Not a member?     Existing members login below:

The Acharnians

DICAEOPOLIS HERALD AMPHITHEUS AMBASSADORS PSEUDARTABAS
THEORUS WIFE OF DICAEOPOLIS DAUGHTER OF DICAEOPOLIS EURIPIDES
CEPHISOPHON, servant of Euripides LAMACHUS ATTENDANT OF LAMACHUS A
MEGARIAN MAIDENS, daughters of the Megarian A BOEOTIAN NICARCHUS A
HUSBANDMAN A BRIDESMAID AN INFORMER MESSENGERS CHORUS OF
ACHARNIAN ELDERS
SCENE: The Athenian Ecclesia on the Pnyx; afterwards Dicaeopolis' house in the
country.
DICAEOPOLIS[1] (alone)
What cares have not gnawed at my heart and how few have been the pleasures in my life!
Four, to be exact, while my troubles have been as countless as the grains of sand on the
shore! Let me see! of what value to me have been these few pleasures? Ah! I remember
that I was delighted in soul when Cleon had to disgorge those five talents;[2] I was in
ecstasy and I love the Knights for this deed; 'it is an honour to Greece.'[3] But the day
when I was impatiently awaiting a piece by Aeschylus,[4] what tragic despair it caused
me when the herald called, "Theognis,[5] introduce your Chorus!" Just imagine how this
blow struck straight at my heart! On the other hand, what joy Dexitheus caused me at the
musical competition, when he played a Boeotian melody on the lyre! But this year by
contrast! Oh! what deadly torture to hear Chaeris[6] perform the prelude in the Orthian
mode![7] --Never, however, since I began to bathe, has the dust hurt my eyes as it does
to-day. Still it is the day of assembly; all should be here at daybreak, and yet the Pnyx[8]
is still deserted. They are gossiping in the marketplace, slipping hither and thither to
avoid the vermilioned rope.[9] The Prytanes[10] even do not come; they will be late, but
when they come they will push and fight each other for a seat in the front row. They will
never trouble themselves with the question of peace. Oh! Athens! Athens! As for myself,
I do not fail to come here before all the rest, and now, finding myself alone, I groan,
yawn, stretch, break wind, and know not what to do; I make sketches in the dust, pull out
my loose hairs, muse, think of my fields, long for peace, curse town life and regret my
dear country home,[11] which never told me to 'buy fuel, vinegar or oil'; there the word
'buy,' which cuts me in two, was unknown; I harvested everything at will. Therefore I
have come to the assembly fully prepared to bawl, interrupt and abuse the speakers, if
they talk of anything but peace. But here come the Prytanes, and high time too, for it is
midday! As I foretold, hah! is it not so? They are pushing and fighting for the front seats.
f[1] A name invented by Aristophanes and signifying 'a just citizen.'
f[2] Clean had received five talents from the islanders subject to Athens, on condition
that he should get the tribute payable by them reduced; when informed of this transaction,
the knights compelled him to return the money.
f[3] A hemistich borrowed from Euripides' 'Telephus.'
f[4] The tragedies of Aeschylus continued to be played even after the poet's death, which
occurred in 436 B.C., ten years before the production of 'The Acharnians.'
f[5] A tragic poet, whose pieces were so devoid of warmth and life that he was
nicknamed [the Greek for] 'snow.'
Remove