Frogs

In a recent essai, I mentioned the chorus from The Frogs of Aristophanes: a thing I have done before. The keenest eyes among my 3.6 Loyal Readers (if 3.6 readers have 7.2 eyes, I should not expect the 0.2 of an eye to be the keen one) may have noticed that I quoted it (with pedantic correctness) as brekekex koax koax. In the past, I made it brekekekex koax koax: for the simple reason that I had never read the Greek original, but was only familiar (and that but vaguely) with the English translation. An extra ek was inserted into the English version, because it fitted the metre of the translation better; whereas it would have spoilt the rhythm of the Greek. This is poetic licence in its finest form.

In fact, the English translation of that chorus is such a very fine bit of English verse, it was cheerfully sung by the Tommies in the trenches of the Great War: a thing that, so far as I know, has never happened to any other Greek poem, and few English ones. I suppose they thought that by ‘frogs’ the poet meant Frenchmen, as they would have done in his place. Anyway, I recall the song well:

Brekekekex koax koax,
Parley-voo?
Brekekekex koax koax,
Parley-voo?
Brekekekex koax koax,
Go kiss a frog if a Prince attracts,
Hinky, dinky, parley-voo!

You’re welcome.

Comments

  1. Brian thies says:

    That’s just wonderful.

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