The Comedies of Aristophanes, a new and literal translation from the revised text of Dindorf with notes and extracts from the best metrical versions, trans. William James Hicke (London: George Bell and Sons, 1901). Vol. 1 (The Archanians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace, and Birds) https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2697,
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Vol. 1 of a two volume collection. It contains the plays The Archanians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace, and Birds.
The text is in the public domain.
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Scene.—At first the General Assembly, at the Pnyx; afterwards the house of Dicæopolis, in the country.
This Comedy takes its name from the natives of Acharnæ, who constitute the Chorus. In order of time, it is the first entire play which has come down to us. It was brought out in January, bc 425, Ol. lxxxviii. 4, at the Lenæan feast of Bacchus, in the sixth year of the Peloponnesian war. It obtained the first prize, the Χειμαζόμενοι of Cratinus the second, and the Νουμηνία of Eupolis the third. Musgrave and Scaliger, deceived by the corrupt reading, Εὐθυμένους, in the argument, have ascribed it to bc 437, although the play itself, vs. 266, mentions the sixth year of the war, and quotes the Philoctetes of Euripides, vs. 424; and although the archonship of this Euthymenes is referred to as a distant date, vs. 67.—See Clinton’s Fast. Hell. p. 69, second edition.
The plot is simply this:—Dicæopolis, an Athenian citizen, but an Acharnian by birth, tired at the continuance and miseries of the war, determines, if he cannot persuade the Athenians to adopt his measures, to make a peace for himself and family. The Athenians, elated by success, and urged on by the factious demagogues of the day, refuse to hear of it. Dicæopolis, therefore, despatches Amphitheüs to Sparta, on his own account. A private peace is concluded, and its happy results are enumerated with all the festivity and license conceded to the old Comedy. For the political importance of Acharnæ, see Thucydides, book ii. c. xix. xx; and for other particulars, Anacharsis’ Travels, vol. iv. 314, &c., octavo edition. As tending to elucidate many passages, it may be observed, that Acharnæ abounded in charcoal works. This was the author’s third play, the two preceding it, the Δαιταλεῖς (bc 427, under the name of Philonicles), and Βαβυλώνιοι (bc 426, at the Great Dionysia, under the name of Callistratus), not having come down to us entire.Edition: current; Page: 
How many things truly have I been vexed at in my heart; and with how few have I been pleased, how very few, some four! while the things I have suffered are countless. Come, let me see; at what was I pleased that was worthy of exultation? I know at what I was gladdened in my heart when I saw it,—at the five talents which Cleon disgorged. How I was transported at this, and for this deed I love the Knights, for it was worthy of Greece! But then again I suffered another woe, a tragic one; just when1 I was gaping with expectation for Æschylus, the herald proclaimed, “Theognis,2 introduce your Chorus.” You can’t think how this agitated my heart! But then again I was pleased, when at length Dexitheus entered, after Moschus,3 to sing a Bœotian strain. And this year I almost died, and stared my eyes asquint at the sight, when Chæris strutted forward to chaunt the Orthian strain. But never at any time since I began to wash, have I been so tormented in my eyebrows by dust as now, when, the regular morning assembly being come, the Pnyx here is empty, while the members in the market-place gossip, and shift up and down to avoid the vermilion’d rope.4 Neither have the Prytanes arrived; and when they arrive too late, you can’t think5 how they will jostle each other for the first seat6 rushing down in a body. But how peace is to be made, they take Edition: current; Page:  no heed. O city, city! While I, always coming first to the assembly, take my seat; and there being alone, groan, gape, stretch and yawn,1 break wind, puzzle, scribble, pluck my hairs, calculate, looking towards the country, anxious for peace, disgusted with the city, and longing for my own farm, which never at any time said, “Buy coals,” or “vinegar,” or “oil;” or knew the word “buy,”—but of itself produced all things, and the “buy” was absent. Now therefore I have come thoroughly prepared to bawl, interrupt, rail at the orators, if any one talk of any thing but peace. But see here come our Prytanes at noon! Did I not say so? Exactly as I said, every man of them is jostling for the first seat.
Advance to the front; advance, that ye may be within the purified2 ground.
Has any one spoken yet?
Who wishes to speak?
Who are you?
Not a man?
No; but an immortal. For Amphitheüs was son of Ceres and Triptolemus; and of him was born Celeüs; and Celeüs married my grandmother Phænarete, of whom was born Lucinus; and from him I, an immortal, am descended; and to me alone the gods intrusted to make peace with the Lacedæmonians. Yet, immortal as I am, sirs, I have no travelling allowance, for the Prytanes grant3 none.
Triptolemus and Celeüs, will you allow me to be treated thus?
Mr. Prytanes, you wrong the assembly in ordering the man to be led away,1 who was wishing to make peace for us, and hang up our bucklers. [Amphitheüs is ejected by force.]
Sit down, and hold your tongue.
By Apollo, will I not, unless you bring forward a motion for peace.
The ambassadors from the king.
Bah! Ecbatana, what a dress!
You sent us to the great king, with a salary of two drachmæ a day, in the archonship of Euthymenes.4
Ah me! the drachmæ!
And in truth we were worn out with wandering about in tents along the plain of the Cayster, being half killed with reclining luxuriously on our close carriages.
Why, did I get off well, who lay upon litter5 beside the battlements?
And being entertained with hospitality, we drank against our wills, from cups of glass and golden chalices, sweet unmixed wine.
O city of Cranaus! perceivest thou the mockery of the ambassadors?
For the Barbarians esteem those only men, who have the greatest power to eat and drink.
While we consider wenchers and debauchees as such.6
Howbeit, on the fourth year we arrived at the palace; but he had gone to ease himself, having taken an army; and for eight months he eased himself upon the golden mountains.
When did the effects of the medicine wear off?
At the full of the moon, and then he returned home Edition: current; Page:  Then he entertained us, and served up to us whole oxen from the baking pot.
And who ever beheld baked oxen? What impostures!
And, by Jupiter, he served up to us a bird thrice the size of Cleonymus:1 its name was Cheat.
For this reason then you ‘cheated’ us in taking two drachmæ.
And now we have brought with us Pseudartabas, the King’s Eye.
Would that a crow would strike and knock thine out, ambassador.
The King’s Eye!
King Hercules! By the gods, man, do you look like a man of war, or, while doubling a promontory, are you looking out for a dry-dock? A rowlock-leather you have, I ween, about your eye below.
Come now, Pseudartabas, declare what the king sent you to say to the Athenians.
Iartaman exarx’ anapissonai satra.2
Do you understand what he says?
By Apollo, not I.
He says the king will send you gold. Now say gold’ louder, and distinctly.
Ou lepsi cruso chaunoproct’ iaonau.3
O wretched me! how distinctly!
What, then, says he?
Ask what he says?—he says the Ionians are gaping fools, if they expect gold from the Barbarians.
Not so; he speaks of chaldrons1 of gold.
What2 chaldrons? Truly you are a great impostor. But go to; I will examine this man myself. Come now, tell me clearly, in the presence of this ambassador, lest I dip you in a Sardian3 dye; will the great king send us any gold? [Pseudartabas gives a nod of dissent.] Are we then heedlessly gulled by our ambassador? [Pseudartabas gives a nod of assent.] These fellows nodded assent at least in Greek, and they are certainly from this very country: and of the two eunuchs, this here one I know, who he is—Clisthenes, the son of Sibyrtius. O thou who hast a hot-tempered rump shaven,4 with such a beard as this, hast thou come to us dressed as a eunuch? But whoever is this? Surely it is not Straton?
Silence: be seated. The senate invites the King’s Eye to the Prytaneum. [Exeunt Pseudartabas and attendants.]
Is not this, pray, as bad as hanging? And then do I, forsooth, tarry here? while the door never5 restrains them from entertaining guests. I will do a dread and mighty deed. Where is Amphitheüs?
See, here he is. [Enter Amphitheüs.]
For me alone, and for my children, and my wife, take these eight drachmæ, and make peace with the Lacedæmonians. But do you1 send your embassies, and gape away. [Exit Amphitheüs.]
Let Theorus come forth, who has returned from Sitacles.
Here am I!
This is another impostor, who is summoned.
We would not have been a long time in Thrace—
By Jove, you wouldn’t, if you did not receive a long salary.
Had not Zeus covered the whole of Thrace with snow and congealed the rivers, about the very time when Theognis2 here was contending for the prize. During this time I was drinking with Sitacles. And, in truth, he was marvellously fond of the Athenians, and of you he was a sincere lover, so that he was even in the habit of writing on the walls3 “Pretty Athenians.” And his son,4 whom we had made an Athenian citizen, was desirous of eating Apaturian5 sausages, and entreated his father to aid his country. And he swore with a libation, that he would lend his assistance, with so great a host, that the Athenians should exclaim, “What a swarm of locusts6 approaches!”
May I die the worst of deaths, if I believe one jot of this, which you have said here, except the locusts.
And now he has sent you the most warlike tribe of the Thracians.
This is now evident.
Come hither, you Thracians, whom Theorus brought.
What plague have we here?
A band of the Odomanti.1
What Odomanti?2 Tell me, what means this? How came the Odomanti to resemble lewd Athenians?
If one give them two drachmæ as their pay, they will overrun with light-armed troops the whole of Bœotia.
Two drachmæ to these lewd fellows! With reason might our topmost rowers groan, the safeguards of the state. [Thracians attack Dicæopolis and rob him.] Ah me, unhappy man, I am undone! being robbed of my garlic by the Odomanti. Will you not lay down my garlic?
Wretched man! Don’t approach3 these fellows when primed with garlic.
Do the Prytanes suffer me to be treated thus in my own country, and that too at the hands of Barbarians? I forbid you to hold an assembly4 for the Thracians on the subject of pay, and acquaint you that there is an omen from the sky,5 and that a drop of rain has struck me.
Ah me, unhappy man! what an olio have I lost! But here’s Amphitheüs from Lacedæmon. Hail, Amphitheüs! [Enter Amphitheüs.]
Not yet, until I cease running; for I am obliged to escape from the Acharnians by flight.
What’s the matter?
I was hastening hitherward, bringing you a peace, but certain seniors of Acharnæ got scent of me, sturdy old fellows, tough as oak, inflexible, Marathon men, stout as maple. Then all of them lifted up their voices—“Abandoned villain! do you bring a peace, when our vines are cut?” And they set a gathering some stones into their cloaks. But I fled, while they pursued and bellowed.
Then let them bellow.1 But bringest thou the aforesaid peace?
Aye marry, here are three samples. These are for five years. Take and taste.
What’s the matter?
They please me not, because they smell of pitch and naval preparations.2
At least take and taste this, which is for ten years.
This too smells very sharply of embassies to our towns, as it were of delay amongst the allies.
Well, this is for thirty3 years, both by land and sea.
O Dionysia! These truly smell of ambrosia and nectar, and not to have in readiness provision for three4 days; and they say openly, “Go where thou wilt.” These I receive, I make libation with, and will drink up, bidding a long farewell to the Acharnians. And I, freed from war and toils, will go within and celebrate the rural Dionysia.5 [Exit Dicæopolis.]
While1 I will escape from the Acharnians. [Exit Amphitheüs.]
Follow, each of you, this way, pursue, and inquire after the man from all the travellers; for ’tis worthy of our city to seize this fellow. But declare to me, if any one knows where in the world he that bears the peace has turned. He is fled away; he is vanished and gone. Alas my years, wretched man that I am! In the days of my youth, when, bearing a load of coals, I followed Phayllus in the race, this truce-bearer would not have so easily escaped, when pursued by me; neither would he have so nimbly slipped off. But now, since at length my shin is stiffened, and the legs of the aged Lacratides are wearied, he is gone. He must be pursued; for never let2 him laugh at us, nor one who, by having escaped the Acharnians, old men as we are, made peace, O Jove and ye gods, with our foes, against whom, on account of my estates, hostile war is increased by me; and I will not give over until, like a rush, I stick right into them sharp, painful, up to the hilt, so that they may never again trample on my vines. We must seek for the fellow, and look towards Ballene,3 and pursue him from land to land,4 until at length he be found: for I could not be surfeited with pelting him with stones.
Use no ill-omened words: use no ill-omened words.
Silence, each of you. Did you hear, friends, the proclamation of silence? This is the very person whom we are seeking for. Hither, each of you; get out of his way; for the man, as it seems, is coming out to sacrifice.
Use no ill-omened words: use no ill-omened words. Edition: current; Page:  Let the basket-bearer advance a little forward. Let Xanthias set up the Phallus erect.
Do you, my daughter, put down the basket, that we may commence the rites.
Mother, reach here the soup-ladle, that I may pour some soup upon this pan-cake.
Well, now ’tis right, O sovereign Bacchus, that I, having led this procession agreeably to thee, and having sacrificed with my household, should celebrate the rural Dionysia happily, having been freed from military service; and that my peace for thirty years turn out well.
Come, daughter, take care that, pretty as you are, you bear the basket prettily, with a verjuice face. How blest the man who shall wed you, and beget upon you pussies to—stink no less than you, as soon as it is dawn. Proceed, and in the crowd take especial care, that no one secretly nibbles off your golden ornaments.
O Xanthias,1 you two must hold the Phallus erect behind the basket-bearer, and I following will sing the Phallic hymn; and do you, wife, look at me from the house-top. [Exeunt wife and daughter.] Proceed, O Phales, companion of Bacchus, fellow-reveller, roaming by night, friend of love and lechery: in the sixth year I address you, having come with delight to my township, having made for myself a peace, and being freed from troubles and battles and Lamachi.2 For it is far sweeter, O Phales, Phales! having found a pretty woodgatherer, Strymodorus’ Thracian maid, purloining wood from Phelleus,3 to catch her by the waist and lift her up, and throw her down and roll her in the grass. O Phales, Phales! if with us you quaff your cups, in the morning, after your sick head-ache, you shall gulp down a bowl—of peace; and my shield shall be hung up amidst the sparks.
This is the very fellow, this: pelt, pelt, pelt, pelt; strike, strike the wretch, each of you; will you not pelt? will you not pelt? [Chorus pelts him.]
O Hercules! what’s this? You ’ll smash my pitcher.
Nay, rather, we will stone you to death, rascally fellow.
For what cause, Acharnian seniors?
Do you ask this? You are shameless and abominable, O betrayer of your country, who, having made a peace without us,1 canst look me in the face.
But ye do not know wherefore I made the peace: hear me.
Shall we hear you? You shall perish; we will overwhelm you with stones.
By no means, before you hear me; come, have patience, good sirs.
I will not be patient; nor do thou utter a word to me, for I hate thee still more than Cleon, whom I will2 cut up into shoe-soles for the Knights. I ’ll not hearken to you uttering long speeches, who have made a peace with the Lacedæmonians; but will punish you.
Good sirs, leave the Lacedæmonians out of the question; and hear my peace, if I have rightly made it.
How can you any more talk of “rightly,” if once you have made peace with those, with whom neither altar, nor pledge, nor oath3 holds good?
I know that the Lacedæmonians, against whom we are excessively vehement, are not the causes of all our troubles.
Not of all, you villain? Hast thou the audacity, pray, openly to say this to us? Then shall I spare you?
Not of all, not of all; but I here, who address you, could prove abundantly that they have even been injured in some cases.
This expression is dreadful and heart-troubling, if you shall dare to speak to us in defence of our foes.
And if I speak not what is just, and am not approved of by the people, I shall be ready to speak with this neck of mine over a chopping-block.
Tell me, fellow-tribesmen, why spare we our stones, so as not to card4 this fellow into a scarlet rag?
How again a black burning coal has blazed up within you! Will you not hear, will you not hear, pray,1 O sons of the Acharnians?
Assuredly we will not hear you.
Then I shall suffer dreadful things.
May I utterly perish if I hear you.
By no means, O Acharnians.
Be assured now that you shall die.
Then I will sting you; for I will kill in turn the dearest of your friends, since I have hostages of you, whom I will take and butcher.2 [Seizes a hamper of charcoal, and dresses it up like a baby.]
Tell me,3 fellow-tribesmen, what word is this, with which he threatens us Acharnians? Has he shut up within a child of any of those present? or at what is he emboldened?
Pelt, if ye will, for I will kill this one. I shall quickly know who of you cares at all for coals.
How we are undone! this coal-basket is my fellow tribesman. But do not do what you purpose; by no means, O by no means!
Be assured that I will kill him:4 cry on, for I will not hear you.
Will you then kill this my companion in age, the friend of colliers?
But you did not just now give ear to me when I spoke.
Well now, if it seems good to you, say that the Lacedæmonians themselves are dear to your mind; for never will I betray this little coal-basket.
First, then,5 empty your stones upon the ground.
See, they’re on the ground; and do you in turn lay down your sword.
But see that some stones are not lying in ambush somewhere in your cloaks.1
They have been shook out on the ground. Don’t you see it shaking? No excuses; lay down your weapon; since this is shaken with the whirl in the dance.
So then you were all of you going2 to raise a war-cry, and the coals of Parnes all but met with their death, and that too on account of the unnatural conduct of their fellow-tribesmen; and under the influence of fear the coal-basket, like a cuttle-fish, squirted upon me abundant coal-dust. For it is a sad thing that the mind of men should be naturally harsh,3 so as to pelt and shout and be willing to hear nothing which offers half and half, while I am willing to say over a chopping-block all that I say in behalf of the Lacedæmonians; and yet I love my life.
Why then don’t you bring out the chopping-block and state, you wretch, whatever is this weighty matter which you have in hand? for an earnest desire strongly possesses me to know what you have in your mind. But place here the chopping-block and begin to speak, as you yourself determined the punishment. [Exit Dicæopolis, and re-enter with a chopping-block.]
Lo, behold! here is the chopping-block, and the man who is to speak, see here! as small as this! Of4 a surety I’ll not fit myself with a shield, by Jupiter, but will speak in behalf of the Lacedæmonians what seems good to me. And yet I greatly fear, for I know the humour of the rustics to be wondrous tickled, if any quack praise them and their city, right or wrong: and there unknowingly they are bought and sold.5 Of the elders again I know the mind, that they look Edition: current; Page:  to nothing else except vexing with their vote; and I know what I suffered myself at the hands of Cleon, on account of my last1 year’s comedy. For he dragged me into the senate-house, and calumniated me, and spoke lies against me, and roared like the torrent Cycloboros, and drenched me so that I almost perished altogether, getting into dirty quarrels. Now, therefore, in the first place permit me. ere I speak, to clothe myself like a most wretched man.
Why shuffle in this way, and deal subtilly, and contrive delays? Borrow, for all I care, from Hieronymus2 some helmet of Pluto dark with rough thick hair, and then exhibit Sisyphus’s wiles, since this trial will not admit of any excuse.3
Then ’tis time for me to take a bold heart, and I must repair to Euripides.—Slave, slave! [Knocks at the door.]
Is Euripides within?
Not within, he is within, if you have any sense.
How within, and then not within?
Rightly, old man. His mind, collecting scraps of poetry abroad, is not within, while he himself within is making tragedy with his legs lying up.4
Thrice happy Euripides! when your servant interprets5 so wisely. Call him out.
It is impossible.
Still you must; for I won’t go away, but will knock Edition: current; Page:  at the door. Euripides, dear little Euripides,1 hearken if ever you did to any man. Dicæopolis of Collidæ calls you—I.
I have no leisure.
Yet be wheeled out.
It is impossible.
Yet, however, do.
Well then, I will be wheeled out; but I have no leisure to descend. [Euripides is wheeled in.]
What sayest thou?
You make verses with your legs lying up, when you might with them down. No2 wonder you make your characters lame. But why wear you the rags from tragedy, a piteous attire? No wonder you make your characters beggars. Come, I beseech you by your knees, Euripides, give me some little rag from your old drama,3 for I must speak a lengthy speech to the chorus; and if I speak it badly it brings me death.
What rags? those in which Æneus here, the wretched old man, contended? [Points to a suit of rags.]
They were not Æneus’s, but a still more wretched man’s.
The rags of the blind Phœnix?
Not Phœnix’s, no; there was another more miserable than Phœnix.
What ragged garments does the man require? What! do you mean the rags of the beggar Philoctetes?
No; but of one far, far more beggarly than he.
What! do you wish for the squalid garments which Bellerophon, this lame fellow, wore?
Not Bellerophon; yet he too, whom I mean, was lame, an importunate beggar, and the deuce at talking.
I know the man—Telephus of Mysia.
Aye, Telephus: give me, I entreat you, his swaddling-clothes.
Slave, give him the rags of Telephus: they lie above the Thyestean rags, between1 those of Ino and his.
Well! take them.
O Jupiter, that seest through2 and beholdest all things on every side, grant me to dress myself like a most wretched man.3 [Puts on the old coat.] Euripides, since you have freely given me these, give me also those things which go with the rags—the little Mysian cap about my head. “For4 to-day ’tis needful that I seem to be a beggar; to be indeed what I am, but not to appear so.” The spectators must know who I am; but the chorus, on the other hand, must stand by like fools, that I may fillip them with quibbles.5
I will give it; for you devise subtleties with a sagacious intellect.
Mayest thou be happy! but to Telephus,6 what I wish him. Bravo! How I am filled now with quibbles! But still I want the beggar’s stick.
Take this, and begone from my stone dwelling.
My soul,—for thou seest how I am driven away from his house, though in want of many articles of dress,—now be thou importunate, teasing, and earnest in prayer. Euripides, give me a little basket burnt through with a lamp.
What need, unhappy man, possesses you for this wicker-work?
No need, but still I wish to take it.
Know that thou art troublesome, and begone from my house.
Alas! Mayest thou be happy, as once thy mother!
Now leave me.
Nay, grant me only one little cup whose rim is knocked off!
Take it, and be damned!1 know that you are troublesome to the house.
By Jove, (aside,) you know not yet what ills you work yourself.—But, sweetest Euripides, give me only this, a little pipkin stopped up as to its chinks with sponge.
Fellow, you will rob me of my tragedy.2 Take this and depart.
I am going: and yet what shall I do? for I need one thing, which, if I obtain not, I am undone. Hear, sweetest Euripides! If I obtain this, I will depart, and will not come any more. Give me some withered green-stuff for my little basket.
You will ruin me. Here they are. My dramas are vanished!
Well, I’ll beg no more, but will be gone; for I am exceeding troublesome,3 “not considering that the chiefs abhor Edition: current; Page:  me.” Ah me, unhappy! how I am undone! I have forgotten that on which all my affairs depend. Sweetest and dearest little Euripides! may I perish most miserably, if I ask for any thing any more, but one thing only, this only one, this only one. Give me the chervil you got from your mother.1
The fellow becomes insolent: shut the door.2 [Ex eunt Euripides and his slave.]
Heart of mine! we must proceed sans chervil. Do you know how great is the contest you will soon have to encounter, about to speak in behalf of the Lacedæmonians? Proceed then, my heart! there is the starting-place! Do you stand? Will you not go, after having imbibed Euripides?—I commend you. Come now, unhappy heart! go there, and then, there offer your head, and say what seems you good. Dare:—go: advance.3 Well done, heart! [Lays his head on the chopping-block.]
What will you do? What will you say? Know now that you are a shameless and an iron-hearted man, who, having offered your neck to the state, alone are going to contradict them all. The man does not tremble at the cause. Come now, since you yourself make the choice, say on.
Take it not ill of me, spectators, if, being a beggar,4 I am yet about to speak amongst the Athenians on the subject of their state, in comic verse, for even comedy knows what is Edition: current; Page:  right: and my words will be severe, but just. For Cleon shall not now1 calumniate me, that I slander the state in the presence of strangers; for we are by ourselves, and the contest is in the Lenæum;2 and as yet strangers are not present; for neither is the tribute come in, nor the allies from the states. But now we are winnowed clean; for the sojourners I call the chaff of the citizens. I hate the Lacedæmonians exceedingly, and may Neptune, the god of Tænarus, with an earthquake,3 shake and throw down on all of them their houses; for my vines have been cut down as well as yours. But,—for those who are present at my speech are friends, why do we thus accuse the Lacedæmonians? For men of us,—I do not mean the state, bear this in mind, that I do not mean the state, but certain rascally fellows, base coin, unfranchised, and counterfeit, and alien-citizens, were in the habit of informing against the small cloaks of the Megarians:4 and if any where they were to see a cucumber, or a leveret, or a sucking-pig, or garlic, or salt in lumps,5 these were Megarian, and were confiscated the same day. And these, indeed, are trifles, and customary.6 But certain young men, drunk with playing at the cottabus, went to Megara and stole away the courtesan Simætha; and then the Megarians, excited by their griefs, stole away in return two harlots from Aspasia;7 and hence the beginning of the war broke out for all the Greeks from three strumpets. Then Pericles, the Olympian, in his ire, lightened, thundered, utterly confounded Greece, enacted laws, written like catches, “That the Megarians should neither remain in our territory, nor in our markets, Edition: current; Page:  nor on the sea, nor on the mainland.”1 Then the Megarians, when now they were gradually famishing, entreated the Lacedæmonians that the decree which had been made on account of the strumpets might be changed through their intervention; and we were not willing, though they often entreated us. And after this now there was a clatter of bucklers. Some one will observe, we ought not: but tell us what we ought to have done. Come, if some Lacedæmonian sailed out with his ship and informed against and sold a little Seriphian dog, would you have sat still at home? Far from it, certainly. Most assuredly you would have launched immediately three hundred vessels, and the city would have been full of the din of soldiery, of shouting about the election of a Trierarch, pay being issued, figure-heads getting gilded, piazzas groaning, provisions getting measured out, of wine-skins, of oar-leathers, of people buying jars, of garlic, olives, onions in nets, chaplets, sprats, flute-girls, and black eyes. And the dockyard again had been filled with spars getting cut into oars, wooden pins sounding, bottom-oars getting furnished with thongs, boatswain’s flutes, fifes, whistlings. I know that you would have done this, “and do we not imagine that Telephus2 will do the like? Then there is no sense in us.”
What, really, you rogue and blackguard? Have you the audacity to say this of us, you beggar? And if any of us has been an informer, do you upbraid us with it?
Yea, by Neptune, and he says too, what he does say, all justly; and about none of them does he tell lies.
Then, if it was just, ought this fellow to mention it? But neither shall you dare to say this with impunity.4
Hollo you! whither are you running? will you not stop? Since if you strike this man, you yourself shall quickly be raised aloft!1
Ho, Lamachus! thou who lookest lightning, help us, thou with the Gorgon crest, having appeared!—Ho, Lamachus! friend! fellow-tribesman! let every one assist with speed, if any there be a Taxiarch or engineer, for I am seized by the middle.
Whence heard I the warrior cry? Whither must I render assistance? whither send in tumult? Who roused the Gorgon from my shield’s cover?
O hero Lamachus! what crests and cohorts!
O Lamachus! has not this fellow for a long time been speaking evil of our whole city?
You there! do you, you beggar, dare say this?
O hero Lamachus! yet pardon me, if, a beggar, I have spoken, and babbled any thing.
What have you said of us? Will you not tell?
I don’t know as yet, for I am dizzy in my head through fear of your arms. But, I entreat you, remove from me the bugbear.2
Very well! [Turns away the shield from him.]
Now place it for me upside down.3
There it lies. [Puts the shield upside down before him.]
Come now, give me the feather4 out of your helmet.
Here’s a feather for you.
Now take hold of my head, that I may vomit, for my stomach’s turned at the crests.
Hollo you! what are you going to do? Are you about to cause a vomit with the feather?
Why, is it a feather? Tell me, what bird’s? Is it a braggadocio’s?1
Woe for you, assuredly you shall2 die. [A scuffle, in which Lamachus is foiled.]
By no means, Lamachus; for it is not a matter for such strength as yours. But if you are strong, why don’t you give a proof of it? for you are well armed.
You say this of your general, you beggar?
Why, am I a beggar?
Then what are you?
Ask me who?—a good citizen, no stickler for office, but, since what time the war commenced, a son of Mars; while you, since what time the war commenced, a Mr. Placeman.
For they elected me.
Aye,3 three cuckoos. Therefore, being disgusted at this, I made peace, when I saw hoary-headed men in the ranks, but striplings, such as you,4 shirking the service;5 some in Thrace, with an allowance of three drachmæ, Tisameno-Phænippi;6 Panourg-Hipparchidæ; others with Chares; others among the Chaonians, Gereto-Theodori; Edition: current; Page:  Diomei-Alazones; others at Camarina,1 and at Gela, and at Catagela!2
For they were elected.
But what’s the reason that you somehow or other always receive pay, while none of these present gets any? Prithee, Marilades, you with the grey head, have you ever been on an embassy? [touches his pocket.] See! he shakes his head; and yet he is temperate and hard-working. What, pray, says Dracyllus, or Euphorides, or Prinides? Has any among you knowledge of Ecbatana, or the Chaonians? They say no. But the son of Cæsyra3 and Lamachus know them; whom lately, on account of their shot and debts, like those who pour out their dirty wash-water of an evening, all their friends exhorted,4 “Get out of the way.”
O democracy! Is this then to be endured?
Certainly not, unless Lamachus gets paid for it.
Well then, I will ever wage war with the Peloponnesians, and will harass them in every way, both with ships and land forces, to the best of my power.
I, on the other hand, give notice to all the Peloponnesians, and Megarians, and Bœotians, to sell, to traffic with me, but not with Lamachus.5 [Exeunt omnes.]
The man prevails with his arguments, and makes converts of the people on the subject of the peace. But let us strip and follow with our Anapæsts.
From the time that our instructor has presided over the comic choruses, he never yet came forward to the spectators to tell how clever he is. But being calumniated1 among the hasty-deciding Athenians by his enemies, that he ridicules our state and insults the democratic party, he wants now to make his defence before the changeful Athenians. Now your poet says he is worthy of much good treatment at your hands, in that he put an end to your being neatly cajoled by strangers’ words,2 and to your delighting in flattery, and to your being gaping-mouthed cockneys.3 And formerly the ambassadors from the cities, trying to cajole you, used first to call you “violet crowned;”4 and as often as any one said this, immediately, by reason of the “crowns,” you sat on the tips of your—bums.5 And as often as any one soft-sawdered you and called you “sleek Athens,” he used to obtain all his wish through the “sleekness,” for having attached to you the glory of an anchovy.6 By having done this, he has been the cause to you of many advantages, and from having made known to you how the people in the cities live under a democracy.7 Edition: current; Page:  Accordingly now from the cities they have come, bringing in to you tribute, desiring to see the best of poets, who had the hardihood to say amongst the Athenians what is just. And so far already has the fame of his daring reached, when even the King, questioning the embassy of the Lacedæmonians, first asked them whether of the two had the superiority at sea; and then about this poet,1 which of the two he plentifully abused. For he said that those people must have become far better, and would be far superior in war, who had him as an adviser. For this reason the Lacedæmonians make you proposals of peace, and demand back Ægina. And for that island2 they do not care, but only that they may dispossess this poet. But do you therefore never give him up, inasmuch as he will represent in his comedies what is right. And he says he will teach you many good points, so that you be fortunate, not by wheedling you, nor yet by offering bribes, nor yet by cheating a little, nor yet by playing the villain, nor yet by besprinkling you with praise, but by teaching what is best. Wherefore let Cleon cunningly devise, and contrive every thing against me: for that which is good, and that which is just with me, shall be my ally; and never will I be found, like him, a cowardly and effeminate minister of the state. Come hither, ardent, eager, Acharnian Muse, having the strength of fire, like as the sparks, roused by the favouring fan, bounce from the oaken ashes, when our small fry are lying in readiness, while others mix up the sparkling3 Thasian pickle, and others knead the bread. Come thus to me, your fellow-tribesman, with a pompous, vehement, rustic melody.
