There is no beast, no rush of fire, like woman so untamed.
She calmly goes her way where even panthers would be shamed.
And yet you are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with me,
When for your faithful ally you might win me easily.
Never could the hate I feel for womankind grow less.
Then have your will. But I'll take pity on your nakedness.
For I can see just how ridiculous you look, and so
Will help you with your tunic if close up I now may go.
Well, that, by Zeus, is no scoundrel-deed, I frankly will admit.
I only took them off myself in a scoundrel raging-fit.
Now you look sensible, and that you're men no one could doubt.
If you were but good friends again, I'd take the insect out
That hurts your eye.
Is that what's wrong? That nasty bitie thing.
Please squeeze it out, and show me what it is that makes this sting.
It's been paining me a long while now.
Well I'll agree to that,
Although you're most unmannerly. O what a giant gnat.
Here, look! It comes from marshy Tricorysus, I can tell.
O thank you. It was digging out a veritable well.
Now that it's gone, I can't hold back my tears. See how they fall.
I'll wipe them off, bad as you are, and kiss you after all.
I won't be kissed.
O yes, you will. Your wishes do not matter.
O botheration take you all! How you cajole and flatter.
A hell it is to live with you; to live without, a hell:
How truly was that said. But come, these enmities let's quell.
You stop from giving orders and I'll stop from doing wrong.
So let's join ranks and seal our bargain with a choric song.
Athenians, it's not our intention
To sow political dissension
By giving any scandal mention;
But on the contrary to promote good feeling in the state
By word and deed. We've had enough calamities of late.
So let a man or woman but divulge
They need a trifle, say,
Two minas, three or four,
I've purses here that bulge.
There's only one condition made
(Indulge my whim in this I pray)--
When Peace is signed once more,
On no account am I to be repaid.
And I'm making preparation
For a gay select collation
With some youths of reputation.
I've managed to produce some soup and they're slaughtering for me
A sucking-pig: its flesh should taste as tender as could be.
I shall expect you at my house today.
To the baths make an early visit,
And bring your children along;
Don't dawdle on the way.
Ask no one; enter as if the place
Was all your own--yours henceforth is it.
If nothing chances wrong,
The door will then be shut bang in your face.
_The_ SPARTAN AMBASSADORS _approach_.
Here come the Spartan envoys with long, worried beards.
Hail, Spartans how do you fare?
Did anything new arise?
No need for a clutter o' words. Do ye see our condition?
The situation swells to greater tension.
Something will explode soon.
It's awfu' truly.
But come, let us wi' the best speed we may
Scribble a Peace.
I notice that our men
Like wrestlers poised for contest, hold their clothes
Out from their bellies. An athlete's malady!
Since exercise alone can bring relief.
Can anyone tell us where Lysistrata is?
There is no need to describe our men's condition,
It shows up plainly enough.
It's the same disease.
Do you feel a jerking throbbing in the morning?
By Zeus, yes! In these straits, I'm racked all through.
Unless Peace is soon declared, we shall be driven
In the void of women to try Cleisthenes.
Be wise and cover those things with your tunics.
Who knows what kind of person may perceive you?
By Zeus, you're right.
By the Twa Goddesses,
Indeed ye are. Let's put our tunics on.
Hail O my fellow-sufferers, hail Spartans.
O hinnie darling, what a waefu' thing!
If they had seen us wi' our lunging waddies!
Tell us then, Spartans, what has brought you here?
We come to treat o' Peace.
Well spoken there!
And we the same. Let us callout Lysistrata
Since she alone can settle the Peace-terms.
Callout Lysistratus too if ye don't mind.
No indeed. She hears your voices and she comes.
Hail, Wonder of all women! Now you must be in turn
Hard, shifting, clear, deceitful, noble, crafty, sweet, and stern.
The foremost men of Hellas, smitten by your fascination,
Have brought their tangled quarrels here for your sole arbitration.
An easy task if the love's raging home-sickness
Doesn't start trying out how well each other
Will serve instead of us. But I'll know at once
If they do. O where's that girl, Reconciliation?
