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Not hipporoosters, by God, nor goat-stags, like you,
which they depict on Persian tapestries.
But when I first received the art from you,
she was swollen from bombast and ponderous diction,
at once I slimmed her down and took off weight
with versicles and strolls and laxative roots,
giving a dose of drivel strained from books.
Then I nursed it back with monodies—

—mixing in Cephisophon.

Then I didn't say whatever nonsense occurred to me, nor knead in what I fell upon,
But the character who came out first would straightway
tell the background of the play.

Better than your own, by Zeus.

Then from the opening words I permitted nothing idle; my woman spoke, as did the slave as well,
Or master, maiden, or old woman.

Then really
shouldn't you be put to death for daring this?

No, by Apollo,
For this was a democratic thing I did.

Let it go, sir,
It's not best for you to digress on that point.

Then, I taught these folks to speak up...

I'll say,
I wish before that lesson you had split down the middle.

...And the introduction of subtle rules and squared-off words,
to think, to see, to understand, to love to twist, to connive,
to suspect the worst, to overthink all things...

I'll say.

...Introducing domestic matters which we're used to and understand,
on which I could be tested. For these folks are knowledgeable,
and could have criticized my art. But I didn't toss off boasts,
drawing them away from common sense, and I didn't scare them,
creating Cycnuses and Memnons of the bell-cheeked steeds.
You'll recognize the disciples of both this fellow and myself:
His are Phormisios and manic Meganeitos
Sons of long-beard lancers, pine-tree flesh rippers,
but mine are Cleitophon and Theramenes the dandy.

Theramenes? A clever fellow, an all-round wonder;
If he runs into trouble and happens to be close by
He's thrown clear of the trouble, no Chian but a Kian.

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