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Works by Aristophanes
Pages of Peace

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Peace with ignominy to let loose War. Though this was profitable to
them, it was the ruin of the husbandmen, who were innocent of all
blame; for, in revenge, your galleys went out to devour their figs.
And with justice too; did they not break down my black fig tree,
which I had planted and dunged with my own hands?
Yes, by Zeus! yes, that was well done; the wretches broke a
chest for me with stones, which held six medimni of corn.
Then the rural labourers flocked into the city and let
themselves be bought over like the others. Not having even a
grape-stone to munch and longing after their figs, they looked towards
the demagogues. These well knew that the poor were driven to extremity
and lacked even bread; but they nevertheless drove away the Goddess,
each time she reappeared in answer to the wish of the country, with
their loud shrieks that were as sharp as pitchforks; furthermore, they
attacked the well-filled purses of the richest among our allies on the
pretence that they belonged to Brasidas' party. And then you would
tear the poor accused wretch to pieces with your teeth; for the
city, all pale with hunger and cowed with terror, gladly snapped up
any calumny that was thrown it to devour. So the strangers, seeing
what terrible blows the informers dealt, sealed their lips with
gold. They grew rich, while you, alas! you could only see that
Greece was going to ruin. It was the tanner who was the author of
all this woe.
Enough said, Hermes leave that man in Hades, whither he has
gone; be no longer belongs to us, but rather to you. That he was a
cheat, a braggart, a calumniator when alive, why, nothing could be
truer; but anything you might say now would be an insult to one of
your own folk.
(To PEACE) Oh! venerated Goddess! why art thou silent?
And how could she speak to the spectators? She is too angry at all
that they have made her suffer.
At least let her speak a little to you, Hermes.
Tell me, my dear, what are your feelings with regard to them?
Come, you relentless foe of all bucklers, speak; I am listening to
you. (PEACE whispers into HERMES' ear.) Is that your grievance against
them? Yes, yes, I understand. Hearken, you folk, this is her
complaint. She says, that after the affair of Pylos she came to you
unbidden to bring you a basket full of truces and that you thrice
repulsed her by your votes in the assembly.
Yes, we did wrong, but forgive us, for our mind was then
entirely absorbed in leather.
Listen again to what she has just asked me. Who was her greatest
foe here? and furthermore, had she a friend who exerted himself to put
an end to the fighting?
Her most devoted friend was Cleonymus; it is undisputed.
How then did Cleonymus behave in fights?
Oh! the bravest of warriors! Only he was not born of the father he
claims; he showed it quick enough in the army by throwing away his
There is yet another question she has just put to me. Who rules
now in the rostrum?

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