We aged veterans blame the city; for we are not cherished in our old age in a manner worthy of those our naval victories, but we suffer hardships at your hands, who having cast aged heroes into suits, suffer us to be laughed at by stripling Edition: current; Page:  orators, being nothing but dumb and crack-voiced, whose preserving Neptune is the staff we bear. And babbling through age, we take our stand at the bar,1 not seeing any thing but the mist of Justice. While he, eager to have a stripling2 act as junior counsel to himself, strikes quickly,3 engaging him with periods well-rounded; and then he drags into court the aged Tithonus, and interrogates him, setting word-traps, rending and troubling and confounding him. But he mumbles through old age, and then, cast in his suit, departs. Then he whines, and weeps, and says to his friends, “I depart, having incurred as a fine that wherewith I was to have bought a coffin.”4 How is this fitting, to ruin an old man, a hoary warrior, at the clepsydra, who has laboured much with you, and wiped off the heated sweat, manly, indeed, and copious, who acted the warrior’s part at Marathon, for the city’s sake? Then, when we were at Marathon, we were the pursuers,5 but now we are pursued by very knavish men; and are taken besides. What will Marpsias reply to this?6
For how is it fitting that a man bent double, such as Thucydides,1 Edition: current; Page:  should perish, entangled in the Scythian wilderness, this Cephisodemus, the prattling advocate? Wherefore I pitied him, and wiped my eyes, when I saw an aged man confounded by an archer-fellow; who, by Ceres, when he was Thucydides, would not readily have put up with even Ceres herself; but first he would have floored in wrestling ten Evathli, and with bawling would have silenced three thousand Archers, and would have out-constabled2 the relations of the father himself of Cephisodemus. But, since you do not suffer the aged to get any sleep, decree that the indictments be separate, so that the advocate of the old man may be old and toothless; but the young men’s, lewd and prating, and the son of Clinias.3 And henceforth it is the old man’s4 business to banish, and, if one be brought to trial, to fine the old, and the young man’s business to banish and fine the young.
These are the boundaries of my market-place. Here it is allowable for all the Peloponnesians, and Megarians, and Bœotians to traffic, on condition that5 they sell to me, and not to Lamachus. But as clerks of the market6 I appoint these three, who have obtained the office by lot,—thongs from Mangetown. Here let neither any sycophant enter, nor any other that is a man of Phasis.7 But I will go to fetch the pillar,8 Edition: current; Page:  upon which I have inscribed the peace, that I may set it up in the market-place open to view. [Exit Dicæopolis.]
Market of Athens, hail! beloved of the Megarians! By the god of friendship, I longed for you, as for a mother. But, O unhappy daughters of a miserable father, get2 up to the barley-cake, if any where you find it. Hear, pray; let your bellies3 give attention. Whether do you wish to be sold, or miserably starve?
To be sold! to be sold!
I also myself say yes. But who so simple as to buy you, an evident loss? However, I have a certain Megarian device; for I will dress you up as hogs and say I am bringing them for sale. Put on these hog’s hoofs, and take care that you appear to be the offspring of a noble sow; since, by Mercury, if you shall come home, you shall miserably experience4 excess of hunger. Put on also these little snouts, and then enter thus into the sack. But take care that you grunt and cry coï, and utter the voice of the pigs of the Mysteries.5 While I will call Dicæopolis, to see where he is.6 Dicæopolis! do you wish to buy some little pigs?
What! a Megarian?
We have come to traffic.
How fares it with you?7
We are always hungering one against the other by the fire-side.
By Jove, but that’s jolly, if a piper be present. But what else are you Megarians about now?
Just what we are doing.1 When I set out from thence, the committee were contriving this for the state, how we might most quickly and most miserably perish!
Then you will soon get rid of your troubles.
But what else is going on at Megara? What is the price2 of grain?
With us, of a high price, like the gods.
Do you then bring3 salt?
Have you not the command of it?
Nor yet garlic?
What garlic?—the heads of which you always grub up with a stake, like field-mice, whenever you make your inroads.
What then do you bring?
Why, pigs for the mysteries.
You say well: show them.
But indeed they are fine ones. Take one up, if you will. How fat and sleek!
What is this?
A pig, by Jove!
What say you? What country pig is this?
Of Megara. Or is not this a pig?
It does not seem so to me.
Is it not shameful? See the incredulity of the man He says this is not a pig. But sooth, if you will, make a wager with me now for salt flavoured with thyme, if this is not a pig after the usage of the Greeks.4
Yet at least it is a woman’s.5
’Tis mine, by Diocles! Whose do you suppose they are? Do you wish to hear them speak?
By the gods I do.
Speak quickly now, piggy. Devil take you,1 you must not be silent. By Mercury, I will carry you home again!
Is this a pig?
Aye, now it seems a pig, but when grown up it will be a sow.
Within five years, be well assured, it will be like to its mother.
But this one here is not fit for sacrifice.
Why not? How is it not fit for sacrifice?
It has not a tail.
For it is young: but when grown up to pig’s estate, it will have a great thick red one. But if you like to bring it up, here’s a fine pig for you!
How similar this one is to the other.
For it is of the same mother,2 and of the same father. But when it is grown fat and hairy, it will be a very fine pig to sacrifice to Venus.
But pig is not sacrificed to Venus.
Not a pig to Venus? Yea, to her only of the gods. And the flesh too of these pigs is sweetest when it is pierced with a spit.3
Can they feed now without their mother?
Aye, by Neptune, and without their father too
But what do they like best to eat?
Whatever you give them. Ask them yourself.
Can you eat chick-pease?
Coï, coï, coï.
What then? Early4 figs?
How sharply you squeak at the figs! Let some one bring in some figs from within for the little pigs.2 Will they eat them? Bless me! How they do munch them, much-esteemed Hercules! Of what country are the pigs? How3 Tragasean they look. But they have not perhaps4 eaten up all the figs.
No—for I took up this one of them.
By Jove, the beasts are fine ones! For how much shall I buy5 your little grunters of you? Say.
The one for a bunch of garlic; the other, if you will, for a single chœnix of salt.
I’ll buy them of you. Wait you here.
Aye, aye,6 sir. [Exit Dicæopolis.] Mercury, thou god of traffic, grant me to sell my wife in this way, and my mother too!
Fellow! of what country are you?
A pig-merchant of Megara.
Then I will inform against these little pigs and you, as enemies.
The very7 thing! Again it comes, whence the beginning of our woes took its rise.
You shall Megarize to your cost. Will you not let go the sack?
Dicæopolis! Dicæopolis! I am informed against by some one.
What! shall I not inform against our foes?
Aye, to your cost, if you will not run elsewhere and play the informer. [Exit Informer.]
What an evil is this in Athens!
Be of good heart, Megarian. Come, take this garlic here, and the salt, at which price you sold your pigs, and fare thee well!
But to fare well is not in fashion with us.3
On my own head then be the impertinence.
My little grunters, make the attempt, even without your father, to eat the cake to your salt,4 if any one offer it. [Exeunt omnes.]
The man is prosperous! Have you not heard how the measure5 succeeds? For the man will reap the benefit, sitting in the market-place. And if any Ctesias enter, or other informer, he shall sit down in tears. Neither shall any other man injure you by cheating you in the purchase of provisions. Neither shall Prepis wipe upon you his lewdness.6 Nor shall you jostle with Cleonymus; but shall pass through with a clean cloak. And Hyperbolus, when he meets with you, shall not involve you in lawsuits. Nor yet, again, Edition: current; Page:  shall Cratinus, when he falls in with you in the market-place, walk up to you with his head close shaven,1 the very rascally Artemo, the man so very rapid in his music, stinking beastly of his Tragasean father in his arm-pits.2 Neither, again, shall the most villanous Pauson jeer you; nor Lysistratus in the forum, the disgrace of Cholargeus, he who is double-dyed in villany, shivering and starving continually more than thirty days3 each month.
Let Hercules be witness, I am wretchedly tired in my neck. Ismenias, do you lay down the penny-royal gently. But you, as many flute-players4 as are present from Thebes, with your bone pipes play “the dog’s backside.”
(coming out of his house). Go to the devil! Won’t you get away from my doors, you wasps? Whence have the bumble-bees of Chæris (the devil take them!) flown to my doors?5 [Exeunt pipers.]
With pleasure, stranger, by Iolaus. For playing behind me from Thebes, they have shaken off the blossoms of the penny-royal on the ground. But, if you like, purchase some of the fowls or locusts,6 which I bring.
Hail, my roll-eating little Bœotian! What are you bringing?
Absolutely whatever is good amongst the Bœotians: origanum, penny-royal, rush-mats, wicks, ducks, jackdaws, woodcocks, coots, sand-pipers, divers.
Then you have come to the market, as if a tempest of birds.
Moreover I bring geese, hares, foxes, moles, hedge-hogs, cats, beavers, ferrets, otters, Copaïc eels.
O thou that bringest a fish most delightful to men! if you are bearing the eels, permit me to address them.
O dearest thou, and long desired! Thou hast come longed for indeed by the comic chorusses, and dear to Morychus.3 Attendants, bring out for me the brazier and the fan hither. [Servants crowd round the eel.] Look, my boys, at the splendid eel, which has come at length in the sixth year, longed for. Address it, my children, and I will furnish you with coals for this stranger’s sake. But carry it in: for not even when dead may I ever be bereft of you stewed in beet.4
But how shall I have a recompense for this?
This one, perhaps, you will give me as my market toll. But if you are for selling any of these others, say on.
All these will I.
Come, for how much, say you? Or will you take home other wares from hence?
Aye, whatever there is at Athens, and not among the Bœotians.
Will you buy and take with you Phaleric anchovies, or crockery?
Anchovies or crockery? We have them at home. Let me have whatever is not amongst us, but is, on the contrary, abundant here.
Then I know your wants: bring out an informer, having packed him up like crockery.
By the two gods,1 I should certainly get even a large profit, if I took him with me, like an ape full of much mischief.
And see! here comes Nicarchus to lay informations.
He is small in stature.
But all there is of him is bad.
Whose are these wares?
Mine here,2 from Thebes, be Jove my witness.
I then here inform against them as an enemy’s.
What ails you3 then that you have commenced war and battle with the little birds?
I will inform against you too, as well as these.
In what way having been injured?
I will tell you, for the good of the bystanders. You are importing wicks4 from the enemy.
And so, forsooth, you are for informing against a wick?
Yes; for this wick might set fire to the dock-yard.
A wick a dockyard? Oh! oh!—As how?
A Bœotian might stick it in a tom-tailor,5 and kindle it and send it into the dockyard through a sewer, having watched for a mighty wind. And if the fire were once to catch the ships, they would be immediately in a blaze.
Abandoned miscreant! would they be in a blaze from a tom-tailor and a wick? [Beats him.]
I call you all to witness!
Stop his mouth! Give me some straw, that I may Edition: current; Page:  take and pack him up like crockery, lest he get broken in the carriage.1 [Throws him down and packs him up.]
Pack up well, good sir, the stranger’s2 merchandise in such a manner, that he may not break it in carrying it.
This shall be my care; for of a truth it rings3 loud, and cracked, and hateful to the gods besides.
Whatever will he make of it?
It will be a vessel good for all work; a mixer for mischiefs; a pestle for law-suits; a lamp to inform against4 those liable to give in an account; and a cup to mix up troubles in.
But how could any one confidently use such a vessel in his house, always making such a jar?
It is strong, good sir, so that it would never break, if it were suspended by the feet, head downwards. [Lifts him up by the legs.]
It’s all right now.
Marry, I am going to make a harvest.5
But, best of strangers, with this man on your side, take and make an attack, where’er you please, upon every informer.6
At last I’ve packed him up, and be damned to him! Bœotian, take and bear off your crockery.
Stoop your neck as you go, Ismenias.
What is the matter! Why do you call me?
Why? Lamachus requested you to let him have for this here drachma some of your thrushes for the feast of Pitchers. But requested you to let him have a Copaïc eel for three drachmæ.
Who may this Lamachus be that requests the eel?
The dreaded one, he with the shield of tough bull’s-hide, who brandishes the Gorgon, waving three over-shadowing crests.
I would not, by Jove, if even he were to give me his buckler. Let him wave3 his crests at salt-fish. But should he make a great din, I will call the Market-clerks. And I will take this merchandise for myself, and enter to the accompaniment of thrushes’ wings4 and blackbirds. [Exeunt omnes.]
You have seen, oh! you have seen, city at large, the prudent man, the very wise, what articles of merchandise he is able to deal in, by having made peace; of which some are useful in the house, others again are suitable to eat up warm. All good things are spontaneously provided for him. Never will I welcome War5 to my house, nor yet shall he ever at my house chaunt “The Harmodius,” seated as a guest; because he is a fellow quarrelsome over his cups, who, having Edition: current; Page:  made a furious assault upon us, possessed of every blessing, perpetrated all evils, and overturned, and squandered, and fought; and, moreover, when I frequently invited him: “Drink, sit down, take this cup of friendship,”—so much the more burnt our vine-props in the fire, and in our despite poured out the wine from our vines. * * * to a feast; at the1 same time also he is highly elated, and, as a proof of his good fare, threw out these feathers2 before his doors.
O Reconciliation,3 companion of the beautiful Venus and the dear Graces, I never knew you had so fair a face! Would4 that some Cupid, with a chaplet of flowers, like the5 one in the picture, would take and join together me and thee! or, do you consider me peradventure a very old man? Yet, if I gained you, I fancy I could add three things beside: first, I would plant a long row of vines; then, near to this, some young suckers of young fig-trees; and thirdly, I, this old man here, would plant a branch of the cultivated vine; and about your whole estate olives round about, so that you and I may anoint ourselves from them at the New-moons.
“O yez, O yez! according to our national6 customs Edition: current; Page:  you must drink the Pitchers at the sound of trumpet; and whosoever shall have first emptied his Pitcher, shall receive the wine-skin of Ctesiphon.”1 [Exit Herald.]
Slaves, women, did you not hear? What are you about? Do you not hear the Herald? Boil, roast, turn, draw off the hare’s flesh quickly, wreathe the chaplets. Bring the spits, that I may spit the thrushes.
I deem you happy for your good counsel, but more, sir, for your present good cheer.
What then will ye say, when ye see the thrushes roasting?
I believe you say this also rightly.2
Stir up the fire.
Did you hear how cook-like and daintily and dinner-like he serves up to himself?
Ah me, unhappy man!
O Hercules! who is this?
A miserable man.
Then go your own way.3
My dearest sir, measure me out a particle of peace, if it be but for five years, for you only are possessed of peace.
What have you suffered?
I am undone, having lost my two oxen.4
The Bœotians took them off from Phyle.
Thrice miserable wretch! then are you dressed in white?5
And that too, certainly, by Jove, which used to keep me in all kinds of—cow-dung.1
Then what want you now?
I am ruined in my eyes2 with weeping for my oxen. But, if you have any regard for Dercetes of Phyle, anoint my eyes quickly with peace.
Nay, you rascal, I am not the public physician.
Come, I entreat you, if by any means I may recover my oxen.
It cannot be: weep to Pittalus’ apprentices.
At least3 drop for me one drop of peace into this little reed.
Not a fraction: go and lament some where.
Woe’s me, wretched man! for the oxen which tilled my ground! [Exit Husbandman.]
The man has found out something sweet in the peace, and does not seem about to give a share to any one.
Pour the honey on the sausage. Fry the cuttle-fish.
Did you hear his loud shoutings?
Fry the eels.
You will kill me with hunger, and your neighbours with savoury smells and bawling, if you shout in this way.
Roast these and brown them well.
Who is this?
A bridegroom sent you these meats from the marriage-feast.
Well done he,4 whoever he was.
And he requested you to pour, on account of the meats, into his ointment-box one cyathus of peace, that he might not go on service, but might kiss his wife at home.
Take away, take away your meats, and give them not Edition: current; Page:  to me, for I would not pour in any for a thousand drachmæ. But who is this here?
The bridesmaid wants to say something to you in private from the bride.
Come now, what are you for saying? [Bridesmaid whispers in his ear.] How ridiculous, ye gods, is the request of the bride, which she earnestly asks of me, that the bridegroom may stay at home!1 Bring hither the peace, that I may give some to her alone, because she is a woman and not fit for war.—Woman, hold under here your ointment-box in this way. Do you know what ye are to make of this? Tell the bride, whenever they levy soldiers, let her by night anoint the bridegroom’s breeches with this. [Exeunt Paranymph and Bridesmaid.] Take away the peace. Bring the funnel, that I may take and pour some wine into the Pitchers.
And see! here’s some one hastening hither with his brows drawn up, as if about to announce something dreadful!
O! toils, and fights, and Lamachuses!
Who sounds around the mansion adorned with brass?
The generals2 ordered you to march to-day in haste with your companies and crests; and then, though snowed upon, to guard the passes. For some one has brought them word that Bœotian robbers would make3 an incursion on the approach of the feast of Pitchers and Pots. [Exit Herald.]
O generals more numerous than brave! Is it not hard that I should not be permitted even to celebrate the feast?
O warlike Lamachean Achaian host!
Ah me, miserable! you are mocking me now.1
Will2 you fight with a four-winged Geryon?
Alas! alas! what tidings has the crier announced to me!
Alas! alas! what tidings, in turn, is some one running up to announce to me?
What is the matter?
Come to dinner quick, with your box and pitcher; for the priest of Bacchus sends for you. But make haste; you have delayed the dinner this long time. All the rest of the things are in readiness; couches, tables, cushions for the head, bedding, chaplets, ointment, sweetmeats, the courtesans are there, cakes of fine flour, cheese-cakes, sesame-cakes, honey-cakes, lovely dancing girls, Harmodius’s delight.3 But hasten as quick as possible. [Exit Messenger.]
For you have4 chosen the Gorgon as your great patron. Shut the door, and let some one get ready the dinner.
Slave! slave! bring out my knapsack hither.
Slave! slave! bring out my box hither.
Bring salt flavoured with thyme, slave, and onions.
But slices of salt-fish for me, for I abominate onions.
Bring hither, slave, an5 olio of rancid salt-fish.
Bring me too an olio of fat; and I will roast it there.
Bring hither the two plumes from my helmet.
But for me bring the ring-doves, and the thrushes.
Beautiful, and white is the ostrich’s plume.
Beautiful, and yellow is the ring-dove’s flesh.
Fellow, cease scoffing at my equipment.
Fellow, will you not gaze at my thrushes?1
Bring out the crest-case for the three plumes.
And give me a little dish of hare’s flesh.
Verily the moths have eaten up my crests.
Verily I shall eat up the hare-soup before dinner.
Fellow, will you not address me?2
I am not addressing you; but I and the slave have been disputing this long time. Will you lay a wager, and give the decision to Lamachus, whether locusts or thrushes are the swecter?
Ah me, how you insult me!
(turning to the slave). He decides the locusts to be far sweeter.
Slave! slave! take down my spear and bring it out hither. [Slave brings him his spear.]
Slave! slave! do you draw off and bring the sausage hither. [Slave brings him the spit.]
Come, let me draw off the cover of my spear. Take hold, pull at it, slave.
And do you, slave, pull at this.3 [Offers the spit to pull at.]
Slave, bring the trestles for my shield.
And bring forth the baked bread for mine.4
Bring hither the orb of my shield with the Gorgon on its back.
And to me give the orb of my cheese-cake, with cheese on its back.
Is not this flat mockery for a man?
Is not this, pray, sweet cheese-cake for a man?
Slave, pour the oil over it. I see in the shield an old man about to be brought to trial on a charge of cowardice.
Pour over the honey. There too an old man is clearly seen bidding Lamachus, the son of Gorgasus,1 go weep.
Slave, bring hither my warrior breastplate.
For me too, slave, bring out my pitcher as a breast-plate.
In this I will arm myself against my foes.
In this I will arm myself against my boon-companions.
Slave, fasten my bedding to my shield.
Slave, fasten my dinner to my box.
But I’ll take and carry my knapsack for myself.
But I’ll take my coat and go out.
Take up the buckler, slave, and go with it. It snows. Bless me! ’Tis a stormy affair.
Take up the dinner. ’Tis a jolly affair. [Exeunt omnes.]
Go ye now to the warfare and joy be with ye! How different a journey you two are going! For the one, to drink crowned with chaplets; but for you, to shiver and keep watch: and for2 the other, to sleep with a most lovely girl, and enjoy himself.
May Jove, to speak plainly, miserably destroy Antimachus, the son of Sputter, the miserable composer of miserable songs, who, when Choregus at the Lenæa, dismissed me dinnerless, unhappy man! whom may I yet see longing for a cuttle-fish; and may it, when broiled, frizzling, ready salted, lying upon the table, run aground. And then, when he is about to seize it, may a bitch snatch it and run away. May this be one misfortune for him. And then may he have another by night. For as he is returning home, feverish after his horse-exercise, then let some drunken mad Orestes break his head; and may he, when wishing to seize a stone, in the dark seize with his hand a newly-born Sir-reverence; and may he rush Edition: current; Page:  out with the shining lump, and then miss his aim and hit Cratinus.
Servants,1 who are in the house of Lamachus, heat water, water in a little pot, get ready linen, cerate, greasy wool, a bandage to go round his ancle. The hero has been wounded with a vine-prop in leaping over a trench, and has dislocated his ancle, so as to be twisted; and has broken his head by having fallen upon a stone, and roused the Gorgon from his shield. And as the mighty plume of the big-boaster fell2 upon the rocks, he uttered a doleful strain: “O thou bright luminary, now having seen you for the last time I leave the light: I am no more.” When he had said thus much,3 having fallen into a sewer, he gets up again, and meets with some runaways, driving and urging on the plunderers with his spear. But see! here’s the man himself! Come, open the door. [Exit Messenger.]
Attatai! attatai! These hateful and chilling sufferings! Wretched man, I am undone, struck by the spear of the enemy! But that would be lamentable for me—Dicæopolis4 may see me wounded; and then he will laugh at my misfortunes.
Attatai! attatai! What breasts! How firm and plump! Kiss me softly, my little treasures, with a wanton and Edition: current; Page:  lascivious kiss; for I am the first man who drank up his pitcher.
O the unhappy calamity of my woes! alas! alas! my painful wounds!
Hurra! Hurra! Hail, Knight Lamachus!
Ah me, distressed!
Ah me, oppressed!
Why do you kiss me?
Why do you bite me?
Ah me, unhappy man! for the grievous shot!
Why, did ever any one exact a shot1 at the feast of Pitchers?
Oh! oh! Pæan! Pæan!2
But the Pæonia are not celebrating now3 to-day.
Take hold of me, take hold of my leg. O dear, take hold, my friends.
And do you, both of you, take hold of me by the middle, my sweets.
I am dizzy from the blow of a stone on my head, and inclined to vertigo.
I too wish to sleep, and am stiff, and inclined to a dirty go.
Carry me out of doors to the house of Pittalus for his healing hands.4
Carry me forth to the judges. Where is the king?1 Pay me the wine-skin.
An afflicting spear is fixed through my bones.
Behold this empty! Huzza! victorious!
Huzza! then, victorious! if, old man, you call so.
And moreover, too, I poured in pure wine, and quaffed it at one draught.
Huzza! then, noble fellow; go with your wine-skin.
Follow then, and sing “Huzza! victorious!”
Well, for your sake, we will follow, and sing of you and of your wine-skin, “Huzza! victorious!” [Exeunt omnes.]
|DEMOSTHENES, }||Slaves of Demus.|
This Comedy was performed at the Lenæan Festival, in the Archonship of Stratocles, Ol. lxxxix. 1, in January, bc 424. “In the eighth year of the war: Aristoph. Equit. 793, ἔτος ὄγδοον, computed from the battle of Potidæa, bc 432. The sixth year, mentioned Aristoph. Acharn., (vide a. 425,) was computed from the invasion of Attica, eight months afterwards.”—Clinton’s Fast. Hell. p. 69.
In the Acharnians, vs. 300, we have,
In this Drama, which was the first represented in his own name, the Poet fulfilled his promise, and with the assistance of the Knights, who here constitute the Chorus, carried off the first prize, and showed the Demagogue to be ἐς τὰ ἄλλα βιαιότατος τῶν πολιτῶν τῷ τε δήμῳ παραπολῦ ἐν τῷ τοτε πιθανώτατος, (Thucyd. lib. iii. 36,) for he still remained as great a favourite as ever. The second prize was adjudged to Cratinus, for the Satyrs: the third to Aristomenes, for the Lamentations. As no artist would make a mask for the character of Cleon, Aristophanes was obliged to perform the part himself. In some measure to give an idea of the flushed and bloated countenance of that Demagogue, he smeared his face with lees of wine, and thus stood forth in the double capacity of Poet and Actor. A. W. Schlegel (Dramatic Literature, p. 159) remarks, “He had the prudence never to name Cleon, though he portrayed him in such a way that it was impossible to mistake him. No one of his plays, perhaps, is more historical and political; and its rhetorical power in exciting our indignation is almost irresistible: it is a true dramatic Philippic. However, in point of amusement and invention, it does not appear to me the most fortunate.” To understand fully the historical allusions, it will be necessary to have a recollection of the affair of Pylos, as recorded by Thucydides, lib. iv. See also Thirlwall, Hist. Greece, iii. 235—244.
As there is no plot, the Dramatis Personæ will be a sufficient explanation.Edition: current; Page: 
(Scene—the front of a large house)
Alas! alas! for our misfortunes, alas! alas! May the gods miserably destroy the Paphlagonian,1 the newly-purchased pest, together with his schemings! For since the time that he entered into our family, he is always inflicting blows upon the domestics.
Aye, verily, may this primate of Paphlagonians perish most miserably, together with his calumnies.2
O wretched man! how are you?
Miserable, like you.
Come hither then, that we may weep in concert a stave of Olympus.3
Mumu, mumu, mumu, mumu, mumu, mumu.4
Why do we lament to no purpose? Ought we not to have sought some means of safety, and not5 weep any more?
What safety then can there be? do you say.
Nay, rather, do you say, that I may not quarrel with you.
By Apollo, not I. But speak boldly, and then I also will give my opinion.
“Would that thou wouldst say what I should say.”1
But the spirit’s2 not in me. How then, pray, can I ever speak it with Euripidean prettiness?
Nay, do not; do not; do not dose me with Euripides.3 But find some way of dancing off from our master.
Say now in a breath “Sert,” pronouncing it in this way.
Well now, I say it; “Sert.”
Now after the “Sert,” say “De.”
Very well! Now first say “Sert” slowly, and then “De,” bringing it rapidly after it.
“Sert—de, sert, Desert.”
See! is it not pleasant?
Yes, by Jove: but I fear this omen for my hide.
Because the hide in such cases is apt to depart.
It is best for us, therefore, in the present state of things, to go and fall before the statue4 of some god.
Before what statue? Pray, do you believe in gods?
Where’s your proof?
Because I am hateful to the gods. Is it not1 with good reason I do so?
You persuade me rightly.
But we must look elsewhere.2
Will you that I state the matter to the spectators?
It would not be amiss:3 but one thing let us require of them, to show us by their countenances if they are pleased with our discourse and matter.
I will now tell them. We have a master surly in his temper, bean-fed,4 passionate, Demus of the Pnyx, a crabbed old man, somewhat deaf. He at the previous new5 moon bought a slave, a tanner of Paphlagonia, most villanous and most calumniating. This Leather-Paphlagonian, when he had fully learnt the old man’s disposition, by fawning on our master, used to wheedle,6 cajole, flatter, and deceive him with tips of leather parings, using such words—“O Demus, when you have first tried one7 cause, bathe, eat, gobble up, devour, take the three obols. Would you that I serve up supper to you?” Then, having snatched up what any of us may have prepared, the Paphlagonian makes a present of this to our master. And lately too, when I had kneaded a Spartan cake at Pylos, he somehow circumvented me most knavishly and filched it away, and served up himself what had been kneaded by me. Us he drives away, and does not suffer any one else to wait on our master, but with a leather fan, when at supper, stands and drives away the orators.8 And he recites Edition: current; Page:  oracles, while the old man gets old-womanish. And when he sees him grown spoony, he has devised his trick; for he falsely accuses the household to their face, and then we are scourged; while the Paphlagonian runs around the servants, and asks, confounds, takes bribes, using these words, “Do you see that Hylas1 has been scourged through my influence? Unless you make a friend of me, you shall die to-day” So we make him presents; otherwise, we are trampled upon and kicked by the old fellow eight times more than before.2 Now therefore, my good friend, let us quickly consider to what road we must turn, and to whom.3
We had4 best turn to that “Sert-Road,” my good sir.
But it is not possible for any thing to escape the Paphlagonian’s notice, for he overlooks all things himself: he keeps one leg at Pylos, the other in the assembly; and when he has straddled thus far, his hinder parts are really and truly among the Chaonians,5 his hands among the Ætolians, and his mind with the Clopidæ.6
Then it is best for us to die. But consider how we may die most manfully.
How, pray, how can it be done, most manfully?
It is best for us to drink bull’s blood, for the death7 of Themistocles is more preferable.
No, by Jove, but pure wine to1 the good Genius; for perhaps we may devise some good plan.
“Pure wine,” quoth’a! Are your thoughts then on drinking?2 How could a man devise any good plan when drunk?
Is it so, fellow? You are a pourer forth3 of weak, washy twaddle. Have you the audacity to abuse wine for witlessness? Can you find any thing more business-like than wine? Do you see? when men drink, then they are rich, they transact business, gain causes, are happy, assist their friends. Come, bring me out quickly a stoup of wine, that I may moisten my intellect, and say something clever.
Woe’s me! What in the world will you do to us with your drinking?
What’s good. Come, bring it forth, and I will lay myself down. [Exit Nicias.] For if I get drunk, I shall sprinkle all these with little schemes, and little notions, and little thoughts. [Re-enter Nicias with a pitcher of wine and a cup.]
How fortunate that I was not caught stealing the wine from within!
Tell me, what is the Paphlagonian doing?
The slanderer having licked up some confiscated4 cakes, snores like a drunkard, lying on his back on his hides.
Come now, pour in abundant pure wine as a libation.
Take it now, and make a libation to the good Genius. Drain, drain the draught of the Pramnian god.5
(taking a hearty draught). O good Genius! the scheme is yours, not mine.6
Tell me, I beseech you. What is it?
Steal quickly the oracles of the Paphlagonian, and bring them from within, while he sleeps.
Come now, I’ll apply the stoup to my lips, that I may moisten my intellect, and say something clever.3 [Re-enter Nicias with a bundle of papers.]
How mightily the Paphlagonian blows and snores, so that I escaped his notice in stealing the sacred oracle, which he used to guard with the greatest caution!
O thou most clever, bring it, that I may read it! and do you quickly pour in for me to3 drink. Come, let me see what there is then in here. O oracles! Give me, give me the cup quickly. [Drinks.]
Well! what says the oracle?
Pour me in another. [Drinks.]
Is “Pour in another” among the oracles?
What is it?
Give me the cup quickly. [Drinks.]
Aye, Bacis was in the habit of using the cup frequently.
O rascally Paphlagonian! it was this then that you were guarding against this long while, dreading the oracle about yourself!
There is in here how he himself is ruined.
How?5 The oracle directly declares that first there Edition: current; Page:  arises a hemp-seller, who shall be the first to hold the administration of the state.
This is one seller. What next? Say on.
After him, again, is to arise a second, a sheep-seller.
These are two sellers. What must this one do?
