theatrical gear and returned straight home. I pained folk but little
and caused them much amusement; my conscience rebuked me for
nothing. (More and more rapidly from here on) Hence both grown men and
youths should be on my side and I likewise invite the bald to give
me their votes; for, if I triumph, everyone will say, both at table
and at festivals, "Carry this to the bald man, give these cakes to the
bald one, do not grudge the poet whose talent shines as bright as
his own bare skull the share he deserves."
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Oh, Muse! drive the war far from our city and come to preside over
our dances, if you love me; come and celebrate the nuptials of the
gods, the banquets of us mortals and the festivals of the fortunate;
these are the themes that inspire thy most poetic songs. And should
Carcinus come to beg thee for admission with his sons to thy chorus,
refuse all traffic with them; remember they are but gelded birds,
stork-necked dancers, mannikins about as tall as a goat's turd, in
fact machine-made poets. Contrary to all expectation, the father has
at last managed to finish a piece, but he admits that a cat
strangled it one fine evening.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Such are the songs with which the Muse with the glorious hair
inspires the able poet and which enchant the assembled populace,
when the spring swallow twitters beneath the foliage; but the god
spare us from the chorus of Morsimus and that of Melanthius! Oh!
what a bitter discordancy grated upon my ears that day when the tragic
chorus was directed by this same Melanthius and his brother, these two
Gorgons, these two Harpies, the plague of the seas, whose gluttonous
bellies devour the entire race of fishes, these followers of old
women, these goats with their stinking arm-pits. Oh! Muse, spit upon
them abundantly and keep the feast gaily with me.
(TRYGAEUS enters, limping painfully, accompanied by OPORA and
Ah! it's a rough job getting to the gods! my legs are as good as
broken through it. (To the audience) How small you were, to be sure,
when seen from heaven! you had all the appearance too of being great
rascals; but seen close, you look even worse.
SERVANT (coming out of TRYGAEUS' house)
Is that you, master?
So I've been told.
What has happened to you?
My legs pain me; it was such a damned long journey.
Oh! tell me....
Did you see any other man besides yourself strolling about in
No, only the souls of two or three dithyrambic poets.
What were they doing up there?
They were seeking to catch some lyric exordia as they flew by
immersed in the billows of the air.
Is it true, what they tell us, that men are turned into stars