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The Frogs   


O the wild, extravagant, new,
Wonderful things they are going to do!
Who but they would ever have thought of it?
Why, if a man had happened to meet me
Out in the street, and intelligence brought of it,
I should have thought he was trying to cheat me;
Thought that his story was false and deceiving.
That were a tale I could never believe in.
DIONYSUS
Each of you stand beside his scale.
AESCHYLUS and EURIPIDES
We're here.
DIONYSUS
And grasp it firmly whilst ye speak your lines,
Each holds his own scale steady while he speaks
his line into it.
And don't let go until I cry "Cuckoo."
AESCHYLUS and EURIPIDES
Ready!
DIONYSUS
Now speak your lines into the scale.
EURIPIDES
"O that the Argo had not winged her way-"
AESCHYLUS
"River Spercheius, cattle-grazing haunts-"
DIONYSUS
Cuckoo! let go. O look, by far the lowest
His scale sinks down.
EURIPIDES
Why, how came that about?
DIONYSUS
He threw a river in, like some wool-seller
Wetting his wool, to make it weigh the more.
But threw in a light and winged word.
EURIPIDES
Come, let him match another verse with mine.
DIONYSUS
Each to his scale.
AESCHYLUS and EURIPIDES
We're ready.
DIONYSUS
Speak your lines.
EURIPIDES
"Persuasion's only shrine is eloquent speech."
AESCHYLUS
"Death loves not gifts, alone amongst the gods."
DIONYSUS
Let go, let go. Down goes his scale again.
He threw in Death, the heaviest ill of all.
EURIPIDES
And I Persuasion, the most lovely word.
DIONYSUS
A vain and empty sound, devoid of sense.
Think of some heavier-weighted line of yours,
To drag your scale down: something strong and big.
EURIPIDES
Where have I got one? Where? Let's see.
DIONYSUS
I'll tell you.
"Achilles threw two singles and a four."
Come, speak your lines: this is your last set-to.
EURIPIDES
"In his right hand he grasped an iron-clamped mace."
AESCHYLUS

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