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Acharnians   


(Enter PSEUDARTABAS, in Persian costume; his mask is one great
eye; he is accompanied by two eunuchs.)

DICAEOPOLIS (as he sees kim)
Good God! Friend, with your great eye, round like the hole through
which the oarsman passes his sweep, you have the air of a galley
doubling a cape to gain port.
AMBASSADOR
Come, Pseudartabas, give forth the message for the Athenians
with which you were charged by the Great King.
PSEUDARTABAS
I artamane Xarxas apiaona satra.
AMBASSADOR (to DICAEOPOLIS)
Do you understand what he says?
DICAEOPOLIS
God, no!
AMBASSADOR (to the PRYTANES)
He says that the Great King will send you gold. (to
PSEUDARTABAS)
Come, utter the word 'gold' louder and more distinctly.
PSEUDARTABAS
Thou shalt not have gold, thou gaping-arsed Ionian.
DICAEOPOLIS
Ah! God help us, but that's clear enough!
AMBASSADOR
What does he say?
DICAEOPOLIS
That the Ionians are gaping-arsed, if they expect to receive
gold from the barbarians.
AMBASSADOR
Not so, he speaks of bushels of gold.
DICAEOPOLIS
What bushels? You're nothing but a wind-bag; get out of the way; I
will find out the truth by myself. (to PSEUDARTABAS) Come now,
answer me clearly, if you do not wish me to dye your skin red. Will
the Great King send us gold? (PSEUDARTABAS makes a negative sign.)
Then our ambassadors are seeking to deceive us? (PSEUDARTABAS signs
affirmatively.)
These fellows make signs like any Greek; I am sure
that they are nothing but Athenians. Oh! ho! I recognize one of
these eunuchs; it is Clisthenes, the son of Sibyrtius. Behold the
effrontery of this shaven and provocative arse! How, you big baboon,
with such a beard do you seek to play the eunuch to us? And this other
one? Is it not Straton?
HERALD
Silence! Sit down! The Senate invites the King's Eye to the
Prytaneum.
(The AMBASSADORS and PSEUDARTABAS depart.)
DICAEOPOLIS
Is this not sufficient to drive a man to hang himself? Here I
stand chilled to the bone, whilst the doors of the Prytaneum fly
wide open to lodge such rascals. But I will do something great and
bold. Where is Amphitheus? Come and speak with me.
AMPHITHEUS
Here I am.
DICAEOPOLIS
Take these eight drachmae and go and conclude a truce with the
Lace daemonians for me, my wife and my children; I leave you free,
my dear Prytanes, to send out embassies and to stand gaping in the
air.
(AMPHITHEUS rushes out.)
HERALD
Bring in Theorus, who has returned from the Court of Sitalces.
THEORUS (rising; he wears a Thracian costume.)
I am here.
DICAEOPOLIS (aside)
Another humbug!

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