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Aristophanes Index


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THE FROGS by Aristophanes, Part 03

Heracles
Observe the torch-race started, and when all
The multitude is shouting "Let them go,"
Let yourself go.
Dionysus
Go! whither?
Heracles
To the ground.
Dionysus
And lose, forsooth, two envelopes of brain.
I'll not try that.
Heracles
Which will you try?
Dionysus
The way
You went yourself.
Heracles
A parlous voyage that,
For first you'll come to an enormous lake
Of fathomless depth.
Dionysus
And how am I to cross?
Heracles
An ancient mariner will row you over
In a wee boat, so big. The fare's two obols.
Dionysus
Fie! The power two obols have, the whole world through!
How came they thither!
Heracles
Theseus took them down.
And next you'll see great snakes and savage monsters
In tens of thousands.
Dionysus
You needn't try to scare me,
I'm going to go.
Heracles
Then weltering seas of filth
And ever-rippling dung: and plunged therein,
Whoso has wronged the stranger here on earth,
Or robbed his boylove of the promised pay,
Or swinged his mother, or profanely smitten
His father's check, or sworn an oath forsworn,
Or copied out a speech of Morsimus.
Dionysus
There too, perdie, should he be plunged, whoe'er
Has danced the sword-dance of Cinesias.
Heracles
And next the breath of flutes will float around you,
And glorious sunshine, such as ours, you'll see,
And myrtle groves, and happy bands who clap
Their hands in triumph, men and women too.
Dionysus
And who are they?
Heracles
The happy mystic bands,
XANTHIAS
And I'm the donkey in the mystery show.
But I'll not stand it, not one instant longer.
Heracles
Who'll tell you everything you want to know.
You'll find them dwelling close beside the road
You are going to travel, just at Pluto's gate.
And fare thee well, my brother.
Dionysus
And to you Good cheer.
(Exit Heracles.)
Now sirrah, pick you up the traps.
XANTHIAS
Before I've put them down?
Dionysus
And quickly too.
XANTHIAS
No, prithee, no: but hire a body, one
They're carrying out, on purpose for the trip.
Dionysus
If I can't find one?
XANTHIAS
Then I'll take them.
Dionysus
Good.
And see they are carrying out a body now.

Here a CORPSE, wrapped in its grave-clothes,
and lying on a bier, is carried across the stage.

Hallo! you there, you deadman, are you willing
To carry down our little traps to Hades?
CORPSE
What are they?
Dionysus
These.
CORPSE
Two drachmas for the job?
Dionysus
Nay, that's too much.
CORPSE
Out of the pathway, you!
Dionysus
Beshrew thee, stop: may-be we'll strike a bargain.
CORPSE
Pay me two drachmas, or it's no use talking.
Dionysus
One and a half.
CORPSE
I'd liefer live again I
XANTHIAS
How absolute the knave is! He be hanged!
I'll go myself.
Dionysus
You're the right sort, my man.
Now to the ferry.

Enter CHARON.

CHARON
Yoh, up! lay her to.
XANTHIAS
Whatever's that?
Dionysus
Why, that's the lake, by Zeus,
Whereof he spake, and yon's the ferry-boat.
XANTHIAS
Poseidon, yes, and that old fellow's Charon.
Dionysus
Charon! O welcome, Charon! welcome, Charon!
CHARON
Who's for the Rest from every pain and ill?
Who's for the Lethe's plain? the Donkey-shearings?
Who's for Cerberia? Taenarum? or the Ravens?
Dionysus
I.
CHARON
Hurry in.
Dionysus
But where are you going really?
In truth to the Ravens?
CHARON
Aye, for your behoof. Step in.
Dionysus (to XANTHIAS)
Now, lad.
CHARON
A slave? I take no slave,
Unless he has fought for his bodyrights at sea.
XANTHIAS
I couldn't go. I'd got the eye-disease.
CHARON
Then fetch a circuit round about the lake.
XANTHIAS
Where must I wait?

 

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Aristophanes Index

 

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