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Aristophanes (c.448 B.C.–c.388 B.C.).  The Frogs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Lines 500–999
 
 
 
XAN.  (Declining.) You are too kind.  MAID. I will not let you go.        500
I will not LET you! Why, she’s stewing slices
Of juicy bird’s-flesh, and she’s making comfits,
And tempering down her richest wine. Come, dear,
Come along in.  XAN. (Still declining.) Pray thank her.  MAID. O, you’re jesting        504
I shall not let you off: there’s such a lovely
Flute-girl all ready, and we’ve two or three
Dancing-girls also.  XAN. Eh! what! Dancing-girls?
 
MAID.  Young budding virgins, freshly tired and trimmed.        508
Come, dear, come in. The cook was dishing up
The cutlets, and they are bringing in the tables.
 
XAN.  Then go you in, and tell those dancing-girls
Of whom you spake, I’m coming in Myself.        512
Pick up the traps, my lad, and follow me.
 
DIO.  Hi! stop! you’re not in earnest, just because
I dressed you up, in fun, as Heracles?
Come, don’t keep fooling, Xanthias, but lift        516
And carry in the traps yourself.  XAN. Why! what!
You are never going to strip me of these togs
You gave me!  DIO. Going to? No, I’m doing it now.
Off with that lion-skin.  XAN. Bear witness all,        520
The Gods shall judge between us.  DIO. Gods, indeed!
Why, how could you (the vain and foolish thought!)
A slave, a mortal, act Alcmena’s son?
 
XAN.  All right, then, take them; maybe, if God will,        524
You’ll soon require my services again.
 
CHOR.  This is the part of a dexterous clever
        Man with his wits about him ever,
        One who has travelled the world to see;        528
        Always to shift, and to keep through all
        Close to the sunny side of the wall;
        Not like a pictured block to be,
        Standing always in one position;        532
        Nay, but to veer, with expedition,
        And ever to catch the favouring breeze,
        This is the part of a shrewd tactician,
        This is to be a—THERAMENES!        536
 
DIO.  Truly an exquisite joke ’twould be,
        Him with a dancing-girl to see,
        Lolling at ease on Milesian rugs;
        Me, like a slave, beside him standing,        540
        Aught that he wants to his lordship handing;
        Then as the damsel fair he hugs,
        Seeing me all on fire to embrace her,
        He would perchance (for there’s no man baser),        544
        Turning him round like a lazy lout,
        Straight on my mouth deliver a facer,
        Knocking my ivory choirmen out.
 
HOSTESS.  O Plathane! Plathane! Here’s that naughty man,        548
That’s he who got into our tavern once,
And ate up sixteen loaves.  PLATHANE. O, so he is!
The very man.  XAN. Bad luck for somebody!
 
HOS.  O, and, besides, those twenty bits of stew,        552
Half-obol pieces.  XAN. Somebody’s going to catch it!
 
HOS.  That garlic too.  DIO. Woman, you’re talking nonsense.
You don’t know what you’re saying.  HOS. O, you thought
I shouldn’t know you with your buskins on!        556
Ah, and I’ve not yet mentioned all that fish,
No, nor the new-made cheese: he gulped it down,
Baskets and all, unlucky that we were.
And when I just alluded to the price,        560
He looked so fierce, and bellowed like a bull.
 
XAN.  Yes, that’s his way; that’s what he always does.
 
HOS.  O, and he drew his sword, and seemed quite mad.
 
PLA.  O, that he did.  HOS. And terrified us so        564
We sprang up to the cockloft, she and I.
Then out he hurled, decamping with the rugs.
 
XAN.  That’s his way too; but something must be done.
 
HOS.  Quick, run and call my patron Cleon here!        568
 
PLA.  O, if you meet him, call Hyperbolus!
We’ll pay you out to-day.  HOS. O filthy throat,
O, how I’d like to take a stone, and hack
Those grinders out with which you chawed my wares.        572
 
PLA.  I’d like to pitch you in the deadman’s pit.
 