Rule, until another1 man more abandoned than he arise; and after this he is destroyed. For the Paphlagonian leather-seller succeeds, the robber, the bawler, with the voice of Cycloborus.
It is fated, then, that the sheep-seller perish at the hands of the leather-seller.
Yes, by Jove.
Ah me, unhappy! Whence therefore can there be only one2 seller more?
There is still one, with a wondrous trade.
Tell me, I entreat you, who is he?
Shall I say?
Aye, by Jove.
A sausage-seller is the person who is to3 destroy him.
Let us seek for him.
But see, here he comes to market, providentially, as it were!
O happy sausage-seller! hither, hither, dearest of men; come up, you who have appeared a saviour to our city and to us!
What’s the matter? Why do you call me?
Come hither, that you may learn how fortunate you are, and how great is your bliss. [Sausage-seller comes up.]
Come now, take away his dresser, and expound6 unto Edition: current; Page:  him the oracle itself of the god, how it runs; while I will go and watch the Paphlagonian. [Exit Nicias.]
1Come now, first lay down your implements on the ground, and then adore the earth, and the gods.
Well! what’s the matter?
O happy, O wealthy man! O thou who art to-day a nobody, but to-morrow immensely great! O thou ruler of happy Athens!2
My good sir, why don’t you let me wash my puddings, and sell my sausages, and not make game3 of me?
O foolish man, what4 puddings? Look here! Do you see the rows of people there?
I see them.
Of all these you shall be alone the chief, and of the market-place, and of the harbours, and of the Pnyx. You shall trample on the senate, and humble the generals; you shall imprison, put under ward, and in the Prytaneum you shall—wench.5
Aye, you; and you do not yet see all. But mount up even upon this dresser here,6 and survey all the islands round about. [Sausage-seller mounts up upon his dresser.]
I see them.
What then? the marts and merchant ships?
How then are you not greatly blessed? Further now, turn your right eye to Caria, and your other to Chalcedon.7
Shall I be blest if I squint?
No but through you all these are on1 sale; for you shall become, as this oracle here asserts, a very great man.
Tell me; why, how shall I who am a sausage-seller become a great man?
For this very reason,2 truly, shall you even become great; because you are a knave, and from the market-place, and impudent.
I do not consider myself worthy to have great power.
Alas! whatever’s the reason that you say you are not worthy? You seem to me to be conscious of something gentlemanly. Are you of gentle birth?3
No, by the gods, unless4 to come of blackguards be so.
O happy in your fortune! What an advantage5 you have for statesmanship!
But, my good sir, I don’t even possess any education, beyond my letters, and them, to be sure, as bad6 as bad can be.
This alone is an obstacle to you, that you do know them, even as bad as bad can be. For the character of popular leader no longer belongs to a man of education, nor yet to one good in his morals, but7 to the ignorant and abominable. Then don’t neglect what the gods in their oracles offer you.
How, pray, does the oracle speak?
Well, by the gods, and ambiguously, in a way, and learnedly wrapped in riddles. “But when the leather-eagle with crooked claws shall seize in his beak a serpent, a stupid fellow, a drinker of blood, just then8 the garlic-pickle of the Paphlagonians is at an end, while to the sellers of puddings the god grants great glory, unless they choose rather to sell sausages.”
How then does this relate to me? Instruct me.
This Paphlagonian here is the “leather-eagle.”
Why is he “with crooked claws?”
It means, I ween, that he snatches and takes away with his hands curved.1
But what’s the import of the “serpent?”
This is very clear; for the “serpent” is long, and the “sausage” again is long: then both the sausage2 and the serpent are “drinkers of blood.” It says, therefore, that the serpent shall immediately conquer the leather-eagle,3 unless it be cajoled with words.
The oracles please me: but I wonder how I am able to manage the people.
A very easy affair! Act as you act now; jumble and mince together all state-affairs, and always win over the people to your side, coaxing it with little cookish words. But the other requisites for a demagogue you possess—a foul tongue, you are of vulgar birth, a low fellow; you possess all things which are requisite for statesmanship. The oracles and the Delphic shrine conspire in your favour. Crown yourself then, and offer a libation to Dulness, and see that you punish the fellow.4
And who will be my ally? for the rich fear him, and the poor people are afraid of him.
But there are a thousand brave knights5 who hate him, who will aid you, and the well-born citizens, and of the spectators whoever is a clever man, and I along with them, and the god will6 assist you. And do not fear, for he is not represented by a likeness; for, through fear, none of the mask-makers7 was willing to make a likeness of him. Nevertheless, Edition: current; Page:  he will be certainly recognised; for the audience is clever.1
Ah me, miserable! the Paphlugonian is coming forth.
By the twelve gods, you certainly shall not go unpunished, in that you have been long conspiring together against the democracy. What’s this Chalcidian cup doing here? You are certainly causing a revolt of the Chalcidians.2 You shall perish, you shall die, you brace of rogues. [Sausage-seller runs out.]
Ho you! why do you fly? will you not stop? O noble sausage-seller, do not betray the cause! O ye Knights,3 support us! Now’s the time! Simon,4 Panætius, will you not ride to the right wing? [To the Sausage-seller.] The men are near; come, resist him, and return to the charge again! Their dust shows that they5 are approaching in a body. Come, resist, and pursue, and put him to flight. [Enter Chorus of Knights.]
Strike, strike the villain, and troubler of the Knights, and publican, and sink, and Charybdis of plunder, and villain, and villain; for I will use the same expressions many times. For this fellow was a villain many times in the day.—Come, strike, and pursue, and disturb, and confound, and detest him,6 for we do so; and press on him, and shout aloud. But take care, lest he escape you, for he knows the paths by which Eucrates fled straight to the bran.7
Veteran Heliasts, clansmen of the three-obol-piece, whom I feed by bawling right or wrong, come to the rescue, since I am being beaten by conspirators.
Aye, with justice; since you devour1 the public goods before they are distributed by lot, and you press and squeeze those under account, seeing which of them is green, or ripe, or not yet ripe; and if you perceive any of them to be an easy quiet man, and a gaper, you recall him from the Chersonese2 and seize him by the waist and lock him;3 and then having twisted back his shoulder, you fall heavily upon him. And you observe, too, which of the citizens is a simpleton, and rich, and no rascal, and fearing state-affairs.
Do you join in attacking me? while I am beaten, sirs, on your account, because I was intending to deliver an opinion, that it is proper to erect in the city a memorial on account of your valcur.4
What5 an impostor! what a supple knave! You see how he fawns upon us as if we were old dotards, and cajoles us. But if in this way he be victorious, he shall be beaten in that; and if he dodge this way,6 my leg shall strike him.
O city and people, by what beasts am I punched in the belly!
What! do you cry out, who are ever turning the city upside down? [Re-enter Sausage-seller.]
But with this shout I will first put you to flight.
I inform against this fellow, and assert that he exports broths3 for the Peloponnesian triremes.
Aye,4 by Jove, and I inform against this man, that he ran into the Prytaneum with his belly empty, and then runs out again with it full.
Yes, by Jove, bearing out forbidden exports, bread and meat at the same time, and sliced salt-fish, of which Pericles was never at any time thought worthy.
You shall die forthwith.
I will shout three times as loud as you.
I will silence you with bawling.
I will scream you down with screaming.
I will calumniate you if you be general.
I will beat your back like a dog.5
I will harass you with impostures.6
I will cut off your roads.
Look at me without winking.
I too have been reared in the market-place.
I will tear you in pieces if you mutter at all.
I will cover you with dung if you speak.
I confess myself a thief, while you do not.
Aye, that do I, by Mercury, who presides over the market-place, and perjure myself too, though men see it.
Then you play the sophist in another’s province, and I will impeach you to the Prytanes for possessing untithed puddings sacred to the gods.1
O rascally and abominable, and bawler! every land is full of thy audacity, and every assembly, and imposts, and indictments, and law-courts. O thou mud-stirrer, and having disturbed2 our whole state, who hast deafened our Athens with thy bawling, and watching for the tribute-money, like tunny-fish, from the rocks above.3
I know this affair, whence it has been long ago getting cobbled up.4
If you do not know shoe-soles, neither do I sausages; you who cheatingly-cut-up and sold the hide of a diseased ox to the country people, with fraudulent design, so that it should seem stout; and before they had worn it a day, it was greater than the foot by two spans.5
By Jove, he did the very same thing to me too, so that I also afforded much mirth to my fellow-tribesmen and Edition: current; Page:  friends; for, ere that I had reached Pergasæ,1 I was swimming in my shoes.
Have you not, pray, from the first, displayed impudence,2 which alone is the guardian of orators? on which you relying, drain the wealthy foreigners, you the first; while the son of Hippodamus3 melts into tears at the sight. But indeed another fellow much more rascally than you has showed himself, so that I rejoice, who will immediately put an end to you and surpass you, as he plainly shows, in villany and impudence and knavish tricks. [To the Sausage-seller.] But come, you who have been educated4 whence men arise, such as they are,5 now demonstrate that “Modest Education” is nothing to the purpose.
Well now, hear what sort of a citizen this fellow is.
Will you not in turn permit me?
No, by Jove, since I too am a blackguard.
If he do not yield in this point, say that you are also come of blackguards.
Will you not in turn permit me?
No, by Jove.
Yes, by Jove, you shall.
No, by Neptune, but I will fight it out first, with respect to who shall speak first.
Alas, I shall burst.
But I will not permit you.
Permit him, by the gods, permit him to burst.
Relying1 on what do you dare to speak against me?
Because I too am able to speak, and to make a rich sauce.
“To speak,” quoth’a! Finely,2 upon my word, would you take up and properly handle a case which fell to you, so as to be torn in pieces raw.3 But do you know how you seem to me to be circumstanced? Like the mass.4 If you have any where pleaded some little suit well against a resident-alien, babbling the live-long night, and talking to yourself in the streets, and drinking water, and showing yourself off, and boring your friends, you fancied you were a a dab at oratory—Fool for your folly!
By drinking what, pray, have you worked upon the city, so as now to be silent, having been talked down by you alone?
Why, do you match any man against me? who, immediately after I have devoured hot slices of the tunny-fish, and then drank besides a gallon of neat wine, will abuse like a strumpet the generals at Pylos.
And I, after I have swallowed down a cow’s paunch and a pig’s belly, and then drank the broth besides, without washing, will throttle1 the orators, and terrify Nicias.
You please me in the rest of your words; but one part of your conduct does not please me, in that you will gulp down your broth alone.
But you will not distract the Milesians, after having devoured a sea-wolf.2
Nay, but when I have devoured ribs3 of beef, I will farm the mines.
And I will spring into the senate and confound it with violence.
And I will kick your rump instead of a foot-ball.4
And I will drag you out of doors, head foremost, by the crupper.
By Neptune, you shall drag me too, if you drag him.
How I will fasten you in the stocks!
I will prosecute you for cowardice.
Your hide5 shall be tanned.
I will flay you for a thief’s pouch.6
You shall be stretched out on the ground with pegs.
I will make mince-meat of you.
I will pluck out your eye-lashes.
I will cut out your crop.7
And, by Jove, we will put a skewer into his mouth, in cook’s fashion, and then draw out his tongue from within, and examine his inside well and manfully, while he gapes, if it be pimply.
It appears, then, there are other things hotter that fire; and in our state words more shameless than the shameless;1 and the affair, then, not so trifling a one. But attack him, and twist him about; do nothing in a small way: for now he is held by the middle. Since if now you hide2 him in the onset, you will find him a craven; for I know his disposition.
Yet, nevertheless, this fellow, though he has been such a one during the whole of his life, then3 appeared to be a hero, when he reaped the harvest of another. And now he has bound in the wooden collar, and is drying, and wishing to sell those ears of corn which he brought from thence.
I fear you not as long as the senate subsists, and the face of Demus4 remains stolid.
What impudence he has for every thing! and changes nothing of his present5 colour! If I do not hate you, may I become a sheep-skin of Cratinus,6 and may I be taught to sing the songs in a tragedy of Morsimus.7Edition: current; Page: 
O thou, who on every occasion, and in all cases of bribery,1 settlest upon flowers, would that you’d disgorge the mouthful as easily as you found it; for then would I sing only, “drink,2 drink, at the happy event;” and I fancy the son of Julius, an aged ogler of wheat,3 being delighted, would cry, “Io Pæan,” and sing, “Bacchus, Bacchus!”
By Neptune, ye certainly shall not surpass me in impudence; or never may I be present at the sacrificial feast of Jupiter, who presides over the market-place.
By the thumps, which I have many times,4 indeed, and on many occasions, endured from my childhood, and by the strokes of the knives, I fancy I shall surpass you in these, or to no purpose should I be grown to this size by feeding on finger-muffins.5
On finger-muffins, like a dog? O thou most villanous, how then, fed on dog’s meat, shall you battle with a dog-faced baboon?
And, by Jove, there are other knavish tricks of mine, too, when I was a child; for I used to deceive the butchers by saying such words, “Look, boys! do you not see? early spring is come. There’s a swallow!” They looked, and I in the mean time used to steal some meat.6
O most clever meat! shrewdly did you plan beforehand! You stole before the swallows, as if eating nettles.1
And I used to escape notice too, when doing this. At any rate, if any of them were to see me, I used to hide it in my drawers, and deny it upon oath of the gods, so that an orator,2 having seen me doing this, exclaimed, “This boy will certainly rule the people.”
Aye, he conjectured it well: but it is clear from what he drew his inference; because you perjured yourself after stealing, and your drawers had the meat.
I will make you cease from your impudence,—or rather, I fancy, both of you: for I will issue forth against you, coming down3 now fresh and mighty, confounding at the same time both land and sea at random.
And I will furl my sausages and then commit myself to the favouring waves,4 having bid you a long farewell.
And I, if it leak at all, will watch the bilge-water.
By Ceres, you certainly shall not go off unpunished, after having stolen many talents of the Athenians.
Look sharp, and slack away the sheet!5 since now this north-easter is even blowing informations.
I well know that you have ten talents from Potidæa.
What then? Will you take one of the talents, and hold your tongue?
The man would gladly take it. Let out your sail-ropes.
The wind is lulling.
You shall be a defendant in four suits of a hundred talents.1
And you in twenty for shunning service, and in more than a thousand for theft.
I assert that you are descended from those who offended against the goddess.2
I assert that your grandfather was one of the body-guards.
What body-guards? Explain.
Of Byrsina, the mother of Hippias.3
You are an impudent rogue.
You are a villain.
Strike manfully. [They all fall on him and beat him.]
Alas! alas! The conspirators are beating me.
Strike him most manfully, and punch him in the belly, both with your guts and with your tripe, and see that you punish the fellow. O thou most noble bit of flesh, and bravest of all in soul, and who hast appeared4 a saviour of the state, and of us the citizens, how well and cunningly with your words you supplanted the fellow! Would I could praise thee as much as we are delighted.5
By Ceres, these transactions did not escape my notice in the carpentering, but I was aware of them all in the nailing and the gluing.6
(turning to the Sausage-seller). Alas! can you talk nought of cart-wright’s7 slang!
Then what he is doing at Argos does not escape me. In pretence he is making the Argives1 our friends, but secretly he is there treating with the Lacedæmonians. And I know for what purpose this is getting welded; for it is getting forged on account of the prisoners.2
Bravo! bravo! Forge in return for his gluings.3
And in return4 men from thence join in welding it; and neither by giving silver or gold, or by sending friends, shall you persuade me, so that I shall not denounce these things to the Athenians.
I therefore will go forthwith to the senate, and tell them of the conspiracies of you all, and your nightly meetings in the city, and all that ye are plotting with the Medes5 and the king of Persia, and these transactions which are being concocted amongst the Bœotians.6
What, then, is the price of cheese among the Bœotians?7
By Hercules, I will lay you flat! [Exit Cleon.]
Come now, what mind, or what spirits have you?1 Now you shall show, if formerly you concealed the meat in your drawers, as you yourself assert. For you must run in haste into the senate-house, since this fellow will rush in thither, and calumniate us all, and bawl aloud.
Well, I will go: but first I will lay down my puddings and my knives here, just as I am.
Stop now, anoint your neck with this, that you may be able to slip out of his calumnies. [Hands him a flask of oil.]
Well, you say this well, and like a gymnastic master.
Stop now, take and eat up this. [Hands him a head of garlic.]
In order that you may fight the better, my friend, having been primed with garlic. And now2 hasten quickly.
I do so.
Remember now to bite, to libel, to eat up his crests; and see that you come back again, having devoured his wattles. But go, and joy3 be with you, and may you succeed according to my wish, and may Jove, who presides over the market-place, protect you; and when you have conquered, may you come back again to us from thence besprinkled with chaplets. [Exit Sausage-seller.] Do ye, on the other hand, give your attention to our anapæsts, O ye, who of yourselves4 have already essayed every kind of learning.
If any of the old comic writers had been for compelling us to come forward to the audience to recite his verses, he would not easily have obtained this. But now our poet is worthy of it, inasmuch as he hates the same with us, and dares to say what is just, and nobly advances against the Typhon, and the hurricane.1 But with respect to what2 he says many of you coming to him wonder at, and inquire about, that he did not long since ask for a chorus3 for himself, about this matter he bade us explain to you. For the man says that he did not make the delay because he was affected in this way by want of understanding, but because he thought the comic poet’s art to be the most difficult task of all; for that, after many, indeed, had courted her, she had granted favours to few; and because he long since perceived that you were in nature changing with the year,4 and betrayed5 the former poets as soon as they grew old. On the one hand6 knowing what Magnes suffered, as soon as grey hairs came upon him, who set up very many trophies of victory over the choruses of his rivals; and though he uttered every kind of sound,7 both “Harping,” and “Fluttering,” and representing the “Lydians,” and playing the “Fig-fly,” and dyeing himself a “Frog colour,” did not suffice; but at last, in his old age, for it had not been so in his youth,8 he was driven off the stage, when he Edition: current; Page:  was an old man, because he was wanting in jesting, next, remembering Cratinus,1 who formerly having flowed with a full stream of praise used to flow through the level plains, and carrying away from their places, used to bear away the oaks and the plane-trees, and his enemies by the roots. And it was not permitted to sing any thing at a banquet except “Oh fig-sandaled2 Doro,” and “builders3 of ingenious songs;” so much did he flourish. But now, when you see him in his dotage, you do not pity him, since the pegs fall out,4 and the tone is no longer there, and the harmony is dissonant.5 But old as he is, he wanders about like Connas,6 having, it is true, a withered chaplet, but dying with thirst; who ought to drink in the Prytaneum on account of his former victories, and not to be doting, but in splendid apparel to be a spectator7 beside the statue of Bacchus. And remembering8 what bursts of displeasure and abuse of yours Crates endured, who gave you a breakfast at a slight expense, and sent you home, kneading the wittiest thoughts with a most clear-sounding voice. And yet he only just held out, at one time falling, at another not. Dreading this, he9 always hesitated, and in addition to this used to say, a man should first be a rower ere he set his hand Edition: current; Page:  to the rudder and then after this look out ahead, and observe the winds, and then pilot for himself. Therefore, on account of all these things, because he acted modestly, and did not1 foolishly rush in and talk nonsense, raise for him shouts of applause in abundance, and waft him a good Lenæan cheer with eleven oars,2 that your poet may depart in joy, having succeeded according to his wish, joyous with smiling countenance.
O Neptune, equestrian king, whom the clatter of brazenhoofed horses, and their neighing delights, and dark-beaked swift triremes manned with mercenaries,3 and the contest of youths who distinguish themselves in the chariot race, and of youths who are grievously unlucky, come hither to our chorus, O thou of the golden trident, O thou ruler of dolphins, thou who art worshipped at Sunium,4 O god of Geræstus,5 child of Cronos, and most dear to Phormio,6 and to the Athenians at present above the other gods.
We wish to eulogize our fathers, because they were men worthy of this land and of the peplus,7 who ever every where victorious in land-fights and in naval actions, adorned this city. For none of them ever at any time, when he saw his foes, counted them; but his spirit was immediately on its guard. And if, by chance, they fell upon their shoulders in any fight, they used to wipe this off, and then deny they had fallen, and go on wrestling again. And no one of those before this used when general to demand his maintenance, entreating Cleænetus.8 Edition: current; Page:  But now, unless they obtain precedence in seats, and their maintenance, they say they will not fight; while we think it right gratuitously and nobly to defend our city and our country’s gods. And in addition, we ask nothing, except thus much only,—if ever there be peace, and we cease from our toils, do not grudge our being long-haired, or clean-scraped.1
O Pallas, guardian of the city, O thou that rulest over the most holy land, which excels all others in war and poets and in might, hither come, bringing with you Victory, our assistant in expeditions and battles, who is the companion of our choral songs, and sides with us against our enemies.2 Now, therefore, show thyself hither; for it behoveth thee by all means to grant victory to these men now if ever.3
We4 wish to praise what we are cognizant of respecting our horses. And worthy are they of being eulogized. For, in truth, they have gone through many affairs with us, both incursions and battles. But their exploits on land we do not so much admire, as when they leaped courageously into the transports,5 some of them having purchased drinking-cups,1 Edition: current; Page:  others garlic and onions. Then they took their oars,2 like us men, and laid to them, and shouted aloud for joy,—“Gee wo ho!3 Who will lay to? We must take better hold. What are we about? Won’t you row, you Samphoras?”4 and leapt ashore at Corinth. Then the youngest set a digging beds with their hoofs, and went to fetch bed-clothes. And they ate crabs5 instead of Median grass, if any crept out of doors, even searching for them in the deep; so that Theorus6 declared a Corinthian crab said—“It is dreadful, O Neptune, if neither in the deep,7 nor on land, nor in the sea I shall be able to escape the Knights.”
O dearest and stoutest of men, how much anxiety in your absence have you given us! And now, since you have come back safe, tell us how you contested the matter.
What else,8 but that I became conqueror of the senate?
Now, then, it is meet for all to shout for joy. O thou who speakest noble words, but hast done deeds still far superior to your words! would that you would go over all the details clearly to me! since methinks I would9 even travel a long journey, so as to hear.—Wherefore, my good sir, speak with confidence, since we all are delighted with you.
Well now, ’tis worth while to hear the circumstances: for I rushed directly after him from hence. He then within Edition: current; Page:  making words break forth, hurled like thunder, was hurling them at the Knights, playing the marvellous, blurting out precipices, and calling1 them conspirators most plausibly; while the whole Senate, listening to him, got crammed by him with false-orach, and looked mustard,2 and contracted their brows. And I, just when I perceived that they were approving3 of his words, and deceived by his impositions—“Come now, ye Lechers, and Impostors,” said I, “and Boobies, and mischievous Goblins, and God of Impudence, and thou Market-place, in which I was educated when a child, now give me impudence, and a ready tongue, and a shameless voice.” As I was musing thus, a lewd fellow broke wind on my right; and I did reverence.4 Then with my buttocks I struck and broke the barriers, and gaping wide, shouted aloud, “O Senate, I bring you good news, and wish to announce the glad tidings first to you. For since what time the war broke out, I never at any time saw anchovies cheaper.” Immediately they made their faces quite calm, and then were for crowning me for the good news. And I having hastily invented a secret plan, in order that they might purchase the anchovies in great numbers for an obol, told them to seize the dishes of the artificers.5 And they applauded vehemently, and gaped at me. So he, the Paphlagonian, having perceived it, and knowing in what speeches the Senate most delights, made a proposal: “Sirs, I now move, that on the occasion of the happy events which have been announced to us, we sacrifice a hundred oxen6 to the goddess for the good news.” Again Edition: current; Page:  the Senate inclined towards him. And I, just when I perceived I was overcome by the ox-dung, overshot him with two hundred oxen;1 and advised to make a vow to sacrifice a thousand goats to Diana on the morrow, if sprats went at a hundred for the obol. Again the Senate looked eagerly at me. And when he heard this, being struck with astonishment, babbled nonsense; and then the Prytanes and the Police began to drag him out, while they stood and wrangled about the anchovies. But he besought them “to wait a short time, in order that you may hear2 what the herald from Lacedæmon says, for he has come treating of peace.” But they all cried out with one mouth,—“Now do they talk of peace? Aye, poor fool, since they have heard that anchovies are cheap with us. We don’t want peace; let the war go on.” And they shouted that the Prytanes should dismiss the assembly. Then they leaped over the barriers in every direction. While I slipped out and bought up all the coriander-seed, and the leeks, as much as there was in the market: and then gave it gratis to them who were in want, as seasoning to the anchovies, and made presents of it. So they all praised me above measure, and caressed me to such a degree, that I have come, having gained over the whole senate for an obol-worth3 of coriander-seed.
Of a truth you have acted in every respect4 as becomes a man favoured of fortune. The villain has found another adorned with much greater rascalities and artful deceits and wily words. But take care that you contest what remains in the best manner possible; and you know long ago that you have us as your friendly allies.
If I do3 not destroy you, provided any of the same lies be in me, may I utterly fail in every way.
I like your threats,4 laugh at your empty bluster, dance a fling, and cry cuckoo all round.
By Ceres, if I do not eat you up out of this land, I will certainly never survive.
“If you do not eat me up?” And neither will I, if I do not drink you up, and then gulp you down and burst after it myself.5
By the precedence which I gained at Pylos, I will destroy you.
“Precedence,” quoth’a! How I shall behold you6 after your precedence a spectator on the last bench!
By heaven, I will fasten you in the stocks!
How choleric you are! Come, what shall I give you Edition: current; Page:  to eat? With what sauce would you like best to eat it? With a purse?1
I will tear out your entrails with my nails.
I will tear with my nails your maintenance in the Prytaneum.2
I will drag you before Demus, that you may give me satisfaction.
And I will also drag you and calumniate you more.
But he does not believe you at all, you wretch, while I laugh at him as much as I please.
How completely you imagine Demus to be yours!
For I know with what pap he is fattened.3
And then, like nurses,4 you feed him grudgingly. For you chew and put a little into his mouth, while you yourself swallow down three times as much as he.
And, by Jove, by my dexterity I am able to make Demus fat or lean.5
And my posteriors are clever at this.
You shan’t fancy, my good sir, you’re going to insult me in the Senate.6 Let us go to Demus.
There’s nothing to hinder1 us. There, go, let nothing detain us.
O Demus! come forth hither.
O father, by Jupiter, pray come forth.
Come forth, O dearest little Demus, that you may know how I am wantonly insulted [They both go and knock at Demus’ door.]
Who are those that are bawling? Will you not depart from my door? You have torn down my harvest-wreath.2 Who’s injuring you, my Paphlagonian?
I am beat on your account by this fellow here, and by these striplings.
Because I love you, Demus, and am your admirer.
(turning to the Sausage-seller). Pray, who are you?
This man’s rival in love, who have loved you this long time, and wished to do you a good turn, and so have many other gentlemen. But we are not able, on account of this fellow. For you are like unto youths who have lovers: gentlemen you do not receive, but give yourself up to lamp-sellers3 and coblers and shoemakers and tanners.
For I benefit the people.
Say now, by doing what?
Because I deceived the generals at Pylos and sailed thither and brought the Lacedæmonians.
And I, while walking about,4 stole the pot from a workshop, while another was boiling it.
Well now, Demus, convene an assembly forthwith, in order that you may know which of us two is better inclined to you, and decide between us, that you may love this one.
Yes, yes, do decide between us, pray! but not in the Pnyx.
I can’t sit in any other place. But you must come forwards to the Pnyx.5
Ah me, miserable man, how I am undone! for the old fellow, when at home, is the shrewdest of men, but when he takes his seat upon this here stone, he gapes1 as if he were stringing figs.
Now it behoves you to let out every rope,2 and to carry an impetuous spirit and arguments, admitting no escape, wherewith you shall overcome him: for the man is crafty, and devises efficient contrivances out of impracticable ones.3 Wherefore take care that you go forth vehement and fresh4 against the man. But be on your guard, and ere he comes up to you, do you first raise aloft5 your dolphins, and put forward your pinnace.
I pray to our mistress Minerva, who rules over our city, that, if I am the best man towards the Athenian people, next to Lysicles,6 and Cynna, and Salabaccho, I may, as now, dine in the Prytaneum, without having done any thing for it. But if I hate you, and do not fight for you, singly standing in the gap, may I perish, and be sawn in two, and cut up into yoke-straps.7
And may I, Demus, if I do not love you, and do not admire you, be cut up and cooked in mince-meat; and if you do not put faith in this, may I be grated down upon this dresser in an olio with cheese, and with the flesh-hook may I be dragged to the Ceramicus by my testicles.
Why, how1 can there be a citizen, Demus, who loves you more than I do? who in the first place, when I was a senator, collected very much money in the treasury, by torturing some, strangling others, and begging of others; not caring for any private man, provided I gratified you.
This, Demus, is no way grand; for I will do this to you. For I will snatch away and serve up to you other people’s loaves.2 But I will first teach you this very thing, that he neither loves you, nor is well-disposed towards you, except on account of this very thing, that he enjoys your fire-side. For he does not care about your sitting so uncomfortably upon the rocks, who fought to the death with the Persians at Marathon for our country, and when victorious, permitted us to bepraise it mightily.3 Not like me, who have sewed and brought you this cushion. Come, raise yourself, and then sit down at your ease, that you may not gall that which fought at Salamis.4 [Slips a soft cushion under Demus.]
Man, who are you? Are you a son of those well-known5 descendants of Harmodius! Certainly, indeed, this deed of yours is truly noble and patriotic.
From what petty bits of flattery have you become well-disposed towards him!
For you also caught him with baits much less than these.
Well now, I am willing to wager my head, if any Edition: current; Page:  where there hath appeared a man who fights more for the people, or loves you more than I.
Why, how love you him? who, though you see him dwelling for the eighth year1 in the casks and crannies and little turrets, do not pity him, but shut him in and plunder his hive. And when Archeptolemus2 was offering peace, you scattered it abroad; and you drive away the embassies from the city, slapping them on the buttocks, who make proposals of peace.
Aye, that he may rule over all the Greeks; for it is in the oracles, “that this man must some time or other act the Heliast in Arcadia at3 five obols a day, if he bide his time.” At all events, I will nourish and tend him, finding out by fair means or foul, whence he shall receive the three obols.
Not taking thought, by Jove, that he may rule over Arcadia, but that you may plunder the more, and receive bribes from the cities; and that Demus, by reason of the war and the mist, may not observe your knavish tricks,4 but through necessity, at the same time, and need, and pay, may gape at you. But if ever he return to the country and spend his time in peace,5 and eat his toasted groats and regain his courage, and come to a conversation with oil-cake, he will perceive what blessings you swindled him out of by your system of pay; and then he will come against you fierce and rough, searching for a pebble against you. Of which being aware, you impose upon him, and cheat6 him by dreams about yourself.
Is it not then, pray, a shameful thing that you should say this of me, and calumniate me before the Athenians and Demus, who have already, by Ceres, done far more good services to the state than Themistocles?
“O city of Argos, hear what he says.”1 Do you match yourself with Themistocles? who made our city full, when he found it up to the brim, and in addition to this kneaded up the Piræus beside for it while it was at breakfast,2 and having taken away nothing of the old, set before it new fishes.—But you sought to make the Athenians citizens of a petty town,3 by dividing the town4 with a wall, and uttering oracles, you who match yourself with Themistocles! And he is an exile from his country, while you wipe your hands on cakes of fine barley.5
Is it not then a shameful thing, O Demus, that I should be called these names by this fellow, because I love you?
He is a most abominable fellow, my little Demus, and one who commits very many knavish tricks, whenever you Edition: current; Page:  yawn;1 and he crops the stalks of those under account and swallows them down, and with both hands ladles out the public money.
