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Euripides
I am prepared, and do not delay,
to bite, be bitten first, if that's his preference,
as to the lines and lyrics, the sinews of a tragedy,
I swear by Zeus, by Peleus, and by Aeolus,
by MeIeager too, and even more, by Telephus.

Dionysus
And what do you plan to do? Speak, Aeschylus.

Aeschylus
I didn't want to join in battle here;
Our combat will not be on equal terms.

Dionysus
How so?

Aeschylus
My Poetry did not die with me,
as his has died with him, so he'll have it to recite.
But nonetheless since you prefer, it must be done.

Dionysus
Come now, someone bring incense and fire,
So I can pray before the show of wits
to judge this contest most aesthetically.
And you, sing a song to the Muses.


Chorus
Ye Nine virgin daughters of Zeus, blessed
Muses, who look down upon the subtle-speaking clever wits
of phrase-forging men, when to strife
they come, debating with fiercely studied, crooked wrestling holds,
come to observe the power
of most awesome mouths to provide
sayings and sawdust of words.
For now the great contest of skill is getting down to business.

Dionysus
Now, both say a prayer before speaking your verses.

Aeschylus
Demeter, nourisher of my mind,
grant that I be worthy of thy mysteries!

Dionysus
Now you too take and offer incense.

Euripides
Fine,
but I have other gods I pray to.

Dionysus
Your own private ones, newly minted?

Euripides
Yes, indeed.

Dionysus
Well, pray away to these private Gods.

Euripides
O air, my sustenance, and pivot of my tongue,
and intelligence, and olfactory nostrils,
may I stoutly refute whatever words I seize!

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