we say to Ares ?"
T. "To Ares ? Heaven forbid it! Name him not."
(Sfits on the ground in disgust.)
This ceremony ended, all set to work, and pulled
away at the rope with which the prisoners, that is,
Peace and her attendants, were to be hauled out of
their dungeon. Hermes encouraged them, and Try-
gaus watched to see that none shirked their task.
This, indeed, he soon found some inclined to do.
The Boeotians1 were very lukewarm, and made only
a show of working. Then some of his own country-
men, such as Lamachus,2 did nothing but get in the
way, while the men of Argos made no effort at all,
but laughed at both sides, and took their profit from
each. As for the men of Megara, they seemed eager
1 The Boeotians were not anxious for peace. They had suffered
little by the war, and they had gained great credit by the crushing
defeat which they had inflicted on the Athenian army at Delium.
As a matter of fact, they refused to join in the Peace of Nicias,
and would do nothing more than make a truce of indefinite length,
which might be terminated at ten days' notice, with their Athenian
2 The General Dobattle of the Charcoal-burners,
TRYGAEUS -BRIBING HERMES WITH A GOLD CUP.
enough, but they were so weak with hunger that
they gave no help. Sometimes it seemed as if no
progress was being made. Still the work went on,
and at last, with a long pull, and a strong pull, and
a pull all together, the thing was done. Peace, with
her two handmaids, Harvest-home and Mayfair, was
lifted out of the pit. Trygeus was almost beside
himself with delight. "Welcome, mighty mother of
vintages!" he cried, "welcome, Harvest-home wel-
come, Mayfair! 0 Mayfair, what a lovely face you
have! and how sweet your breath! what a per-
H. "Not the smell of a knapsack, eh ?"
T. "A knapsack indeed No such abomination as
that, but a fragrance of harvests, and feasts, and
flutes, and thrushes, and bleating of lambs, and
empty flasks, and all kinds of good things."
Then he burst out into song again:-
"Oh, think of the pleasures
Peace gave us of yore,
Of her sweet country treasures,
Her bountiful store;
Of the figs, and the vine,
And the olives divine,
And the myrtle-tree growing,
And violets blowing,
Where fountains were flowing.
These are the joys for which long we've been yearning,
For these we will welcome the goddess returning."
Hits. "Welcome, welcome, once more !
We have longed for thee sore.
Still desiring again,
With a passionate pain,
In the sweet country-side
Of our farms to abide,
We who follow the trade
Of the tillers of land,
For our labours are paid
By the gifts of thy hand.
Not a flower, not a fruit,
Not a tender young shoot
Of the fig or the vine,
But will fondly combine
Through the length and the breadth of our country to greet
The thrice welcome sound of thy home-coming feet."
"Now," said Hermes to the husbandmen, I will
explain to you the cause of all the mischief. Phidias
began it by getting into trouble. Then Pericles, fear-
ing lest he should be involved with him, and knowing
your fierce temper, set the city in a blaze by his
decree against Megara.1 The smoke of that burning
1 This has been mentioned in the Charcoal-burners. The first
charge brought against Phidias was that he had embezzled some of the
gold that was to be used for the statue of Athen6. This he disproved
by weighing the metal, and showing that the quantity was correct.
Then he was accused of having introduced likenesses of himself and
Pericles into the battle-scene pictured on the shield of Athene. This
could not be denied, and the sculptor was thrown into prison, where he
died. That these attacks on Phidias were made by enemies of Peri-
cles, and with the idea of vexing and injuring him, is quite clear.
That they influenced him in his policy of encouraging Athens to resist
the Spartan demands, and so bringing on the Peloponnesian war, is
another matter. It is stated by Diodorus Siculus and by Plutarch.
But the causes of great political events are not to be found in personal
matters of this kind.
drew tears from every eye in Greece. Not a vine
there was but groaned when it heard it, not a cask
but dashed itself against its neighbour. There was
nobody to stop the uproar, and Peace disappeared.