You shall not escape with impunity, but I will convict you of stealing thirty thousand drachmæ.
Why do you make much ado about nothing, and make a splash, you who are most abominable towards the Athenian people?2 And, by Ceres, I will prove,3 or may I not live, that you have received as a bribe more than forty minæ from Mitylene.
O thou who hast appeared the greatest advantage to all men!4 I envy you for your fluency of speech; for if you shall attack him in this way, you will be the greatest of the Greeks, and alone will bear sway in the city, and rule over the allies, having a trident, shaking and disturbing,5 with which you will make much money. And do not let the man go, since he has given you a hold, for you will easily make an end of him, with such sides as yours.
These matters, good sirs, are not yet come to this, by Neptune; for I have wrought such a work, so as to curb my enemies every one,6 so long as any thing is left of the bucklers captured at Pylos.
Stop at your bucklers, for you have given me a handle. For you ought not, if indeed you love the people, purposely to have let them be dedicated together with the handles. But this, Demus, is a device, that, if you wish to punish this fellow here, it may not be in your power; for you see what a troop of young tanners are with him; and around these dwell sellers of honey and sellers of cheese. Now this body is leagued together; so that if you were to snort with anger, and look ostracism,1 they would pull down the bucklers by night, and run and seize the entrances for importing your barley.
Ah me, miserable man! Why, have2 they handles? You rascal, how long a time you have been cheating me, deluding me in such a manner!
My good sir, be not led3 away by every speaker, nor think that you will ever find a better friend than I, who with my single hand put down the conspirators. And no conspiracy arises in the city without my perceiving it, but I bawl out that instant.
For you are circumstanced like those who fish for eels.4 When the lake is still, they catch nothing; but if they stir the mud up and down, they take. And you catch, if you disturb the city. But just answer me this single question: though you sell so many hides, have you ever5 given to this man here a sole from your private stock for his slippers, you who profess to love him?
Certainly not, by Apollo.
Then have you perceived, pray, what sort of a fellow he is? But I have bought this pair of shoes for you, and give them you to wear. [Gives him a pair of shoes.]
I judge you to be the best man towards the people of all I know, and very well disposed towards the city, and towards my toes.
Is it not then, pray, a shameful thing that slippers should have so much power, and that you should have no recollection of all the kind offices I have done you? who put a stop to the lewd people, having utterly destroyed Gryttus.
Is it not then, pray, a shameful thing that you should watch them so,1 and put a stop to the lewd people? It must be that through envy you stopped them, lest they might become orators. And though you saw this man without a tunic at his time of life, you never at any time deemed Demus worthy of a sleeved-coat, though it were winter. But I present you with this one here. [Gives him a coat.]
Themistocles never once thought of such a device. And yet that device of his, too, was a clever one, his Piræus. Yet, however, it does not appear to me to be a greater contrivance than the coat.
Ah me, miserable man! with what jackanape’s tricks you harass me!
Not so; but as is the case with a man in liquor when nature calls, I am using your manners2 as I would your slippers.
You shall not surpass me in flattery, for I will put this on him besides. [Turning to the Sausage-seller.] A plague take you, you rascal!
Bah! will you not be gone, with a plague to you? smelling most abominably of the tan-yard.3
And on purpose, too, was he for putting this around Edition: current; Page:  you, that he may smother you. And before this he plotted against you. Do you know that stalk of silphium,1 which became so cheap?
To be sure I know.
On purpose this fellow was anxious for it to be cheap, that you might buy and eat, and then the dicasts might kill each other2 in the Heliæa with fizzling.
By Neptune, a stinkard also told this to me.3
Is it not the case that ye then became red with blushes with fizzling?
Aye, by Jove, this device was one of Pyrrandrus’s.
With what ribaldry you worry me, you villain!
For the goddess bade me conquer you with quackery.
But you shall not conquer me. For I promise, O Demus, to supply you with a bowl of pay to gulp down,4 for doing nothing.
But I give you a gallipot and ointment, to smear over the slight sores on your shins. [Presents them.]
I will pluck out your grey hairs and make you a young man.
(offering a hare’s scut). There, take a hare’s scut5 to wipe your two little eyes.
After you have blown your nose, Demus, wipe your fingers upon my head.
Nay rather, upon mine.
Nay rather, upon mine. [Demus bestows his dirty preference on the Sausage-seller.] I will6 cause you to be a Edition: current; Page:  trierarch expending your own money, with an old vessel, upon which you will never cease spending money or making repairs. And I will contrive that you get a rotten sail.
The1 man is bubbling up. Stop, stop boiling over. We must drag from beneath him some of the firebrands, and skim off some of the threats with this here ladle.
I will utter no threats; but I wish you the following: that your frying-pan of cuttle-fish may stand over the fire frizzling, and that you, about to move a decree concerning the Milesians,4 and to gain a talent if you effect your object, may hasten to fill yourself with the5 cuttle-fish before you go to the assembly; and then, before you’ve eaten them, may a man come to fetch you, and may you, wishing to get the talent, be choked with eating.
Capital! by Jove! by Apollo! by Ceres!
To me also he appears to be manifestly in other respects, too, a good citizen, such as no man has ever been for a long time towards the three-halfpenny mobocracy.6 While Edition: current; Page:  you, Paphlagonian, who say you love me, have garlicked me.1 And now give me back my ring, as you shall no longer be my steward.
Take it: but know thus much, that if you will not permit me to be overseer, some other again more villanous than I will appear.
It is not possible that this ring is mine. At all events, the device appears different, unless2 I do not see distinctly.
Come, let me see. What was your device?
A roasted olio of bull’s fat.3
There is not this in it.
Not the olio? What then?4
A gaping cormorant haranguing upon a rock.5
Alas, miserable man!
What is the matter?
Take it out of the way: he had not mine, but that of Cleonymus.6 But do you receive this from me, and be my steward.
Not yet, pray, O master, I entreat you, until you hear my oracles.
And mine then.
But if you accede to this fellow, you must become a mere hide.7
And if to this man, you must become completely circumcised.
But mine say that you must rule over8 every country, crowned with roses.
While mine, on the other hand, say, that with an embroidered purple robe and a diadem you shall pursue in a chariot of gold Smicythe1 and her husband.
Well now, go and bring them, that this2 man here may hear them.
And do you then bring yours.
Very well, by Jove: there’s nothing to hinder you.4 [Cleon and the S. S. hurry out.]
Most sweet will be the light of day to all those present, and to those who are5 coming, if Cleon perish. And yet I heard some very crabbed6 old fellows disputing in the Law Exchange,7 that if this fellow had not become great in the state, there would not have been two useful utensils, a pestle8 or a ladle. But this also I wonder at in his swinish musical taste; for the boys who went to school with him say that he constantly adapted his lyre to the Dorian9 mode alone, and was not willing to learn any other. And then, that the harp-master,10 being enraged, gave orders to take him away, “since this youth is not able to learn any mode, except the Bribery-mode.” [Re-enter Cleon and S. S., both heavily laden with papers.]
There, see! and yet I bring not all out!
Ah me, how I want to ease myself, and yet I bring not all out.
What are these?
Do you wonder? By Jove, I have still a chest full.
And I have an upper-room and two out-houses full.
Come, let me see: why, whose in the world are the oracles?
Mine are Bacis’s.1
And whose are yours?
Glanis’s, elder brother of Bacis.
What are they about?
About Athens, about Pylos, about you, about me, about every thing.
And what are yours about?
About Athens, about lentil-broth, about the Lacedæmonians, about fresh mackerel, about those who measure their barley unfairly in the market-place, about you, about me.—May this here fellow tumble and tread on his nose!
Hear now, and give me your attention. [Unrolls his papers.] “Son of Erectheus, take heed of the way of the oracles,4 which Apollo uttered for you from the sanctuary by means of highly-prized tripods. He ordered you to preserve the sacred dog5 with jagged teeth, who by snarling in your Edition: current; Page:  defence and barking dreadfully in your behalf, will provide you pay; and if he do not this, he will perish. For many daws, through hatred, croak at him.”
By Ceres, I do not know what these things mean. For what has Erectheus1 to do with jackdaws and a dog?
I am the dog, for I howl in your defence, and Phœbus ordered you to preserve me, your dog.
The oracle does not say this, but this here dog gnaws at the oracles, as he does your door. For I have it correctly about this dog.2
Read it, then: but first I’ll take a stone, lest the oracle about the dog bite me.3
“Beware, son of Erectheus, of the kidnapping dog Cerberus, who, fawning upon you with his tail, watching when you are dining, will consume your victuals, whenever you gape any other way: and he will often go secretly into your kitchen4 by night, like a dog, and lick clean your plates and islands.”
Far better, O Glanis, by Neptune!5
Good sir, hear, and then decide:—“There is a woman, and she shall bring forth a lion in sacred Athens, who in behalf of the people shall fight with many gnats, as if defending6 his whelps. Him do thou guard, having made a wooden wall and iron towers.”7 Do you know what these mean?
By Apollo, not I.
The god clearly ordered you to preserve me. For I am in the place of the lion to you.
Why, how have you become “lion like”1 without my knowing it?
One part of the oracles he purposely does not inform you of, which is2 the only iron wall and wood wherein Loxias ordered you to keep this fellow.
How then did the god declare this?
He bade you bind this fellow here in the five-holed pillory.3
These4 oracles seem to me soon about to be accomplished.
Do not believe him; for envious crows croak at me. But love the hawk, remembering him in your mind, who bound and brought you the young ravens of the Lacedæmonians.5
Assuredly the Paphlagonian hazarded this when he was drunk.6 O foolish son of Cecrops, why do you consider this deed a great one? “Even a woman can bear a burden, when a man may put it upon her;” but she cannot fight, for she would7 be in a fright if she were to fight.
But take heed of this—a Pylos in front of a Pylos, which he declared to you. “There is a Pylos in front of a Pylos.”
What does this mean, “in front of a Pylos?”8
He says he will seize the bathing-tubs in the bath.
And I shall be to-day unwashed, for this fellow has stolen away our bathing-tubs.
But this oracle here is about our navy, to which you must by all means give your attention.
I attend: but do you read, how, in the first place, their pay shall be paid to my sailors.1
“Son of Ægeus, beware of the dog-fox, lest it deceive you, biting2 in secret, swift of foot, the crafty thief, cunning.” Do you know what this is?
Philostratus the dog-fox.3
He does not say this; but this fellow here is always asking for swift ships to levy tribute: these Loxias forbids you to4 grant him.
How, pray, is a trireme a dog-fox?
How? Because your trireme and your dog are swift.
How, then, was “fox” added to “dog?”
He compared the soldiers to little foxes,5 because they eat the clusters of grapes in the farms.
Well, where is the pay for these little foxes?
He rightly represented this fellow’s hand as a “Cyllene,” because he says “put into my bent hand.”8
For I also4 have one, which says you shall rule both over the land and the Red Sea too, and that you shall give judgment at Ecbatana, licking up seed-cakes.
But I have seen a vision, and the goddess herself appeared to me to pour health and wealth over the people with a ladle.
Yes, by Jove, for I also have seen one; and the goddess herself appeared to me to come from the citadel, and an owl to be sitting upon her, and then to pour upon each head with a bucket—ambrosia over thee—over this fellow garlick-pickle.
Huzza! huzza! No one then, it appears, is wiser than Glanis.5 Accordingly, now I here commit myself to you, to guide me in my dotage and educate me afresh.
Nay, not yet, I beseech you, but stop, since I will provide you with barley and sustenance every day.
I cannot bear to hear of barley: often have I been deceived by you and Thuphanes.6
But I will forthwith provide you with barley-meal ready prepared.
And I barley-scones7 thoroughly kneaded, and fishes which have been roasted. Do nothing else except eat.
Make haste, then, with what ye are going to do; for I will deliver the reins of the Pnyx to him, whichever of you, again, confers more benefits upon me.
I will run in first.
Certainly not, but I will. [Cleon and the S. S. run off.]
O Demus, you possess a fine sovereignty, when all men dread you as a tyrant. Yet you are easily led by the nose, and you delight in being flattered1 and cajoled, and gape open-mouthed at whoever happens to be2 speaking, and your mind, though present, is abroad.3
There is no sense in your locks,4 when you think me not to be in my sound senses. But I drivel thus on purpose. For I myself delight to cry for drink every day, and wish to bring up a5 thievish minister, and him, when he is glutted, I take up and strike.
And in this way you would be doing well, if, as you say, very great prudence is in this habit of yours, if you purposely bring up these in the Pnyx like public victims, and then, when you have no food, sacrifice and feast upon one of these, whichever6 is fat.
Observe me, if I cleverly overreach them, those who fancy they are wise, and that they humbug me. For I am always watching them while stealing, pretending not to see them; and then I compel them to disgorge again whatever Edition: current; Page:  they steal from me, putting the ballot-box like a probe down their throats. [Cleon and the S. S. return.]
Begone to the devil out of the way!
Do you, you pestilent fellow!
O Demus, in truth I have been sitting ready long, long ago, wishing to benefit you.1
And I ten times as long ago,2 and twelve times as long ago, and a thousand times as long ago, and very long ago, long ago, long ago.
And I with waiting for you have been detesting you both thirty thousand times as long ago, and very long ago, long ago, long ago.
Do you know, then, what you are to do?3
If I do not, you shall tell me.
Start me and this fellow here from the starting-post, that we may confer favours on you on equal terms.
I must do so. Begone!
I don’t suffer him to cut in before me. [Both run off.]
Well, by Jove, I shall be mightily blest to-day by my lovers, or I shall grow4 conceited. [Re-enter Cleon and S. S.]
You see, I am the first to bring out a seat for you.
Yet not a table;5 but I am days and days before you. [Demus sits down.]
See! I am bringing you this barley-scone kneaded from the barley of Pylos.
And I bread-spoons scooped out by the goddess with her ivory hand.
What6 a huge finger, then, you have, O mistress!
1And I pea-soup of a good colour and excellent; and Pallas fighting at the gates stirred it up.
Evidently the goddess watches over you, Demus, and now she holds over you a pot full of broth.
Do you think this city could any longer be governed, if she did not evidently hold her pot2 over us?
The scarer of hosts presented you with this slice of salt-fish.
And the daughter of a strong father sent you flesh boiled with broth,3 and a slice of tripe, and belly, and paunch.
She did well in remembering the Peplus.4
She of the Gorgon crest bade you eat some of this pancake, that we may row our vessels well.5
Take now these also. [Hands him the tripe.]
And what am I to do with these guts?
The goddess sent them you on purpose as belly-timber for the triremes;6 for she manifestly watches over the navy. Take and drink a mixture of three parts water and two parts wine. [He hands him a bowl of wine.]
O Jupiter, how sweet, and how well it bears the three!
For Tritogenia mixed it three to two.7
Accept now from me a slice of rich cheese-cake.
But from me the whole8 of this here cheese-cake.
(running to his basket). Well, you will have no means of giving1 hare’s flesh; but I shall.
Ah me! whence shall I have hare’s flesh? Soul of mine, now devise some low trick!
(holding up the basket). Do you see this, you poor wretch?
I care little. For, see! yonder2 people are coming to me!
Ambassadors with purses of money.
(looking round). Where? where?
What’s that to you? Won’t you let the foreigners alone? [Steals the hare’s flesh.] My little Demus, do you see the hare’s flesh which I am bringing to you?
Ah me, miserable! Unjustly have you filched away what was mine.
Aye, by Neptune,3 for you also did so to the prisoners at Pylos.
(laughing). Tell me, I entreat you; how did you contrive to steal it?
The device was the goddess’s—the theft mine.4
But I ran the hazard.
And I roasted it.
(to Cleon). Be off! For5 the thanks belong to him who served it up.
Ah me,6 unhappy! I shall be surpassed in impudence.
Why do you not decide, Demus, which of us two is the better man towards you and towards your belly?
By the use of what proof, pray, shall I appear to the audience to decide between you wisely?
I will tell you: go and seize upon my chest in silence, Edition: current; Page:  and examine what there is in it, and that of the Paphlagonian; and doubtless you’ll judge rightly.
Come, let me see; what, then, is there in it?
(opening the chest). Do you not see that it is empty, dear little papa? for I have set all before you.
This chest is a friend of the people.
At any rate, walk this way also to that of the Paphlagonian. [Opens Cleon’s chest.] Do you see these?
Ah me, the number1 of good things with which it is filled! What a prodigious cheese-cake he has stowed away! while he cut off and gave me only this tiny bit.
Such things, however, he used to do aforetime also; he used to offer you a little of what he received, but used to set before himself the greater part.
O abominable fellow! did you deceive me then, in stealing these? “while I crowned you and2 made you presents.”
I stole for the good of the state.3
Quickly lay down the chaplet, that I may put it upon this man.
Lay it down quickly, you knave!4
Certainly not, since I have a Pythian oracle, which mentions by whom alone I must be conquered.
Aye, which mentions my name, and very distinctly.
Well now, I wish to examine you by a test, if in any wise you shall agree5 with the oracles of the god. And first I will inquire of you thus much: To what teacher’s school did you go when a child?
I was taught with cuffs in the singeing-pits.6
How say you? How7 the oracle affects my soul! Well—What style of wrestling did you learn in the school of the gymnastic-master?
When stealing,1 to forswear and look them in the face.
“O Phœbus,2 Lycian Apollo, what in the world will you do to me?” What trade had you when come to man’s estate?
I sold sausages, and also3 wenched a little.
At the gates, where the dried fish is sold.
Ah me! the oracle of the god is accomplished! “Roll within this wretched man.”6 My chaplet, fare thee well! albeit7 I leave thee unwillingly. Some other one will take and possess thee: a greater thief he cannot be; more fortunate, perhaps, he may.8 [Exit Cleon.]
Hellenic Jove! thine is the prize of victory.
Oh hail, thou splendidly victorious! and remember that by my means you have become a man. And I ask you a trifling favour, that I may be your Phanus, secretary of indictments.9
Tell me, what is your name?
Agoracritus, for I was maintained by litigation in the market-place.
Then I commit myself to Agoracritus, and deliver up this here Paphlagonian.
Well now, Demus, I will tend you excellently, so that you confess that you have seen no man better than me for the city of the Gapenians.1 [Exeunt Demus and Agoracritus.]
What is more noble for people beginning, or for people concluding, than to sing of the drivers of swift steeds,2—and with willing heart to give no offence to Lysistratus, or Thumantis the homeless? For this fellow, O dear Apollo, ever hungers, touching thy quiver with copious tears at divine Delphi, so as not to be miserably poor.
To revile the wicked is in no wise invidious; but it is an honour to the good, if any consider3 rightly. If therefore the man, who must hear much abuse from me, had been known himself, I would not make mention of a man my friend.4 But now every one knows5 Arignotus, who knows Edition: current; Page:  either white, or the Orthian strain. He has, then, a brother, not akin to him in disposition, the vile Ariphrades.1 But he even prefers this vileness. Now he is not only vile—for I should not even have heard of him, if he had been only this, nor yet most villanous, but he has also invented something besides.2 For he employs himself in committing unheard-of obscenities, composing Polymnestean poems and associating with Oionichus.3 Whoever, therefore, does not detest such a fellow exceedingly, shall never drink out of the same cup with us.
Of a truth4 I have oftentimes been engaged in nightly meditations, and have sought whence in the world Cleonymus feeds poorly. For they say that he,5 feeding on the property of the rich, would not come forth from the cupboard; while the others nevertheless used6 to entreat him: “Come, lord, by thy knees, come forth and pardon the table.”
They say that the triremes came together for a conference with each other, and that one of them said, who was more advanced in years, “Have ye not heard, ye virgins, these doings in the city? They say that a certain person requires a hundred of us for Chalcedon, a rascally citizen, sour-tempered7 Hyperbolus.” And they say that this appeared to the others to be shameful and not to be borne, and that one of them said, who had not come nigh man: “Thou averter of ill, he Edition: current; Page:  shall certainly never rule over me; but if I must, I will here grow old, rotted by wood-worms. Neither shall he rule over Nauphante, daughter of Nauson; certainly not, ye gods, if indeed I also was constructed of fir and timbers! But if this content the Athenians, I move that we sail to the Theseum,1 or to the august goddesses,2 and sit as suppliants. For he shall not laugh at the city by being our commander. Nay, let him sail alone by himself to the crows, if he will, having launched the trays in which he used to sell his lamps. [Reenter Agoracritus.]
You must use words of good omen, and close the mouth, and abstain from evidence, and shut up the law-courts, in which this city delights; and the audience must chaunt the pæan at our new successes.
O thou light of sacred Athens, and protector of the islands, with what good news have you come, at which3 we should fill the streets with the steam of burnt sacrifice?
I have boiled down4 your Demus, and made him beautiful from being ugly.
Why, where is he now, O thou5 who inventest wondrous devices?
He is dwelling in the violet-crowned,6 the ancient Athens.
Would we could see him!7 What sort of a dress has he? What sort of a person has he become?
Such as when he used to mess with Aristides and Miltiades in olden time. Ye shall see him, for now there is a noise of the Propylæa getting opened. But shout aloud at Edition: current; Page:  the appearance of the ancient Athens, both wondrous, and much sung of, where the illustrious Demus dwells.
O sleek,1 and violet-crowned, and much to be envied Athens! show to us the monarch of Greece, and of this land. [Here the folding-doors of the Acropolis are thrown open, and Demus is seen sitting upon a throne, gorgeously dressed in the fashion of the Marathonian times, and in all the bloom of youth.]
Hail, thou king of the Grecians! We also rejoice with thee; for thou farest in a manner worthy of the city and of the trophy at Marathon.
O dearest of men, come hither, Agoracritus! How much good you have done me by having boiled me down!
I? But, my good friend, you do not know what sort of a person you were before, nor what you did: for otherwise you would consider me a god.
What5 did I before this, and what sort of a man was I? tell me.
In the first place, whenever any one said in the assembly, “Demus, I am your lover, and I love you, and care Edition: current; Page:  for you, and alone1 provide for you;” whenever any one used these preambles, you used to clap your wings and crow, and hold your head high.
And then in return for this, he cheated you and went off.
What do you say? Did they treat me thus, and I not perceive it?
Aye, by Jove, and your ears used to be opening and shutting again, just like a parasol.
Had I become so senseless and doting?
And, by Jove, if two orators2 were speaking, the one recommending to build ships of war, the other, on the contrary, to spend this in paying the dicasts, the one who spoke of the pay, having outstripped the one who spoke of the triremes, used to go his way.3 Hollo you! Why do you hang down your head? Will you not remain in your place?
In truth I am ashamed at my former faults.
You were not to blame for this,—do not be concerned,—but those who deceived you in this. But4 now tell me: if any lick-spittle advocate should say, “You dicasts have no maintenance, if you will not decide against this suit.” Tell me; what will you do to this advocate?
I will raise him aloft and cast him into the Pit, having hung Hyperbolus about his neck.
This now you speak rightly and prudently.1 But in other respects, come, let me see, tell me how you will conduct the government.
In the first place, as many as row ships of war, to these I will pay their wages in full when they come into port.
You2 have bestowed a favour on many smooth-worn bottoms.
Secondly, no hoplite who has been enrolled in the list for service, shall be transferred to another list, through interest, but shall remain enrolled3 as he was at first.
This has stung Cleonymus’ buckler.
Nor shall any beardless fellow lounge in the market-place.
Where then shall Clisthenes4 and Strato lounge?
I mean these striplings in the perfume-market, who sit and chatter in this wise:—“Phæax5 is a clever fellow, and has learnt shrewdly. For he is cogent, and conclusive, and clever at coining maxims, and perspicuous, and forcible, and admirably adapted for checking the uproarious.”6
Are not you, then, adapted for7 kicking the babbling?
No, by Jove, but I will compel all these to go a hunting, having left off decrees.
On these conditions, then, take8 this here folding-stool, and a stout youth who shall carry it for you. And, if any where you choose, make a folding-stool of him.
Happy man, now I am reinstated in my pristine constitution!1
You will say so, when I give you the thirty years’ peace. Come hither, peace, quickly! [Enter a beautiful girl in the character of Peace.]
Much-honoured Jove, how beautiful! By the gods,2 is it permitted to enjoy her? Pray, how did you get her?
Did not the Paphlagonian conceal her within, that you might not get her? Now therefore I hand her over to you, to take with you into the country.
But tell me what mischief you will do to the Paphlagonian, who did this.
No great matter, except3 that he shall exercise my trade. He shall have the exclusive sale of sausages at the gates, mixing dogs’ with asses’ flesh; and when drunk he shall slang with the harlots, and shall drink the dirty water4 from the baths.
You have happily devised that of which he is worthy, to contend5 in bawling with the harlots and bath-men; and in return for this I invite you to the Prytaneum, and to the seat where that villain used to be. But take this here froggreen coat and follow! And let some one carry him out to exercise his trade,6 that the foreigners whom he maltreated may behold him! [Cleon is carried out, and exeunt omnes.]
Strepsiades, a wealthy cultivator of the soil in the district of Cicynna, has been reduced to poverty by the extravagance of his son. He has heard of the new and wonderful art of reasoning, by which the Sophists professed to make the worse appear the better cause; and hopes that, under the tuition of Socrates, he may attain to such skill and dexterity of arguing as will enable him to elude the actions for debt, with which he is threatened by his creditors. All attempts to make him acquainted with the subtleties of the new philosophy are found to be vain; and his son Phidippides is substituted in his stead, as a more hopeful pupil. The youth gives rapid proof of his proficiency, by beating his father, on their next interview, and then attempting to demonstrate to him that this proceeding is right and lawful. The eyes of the foolish old man are opened to the wickedness of the new doctrines, and the imposture of their professors. He sets fire to the school of Socrates; and the play ends, like most of our modern melodramas, with a grand conflagration. This comedy was first represented at the Great Festival of Bacchus, (March, bc 423,) when Aristophanes was beaten by Cratinus and Amipsias, through the intrigues of Alcibiades, who perceived himself aimed at in the character of Phidippides. Aristophanes was now in his twenty-first year. In consequence of this defeat, he prepared a second edition, which, we are told, was exhibited with an equal want of success the following year. But it is now well ascertained that the play we now have was the original first edition, with a new Address, and a few other unimportant alterations perhaps, and that it was never completed for the stage. At all events, it mentions Cleon (vs. 591—594) as still living, who died in the summer of bc 422, while the Address quotes (vs. 553) he “Maricas” of Eupolis, which was not exhibited till bc 421.
Schlegel (Dramatic Lit. p. 156) remarks, “The most honourable testimony in favour of Aristophanes is that of the sage Plato, who transmitted the Clouds (this very play, in which, with the meshes of the sophists, philosophy itself, and even his master Socrates, was attacked) to Dionysius the elder, with the remark, that from it he would be best able to understand the state of things at Athens.”Edition: current; Page: 
[Scene—the interior of a sleeping apartment: Strepsiades, Phidippides, and two servants are seen in their beds: a small house is seen at a distance. Time—midnight.]
Ah me! ah me! O king Jupiter, of what a terrible length the nights are!1 Will it never be day? And yet2 long since I heard the cock. My domestics are snoring; but they would not have done so heretofore! May you perish then, O war! for many reasons; because I may not even punish my domestics.3 Neither does this excellent youth awake through the night; but takes his ease, wrapped up in five blankets. Well, if it is the fashion, let us snore wrapped up. [Lies down, and then almost immediately starts up again.]Edition: current; Page: 
But I am not able, miserable man, to sleep, being tormented by my expenses, and my stud of horses, and my debts, through this son of mine. He with his long hair,1 is riding horses and driving curricles, and dreaming of horses; while I am driven to distraction, as I see the moon2 bringing on the twentieths; for the interest is running on.—Boy! light a lamp, and bring forth my tablets, that I may take them and read to how many I am indebted, and calculate the interest. [Enter boy with a light and tablets.] Come, let me see; what do I owe? Twelve minæ to Pasias. Why3 twelve minæ to Pasias? Why did I borrow them? When I bought the blood-horse.4 Ah me, unhappy! Would that it had had its eye knocked5 out with a stone first!
(talking in his sleep). You are acting unfairly, Philo!6 Drive on your own course.
This7 is the bane which has destroyed me; for even in his sleep he dreams about horsemanship.
How8 many courses will the war-chariots run?
Many courses do you drive me, your father.—But what debt9 came upon me after Pasias? Three minæ to Amynias for a little chariot and pair of wheels.
Lead the horse home, after having given him a good rolling.
O foolish youth, you have rolled me out of my possessions; since I have been cast in suits, and others say that they will have surety given them for the interest.
(awaking). Pray, father, why are you peevish, and toss about the whole night?
A bailiff1 out of the bed-clothes is biting me.
Suffer me, good sir, to sleep a little.
Then, do you sleep on; but know that all these debts will turn on your head. [Phidippides falls asleep again.] Alas! would that the match-maker2 had perished miserably, who induced me to marry your mother. For a country life used to be most agreeable to me, dirty, untrimmed, reclining at random, abounding in bees, and sheep, and oil-cake. Then I, a rustic, married a niece of Megacles, the son of Megacles, from the city, haughty, luxurious, and Cœsyrafied.3 When I married her, I lay with her redolent of new wine, of the cheese-crate, and abundance of wool; but she, on the contrary, of ointment, saffron, wanton-kisses, extravagance, gluttony, and of Colias and Genetyllis.4 I will not indeed say that she was idle; but she wove. And I used to show her this cloak by way of pretext, and say, “Wife, you weave at a great rate.” [Servant re-enters.]
We have no oil in the lamp.
Ah me! why did you light the thirsty5 lamp? Come hither, that you may weep!
For what, pray, shall I weep?
Because you put in one of the thick wicks. [Ser vant runs out.]—After this, when this son was born to us, to me, forsooth, and to my excellent wife, we squabbled then about the name: for she was for adding ἵππος to the name, Xanthippus,1 or Charippus, or Callippides; but I was for giving him the name of his grandfather, Phidonides. For a time therefore we disputed; and then at length we agreed, and called him Phidippides.2 She used to take this son and fondle him, saying, “When you, being grown up, shall drive your chariot to the city, like Megacles, with a xystis.”3 But I used to say, “Nay, rather, when dressed in a leathern jerkin, you shall drive your goats from Phelleus, like your father.” He paid no attention to my words, but4 poured a horse-fever over my property. Now therefore, by meditating the whole night, I have discovered one path for my course extraordinarily excellent; to which if I persuade this youth, I shall be saved. But first I wish to awake him. How then can I awake him in the most agreeable manner?—How? Phidippides, my little Phidippides?
Kiss me, and give me your right hand!
There. What’s the matter?
Tell me, do you love me?
Yes, by this Equestrian Neptune.5
Nay, do not by any means mention this Equestrian to me, for this god is the author of my misfortunes. But, if you really love me from your heart, my son, obey me.
In what then, pray, shall I obey you?
Reform your habits as quickly as possible; and go and learn what I advise.
Tell me now, what do you prescribe?
And will you obey me at all?
By Bacchus, I will obey you.
Look this way then! Do you see this little door and little house?
I see it. What then, pray, is this, father?
This is a thinking-shop1 of wise spirits. There dwell men who in speaking of the heavens persuade people that it is an oven, and that it encompasses us, and that we are the embers. These men teach, if one give them money,2 to conquer in speaking, right or wrong.
Who are they?
I do not know the name accurately. They are minute-philosophers,3 noble and excellent.
