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Enter Dionysus on foot dressed in the skin of the Nemean Lion, and the club of Heracles in his hand, and Xanthias heavily laden on a donkey.

Xanthias
Master, should I tell one of those usual jokes
which always make the audience laugh?

Dionysus
By Zeus, say what you want—except “I'm hard pressed”
Forget that one, it's really quite annoying.

Xanthias
Nothing else witty either?

Dionysus
Anything but “What a strain!”

Xanthias
What then? Can I say the really funny one?

Dionysus
Of course,
Go right ahead—but don't let me catch you saying this.

Xanthias
What's that?

Dionysus
That you must shift your pack to ease yourself.

Xanthias
Well, can't I say I've got such a load on me,
unless someone takes it off, I'll bust a gut?

Dionysus
Please don't, unless you wish to make me sick.

Xanthias
So why should I have to carry all this stuff,
without doing any of the jokes that Phrynichus
and Lycis and Ameipsias always make
the baggage-carriers say in all their comedies?

Dionysus
Just don't. Since when I'm in the theater
and hear any of these stupid jokes,
I go away just older by a year.

Xanthias
Alas, poor wretched me! My neck
is really strained, but can't crack the joke.

Dionysus
Now is this not outrage and utter insolence,
That I myself, Dionysos, son of Winejug,
must walk, and let this fellow ride,
so he might feel no pain and bear no burden?

Xanthias
What? I bear no burden?

Dionysus
How can you bear anything? You're riding.

Xanthias
But I've got all this!

Dionysus
How so?

Xanthias
Most heavily!

Dionysus
The weight you carry- isn't it carried by the donkey?

Xanthias
Absolutely not; not what I'm holding and carrying.

Dionysus
How can you carry, for God's sake, when you
yourself are carried by another?

Xanthias
I don't know, but my shoulder's sure hard pressed.

Dionysus
Well, since you say the donkey doesn't help,
Suppose you take your turn, and carry him.

Xanthias
Unhappy wretch! Why didn't I join the navy?
Then I'd tell you to whistle a different tune!

Dionysus
You scoundrel, get on down! Here's the door
I'm walking to, the first place
I must stop.—Ho, porter! porter there, I say.

load focus Greek (F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart, 1907)
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