Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristophanes
Pages of The Frogs

Previous | Next

The Frogs   

With bells upon their horses' heads,
the audience to dismay.
Look at his pupils, look at mine:
and there the contrast view.
Uncouth Megaenetus is his,
and rough Phormisius too;
Great long-beard-lance-and-trumpet-men,
flesh-tearers with the pine:
But natty smart Theramenes,
and Cleitophon are mine.
Theramenes? a clever man
and wonderfully sly:
Immerse him in a flood of ills,
he'll soon be high and dry,
"A Kian with a kappa, sir,
not Chian with a chi."
I taught them all these knowing ways
By chopping logic in my plays,
And making all my speakers try
To reason out the How and Why.
So now the people trace the springs,
The sources and the roots of things,
And manage all their households to
Far better than they used to do,
Scanning and searching "What's amiss?"
And, "Why was that?" And, "How is this?"
Ay, truly, never now a man
Comes home, but he begins to scan;
And to his household loudly cries,
"Why, where's my pitcher? What's the matter?
'Tis dead and my last year's platter.
Who gnawed these olives? Bless the sprat,
Who nibbled off the head of that?
And where's the garlic vanished, pray,
I purchased only yesterday?"
-Whereas, of old, our stupid youths
Would sit, with open mouths and eyes,
Like any dull-brained Mammacouths.
"All this thou beholdest, Achilles our boldest."
And what wilt thou reply? Draw tight the rein
Lest that fiery soul of thine
Whirl thee out of the listed plain,
Past the olives, and o'er the line.
Dire and grievous the charge he brings.
See thou answer him, noble heart,
Not with passionate bickerings.
Shape thy course with a sailor's art,
Reef the canvas, shorten the sails,
Shift them edgewise to shun the gales.
When the breezes are soft and low,
Then, well under control, you'll go
Quick and quicker to strike the foe.
O first of all the Hellenic bards
high loftily-towering verse to rear,
And tragic phrase from the dust to raise,
pour forth thy fountain with right good cheer.
My wrath is hot at this vile mischance,
and my spirit revolts at the thought that
Must bandy words with a fellow like him:

Previous | Next
Site Search