THE FROGS by Aristophanes, Part 07
Hallo! what now?
I've done it: call the god.
Get up, you laughing-stock; get up directly,
Before you're seen.
What, I get up? I'm fainting.
Please dab a sponge of water on my heart.
Here! Dab it on.
Where is it?
Ye golden gods,
Lies your heart there?
It got so terrified
It fluttered down into my stomach's pit.
Cowardliest of gods and men!
The cowardliest? I?
What I, who asked you for a sponge, a thing
A coward never would have done!
A coward would have lain there wallowing;
But I stood up, and wiped myself withal.
Poseidon! quite heroic.
'Deed I think so.
But weren't you frightened at those dreadful threats
Frightened? Not a bit. I cared not.
Come then, if you're so very brave a man,
Will you be I, and take the hero's club
And lion's skin, since you're so monstrous plucky?
And I'll be now the slave, and bear the luggage.
Hand them across. I cannot choose but take them.
And now observe the Xanthio-heracles
If I'm a coward and a sneak like you.
Nay, you're the rogue from Melite's own self.
And I'll pick up and carry on the traps.
Enter a MAID-SERVANT of Persephone, from the door.
O welcome, Heracles! come in, sweetheart.
My Lidy, when they told her, set to work,
Baked mighty loaves, boiled two or three tureens
Of lentil soup, roasted a prime ox whole,
Made rolls and honey-cakes. So come along.
You are too kind.
I will not let you go.
I will not let you! Why, she's stewing slices
Of juicy bird's-flesh, and she's making comfits,
And tempering down her richest wine. Come, dear,
Come along in.
XANTHIAS (still declining)
Pray thank her.
O you're jesting,
I shall not let you off: there's such a lovely
Flute-girl all ready, and we've two or three
Eh! what! Dancing-girls?
Young budding virgins, freshly tired and trimmed.
Come, dear, come in. The cook was dishing up
The cutlets, and they are bringing in the tables.
Then go you in, and tell those dancing-girls
Of whom you spake, I'm coming in Myself.
Pick up the traps, my lad, and follow me.
Hi! stop! you're not in earnest, just because
I dressed you up, in fun, as Heracles?
Come, don't keep fooling, Xanthias, but lift
And carry in the traps yourself
You are never going to strip me of these togs
You gave me!
Going to? No, I'm doing it now.
off with that lion-skin.
Bear witness all,
The gods shall judge between us.
Why, how could you (the vain and foolish thought I)
A slave, a mortal, act Alemena's son?
All right then, take them; maybe, if God will,
You'll soon require my services again.
This is the part of a dexterous clever
Man with his wits about him ever,
One who has travelled the world to see;
Always to shift, and to keep through all
Close to the sunny side of the wall;
Not like a pictured block to be,
Standing always in one position;
Nay but to veer, with expedition,
And ever to catch the favouring breeze,
This is the part of a shrewd tactician,
This is to be a-Theramenes!
Truly an exquisite joke 'twould be,
Him with a dancing-girl to see,
Lolling at ease on Milesian rugs;
Me, like a slave, beside him standing,
Aught that he wants to his lordship handing;
Then as the damsel fair he hugs,
Seeing me all on fire to embrace her,
He would perchance (for there's no man baser),
Turning him round like a lazy lout,
Straight on my mouth deliver a facer,
Knocking my ivory choirmen out.
Enter HOSTESS and PLATHANE.
Hostess. O Plathane! Plathane! that naughty man,
That's he who got into our tavern once,
And ate up sixteen loaves.
O, so he is! The very man.
Bad luck for somebody!
O and, besides, those twenty bits of stew,
Somebody's going to catch it!
That garlic too.
Woman, you're talking nonsense.
You don't know what you're saying.
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