HOS.  I’d like to get a reaping-hook and scoop
That gullet out with which you gorged my tripe.
But I’ll to Cleon: he’ll soon serve his writs;        576
He’ll twist it out of you to-day, he will.
 
DIO.  Perdition seize me, if I don’t love Xanthias.
 
XAN.  Aye, aye, I know your drift: stop, stop that talking.
I won’t be Heracles.  DIO. O, don’t say so,        580
Dear, darling Xanthias.  XAN. Why, how can I,
A slave, a mortal, act Alcmena’s son!
 
DIO.  Aye, aye, I know you are vexed, and I deserve it,
And if you pummel me, I won’t complain.        584
But if I strip you of these togs again,
Perdition seize myself, my wife, my children,
And, most of all, that blear-eyed Archedemus.
 
XAN.  That oath contents me: on those terms I take them.        588
 
CHOR.  Now that at last you appear once more,
Wearing the garb that at first you wore,
Wielding the club and the tawny skin,
Now it is yours to be up and doing,        592
Glaring like mad, and your youth renewing,
Mindful of him whose guise you are in.
If, when caught in a bit of a scrape, you
Suffer a word of alarm to escape you,        596
Showing yourself but a feckless knave,
Then will your master at once undrape you,
Then you’ll again be the toiling slave.
 
XAN.  There, I admit, you have given to me a        600
Capital hint, and the like idea,
Friends, had occurred to myself before.
Truly if anything good befell
He would be wanting, I know full well,        604
Wanting to take to the togs once more.
Nevertheless, while in these I’m vested,
Ne’er shall you find me craven-crested,
No, for a dittany look I’ll wear,        608
Aye, and methinks it will soon be tested:
Hark! how the portals are rustling there.
 
AEAC.  Seize the dog-stealer, bind him, pinion him,
Drag him to justice!  DIO. Somebody’s going to catch it.        612
 
XAN.  (Striking out.) Hands off! get away! stand back!  AEAC. Eh? You’re for fighting?
Ho! Ditylas, Sceblyas, and Pardocas,
Come hither, quick; fight me this sturdy knave.
 
DIO.  Now isn’t it a shame the man should strike,        616
And he a thief besides?  AEAC. A monstrous shame!
 
DIO.  A regular burning shame!  XAN. By the Lord Zeus,
If ever I was here before, if ever
I stole one hair’s-worth from you, let me die!        620
And now I’ll make you a right noble offer:
Arrest my lad: torture him as you will,
And if you find I’m guilty, take and kill me.
 
AEAC.  Torture him, how?  XAN. In any mode you please.        624
Pile bricks upon him: stuff his nose with acid:
Flay, rack him, hoist him; flog him with a scourge
Of prickly bristles: only not with this,
A soft-leaved onion, or a tender leek.        628
 
AEAC.  A fair proposal. If I strike too hard
And maim the boy, I’ll make you compensation.
 
XAN.  I shan’t require it. Take him out and flog him.
 
AEAC.  Nay, but I’ll do it here before your eyes.        632
Now then, put down the traps, and mind you speak
The truth, you fellow.  DIO. (In agony.) Man! don’t torture ME!
I am a god. You’ll blame yourself hereafter
If you touch ME.  AEAC. Hillo! What’s that you are saying?        636
 
DIO.  I say I’m Bacchus, son of Zeus, a god,
And he’s the slave.  AEAC. You hear him?  XAN. Hear him? Yes.
All the more reason you should flog him well.
For if he is a god, he won’t perceive it.        640
 
DIO.  Well, but you say that you’re a god yourself.
So why not you be flogged as well as I?
 
XAN.  A fair proposal. And be this the test:
Whichever of us two you first behold        644
Flinching or crying out—he’s not the god.
 
AEAC.  Upon my word you’re quite the gentleman,
You’re all for right and justice. Strip then, both.
 
XAN.  How can you test us fairly?  AEAC. Easily,        648
I’ll give you blow for blow.  XAN. A good idea.
We’re ready! Now! (Aeacus strikes him) see if you catch me flinching.
 
