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Servant
—is going to construct the framework of a drama. He is rounding fresh poetical forms, [55] he is polishing them in the lathe and is welding them; he is hammering out sentences and metaphors; he is working up his subject like soft wax. First he models it and then he casts it in bronze—

Mnesilochus
—and sways his buttocks amorously.

Servant
Who is the rustic that approaches this sacred enclosure?

Mnesilochus
Take care of yourself and of your [60] sweet-voiced poet! I have a strong tool here both well rounded and well polished, which will pierce your enclosure and penetrate you.


Servant
Old man, you must have been a very insolent fellow in your youth!

Euripides
to the Servant
Let him be, friend, and, [65] quick, go and call Agathon to me.

Servant
It's not worth the trouble, for he will soon be here himself. He has started to compose, and in winter it is never possible to round off strophes without coming to the sun to excite the imagination.

Euripides
[70] And what am I to do?

Servant
Wait till he gets here.

He goes into the house.

Euripides
Oh, Zeus! what hast thou in store for me to-day?

Mnesilochus
Great gods, what is the matter now? What are you grumbling and groaning for? Tell me; you must not conceal anything from your father-in-law.

Euripides
[75] Some great misfortune is brewing against me.

Mnesilochus
What is it?

Euripides
This day will decide whether it is all over with Euripides or not.

Mnesilochus
But how? Neither the tribunals nor the Senate are sitting, [80] for it is the third day of the Thesmophoria.

Euripides
That is precisely what makes me tremble; the women have plotted my ruin, and to-day they are to gather in the Temple of Demeter to execute their decision.

Mnesilochus
What have they against you?

Euripides
[85] Because I mishandle them in my tragedies.

Mnesilochus
By Poseidon, you would seem to have thoroughly deserved your fate. But how are you going to get out of the mess?

Euripides
I am going to beg Agathon, the tragic poet, to go to the Thesmophoria.

Mnesilochus
And what is he to do there?

Euripides
[90] He would mingle with the women, and stand up for me, if needful.

Mnesilochus
Would he be openly present or secretly?

Euripides
Secretly, dressed in woman's clothes.

Mnesilochus
That's a clever notion, thoroughly worthy of you. The prize for trickery is ours.

The door of Agathon's house opens.

Euripides
[95] Silence!

Mnesilochus
What's the matter?

Euripides
Here comes Agathon.

Mnesilochus
Where, where?

Euripides
That's the man they are bringing out yonder on the eccyclema.

Agathon appears on the eccyclema, softly reposing on a bed, clothed in a saffron tunic, and surrounded with feminine toilet articles.

Mnesilochus
I am blind then! I see no man here, I only see Cyrene.

Euripides
Be still! He is getting ready to sing.

Mnesilochus
[100] What subtle trill, I wonder, is he going to warble to us?

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