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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Comic Poet’s Grievances

By Antiphanes (Fourth Century B.C.)

HAPPY in every way the lot

Of tragic poets! First, because the tale

Is perfectly to the spectators known,

Ere aught is said. The poet only need

Remind them: for if I say “Œdipus,”

Why, all the rest they know….

Besides, when they have nothing more to say,

Then like a finger their machine they raise,

And that suffices for their audience.

Nothing of this have we, but everything

We must invent: new names, each circumstance,

Present conditions, the catastrophe,

The episodes. If one be overlooked,

Chremes and Pheidon hiss us from the stage.