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SAGARINUS
What person in the Ionian1 or the ballet line is there that can do anything like that? He capers about.

STICHUS
If you get the better of me this turn2, just challenge me to another.

SAGARINUS
Just you do it in this fashion. Capers.

STICHUS
And you in this fashion. Capers too.

SAGARINUS
O grand3!

STICHUS
O fine!

SAGARINUS
O wonderful!

STICHUS
QUIET4!

SAGARINUS
Now, then, both in the same step. They dance quietly, in the same measure. I challenge all the dancing-masters to dance against me. 'Tis no more possible for there to be enough of this for us than for there to be too much rain for a mushroom.

STICHUS
(ceasing to dance) Let's away hence in-doors at once now; we've danced long enough for the wine5. You, Spectators, give us your applause, and then go home to enjoy yourselves.

1 In the Ionian: The Ionian mode of dancing was graceful and voluptuous. The Sicilians had a dance of this nature in honor of Diana, which they called "the Ionic dance."

2 This turn: It is difficult to say what is the exact meaning of "versus" or "versus" here. Possibly, it was the name of some particular dance, or it may have merely meant a "turn" or "round," or as we say, "a set," in dancing. Again, it may possibly mean some curious posture, in which Sagarinus was skilled, and in assuming which Stichus could not cope with him. Gesture and grimace formed the main features of the dance with the Romans.

3 O grand!: "Babæ," "Tatæ," and "Papæ," are merely exclamations of the dancers, while inspired with the spirit of the dance; not unlike the shrieks and noises which are frequently made by the dancers of our times, at fairt and other places of public resort, where uproarious enjoyment takes the place of sobriety, and, not unfrequently, of common decency.

4 Quiet!: "Pax." This was the ordinary expression used to signify a pause--"Stop."

5 Long enough for the wine: They have fairly danced the wine out.

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    • Paul Shorey, Commentary on Horace, Odes, Epodes, and Carmen Saeculare, Ode VI
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