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Young Man
[1010] And I abhor such as you, and I will never, never consent.

First Old Woman
But, by Zeus, here is something will force you to it.

She shows him a document.

Young Man
What's that?

First Old Woman
A decree, which orders you to enter my house.

Young Man
Read it out then, and let's hear.

First Old Woman
Listen. [1015] “The women have decreed that if a young man desires a young girl, he can only lay her after having satisfied an old woman; and if he refuses and goes to seek the maiden, the old women are authorized [1020] to seize him and drag him in.”

Young Man
Alas! I shall become a Procrustes.

First Old Woman
Obey the law.

Young Man
But if a fellow-citizen, a friend, came to pay my ransom?

First Old Woman
[1025] No man may dispose of anything above a medimnus.

Young Man
But may I not enter an excuse?

First Old Woman
There's no evasion.

Young Man
I shall declare myself a merchant and so escape service.

First Old Woman
Beware what you do!

Young Man
Well! what is to be done?

First Old Woman
Follow me

Young Man
Is it absolutely necessary?

First Old Woman
Yes, as surely as if Diomedes had commanded it.

Young Man
[1030] Well then, first spread out a layer of origanum upon four pieces of wood; bind fillets round your head, bring phials of scent and place a bowl filled with lustral water before your door.

First Old Woman
Will you buy a chaplet for me too?

Young Man
[1035] Yes, if you outlast the tapers; for I expect to see you fall down dead as you go in.

Young Girl
Running out of her house.
Where are you dragging this unfortunate man to?

First Old Woman
To my own bed.

Young Girl
That's not right. A young fellow like him is not of the age to suit you. [1040] You ought to be his mother rather than his wife. With these laws in force, the earth will be filled with Oedipuses.

She takes him away with her.

First Old Woman
Oh! you cursed pest! it's envy that makes you say this; but I will be revenged.

She goes back into her house.

Young Man
[1045] By Zeus the Deliverer, what a service you have done me, by freeing me of this old wretch! with what ardor I will show you my gratitude in a substantial form!

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