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Enter Xanthias and Aeacus

Aeacus
By Zeus our Saviour, a real gentleman
is your master.

Xanthias
Of course he's a real gentleman,
he only knows how to drink and screw.

Aeacus
But not to beat you then and there when it was proved
that you're the slave but claimed to be the master!

Xanthias
He'd sure regret it.

Aeacus
That's a right slavish thing
you did just now, the kind of thing I like to do myself.

Xanthias
Beg pardon, you like that?

Aeacus
Even more, I'm practically in ecstasy
When I curse my master behind his back.

Xanthias
What about your grumbling, when after getting
a good beating you run outside?

Aeacus
I love that too.

Xanthias
And what of meddling?

Aeacus
It's like nothing else I know, by God.

Xanthias
Zeus of Family Ties! And eavesdropping on the masters
when they gossip?

Aeacus
It drives me even crazier.

Xanthias
What about blabbing it all to outsiders?

Aeacus
Who, me?
God, when I do that, I stain my pants.

Xanthias
Phoebus Apollo! Put your right hand there,
Let me kiss you—you kiss me too, and tell me
By Zeus, who is our fellow whipping boy,
What's all this noise inside and shouting
and abuse?

Aeacus
That's Euripides and Aeschylus.

Xanthias
Huh?

Aeacus
Big, big trouble's stirring
among the dead, and nasty civil war.

Xanthias
For what?

Aeacus
There is a custom established here,
in all the great and noble arts
that the best man in his own field of talent
gets his meals in the Town Hall,
and the seat next to Pluto...

Xanthias
I get it.

Aeacus
Until someone wiser in the art arrives
Than he, and then must he give way.

Xanthias
So why has this disturbed Aeschylus?

Aeacus
He held the chair of tragedy,
As the mightiest in that art.

Xanthias
And who does now?

Aeacus
Why, when Euripides came down, he started showing off
to the muggers and the pickpockets,
parricides, and burglars,
and that's the majority in Hades—and listening to
his speeches pro and con, and twists and turns,
they went crazy and hailed him the wisest.
Then he, all excited, claimed the throne
where Aeschylus was sitting.

Xanthias
And wasn't he bombarded?

Aeacus
Lord no, the plebs cried out to have a trial,
to see which was the better dramatist.

Xanthias
The crowd of rascals?

Aeacus
Oh yes, as high as heaven.

Xanthias
Didn't Aeschylus have others to take his side?

Aeacus
The best's a small group, just like here.

Xanthias
And what is Pluto planning to do?

Aeacus
To hold the contest right away, and a trial
and test of their skill.

Xanthias
And how is it then
that Sophocles didn't claim the throne as well?

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