but lest he should vaunt that I can't reply-
Come, tell me what are the points for which
a noble poet our praise obtains.
For his ready wit, and his counsels sage,
and because the citizen folk he trains
To be better townsmen and worthier men.
If then you have done the very reverse,
Found noble-hearted and virtuous men,
and altered them, each and all, for the worse,
Pray what is the meed you deserve to get?
Nay, ask not him. He deserves to die.
For just consider what style of men
he received from me, great six-foot-high
Heroical souls, who never would blench
from a townsman's duties in peace or war;
Not idle loafers, or low buffoons,
or rascally scamps such as now they are.
But men who were breathing spears and helms,
and the snow-white plume in its crested pride,
The greave, and the dart, and the warrior's heart
in its sevenfold casing of tough bull-hide.
He'll stun me, I know, with his armoury-work;
this business is going from bad to worse.
And how did you manage to make them so grand,
exalted, and brave with your wonderful verse?
Come, Aeschylus, answer, and don't stand mute
in your self-willed pride and arrogant spleen.
A drama I wrote with the War-god filled.
'Tis the Seven against Thebes that I mean.
Which whoso beheld, with eagerness swelled
to rush to the battlefield there and then.
O that was a scandalous thing you did!
You have made the Thebans mightier men,
More eager by far for the business of war.
Now, therefore, receive this punch on the head.
Ah, ye might have practised the same yourselves,
but ye turned to other pursuits instead.
Then next the Persians I wrote, in praise
of the noblest deed that the world can show,
And each man longed for the victor's wreath,
to fight and to vanquish his country's foe.
I was pleased, I own, when I heard their moan
for old Darius, their great king, dead;
When they smote together their hands, like this,
and "Evir alake" the Chorus said.
Aye, such are the poet's appropriate works:
and just consider how all along
From the very first they have wrought you good,
the noble bards, the masters of song.