AEAC.  I struck you.  XAN. (Incredulously.) No!  AEAC. Well, it seems “no,” indeed.
Now then I’ll strike the other (Strikes Dio.).  DIO. Tell me when.        652
 
AEAC.  I struck you.  DIO. Struck me? Then why didn’t I sneeze?
 
AEAC.  Don’t know, I’m sure. I’ll try the other again.
 
XAN.  And quickly too. Good gracious!  AEAC. Why “good gracious”?
Not hurt you, did I?  XAN. No, I merely thought of        656
The Diomeian feast of Heracles.
 
AEAC.  A holy man! ’Tis now the other’s turn.
 
DIO.  Hi! Hi!  AEAC. Hallo!  DIO. Look at those horsemen, look!
 
AEAC.  But why these tears?  DIO. There’s such a smell of onions.        660
 
AEAC.  Then you don’t mind it?  DIO. (Cheerfully.) Mind it? Not a bit.
 
AEAC.  Well, I must go to the other one again.
 
XAN.  O! O!  AEAC. Hallo!  XAN. Do, pray, pull out this thorn.
 
AEAC.  What does it mean? ’Tis this one’s turn again.        664
 
DIO.  (Shrieking.) Apollo! Lord! (Calmly) of Delos and of Pytho.
 
XAN.  He flinched! You heard him?  DIO. Not at all; a jolly
Verse of Hipponax flashed across my mind.
 
XAN.  You don’t half do it: cut his flanks to pieces.        668
 
AEAC.  By Zeus, well thought on. Turn your belly here.
 
DIO.  (Screaming.) Poseidon!  XAN. There! he’s flinching.  DIO. (Singing) who dost reign
Amongst the Aegean peaks and creeks
And o’er the deep blue main.        672
 
AEAC.  No, by Demeter, still I can’t find out
Which is the god, but come ye both indoors;
My lord himself and Persephassa there,
Being gods themselves, will soon find out the truth.        676
 
DIO.  Right! right! I only wish you had thought of that
Before you gave me those tremendous whacks.
 
CHOR.  Come, Muse, to our mystical Chorus, O, come to the joy of my song,
O, see on the benches before us that countless and wonderful throng,        680
Where wits by the thousand abide, with more than a Cleophons’ pride—
On the lips of that foreigner base, of Athens the bane and disgrace,
There is shrieking, his kinsman by race,
The garrulous swallow of Thrace;        684
From the perch of exotic descent,
Rejoicing her sorrow to vent,
She pours, to her spirit’s content, a nightingale’s woful lament
That e’en though the voting be equal, his ruin will soon be the sequel.        688
 
Well it suits the holy Chorus evermore with counsel wise
To exhort and teach the city; this we therefore now advise—
End the townsmen’s apprehensions; equalize the rights of all;
If by Phrynichus’ wrestlings some perchance sustained a fall,        692
Yet to these ’tis surely open, having put away their sin,
For their slips and vacillations pardon at your hands to win.
Give your brethren back their franchise. Sin and shame it were that slaves,
Who have once with stern devotion fought your battle on the waves,        696
Should be straightway lords and masters, yea, Plataeans fully blown—
Not that this deserves our censure; there I praise you; there alone
Has the city, in her anguish, policy and wisdom shown—
Nay, but these, of old accustomed on our ships to fight and win        700
(They, their fathers too before them), these, our very kith and kin,
You should likewise, when they ask you, pardon for their single sin.
O, by nature best and wisest, O, relax your jealous ire,
Let us all the world as kinsfolk and as citizens acquire,        704
All who on our ships will battle well and bravely by our side.
If we cocker up our city, narrowing her with senseless pride,
Now when she is rocked and reeling in the cradles of the sea,
Here again will after ages deem we acted brainlessly.        708
And O, if I’m able to scan the habits and life of a man
Who shall rue his iniquities soon! not long shall that little baboon,
That Cleigenes shifty and small, the wickedest bath-man of all
Who are lords of the earth—which is brought from the isle of Cimolus, and wrought        712
              With nitre and lye into soap—
              Not long shall he vex us, I hope.
              And this the unlucky one knows,
              Yet ventures a peace to oppose,        716
And being addicted to blows, he carries a stick as he goes,
Lest while he is tipsy and reeling, some robber his cloak should be stealing.
 
