But our married women are not such as Eubulus speaks of in his Female Garland-sellers—
By Jove, we are not painted with vermilion,[p. 893] And Anaxilas, in his Neottis, says—
Nor with dark mulberry juice, as you are often:
And then, if in the summer you go out,
Two rivulets of dark discoloured hue
Flow from your eyes, and sweat drops from your jaws,
And makes a scarlet furrow down your neck;
And the light hair, which wantons o'er your face,
Seems grey, so thickly is it plastered over.
The man whoe'er has loved a courtesan,
Will say that no more lawless worthless race
Can anywhere be found: for what ferocious
Unsociable she-dragon, what Chimæra,
Though it breathe fire from its mouth, what Charybdis,
What three-headed Scylla, dog o' the sea,
Or hydra, sphinx, or raging lioness,
Or viper, or winged harpy (greedy race),
Could go beyond those most accursed harlots?
There is no monster greater. They alone
Surpass all other evils put together.
And let us now consider them in order:—
First there is Plangon; she, like a chimera,
Scorches the wretched barbarians with fire;
One knight alone was found to rid the world of her,
Who, like a brave man, stole her furniture
And fled, and she despairing, disappear'd.
Then for Sinope's friends, may I not say
That 'tis a hydra they cohabit with?
For she is old: but near her age, and like her,
Greedy Gnathæna flaunts, a twofold evil.
And as for Nannion, in what, I pray,
Does she from Scylla differ? Has she not
Already swallow'd up two lovers, and
Open'd her greedy jaws t' enfold a third?
But he with prosp'rous oar escaped the gulf. '
Then does not Phryne beat Charybdis hollow?
Who swallows the sea-captains, ship and all.
Is not Theano a mere Siren pluck'd?
Their face and voice are woman's, but their legs
Are feather'd like a blackbird's. Take the lot,
'Tis not too much to call them Theban Sphinxes.
For they speak nothing plain, but only riddles;
And in enigmas tell their victims how
They love and dote, and long to be caress'd.
“Would that I had a quadruped,” says one,
That may serve for a bed or easy chair.
“Would that I had a tripod”—“Or a biped,”
That is, a handmaid. And the hapless fool
Who understands these hints, like Œdipus,
If saved at all is saved against his will.
But they who do believe they're really loved
Are much elated, and raise their heads to heaven.
And in a word, of all the beasts on earth
The direst and most treacherous is a harlot.