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Odysseus
Do you know what you must do so that we can leave this land?

Silenus
No, Odysseus. But I will do everything I can for you.

Odysseus
Sell us some bread, the thing we lack.

Silenus
As I told you, we have nothing but meat.

Odysseus
[135] That too is a pleasant way to put an end to hunger.

Silenus
And there is curdled cheese and also cows' milk.

Odysseus
Bring them out: daylight befits merchandise.

Silenus
But you, tell me, how much gold will you give in exchange?

Odysseus
It is not gold I carry but rather Dionysus' drink.

Silenus
[140] What happy words you speak! The very thing we have lacked so long!

Odysseus
What is more, Maron, the god's own son, gave me the drink.

Silenus
The lad I once raised in these very arms?

Odysseus
Dionysus' son, to make my meaning clear.

Silenus
Is it on board ship, or do you carry it with you?

Odysseus
[145] This is the wine-skin that holds it, as you can see, old sir.

Silenus
This would not even be a mouthful for me.

Odysseus
<You would not be able to drink this wine-skin dry.>:

Silenus
<What? Does the skin produce new wine of itself?>1

Odysseus
Yes, twice as much drink as flows from the wine-skin.

Silenus
What a lovely spring you speak of and one that gives me pleasure.

Odysseus
Would you like me to give you a taste of it neat first?

Silenus
[150] That's fair enough: a taste invites a purchase.

Odysseus
producing a drinking-vessel
See, I've brought a cup with me.

Silenus
Splash some in so that I can remember what it's like to drink.

Odysseus
Done.

Silenus
Oh my, oh my! What a fine bouquet it has!

Odysseus
What? Have you caught the fragrance?

Silenus
No, by Zeus, I smell it.

Odysseus
handing him the cup
[155] Taste it, then, so that your praise of it may not be mere words.

Silenus
Oo la la! Bacchus invites me to the dance! Tra la, tra la, tra la!

Odysseus
Didn't it gurgle nicely down your throat?

Silenus
Yes, all the way down to my toenails.

Odysseus
[160] And what is more we will give you some money as well.

Silenus
Just keep pouring the wine. Never mind the gold.

Odysseus
Then bring out cheese or lamb.

Silenus
I will do just that and pay little heed to my master. I would like to drink down a single cup of this wine, [165] giving all the Cyclopes' flocks in exchange for it, and then to leap from the Leucadian cliff2 into the brine, good and drunk with my eyebrows cast down. The man who does not enjoy drinking is mad: in drink one can raise this to a stand, [170] catch a handful of breast and look forward to stroking her boscage, there's dancing and forgetfulness of cares. Shall I not kiss such a drink and tell the bone-head Cyclops—and the eye in the middle of his head, too—to go hang?Exit Silenus into the cave.

1 The suppletions are, of course, mere guesses. A miraculous wine-skin is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of a satyr-play: compare the wine-miracle ascribed to Dionysus at Eur. Ba. 705.

2 Leucas, a small island in the Ionian sea off the west coast of Greece, has chalk cliffs rising sharply from the sea. The leap from this cliff into the sea is used in Anacreon, fr. 376 PMG, as an image of the loss of self-control encountered when one is ‘drunk with love.’ Sappho is said to have leapt from the cliff for the love of Phaon.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 513-862
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 21.563
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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