Then the subject cities, when they saw you snarling
at each other, thought that they could get rid of their
tribute, and bribed the great people at Sparta to help
them; so there was trouble abroad and trouble at
home, and the greatest mischiefmaker of all was a
T. "Say no more about him, my dear Hermes; let
him rest where he is; he is one of your people now.
But, my dear lady (turning to Peace), why so silent ? "
H. "She has been too much wronged to forgive
(Peace, it should be said, was represented by a
colossal statue with a head which could turn round.
Hermes speaks to her and affects to listen to her
H. "Dearest lady, tell me your thought. Ah!
that is it, is it ? She says that when she came, after
that affair at Pylos, with a chest full of treaties, she
was thrice rejected in full assembly."
T. "So she was; but our wits were covered up
with hides in those days."
H. "She wants to know who among you loves
Peace and hates War most."
T. "Cleonymus, of course."
H. "What about him ?"
T. "He is not the son of the man whom he
calls his father, and when he goes to battle, he
throws away his shield and runs' away."
H. "Peace wants to know who is the first man in
the Assembly now? "
T. Hyperbolus,2 of course. But, dear lady, why
so disgusted ?"
H. "She is disgusted with the people for choosing
such a leader."
T. "Oh! he is only a make-shift. And besides,
we thought that, as we were all groping in the dark,
he might throw a little light on affairs."
H. "How so?"
T. "Because he makes lamps."
H. "She wants to know whether witty old Crati-
nus 8 is alive.
T. "No, poor fellow, he died when the Spartans
invaded us. He saw a butt of wine staved in, and
it broke his heart to see so much good liquor
In the end it was arranged that Trygaus should
return home with Peace and her two handmaids, one
1 Cleonymus, probably a political opponent of the poet, is continu-
ally attacked by him on account of alleged cowardice. Nothing is
known of the circumstances.
2 The successor of Cleon, and according to Thucydides, a worthless
8 Cratinus, a writer of comedies, and one of the most formidable
rivals of Aristophanes, was probably alive at the time. We find
frequent jests at his fondness for wine.
of whom, Harvest-home, he should have for his own
wife. He accordingly, after taking an affectionate
leave of Hermes, called for the beetle. The beetle,
however, was not available, having been harnessed
to the car of Zeus; and Trygaeus and his charges
descended to earth by a staircase, which Hermes
pointed out to him. Dear me he said, when he
felt his feet on firm ground again, "what a business
it was to get up to the gods! How my legs ache!
And how small you looked," he went on, speaking to
the slaves, who had assembled to greet him, "from
up there! I thought you seemed a bad lot, when
I looked down on you, but now I see you closer,
I find you very much worse."
A servant. "What have you got, master ?"
T. "Got? A pain in my legs from travelling so
S. "And did you see anybody else wandering
about up there ?"
T. "Only a minor poet or two."
S. "And is it true that when we die we are
turned into stars ? "
T. Of course it is."
S. "What are the shooting stars, then ?"
T. Rich stars going from dinner with lighted
lanterns in their hands. But take the young lady;
let her have a bath, and be dressed for our wedding.
She is to be my bride."
S. "And is she to have anything to eat ?"
T. "To eat? No. She can't eat our food; she's
used to ambrosia."
Harvest-home being thus disposed of, Tryg~eus
proceeded to make a sacrifice to Peace, to whom
he and his servant, assisted by the husbandmen,
addressed an ode of praise and thanksgiving:-
"For thirteen long years we have longed to behold you,
And now you are come we will steadfastly hold you.
When our fighting are stayed and our tumults allayed,
We will call you in future the war-ending maid;
We beseech thee to end all the whispers of doubt,
All the clever suspicions we bandy about,
All the Greeks with the solder of friendship to bind,
Breathing into them thoughts that are honest and kind."
While the sacrifice was going on, a soothsayer
approached, crowned with laurel, after the manner
of his profession. Trygeus thought that he was
going to interfere with the ratification of the treaties
of Peace; the servant, on the other hand, believed
that he was attracted by the smell of the meat.