Often has it crossed my fancy, that the city loves to deal
With the very best and noblest members of her commonwealth,        720
Just as with our ancient coinage, and the newly-minted gold.
Yea, for these, our sterling pieces, all of pure Athenian mould,
All of perfect die and metal, all the fairest of the fair,
All of workmanship unequalled, proved and valued everywhere        724
Both amongst our own Hellenes and Barbarians far away,
These we use not: but the worthless pinchbeck coins of yesterday,
Vilest die and basest metal, now we always use instead.
Even so, our sterling townsmen, nobly born and nobly bred,        728
Men of worth and rank and mettle, men of honourable fame,
Trained in every liberal science, choral dance, and manly game,
These we treat with scorn and insult, but the strangers newliest come,
Worthless sons of worthless fathers, pinchbeck townsmen, yellowy scum,        732
Whom in earlier days the city hardly would have stooped to use
Even for her scapegoat victims, these for every task we choose.
O unwise and foolish people, yet to mend your ways begin;
Use again the good and useful: so hereafter, if ye win        736
’Twill be due to this your wisdom: if ye fall, at least ’twill be
Not a fall that brings dishonour, falling from a worthy tree.
 
AEAC.  By Zeus the Saviour, quite the gentleman
Your master is.  XAN. Gentleman? I believe you.        740
He’s all for wine and women, is my master.
 
AEAC.  But not to have flogged you, when the truth came out
That you, the slave, were passing off as master!
 
XAN.  He’d get the worst of that.  AEAC. Bravo! that’s spoken        744
Like a true slave: that’s what I love myself.
 
XAN.  You love it, do you?  AEAC. Love it? I’m entranced
When I can curse my lord behind his back.
 
XAN.  How about grumbling, when you have felt the stick,        748
And scurry out of doors?  AEAC. That’s jolly too.
 
XAN.  How about prying?  AEAC. That beats everything!
 
XAN.  Great Kin-god Zeus! And what of overhearing
Your master’s secrets?  AEAC. What? I’m mad with joy.        752
 
XAN.  And blabbing them abroad?  AEAC. O, heaven and earth!
When I do that, I can’t contain myself.
 
XAN.  Phoebus Apollo! clap your hand in mine,
Kiss and be kissed: and prithee tell me this,        756
Tell me by Zeus, our rascaldom’s own god,
What’s all that noise within? What means this hubbub
And row?  AEAC. That’s Æschylus and Euripides.
 
XAN.  Eh?  AEAC. Wonderful, wonderful things are going on.        760
The dead are rioting, taking different sides.
 
XAN.  Why, what’s the matter?  AEAC. There’s a custom here
With all the crafts, the good and noble crafts,
That the chief master of his art in each        764
Shall have his dinner in the assembly hall,
And sit by Pluto’s side.  XAN. I understand.
 
AEAC.  Until another comes, more wise than he
In the same art: then must the first give way.        768
 
XAN.  And how has this disturbed our Æschylus?
 
AEAC.  ’Twas he that occupied the tragic chair,
As, in his craft, the noblest.  XAN. Who does now?
 
AEAC.  But when Euripides came down, he kept        772
Flourishing off before the highwaymen,
Thieves, burglars, parricides—these form our mob
In Hades—till with listening to his twists
And turns, and pleas and counterpleas, they went        776
Mad on the man, and hailed him first and wisest:
Elate with this, he claimed the tragic chair
Where Æschylus was seated.  XAN. Wasn’t he pelted?
 
AEAC.  Not he: the populace clamoured out to try        780
Which of the twain was wiser in his art.
 
XAN.  You mean the rascals?  AEAC. Aye, as high as heaven!
 
XAN.  But were there none to side with Æschylus?
 