Bah! they are rogues; I know them. You mean the quacks, the pale-faced wretches, the bare-footed fellows, of whose number are the miserable Socrates and Chærephon.4
Hold! hold! be silent! Do not say any thing foolish. But, if you have any concern for your father’s patrimony, become one of them, having given up your horsemanship.5
I would not, by Bacchus, if even you were to give me the pheasants6 which Leogoras rears!
Go, I entreat you, dearest of men, go and be taught.
Why, what shall I learn?
They say, that among them are both the two causes,—the better cause, whichever that is, and the worse: they say, that the one of these two causes, the worse, prevails, though it speaks on the unjust side. If therefore you learn for me this unjust cause, I would not pay to any one, not even an obolous of these debts, which I owe at present on your account.
I cannot comply; for I should not dare to look upon the Knights, having lost all my colour.
Then, by Ceres, you shall not eat any of my goods! neither you, nor your draught-horse, nor your blood-horse;1 but I will drive you out of my house to the crows.
My uncle Megacles will not permit me to be without a horse. But I’ll go in, and pay no heed to you.2 [Exit Phidippides.]
Though fallen, still I will not lie prostrate: but having prayed to the gods, I will go myself to the thinkingshop and get taught. How then, being an old man, and having a bad memory, and dull of comprehension, shall I learn the subtleties of refined disquisitions?—I must go. Why thus do I loiter and not knock at the door? [Knocks at the door.] Boy! little boy!
(from within). Go to the devil! Who is it that knocked at the door?
Strepsiades,1 the son of Phidon, of Cicynna.
You are a stupid fellow, by Jove! who have kicked against the door so very carelessly, and have caused the miscarriage2 of an idea which I had conceived.
Pardon me; for I dwell afar in the country.3 But tell me the thing which has been made to miscarry.
It is not lawful to mention it, except to disciples.
Tell it, then, to me without fear; for I here am come4 as a disciple to the thinking-shop.
I will tell you; but you must regard these as mysteries. Socrates lately asked Chærephon about5 a flea, how many of its own feet it jumped; for after having bit the eyebrow of Chærephon, it leapt away on to the head of Socrates.
How, then, did he measure this?
Most cleverly. He melted some wax, and then took the flea and dipped its feet in the wax; and then a pair of Persian slippers stuck to it when cooled. Having gently loosened these, he measured back the distance.
O king Jupiter! what6 subtlety of thought!
What then would you say, if you heard another contrivance of Socrates?
Of what kind? Tell me, I beseech you!
Chærephon the Sphettian asked him whether he thought gnats buzzed through the mouth or the breech.
What, then, did he say about the gnat?
He said the intestine of the gnat was narrow, and that the wind went forcibly through it, being slender, straight to the breech; and then that the rump, being hollow where it is adjacent to the narrow part, resounded through the violence of the wind.
The rump of gnats then is a trumpet! O thrice happy he for his sharp-sightedness!1 Surely a defendant might easily get acquitted, who understands the intestine of the gnat.
But he was lately deprived of a great idea by a lizard.
In what way? Tell me.
As he was investigating the courses of the moon, and her revolutions, then as he was gaping upwards, a lizard in the darkness dunged upon him from the roof.
I am amused at a lizard’s having dunged on Socrates.
Yesterday evening there was no supper for us.
Well. What then did he contrive for provisions?
He sprinkled fine ashes on the table, and bent a little spit, and then took it as a pair of compasses and filched a cloak from the Palæstra.2
Why then do we admire that Thales?3 Open, open quickly the thinking-shop, and show to me Socrates as quickly as possible. For I desire to be a disciple. Come, open the door.—[The door of the Thinking-shop opens, and the pupils of Socrates are seen all with their heads fixed on the ground, while Socrates himself is seen suspended in the air in a basket.] Edition: current; Page:  O Hercules, from what country are these wild beasts?
What do you wonder at? To what do they seem to you to be like?
To the Spartans, who were taken at Pylos.1 But why in the world do these look upon the ground?
They are in search of the things below the earth.
Then they are searching for roots. Do not, then, trouble yourselves about this; for I know where there are large and fine ones. Why, what are these doing,2 who are bent down so much?
These are groping about in darkness3 under Tartarus.
Why then does their rump look towards heaven?
It is getting taught astronomy alone by itself. [Turning to the pupils.] But go in, lest he meet with us.
Not yet, not yet: but let them remain, that I may communicate to them a little matter of my own.
It is not permitted to them to remain without in the open air for a very long time. [The pupils retire.]
(discovering a variety of mathematical instruments). Why, what is this, in the name of heaven?4 Tell me.
This is Astronomy.
But what is this?
What then is the use of this?
To measure out the land.
What belongs to an allotment?
No, but the whole earth.
You tell me a clever notion; for the contrivance1 is democratic and useful.
(pointing to a map). See, here’s a map of the whole earth. Do you see? this is Athens.
What say you? I don’t believe you; for I do not see the Dicasts2 sitting.
Be assured that this is truly the Attic territory.3
Why, where are my fellow-tribesmen of Cicynna?
Here they are. And Eubœa here, as you see, is stretched out a long way by the side of it to a great distance.
I know that; for it was stretched by us and Pericles.4 But where is Lacedæmon?
Where is it? Here it is.
How near it is to us! Pay great attention to this,5 to remove it very far from us.
By Jupiter, it is not possible.
Then you will weep for it. [Looking up and discovering Socrates.] Come, who is this man who is in the basket?
O Socrates! Come, you sir,6 call upon him loudly for me.
Nay, rather, call him yourself; for I have no leisure.1 [Exit disciple.]
Socrates! my little Socrates!
Why callest thou me, thou creature of a day?
First tell me, I beseech you, what you are doing.
I am walking in the air,2 and speculating about the sun.
And so you look down upon3 the gods from your basket, and not from the earth? if, indeed, it is so.
For I should never have rightly discovered things celestial, if I had not suspended the intellect, and mixed the thought in a subtle form with its kindred air. But if, being on the ground, I speculated from below on things above, I should never have discovered them. For4 the earth forcibly attracts to itself the meditative moisture. Water-cresses also suffer5 the very same thing.
What do you say?—Does meditation attract the moisture to the water-cresses? Come then, my little Socrates, descend to me, that you may teach me those things, for the sake of which I have come. [Socrates lowers himself and gets out of the basket.]
And for what did you come?
Wishing to learn to speak; for, by reason of usury, and most ill-natured creditors, I am pillaged and plundered, and have my goods seized for debt.
How did you get in debt without observing it?
A horse-disease consumed me,—terrible at eating. But teach me the other one of your two causes,6 that which Edition: current; Page:  pays nothing; and I will swear by the gods, I will pay down to you whatever reward you exact of me.
By what gods will you swear? for, in the first place, gods are not a current coin with us.
Do you wish to know clearly celestial matters, what they rightly are?
Yes, by Jupiter, if it be possible!
And to hold converse with the Clouds, our divinities?
By all means.
(with great solemnity). Seat yourself, then, upon the sacred couch.
Well, I am seated!
Take, then, this chaplet.
For what purpose a chaplet?—Ah me! Socrates, see that you do not sacrifice me like Athamas!3
No; we do all these to those who get initiated.
Then, what shall I gain, pray?
You shall become in oratory a tricky knave, a thorough4 rattle, a subtle speaker.—But keep quiet.
By Jupiter, you will not deceive me; for if I am besprinkled, I shall become fine flour.
It becomes the old man to speak words of good omen, and to hearken to my prayer.—O sovereign King, immeasurable Air, who keepest the earth suspended, and thou bright Æther, and ye august goddesses, the Clouds sending thunder and lightning, arise, appear in the air, O mistresses, to your deep thinker.
Not yet, not yet, till I wrap this around me, lest I be wet through. To think of my having come1 from home without even a cap, unlucky man!
Come then, ye highly honoured Clouds, for a display to this man.2 Whether ye are sitting upon the sacred snow-covered summits of Olympus, or in the gardens of father Ocean form a sacred dance with the Nymphs, or draw in golden pitchers the streams of the waters of the Nile,3 or inhabit the Mæotic lake, or the snowy rock of Mimas,4 hearken to our prayer, and receive the sacrifice, and be propitious to the sacred rites.5 [The following song is heard at a distance, accompanied by loud claps of thunder.]
Eternal Clouds! let us arise to view with our dewy, clear-bright nature, from loud-sounding father Ocean to the wood-crowned summits of the lofty mountains, in order that we may behold clearly the far-seen watch-towers, and the fruits, and the fostering sacred earth, and the rushing sounds of the divine rivers, and the roaring, loud-sounding sea; for the unwearied eye of Æther sparkles with glittering rays. Come, let us shake off the watery cloud from our immortal forms and survey the earth with far-seeing eye.
O ye greatly venerable Clouds, ye have clearly heard me when I called. [Turning to Strepsiades.] Did you hear the voice, and the thunder which bellowed at the same time, feared as a god?
I too worship you, O ye highly-honoured,6 and am Edition: current; Page:  inclined to fart in reply to the thundering, so much do I tremble at them and am alarmed. And whether it be lawful, or be not lawful, I have a desire just now to ease myself.
Don’t scoff,1 nor do what these poor-devil-poets do, but use words of good omen, for a great swarm of goddesses is in motion with their songs.
Ye rain-bringing virgins, let us come to the fruitful land of Pallas, to view the much-loved country of Cecrops abounding in brave men; where is reverence for sacred rites not to be divulged; where the house that receives the initiated is thrown open in holy mystic rites; and gifts to the celestial gods; and high-roofed temples, and statues; and most sacred processions in honour of the blessed gods; and well-crowned sacrifices to the gods, and feasts, at all seasons; and with the approach of spring the Bacchic festivity, and the rousings of melodious Choruses, and the loud-sounding music of flutes.
Tell me, O Socrates, I beseech you by Jupiter, who are these that have uttered this grand song? Are they some heroines?
By no means; but heavenly Clouds, great divinities to idle men;2 who supply us with thought, and argument, and intelligence, and humbug, and circumlocution, and ability to hoax, and comprehension.
On this account therefore my soul, having heard their voice, flutters, and already seeks to discourse subtilely, and to quibble about smoke, and having pricked a maxim3 with a little notion, to refute the opposite argument. So that now I eagerly desire, if by any means it be possible, to see them palpably.
Look, then, hither, towards Mount Parnes;4 for now I behold them descending gently.
Pray, where? Show me.
See! there they come in very great numbers1 through the hollows and thickets; there, obliquely.
What’s the matter? for I can’t see them.
By the entrance. [Enter Chorus.]
Now at length with difficulty I just see them.
Now at length you assuredly see them, unless you have your eyes running pumpkins.2
Yes, by Jupiter! O highly honoured Clouds, for now they cover all things.
Did you not, however, know, nor yet consider, these to be goddesses?
No, by Jupiter! but I thought them to be mist, and dew, and smoke.
For you do not know, by Jupiter, that these feed very many sophists, Thurian soothsayers, practisers of medicine, lazy-longhaired-onyx-ring-wearers,3 and song-twisters for the cyclic dances, and meteorological quacks. They feed idle people who do nothing, because such men celebrate them in verse.
For this reason, then, they introduced4 into their verses “the dreadful impetuosity of the moist whirling-bright clouds;”5 and “the curls of hundred-headed Typho;” and “the hard-blowing tempests;” and then, “aërial, moist;” “crooked-clawed birds, floating in air;” and “the showers of rain from dewy Clouds.” And then, in return for these, they swallow “slices of great, fine mullets,6 and bird’s-flesh of thrushes.”
Is it not just,1 however, that they should have their reward, on account of these?
Tell me, pray, if they are really Clouds, what ails them, that they resemble mortal women? For they are not such.
Pray, of what nature are they?
I do not clearly know: at any rate they resemble spread-out fleeces, and not women, by Jupiter! not a bit;2 for these have noses.
Answer, then, whatever I ask you.
Then say quickly what you wish.
Have you ever, when you looked up, seen a cloud3 like to a centaur, or a panther, or a wolf, or a bull?
By Jupiter, have I! But what of that?4
They become all things, whatever they please. And then, if they see a person with long hair, a wild one of these5 hairy fellows, like the son of Xenophantes, in derision of his folly, they liken themselves to centaurs.
Why, what, if they should see Simon, a plunderer of the public property, what do they do?
They suddenly become wolves, showing up his disposition.
For this reason, then, for this reason, when they yesterday saw Cleonymus the recreant, on this account they became stags, because they saw this most cowardly fellow.
And now too, because they saw Clisthenes, you observe, on this account they became women.
Hail therefore, O mistresses! And now, if ever ye did to any other, to me also utter a voice reaching to heaven, O all-powerful queens.
Hail, O ancient veteran, hunter after learned speeches! And thou, O priest of most subtle trifles! tell us what you require? For we would not hearken to any other of the present meteorological sophists, except to Prodicus;1 to him, on account of his wisdom and intelligence; and to you, because you walk proudly in the streets, and cast your eyes askance, and endure many hardships with bare feet, and in reliance upon us lookest supercilious.2
O earth, what a voice! how holy, and dignified, and wondrous!
For, in fact, these alone are goddesses; and all the rest is nonsense.
But come, by the Earth, is not Jupiter,3 the Olympian, a god?
What4 Jupiter? Do not trifle. There is no Jupiter.
What do you say? Who rains, then? For first of all explain this to me.
These, to be sure. I will teach you it by powerful evidence. Come, where have you ever seen him raining at any time without Clouds? And yet he ought to rain in fine weather, and these to be absent.
By Apollo, of a truth you have rightly confirmed this by your present argument. And yet, before this, I really thought that Jupiter pissed through a sieve. Tell me who it is that thunders. This makes me tremble.
These, as they roll, thunder.
In what way? you all-daring man!1
When2 they are full of much water, and are compelled to be borne along, being necessarily precipitated when full of rain, then they fall heavily upon each other and burst and clap.
Who is it that compels them to be borne along? is it not Jupiter?
By no means, but æthereal Vortex.
Vortex? It had escaped my notice3 that Jupiter did not exist, and that Vortex now reigned in his stead. But you have taught me nothing as yet concerning the clap and the thunder.
Have you not heard me, that I said that the Clouds, when full of moisture, dash against each other, and clap by reason of their density?
Come, how am I to believe this?
I’ll teach you from your own case. Were you ever, after being stuffed with broth at the Panathenaïc festival, then disturbed in your belly, and did a tumult suddenly rumble through it?
Yes, by Apollo, and immediately the little broth plays the mischief with me, and is disturbed, and rumbles like thunder, and grumbles dreadfully: at first gently pappax, pappax; and then it adds papapappax; and when I go to stool, it thunders downright papapappax, as they do.
Consider, therefore, how you have trumpeted from a little belly so small: and how is it not probable that this air, being boundless, should thunder loudly?
For this reason, therefore, the two names also, Trump and Thunder, are similar to each other. But teach me this, whence comes the thunderbolt blazing with fire, and Edition: current; Page:  burns us to ashes when it smites us, and singes those who survive. For indeed Jupiter evidently hurls this at the perjured.
Why, how then, you foolish person, and savouring of the dark ages and antediluvian, if his manner is to smite the perjured, does he not blast Simon, and Cleonymus, and Theorus? And yet they are very perjured. But he smites his own temple, and Sunium, the promontory of Athens,1 and the tall oaks. Wherefore? for indeed an oak does not commit perjury.
I do not know; but you seem to speak well. For what, pray, is the thunderbolt?
When a dry wind, having been raised aloft, is enclosed in these Clouds, it inflates them within, like a bladder; and then, of necessity, having burst them, it rushes out with vehemence by reason of its density, setting fire to itself through its rushing and impetuosity.
By Jupiter, of a truth I once experienced this exactly at the Diasian festival! I was roasting a haggis for my kinsfolk, and then through neglect I did not cut it open; but it became inflated, and then suddenly bursting, befouled my very eyes with dung, and burnt my face.2
O mortal, who hast desired great wisdom from us! How happy will you become amongst the Athenians and amongst the Greeks, if you be possessed of a good memory, and be a deep thinker, and endurance of labour be implanted in your soul, and you be not wearied either by standing or walking, nor be exceedingly vexed at shivering with cold, nor long to break your fast, and you refrain from wine, and gymnastics, and the other follies, and consider this the highest excellence, as is proper a clever man should, to conquer by action and counsel, and by battling with your tongue.
As far as regards a sturdy spirit,3 and care that makes one’s bed uneasy, and a frugal and hard-living and savory-eating belly, be of good courage and don’t trouble Edition: current; Page:  yourself. I would offer myself to hammer on,1 for that matter.
Will you not,2 pray, now believe in no god, except what we believe in—this Chaos, and the Clouds, and the Tongue—these three?
Absolutely I would not even converse with the others, not even if I met them; nor would I sacrifice to them, nor make libations, nor offer frankincense.
Tell us then boldly, what we must do for you! for you shall not fail in getting it, if you honour3 and admire us, and seek to become clever.
O mistresses, I request of you then this very small favour, that I be the best of the Greeks in speaking by4 a hundred stadia.
Well, you shall have this from us, so that henceforward from this time no one shall get more opinions passed in the public assemblies than you.
Grant me not to deliver important opinions; for I do not desire these, but only5 to pervert the right for my own advantage, and to evade my creditors.
Then you shall obtain what you desire; for you do not covet great things. But commit yourself without fear to our ministers.
I will do so in reliance upon you, for necessity oppresses me, on account of the blood-horses, and the marriage which ruined me. Now, therefore, let them use me as they please. I give up this my body to them to be beaten, to be hungered, to be troubled with thirst, to be squalid, to shiver with cold, to flay into a leathern bottle,6 if I shall escape clear Edition: current; Page:  from my debts, and appear to men to be bold, glib of tongue, audacious, impudent, shameless, a fabricator of falsehoods, inventive of words, a practised knave in lawsuits, a law-tablet, a thorough rattle, a fox, a sharper, a slippery knave, a dissembler, a slippery fellow, an impostor, a gallows-bird,1 a blackguard, a twister, a troublesome fellow, a licker-up of hashes. If they call me this, when they meet me, let them do to me absolutely what they please. And if they like, by Ceres, let them serve up a sausage out of me to the deep thinkers.
This man has a spirit not void of courage, but prompt. Know, that if2 you learn these matters from me, you will possess amongst mortals a glory as high as heaven.
What shall I experience?
You shall pass with me the most enviable of mortal lives the whole time.
Shall I then ever see this?
Yea, so that many be always seated at your gates, wishing to communicate with you and come to a conference with you, to consult with you as to actions and affidavits of many talents, as is worthy of your abilities.3 [To Socrates.] But attempt to teach the old man by degrees whatever you purpose, and scrutinize his intellect, and make trial of his mind.
Come now, tell me your own turn of mind; in order that, when I know of what sort it is, I may now, after this, apply to you new engines.4
What? By the gods, do you purpose to besiege me?
No; I wish to briefly learn from you if you are possessed of a good memory.
In two ways, by Jove. If any thing be owing to Edition: current; Page:  me, I have a very good memory; but if I owe, unhappy man, I am very forgetful.
Is the power of speaking, pray, implanted in your nature?
Speaking is not in me, but cheating is.
How, then, will you be able to learn?
Excellently, of course.
Come, then, take care that,1 whenever I propound any clever dogma about abstruse matters, you catch it up immediately.
What then? Am I to feed upon wisdom like a dog?
This man is ignorant and brutish. I fear, old man, lest you will need blows.2 Come, let me see; what do you do if any one beat you?
I take the beating;3 and then, when I have waited a little while, I call witnesses to prove it; then, again, after a short interval, I go to law.
Come then, lay down your cloak.
Have I done any wrong?
No; but it is the rule to enter naked.
But I do not enter to search for stolen goods.
Lay it down. Why do you talk nonsense?
Now tell me this, pray. If I be diligent and learn zealously, to which of your disciples shall I become like?
You will no way differ from Chærephon in intellect.4
Ah me, unhappy! I shall become half-dead.
Don’t5 chatter; but quickly follow me hither with smartness.
Then give me first into my hands a honeyed6 cake; for I am afraid of descending within, as if into the cave of Trophonius.
Proceed; why do you keep poking about the door? [Exeunt Socrates and Strepsiades.]
Well, go in peace, for the sake of this your valour. May prosperity attend the man, because, being advanced into the vale of years, he imbues his intellect with modern subjects, and cultivates wisdom! [Turning to the audience.]
Spectators,1 I will freely declare to you the truth, by Bacchus, who nurtured me! So may I conquer,2 and be accounted skilful, as that, deeming you to be clever spectators, and this to be the cleverest of my comedies,3 I thought proper to let you first taste that comedy, which gave me the greatest labour. And then I retired from the contest4 defeated by vulgar fellows, though I did not deserve it. These things, therefore, I object to you, a learned audience, for whose sake I was expending this labour. But not even thus will I ever willingly desert the discerning5 portion of you. For since what time my Modest Man and my Rake6 were very highly praised here by an audience, with whom it is a pleasure even to hold converse, and I (for I was still a virgin, and it was not lawful for me as yet to have children) exposed my offspring, and another girl took it up and owned it, and you generously reared and educated it, from this time7 I have had Edition: current; Page:  sure pledges of your good-will towards me. Now, therefore, like that well-known Electra,1 has this comedy come seeking, if haply it meet with an audience so clever, for it will recognise, if it should see, the lock of its brother. But see how modest she is by nature, who, in the first place, has come, having stitched to her no leathern phallus hanging down, red at the top, and thick, to set the boys a laughing; nor yet jeered the bald-headed,2 nor danced the cordax; nor3 does the old man who speaks the verses beat the person near him with his staff, keeping out of sight wretched ribaldry; nor has she rushed in with torches, nor does she shout ἰοὺ, ἰού;4 but has come relying on herself and her verses.5 And I, although so excellent a poet, do not give myself airs, nor do I seek to deceive you by twice and thrice bringing forward the same pieces; but I am always6 clever at introducing new fashions, not at all resembling each other, and all of them clever: who struck Cleon in the belly when at the height of his power, and could not bear to attack him afterwards when he was down. But these scribblers, when once Hyperbolus has given them a handle, keep ever trampling on this wretched man and his mother. Eupolis, indeed, first of all craftily introduced Edition: current; Page:  his Maricas, having basely, base fellow, spoiled by altering my play of the Knights, having added to it, for the sake of the cordax, a drunken old woman, whom Phrynichus long ago poetized, whom the whale was for devouring. Then again Hermippus made verses on Hyperbolus; and now all others press hard upon Hyperbolus, imitating my simile of the eels.1 Whoever, therefore, laughs at these, let him not take pleasure in my attempts; but if you are delighted with me and my inventions, in times to come you will seem to be wise.2
I first invoke,3 to join our choral band, the mighty Jupiter, ruling on high, the monarch of gods; and the potent master of the trident, the fierce upheaver of earth and briny sea; and our father of great renown, most august Æther, life-supporter of all; and the horse-guider, who fills the plain of the earth with exceeding bright beams, a mighty deity among gods and mortals.
Most clever spectators, come, give us your attention; for having been injured, we blame you to your faces. For though we benefit the state most of all the gods, to us alone of deities you do not offer sacrifice nor yet pour libations, who watch over you. For if there should be any expedition with no prudence, then we either thunder or drizzle small rain. And then, when you were for choosing as your general the Paphlagonian tanner, hateful to the gods, we contracted our brows and were enraged; and thunder4 burst through the lightning, and the moon forsook her usual paths; and the sun immediately drew in his wick to himself, and declared he would not give you light, if Cleon should be your general. Edition: current; Page:  Nevertheless you chose him. For they say that ill counsel is in this city; that the gods, however, turn all these your mismanagements1 to a prosperous issue. And how this also shall be advantageous, we will easily teach you. If you should convict the cormorant Cleon of bribery and embezzlement, and then make fast his neck in the stocks, the affair will turn out for the state to the ancient form again, if you have mismanaged in any way, and to a prosperous issue.2
Hear me3 again, king Phœbus, Delian Apollo, who inhabitest the high-peaked Cynthian rock! and thou, blest goddess, who inhabitest the all-golden house of Ephesus, in which Lydian damsels greatly reverence thee; and thou, our national goddess, swayer of the ægis, Minerva, guardian of the city! and thou, reveller Bacchus, who, inhabiting the Parnassian rock, sparklest with torches, conspicuous among the Delphic Bacchanals!
When we had got ready to set out hither, the Moon met us, and commanded us first to greet the Athenians and their allies; and then declared that she was angry; for that she had suffered dreadful things, though she benefits you all, not in words, but openly. In the first place, not less than a drachma4 every month for torches; so that also all, when they went out of an evening, were wont to say, “Boy, don’t buy a torch, for the moonlight is beautiful.” And she says she confers other benefits on you, but that you do not observe the days at all correctly, but confuse them up and down; so that she says the gods are constantly threatening her, when they are defrauded of their dinner, and depart home not having met with the regular feast according to the number of the days. And then, when you ought to be sacrificing, you are inflicting tortures and litigating. And often, while we gods are observing a fast, when we mourn for Memnon or Edition: current; Page:  Sarpedon, you are pouring libations and laughing. For which reason Hyperbolus, having obtained by lot this year to be Hieromnemon, was afterwards deprived by us gods of his1 crown: for thus he will know better that he ought to spend the days of his life according to the Moon. [Enter Socrates.]
By Respiration, and Chaos, and Air, I have not seen any man so boorish, nor so impracticable, nor so stupid, nor so forgetful; who, while learning some little petty quibbles, forgets them before he has learnt them. Nevertheless I will certainly call him out here to the light.2 Where is Strepsiades? come forth with your couch.
(from within). The bugs do not permit me to bring it forth.
Make haste and lay it down; and give me your attention. [Enter Strepsiades.]
Come now; what do you now wish to learn first of those things in none of which you have ever been instructed? Tell me. About measures, or rhythms, or verses?
I should prefer to learn about measures; for it is but lately I was cheated out of two chœnices by a meal-huckster.
I do not ask you this, but which you account the most beautiful measure; the trimeter or the tetrameter?
I think nothing superior to the semisextarius.3
You talk nonsense, man.
Make a wager then with me,4 if the semisextarius be not a tetrameter.
Go to the devil! how boorish you are and dull of learning! Perhaps you may be able to learn about rhythms.
But what good will rhythms do me for a living?
In the first place, to be clever at an entertainment, understanding what rhythm is for the war-dance, and what, again, according to the dactyle.
According to the dactyle? By Jove, but I know it.
Tell me, pray.
What else but this finger? Formerly, indeed, when I was yet a boy, this here!
You are boorish and stupid.
For I do not desire, you wretch, to learn any of these things.
That, that, the most unjust cause.
But you must learn other things before these: namely, what quadrupeds are properly masculine.
I know the males, if I am not mad:—κϱιὸς, τράγος, ταῦρος, κύων, ἀλεκτϱυών.1
Do you see what you are doing? You are calling both the female and the male ἀλεκτϱυὼν in the same way.
How, pray? come, tell me.
How?2 The one with you is ἀλεκτϱυὼν, and the other is ἀλεκτϱυὼν also.
Yea, by Neptune! how now ought I to call them?
The one ἀλεκτϱύαινα, and the other ἀλέκτωϱ.
Ἀλεκτϱύαινα? Capital, by the Air! So that, in return for this lesson alone, I will fill your κάϱδοπος full of barley-meal on all sides.
See! see!3 there again’s another blunder! You make κάϱδοπος, which is feminine, to be masculine.
In what way do I make κάρδοπος masculine?
Most assuredly; just as if you were to say Κλεώνυμος.
How, pray? Tell me.
Κάϱδοπος with you is tantamount to Κλεώνυμος.
Good sir, Cleonymus had no kneading-trough, but Edition: current; Page:  kneaded his bread in a round mortar.1 How ought I to call it henceforth?
How? Call it καρδόπη, as you call Σωστράτη.
Καρδόπη, in the feminine?
For so you speak it rightly.
But that would make it καρδόπη, Κλεωνύμη.
You must learn one thing more about names, what are masculine, and what of them are feminine.
I know what are female.
Tell me, pray.
Lysilla, Philinna, Clitagora, Demetria.
What names are masculine?
Thousands: Philoxenus, Melesias, Amynias.
But, you wretch! these are not masculine.
Are they not males with you?
By no means: for how would you call to Amynias,2 if you met him?
How would I call? Thus: “Come hither, come hither, Amynia!”
Do you see? you call Amynias a woman.
Is it not then with justice, who does not serve in the army?3 But why should I learn these things, which we all know?
It is no use, by Jupiter! Having reclined yourself down here—
What must I do?
Think out some of your own affairs.
Not here, pray, I beseech you; but, if I must, suffer me to excogitate these very things on the ground.
There is no other way.1 [Exit Socrates.]
Unfortunate man that I am! what a penalty shall I this day pay to the bugs!2
Now meditate3 and examine closely; and roll yourself about in every way, having wrapped yourself up; and quickly, when you fall into a difficulty, spring to another mental contrivance. But let delightful sleep be absent from your eyes.
What ails you? why are you distressed?
Wretched man, I am perishing! The Corinthians,4 coming out from the bed, are biting me, and devouring my sides, and drinking up my life-blood, and tearing away my testicles, and digging through my breech, and will5 annihilate me.
Do not now be very grievously distressed.
Why, how, when my money is gone, my complexion gone, my life gone, and my slipper gone? And furthermore in addition to these evils, with singing the night-watches,6 I am almost gone myself. [Re-enter Socrates.]
Ho you! what are you about? Are you not meditating?
I? Yea, by Neptune!
And what, pray, have you thought?
Whether any bit of me will be left by the bugs.
You will perish most wretchedly.
But, my good friend, I have already perished.
You must not give in, but must wrap yourself up; for you have to discover a device for abstracting, and a means of cheating. [Walks up and down while Strepsiades wraps himself up in the blankets.]
Ah me! would, pray, some one would throw over me a swindling contrivance from the sheep-skins.1
Come now; I will first see this fellow, what he is about. Ho you! are you asleep?
No; by Apollo, I am not!
Have you got any thing?
No; by Jupiter, certainly not!
Nothing at all?
Nothing, except what I have in my right hand.
Will you not quickly cover yourself up, and think of something?
About what? for do you tell me this, O Socrates!
Do you, yourself, first find out and state what you wish.
You have heard a thousand times what I wish. About the interest; so that I may pay no one.
Come then, wrap yourself up, and having given your mind play2 with subtilty, revolve your affairs by little and little, rightly distinguishing and examining.
Ah me, unhappy man!
Keep quiet; and if you be puzzled in any one of your conceptions, leave it and go; and then set your mind in motion again, and lock it up.1
(in great glee). O dearest little Socrates!
What, old man?
I have got a device for cheating them of the interest.
Now tell me this, pray; if I were to purchase a Thessalian witch, and draw down the moon by night, and then shut it up, as if it were a mirror, in a round crest-case, and then carefully keep it—
What good, pray, would this do you?
What? If the moon were to rise no longer any where, I should not pay the interest.
Why so, pray?
Because the money is lent out by the month.
Capital! But I will again propose to you another clever question. If a suit of five talents should be entered against you, tell me how you would obliterate it.
How? how? I do not know; but I must seek.
Do not then always revolve your thoughts about yourself; but slack away your mind into the air, like a cockchafer tied with a thread by the foot.
I have found a very clever method of getting rid of my suit, so that you yourself2 would acknowledge it.
Of what description?3
Have you ever seen this stone in the chemists’ shops, the beautiful and transparent one, from which they kindle fire?
Do you mean the burning-glass?4
I do. Come, what would you say, pray, if I were to take this, when the clerk was entering the suit, and were to stand at a distance, in the direction of the sun, thus, and melt out the letters of my suit?
Cleverly done, by the Graces!
