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THE FROGS by Aristophanes, Part 04

CHARON
Beside the Withering stone, Hard by the Rest.
Dionysus
You understand?
XANTHIAS
Too well.
O, what ill omen crossed me as I started! Exit.
CHARON (to Dionysus)
Sit to the oar. (calling) Who else for the boat? Be quick.
(to Dionysus) Hi! what are you doing?
Dionysus
What am I doing? Sitting
On to the oar. You told me to, yourself
CHARON
Now sit you there, you little Potgut.
Dionysus
Now stretch your arms full length before you.
CHARON
Come, don't keep fooling; plant your feet, Pull with a will.
Dionysus
Why, how am I to pull?
I'm not an oarsman, seaman, Salaminian. I can't.
CHARON
You can. Just dip your oar in once,
You'll hear the loveliest timing songs.
Dionysus
What from?
CHARON
Frog-swans, most wonderful.
Dionysus
Then give the word.
CHARON
Heave ahoy! heave ahoy I
FROGS (off stage)
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax,
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax!
We children of the fountain and the lake
Let us wake
Our full choir-shout, as the flutes are ringing out,
Our symphony of clear-voiced song.
The song we used to love in the Marshland up above,
In praise of Dionysus to produce,
Of Nysaean Dionysus, son of Zeus,
When the revel-tipsy throng, all crapulous and gay,
To our precinct reeled along on the holy Pitcher day,
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
O, dear! O, dear! now I declare
I've got a bump upon my rump,
FROGS
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
But you, perchance, don't care.
FROGS
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
Hang you, and your ko-axing tool
There's nothing but ko-ax with you.
FROGS
That is right, Mr. Busybody, right!
For the Muses of the lyre love us well;
And hornfoot Pan who plays
on the pipe his jocund lays;
And Apollo, Harper bright,
in our CHORUS takes delight;
For the strong reed's sake
which I grow within my lake
To be girdled in his lyre's deep shell.
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
My hands are blistered very sore;
My stern below is sweltering so,
'Twill soon, I know, upturn and roar
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
O tuneful race, O pray give o'er,
O sing no more.
FROGS
Ah, no! ah, no!
Loud and louder our chant must flow.
Sing if ever ye sang of yore,
When in sunny and glorious days
Through the rushes and marsh-flags springing
On we swept, in the joy of singing
Myriad-diving roundelays.
Or when fleeing the storm, we went
Down to the depths, and our choral song
Wildly raised to a loud and long
Bubble-bursting accompaniment.
FROGS and Dionysus
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
This timing song I take from you.
FROGS
That's a dreadful thing to do.
Dionysus
Much more dreadful, if I row
Till I burst myself, I trow.
FROGS and Dionysus
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
Go, hang yourselves; for what care I?
FROGS
All the same we'll shout and cry,
Stretching all our throats with song,
Shouting, crying, all day long,
FROGS and Dionysus
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Dionysus
In this you'll never, never win.
FROGS
This you shall not beat us in.
Dionysus
No, nor ye prevail o'er me.
Never! never! I'll my song,
Shout, if need be, all day Yong,
Until I've learned to master your ko-ax.
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
I thought I'd put a stop to your ko-ax.
CHARON
Stop! Easy! Take the oar and push her to.
Now pay your fare and go.
Dionysus
Here' tis: two obols.
Xanthias! where's Xanthias? Is it Xanthias there?
XANTHIAS (off stage)
Hoi, hoi!
Dionysus
Come hither.
XANTHIAS (Entering)
Glad to meet you, master.
Dionysus
What have you there?
XANTHIAS
Nothing but filth and darkness.
Dionysus
But tell me, did you see the parricides
And perjured folk he mentioned?
XANTHIAS
Didn't you?
Dionysus
Poseidon, yes. Why look! (pointing to the audience)
I see them now.
What's the next step?
XANTHIAS
We'd best be moving on.
This is the spot where Heracles declared
Those savage monsters dwell.

 

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