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Don't be so skeptical: for a goddess is speaking trusty words to you.1 Chorus
How should I believe that a dead animal's voice can roar like that? Cyllene
Believe it: it speaks now it's dead, though it had no voice when it was alive. Chorus
What did it look like? Long, curved, short? Cyllene
Short, like a pitcher, and covered with a colorful hide. Chorus
Was it like a cat, or rather a leopard? Cyllene
In between, really: it's round with short legs. Chorus
Closer to a ferret, then, or a crab? Cyllene
No, that's not it; try something else. Chorus
Is it like one of the horned beetles that live on Aetna? Cyllene
Now you're getting closer to the beast Chorus
And which part makes the sound, the inside or the outside? Cyllene
... first cousin to a potsherd. Chorus
What name do you call it? Tell me, if you know any more. Cyllene
The boy calls the animal a "tortoise" and the instrument a "lyre." Chorus
... property ... Several fragmentary lines follow, and a couple of lines are lost. Cyllene
... and this is his only consolation or cure for sorrow. He enjoys idly singing along; he coaxes Aeolian tunes from the lyre. Thus the boy made himself a voice from a dead animal.
1 This passage, to line 292, is in iambic tetrameters acatalectic, a very unusual meter for dialogue. The parabasis-speech in an Old Comedy is always in tetrameters, but always catalectic (iambic, trochaic, or anapestic). Trochaic tetrameters catalectic are fairly common in tragedy for excited scenes. There are no other acatalectic iambic tetrameters in extant complete plays, though they appear in at least one other fragmentary satyr play. We don't know why this scene is in this particular meter.
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