Oh! how I am delighted, that a suit of five talents has been cancelled!
Come now, quickly seize upon this.
How, when engaged in a lawsuit,1 you could overturn the suit, when you were about to be cast, because you had no witnesses.
Most readily and easily.
Tell me, pray.
Well now, I tell you. If, while one suit was still pending, before mine was called on, I were to run away and hang myself.
You talk nonsense.
By the gods would I! for no one will bring an action against me when I am dead.2
You talk nonsense. Begone; I can’t teach you any longer.
Why so?3 Yea, by the gods, O Socrates!
You straightway forget whatever you learn. For, what now was the first thing you were taught? Tell me.
Come, let me see: nay, what was the first?4 What Edition: current; Page:  was the first? Nay, what was the thing in which we knead our flour? Ah me! what was it?
Will you not pack off to the devil, you most forgetful and most stupid old man?
Ah me, what then, pray, will become of me, wretched man? For I shall be utterly undone, if I do not learn to ply the tongue. Come, oh, ye Clouds, give me some good advice.
We, old man, advise you, if you have a son grown up, to send him to learn in your stead.
Well, I have a fine handsome son, but he is not willing to learn. What must I do?1
But do you permit him?2
Yes, for he is robust in body, and in good health and is come of the high-plumed dames of Cœsyra. I will go for him, and if he be not willing, I will certainly drive him from my house. [To Socrates.] Go in and wait for me a short time. [Exit.]
Do you perceive that you are soon about to obtain the greatest benefits through us alone of the gods? For this man is ready to do every thing that you bid him. But you, while the man is astounded and evidently elated, having perceived it, will quickly fleece him to the best of your power.3 [Exit Socrates.] For matters of this sort are somehow accustomed to turn the other way. [Enter Strepsiades and Phidippides.]
By Mist,4 you certainly shall not stay here any longer! but go and gnaw the columns of Megacles.
My good sir, what is the matter with you, O father! You are not in your senses, by Olympian Jupiter!
See, see! “Olympian Jupiter!” What folly! To think of your believing in Jupiter,1 as old as you are!
Why, pray, did you laugh at this?
Reflecting that you are a child, and have antiquated notions. Yet, however, approach, that you may know more; and I will tell you a thing, by learning which2 you will be a man. But see that you do not teach this to any one.
Well, what is it?
You swore now by Jupiter.
Seest thou, then, how good a thing is learning? There is no Jupiter, O Phidippides!
Vortex reigns,3 having expelled Jupiter.
Bah! Why do you talk foolishly?
Be assured that it is so.
Who says this?
Socrates the Melian,4 and Chærephon, who knows the footmarks of fleas.
Have you arrived at such a pitch of phrensy,5 that you believe madmen?
Speak words of good omen, and say nothing bad of clever men and wise; of whom, through frugality, none ever shaved or anointed himself, or went to a bath to wash6 himself; while you squander my property in bathing, as if I Edition: current; Page:  were already dead. But go as quickly as possible and learn instead of1 me.
What good could2 any one learn from them?
What, really! Whatever wisdom there is amongst men. And you will know yourself, how ignorant3 and stupid you are. But wait for me here a short time. [Runs off.]
Ah me! what shall I do, my father being crazed? Shall I bring him into court and convict him of lunacy, or shall I give information of his madness to the coffin-makers? [Re-enter Strepsiades with a cock under one arm and a hen under the other.]
Come, let me see; what do you consider this to be? tell me.
Right. And what this?
Both the same? You are very ridiculous. Do not do so, then, for the future; but call this ἀλεκτρύαινα, and this one ἀλέκτωϱ.
Ἀλεκτρύαινα! Did you learn these clever things by going in just now to the Titans?4
And many others too; but whatever I learnt on each occasion I used to forget immediately, through length of years.
Is it for this reason, pray, you have also lost your cloak?
I have not lost it; but have studied it5 away.
What have you made of your slippers, you foolish man?
I have expended them, like Pericles,6 for needful Edition: current; Page:  purposes. Come, move, let us go. And then if you obey your father, go wrong if you like.1 I also know that I formerly obeyed you, a lisping child of six years old, and bought you a go-cart at the Diasia, with the first obolus I received from the Heliæa.2
You will assuredly some time at length3 be grieved at this.
It is well done of you that you obeyed. Come hither, come hither, O Socrates! come forth, for I bring to you this son of mine, having persuaded him against his will. [Enter Socrates.]
For he is still childish, and not used to the baskets here.
You would yourself be used4 to them if you were hanged.
A mischief take you! do you abuse your teacher?
“Were hanged” quoth ’a! how sillily he pronounced it, and with lips wide apart! How can this youth ever learn an acquittal from a trial or a legal summons, or persuasive5 refutation? And yet Hyperbolus learnt this at the cost of a talent.
Never mind; teach him. He is elever by nature. Indeed, from his earliest years, when he was a little fellow only so big, he was wont to form houses and carve ships within-doors, and make little waggons of leather, and make frogs out of pomegranate-rinds, you can’t think how cleverly.1 But see that he learns those two causes; the better, whatever it may be; and the worse, which, by maintaining what is unjust, overturns the better. If not both, at any rate the unjust one by all means.2
He shall learn it himself from the two causes in person.3 [Exit Socrates.]
I will take my departure. Remember this now, that he is to be able to reply to all just arguments. [Exit Strepsiades, and enter Just Cause and Unjust Cause.]
Go whither you please; for I shall far rather do for you, if I speak before a crowd.6
You destroy me? Who are you?7
Aye, the worse.
But I conquer you, who say that you are better than I.
By doing what clever trick?
By discovering new contrivances.
For these innovations flourish by the favour of these silly persons.1
No; but wise persons.
I will destroy you miserably.
Tell me, by doing what?
By speaking what is just.
But I will overturn them by contradicting them; for I deny that justice even exists at all.
Do you deny that it exists?
For come, where is it?
With the gods.
How then, if justice exists, has Jupiter not perished, who bound his own father?
Bah! this profanity now is spreading!2 Give me a basin.
You are a dotard and absurd.
You are debauched and shameless.
You have spoken roses of me.
And a dirty lickspittle.
You crown me with lilies.
And a parricide.
You don’t know that you are sprinkling me with gold.
Certainly not so formerly, but with lead.3
But now this is an ornament to me.
You are very impudent.4
And you are antiquated.
And through you, no one of our youths is willing to Edition: current; Page:  go to school; and you will be found out some time or other by the Athenians, what sort of doctrines you teach the simple-minded.
You are shamefully squalid.
Oh, the wisdom—
Oh, the madness—
Which you have mentioned.
And of your city, which supports you who ruin her youths.
You shan’t teach this youth, you old dotard.3
Yes, if he is to be saved, and not merely to practise loquacity.
(to Phidippides). Come hither, and leave him to rave.
You shall howl, if you lay your hand on him.
Cease from contention and railing. But show to us, you, what you used to teach the men of former times, and you, the new system of education; in order that, having heard you disputing, he may decide and go to the school of one or the other.
I am willing to do so.
I also am willing.
Come now, which of the two shall speak first?
I will give him the precedence; and then, from these things which he adduces, I will shoot him dead with new words and thoughts. And at last, if he mutter, he shall be destroyed, being stung in his whole face and his two eyes by my maxims, as if by bees.
Now the two, relying on very dexterous arguments and thoughts, and sententious maxims, will show which of them shall appear superior in argument. For now the whole Edition: current; Page:  crisis of wisdom1 is here laid before them; about which my friends have a very great contest. But do you, who adorned our elders with many virtuous manners, utter the voice in which you rejoice, and declare your nature.
I will, therefore, describe the ancient system of education, how it was ordered, when I flourished in the advocacy of justice, and temperance was the fashion. In the first place it was incumbent that no one should hear the voice of a boy uttering a syllable; and next, that those from the same quarter of the town should march in good order through the streets to the school of the Harp-master, naked, and in a body, even if it were to snow as thick as meal. Then again, their master2 would teach them, not sitting cross-legged, to learn by rote a song, either “Παλλάδα3 περσέπολιν δεινὰν,” or “τηλέποϱόν τι βόαμα,” raising to a higher pitch4 the harmony which our fathers transmitted to us. But if any of them were to play the buffoon, or turn any quavers, like these difficult turns the present artists make after the manner of Phrynis,5 he used to be thrashed, being beaten with many blows,6 as banishing the Muses. And it behoved the boys, while sitting in the school of the Gymnastic-master, to cover7 the thigh, so that they might exhibit nothing Edition: current; Page:  indecent to those outside; then, again, after rising from the ground, to sweep the sand together, and to take care not to leave an impression of the person for their lovers. And no boy used in those days to anoint himself below the navel: so that their bodies wore the appearance of blooming health. Nor used he to go to his lover, having made up his voice in an effeminate tone, prostituting himself with his eyes. Nor used it to be allowed when one was dining to take the head of a radish, or to snatch from their seniors dill or parsley, or to eat fish, or to giggle, or1 to keep the legs crossed.
Aye, antiquated and Dipolia-like, and full of grasshoppers, and of Cecydes,2 and of the Buphonian festival!
Yet certainly these are those principles by which my system of education nurtured the men who fought at Marathon. But you teach the men of the present day, from their earliest years, to be wrapped up in himatia; so that I am choked, when at the Panathenaia a fellow, holding his shield before his person, neglects Tritogenia, when they ought to dance. Wherefore, O youth, choose, with confidence, me, the better cause, and you will learn to hate the Agora, and to refrain from baths, and to be ashamed at what is disgraceful, and to be enraged if any one jeer you, and to rise up from seats before your seniors when they approach, and not to behave ill towards your parents, and to do nothing else that is base, because you are to form in your mind an image of Modesty:3 and not to dart into the house of a dancing woman, Edition: current; Page:  lest, while gaping after these things, being struck with an apple by a wanton, you should be damaged in your reputation: and not to contradict your father in any thing; nor by calling him Iapetus, to reproach him with the ills of age, by which you were reared in your infancy.
If you shall believe him in this, O youth, by Bacchus, you will be like the sons of Hippocrates,1 and they will call you a booby.
Yet certainly shall you spend your time in the gymnastic schools, sleek and blooming; not chattering in the market-place rude jests, like the youths of the present day; nor dragged into court for a petty suit, greedy, petty-fogging, knavish; but you shall descend to the Academy and run races beneath the sacred olives along with some modest compeer, crowned with white reeds, redolent of yew, and careless ease, and of leaf-shedding white poplar, rejoicing in the season of spring, when the plane-tree whispers to the elm. If you do these things which I say, and apply your mind to these, you will ever have a stout chest, a clear complexion, broad shoulders, a little tongue, large hips, little lewdness. But if you practise what the youths of the present day do, you will have, in the first place, a pallid complexion, small shoulders, a narrow chest, a large tongue, little hips, great lewdness, a long psephism; and this deceiver will persuade you to consider every thing that is base to be honourable, and what is honourable to be base; and, in addition to this, he will fill2 you with the lewdness of Antimachus.
O thou that practisest3 most renowned high-towering Edition: current; Page:  wisdom! how sweetly does a modest grace attend your words! Happy, therefore, were they who lived in those days, in the times of former men! In reply, then, to these, O thou that hast a dainty-seeming muse, it behoveth thee to say something new; since the man has gained renown. And it appears you have need of powerful arguments against him, if you are to conquer the man, and not incur laughter.
And yet I was choking in my heart, and was longing to confound all these with contrary maxims. For I have been called among the deep thinkers the “worse cause,” on this very account, that I first contrived how to speak against both law and justice: and this art is worth more than ten thousand staters,1 that one should choose the worse cause, and nevertheless be victorious. But mark how I will confute the system of education on which he relies, who says, in the first place, that he will not permit you to be washed with warm water. And yet, on what principle do you blame the warm baths?
Because it is most vile, and makes a man cowardly.
Stop! For immediately I seize and hold you by the waist without escape. Come, tell me, which of the sons of Jupiter do you deem to have been the bravest in soul, and to have undergone2 most labours?
I consider no man superior to Hercules.
Where, pray, did you ever see cold Heraclean baths? And yet, who was more valiant than he?
These are the very things which make the bath full of youths always chattering all day long, but the palæstras empty.
You next find fault with their living in the market-place; but I commend it. For if it had been bad, Homer would never have been for representing Nestor as an orator; nor all the other wise men. I will return, then, from thence to the tongue, which this fellow says our youths ought not to exercise, while I maintain they should. And, again, he says Edition: current; Page:  they ought to be modest: two very great evils. For tell me to whom you have ever seen any good accrue through modesty; and confute me by your words.
To many. Peleus,1 at any rate, received his sword on account of it.
A sword? Marry, he got a pretty piece of luck, the poor wretch! while Hyperbolus,2 he of the lamps, got more than many talents by his villany, but, by Jupiter, no sword!
And Peleus married Thetis, too, through his modesty.
And then she went off, and left him; for he was not lustful, nor an agreeable bed-fellow to spend the night with. Now a woman delights in being wantonly treated. But you are an old dotard. For (to Phidippides) consider, O youth, all that attaches to modesty, and of how many pleasures you are about to be deprived—of women, of games at cottabus, of dainties, of drinking-bouts, of giggling. And yet, what is life worth to you, if you be deprived of these enjoyments? Well, I will pass from thence to the necessities of our nature. You have gone astray, you have fallen in love, you have been guilty of some adultery, and then have been caught. You are undone, for you are unable to speak. But if you associate with me, indulge your inclination, dance, laugh, and think nothing disgraceful. For if you should happen to be detected as an adulterer, you will make this reply to him, “that you have done him no injury:” and then refer him to Jupiter,3 how Edition: current; Page:  even he is overcome by love and women. And yet, how could you, who are a mortal, have greater power than a god?
But what, if he should suffer the radish through obeying you, and be depillated with hot ashes? What argument will he be able to state, to prove that he is not a blackguard?
And if he be a blackguard, what harm will he suffer?
Nay, what could he ever suffer still greater than this?
What then will you say, if you be conquered by me in this.
I will be silent: what else can I do?
Come now, tell me; from what class do the advocates come?
From the blackguards.
I believe you. What then? from what class do the tragedians come?
From the blackguards.
You say well. But from what class do the public orators come?
From the blackguards.
Then have you perceived that you say nothing to the purpose? And look which class among the audience is the more numerous.
Well now, I’m looking.
What, then, do you see?
By the gods, the blackguards to be far more numerous. This fellow, at any rate, I know; and him yonder; and this fellow with the long hair.
What, then, will you say?
We are conquered. Ye blackguards, by the gods, receive my cloak,1 for I desert to you. [Exeunt the two Causes, and re-enter Socrates and Strepsiades.]
What then? Whether do you wish to take and lead away this your son, or shall I teach him to speak?
Teach him, and chastise him; and remember that Edition: current; Page:  you train him properly; on the one side able for petty suits; but train his other jaw able for the more important causes.
Make yourself easy; you shall receive him back a clever sophist.
Nay, rather, pale and wretched.1 [Exeunt Socrates, Strepsiades, and Phidippides.]
Go ye then:2 but I think that you will repent of these proceedings. We wish to speak about the judges, what they will gain, if at all they justly3 assist this Chorus. For in the first place, if you wish to plough up your fields in spring, we will rain for you first; but for the others afterwards. And then we will protect the fruits,4 and the vines, so that neither drought afflict them, nor excessive wet weather. But if any mortal dishonour us who are goddesses, let him consider what evils he will suffer at our hands, obtaining neither wine, nor any thing else from his farm. For when his olives and vines sprout, they shall be cut down; with such slings will we smite them. And if we see him making brick, we will rain; and we will smash the tiles of his roof with round hailstones. And if he himself, or any one of his kindred or friends, at any time marry, we will rain the whole night; so that he will probably wish rather to have been even in Egypt,5 than to have judged badly. [Enter Strepsiades with a meal-sack on his shoulder.]
The fifth, the fourth, the third, after this the second; and then, of all days what I most fear, and dread, and abominate, immediately after this there is the Old and New.1 For every one, to whom I happen to be indebted,2 swears, and says he will ruin and utterly destroy me, having made his deposits against me; though I only ask what is moderate and just,—“My good sir,3 one part don’t take just now; the other part put off, I pray; and the other part remit;” they say that thus they will never get back their money, but abuse me, as that I am unjust, and say that they will go to law with me. Now therefore let them go to law, for it little concerns me, if Phidippides has learned to speak well. I shall soon know by knocking at the thinking-shop. [Knocks at the door.] Boy, I say! Boy, boy! [Enter Socrates.]
Good morning,4 Strepsiades.
He has learned it.
Well done, O Fraud, all-powerful queen!
So that you can get clear off from whatever suit you please.
Even if witnesses were present when I borrowed the money?
Yea, much more! even if a thousand be present.
Then I will shout with a very loud shout:1 Ho! weep, you petty-usurers, both you and your principals, and your compound interests! for you can no longer do me any harm, because2 such a son is being reared for me in this house, shining with a double-edged tongue, my guardian, the preserver of my house, a mischief to my enemies, ending the sadness of the great woes of his father. Him do thou run and summon from within to me. [Socrates goes into the house.] O child! O son! come forth from the house! hear your father!3 [Re-enter Socrates leading in Phidippides.]
Lo, here is the man!
O my dear, my dear!
Take your son and depart. [Exit Socrates.]
Oh, oh, my child! Huzza!5 Huzza! how I am delighted at the first sight of your complexion! Now, indeed, you are, in the first place, negative and disputatious to look at, and this fashion native to the place plainly appears, the “What do you say?” and the seeming to be injured when, I well know, you are injuring and inflicting a wrong; and in your countenance there is the Attic look. Now, therefore, see that you save me, since you have also ruined me.
What, pray, do you fear?
The Old and New.
Why, is any day old and new?
Yes; on which they say that they will make their deposits against me.
Then those that have made them will lose them; for it is not possible that two days can be one day.6
Certainly not; unless1 the same woman can be both old and young at the same time.
And yet it is the law.
For they do not, I think, rightly understand what the law means.
And what does it mean?
The ancient Solon was by nature the commons’ friend.
This surely is nothing whatever to the Old and New.
He therefore made the summons for two days, for the Old and New, that the deposits might be made on the first of the month.
Why, pray, did he add the old day?
In order, my good sir, that the defendants, being present a day before, might compromise the matter of their own accord; but if not, that they might be worried on the morning of the new moon.
Why, then, do the magistrates not receive the deposits on the new moon, but on the Old and New?
They seem to me to do what the forestallers do: in order that they may appropriate the deposits as soon as possible, on this account they have the first pick by one day.
(turning to the audience). Bravo! ye wretches, why do you sit senseless, the gain of us wise2 men, being blocks, ciphers, mere sheep, jars heaped3 together? Wherefore I must sing an encomium upon myself and this my son, Edition: current; Page:  on account of our good fortune.—“O happy Strepsiades!1 how wise you are yourself, and how excellent is the son whom you are rearing!” my friends and fellow-tribesmen will say of me,2 envying me, when you prove victorious in arguing causes.—But first I wish to lead you in and entertain you. [Exeunt Strepsiades and Phidippides.]
(entering with his summons-witness). Then, ought a man to throw away any part of his own property? Never! but it were better then at once to put away blushes, rather than now to have trouble; since I am now dragging you to be a witness, for the sake of my own money; and further, in addition to this, I shall become an enemy to my fellow-tribesman. But never, while I live, will I disgrace my country, but will summon Strepsiades—
(from within). Who’s there? [Enter Strepsiades.]
For the Old and New.
I call you to witness, that he has named it for two days. For what matter do you summon me?
For the twelve minæ, which you received when you were buying the dapple-grey horse.
A horse?—Do3 you not hear? I, whom you all know to hate horsemanship!
And, by Jupiter, you swore by the gods too, that you would repay it.
Aye, by Jove! for then my Phidippides did not yet know the irrefragable argument.4
And do you now intend, on this account, to deny the debt!
Why, what good should I get else from his instruction?
And will you be willing to deny these upon oath of the gods?
Jupiter, Mercury, and Neptune.
Yes, by Jupiter! and would pay down, too, a three-obol piece besides to swear.
Then, may you perish some day,1 for your impudence!
This man2 would be the better for it, if he were cleansed by rubbing with salt.
Ah me, how you deride me!
He will contain six choæ.
By great Jupiter and the gods, you certainly shall not do this to me with impunity.
I like your gods amazingly; and Jupiter, sworn by, is ridiculous to the knowing ones.
You will assuredly suffer punishment some time or other, for this. But answer and dismiss me, whether you are going to repay me my money, or not.
Keep quiet now, for I will presently answer you distinctly. [Runs into the house.]
(to his summons-witness). What do you think he will do?
I think he will pay you. [Re-enter Socrates with a kneading-trough.]
Where is this man who asks me for his money? Tell me, what is this?
What this is? a κάϱδοπος.
And do you then ask me for your money, being such an ignorant person? I would not pay, not even an obolus, to any one who called the καρδόπη κάρδοπος.
Then won’t you pay me?
Not, as far as I know.1 Will you not then pack off as fast as possible from my door?
I will depart; and be assured of this, that I will make deposit against you, or may I live no longer!
Then you will lose it besides, in addition to your twelve minæ. And yet I do not wish you to suffer this, because you named the κάρδοπος foolishly. [Exeunt Pasias and witness, and enter Amynias.]
Ah me! ah me!2
Ha! whoever is this, who is lamenting? Surely it was not one of Carcinus’ deities that spoke.3
But why do you wish to know this, who4 I am?—a miserable man.
Then follow your own path.5
O harsh Fortune! O Fates, breaking the wheels of my horses! O Pallas, how you have destroyed me!
What evil, pray, has Tlepolemus ever done you?
Do not jeer me, my friend; but order6 your son to pay me the money which he received; especially as I have been unfortunate.
What money is this?
That which he borrowed.
Then you were really unlucky,7 as I think.
By the gods, I fell while driving my horses.
Why, pray, do you talk nonsense, as if you had fallen from an ass?8
Do I talk nonsense, if I wish to recover my money?
You can’t be in your senses yourself.
You appear to me to have had your brains shaken as it were.1
And you appear to me, by Hermes, to be going to be summoned, if you will not pay me the money.2
Tell me now, whether do you think that Jupiter always rains fresh rain on each occasion, or that the sun draws from below the same water back again?
I know not which; nor do I care.
How then is it just that you should recover your money, if you know nothing of meterological matters?
Well, if you are in want, pay me the interest of my money.
What sort of animal is this interest?3
Most assuredly the money is always becoming more4 and more every month and every day as the time slips away.
You say well. What then? Is it possible5 that you consider the sea to be greater now than formerly?
No, by Jupiter, but equal: for it is not fitting that it should be greater.
And how then, you wretch,6 does this become no way greater, though the rivers flow into it, while you seek to increase your money?—Will you not take yourself off from my house? Bring me the goad. [Enter servant with a goad.]
I call1 you to witness these things.
(beating him). Go! why do you delay? Won’t you march, Mr. Blood-horse?
Is not this2 an insult, pray?
Will you move quickly? [Pricks him behind with the goad.] I’ll lay on you, goading you behind, you outrigger? Do you fly? [Amynias runs off.] I thought I should stir you,3 together with your wheels and your two-horse chariots. [Exit Strepsiades.]
What a thing it is to love evil courses! For this old man, having loved them, wishes to withhold the money which he borrowed. And he will certainly meet with something to-day,4 which will perhaps cause this sophist to suddenly receive some misfortune, in return for the knaveries he has begun. For I think that he will presently find what has been long boiling up, that his5 son is skilful to speak opinions opposed to justice, so as to overcome all with whomsoever he holds converse, even if he advance most villanous doctrines; and perhaps, perhaps his father will wish that he were even speechless.
(running out of the house pursued by his son). Hollo! Hollo! O neighbours and kinsfolk and fellow-tribesmen, defend me, by all means, who am being beaten! Ah me, unhappy man, for my head and jaw! Wretch! do you beat your father?
You see him owning that he beats me.
O wretch, and parricide, and house-breaker!
Say the same things of me again, and more. Do you now that I take pleasure in being much1 abused?
Sprinkle me with roses in abundance.
Do you beat your father?
And will prove, too, by Jupiter, that I beat you with justice.
O thou most rascally! Why, how can it be just to beat a father?
I will demonstrate it, and will overcome you in argument.
Will you overcome me in this?
Yea, by much and easily. But choose which of the two Causes you wish to speak.2
Of what two Causes?
The better, or the worse?
Marry, I did get you taught to speak against justice, by Jupiter, my friend, if you are going to persuade me of this, that it is just and honourable for a father to be beat by his sons!3
I think I shall certainly persuade4 you; so that, when you have heard, not even you yourself will say any thing against it.
Well now, I am willing to hear what you have to say.
It is your business, old man, to consider in what way you shall conquer the man; for, if he were not relying upon something, he would not be so licentious. But he is emboldened by something; the boldness of the man is evident. Now you ought to tell to the Chorus from what the contention first arose. And this you must do by all means.
Well now, I will tell you from what we first began to rail at one another. After we had feasted, as you know, I first bade him take a lyre, and sing a song of Simonides,1 “The Shearing of the Ram.” But he immediately said it was old-fashioned to play on the lyre, and sing while drinking, like a woman grinding2 parched barley.
For ought you not then immediately to be beaten and trampled on, bidding me sing, just as if you were entertaining cicadæ?
He expressed,3 however, such opinions then too within, as he does now; and he asserted that Simonides was a bad poet. I bore it at first, with difficulty, indeed, yet nevertheless I bore it. And then I bade him at least take a myrtle-wreath4 and recite to me some portion of Æschylus; and then he immediately said, “Shall I consider Æschylus the first among the poets, full of empty sound, unpolished, bombastic, using rugged words?” And hereupon you can’t think how my heart panted. But, nevertheless, I restrained my passion, and said, “At least recite some passage of the more modern poets,5 of whatever kind these clever things be.” And he immediately sang a passage of Euripides,6 how a brother, O averter of ill! debauched his uterine sister. And Edition: current; Page:  I bore it no longer, but immediately assailed him with many abusive reproaches. And then, after that, as was natural, we hurled word upon word. Then he springs upon me; and then he was wounding me, and beating me, and throttling me, and killing me.
Were you not therefore justly beaten, who do not praise Euripides, the wisest of poets?
He the wisest! O, what shall I call you? But I shall get beaten again.
Yes, by Jupiter, with justice.
Why, how with justice? Who, O shameless fellow, reared you, understanding all your wishes, when you lisped what you meant? If you1 said bryn, I, understanding it. used to give you to drink. And when you asked for mamman, I used to come to you with bread. And you used no sooner to say2 caccan, than I used to take and carry you out of doors, and hold you before me. But you now, throttling me who was bawling and crying out because I wanted to ease myself, had not the heart to carry me forth out of doors, you wretch: but I did it there, while I was being throttled.
I fancy the hearts of the youths are panting to hear what he will say.3 For if, after having done such things, he shall persuade him by speaking, I would not take the hide of the old folks, even at the price of a chick-pea.4 It is thy business, thou author and upheaver of new words, to seek some means of persuasion, so that you shall seem to speak justly.
How pleasant it is to be acquainted with new and clever things, and to be able to despise the established laws! For I, when I applied my mind to horsemanship alone, used not to be able to utter three words before I made a mistake; but now, since he himself has made me cease from these pursuits, and I am acquainted with subtle thoughts, and arguments, and speculations, I think I shall demonstrate that it is just to chastise one’s father.
Ride then, by Jupiter; since it is better for me to keep a team of four horses,1 than to be killed with beating.
I will pass over to that part of my discourse where you interrupted me; and first I will ask you this: Did you beat me when I was a boy?
I did, through good will and concern for you.
Pray tell me, is it not just that I also should be well inclined towards you in the same way, and beat you, since this2 is to be well inclined—to give a beating? For why ought your body to be exempt from blows, and mine not? And yet I too was born free. The boys3 weep, and do you not think it right that a father should weep? You will say that it is ordained by law that this should be the lot of boys. But I would reply, that old men are boys twice over, and that it is the more reasonable that the old should weep than the young, inasmuch as it is less just that they should err.
It is no where ordained by law that a father should suffer this.
Was it not then4 a man like you and me, who first proposed this law, and by speaking persuaded the ancients? Why then is it less lawful for me also in turn to propose henceforth a new law for the sons, that they should beat their fathers in turn? But as many blows5 as we received before the law was made, we remit; and we concede to them our having been well thrashed without return. Observe the cocks and these other animals, how they punish their fathers; and yet, in what do they differ from us, except that they do not write decrees?
Why then, since you imitate1 the cocks in all things, do you not both eat dung and sleep on a perch?
It is not the same thing, my friend; nor would it appear so to Socrates.
Therefore do not beat me; otherwise you will one day blame yourself.
Since I am justly entitled to chastise you; and you to chastise your son, if you should have one.
But if I should not have one, I shall have wept for nothing, and you will die laughing at me.
To me indeed, O comrades, he seems to speak justly; and I think we ought to concede to them what is fitting. For it is proper that we should weep, if we do not act justly.
Consider still another maxim.
No; for I shall perish if I do.
And yet2 perhaps you will not be vexed at suffering what you now suffer.
How, pray? for inform me what good you will do me by this.
I will beat my mother, just as I have you.
What do you say? What do you say? This other again, is a greater wickedness.
But what if, having the worst Cause, I shall conquer you in arguing, proving that it is right to beat one’s mother?
Most assuredly, if you do this, nothing will hinder you from casting1 yourself and your Worse Cause into the pit along with Socrates.—These evils have I suffered through you, O Clouds, having intrusted all my affairs to you.
Nay, rather, you are yourself the cause of these things, having turned yourself to wicked courses.
Why, pray, did you not tell me this then, but excited with hopes a rustic and aged man?
We always do this to him whom we perceive to be a lover of wicked courses, until we precipitate him into misfortune, so that he may learn to fear the gods.
Ah me! it is severe,2 O Clouds! but it is just; for I ought not to have withheld the money which I borrowed.—Now, therefore, come with me, my dearest son, that you may destroy the blackguard Chærephon and Socrates, who deceived you and me.
I will not injure my teachers.
Yes, yes, reverence Paternal Jove.3
“Paternal Jove,” quoth’a! How antiquated you are! Why, is there any Jove?
There is not, no; for Vortex reigns, having expelled Jupiter.
He has not expelled him; but I fancied this, on account of this Vortex here. Ah me, unhappy man! when I even took you who are of earthenware for a god.4
Here rave and babble to yourself.1 [Exit Phidippides.]
Ah me, what madness!2 How mad, then, I was, when I ejected the gods on account of Socrates! But, O dear Hermes, by no means be wroth with me, nor destroy me; but pardon me, since I have gone crazy through prating And become my adviser, whether I shall bring an action and prosecute them, or whatever you think.3—You advise me rightly, not permitting me to get up a law-suit, but as soon as possible to set fire to the house of the prating fellows. Come hither, come hither, Xanthias! Come forth with a ladder and with a mattock, and then mount upon the thinking-shop, and dig down the roof, if you love your master, until you tumble the house upon them. [Xanthias mounts upon the roof.] But let some one bring me a lighted torch, and I’ll make some of them this day suffer punishment, even if they be ever so much impostors.
(from within). Hollo! hollo!4
It is your business, O torch, to send forth abundant flame. [Mounts upon the roof.]
What are you doing, fellow?
What I am doing? why, what else, than chopping5 logic with the beams of your house. [Sets the house on fire.]
(from within). Ah me! who is setting fire to our house?
That man, whose cloak you have taken.
(from within). You will destroy us! you will destroy us!