Both turned out to be right, in a way. The sooth-
sayer did wish to have a finger in the pie, and made
sundry suggestions as to the treaties, which would
be repaid, he hoped, by an invitation to share in the
feast. But as his advances were rejected with very
scant courtesy, he proceeded to quote prophecy after
prophecy, foretelling a disastrous end to the pro-
ceeding. Trygaeus, however, had an answer ready
to all his sinister suggestions, and when finally asked
to produce the prophecy in reliance on which he
had himself been acting, he bravely replied with
what was wanted. It came from Homer, he said,
but of course it was an impromptu of his own.
"When the sons of Greece had driven lowering clouds of war
Lovely Peace they gladly welcomed, making feast and holy day.
Flesh from thigh-bones duly burning, tasting duly, as is meet,
Savoury morsels from the inwards, pouring out libations sweet.
I, whom now you see before you, I the holy rites began,
But with bright gold goblet no one blessed the prophesying
Soothsayer. "Strange the words that thou hast
uttered; not the Sibyl's speech, are they ?"
T. "Strange they may be, yet full wisely did the
mighty Homer say:-
"He who loves the savage strife that severs men of kindred
Motherhood he scorns and custom and the home life's kindly
The soothsayer continued to interrupt and intrude,
and in the end Trygaeus and his servants drove him
away. The sacrifice ended, it became time to lay
out the wedding-supper, at which it was soon evident
there would be no lack of guests. Trygmus took
his helmet, and pulling out the crest, handed it to
the servant, with the remark that, as he had no more
use for it, it had better be used for wiping down
the tables. While this was being done, a sickle-
maker and a cooper made their appearance. Both
were in the highest spirits. The first had sold
sickles, for which for years past no one would give a
farthing, for a couple of pounds; the latter had
disposed of a lot of casks for country use at half-a-
crown each. They offered Trygaeus as many of
both articles as he wanted, and gave him some
money, too, by way of wedding present. The bride-
groom invited them in to take part in the feast. The
next moment a maker of crests appeared. He was
as much depressed as the others had been elated.
"What is the matter?" said the bridegroom, A
surfeit of crests? eh?" -"You have ruined my
trade," replied the man; "and my neighbour's, too,
who burnishes spears."
T. "Well, what shall I give you for these two
Crest-maker. "What will you give ?"
T. "I hardly like to say. Well, as there is a
good deal of work about them, say three quarts of
raisins for the pair. They'll do to wipe my tables
C.-m. "Fetch the raisins; better that than nothing."
T. (handling them, when they came to pieces). Take
the rotten things away. The hairs are all coming
out. Not a single raisin for the pair."
An armourer now appeared on the scene with a
breastplate, which had cost, he said, forty pounds.
Trygaus offered to buy it for a pan, but found it
unsuitable, and packed the man off. A trumpeter
followed, wanting to sell a trumpet, which had cost
him, he said, two pounds ten. Trygaus could only
suggest that he should fill it with lead, fasten a pair
of scales at the -top, and use it for weighing out
rations of figs for the labourers at the farm. A
helmet-maker was advised to take his helmets, which
had cost him, he said, four pounds, to Egypt, where
they might be used to measure medicines with, while
the man that burnished spears had an offer made
to him that if he would lop off the heads, and saw
the shafts in two, Trygaeus would buy them for vine
poles, at twelve a penny. The men went off greatly
insulted. Trygaus now espied some singing boys,
whom the guests had brought with them by way of
contribution to the feast. "Come," he said to one
of them, "stand here by me, and let me hear you
practise what you are going to sing."
The boy began:-
"Sing of heroes, sing the younger."
T. "None of that, boy; have done with your
heroes. There is peace, and I want to hear nothing
about them." 1
1 The word that excited Trygseus's wrath was that which stands for
"younger." This is hoploteroi. It reminded him of hopla, the word
for arms, and the association of ideas is odious to him. The words
which the boy sings are the beginning of one of the poems of what is
called the epic cycle (poems relating in heroic verse the events begin-
ning with the Voyage of the Argo and ending with the Capture of
Thebes). This last was the subject of the Epigoni.
