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The Knights   


how to row, then to keep watch at the prow, after that how to gauge
the winds, and that only then would he be able to command his
vessel. If then you approve this wise caution and his resolve that
he would not bore you with foolish nonsense, raise loud waves of
applause in his favour this day, so that, at this Lenaean feast, the
breath of your favour may swell the sails of his triumphant galley and
the poet may withdraw proud of his success, with head erect and his
face beaming with delight.
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Posidon, god of the racing steeds, I salute you, you who delight
in their neighing and in the resounding clatter of their brass-shod
hoofs, god of the swift galleys, which, loaded with mercenaries,
cleave the seas with their azure beaks, god of the equestrian
contests, in which young rivals, eager for glory, ruin themselves
for the sake of distinction with their chariots in the arena, come and
direct our chorus; Posidon with the trident of gold, you, who reign
over the dolphins, who are worshipped at Sunium and at Geraestus
beloved of Phormio, and dear to the whole city above all the
immortals, I salute you!
LEADER OF FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
Let us sing the glory of our forefathers; ever victors, both on
land and sea, they merit that Athens, rendered famous by these, her
worthy sons, should write their deeds upon the sacred peplus. As
soon as they saw the enemy, they at once sprang at him without ever
counting his strength. Should one of them fall in the conflict he
would shake off the dust, deny his mishap and begin the struggle anew.
Not one of these generals of old time would have asked Cleaenetus to
be fed at the cost of the State; but our present men refuse to
fight, unless they get the honours of the Prytaneum and precedence
in their seats. As for us, we place our valour gratuitously at the
service of Athens and of her gods; our only hope is that, should peace
ever put a term te our toils, you will not grudge us our long, scented
hair nor our delicate care for our toilet.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Oh! Pallas, guardian of Athens, you, who reign over the most pious
city, the most powerful, the richest in warriors and in poets,
hasten to my call, bringing in your train our faithful ally in all our
expeditions and combats, Victory, who smiles on our choruses and
fights with us against our rivals. Oh! goddess! manifest yourself to
our sight; this day more than ever we deserve that you should ensure
our triumph.
LEADER OF SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
We will sing likewise the exploits of our steeds! they are
worthy of our praises; in what invasions, what fights have I not
seen them helping us! But especially admirable were they, when they
bravely leapt upon the galleys, taking nothing with them but a
coarse wine, some cloves of garlic and onions; despite this, they
nevertheless seized the sweeps just like men, curved their backs
over the thwarts and shouted, "Hippapai! Give way! Come, all pull
together! Come, come! How! Samphoras! Are you not rowing?" They rushed
down upon the coast of Corinth, and the youngest hollowed out beds
in the sand with their hoofs or went to fetch coverings; instead of
luzern, they had no food but crabs, which they caught on the strand
and even in the sea; so that Theorus causes a Corinthian crab to
say, "'Tis a cruel fate, oh Posidon neither my deep hiding-places,
whether on land or at sea, can help me to escape the Knights."
(The SAUSAGE-SELLER returns.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Welcome, oh, dearest and bravest of men! How distracted I have
been during your absence! But here you are back, safe and sound.
Tell us about the fight you have had.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
The important thing is that I have beaten the Senate.
CHORUS (singing)

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