which it is impossible to keep in English. Apparently the Athenians

had sent embassies to all parts of the Greek world to arrange treaties

of alliance in view of the struggle with the Lacedaemonians; but only

young debauchees of aristocratic connections had been chosen as envoys.

LAMACHUS

They were elected.

DICAEOPOLIS

And why do you always receive your pay, when none of these

others ever gets any? Speak, Marilades, you have grey hair; well then,

have you ever been entrusted with a mission? See! he shakes his

head. Yet he is an active as well as a prudent man. And you, Dracyllus,

Euphorides or Prinides, have you knowledge of Ecbatana or

Chaonia? You say no, do you not? Such offices are good for the son

of Caesyra[1] and Lamachus, who, but yesterday ruined with debt, never

pay their shot, and whom all their friends avoid as foot passengers

dodge the folks who empty their slops out of window.

f[1] A contemporary orator apparently, otherwise unknown.

LAMACHUS

Oh! in freedom's name! are such exaggerations to be borne?

DICAEOPOLIS

Lamachus is well content; no doubt he is well paid, you know.

LAMACHUS

But I propose always to war with the Peloponnesians, both at sea, on land

and everywhere to make them tremble, and trounce them soundly.

DICAEOPOLIS

For my own part, I make proclamation to all Peloponnesians,

Megarians and Boeotians, that to them my markets are open; but I debar

Lamachus from entering them.

CHORUS

Convinced by this man's speech, the folk have changed their view

and approve him for having concluded peace. But let us prepare for the

recital of the parabasis.[1]

Never since our poet presented Comedies, has he praised himself

upon the stage; but, having been slandered by his enemies amongst

the volatile Athenians, accused of scoffing at his country and of

insulting the people, to-day he wishes to reply and regain for himself

the inconstant Athenians. He maintains that he has done much that is

good for you; if you no longer allow yourselves to be too much

hoodwinked by strangers or seduced by flattery, if in politics you are

no longer the ninnies you once were, it is thanks to him. Formerly,

when delegates from other cities wanted to deceive you, they had but

to style you, "the people crowned with violets," and at the word

"violets" you at once sat erect on the tips of your bums. Or if, to

tickle your vanity, someone spoke of "rich and sleek Athens," in

return for that "sleekness" he would get all, because he spoke of you

as he would have of anchovies in oil. In cautioning you against

such wiles, the poet has done you great service as well as

in forcing you to understand what is really the democratic

principle. Thus, the strangers, who came to pay their tributes,

wanted to see this great poet, who had dared to speak the truth to

Athens. And so far has the fame of his boldness reached that one day

the Great King, when questioning the Lacedaemonian delegates, first

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