Boy (singing again).
"When the armies met together, marching slow across the
Loudly buckler dashed on buckler, loudly round-bossed
shield on shield."
T. "Buckler Boy, how dare you talk about buck-
"Vaunts of victors, groans of dying, rose together to the
T. "Say another word about 'groans of dying'
and you shall repent it."
Boy. "But what am I to sing? Tell me the sort
of songs you like."
T. "Then on flesh of beeves they feasted, -
something of that sort."
"Then on flesh of beeves they feasted, first from off their
Loosing chariot yoke and traces, wearied sore of warlike
T. "That's good. They had had enough of war,
and then feasted. Sing again of how they had had
enough and feasted."
"Rested well they called for casques."
T. Yes, called for casks,' and very glad to do it."
"From the towers and walls descending rushed they to the
Till once more the roar of battle rose unceasing from the
T. Confound you, boy, you and your battles!
You can't sing of anything but war. Who is your
father ? "
T. "Ah! I thought when I heard you that you
must be the son of some swash-buckler. Go and
sing to the spearmen. Where is the son of Cleony-
mus? Here, sing us something before we go in.
You won't sing of such things. Your father has too
much of the better part of valour."
Second boy (singing).
"Some foeman I doubt not is proud of the shield,
The shield without blot that I left on the field."
T. "Good boy! Are you singing about your
Sec. boy. But I saved my own life."
T. "And your parents you shamed. But go in,
my boy. If you are your father's son, you won't for-
IThe joke in the Greek is a play on a word which may mean "put
on their breastplates," but which might be used to signify fortified
themselves with liquor." I am indebted for the English equivalent to
Mr. B. B. Rogers; but I remember to have seen the pun in Mr. James
Hannay's Singleton Fontenoy."
get about the shield, I fancy. And you, my friends,
set to; there is plenty for all, and there is no good in
having fine teeth if you don't use them."
Hus. "We will do our duty; but you were quite
right to mention it."
T. Set to; or you will be sorry for it some day."
His. "Now it's time that the bride and the torches you
And those that come with her shall dance and shall sing;
And we'll pray to the gods to give plenty and peace
Forever henceforth to the children of Greece;
Their fruit in abundance our fig-trees shall yield,
With the yard full of wine and of barley the field;
With sons and with daughters our homes shall abound;
By the side of our hearth shall the blessings be found,
That of late we have lost, though we had them before,
And the name of the sword shall be heard of no more."
Frequent reference is made in the plays of Aristophanes to the judi-
cial system of Athens. The body of judges or jurymen-the second term
is, on the whole, more descriptive of them than the first- consisted
of six thousand citizens, chosen by lot out of the whole number.
These six thousand were divided into ten bodies of five hundred each,
who sat in different courts, dealing with different kinds of cases. The
thousand that remained over were called upon to supply vacancies.
Sometimes part only of a section would sit; sometimes two or more
sections were combined. On very important occasions, it is said, the
whole body was assembled. Each juryman received three oboli, or
half a drachma, as a fee for his attendance; this sum having been
increased, according to some authorities, by Cleon. The poet in this
drama directs his satire against the characteristic faults of the courts
thus constituted, faults which may be summed up in the phrase, "want
of a judicial temper."
The Wasps was exhibited in the early part of 422 B.c., when
Cleon was at the height of his power. A few months later he was
killed. (See introduction to the Peace.)
THERE was an old gentleman at Athens who was
afflicted with a very strange disease. It was a pas-
sion, not for the things that some of his contempo-
raries were devoted to, as drinking or gaming, but
for the law courts. He was never happy except
he was serving on a jury and trying a case. Such a
hold had this passion got upon him that he could
not sleep at night for thinking of his favourite em-
ployment, and if he ever did doze off for a moment
his soul seemed to flutter about the clock' by which
the advocates' speeches were timed. When he got
up in the morning, he always put his thumb and
two fingers together exactly as if he were holding a
voting pebble in them; and if'a lover had written
on the walls,
Pretty, pretty Goldilocks,
he would write underneath,
Pretty, pretty Ballotbox.
