THE FROGS by Aristophanes, Part 08
O, you thought
I shouldn't know you with your buskins on!
Ah, and I've not yet mentioned all that fish,
No, nor the new-made cheese: he gulped it down,
Baskets and all, unlucky that we were.
And when I just alluded to the price,
He looked so fierce, and bellowed like a bull.
Yes, that's his way: that's what he always does.
O, and he drew his sword, and seemed quite mad.
O, that he did.
And terrified us so
We sprang up to the cockloft, she and I.
Then out he hurled, decamping with the rugs.
That's his way too; something must be done.
Quick, run and call my patron Cleon here
O, if you meet him, call Hyperbolus!
We'll pay you out to-day.
O filthy throat,
O how I'd like to take a stone, and hack
Those grinders out with which you chawed my wares.
I'd like to pitch you in the deadman's pit.
I'd like to get a reaping-hook and scoop
That gullet out with which you gorged my tripe.
But I'll to Cleon: he'll soon serve his writs;
He'll twist it out of you to-day, he will.
Exeunt HOSTESS and PLATHANE.
Perdition seize me, if I don't love Xanthias.
Aye, aye, I know your drift: stop, stop that talking
I won't be Heracles.
O, don't say so,
Dear, darling Xanthias.
Why, how can I,
A slave, a mortal, act Alemena's son!
Aye, aye, I know you are vexed, and I deserve
And if you pummel me, I won't complain.
But if I strip you of these togs again,
Perdition seize myself, my wife, my children,
And, most of all, that blear-eyed Archedemus.
That oath contents me: on those terms I take them.
Now that at last you appear once more,
Wearing the garb that at first you wore,
Wielding the club and the tawny skin,
Now it is yours to be up and doing,
Glaring like mad, and your youth renewing,
Mindful of him whose guise you are in.
If, when caught in a bit of a scrape, you
Suffer a word of alarm to escape you,
Showing yourself but a feckless knave,
Then will your master at once undrape you,
Then you'll again be the toiling slave.
There, I admit, you have given to me
Capital hint, and the like idea,
Friends, had occurred to myself before.
Truly if anything good befell
He would be wanting, I know full well,
Wanting to take to the togs once more.
Nevertheless, while in these I'm vested,
Ne'er shall you find me craven-crested,
No, for a dittany look I'll wear,
Aye and methinks it will soon be tested,
Hark! how the portals are rustling there.
Re-enter AEACUS with assistants.
Seize the dog-stealer, bind him, pinion him,
Drag him to justice
Somebody's going to catch it.
XANTHIAS (striking out)
Hands off! away! stand back!
Eh? You're for fighting.
Ho! Ditylas, Sceblyas, and Pardocas,
Come hither, quick; fight me this sturdy knave.
Now isn't it a shame the man should strike
And he a thief besides?
A monstrous shame!
A regular burning shame!
By the Lord Zeus,
If ever I was here before, if ever
I stole one hair's-worth from you, let me die!
And now I'll make you a right noble offer,
Arrest my lad: torture him as you will,
And if you find I'm guilty, take and kill me.
Torture him, how?
In any mode you please.
Pile bricks upon him: stuff his nose with acid:
Flay, rack him, hoist him; flog him with a scourge
Of prickly bristles: only not with this,
A soft-leaved onion, or a tender leek.
A fair proposal. If I strike too hard
And maim the boy, I'll make you compensation.
I shan't require it. Take him out and flog him.
Nay, but I'll do it here before your eyes.
Now then, put down the traps, and mind you speak
The truth, young fellow.
Dionysus (in agony)
Man' don't torture me!
I am a god. You'll blame yourself hereafter
If you touch me.
Hillo! What's that you are saying?
I say I'm Bacchus, son of Zeus, a god,
And he's the slave.
You hear him?
Hear him? Yes.
All the more reason you should flog him well.
For if he is a god, he won't perceive it.
Well, but you say that you're a god yourself.
So why not you be flogged as well as I?
A fair proposal. And be this the test,
Whichever of us two you first behold
Flinching or crying out-he's not the god.
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