the performance. The play is now lost.


What evasions, subterfuges and delays! Hold! here is the sombre

helmet of Pluto with its thick bristling plume; Hieronymus[1] lends it to

you; then open Sisyphus'[2] bag of wiles; but hurry, hurry, pray, for

discussion does not admit of delay.

f[1] A tragic poet; we know next to nothing of him or his works.

f[2] Son of Aeolus, renowned in fable for his robberies, and for the tortures

to which he was put by Pluto. He was cunning enough to break loose out

of hell, but Hermes brought him back again.


The time has come for me to manifest my courage, so I will go

and seek Euripides. Ho! slave, slave!


Who's there?


Is Euripides at home?


He is and he isn't; understand that, if you have wit for't.


How? He is and he isn't![1]

f[1] This whole scene is directed at Euripides; Aristophanes ridicules the

subtleties of his poetry and the trickeries of his staging, which, according

to him, he only used to attract the less refined among his audience.


Certainly, old man; busy gathering subtle fancies here and

there, his mind is not in the house, but he himself is; perched aloft,

he is composing a tragedy.


Oh, Euripides, you are indeed happy to have a slave so quick at

repartee! Now, fellow, call your master.




So much the worse. But I will not go. Come, let us knock at the door.

Euripides, my little Euripides, my darling Euripides, listen;

never had man greater right to your pity. It is Dicaeopolis of the

Chollidan Deme who calls you. Do you hear?


I have no time to waste.


Very well, have yourself wheeled out here.[1]

f[1] "Wheeled out"--that is, by means of a mechanical contrivance of

the Greek stage, by which an interior was shown, the set scene

with performers, etc., all complete, being in some way, which cannot

be clearly made out from the descriptions, swung out or wheeled out

on to the main stage.






Well, let them roll me out; as to coming down, I have not

the time.




What words strike my ear?


You perch aloft to compose tragedies, when you might just as

well do them on the ground. I am not astonished at your introducing

cripples on the stage.[1] And why dress in these miserable tragic rags?

I do not wonder that your heroes are beggars. But, Euripides, on my knees

I beseech you, give me the tatters of some old piece; for I have to

treat the Chorus to a long speech, and if I do it ill it is all over

with me.

f[1] Having been lamed, it is of course implied, by tumbling from the lofty

apparatus on which the Author sat perched to write his tragedies.


What rags do you prefer? Those in which I rigged out Aeneus[1] on

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