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LYSISTRATA enters in dismay.

WOMEN
Dear Mistress of our martial enterprise,
Why do you come with sorrow in your eyes?

LYSISTRATA
O 'tis our naughty femininity,
So weak in one spot, that hath saddened me.

WOMEN
What's this? Please speak.

LYSISTRATA
Poor women, O so weak!

WOMEN
What can it be? Surely your friends may know.

LYSISTRATA
Yea, I must speak it though it hurt me so.

WOMEN
Speak; can we help? Don't stand there mute in need.

LYSISTRATA
I'll blurt it out then—our women's army's mutinied.

WOMEN
O Zeus!

LYSISTRATA
What use is Zeus to our anatomy?
Here is the gaping calamity I meant:
I cannot shut their ravenous appetites
A moment more now. They are all deserting.
The first I caught was sidling through the postern
Close by the Cave of Pan: the next hoisting herself
With rope and pulley down: a third on the point
Of slipping past: while a fourth malcontent, seated
For instant flight to visit Orsilochus
On bird-back, I dragged off by the hair in time....
They are all snatching excuses to sneak home.
Look, there goes one.... Hey, what's the hurry?

1ST WOMAN
I must get home. I've some Milesian wool
Packed wasting away, and moths are pushing through it.

LYSISTRATA
Fine moths indeed, I know. Get back within.

1ST WOMAN
By the Goddesses, I'll return instantly.
I only want to stretch it on my bed.

LYSISTRATA
You shall stretch nothing and go nowhere either.

1ST WOMAN
Must I never use my wool then?

LYSISTRATA
If needs be.

2ND WOMAN
How unfortunate I am! O my poor flax!
It's left at home unstript.

LYSISTRATA
So here's another
That wishes to go home and strip her flax.
Inside again!

2ND WOMAN
No, by the Goddess of Light,
I'll be back as soon as I have flayed it properly.

LYSISTRATA
You'll not flay anything. For if you begin
There'll not be one here but has a patch to be flayed.

3RD WOMAN
O holy Eilithyia, stay this birth
Till I have left the precincts of the place!

LYSISTRATA
What nonsense is this?

3RD WOMAN
I'll drop it any minute.

LYSISTRATA
Yesterday you weren't with child.

3RD WOMAN
But I am today.
O let me find a midwife, Lysistrata.
O quickly!

LYSISTRATA
Now what story is this you tell?
What is this hard lump here?

3RD WOMAN
It's a male child.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 10
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