Impossible! (He slams the door.)
Too bad. But I will not give up. Come, let us knock at the door
again. 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?
EURIPIDES (from within)
I have no time to waste.
Very well, have yourself wheeled out here.
Well, let them roll me out; as to coming down, I have not the
(The eccyclema turns and presents the interior of the house.
EURIPIDES is lying on a bed, his slave beside him. On the back
wall are hung up tragic costumes of every sort and a multitude
of accessories is piled up on the floor.)
What words strike my ear?
You perch aloft to compose tragedies, when you might just as
well do them on the ground. No wonder you introduce cripples on the
stage. And why do you dress in these miserable tragic rags? No
wonder 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 badly it is all over
What rags do you prefer? Those in which I rigged out Oeneus on the
stage, that unhappy, miserable old man?
No, I want those of some hero still more unfortunate.
Of Phoenix, the blind man?
No, not of Phoenix, you have another hero more unfortunate than
EURIPIDES (to himself)
Now, what tatters does he want? (to DICAEOPOLIS) Do you mean those
of the beggar Philoctetes?
No, of another far more beggarly.
Is it the filthy dress of the lame fellow, Bellerophon?
No, not Bellerophon; the one I mean was not only lame and a
beggar, but boastful and a fine speaker.
Ah! I know, it is Telephus, the Mysian.
Yes, Telephus. Give me his rags, I beg of you.
Slave! give him Telephus' tatters; they are on top of the rags
of Thyestes and mixed with those of Ino. There they are; take them.
DICAEOPOLIS (holding up the costume for the audience to see)
Oh! Zeus, whose eye pierces everywhere and embraces all, permit me
to assume the most wretcbed dress on earth. Euripides, cap your