But concerning these griphi, Antiphanes says, in his Cnœthis, or the Pot-bellied Man—
A. I thought before that those who while at mealsAnd in his Aphrodisian he says—
Bade me solve griphi, were the silliest triflers,
Talking mere nonsense. And when any one
Was bade to say what a man bore and bore not,
I laugh'd and thought it utter childishness;
And did not think that truth did lie beneath,
But reckon'd them as traps for the unwary.
But now, indeed, I see there is some truth in them;
For we, ten men, contribute now for supper,
But no one of them all bears what he brings,
So here's a case where he who bears bears not,
And this is just the meaning of a griphus.
So surely this may fairly be excused;
But others play tricks with the things themselves,
Paying no money, as, for instance, Philip.
B. A wise and fortunate man, by Jove, is he.
A. Suppose I want to say now “dish” to you,
Shall I say “dish,” or shall I rather say,
[p. 709] A hollow-bodied vessel, made of earth,
Form'd by the potter's wheel in rapid swing,
Baked in another mansion of its mother,
Which holds within its net the tender milk-fed
Offspring of new-born flocks untimely choked?
B. By Hercules, you'll kill me straight if you
Do not in plain words say a “dish of meat.”
A. 'Tis well. And shall I speak to you of drops
Flowing from bleating goats, and well compounded
With streams proceeding from the yellow bee,
Sitting on a broad receptacle provided
By the chaste virgin born of holy Ceres,
And now luxuriating beneath a host
Of countless finely-wrought integuments;
Or shall I say “a cheesecake?”
B. Prithee say
A. Shall I speak of rosy sweat
From Bacchic spring?
B. I'd rather you'd say wine.
A. Or shall I speak of dusky dewy drops?
B. No such long paraphrase,—say plainly, water.
A. Or shall I praise the cassia-breathing fragrance
That scents the air
B. No, call it myrrh,—forbear
Those sad long-winded sentences, those long
And roundabout periphrases; it seems
To me by far too great a labour thus
To dwell on matters which are small themselves,
And only great in such immense descriptions.