what was your practice, pray?
No cock-horse in my plays, by Zeus,
no goat-stag there you'll see,
Such figures as are blazoned forth
in Median tapestry.
When first I took the art from you,
bloated and swoln, poor thing,
With turgid gasconading words
and heavy dieting,
First I reduced and toned her down,
and made her slim and neat
With wordlets and with exercise
and poultices of beet,
And next a dose of chatterjuice,
distilled from books, I gave her,
And monodies she took, with sharp
Cephisophon for flavour.
I never used haphazard words,
or plunged abruptly in;
Who entered first explained at large
the drama's origin
Its source, I really trust,
was better than your own.
Then from the very opening lines
no idleness was shown;
The mistress talked with all her might,
the servant talked as much,
The master talked, the maiden talked,
the beldame talked.
An outrage was not death your due?
No, by Apollo, no:
That was my democratic way.
Ah, let that topic go.
Your record is not there, my friend,
Then next I taught all these to speak.
You did so, and I would
That ere such mischief you had wrought,
your very rungs had split.
Canons of verse I introduced,
and neatly chiselled wit;
To look, to scan: to plot, to plan:
to twist, to turn, to woo:
On all to spy; in all to pry.
You did: I say so too.
I showed them scenes of common life,
the things we know and see,
Where any blunder would at once
by all detected be.
I never blustered on, or took
their breath and wits away
By Cycnuses or Memnons clad
in terrible array,