Let down the barriers. The dance is now to begin.
(He begins to dance in a manner grotesquely parodying that of
Or rather the madness.
Impetuous movement already twists and racks my sides. How my
nostrils wheeze! how my back cracks!
Go and fill yourself with hellebore.
Phrynichus is as bold as a cock and terrifies his rivals.
He'll be stoned.
His leg kicks out sky-high....
....and his arse gapes open.
Mind your own business. Look how easily my leg-joints move.
Isn't that good?
God, no, it's merely insane!
And now I summon and challenge my rivals. It there be a tragic
poet who pretends to be a skilful dancer, let him come and contest the
matter with me. Is there one? Is there not one?
Here comes one, and one only.
(A very small dancer, costumed as a crab, enters.)
Who is the wretch?
The younger son of Carcinus.
I will crush him to nothing; in point of keeping time, I will
knock him out, for he knows nothing of rhythm.
Ah! ah! here comes his brother too, another tragedian, and another
son of Carcinus.
(Another dancer, hardly larger than the first, and similarly
Him I will devour for my dinner.
Oh! ye gods! I see nothing but crabs. Here is yet another son of
(A third dancer enters, likewise resembling a crab, but smaller
than either of the others.)
What's this? A shrimp or a spider?
It's a crab,-a hermit-crab, the smallest of its kind; it writes
Oh! Carcinus, how proud you should be of your brood! What a
crowd of kinglets have come swooping down here! But we shall have to
measure ourselves against them. Have marinade prepared for seasoning
them, in case I prove the victor.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Let us stand out of the way a little, so that they may twirl at