Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
Grafters in Athens
(From “The Frogs”)

By Aristophanes

(Greek comedy writer and satirist; c.448 B.C.–c.388 B.C. Greek comedy, produced B.C. 405)
KEEP silence—keep peace—and let all the profane
From our holy solemnity duly refrain;
Whose souls unenlightened by taste, are obscure;
Whose poetical notions are dark and impure;
  Whose theatrical conscience        5
  Is sullied by nonsense;
Who never were train’d by the mighty Cratinus
In mystical orgies poetic and vinous;
Who delight in buffooning and jests out of season;
Who promote the designs of oppression and treason;        10
Who foster sedition, and strife, and debate;
All traitors, in short, to the stage and the state;
Who surrender a fort, or in private, export
To places and harbors of hostile resort,
Clandestine consignments of cables and pitch;        15
In the way the Thorycion grew to be rich
From a scoundrelly dirty collector of tribute!
All such we reject and severely prohibit:
All statesmen retrenching the fees and the salaries
Of theatrical bards, in revenge for the railleries,        20
And jests, and lampoons, of this holy solemnity,
Profanely pursuing their personal enmity,
For having been flouted, and scoff’d, and scorn’d,
All such are admonish’d and heartily warn’d!
  We warn them once,        25
  We warn them twice,
  We warn and admonish—we warn them thrice,
To conform to the law,
To retire and withdraw—
While the Chorus again with the formal saw        30
(Fixt and assign’d to the festive day)
Move to the measure and march away!

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