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The Frogs   


He used to play in all his tragedies.
DIONYSUS
Come, my fine fellow, pray don't talk to big.
EURIPIDES
I know the man, I've scanned him through and through,
A savage-creating stubborn-pulling fellow,
Uncurbed, unfettered, uncontrolled of speech,
Unperiphrastic, bombastiloquent.
AESCHYLUS
Hah! sayest thou so, child of the garden quean
And this to me, thou chattery-babble-collector,
Thou pauper-creating rags-and-patches-stitcher?
Thou shalt abye it dearly!
DIONYSUS
Pray, be still;
Nor heat thy soul to fury, Aeschylus.
AESCHYLUS
Not till I've made you see the sort of man
This cripple-maker is who crows so loudly.
DIONYSUS
Bring out a ewe, a black-fleeced ewe, my boys:
Here's a typhoon about to burst upon us.
AESCHYLUS
Thou picker-up of Cretan monodies,
Foisting thy tales of incest on the stage-
DIONYSUS
Forbear, forbear, most honoured Aeschylus;
And you, my poor Euripides, begone
If you are wise, out of this pitiless hail,
Lest with some heady word he crack your scull
And batter out your brain-less Telephus.
And not with passion, Aeschylus, but calmly
Test and be tested. 'Tis not meet for poets
To scold each other, like two baking-girls.
But you go roaring like an oak on fire.
EURIPIDES
I'm ready, I don't draw back one bit.
I'll lash or, if he will, let him lash first
The talk, the lays, the sinews of a play:
Aye and my Peleus, aye and Aeolus.
And Meleager, aye and Telephus.
DIONYSUS
And what do you propose? Speak, Aeschylus.
AESCHYLUS
I could have wished to meet him otherwhere.
We fight not here on equal terms.
DIONYSUS
Why not?
AESCHYLUS
My poetry survived me: his died with him:
He's got it here, all handy to recite.
Howbeit, if so you wish it, so we'll have it.
DIONYSUS
O bring me fire, and bring me frankincense.
I'll pray, or e'er the clash of wits begin,
To judge the strife with high poetic skill.
Meanwhile (to the CHORUS) invoke the Muses with a song.
CHORUS
O Muses, the daughters divine
of Zeus, the immaculate Nine,
Who gaze from your mansions serene
on intellects subtle and keen,
When down to the tournament lists,
in bright-polished wit they descend,

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