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Demosthenes
SCENE: —The Orchestra represents the Pnyx at Athens; in the background is the house of Demos.
Oh! alas! alas! Oh! woe! oh! woe! Miserable Paphlagonian! may the gods destroy both him and his cursed advice! Since that evil day when this new slave entered the house [5] he has never ceased belaboring us with blows.

Nicias
May the plague seize him, the arch-fiend —him and his lying tales!

Demosthenes
Hah! my poor fellow, what is your condition?

Nicias
Very wretched, just like your own.

Demosthenes
Then come, let us sing a duet of groans in the style of Olympus.

Demosthenes and Nicias
[10] Boo, hoo! boo, hoo! boo, hoo! boo, hoo! boo, hoo! boo, hoo!!

Demosthenes
Bah! it's lost labour to weep! Enough of groaning! Let us consider how to save our pelts.

Nicias
But how to do it! Can you suggest anything?

Demosthenes
No, you begin.

Nicias
I cede you the honor.

Demosthenes
By Apollo! no, not I

Nicias
in tragic style
“Ah! would you but tell me what I should tell you!”

Demosthenes
[15] Come, have courage! Speak, and then I will say what I think.

Nicias
I dare not. How could I express my thoughts with the pomp of Euripides?

Demosthenes
Oh! please spare me! Do not pelt me with those vegetables, [20] but find some way of leaving our master.

Nicias
Well, then! Say “Let-us-bolt,” like this, in one breath.

Demosthenes
I follow you —“Let-us-bolt.”

Nicias
Now after “Let-us-bolt” say “at-top-speed!”

Demosthenes
“At-top-speed!”

Nicias
Splendid! Just as if you were masturbating; first slowly, [25] “Let-us-bolt”; then quick and firmly, “at-top-speed!”

Demosthenes
Let-us-bolt, let-us-bolt-at-top-speed!

Nicias
Hah! does that not please you?

Demosthenes
Yes, indeed, yet I fear your omen bodes no good to my hide.

Nicias
How so?

Demosthenes
Because masturbation chafes the skin.

Nicias
[30] The best thing we can do for the moment is to throw ourselves at the feet of the statue of some god.

Demosthenes
Of which statue? Any statue? Do you then believe there are gods?

Nicias
Certainly.

Demosthenes
What proof have you?

Nicias
The proof that they have taken a grudge against me. Is that not enough?

Demosthenes
[35] I'm convinced it is. But to pass on. Do you consent to my telling the spectators of our troubles?

Nicias
There's nothing wrong with that, and we might ask them to show us by their manner, whether our facts and actions are to their liking.

load focus Greek (F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart, 1907)
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