AEAC.  Scanty and sparse the good, (Regards the audience) the same as here.        784
 
XAN.  And what does Pluto now propose to do?
 
AEAC.  He means to hold a tournament, and bring
Their tragedies to the proof.  XAN. But Sophocles,
How came not he to claim the tragic chair?        788
 
AEAC.  Claim it? Not he! When he came down, he kissed
With reverence Æschylus, and clasped his hand,
And yielded willingly the chair to him.
But now he’s going, says Cleidemides,        792
To sit third-man: and then if Æschylus win,
He’ll stay content: if not, for his art’s sake,
He’ll fight to the death against Euripides.
 
XAN.  Will it come off?  AEAC. O, yes, by Zeus, directly.        796
And then, I hear, will wonderful things be done,
The art poetic will be weighed in scales.
 
XAN.  What! weigh out tragedy, like butcher’s meat?
 
AEAC.  Levels they’ll bring, and measuring-tapes for words,        800
And moulded oblongs.  XAN. Is it bricks they are making?
 
AEAC.  Wedges and compasses: for Euripides
Vows that he’ll test the dramas, word by word.
 
XAN.  Æschylus chafes at this, I fancy.  AEAC. Well,        804
He lowered his brows, upglaring like a bull.
 
XAN.  And who’s to be the judge?  AEAC. There came the rub.
Skilled men were hard to find: for with the Athenians
Æschylus, somehow, did not hit it off.        808
 
XAN.  Too many burglars, I expect he thought.
 
AEAC.  And all the rest, he said, were trash and nonsense
To judge poetic wits. So then at last
They chose your lord, an expert in the art.        812
But go we in: for when our lords are bent
On urgent business, that means blows for us.
 
CHOR.  O, surely with terrible wrath will the thunder-voiced monarch be filled,
When he sees his opponent beside him, the tonguester, the artifice-skilled,        816
Stand, whetting his tusks for the fight! O, surely, his eyes, rolling fell,
              Will with terrible madness be fraught!
O, then will be charging of plume-waving words with their wild-floating mane,
And then will be whirling of splinters, and phrases smoothed down with the plane,        820
When the man would the grand-stepping maxims, the language gigantic, repel
              Of the hero-creator of thought.
There will his shaggy-born crest upbristle for anger and woe,
Horribly frowning and growling, his fury will launch at the foe        824
Huge-clamped masses of words, with exertion Titanic uptearing
              Great ship-timber planks for the fray.
But here will the tongue be at work, uncoiling, word-testing, refining,
Sophist-creator of phrases, dissecting, detracting, maligning,        828
Shaking the envious bits, and with subtle analysis paring
              The lung’s large labour away.
 
EURIPIDES.  Don’t talk to me; I won’t give up the chair,
I say I am better in the art than he.        832
 
DIO.  You hear him, Æschylus: why don’t you speak?
 
EUR.  He’ll do the grand at first, the juggling trick
He used to play in all his tragedies.
 
DIO.  Come, my fine fellow; pray, don’t talk too big.        836
 
EUR.  I know the man, I’ve scanned him through and through,
A savage-creating stubborn-pulling fellow,
Uncurbed, unfettered, uncontrolled of speech,
Unperiphrastic, bombastiloquent.        840
 
ÆSCHYLUS.  Hah! sayest thou so, child of the garden quean!
And this to ME, thou chattery-babble-collector,
Thou pauper-creating rags-and-patches-stitcher?
Thou shalt abye it dearly!  DIO. Pray, be still;        844
Nor heat thy soul to fury, Æschylus.
 
  ÆSCH. Not till I’ve made you see the sort of man
This cripple-maker is who crows so loudly.
 
DIO.  Bring out a ewe, a black-fleeced ewe, my boys:        848
Here’s a typhoon about to burst upon us.
 
