EURIPIDES

Miserable man! You are robbing me of an entire tragedy.[1] Here, take it

and be off.

f[1] Aristophanes means, of course, to imply that the whole talent of

Euripides lay in these petty details of stage property.

DICAEOPOLIS

I am going, but, great gods! I need one thing more; unless I

have it, I am a dead man. Hearken, my little Euripides, only give me

this and I go, never to return. For pity's sake, do give me a few

small herbs for my basket.

EURIPIDES

You wish to ruin me then. Here, take what you want; but it is

all over with my pieces!

DICAEOPOLIS

I won't ask another thing; I'm going. I am too importunate and

forget that I rouse against me the hate of kings.--Ah! wretch that I am!

I am lost! I have forgotten one thing, without which all the rest is

as nothing. Euripides, my excellent Euripides, my dear little Euripides,

may I die if I ask you again for the smallest present; only one, the last,

absolutely the last; give me some of the chervil your mother left

you in her will.

EURIPIDES

Insolent hound! Slave, lock the door!

DICAEOPOLIS

Oh, my soul! I must go away without the chervil. Art thou

sensible of the dangerous battle we are about to engage upon in

defending the Lacedaemonians? Courage, my soul, we must plunge

into the midst of it. Dost thou hesitate and art thou fully steeped

in Euripides? That's right! do not falter, my poor heart, and let us risk

our head to say what we hold for truth. Courage and boldly to

the front. I wonder I am so brave.

CHORUS

What do you purport doing? what are you going to say? What an

impudent fellow! what a brazen heart! to dare to stake his head and

uphold an opinion contrary to that of us all! And he does not

tremble to face this peril. Come, it is you who desired it, speak!

DICAEOPOLIS

Spectators, be not angered if, although I am a beggar, I dare in

a Comedy to speak before the people of Athens of the public weal;

Comedy too can sometimes discern what is right. I shall not please,

but I shall say what is true. Besides, Cleon shall not be able to accuse

me of attacking Athens before strangers;[1] we are by ourselves at the

festival of the Lenaea; the period when our allies send us their tribute

and their soldiers is not yet. Here is only the pure wheat

without chaff; as to the resident strangers settled among us, they

and the citizens are one, like the straw and the ear.

I detest the Lacedaemonians with all my heart, and may Posidon,

the god of Taenarus,[2] cause an earthquake and overturn their dwellings!

My vines also have been cut. But come (there are only friends who

hear me), why accuse the Laconians of all our woes? Some men (I do not

say the city, note particularly that I do not say the city), some

wretches, lost in vices, bereft of honour, who were not even

citizens of good stamp, but strangers, have accused the Megarians of

introducing their produce fraudulently, and not a cucumber, a leveret,

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