Friday, September 21, 2007

The Frogs

I've just bought a Penguin edition of The Wasps by Aristophanes. It was written in the 60s. It hasn't worn well. Here's a brief snippet, as Dionysus prepares to enter Hell:

Dionysus [climbing in warily]: Er - can I go to Hell?
Charond: You can as far as I'm concerned.
Dionysus: Ah splendid. Two please.
Charon: Sorry, sir, no slaves allowed. Not unless they fought in the sea-battle.
Xanthias: Exempted on medical grounds, I was. Weak sight.
Charon: Well, you'll have to walk round.
Xanthias: Where shall I find you?
Charon: Just past the Withering Stone, you'll find an inn. 'The Last Resting Place', they call it.
Dionysus: Got that?
Xanthias: I've got the creeps, that's what I've got. It's not my lucky day. [He staggers off into the shadows.]
Charon: Sit to the oar. Any more for Lethe, Blazes - Here, what are you doing?
Dionysus: Sitting on the oar, like you said. But -
Charon: I didn't say on the oar, you pot-bellied loon.

It's like something out of ITMA. And they all sound exactly the same, they do. Hard to believe this is a God and the ferryman of the dead talking...

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