When a cock happened to crow in the evening he
would cry : "That cock has been bribed to be late in
waking me by some officials who don't like the idea
of giving in their accounts." Supper was hardly
over before he clamoured for his shoes; and before
dawn he was off to the court, and went to sleep
leaning against the pillar on which the notices were
posted up. And when he was sitting, he was always
for severity. It was always the longest sentence
that pleased him most.2 So afraid was he that
1 A water-clock, or clepsydra; the water occupied a certain time in
running out, and a larger or smaller clepsydra, or, it may be, a clep-
sydra filled so many times, was granted to the speakers according to
the nature and importance of the case.
2 Commonly, in an Athenian court, when a verdict had been given,
and (supposing that the prisoner had been found guilty) sentence had
to be passed, the prosecutor would first name the penalty which he
thought fit to meet the case, or which'seemed to him such as the jury
would probably accept;- and then the prisoner, on the other hand,
named some other punishment, as much milder as he could venture
he might perchance not have a pebble to vote with
that he kept a private beach'in his. owIn house.
The old gentleman's name was Philocleon; i and
he had a son, Bdelycleon,1 who strongly disliked his
father's ways. At first this son did his best to per-
suade the old man to stop at home. Then he tried
baths and pirges; they did ino good. Then he got
him to join the worshippers of Cybele.2 The old
man rushed into court with a timbrel in his hand,
and took his place as usual. Then he took him
across the straits to AEgina, and made him sleep
inside the temple of /Esculapius; but the very next
morning he vas standing at the court-rail. After
that the only thing was to keep the old man at
home.. But he tried to get out through the water-
pipes; when these were stopped up with rags, he
drove perches into the wall and hopped down them
like a jackdaw. Then his son surrounded the house
upon, having regard to the feelings of the court. (So when Socrates
was found guilty, the prosecutor demanded the death-penalty, while
the accused, after stating that, in his own opinion, he deserved the
highest honours from the state, proposed, in deference to the judgment
of his friends, a small-money fine [,2o]. This was practically a.defi-
ance to the court, and ensured the acceptance of the heavier penalty.)
After this the jurors voted again; those who were for the severer sen-
tence drew a long line on the wax tablet, those for the lighter a short
one. The old man described in the text always drew a line as long as
he could, and came home with his nails full of wax.
1 The two words mean, respectively, Cleon-lover" and "Cleon-
2 This consisted of wild orgies, celebrated with music and frantic
with nets, putting a couple of slaves in charge of
them. These two watchmen had been keeping
guard all night and had dropped off to sleep, when
they heard the voice of the young master crying out,
" Run, run at once, one of you! my father has got
into the kitchen-flue." Scarcely had he said this
when he heard a voice from up above, and called
out, What's that noise in the chimney ? "
Philocleon (who was trying to get out that way).
"Only a little smoke escaping."
Bdelycleon. "Smoke? Of what wood, pray?"
Phil. "Fig-tree, to be sure."
Bdel. "The most biting kind there is." (To the
slaves) "Run and clap a stone on the top of the
chimney. You must try some other dodge, my dear
Then the old man tried to make his way out by the
door; finding that barred by the slaves, he screamed
out, "I will gnaw the net."
"But you haven't any teeth, father," replied the
son. Then he tried craft. It was market day, and
he wanted to sell the donkey, and he was sure he
would make a better bargain than his son. The son
would not listen. He would take the donkey to mar-
ket himself, and accordingly had the beast driven out.
The creature seemed very loath to move, and Bdely-
cleon addressed it: -
"Why so sad, my ass? Because you are to be
sold to-day? Move a little quicker. Why grunt and
groan, unless you are carrying a new Ulysses ?"
