Herondas. Mime IV

Women at the Temple

CHARACTERS

Kynno: a woman making a sacrifice
Phile: a woman accompanying Kynno
Kokkale: probably a slave
Kydilla: a slave
Neokoras: the custodian of the temple

Ky: May you rejoice, Paeon lord, who rule Tricca and inhabit sweet Cos and Epidaurus, and may Coronis who gave you birth and Apollo rejoice and Hygeia whose right hand you touch and those whose honored- altars these are, and may Panake and Epio and Ieso rejoice and those who sacked Laomedon's house and walls, Machaon and Podaleirius, healers of savage illnesses, and all the gods and goddesses who share your hearth, Paeon father. Graciously accept this cock I sacrifice, a little dessert. He was the herald of my household walls. Our well is neither ready nor deep or else we'd have offered an ox or a sow of crackling skin and not a cock for the healing of illnesses that you wiped away, O Lord, with the stretching forth of your gentle hands. Kokkale, put the dish on Hygeia's right.

Phi: Ah, what lovely statues, Kynno dear! What sculptor cut this stone and who set it up in dedication here?

Ky: The sons of Praxiteles. Don't you see the letters on the base? Euthies, Prexon's son, set it up.

Phi: May Paeon bless them and Euthies too for lovely works.

Ky: Phile, look at that girl gazing up there at the apple. Wouldn't you say that she'd just faint dead away if she couldn't have it?

Phi: But, Kynno, that old man . . .

Ky: By the Fates, that little boy is throttling his fox-goose. If we couldn't see close up that it's a stone, you'd swear that it could speak. The time will come when men will learn to put life into dead stone.

Phi: Look at this statue here of Batale, daughter of Myttes, Kynno, how she steps. If someone's not seen Batale but sees this statue, she won't miss the real thing.

Ky: Come with me, Phile, and I'll show you something lovelier than you've seen in all your life. Kydilla, go call the custodian. Do you hear me, girl -- gaping and gawking like that? My god, she pays no heed to what I say but stands staring at me -- worse than a crab! Go on, I say, and call the custodian. Glutton! As hopeless in the temple as you are at home&emdash;everywhere you go the same! Kydilla, I call this god to witness how you burn me up though I don't want to burst. I call him to witness, I say. The day will come when you'll have cause to scratch that head of yours.

Phi: Kynno, don't be so easily upset by everything. She's just a slave, and slaves you know, haven't got much between the ears.

Ky: She's soft and getting shoved more and more. But wait&emdash;the door is just open, the curtain undone.

Phi: Don't you see, Kynno dear, what works of art they are? You'd say Athena had carved these lovely things&emdash;bless the Lady. This naked boy&emdash;if I scratch him, Kynno dear, won't I leave a welt? For his flesh lies upon him, pulsing like warm warm water in the picture. As for his silver fire tongs&emdash; wouldn't Myllos or Pataikiskos, the son of Lamprion, pop out their eyes, supposing them really made of genuine silver? The ox and the man leading it and the girl and this hook-nosed man with the bristly hair&emdash; don't they look as real as the living day? If I didn't think it unbecoming a woman, I'd have screamed for fear -that the bull harm me&emdash;the way he looks, Kynno, out of the side of his eye.

Ky: The workmanship of ApeIles from Ephesus is accurate in all he painted, Phile. You can't say, "The man saw one, rejected another." Whatever came to his mind he was quick and eager to try. Anyone who's looked at his work without the proper appreciation ought to be hung by the feet in a fuller's shop.

Neo: Ladies, your sacrifice was correctly performed and propitious too. No one has pIeased Paeon more than you. Ie, Ie. Paeeon. Be gracious for these lovely sacrifices to these women, their husbands, and all their kin. Ie. Ie. Paeeon, may these things be.

Ky: May they be, O greatest one, and may we come in good health to sacrifice again with husbands and young. Kokkale, be sure to carve a drumstick off and put a scone in the serpent's box, auspiciously, and drench the barley tarts with honey. We'll eat the rest at home ...