For I also wish this very thing; unless my mattock deceive my hopes, or I should somehow fall first and break my neck.
(from within). Hollo you! what are you doing, pray, you fellow on the roof?
I am walking on air, and speculating about the sun.
Ah me, unhappy!1 I shall be suffocated, wretched man?
And I, miserable man, shall be burnt to death!
For what has come into your heads that you acted insolently towards the gods, and pried into the seat of the moon? Chase, pelt, smite them, for many reasons, but especially because you know that they offended against the gods! [The thinking-shop is burned down.]
Lead the way out; for we have sufficiently acted as chorus for to-day.2 [Exeunt omnes.]
|SOSIAS, }||Two Slaves of Philocleon.|
For the date and other particulars relative to the performance of this Comedy I give the words of Clinton, in the Fast. Hell. p. 69, 2nd edit.
“Aristophanis Σϕῆκες. Arg. Vesp. ἐδιδάχθη ἐπὶ ἄϱχοντος Ἀμυνίου (sic) διὰ Φιλωνίδου—εἰς Λήναια. (Anthesterion, or Feb. bc 422, Ol. iii. 89,) καὶ ἐνίκα πϱῶτος Φιλωνίδης [δεύτεϱος] . . . . . . Πϱοάγωνι· Λεύκων Πρέσβεσι τρίτος (sic legendum e cod. Rav.). Ed. Ald. et Kuster. Φιλωνίδης προάγων. Γλαύκων πϱέσβεσι, τϱίτος. Cod. Brunckii, Φιλωνίδης . . . . . . . προάγων. Γλευκεῖς Πρεσβεῖς τρεῖς . . . . . . . Cod. Ravenn. Φιλωνίδης πϱοάγωνι Λευκῶν πϱέσβεσι Γ. The name of Leucon was corrupted, because the first letter of Προάγωνι adhered to the following word, ΠΡΟΑΓΩΝΙΛΕΥΚΩΝ; hence the corruption of the word into ΓΛΕΥΚΩΝ and ΓΛΑΥΚΩΝ. Leucon, the comic poet, is acknowledged by various testimonies: Athen. viii. p. 343, c. Pliot. Lex. v. Τίβιοι. Hesych. v. Παάπις·—and flourished in these times.—Vide Suid. Λεύκων. Philonides, therefore, obtained the prize with the Σϕῆκες of Aristophanes; as he obtained the first with the Βάτϱαχοι (Φιλωνίδης ἐπεγραϕη καὶ ἐνίκα) in bc 405, Ol. iv. 93.”
In The Wasps, as in the two preceding Comedies, a knowledge of the jurisprudence of Athens is absolutely necessary and indispensable. This Drama is a satire on that litigious spirit so prevalent in every rank at the time of its representation. The plot is soon told. Philocleon (i. e. a partisan of Cleon) is represented as a bigoted devotee to that malady most incident to his countrymen. Bdelycleon, his son, (i. e. an opposer of Cleon,) endeavours to persuade him, by every means in his power, to change his present mode of life for one of a more noble cast. Every thing fails. At last, he proposes to convert his own house into a court of justice, and to remunerate Philocleon for his absence from the public suits. This succeeds, and the theft of a Sicilian cheese, by a house dog, soon gives the old gentleman a means of exercising his old craft as dicast. By an inadvertency he acquits the defendant—ἀπατηθεὶς ἄκων τὴν ἀποδικάζουσαν ϕέϱει ψῆϕον. The Parabasis follows. Afterwards Philocleon is brought forward in a different point of view, to use Mr. Mitchell’s words, as, “The dicast turned gentleman;” or, as the Greek has it, ὁ δὲ γέρων πϱὸς αύλὸν καὶ ὄρχησιν τϱέπεται, καὶ γελωτοποιεῖ τὸ δρᾶμα. “The Wasps is, in my opinion, the feeblest of Aristophanes’ plays. The subject is too limited, the folly it ridicules appears a disease of too singular a description, without a sufficient universality of application, and the action is too much drawn out. The poet himself speaks this time in very modest language of his means of entertainment, and does not even promise us unmoderate laughter.” Schlegel.Edition: current; Page: 
[Scene—the front of Bdelycleou’s house.]
You there, what ails you, O wretched Xanthias?
I am learning to get rid of the nocturnal watch.1
Then you owe your ribs a great mischief. Do you know2 what a monster we are guarding?
I know; but I am desirous of sleeping without cares3 for a short while.
Do you run the risk, at any rate;4 since some sweet drowsiness is poured over my own pupils too.
What, are you mad,5 pray? or are you frenzied?
No; but a species of Sabazian sleep possesses me.
And I too, verily, such a one as I never beheld before. But do you tell yours first.
Methought an eagle, very large, flew down into the forum, and snatched up in its talons a shield covered with brass, and bore it aloft towards heaven. And then methought Cleonymus1 had thrown it away.
Cleonymus, then, differs in no wise from a riddle.2 “Hew, pray,” some one will say to his drinking companions, “happens it that the same beast on the earth, and in heaven, and in the sea, threw away his shield?”
Ah me! What evil then will happen to me, who have3 seen such a vision?
Do not be concerned, for nothing strange will happen; no, by the gods.4
Yet, in truth, a man who has cast away his arms, is a strange thing. Come, tell yours, in return.
Why, it is important; for it relates to the whole of the hull5 of the state.
Then tell me quickly the keel of the matter.
About my first sleep, some sheep6 sitting together with staffs and cloaks, appeared to me to be holding an assembly in the Pnyx. And then, methought a whale, a receiveress-general,7 having the voice of a bloated sow, made a speech to these sheep.
What’s the matter?
Stop, stop, don’t tell any more: your vision stinks1 most abominably of rotten hide.
Then the accursed whale with a pair of scales was weighing bull’s fat.2
Ah me, wretched man! He wishes to create divisions amongst our people.
And methought Theorus sat near it, on the ground, with the head of a raven. And then Alcibiades lisped and said to me, “Do you see? Theorus has the head of a flatterer.”3
Rightly did Alcibiades lisp this.
Is not that strange,4 then—Theorus becoming a raven?
By no means, but most proper.
How? Being a man, he then suddenly became a raven. Is not this, therefore, clear to conjecture, that he will be raised aloft from us, and go to the ravens?
Shall I not then give two obols and hire a person, who interprets dreams so cleverly?
Come now, let me declare5 the argument to the audience; first having premised to them some few matters as follows,6—to expect nothing very great from us, nor yet, on the other hand, jokes stolen from Megara.7 For we have neither two slaves throwing about nuts from a basket amongst the spectators, nor a Hercules defrauded of his dinner, nor yet is Euripides again treated with insult; nor if Cleon even has become Edition: current; Page:  conscpicuous on account of his good fortune, will we again make mincemeat of the same person. We have a little tale with a moral in it, than you yourselves not more clever,1 but wiser than vulgar comedy. For we have a master there asleep above, the mighty one, he in the highest floor. He commanded us two to keep guard over his father, having confined him within, in order that he may not go forth out of doors. For his father is indisposed with a strange disease, which no one could ever hit upon or conjecture, unless he were to hear it from us. For guess! Amynias here, the son of Pronapus, says he is a lover of dice; but he says nothing to the purpose.
By Jove, he judges of the disease from his own case.
No; yet “love” is the beginning of the evil. This Sosias here says to Dercylus that he is a lover of wine.
By no means; for this is a gentleman’s disease.2
Nicostratus, of Scambonis, on the other hand, says that he is fond of sacrificing or fond of hospitality.
By the Dog,3 Nicostratus, not fond of hospitality, since Philoxenus is a blackguard.
You talk nonsense to no purpose, for you will not find it out. If you are truly desirous to know, be silent now; for I will now declare the disease of our master. He is fond of the Heliæa, as never man was; and he loves this acting the dicast, and groans unless he sit upon the first seat.4 And during the night he sees not even a morsel of sleep. But in fact,5 if he close his eyes, if it were but a little bit, nevertheless his thoughts Edition: current; Page:  flit thither during the night around the clepsydra. And through being accustomed1 to hold the pebble, he gets up holding together his three fingers, as if offering frankincense at the New Moon. And, by Jove, if he should behold written any where on a door, “Pretty Demus,2 son of Pyrilampes,” he’d go and write close by the side of it, “Pretty Cemus.”3 And he said that the cock which used to crow at even, waked him late, having been prevailed upon, receiving money from those under account. And immediately after supper he bawls for his slippers; and then, having gone there very early, he sleeps first, sticking to the column like a limpet. And through moroseness awarding to all the long line,4 he enters his house like a bee, or a bumble-bee, having wax stuffed under his nails. And having feared he might sometime want for pebbles, he keeps a shingle within, in order that he may be able to act the dicast. In5 such sort does he rave: and being admonished, he always acts the dicast the more. Him, therefore, we are guarding, having shut him in with bars, that he may not get out; for his son is grieved at his distemper. And at first he appeased him with words, and tried to persuade him not to wear the cloak, and not to go forth out of doors; but he used not to obey. Next he washed him and cleansed him. But he did not much heed it. After this he purified him by Corybantic rites. But he rushed out together with the kettledrum, and rushed into the New Court,6 and began to judicate. But when now he did not profit aught by these ceremonies, he sailed over to Ægina. And then he seized him, and made him lie down by night in the temple7 of Æsculapius: but he appeared at early dawn at the bar. From that time we no Edition: current; Page:  longer let him out. But he used to escape through the sewers and chimneys. And we stuffed up with rags every crevice there was, and made them fast. But he, like a jackdaw, used to hammer in pegs for himself into the wall, and then used to leap out. So we covered the whole hall with nets round about, and keep guard. Now the name of the old man is Philocleon, by Jove; but of his son here, Bdelycleon, having wanton and haughty manners.
(from within). O Xanthias and Sosias, are you asleep?
What is the matter?
Bdelycleon is getting up. [Enter Bdelycleon.]
Will not one1 of you quickly run round hither? for my father has entered into the furnace, and is running about like a mouse, having crept in. But look about, that he may not escape through the hole of the kitchen-boiler. And do you press against the door.
Aye, Aye, master.2 [Sets his back against the door.]
King Neptune! why in the world, then, does the chimney rumble? Hollo you! who are you?
I am smoke coming out.
Smoke? Come, let me see of what wood you are.
Aye, by Jove, which is the most pungent of smokes. But,—for you will not go in, where is the chimney-board? Go in again! [Philocleon is driven in again.] Come, let me4 also lay a lump of wood on you. There now5 seek some other Edition: current; Page:  device. But I am wretched, as no other man is. who shall now be called the son of father1 Capnius.
Push against the door; now press against it very vigorously, and like a man, for I am coming there. And take care of the lock and of the bar. Watch that he do not gnaw through the peg.
(from within). What are you going to do? Will you not let me out, O most abominable, to judicate, but shall Dracontides escape?
Would you be vexed at this?
Yes, for the god at Delphi once upon a time responded to me, consulting him,2 that I should then pine away, when any one shall have escaped me.
O Apollo, averter of ill, what an oracle!
Come, I entreat you, let me out, lest I burst.
Never, O Philocleon, by Neptune!
Then I will gnaw through your net with my teeth.
But you have no teeth.
Ah me, miserable man! Would I could kill you! would I could! Give me a sword as quick as possible, or a tablet of assessment.3
This man desires to do some great mischief.
No, by Jove, certainly not; but I wish to take and sell my ass together with his panniers, for it is the New Moon.4
Pray, could not I then sell it as well?
Not as I could.
No, by Jove, better. Come, bring forth the ass.
What a pretext he has put forward! how dissemblingly! that you might let him out.
Yes. but he did not draw up his hook5 in this way; Edition: current; Page:  for I perceived him contriving. I have a mind to go in and bring out the ass, that the old man may not even peep out again. [Goes in and returns leading the ass.] Ass, why do you weep? because you are to be sold1 to-day? Walk quicker. Why do you groan, if you are not carrying any Ulysses?
But, by Jove, he is carrying some one here2 below, who has crept under him.
Of what sort? Let me see.
This here. [Points to Philocleon, who is hidden under the ass’s belly.]
What is3 this? Pray, who in the world are you, fellow?
Nobody, by Jove.
You Nobody? Of what country?
Of Ithaca; son of Runaway.4
In no respect, by Jove, shall you go off with impunity, you Nobody! Draw him quickly from beneath. O most abominable! See where he’s crept to! so that he seems to me most like the foal of a summons-witness.5 [Xanthias and Sosias drag him from under the ass.]
If you won’t let me alone, we will do battle.
About what, pray, will you fight with us?
About the shade of an ass.
You are a knave far advanced in artifice,6 and reckless.
I a knave? No, by Jove. You are not now aware that I am most excellent. But you will know it, perhaps, when you eat the paunch of an old Heliast.7
Push the ass and yourself into the house.
O fellow-dicasts, and Cleon, assist me. [Exit Philocleon with the ass.]
Bawl within, now the door has been shut. Do you shove many stones against the door, and thrust in the peg again into the bar, and put the great kneading-trough against the beam, and roll it quickly against it. [Exit Bdelycleon.]
(scratching his head and looking towards the roof). Ah me, wretched man! Whence in the world has the little clod fallen upon me?
Perhaps from above a mouse has cast it upon you from some quarter.
A mouse! No, by Jove, but some roof-haunting Heliast here, creeping from under the tiles.
(spying Philocleon upon the roof). Ah me, miserable! the man is becoming a sparrow: he will fly off. Where, where is the net? Shoo,1 shoo! shoo, back again! [Re-enter Bdelycleon: Philocleon retires again.]
By Jove, in truth it were better for me to keep guard over Scione,2 instead of this my father.
Come now, since we have scared him away, and since it is not possible that he can ever give us the slip without our perceiving it, why don’t we lie down3 only a little bit?
Nay, you wretch, his fellow-dicasts will come ere long, to summon this my father.
What do you say? Nay, it is now early dawn.4
Yes, by Jove; for they have got up late to-day; since they always summon him at mid-night, with lamps in their hands, and humming dear old songs from Phrynichus’ Phœnissæ,5 with which they summon him.
Therefore, if need requires, we will pelt them1 at once with stones.
Nay, you wretch, if any one irritate the race of old men, it is like to a wasps’ nest; for they have also a very sharp sting in2 their loins with which they sting; they buz and bounce and strike like sparks. [Exit Bdelycleon.]
Do not heed it. If I have stones, I will disperse a nest of many dicasts. [Xanthias and Sosias lie down and fall asleep.]
Proceed, advance vigorously. Comias, do you tarry? By Jove, you used not, however, to do so formerly; but you were as tough as a piece of dog’s skin. But now Charinades is better than you at walking. Strymodorus4 of Conthyle, best of fellow-dicasts, is Evergides any where here, or Chabes of Phlya? There is present what still remains, papæ! papæax! of that youth, when at Byzantium5 we were fellow-soldiers keeping guard, both you and I. And then we two, while taking our rounds by night, stole, unobserved, the baker-woman’s kneading-trough; and then split it up and cooked some pimpernel.6 Come, let us hasten, my friends, since it will be now Laches’7 turn; and they all say that he has a hive of money. Therefore Cleon our guardian ordered us yesterday to be there in good time with bitter anger for three8 days against him, Edition: current; Page:  to punish1 him for his misdeeds. Come, let us hasten, O companions in age, before it be day. Let us proceed, and at the same time let us look about with the lamp on every side, est perchance some one in our way privily do us some mis chief.
Father, father, beware of this mud here.
Take you then a chip from the ground, and trim the lamp.
No; but methinks I’ll trim it with this.
What has come into your head, pray, that you push up the wick with your finger, and that too when the oil is getting searce, you dolt? for it gives you no uneasiness when one is obliged to buy it at a high price.
If, by Jove, you shall admonish us again with your knuckles, we will extinguish the lamps, and go away home by ourselves; and then, perhaps, in the dark, deprived of this, you will stir up the mud as you walk, like a snipe.2
Assuredly3 I punish even others greater than you. But this here, as I tread on it, seems to be mud; and it is certainly inevitable that the god rain within four days at the utmost. At any rate there are these here funguses4 upon the lamps; and he is wont, when this is the case, to rain most of all. And whatever fruits are not early have need Edition: current; Page:  that there should be rain, and that the north wind blow upon them. What is the matter, then, with our fellow-dicast in this house, that he does not come forward hither to our company? Assuredly he used not to be a laggard formerly,1 but used to lead the way in front of us, singing the songs of Phrynichus; for the man is fond of singing. Come, I vote2 we stand here, my friends, and call him out by singing, if by any means, having heard my song, he should creep out of doors under the influence of pleasure. Why in the world, then, does the old man not show himself to us before the doors, nor answer? Has he lost his slippers, or some where in the dark hit his toe against any thing; and then has his ancle become inflamed, being an old man? And perhaps he may have a swelling in his groin. Assuredly he used to be far the fiercest of our company, and alone used not to be persuaded; but whenever any one supplicated him, he used to bend his head down in this way and say, “You are boiling a stone.” And perhaps on account of the fellow of yesterday, who escaped us by deceit by affirming, “That he was a friend of the Athenians, and was the first who gave information3 of the affairs at Samos,”—on this account having been grieved, he then perhaps lies sick4 of a fever. For the man is just that sort of a person. Come, my good sir, get up, nor thus torment yourself, nor be angry; for a wealthy5 individual of those who betrayed our interests in Thrace has come; whom take care that you disgrace and make an end of. Lead on, my boy, lead on.
Will you be willing, therefore, to grant me a favour, father, if I ask any thing of you?
Certainly, my little boy. Tell me what pretty thing you wish me to buy. I suppose you will doubtless say dice, my boy.
No, by Jove, but dried figs,1 my dear little papa, for they are sweeter.
I would not, by Jove, if you were even to hang!
Then, by Jove, I will not conduct you any longer.
For from this small pay I with two others am obliged to get my barley-meal, and wood, and provision:2 while you ask me for figs!
Come now, father, if the Archon should not hold his court of justice to-day, whence shall we buy a breakfast? Are you able to mention any good hope for us two, or “Helle’s sacred strait?”3
Apapæ! alas! apapæ! alas! by Jove, I do not know whence we shall have a dinner.
“Why then,4 wretched mother, did you bring me forth, in order that you may give me troubles to feed upon?”
“I wore thee, then, a useless ornament,5 my little wallet.”
Alas! alas! “It is our fortune to groan.”6
(peeping out). My friends, I have been pining away this long while, as I listened to you through the crevice. But indeed I am not able any longer to sing. What shall I do? I am guarded by these; for I have been wishing this long while to go with you to the balloting urns and work Edition: current; Page:  some evil. O Zeus, Zeus, thunder greatly, and either suddenly make me smoke,1 or Proxenides,2 or the son of Sellus, this false tree-vine. Have the heart,3 O king, to grant me this favour, having pitied my sufferings; or with a red-hot thunderbolt quickly reduce me to ashes; and then take me up and blow me away and cast me into hot pickle; or make me, pray, the stone, upon which they count the shells.4
My son; but do not bawl, for he is sleeping here in the front of the house. Lower the tone of your voice.
As a pretext for what, O foolish fellow, does he wish to treat you thus?7
He suffers me not, my friends, to act the dicast, nor to do any ill, but he is ready to feast me. But I am not willing.
Has the wretch, the haranguing Cleon,8 dared to utter this? For this man would never have dared to say this, if he were not a conspirator. But in consequence of this,9 it is Edition: current; Page:  time for you to seek some new device, which will cause you to come down hither, without the knowledge of this man here.
What then can it be? Do ye seek it, since I would make every exertion; so much do I long to make a circuit of the tablets1 with the shell.
Is there, pray, a crevice which you might be able to dig through from within, and then to escape, disguised in rags,2 like the very prudent Ulysses?
Do you remember, pray, once upon a time, when you, being on service, stole the spits and let yourself down by the wall, when Naxos5 was taken.
I know, but what of this?6 for this is in no wise similar to that: for I was young, and was able to steal, and was master7 of my own actions, and no one kept watch over me, but I was permitted to fly without fear. But now hoplites with arms, drawn up in the passages, are on the lookout, while two of them8 at the doors with spits in their hands watch me like a weasel that has stolen some meat.
But even now devise a plan as quick as possible, for it is morning, my little bee.
Therefore it is best for me to gnaw through the net. But may Dictynna pardon me for the net.
These acts are in character with9 a man, who is hastening to safety. Come, lay your jaw to it.
This has been gnawed through. Do not bawl by any means; but let us take care that Bdelycleon shall not perceive us.
Fear nothing, my friend, nothing; since I will make him, if he grumble, gnaw his heart, and run the race for his life: that he may know not to trample upon1 the decrees of the two goddesses. But fasten the small cord through the window and then let yourself down, having fastened yourself to it, and having filled your soul with Diopithes.
Come now, if these two perceive you and seek to fish me up, and to draw me within, what will you do? Tell me now.
We will defend you, all of us, having summoned a heart as tough as oak, so that it shall not be possible to confine you. Such deeds will we perform.
I will do it then, relying upon you: and remember,2 if I suffer aught, to take me up, and lament me, and bury me under the bar.
You shall suffer nought: fear nothing. Come, good sir, let yourself down with confidence, and with prayers to your country’s gods.3
(preparing to descend by the window). O master Lycus, neighbouring hero! for you delight in what I do, in the tears of the defendants on each occasion,4 and their lamentations. At any rate you came and fixed your residence here on purpose, that you might hear these things; and, alone of the heroes, you wished to sit beside the person who wept. Pity and save now your own neighbour, and I will never make water nor break wind near your reed-fence.5 [Re-enter Bdelycleon.]
Ho you! get up!
What is the matter?
A voice as it were6 has echoed round me.
Is the old man escaping again some whither?
No, by Jove, certainly not; but is letting himself down, having fastened himself to a cord.
Mount quickly to the other window, and beat him with the boughs,3 if by any means he will back astern, having been beaten with the harvest-wreaths.
Will you not assist me, as many as are going to have suits this year, Smicythion,4 and Tisiades, and Chremon, and Pheredipnus? When, if not now, will you aid me, ere that I be carried more in? [Philocleon is driven in.]
Tell me, why do we delay to rouse that wrath of ours, which we are wont to rouse, when any one irritates our wasps’ nest? Now that, now that choleric sting, with which we punish5— [To the boys in attendance.] Come, my lads, throw off your garments as quick as possible, and run and shout and tell this to Cleon, and bid him come against a man who is a hater of our commonwealth, and who shall perish, because he introduces this opinion, “not to try causes.”
My good sirs, hear the matter, and do not bawl.
Yea, by Jove, to heaven;7 since I will not let go this man. Are not these things terrible, pray, and manifest tyranny? O city, and impiety of Theorus, and whatever other flatterer presides over us!
Hercules! they have stings too! Do you not see, master?
Aye, with which they destroyed Philippus,1 son of Gorgias, on his trial.
And in turn we will utterly destroy you too. But turn, each of you, hither, and put forth your sting, and then rush against him, all ready, in good order, full of anger and fury, that he may know well henceforth what2 a swarm he has enraged.
This, in truth, is now a hard case, by Jove, if we must fight; for I dread to behold3 their stings.
Come, let go the man; otherwise, I declare you shall bless the tortoises for their shells.
Midas, and Phryx, and Masyntias, render assistance here! and lay ye hold on this fellow, and do not give him up to any one; otherwise, ye shall breakfast on nothing in stout fetters. For I, having heard the sound of many fig leaves, know it. [Philocleon is seized by the servants.]
(to Bdelycleon). If you will not let this man go, something shall be fixed in you.
O Cecrops, hero, king, serpent-like in your feet! dost thou suffer me to be overpowered in this way by barbarians, whom I have taught6 to weep four to the chœnix?
Then are there not, pray, many direful evils in old age? Doubtless there are. And now these two are forcibly overpowering their old master, having no recollection of the leather jackets of old, and the sleeveless frocks, which he used to purchase for them, and the caps, and used to benefit their Edition: current; Page:  feet when it was winter-time, so as not to be always shivering with cold. But in these there is not. not even in their eyes, any reverence for the old slippers.1
(to one of the servants.) Will you not let me go, not even now, O beast most vile? not even remembering when I found you stealing the clusters of grapes, and brought you to the olive, and cudgelled you well and manfully, so that you were an enviable object. It appears then2 you are ungrateful. But let me go, you, and you, ere that my son run out.
You shall speedily give us proper satisfaction for these things, at no distant period; that you may know what is the disposition of men passionate, and just, and looking sour.3
Beat, beat the wasps from the house, Xanthias!
Nay, I am doing so; but do you also stifle them with smoke in abundance.
Will you not fly? Will you not to the crows? Will you not depart? Beat them with the lump of wood.
And do you add Æschines, the son of Sellus, and smoke him. [The Chorus give way and retire a few steps.] I thought I should drive you away some time at length.4
But, by Jove, you would not have got rid of them so easily, if they had happened to have fed on the songs of Philocles.5
Is it not, then,6 self-evident to the poor, how tyranny imperceptibly seized upon me, stealing upon me? if you, laboriously-wicked,7 you Pride-Amynias, exclude us from the Edition: current; Page:  laws which the city has enacted, neither having any pretence for so doing, nor any well-turned plea, though you bear rule alone by yourself.
Is it possible that without fight and piercing cry we might come to a conference with one another, and to a reconciliation?
A conference with thee, thou hater of the democratic party, and loving absolutism and siding with Brasidas,1 and wearing fringes of wool, and keeping your mustache unshaven?
By Jove, in truth it were better for me to give up my father altogether, rather than daily2 contend with so great ills.
The matter has not yet arrived either at the parsley or the rue, for this most capacious word will we interpolate. Now, however, you are no way grieved, but you will be, when the public accuser asperses you with the self-same accusations, and summons your fellow-conspirators.
Oh, by the gods,3 will you get away from me? or I am determined to be beaten and to beat the day through.
Never! no, as long as any part of me be left! you, who have4 thus set out for a tyranny over us!
How every thing with you is tyranny and conspirators, whether the accuser’s charge be great or small, the name of which I have not heard, not even for these5 fifty years: but now it is cheaper by far than salted fish;6 so that now the name of it is much talked of in the market-place. If any one purchase anchovies, and do not choose to purchase sprats, forthwith the man who is selling the sprats hard by says, “This fellow seems to be buying relishes to his tyranny.” But if any one ask for a leek, as7 a sauce for his anchovies, the woman that sells herbs, winking8 with one eye, says, “Tell Edition: current; Page:  me, you ask for a leek, is it for a tyranny? or do you think that Athens brings you tribute of sauce?”
Aye, and yesterday1 my lady, when I went in unto her at noon, being enraged because I requested her to ride the high horse, asked me, “If I am for setting up a riding tyranny.”
Yes, for these expressions are pleasing to them to hear; although I now, because I wish my father, having been freed from these early2-rising base-informing sad-litigious plaguy ways, to live the life of a gentleman, like Morychus,3 am accused of doing this because I am a conspirator and favour tyranny.
Aye, by Jove, with justice; for I would not even accept of bird’s milk in preference to this life, of which you are now for depriving me: nor do I so delight in prickly-roaches, or in eels; but would more gladly eat a little suitlet4 stewed in a dish.
Yes, by Jove, for you have been accustomed to be delighted with such things. But if you will bear to be silent, and learn what I say, I think I shall teach you better, that you err in all this.
I err, in acting as dicast?
Nay, rather, don’t perceive that you are laughed at by those whom you all but worship. Nay, you are a slave, without your knowing it.
Cease speaking of slavery to me, who lord it over all!
Not a bit of it:—But you are a slave, while you fancy you rule. For, teach us,5 father, what honour you have, who plunder Greece.
Great; and I am willing, too, to commit the arbitrament to these.
Well, and so am I. Let him go now, all of you. [The servants release Philocleon.]
And give me a sword too, for if I be overcome by you in argument, I will fall upon my sword.
Tell me, Mr. Whatd’yecall’em,1 what if you do not abide by their decision?
May I never drink my pay in pure good fortune.2
Now it behoves you, who are from our school, to speak something new, so that you shall appear—
Let some one bring me hither my writing-desk as quick as possible.—(To the Chorus.) But what sort of a person will you appear to be, if you instigate him to this?
Well now, I will write memorandums in short-hand5 of whatever he says.
(to the Chorus). What say you, if this man overcome me in argument?
The multitude of old men is no longer of any use, not even in the least; but we shall be jeered in the streets, and called branch-bearers, husks of affidavits. Come, O thou who art about to dispute for our whole sovereignty, now boldly exert all thy powers of speech.
Well now, I will demonstrate forthwith from the starting-point respecting our dominion, that it is inferior to no sovereignty. For what animal at the present time is more happy and enviable, or more luxurious, or more terrible, than Edition: current; Page:  a dicast, especially an old one? Whom in the feast-place fellows of huge size, and four cubits high, at the bar, watch on his creeping from his couch. And then straightway he1 lays his hand gently upon me as I approach, which has pilfered from the public money; and bowing low they supplicate me, uttering a piteous voice—“Pity me, father, I beseech you, if ever you yourself also stole any thing, when holding any office, or on service, when making purchases for your messmates.” A fellow who would not even have known that I was alive, but for his former acquittal.
(writing.) Be this my memorandum about “the supplicators.”
Then, when I have entered, after being entreated, and having had my anger wiped away, when within, I perform none of all these things which I promise; but I listen to them uttering all their eloquence2 for an acquittal. Come, let me see; for what piece of flattery is it not possible for a dicast to hear there? Some lament their poverty, and add ills to their real ones, until, by grieving, he makes his equal to mine; others tell us mythical stories; others, some laughable joke3 of Æsop; others cut jokes, that I may laugh and lay aside my wrath. And if we should not4 be won over by these means, forthwith he drags in his little children by the hand, his daughters and his sons, while I listen. And they bend down their heads together,5 and bleat at the same time; and then their father, trembling, supplicates me as a god in their6 behalf, to acquit him from his account:—“If you take pleasure in the voice of your lamb, pity the voice of my son;” but if, on Edition: current; Page:  the other hand, I take pleasure in my little pigs, he beseeches me to be won over by the voice of his daughter. And we then relax for him the peg of our wrath a little. Is not this1 a mighty empire, and2 derision of wealth?
(writing). Next, in the second place, I write down this item, “your derision of wealth.” And relate to me the advantages which you possess, who say that you rule over Greece.
Furthermore, when youths3 undergo the scrutiny, then our presence is required. And if Æagrus4 enter court as a defendant, he does not get off until he recite to us a passage from the Niobe, having picked out the most beautiful. And if a flute-player gain his suit, as our fee for this, he plays a finale for us dicasts as we leave the court, with his mouth-piece on.5 And if a father, leaving an heiress at his death, give her to any one, with respect to the principal clause,6 we, having bid a long farewell to the testament, and to the case, which is very solemnly put upon the seals, give this heiress to him who by his entreaties shall have won us over. And this we do without being responsible, while of the others not a single magistracy is so.7
I certainly deem you happy with respect to this8 alone of these things which you have mentioned; but you do injustice in opening and falsifying the will of the heiress.
Moreover, the Senate, and the people, when it is at a loss to decide a matter of importance, decrees9 to hand over the culprits to the dicasts; then Evathlus,10 and this big Edition: current; Page:  fellow, parasite-named, the caster away of his shield, say that they will not betray you,1 but will fight for the democratic party. And no one ever at any time used to get his opinion carried amongst the people, unless he bade them dismiss the courts, when they have first tried one cause.2 And Cleon himself, the conqueror3 of all in bawling, at us alone does not carp, but watches over us, holding us in his hands, and keeps off the flies.4 You, on the other hand, have never at any time done any whatever of these things to your own father. But Theorus,5 and yet he is a man in no way inferior to Euphemius, blacks our shoes with a sponge from the dish. Consider from what good things you are for excluding me, and withholding me; which you said you would prove to be slavery and hard service.
