they with you; now they are well disposed towards you, be so towards
them. As a rule the Argives are dull, but the Argive Hieronymus is a
distinguished chief. Herein lies a spark of hope; but Thrasybulus is
far from Athens and you do not recall him.
Oh! what a brilliant man!
PRAXAGORA (to her)
That's better! that's fitting applause. (Continuing her speech)
Citizens, you are the ones who are the cause of all this trouble.
You vote yourselves salaries out of the public funds and care only for
your own personal interests; hence the state limps along like Aesimus.
But if you hearken to me, you will be saved. I assert that the
direction of affairs must be handed over to the women, for they are
the ones who have charge and look after our households.
ALL THE WOMEN
Very good, very good, that's perfect! Go on, go on.
PRAXAGORA (ignoring this interruption)
They are worth more than you are, as I shall prove. First of all
they wash all their wool in warm water, according to the ancient
practice; you will never see them changing their method. Ah! if Athens
only acted thus, if it did not take delight in ceaseless
innovations, would not its happiness be assured? Then the women sit
down to cook, just as they always did; they carry things on their head
just as they always did; they keep the Thesmophoria, just as they
always did; they knead their cakes just as they always did; they
make their husbands angry just as they always did; they receive
their lovers in their houses just as they always did; they buy
dainties just as they always did; they love unmixed wine just as
they always did; they delight in being loved just as they always
did. Let us therefore hand Athens over to them without endless
discussions, without bothering ourselves about what they will do;
let us simply hand them over the power, remembering that they are
mothers and will therefore spare the blood of our soldiers; besides,
who will know better than a mother how to forward provisions to the
front? Woman is adept at getting money for herself and will not easily
let herself be deceived; she understands deceit too well herself. I
omit a thousand other advantages. Take my advice and you will live
in perfect happiness.
How beautiful this is, my dearest Praxagora, how clever! But
where, pray, did you learn all these pretty things?
When the countryfolk were seeking refuge in the city, I lived on
the Pnyx with my husband, and there I learnt to speak through
listening to the orators.
Then, dear, it's not astonishing that you are so eloquent and
clever, henceforward you shall be our leader, so put your great
ideas into execution. But if Cephalus belches forth insults against
you, what answer will you give him in the Assembly?
I shall say that he is drivelling.
But all the world knows that.
I shall furthermore say that he is a raving madman.
There's nobody who does not know that.
That he, as excellent a statesman as he is, is a clumsy potter.
And if the blear-eyed Neoclides comes to insult you?
To him I shall say, "Go and look at a dog's arse."