ÆSCH.  Thou picker-up of Cretan monodies,
Foisting thy tales of incest on the stage—
 
DIO.  Forbear, forbear, most honoured Æschylus;        852
And you, poor Euripides, begone,
If you are wise, out of this pitiless hail,
Lest with some heady word he crack your skull
And batter out your brain—less Telephus.        856
And not with passion, Æschylus, but calmly
Test and be tested. ’Tis not meet for poets
To scold each other, like two baking-girls.
But you go roaring like an oak on fire.        860
 
EUR.  I’m ready, I! I don’t draw back one bit.
I’ll lash or, if he will, let him lash first
The talk, the lays, the sinews of a play:
Aye, and my Peleus, aye, and Aeolus,        864
And Meleager, aye, and Telephus.
 
DIO.  And what do you propose? Speak, Æschylus.
 
ÆSCH.  I could have wished to meet him otherwhere.
We fight not here on equal terms.  DIO. Why not?        868
 
ÆSCH.  My poetry survived me: his died with him:
He’s got it here, all handy to recite.
Howbeit, if so you wish it, so we’ll have it.
 
DIO.  O, bring men fire, and bring me frankincense.        872
I’ll pray, or e’er the clash of wits begin,
To judge the strife with high poetic skill.
Meanwhile (To the Chorus) invoke the Muses with a song.
 
CHOR.  O Muses, the daughters divine of Zeus, the immaculate Nine,        876
Who gaze from your mansions serene on intellects subtle and keen,
When down to the tournament lists, in bright-polished wit they descend,
With wrestling and turnings and twists in the battle of words to contend,
O, come and behold what the two antagonist poets can do,        880
Whose mouths are the swiftest to teach grand language and filings of speech:
For now of their wits is the sternest encounter commencing in earnest.
 
DIO.  Ye two, put up your prayers before ye start.
 
ÆSCH.  Demeter, mistress, nourisher of my soul,        884
O, make me worthy of thy mystic rites!
 
DIO.  (To Eur.) Now put on incense, you.  EUR. Excuse me, no;
My vows are paid to other gods than these.
 
DIO.  What, a new coinage of your own?  EUR. Precisely.        888
 
DIO.  Pray then to them, those private gods of yours.
 
EUR.  Ether, my pasture, volubly-rolling tongue,
Intelligent wit and critic nostrils keen,
O’ well and neatly may I trounce his plays!        892
 
CHOR.  We also yearning from these to be learning
        Some stately measure, some majestic grand
        Movement telling of conflicts nigh.
        Now for battle arrayed they stand,        896
        Tongues embittered, and anger high.
        Each has got a venturesome will,
        Each an eager and nimble mind;
        One will wield, with artistic skill,        900
        Clear-cut phrases, and wit refined;
        Then the other, with words defiant,
        Stern and strong, like an angry giant
        Laying on with uprooted trees,        904
        Soon will scatter a world of these
        Superscholastic subtleties.
 
DIO.  Now then, commence your arguments, and mind you both display
True wit, not metaphors, nor things which any fool could say.        908
 
EUR.  As for myself, good people all, I’ll tell you by-and-by
My own poetic worth and claims; but first of all I’ll try
To show how this portentous quack beguiled the silly fools
Whose tastes were nurtured, ere he came, in Phrynichus’ schools.        912
He’d bring some single mourner on, seated and veiled, ’twould be
Achilles, say, or Niobe—the face you could not see—
An empty show of tragic woe, who uttered not one thing.
 
DIO.  ’Tis true.  EUR. then in the Chorus came, and rattled off a string        916
Of four continuous lyric odes: the mourner never stirred.
 
DIO.  I liked it too. I sometimes think that I those mutes preferred
To all your chatterers now-a-days.  EUR. Because, if you must know,
You were an ass.  DIO. An ass, no doubt: what made him do it though?        920
 
EUR.  That was his quackery, don’t you see, to set the audience guessing
When Niobe would speak; meanwhile, the drama was progressing.
 
DIO.  The rascal, how he took me in! ’Twas shameful, was it not?
(To Æsch.) What makes you stamp and fidget so?  EUR. He’s catching it so hot.        924
So when he had humbugged thus awhile, and now his wretched play
Was halfway through, a dozen words, great wild-bull words, he’d say,
Fierce Bugaboos, with bristling crests, and shaggy eyebrows too,
Which not a soul could understand.  ÆSCH. O, heavens!  DIO. Be quiet, do.        928
 
EUR.  But not one single word was clear.  DIO. St! don’t your teeth be
gnashing.
 
