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But the meaning which is now given to the name parasite is one which Carystius of Pergamus, in his treatise on the Didascali$e, says was first invented by Alexis, forgetting that Epicharmus, in his Hope or Plutus, has introduced one in a drinking party, where he says—
But here another stands at this man's feet,
* * * * * *
Seeking for food which shall not cost him anything,
And he will drink up an entire cask,
As if it were a cupfull.
And he introduces the parasite himself, making the following speech to some one who questioned him—
I sup with any one who likes, if he
Has only got the good sense to invite me;
And with each man who makes a marriage feast,
Whether I'm asked or not, there I am witty;
There I make others laugh, and there I praise
The host, who gives the feast. And if by chance
Any one dares to say a word against him,
I arm myself for contest, and o'erwhelm him.
Then eating much and drinking plentifully,
I leave the house. No link-boy doth attend me;
But I do pick my way with stumbling steps,
Both dark and desolate; and if sometimes
I do the watchmen meet, I swear to them
By all the gods that I have done no wrong;
But still they set on me. At last, well beaten,
I reach my home, and go to sleep on the ground,
And for a while forget my blows and bruises,
While the strong wine retains its sway and lulls me.

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