I say Orestes never did "return."
He came in secret: nobody recalled him.
O good, by Hermes I
(Aside) I've not the least suspicion what he means.
Repeat another line.
Repeat one instantly: you, mark what's wrong.
"Now on this funeral mound I call my rather
To hear, to hearken.
There he is again.
To "hear," to "hearken"; the same thing, exactly.
Aye, but he's speaking to the dead, you knave,
Who cannot hear us though we call them thrice.
And how do you make your prologues?
You shall hear;
And if you find one single thing said twice,
Or any useless padding, spit upon me.
Well, fire away: I'm all agog to hear
Your very accurate and faultless prologues.
"A happy man was Oedipus at first-
Not so, by Zeus; a most unhappy man.
Who, not yet born nor yet conceived, Apollo
Foretold would be his father's murderer.
How could he be a happy man at first?
"Then he became the wretchedest of men."
Not so, by Zeus; he never ceased to be.
No sooner born, than they exposed the babe,
(And that in winter), in an earthen crock,
Lest he should grow a man, and slay his father.
Then with both ankles pierced and swoln, he limped
Away to Polybus: still young, he married
An ancient crone, and her his mother too.
Then scratched out both his eyes.
Had he been Erasinides's colleague!
Nonsense; I say my prologues are firstrate.
Nay then, by Zeus, no longer line by line
I'll maul your phrases: but with heaven to aid
I'll smash your prologues with a bottle of oil.
You mine with a bottle of oil?
With only one.
You frame your prologues so that each and all
Fit in with a "bottle of oil," or "coverlet-skin,"
Or "reticule-bag." I'll prove it here, and now.
You'll prove it? You?