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Acharnians   


well since the outbreak of the war, whereas you are but a vile
mercenary.
LAMACHUS
They elected me....
DICAEOPOLIS
Yes, three cuckoos did! If I have concluded peace, it was
disgust that drove me; for I see men with hoary heads in the ranks and
young fellows of your age shirking service. Some are in Thrace getting
an allowance of three drachmae, such fellows as Tisamenophaenippus and
Panurgipparchides. The others are with Chares or in Chaonia, men
like Geretotheodorus and Diomialazon; there are some of the same
kidney, too, at Camarina, at Gela, and at Catagela.
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 as well as a prudent man. And you, Anthracyllus
or Euphorides or Prinides, have you knowledge of Ecbatana or
Chaonia? You say no, do you not? Such offices are good for the son
of Coesyra 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.
LAMACHUS
Oh! in freedom's name! are such exaggerations to be borne?
DICAEOPOLIS
Not unless Lamachus gets paid for it.
LAMACHUS
But I propose always to war with the Peloponnesians, both at
sea, on land and everywhere to make them tremble, and trounce them
soudly.
(He goes back into his house.)
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.
(He goes into his house.)
LEADER OF THE 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.
(The CHORUS moves forward and faces the audience.)
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 anything he wanted, 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
asked them which of the two rival cities was the superior at sea,

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