And why have the gods moved away?
Because of their wrath against the Greeks. They have located War
in the house they occupied themselves and have given him full power to
do with you exactly as he pleases; then they went as high up as ever
they could, so as to see no more of your fights and to hear no more of
What reason have they for treating us so?
Because they have afforded you an opportunity for peace more
than once, but you have always preferred war. If the Laconians got the
very slightest advantage, they would exclaim, "By the Twin Brethren!
the Athenians shall smart for this." If, on the contrary, the latter
triumphed and the Laconians came with peace proposals, you would
say, "By Demeter, they want to deceive us. No, by Zeus, we will not
hear a word; they will always be coming as long as we hold Pylos."
Yes, that is quite the style our folk do talk in.
So that I don't know whether you will ever see Peace again.
Why, where has she gone to then?
War has cast her into a deep pit.
Down there, at the very bottom. And you see what heaps of stones
he has piled over the top, so that you should never pull her out
Tell me, what is War preparing against us?
All I know is that last evening he brought along a huge mortar.
And what is he going to do with his mortar?
He wants to pound up all the cities of Greece in it.... But I must
say good-bye, for I think he is coming out; what an uproar he is
(He departs in haste.)
Ah! great gods let us seek safety; I think I already hear the
noise of this fearful war mortar. (He hides.)
WAR (enters, carrying a huge mortar)
Oh! mortals, mortals, wretched mortals, how your jaws will snap!
Oh! divine Apollo! what a prodigious big mortar! Oh, what misery
the very sight of War causes me! This then is the foe from whom I fly,
who is so cruel, so formidable, so stalwart, so solid on his legs!
Oh! Prasiae! thrice wretched, five times, aye, a thousand times
wretched! for thou shalt be destroyed this day.
(He throws some leeks into the mortar.)
TRYGAEUS (to the audience)
This, gentlemen, does not concern us over much; it's only so
much the worse for the Laconians.
Oh! Megara! Megara! utterly are you going to be ground up! what
fine mincemeat are you to be made into!
(He throws in some garlic.)
Alas! alas! what bitter tears there will be among the Megarians!