Levels they'll bring, and measuring-tapes for words,
And moulded oblongs,
Is it bricks they are making?
Wedges and compasses: for Euripides
Vows that he'll test the dramas, word by word.
Aeschylus chafes at this, I fancy.
Well, He lowered his brows, upglaring like a bull.
And who's to be the judge?
There came the rub.
Skilled men were hard to find: for with the Athenians
Aeschylus, somehow, did not hit it off,
Too many burglars, I expect, he thought.
And all the rest, he said, were trash and nonsense
To judge poetic wits. So then at last
They chose your lord, an expert in the art.
But we go in for when our lords are bent
On urgent business, that means blows for us.
O surely with terrible wrath
will the thunder-voiced monarch be filled,
When he sees his opponent beside him,
the tonguester, the artifice-skilled,
Stand, whetting his tusks for the fight!
O surely, his eyes rolling-fell
Will with terrible madness be fraught I
O then will be charging of plume-waving words
with their wild-floating mane,
And then will be whirling of splinters,
and phrases smoothed down with the plane,
When the man would the grand-stepping maxims,
the language gigantic, repel
Of the hero-creator of thought.
There will his shaggy-born crest
upbristle for anger and woe,
Horribly frowning and growling,
his fury will launch at the foe
Huge-clamped masses of words,
with exertion Titanic up-tearing
Great ship-timber planks for the fray.
But here will the tongue be at work,
uncoiling, word-testing, refining,
Sophist-creator of phrases,
dissecting, detracting, maligning,
Shaking the envious bits,
and with subtle analysis paring
The lung's large labour away.
Here apparently there is a complete change of scene, to the Hall
of Pluto, with himself sitting on his throne, and DIONYSUS, AESCHYLUS,
and the foreground.
Don't talk to me; I won't give up the chair,
I say I am better in the art than he.
You hear him, Aeschylus: why don't you speak?
He'll do the grand at first, the juggling trick