Bring first before me the Spartan delegates,
And see you lift no rude or violent hands--
None of the churlish ways our husbands used.
But lead them courteously, as women should.
And if they grudge fingers, guide them by other methods,
And introduce them with ready tact. The Athenians
Draw by whatever offers you a grip.
Now, Spartans, stay here facing me. Here you,
Athenians. Both hearken to my words.
I am a woman, but I'm not a fool.
And what of natural intelligence I own
Has been filled out with the remembered precepts
My father and the city-elders taught me.
First I reproach you both sides equally
That when at Pylae and Olympia,
At Pytho and the many other shrines
That I could name, you sprinkle from one cup
The altars common to all Hellenes, yet
You wrack Hellenic cities, bloody Hellas
With deaths of her own sons, while yonder clangs
The gathering menace of barbarians.
We cannot hold it in much longer now.
Now unto you, O Spartans, do I speak.
Do you forget how your own countryman,
Pericleidas, once came hither suppliant
Before our altars, pale in his purple robes,
Praying for an army when in Messenia
Danger growled, and the Sea-god made earth quaver.
Then with four thousand hoplites Cimon marched
And saved all Sparta. Yet base ingrates now,
You are ravaging the soil of your preservers.
By Zeus, they do great wrong, Lysistrata.
Great wrong, indeed. O! What a luscious wench!
And now I turn to the Athenians.
Have you forgotten too how once the Spartans
In days when you wore slavish tunics, came
And with their spears broke a Thessalian host
And all the partisans of Hippias?
They alone stood by your shoulder on that day.
They freed you, so that for the slave's short skirt
You should wear the trailing cloak of liberty.
I've never seen a nobler woman anywhere.
Nor I one with such prettily jointing hips.
Now, brethren twined with mutual benefactions,
Can you still war, can you suffer such disgrace?
Why not be friends? What is there to prevent you?
We're agreed, gin that we get this tempting Mole.
That ane we've wanted to get into,
O for sae lang.... Pylos, of course.
Give it up.
Then what will we do?
We need that ticklish place united to us--
Ask for some other lurking-hole in return.
Then, ah, we'll choose this snug thing here, Echinus,
Shall we call the nestling spot? And this backside haven,
These desirable twin promontories, the Maliac,
And then of course these Megarean Legs.
Not that, O surely not that, never that.
Agree! Now what are two legs more or less?
I want to strip at once and plough my land.
And mine I want to fertilize at once.
And so you can, when Peace is once declared.
If you mean it, get your allies' heads together
And come to some decision.
There's no distinction in our politics:
We've risen as one man to this conclusion;
Every ally is jumping-mad to drive it home.
And ours the same, for sure.
The Carystians first!
I'll bet on that.
I agree with all of you.
Now off, and cleanse yourselves for the Acropolis,
For we invite you all in to a supper
From our commissariat baskets. There at table
You will pledge good behaviour and uprightness;
Then each man's wife is his to hustle home.
Come, as quickly as possible.
As quick as ye like.
O Zeus, quick, quick, lead quickly on.
_They hurry off._
Broidered stuffs on high I'm heaping,
Fashionable cloaks and sweeping
Trains, not even gold gawds keeping.
Take them all, I pray you, take them all (I do not care)
And deck your children--your daughter, if the Basket she's to bear.
Come, everyone of you, come in and take
Of this rich hoard a share.
Nought's tied so skilfully
But you its seal can break
And plunder all you spy inside.
I've laid out all that I can spare,
And therefore you will see
Nothing unless than I you're sharper-eyed.
If lacking corn a man should be
While his slaves clamour hungrily
And his excessive progeny,
Then I've a handfull of grain at home which is always to be had,
And to which in fact a more-than-life-size loaf I'd gladly add.
Then let the poor bring with them bag or sack
And take this store of food.
Manes, my man, I'll tell
To help them all to pack
Their wallets full. But O take care.
I had forgotten; don't intrude,
Or terrified you'll yell.
My dog is hungry too, and bites--beware!