The scene shows the house of HERACLES in the background. There enter two travellers: DIONYSUS on foot, in his customary yellow robe and buskins but also with the club and lion's skin of Heracles, and his servant XANTHIAS on a donkey, carrying the luggage on a pole over his shoulder.
Shall I crack any of those old jokes, master,
At which the audience never fail to laugh?
Aye, what you will, except "I'm getting crushed":
Fight shy of that: I'm sick of that already.
Nothing else smart?
Aye, save "my shoulder's aching."
Come now, that comical joke?
With all my heart.
Only be careful not to shift your pole,
And vow that you've a belly-ache.
May I not say I'm overburdened so
That if none ease me, I must ease myself?
For mercy's sake, not till I'm going to vomit.
What! must I bear these burdens, and not make
One of the jokes Ameipsias and Lycis
And Phrynichus, in every play they write,
Put in the mouths of their burden-bearers?
Don't make them; no! I tell you when I see
Their plays, and hear those jokes, I come away
More than a twelvemonth older than I went.
O thrice unlucky neck of mine, which now
Is getting crushed, yet must not crack its joke!
Now is not this fine pampered insolence
When I myself, Dionysus, son of-Pipkin,
Toil on afoot, and let this fellow ride,
Taking no trouble, and no burden bearing?
What, don't I bear?
How can you when you're riding?
Why, I bear these.
The Frogs is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus in Athens, in 405 BC, and received first place.
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