Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FROGS: THE FROGS' SONG, by ARISTOPHANES



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THE FROGS: THE FROGS' SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax
Last Line: Silenced! -- so there! -- who wins -- our croaking bout?
Subject(s): Aeschylus (525-456 B.c.); Animals; Euripides (484-406 B.c.); Frogs


FROGS. DIONYSUS
(The FROGS call the time for DIONYSUS, who is rowing CHARON'S
boat. Their first song is lenient in rhythm, but its final croak sets a brisk
pace.)

FR.

Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax,
brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax --
Uplift your voice
children born
of lake and stream!
Pipes ring out;
ring out my song
Lord Dionysus praising,
-- ko-ax ko-ax --
O sweet refrain
sung of old
to Nysa's lord,
child of Zeus, --
our song of the fens
lifted loud
calling the folk who assemble
down at our Close in the Marshlands
and keep with a jolly carouse
High Feast of Pots.
Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax!

DI.

(slowly, with stroke to match)
I have, -- I find, -- a spot -- behind
that's tender (wincing) -- Ow, ko-ax ko-ax!

FR.

(speeding him up)
Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax.

DI.

You're not -- the kind, -- it seems, -- to mind.

FR.

Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax.

DI.

To hell -- with you -- and ko-ax too!
The same -- old song -- the whole -- day long!

FR.

(briskly)
Song, -- you clever busybody! --
learnt of the lyric Muses,
learnt of Pan, who loved me,
Pan, of the vocal reeds mellifluous,
Pan, the Goat-foot.
Pleasant am I no less to Apollo,
lord of lute-play --
Reeds, of a wood to re-echo his fingering,
down in our own ooze-garden grow.
Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax.

DI.

(as before)
From rub -- of oar -- my hands -- grow sore --

FR.

Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax.

DI.

(sings) How long? how long?
Sing no more
O sons of song!

FR.

(still more briskly)
Sing we on, --
louder, louder, now if ever!
Sing, as when blue days have set us
hopping in and out for pleasure
through the galingale, through rushes,
now for a dip, and now for a ditty.
Sing, as when we bob for shelter
out of the rain, and from our chorus
giddy songs of the underwater
swell
hubble-bubble
to the
top.

DI.

(anticipates the croak, and spurts)
Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax
(relapsing)
You've met -- your match: -- I've caught -- your catch.

FR.

How he'll wreck it there's no knowing!

DI.

(spurts)
You'll wreck me, if I go rowing
till I crack my back in two.

FR.

Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax.

DI.

(relapses)
Be damned! -- I don't -- care what -- you do!

FR.

No, we'll croak you to a finish,
never a note shall we diminish
open-throated all day long.

DI.

(spurts and relapses)
Brekeke-kex ko-ax ko-ax.
At least -- I'll beat -- you, song -- for song.

FR.

You beat us? We can't conceive it!

DI.

(frantic)
You shall not put me to rout!
I shall croak and never leave it,
all day long, needs be, I'll shout
BREKEKE-KEX KO-AX KO-AX
(relapsing)
till my -- ko-ax -- has croaked -- you down -- and out.
(defiantiy, shooting the boat to shore)
BREKEKE-KEX KO-AX KO-AX!
Silenced! -- so there! -- Who wins -- our croaking bout?





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