EUR.  ’Twas all Scamanders, moated camps, and griffin-eagles flashing
In burnished copper on the shields, chivalric-precipice—high        932
Expressions, hard to comprehend.  DIO. Aye, by the Powers, and I
Full many a sleepless night have spent in anxious thought, because
I’d find the tawny cock-horse out, what sort of bird it was!
 
ÆSCH.  It was a sign, you stupid dolt, engraved the ships upon.        936
 
DIO.  Eryxis I supposed it was, Philoxenus’ son.
 
EUR.  Now really should a cock be brought into a tragic play?
 
ÆSCH.  You enemy of gods and men, what was your practice, pray?
 
EUR.  No cock-horse in my plays, by Zeus, no goat-stag there you’ll        940
see, Such figures as are blazoned forth in Median tapestry.
When first I took the art from you, bloated and swoln, poor thing,
With turgid gasconading words and heavy dieting,
First I reduced and toned her down, and made her slim and neat        944
With wordlets and with exercise and poultices of beet,
And next a dose of chatterjuice, distilled from books, I gave her,
And monodies she took, with sharp Cephisophon for flavour.
I never used haphazard words, or plunged abruptly in;        948
Who entered first explained at large the drama’s origin
And source.  DIO. Its source, I really trust, was better than your own.
 
EUR.  Then from the very opening lines no idleness was shown;
The mistress talked with all her might, the servant talked as much,        952
The master talked, the maiden talked, the beldame talked.  ÆSCH. For such
An outrage was not death your due?  EUR. No, by Apollo, no:
That was my democratic way.  DIO. Ah, let that topic go.
Your record is not there, my friend, particularly good.        956
 
EUR.  Then next I taught all these to speak.  ÆSCH. You did so, and I
would
That ere such mischief you had wrought, your very lungs had split.
 
EUR.  Canons of verse I introduced, and neatly chiselled wit;        960
To look, to scan: to plot, to plan; to twist, to turn, to woo.
On all to spy; in all to pry.  ÆSCH. You did: I say so too.
 
EUR.  I showed them scenes of common life, the things we know and see,
Where any blunder would at once by all detected be.        964
I never blustered on, or took their breath and wits away
By Cycnuses or Memnons clad in terrible array,
With bells upon their horses’ heads, the audience to dismay.
Look at his pupils, look at mine: and there the contrast view.        968
Uncouth Megaenetus is his, and rough Phormisius too;
Great long-beard-lance-and-trumpet-men, flesh-tearers with the
pine: But natty smart Theramenes, and Cleitophon are mine.
 
DIO.  Theramenes? a clever man and wonderfully sly:        972
Immerse him in a flood of ills, he’ll soon be high and dry,
“A Kian with a kappa, sir, not Chian with a chi.”
 
  EUR.    I taught them all these knowing ways
          By chopping logic in my plays,        976
          And making all my speakers try
          To reason out the How and Why.
          So now the people trace the springs,
          The sources, and the roots of things,        980
          And manage all their households too
          Far better than they used to do,
          Scanning and searching What’s amiss?
          And, Why was that? And, How is this?        984
 
  DIO.    Ay, truly, never now a man
          Comes home, but he begins to scan;
          And to his household loudly cries,
          Why, where’s my pitcher? What’s the matter?        988
          ’Tis dead and gone my last year’s platter.
          Who gnawed these olives? Bless the sprat,
          Who nibbled off the head of that?
          And where’s the garlic vanished, pray,        992
          I purchased only yesterday?
          —Whereas, of old, our stupid youths
          Would sit, with open mouths and eyes,
          Like any dull-brained Mammacouths.        996
 
CHOR.  “All this thou beholdest, Achilles our boldest.”
          And what wilt thou reply? Draw tight the rein
          Lest that fiery soul of thine
 

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