Announce a debauch in honor of Bacchos,
a spree for Pan, some footling fertility fieldday,
and traffic stops—the streets are absolutely clogged
with frantic female banging on tambourines. No urging
for an orgy!
But today—there’s not one woman here.
I’m positively ashamed to be a woman—a member
of a sex which can’t even live up to male slanders!
To hear our husbands talk, we’re sly: deceitful,
always plotting, monsters of intrigue…
Us? Be practical. Wisdom for women? There’s nothing
cosmic about cosmetics—and Glamor is our only talent.
All we can do is sit, primped and painted,
made up and dressed up.
We can force our husbands to negotiate Peace,
Ladies, by exercising steadfast Self-Control—
By Total Abstinence…
By Total Abstinence…
What a catastrophe—
They’ve brought Athene’s statue to heel,
they’ve put the Akropolis under a seal,
they’ve copped the whole damned commonweal…
What is there left for them to steal?
Preserve me, Athene, from gazing on any
maiden or maid auto-da fé’d.
Cover with grace these redeemers of Greece
from battles, insanity, Man’s inhumanity.
Gold-browed goddess, hither to aid us!
Fight as our ally, join in our sally
against pyromaniac slaughter—
Koryphaios of Women:
I’ll crop your lungs and reap your bowels, bite by bite,
and leave no balls on the body for other bitches to
Koryphaios of Men:
Can’t beat Euripides for insight. And I quote:
No creature’s found
so lost to shame as Woman.
Talk about realist playwrights!
I DO NOT WANT TO BE SAVED, DAMMIT!
All the more reason.
It’s not only Sparta: now we’ll have to save you from
A tally of [these girls’] talents
convinces me they’re giants
of excellence. To commence:
there’s Beauty, Duty, Prudence, Science,
Self-Reliance, Compliance, Defiance,
and Love of Athens in balanced alliance
with Common Sense!
It’s rather like yarn. When a hank’s in a tangle,
we lift it—so—and work out the snarls by winding it up
on spindles, now this way, now that way.
That’s how we’ll wind up the War.
I admit to being a woman—
but don’t sell my contribution short on that account.
It’s better than the present panic. And my word is as
good as my bond, because I hold stock in Athens—
stock I paid for in sons.
I’ve lost my grip on the girls—they’re mad for men!
But sly—they slip out in droves.
Melanion is our ideal:
his loathing makes us free.
Our dearest aim is the gemlike flame
of his misogyny.
Your duty is clear.
Pop him on the griddle, twist
the spit, braize him, baste him, stew him in his own
juice, do him to a turn. Sear him with kisses,
coyness, caresses, everything—
but stop where Our Oath
—Life is a husk. She left our home, and happiness
went with her. Now pain is the tenant. Oh, to enter
that wifeless house, to sense that awful emptiness,
to eat that tasteless, joyless food—it makes
it hard, I tell you.
The most unnerving work of nature,
the pride of applied immorality,
is the common female human.
No fire can match, no beast can best her.
thy name—worse luck—is Woman.
I can’t dispute the truth or logic of the pithy old proverb:
Life with women is hell.
Life without women is hell, too.
And so we conclude a truce with you, on the following terms:
in future, a mutual moratorium on mischief in all its forms.
Now, dear, first get those Spartans and bring them to me…
Be a lady, be proper, do just what you’d do at home:
if hands are refused, conduct them by the handle…
And now a hand to the Athenians—it doesn’t matter
where; accept any offer—and bring them over.
Each man stand by his wife, each wife
by her husband. Dance to the gods’ glory, and thank
them for the happy ending. And, from now on, please be
careful. Let’s not make the same mistakes again.