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Peace   


HERMES
And to you also, my dear sir, may you have much happiness, and
don't forget me.
TRYGAEUS (looking around for his dung-beetle)
Come, beetle, home, home, and let us fly on a swift wing.
HERMES
Oh! he is no longer here.
TRYGAEUS
Where has he gone to then?
HERMES
He is 'harnessed to the chariot of Zeus and bears the
thunderbolts.'
TRYGAEUS
But where will the poor wretch get his food?
HERMES
He will eat Ganymede's ambrosia.
TRYGAEUS
Very well then, but how am I going to descend?
HERMES
Oh! never fear, there is nothing simpler; place yourself beside
the goddess.
TRYGAEUS
Come, my pretty maidens, follow me quickly; there are plenty of
men waiting for you with their tools ready.
(He goes out, with OPORA and THEORIA.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Farewell and good luck be yours! Let us begin by handing over
all this gear to the care of our servants, for no place is less safe
than a theatre; there is always a crowd of thieves prowling around it,
seeking to find some mischief to do. Come, keep a good watch over
all this. As for ourselves, let us explain to the spectators what we
have in our minds, the purpose of our play.
(The CHORUS turns and faces the audience.)
Undoubtedly the comic poet who mounted the stage to praise himself
in the parabasis would deserve to be handed over to the sticks or
the beadles. Nevertheless, oh Muse, if it be right to esteem the
most honest and illustrious of our comic writers at his proper
value, permit our poet to say that he thinks he has deserved a
glorious renown. First of all, he is the one who has compelled his
rivals no longer to scoff at rags or to war with lice; and as for
those Heracleses, always chewing and ever hungry, he was the first
to cover them with ridicule and to chase them from the stage; he has
also dismissed that slave, whom one never failed to set weeping before
you, so that his comrade might have the chance of jeering at his
stripes and might ask, "Wretch, what has happened to your hide? Has
the lash rained an army of its thongs on you and laid your back
waste?" After having delivered us from all these wearisome ineptitudes
and these low buffooneries, he has built up for us a great art, like a
palace with high towers, constructed of fine phrases, great thoughts
and of jokes not common on the streets. Moreover it's not obscure
private persons or women that he stages in his comedies; but, bold
as Heracles, it's the very greatest whom he attacks, undeterred by the
fetid stink of leather or the threats of hearts of mud. He has the
right to say, "I am the first ever dared to go straight for that beast
with the sharp teeth and the terrible eyes that flashed lambent fire
like those of Cynna, surrounded by a hundred lewd flatterers, who
spittle-licked him to his heart's content; it had a voice like a
roaring torrent, the stench of a seal, the unwashed balls of a Lamia
and the arse of a camel. I did not recoil in horror at the sight of
such a monster, but fought him relentlessly to win your deliverance
and that of the islanders." Such are the services which should be
graven in your recollection and entitle me to your thanks. Yet I
have not been seen frequenting the wrestling school intoxicated with
success and trying to seduce young boys; but I took all my

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