Slave. "And, by Zeus! there is a fellow hanging
Bdel. "What? Where?"
Slave. Here, to be sure."
Bdel. "Who in the world are you ?"
Phil. "No man."
Bdel. "No man, are you? Where do you come
Phil. "From Ithaca, the son of Runaway."
Bdel. "Well, however you'll not get off in this
way." (To the slaves)' Drag him out."
The old man accordingly was dragged off, and
pushed inside, and the door was bolted, barred, and
still further fortified by stones and other things piled
up against it. While the slaves were busy about this,
one of them was startled by a clod of earth falling on
his head. Philocleon had mounted on to the roof,
and seemed to be intending to fly off. "Throw the
net over him," cried his son. This done, the slaves
ventured to suggest that a sleep would be welcome.
Of this, however, their young master would not
"Sleep !" he cried, "why, his fellow-juryman will
1 Philocleon bethinks him of the device by which Ulysses and his
men had escaped from the cave of the Cyclops. The hero had tied
his companions under the bellies of rams, and he himself had clung in
the same way to the biggest and strongest. The Cyclops, sitting at the
mouth of the cave, and feeling the animals as they go out, asks this
animal which was accustomed to lead the flock, why it is so long in
coming out. The name No man is another reminiscence of the story.
be here very soon to call for him, and we.shall have
to deal with them."
"But, sir," said the slave, "it is only just twilight."
-"Ah!" replied Bdelycleon, "then they are very
late to-day; soon after midnight is. their usual time
Slave. "Well, if they do come, we can easily pelt
them with stones."
Bdel., "Pelt them, indeed! You might as well stir
-up a wasps' nest as. anger these old men. Every one
of them wears a terrible sting,,and they'd leap on
you like live coals out of the fire."
Slave.. "Don't be afraid. Give me some stones,
and I'll scatter their wasps' nest, be it ever so big."
Sure enough, before many minutes had passed, the
host of jurymen1 appeared, a set of poorly dressed,
hungry looking fellows.. They came slowly on, pick-
ing their way, while their young sons carried lanterns
by their side. They were greatly astonished, on
arriving at Philocleon's house, to see no trace of
their colleague, and sang a stave, in the hope of
bringing him out:-
"Why doesn't he greet us in front of his hall?
Why doesn't he hear and reply to our call?
Perhaps he has had the misfortune to lose
The only one pair that was left him of shoes;
Or perhaps it may be he has injured his toe
1 They were dressed in the play in garments striped with yellow
and black, so as to resemble wasps, and each was furnished with a
formidable looking sting.
With groping about in the dark; such a blow,
When a man is in years, very painful may grow.
He was ever the sharpest and keenest of all;
In vain on his ear all entreaties would fall;
If you sued for his grace, with an obstinate stoop
Of his head, he would mutter, 'Boil stones into soup.'
Can it be that, attempting in vain to forget
The fellow who yesterday slipped through our net,
Having cheated us all with detestable lies
About plots he had spied out among our allies,
He has sickened with fever? That's just like our friend.
But up with you now, for it's foolish to spend
Your time in these fruitless reproaches. We've got
From Thrace1 a fat.traitor to pop.in our.pot."
Philocleon replied in corresponding strains:-
"Friends, long have I wasted away with my woe,
As I heard through the chimney your voices below;
I am helpless; these will not allow me to go
With you as my spirit desires, for I burn
To do some one or other a mischievous turn,
If I only could get to the balloting urn.2
O Lord of the thunder, I pray that the stroke
Of thy lightning may speedily change me to smoke
Or to stone, if I only the table were made
To which, for the counting the votes are conveyed."
1 At the time when this play was acted, the struggle of Athens to
retain her possessions in Thrace was going on. The meaning of the
original is not that the traitor was a Thracian, or brought from Thrace,
but that he had betrayed the interests of the city in reference to its
2 The urns (one for acquittal, one for condemnation) in which the
jurymen deposited their votes.