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[23] Shall we say that, if a sacred dancer stops, or a flute-player has on a sudden ceased to play, or if a boy1 with both father and mother alive has ceased to touch the ground, or has lost his hold of the sacred car, or of the reins, or if an aedile has used a wrong word or made the slightest mistake, then the games have not been duly celebrated, and those mistakes are forced to be expiated and the minds of the immortal gods are appeased by their repetition; and yet if the games are suddenly changed from a scene of joy to one of terror,—if they have been, not interrupted, but broken up and put an end to,—if those days of festival turned out nearly fatal to the through the wickedness of that man who wished to turn the games into a time of grief,—shall we doubt what games that noise warns us have been polluted?

1 It is inferred from this passage that the boys assisting at these games might not be orphans.

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