MNESILOCHUS Monologue by Aristophanes

MNESILOCHUS:  Mrs. Speaker and ladies,
I’m not surprised, of course I’m not surprised,
To find you all so angry and aggrieved
At what Euripides has said against us.
For I myself–or slay my babies else–
Hate him like poison, to be sure I do,
He’s most provoking, I admit he is.
But now we’re all alone, there’s no reporter,
All among friends, why not be fair and candid?
Grant that the man has really found us out,
And told a thing or two, sure they’re all true,
And there’s a many thousand still behind.
For I myself, to mention no one else,
Could tell a thousand plaguy tricks I’ve played
On my poor husband; I’ll just mention one.
We’d been but three days married; I’m abed,
Husband asleep beside me; when my lover
(I’d been familiar with him from a child)
Came softly scratching at the outer door.
I hear; I know the little clinking sound,
And rise up stealthily, to creep downstairs.
Where go you, pray? says husband. Where! say I,
I’ve such a dreadful pain in my inside
I must go down this instant. Go, says he.
He pounds his anise, juniper, and sage,
To still my pains: I seize the water jug,
And wet the hinge, to still its creaking noise,
Then open, and go out: and I and lover
Meet by Aguieus and his laurel shade,
Billing and cooing to our hearts’ content.
(With vivacity.) Euripides has never found out that.
Nor how a wife contrived to smuggle out
Her frightened lover, holding up her shawl
To the sun’s rays for husband to admire.
Nor how, arising from a night’s debauch,
We chew our garlic, that our husbands, coming
Back from the walls at daybreak, may suspect
Nothing amiss at home. Then what’s the odds
If he does rail at Phaedra? Let him rail.
What’s that to us? Let him on, say I.
Phaedra indeed! He might come nearer home.
I knew a woman, I won’t mention names,
Remained ten days in childbirth. Why, do you think?
Because she couldn’t buy a baby sooner.
Her husband runs to every medicine man
In dreadful agitation; while he’s out,
They bring a little baby in a basket,
Bunging its mouth up that it mayn’t cry out,
And stow it safe away till he comes home.
Then at a given sigh she feebly says,
My time is come: please, husband, go away.
He goes; they open basket; baby cries.
O, what delight, surprise, congratulations!
The man runs in; the nurse comes running out,
(The same that brought the baby in the basket),
A prodigy! a lion! such a boy!
Your form, your features: just the same expression:
Your very image: lucky, lucky man!
Don’t we do thi? By Artemis, we do.
Then wheretofore rail we at Euripides?
We’re not one bit more sinned against than sinning?

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