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LYSISTRATA stands alone with the Propylaea at her back.

LYSISTRATA
If they were trysting for a Bacchanal,
A feast of Pan or Colias or Genetyllis,
The tambourines would block the rowdy streets,
But now there's not a woman to be seen
Except—ah, yes—this neighbour of mine yonder.
Enter CALONICE.

Good day Calonice.

CALONICE
Good day Lysistrata.
But what has vexed you so? Tell me, child.
What are these black looks for? It doesn't suit you
To knit your eyebrows up glumly like that.

LYSISTRATA
Calonice, it's more than I can bear,
I am hot all over with blushes for our sex.
Men say we're slippery rogues—

CALONICE
And aren't they right?

LYSISTRATA
Yet summoned on the most tremendous business
For deliberation, still they snuggle in bed.

CALONICE
My dear, they'll come. It's hard for women, you know,
To get away. There's so much to do;
Husbands to be patted and put in good tempers:
Servants to be poked out: children washed
Or soothed with lullays or fed with mouthfuls of pap.

LYSISTRATA
But I tell you, here's a far more weighty object.

CALONICE
What is it all about, dear Lysistrata,
That you've called the women hither in a troop?
What kind of an object is it?

LYSISTRATA
A tremendous thing!

CALONICE
And long?

LYSISTRATA
Indeed, it may be very lengthy.

CALONICE
Then why aren't they here?

LYSISTRATA
No man's connected with it;
If that was the case, they'd soon come fluttering along.
No, no. It concerns an object I've felt over
And turned this way and that for sleepless nights.

CALONICE
It must be fine to stand such long attention.

LYSISTRATA
So fine it comes to this—Greece saved by Woman!

CALONICE
By Woman? Wretched thing, I'm sorry for it.

LYSISTRATA
Our country's fate is henceforth in our hands:
To destroy the Peloponnesians root and branch—

CALONICE
What could be nobler!

LYSISTRATA
Wipe out the Boeotians—

CALONICE
Not utterly. Have mercy on the eels!1

LYSISTRATA
But with regard to Athens, note I'm careful
Not to say any of these nasty things;
Still, thought is free.... But if the women join us
From Peloponnesus and Boeotia, then
Hand in hand we'll rescue Greece.

CALONICE
How could we do
Such a big wise deed? We women who dwell
Quietly adorning ourselves in a back-room
With gowns of lucid gold and gawdy toilets
Of stately silk and dainty little slippers....

1 The Boeotian eels were highly esteemed delicacies in Athens.

load focus Greek (F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart, 1907)
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