Satiate yourself with talking; for at all events you will assuredly some time or other cease from speaking of your very dignified empire, and will appear supremely ridiculous.6
But what is the most delightful of all these things, which I had forgotten; when I come home with my fee, then7 all of them together salute me on my arrival, for the money’s sake. And first when8 my daughter washes me, and anoints my feet, and stooping over me gives me a kiss, and wheedling me, at the same time fishes9 out the three-obol-piece10 with her tongue, and when my little woman, having won me over by flattery, brings me a light barley-cake,11 and then sitting Edition: current; Page:  down by my side, constrains me—“eat this,” “gobble up this,” I am delighted with these things, even if there shall be no need to look to you, and to the house-steward, when he will serve up breakfast, imprecating curses and muttering. But if he should not quickly knead me a cake, I possess this,1 a protection against ills, an armour and defence against darts. And if you should not pour me wine to drink, I bring in this beaker (producing a large goblet) filled with wine,2 and then in a recumbent posture I have my cup filled;3 while this, braying with open mouth, farts mightily and valiantly at your beaker. Do I not hold a great empire, and no way inferior to that of Jupiter, who4 have the same title as Jupiter? At any rate, if we should make an uproar, each one of those who pass by says, “O king Jupiter, how the court thunders!” And if I lighten, the wealthy and very dignified5 whistle, and are in a horrid fright at me. And you yourself fear me very much; by Ceres, you fear me; but may I perish if I fear you.
We have never yet6 heard of any one who spoke so clearly, or so sagaciously.
How he has gone through all, and has passed nothing Edition: current; Page:  by, so that I myself grew taller as I heard, and seemed to be judicating in the Islands of the Blest, being delighted with him while he spoke.1
How this fellow is now stretching and yawning,2 and is not master of himself! Assuredly to-day I will make you look scourges.
It behoves you to contrive devices3 of all kinds for an escape; for it is a difficult matter for one who does not speak on my side,4 to soften my wrath. Wherefore it is time for you to seek a good millstone, and newly chiselled, which shall be able to smooth down my passion, unless you speak to the purpose.
It is a difficult task, and the office of a powerful intellect, and greater than belongs to comedians, to heal an inveterate disease, which has been bred in our state. But,5 O our father, son of Saturn—
Hear then, little papa, having unbent your brow a little; and first of all calculate roughly,—not with counters, but with your fingers,—the tribute collectively which comes in for us from the cities; and besides this, the tolls separately, and the many per-centages,8 deposits, mines, market-tolls, portdues, rents,9 and confiscated property. The sum total of these Edition: current; Page:  is nearly two thousand talents. From these now set down the yearly pay of the dicasts, being six thousand,—and they do not as yet dwell1 in the country in larger numbers,—and it amounts I ween, to a hundred and fifty talents.
Then not even the tenth part2 of the public revenue comes to us, as our fee!
Certainly not, by Jove!
And what then, pray, becomes of the rest of the money?3
It goes to these who say, “I will not betray the noisy crowd of the Athenians, but will always fight for the democratic party.” For you, father, choose them to rule over you, cajoled by these little clap-traps. And then these take bribes from the cities at the rate4 of fifty talents, threatening them in such terms, and terrifying them; “you shall give the tribute, or I will thunder and overturn your city.” But you are contented to gnaw at the offal of your dominion; while your allies, when they have perceived the rest of the mob becoming hollow in the flank from the ballot-box, and eating nothing, think you a Connas’ decree, while to them they offer presents,5 pickle-jars, wine, carpets, cheese, honey, sesame-fruit, cushions, goblets, cloaks, chaplets, necklaces, drinking cups, health and wealth. But no one of those you rule over gives you even a head of garlic to your boiled fish, after you have laboured6 much on land and much at sea.
No, by Jove, for I even sent for three heads7 of garlic at my own expense from Eucharides’ shop. But you weary me out by not demonstrating the slavery itself.
Why, is it not great servitude, that all these should both be in office themselves, and their flatterers receiving pay? while, if one give you your three obols, you are8 content; for whom you have yourself acquired the money by rowing, and Edition: current; Page:  by fighting on foot, and by besieging, having laboured much. And in addition to this, you go when ordered, which especially makes me choke with spite, when a lewd stripling having entered your house, a son of Chæreas, straddling thus, wriggling his body, and with a coxcomb’s air, bids you be present early and in good time to act as a dicast, since whoever of you arrives after the signal,1 will not receive his three-obol-piece; while he himself bears off the counsel’s fee, a drachma,2 even if he come behind time; and sharing with some other of those in office with him, if any of the defendants give any thing, they, being two, having concerted the affair, make haste; and then, one draws it up, like a saw, and the other gives way in turn. But you gape at the pay-clerk, while that which is done escapes your notice.
Is it thus they treat me? Alas! what do you say? How you agitate the very bottom of my heart, and draw my attention the more, and do I know not what to me.
Consider therefore how, when it is possible for you and all to be rich, you are some way involved3 in difficulties by those who cheat the people on each occasion.4 Who, although ruling over very many cities, from the Euxine to Sardis, derivest not a morsel of benefit, except this which you receive. And this they always drop upon you as if from a fleece, by little and little, like oil, just to keep life in you. For they wish you to be poor; and I will tell you for what purpose they do this; it is, that you may know your domesticator; and then, when this fellow hisses you on, having hounded5 you on against some one of his enemies, you may spring upon them ferociously. For if they wished to provide a livelihood Edition: current; Page:  for the people, it would be easy.1 There are a thousand cities which now pay us tribute; if one2 ordered each of these to maintain twenty men twenty thousand3 of the commons would live on all dainties, and chaplets of every description, and beestings, and beestings-pudding,4 enjoying things worthy5 of their land, and of the trophy at Marathon. But now, like olive-gatherers, you go along with him who has the pay.6
Ah, me! Something or other is poured like numbness over my hand, and I cannot hold my sword,7 but am now softened.
But when they are themselves afraid, they offer you Eubœa, and promise to provide corn at the rate of fifty medimni. But they never as yet gave you any thing, except lately five medimni; and that you got with difficulty, at the rate of a chœnix of barley at a time, because you were indicted as an alien.8 For which reasons I have always been for shutting you up, wishing to support you, and that these might not laugh at you, talking big. And now I am thoroughly willing to give you what you will, except to drink pay-clerk’s milk.9
Of a truth he was a wise man,1 who said, “you cannot judge, till you have heard the speech of both.”2 For you now certainly appear to me to be far victorious; so that now I abate my anger, and throw down my staves. Come, O partner of the same age3 with us, obey, obey his words, and be not senseless, nor a very stubborn and crabbed man. Would that I had some kinsman or relative who reminded me of such things. But now some one of the gods, being present with you, assists you in this matter,4 appearing bodily, and is evidently benefiting you: so do you, being present,5 accept his offers.
Well now, I will nourish him, providing whatever is suitable for an old man; gruel to lick up, a soft cloak, a fleecy coat, a nymph to rub his members and his loins. But in that he is silent, and mutters nothing, this cannot please me.
He had admonished himself with respect to6 the things, which he was then mad after; for he has just now acknowledged, and accounts all those things as faults,7 in which he did not obey you, when you urged him. But now, perhaps, he is obedient to your words, and is sensible, I am sure, altering his habits for the future, and obeying you.
Alas! Woe’s me!
Hollo you! why do you cry out?
Do not promise me any of these things, “those8 I Edition: current; Page:  love; there may I be,” where the crier says, “who has not given his vote? let him rise up:”—and may I stand the last at the balloting urn, when they1 vote. Hasten, my soul! Where is my soul? “Permit me, O gloomy foliage!” By Hercules, may I not now, sitting among the dicasts, any more catch Cleon pilfering.
Come, my father, by the gods, obey me.
In2 what shall I obey you? Say what you will, except one thing.
Of what kind? Come, let me see.
Not to act as dicast: “but this shall Hades decide,3 before I will obey.”
Do you then, since you delight in doing this, go there no more, but here, remaining at home, give law to your domestics.
About what? why talk foolishly?
These things, which are done there. Because the house-keeper has privily opened the door, on her you shall impose a single fine only.4 Certainly you always used to do so there. And this indeed with good reason: if the sun’s warmth arise at day-break, you shall act the Heliast in the sun; and if it snows, sitting by the fire; when it rains,5 you shall go within. And if you get up at noon, no Thesmothetes shall exclude you with the bar.
This pleases me.
In addition to this, if any one should plead a long cause, you shall not wait hungering, vexing yourself and the defendant.
How then shall I be able, as heretofore, rightly to decide the causes, if I chew all the while.
Aye, far better; for this here is a common saying, that the dicasts, when the witnesses lie, with difficulty decide the matter by ruminating upon it.
Of a truth you bring1 me over to your opinion. But you do not yet tell me that, whence I shall receive my pay.
Capital! because I shall receive by myself, and not with another. For in truth Lysistratus,2 the jester, treated me most shamefully. Lately, when he had received a drachma with me, he went and changed it in the fish-market;3 and then he offered me three mullet-scales, and I put them in my mouth, for I imagined I had received obols; and then being disgusted, I smelt at them and spit them out, and then was for dragging him to law.
What did he say to this?
What? he said I had the stomach of a cock. “At any rate you will soon digest the money,” said he laughing.
Do you see, then, how much this also is which you will gain?
Not very small. But do what you are going to do.
Wait then: and I will come with these things. [Exit.]
Observe the affair! How the oracles are fulfilled! For I had heard that the Athenians would some time or other decide causes in their own houses, and that every man would build4 for himself a little court of justice in his porch, very small, like a chapel of Hecate, every where before the doors. [Bdelycleon re-enters heavily laden.]
Lo! what further will you say? since I bring you all, as many as I said, and much more beside. See here! this chamber-pot shall hang upon the peg at your side, near at hand, if you should want to make water!
Really you have invented this a clever remedy for strangury, and useful for an old man.
And see here! this fire too! and a dish of lentils stands near it, to sup,5 if there should be any occasion.
This again is clever; for even if6 I be feverish, I Edition: current; Page:  shall at least receive my fee. For I shall remain here and gulp down the lentils. But why have you brought out the cock1 to me?
In order that if you should sleep when any one is pleading, this cock may rouse you by crowing above you.
I want one thing still; but the rest please me.
What is it?
If by any means you were to bring out the chapel of Lycus.
See, here it is present! and the king himself, see here he is!
O master! O hero! how stern, then, you are to look upon!2 such as Cleonymus appears to us.
Therefore neither has he himself, though a hero, any arms.
If you sat down quickly, I would quickly call on a case.
Call it on then, since I have been long since seated.
Come now, what case shall I first bring forward for him? What mischief3 has any of those in the house done? The Thracian maid who lately burnt the pot—
Stop, you there! How nearly you destroyed me! Are you going to call on the case without a bar, which used to appear as the first of our solemnities?
By Jove, it is not here: I myself will run and fetch it immediately from within. What in the world is the matter? How powerful a thing is local attachment!
(within). Go to the devil! to think of keeping such a cur!4
Pray what is the matter?
(entering). Why, did not Labes, the dog, just now rush past into the kitchen, and snatch up and devour a fresh Sicilian5 cheese?
This offence, then, I must bring before my father the first. And do you be present and accuse him.
Not I, by Jove! but [Editor: illegible word] other dog says he will aut as accuser, if any one bring forward the indictment.
Go now, bring them hither.
We must do so. [Exeunt Xanthias and Bdelycleon.]
(to Bdelycleon, who enters with a swine-cote). What is this?
A swine-cote of Vesta.1
Then do you bring it having committed sacrilege?
No: but that beginning2 from Vesta I may distress some one.
Well, bring it forward quickly, since I long to pass sentence.
Come now, let me bring the tablets,3 and the indictments. [Exit.]
Ah me! you weary me, and will destroy me by wasting the time. I was wanting to draw furrows in my little farm.4 [Re-enter Bdelycleon.]
Here they are!
Now call on the case.
Aye, aye, sir.5
Who is this first here?
Confound it! how vexed I am that I forgot to bring out the urns.
You fellow! whither are you running?
To fetch the urns.6
By no means; for I had these gills.
Then it will do most excellently; for we have all things, as many as we want, except indeed the clepsydra.
(pointing to the chamber-pot). What is this here? Is it not a clepsydra?
You contrive them well, and after the country’s fashion. But let some one bring out fire, as soon as possible, and myrtle branches, and the frankincense from within, that we may first of all offer our prayers to the gods.
Well now, we will utter an auspicious voice for you during1 your libations and prayers, because you have nobly come to an agreement after your war and contention.
First, now, let there be auspicious language.
O Phœbus,2 Pythian Apollo, grant that the business which this man is planning before the doors be attended with good fortune to us all, since we have ceased from our wanderings. Io Pæan!
O master and king, neighbour Aguieus, before the gate of my porch! accept the new religious rites, O king, which we institute anew for my father, and put an end to this exceeding harsh and sturdy disposition of his, instead of must having intermingled a little honey with his little passion; and grant that he be now merciful to the men, and pity the defendants more than the plaintiffs, and that he weep for them when they supplicate him, and take away the sting from his wrath, having ceased from his peevishness.
We join in these prayers with you, and sing a song upon your new offices, on account of the things aforesaid. For we are well inclined, since what time we perceived that you love the democracy as no3 man does of those who are younger.
If any Heliast be without, let him enter; since we shall not admit him when they begin to plead.
Who, then, is this defendant here? What a condemnation he shall get!
Hear now the indictment! “A dog of the Cydathenian tribe4 has indicted Labes, the Æxonian, for injustice, Edition: current; Page:  in that he devoured the Sicilian cheese1 alone. The penalty a collar of fig-tree.”
Nay, rather, a dog’s death, if once he be convicted. [Enter Xanthias with two boys dressed up as to resemble dogs.]
But see!2 here’s Labes the defendant at hand.
O the blackguard!3 What a thief’s look he has too! How with his grin he thinks he will deceive me!
Where is the plaintiff, the Cydathenian dog?
Here he is.
A second Labes this again; good at barking and at licking the pots.
Silence, be seated, but do you [to Xanthias] mount up and accuse him.
Come now, at the same time let me also pour in this and gulp it down.
You have heard, O dicasts, the indictment, with which I indicted4 this fellow. For he has done most villanous deeds both to me and to my messmates. For he ran away into the corner, and Sicelised a large cheese, and filled himself in the darkness—
By Jove, it is evident he has: in truth, just now this disgusting fellow belched cheese upon me most abominably.
And he did not give me a share when I asked for it; and yet who will be able to do you a kindness, unless one throw something to me also, your dog?
Did he give you no share?
Not even to me, his companion.
(supping his lentil-porridge). For the fellow is hot, no less than the lentil-porridge.
By the gods, father, do not condemn beforehand; before you hear both.5
But, my good sir, the matter is evident: it cries out of itself.1
And I have not even enough4 to patch up the bucket.
as Accus. Therefore punish him; for never could one bush be able to support two thieves,5—that I may not bark to no purpose, and in vain. But if you do not, henceforth I will not bark.
Oh! oh! how great are the villanies he has denounced! The fellow’s a thief! Don’t you think so too, O cock? Certainly, indeed, by Jove, he winks at me.6 Thesmothetes! Where is he? Let him give me the chamber-pot.
as Thesm. Take it down yourself; for I will summon the witnesses. “Let the witnesses for Labes appear!7 bowl, pestle, cheese-grater, brazier, pot, and the other utensils which have been burnt at the fire!” [To Philocleon.] What! are you still making water, and don’t sit down8 yet?
I fancy this fellow will evacuate to-day.
Will you not moreover cease being ill-tempered and morose, especially to the defendants, but clingest to them with your teeth? [To the dog.] Get up, make your defence. Why are you silent? Speak.
But this one seems not to know what to say.
No; but he appears to me to have experienced that, which Thucydides also once experienced when on his trial.9 Edition: current; Page:  He was suddenly struck dumb in his jaws. [To the dog.] Get out of the way! for I will make your defence. Sirs, it is a difficult thing to answer in defence of a dog who has been calumniated; nevertheless, I will speak. For he is brave, and pursues the wolves.
Nay, rather, he is a thief, and a conspirator.
No, by Jove; he is the best of the dogs of the present day, and able to guard many little sheep.1
What then’s the good of him, if he devours the cheese?
In that he fights for you, and guards the door, and in other respects is most excellent. And if he did steal, pardon him; for his education is imperfect.
But I would have wished he had not even known his letters, so that2 he might not have composed his oration to us, acting like a rogue.
Hear, O good sir, my witnesses. Mount up, you cheese-grater, and speak aloud: for you happened to be house-keeper. Answer distinctly, if you did not grate down what you received for your soldiers. He admits having grated it down.3
By Jove, he lies.
My good sir, pity the wretched, for this Labes eats both offal and fishes’ back-bones, and never remains in the same place; but the other is fit for nothing but a house-dog. Edition: current; Page:  For he remains there and asks his share of these things, whatever any one brings in; otherwise he bites.
Deary me! what in the world is the evil with which I am softened? Some evil encompasses me, and I am gained over.
Descend, descend, descend, descend!
I will descend; and yet this “Descend” has deceived very many indeed.3 But, nevertheless, I will descend.
(burning his mouth with the lentil-porridge). Confound it! How evil a thing is gulping down! For now in my opinion I had never in any wise shed many tears, unless I had been filled with the lentil-porridge.4
Pray, is he not acquitted, then?
It is difficult to know.
Come, my dear little father, turn yourself to that which is better. Take this pebble here, and rush past to the second urn with your eyes shut, and acquit him, father.
Certainly not; “for my education is imperfect.”
Come now, let me lead5 you round this way by the shortest road.
Is this the first urn?
This is it.
Here it goes then!
(aside). He is deceived, and has acquitted unwittingly.
Come, let me pour them out. How, then, have we contended? [Takes up the balloting urns and empties them.]
The event will show.6 Labes, thou art acquitted. Edition: current; Page:  [Philocleon falls down in a fainting fit.] Father, father, what ails you? Ah me! Where is there any water? Raise yourself up.
Now tell me that: is he really acquitted?
Yes, by Jove.
Then I am undone.1
Don’t be concerned, my good sir, but stand up.
(rising). How, then, shall I forgive myself for this—having acquitted a defendant? What in the world will become of me?2 But, O ye highly-honoured gods, pardon me! for I did it unwillingly, and not in accordance with my habit.
And be not displeased, for I, my father, will support you finely, taking you with me every where to dinner, to the banquet, to the public spectacles, so that you spend the rest of your life agreeably; and Hyperbolus shall not deceive you, and laugh at you.3 But let us go in.
Aye,4 aye, sir, if you think fit. [Exeunt Philocleon, Bdelycleon, and attendants.]
Well, go you with joy, wherever you will! [To the spectators.] But do you meanwhile, you countless myriads, now take care of what is about to be spoken well, lest it fall unprofitably to the ground, for it belongs to a stupid audience to act thus, but is not in character with you.5
But now, O people, give your attention, if you love any thing true; for now the poet desires to censure the spectators. He says he has been wronged, having first benefited them oftentimes; partly not openly, but that he, secretly assisting other poets, having entered the bellies of others, in imitation of the prophetic power and device of Eurycles,6 poured forth Edition: current; Page:  many comedies. And after this now venturing openly by himself,1 having guided the mouths—not of other peoples, but of his own muses. But having been raised to such a pitch of greatness, and honoured as no man ever was amongst you, he says he has not, though elevated, completed his elevation, nor puffed up his own conceit, nor does he carouse around the Palæstra tampering with the pupils.2 And if any lover, hating to have his darling satirized, hastened to him, he denies ever having acceded to any one, having a just judgment; that he may not make the muses, with whom he associates, procuresses. And when he first began to publish, he denies having attacked mere men, but with3 the spirit of a Hercules, assailed the greatest monsters, forthwith from the commencement having boldly joined battle with the jagged-toothed4 monster itself, from whose eyes most dreadful rays5 of Cynna were glaring, and around whose head a hundred heads of flatterers, devil take them,6 were licking round about; and it had the voice of a torrent pregnant with destruction, and the stench of a sea-calf, the unwashed testicles of a Lamia, and the rump of a camel. When he beheld such a monster, he denies having through fear bought him off with a bribe; but still even now he fights for you. And he declares that after him,7 he last year attacked the night-mares, and the fevers, which used to strangle your fathers by night, and choke your grandfathers, and lying down upon their beds, used to glue together affidavits, and summonses, and evidences against those of you8 who were quiet people; so that many leaped up in terror to the Polemarch. Having found such an averter of evil, a purifier of this country, you betrayed Edition: current; Page:  him last year, when he had sown with the newest1 sentiments, which, through your not clearly understanding them, you made powerless. And yet, many times and on many occasions making libations, he swears by Bacchus, that no one has ever at any time heard better comic verses than these. This, therefore, is disgraceful to you, who did not understand them immediately.2 But the poet has been esteemed none the worse among the wise, because, out-stripping his rivals, he utterly destroyed his hope of victory.3 But henceforth, good sirs, cherish more and honour those of your poets who seek to say, and to find out, something new, and preserve their thoughts, and put them into your chests with your apples. And if you do this, there will be an odour of cleverness from your clothes throughout the year.4
O we, who once in olden time were brave in dances, and brave in fights, and on this very account5 alone, most warlike men. This was formerly; was formerly. But now they are gone, and now these hairs flourish6 still whiter than Edition: current; Page:  the swan. But even from these remnants we must assume youthful strength; for I consider my old age to be superior to the curls, and dress, and lewdness of many striplings.
If any of you, O spectators, having seen my shape, then wonders to see me laced up in the waist like a wasp, or what is the meaning of our sting, I will readily teach him, even though he should be unpolished before.1 We to whom this rump is attached are Athenians, alone rightfully of noble birth, and of the native stock; a most manly race, and one which assisted this city most of all in battles, when the barbarian came, stifling the whole city with his smoke, and wasting it with fire, purposing to take away our combs by force. For we immediately ran out with spear and with buckler, and fought with them, having drunk sharp anger, man standing by man,2 biting his lip through3 rage; and by reason of the arrows it was not possible to see the sky. But, nevertheless, with the gods on our side, we repulsed them about eventide.4 For, before we fought, an owl flew over our army. And then we followed, darting at their trowsers; but they fled, stung in their jaws and eye-brows; so that among the barbarians every where, still, even now, nothing has a braver name than the Attic wasp.
Truly,5 then was I terrible, so that I did not fear any thing; and I subdued my foes, sailing thither with the triremes; for we had then no thoughts how we should speak a speech Edition: current; Page:  rightly, nor how we should calumniate any one, but1 who should be the best oarsman. Hence, therefore, having taken many cities of the Medes, we are the chiefest cause of the tributes’ being brought in hither, which the striplings steal.
If you often observe us, you will find us in all respects,2 in our manners and way of living, most like to wasps. For in the first place, no animal, when irritated, is more irascible, nor yet more peevish than we. Next, we contrive all the rest like unto wasps. For being collected in swarms, like the wasps’ nests, some of us act the dicast where the Archon holds his court; others by the Eleven; others in the Odeum; others crowded together near the walls, frequently bowing the head to the earth, scarcely moving in their cells, like the grubs. And we are most full of resources for the rest of our maintenance; for we sting every one, and procure a livelihood. But indeed3 drones sit among us, not having a sting; who lie in readiness, and devour the fruit of our tribute, not being worn out with labour. But this is most grievous to us, if any one who has not seen service, carry off our salary, having received neither oar, nor spear, nor blister in defence of this country. But in brief, I move4 that, whoever of the citizens has not the regular sting,5 should not receive his three obols. [Re-enter Philocleon and Bdelycleon.]
Never, certainly, while I live, will I strip off this cloak; since it alone preserved me when drawn up for battle, when the mighty Boreas invaded me.
You appear to wish to experience nothing good.
No, by Jove, for it is in no wise suitable for me. For before this, having been filled with small fry, I paid three obols to the fuller6 as a debt.
Yet certainly, at least,7 let it be tried, since once you have delivered over yourself to me to benefit.
What then do you order me to do?
Let go the cloak, and put on this mantle here in the fashion of a cloak. [Takes off his cloak.]
Ought one, then, to beget and bring up children, when this fellow now wishes to choke me?
(offering him a fine mantle). Hold, take and put on this here, and don’t talk.
By all the gods, what is this plague?
Some call it a Persian cloak, others a Caunace.
But I fancied it a Thymætian wrapper. [Puts it on.]
And no wonder too, for you have not been to Sardis, for you would have known; but now you don’t know.
What I? No, by Jove, certainly not: but to me it appears to be most like to a top-coat of Morychus.1
No; these are woven at Ecbatana.
Is woollen tripe made at Ecbatana?2
By no means,3 my good sir; this is woven by the barbarians at a great expense. Of a surety this consumed with ease a talent of wool.
Ought we not then, pray, more properly to call this wool-consumer, than Caunace? [Attempts to throw it off again.]
Stop, my good sir, and stand with it on.
Alas, wretched man! how hot a stench4 the filthy garment belched upon me! [Throws it off.]
Will you not put it on?
No, by Jove, not I. But, my good sir, if it must be so, put on me a baking-pot.
Come, at least I will throw it around you.5 Proceed then. [Throws the mantle over Philocleon’s shoulders.]
At least, however, lay down a flesh-hook too.
Why? why, pray?6
That you may take me out, before I waste away.
Come now, strip off the accursed shoes, and put on quickly these Laconian ones.7 [Pulls off Philocleon’s shoes.]
Why, can I ever bear to put on hostile shoes1 made by enemies?
(offering a pair of Laconian shoes). Put in your foot, my good sir, and stoutly tread upon the Laconian territory with speed.
You do me injustice, in disembarking my foot upon the enemy’s country. [Draws back with only one shoe on.]
Come, the other foot also!
By no means this one, since one of its toes is altogether a Laconian-hater.
There is no other way but this.2
Wretched man that I am, who3 in my old age shall get no chilblain!
Be quick and put it on; and then, like a wealthy man, advancing thus, swagger very effeminately. [Puts on the other shoe, and arranges his dress.]
See! look at my dress, and observe to which of the wealthy I am most like in gait.
To what? To a boil covered with garlic.
Well now, I am eager to swagger.
Come now, will you know how to utter dignified words, when very learned and clever men are present?
What, then, can you speak?
Very many: in the first place, how the Lamia4 fizzled when it was caught; and then how Cardopion’s mother—
Tell me no fables,5 but domestic stories about men, such as we are most accustomed to discourse of.
Then I know that one of the very domestic stories, how—“Once upon a time there was a mouse and a weasel.”6
“O thou lubberly and ignorant fellow,” said Theogenes to the scavenger, and that too, abusing him. Are you going to tell a story of mice and weasels amongst men?
What sort of subjects7 must I talk about?
Befitting a great man: how thou wast colleague in a mission with Androcles and Clisthenes.1
But I have2 never at any time been a state ambassador any whither, except to Paros, and that too when I received two obols.
But certainly3 you ought to tell how, for example,4 Ephudion contended bravely in the pancratium with Ascondas, though he was now old and gray-headed; having, in truth, very strong ribs, and hands, and flanks, and a most excellent breast.5
Stop, stop; you talk nonsense.6 How could a man contend in the pancratium with a breast-plate on?
Thus the wise are accustomed to discourse. But tell me another thing—when drinking with your entertainers, what most manly feat of yours in your youth do you think you could tell?
That, that was the bravest of my feats, when I purloined Ergasion’s vine-props.
You will destroy me. What vine-props?7—But tell how once upon a time you pursued a boar, or a hare, or ran the torch-race; having bethought yourself of a most dashing feat.
Then I know the most dashing feat; when I prosecuted Phaÿllus the racer for defamation, and cast him by two votes, being still a great lubberly boy.8
Cease; and rather1 recline here, and learn besides to be a jolly fellow, and suited for society.
How then shall I recline? Tell me quickly.
Like a gentleman.
(throwing himself on the seat in an awkward posture). Is it thus you order me to recline?
By no means.
Stretch out your knees, and fling yourself in an easy2 position, as they do in the gymnasium, on the coverlets. Then praise some of the brazen vessels; survey the roof; admire the tapestry3 of the hall. Water for the hands; bring in the tables;4 we sup; we are washed; now we pour out libations:—
By the gods, are we feasting on a dream?
A flute-girl plays on her flute:5 your fellow-guests are Theorus, Æschines, Phanus, Cleon, and some other stranger at the head of Acestor. In company with these, see that you take up the catches cleverly.6
What, really? Aye, as none of the Diacrii7 shall take it up.
I shall know: suppose me to be Cleon.8 And first I sing the catch of Harmodius; and you will take me up:—“There never yet was a man in Athens”—
“No, never such a knave, or thief.”
Will you do this?9 You will perish by the way, if Edition: current; Page:  you bawl this; for he will vow to utterly destroy and ruin you, and banish you from this land.
But how,3 when Theorus, reclining at your feet, sings, having taken Cleon by the right hand, “My friend, having learned the story of Admetus, love the good.”4 What catch will you recite in reply to this?
Somehow in this way:—“It is not possible to play the fox, or to be a friend to both at once.”
“Much, in truth, have you and I squandered.”
This, indeed, you understand pretty well. But remember that we7 go to dinner to Philoctemon’s. [Calls to a servant.] Boy, boy, Chrysus, make ready the dinner for us, that we may be tipsy8 for a while.
By no means: drinking is bad; for from wine proceed both the breaking of doors, and the dealing of blows, and the throwing of stones; and then the paying of money, after your drunken head-ache.
Not if you associate with gentlemen, for either they Edition: current; Page:  intercede with the sufferer, or you yourself tell some witty story, a fable of Æsop, or of Sybaris, of the number of those which you have learnt at the banquet; and then you turn the matter into a jest, so that he lets you off, and takes his departure.1
Then I must learn many2 stories, if I am to pay nothing, if I commit any ill. Come now, let us go, let nothing detain us. [Exeunt Philocles, and Bdelycleon.]
Oftentimes, in truth, have I appeared to myself to be clever, and never at any time to be stupid; but rather so is Amynias3 the son of Sellus, of the race of4 Crobylus, that fellow whom I once saw, instead of his apple and pomegranate, dining with Leogoras;5 for he hungers, like Antipho.6 But indeed, he went as ambassador to Pharsalus, and then he there alone kept company with the Thessalian Penestæ alone,7 being himself a beggar inferior to none. O happy Automenes, how we bless you! You have begotten children most skilful. In the first place, he who is a friend to all, and a very wise man, the most skilful in playing the cithara, whom homage attended. The second an actor,—’tis hard to say how8 clever! Then Ariphrades,9 by far the most clever, whom his father once affirmed upon oath to have spontaneously learned to act obscenely, going constantly into the brothels, having learned this from no one, but from his clever natural talent.Edition: current; Page: 
There are some who said of me, that I was become reconciled with him again, when Cleon was troubling me a little, assaulting me, and provoked me with abuse. And then, when I was flayed with beating, those outside laughed to see me bawling loudly, there being no concern1 for me, but only just to know, if I should utter any little jest, when hard put to it. Having observed this, I played the ape a little.2 So now “the prop deceived the vine.” [Enter Xanthias.]
O tortoises! happy in your hide, and thrice happy in the covering on your sides! How well and cleverly you have roofed over your backs with shell, so as to keep off the blows! But I am dead with being tattooed with a stick.
What3 is the matter, boy? for it is right to call him “boy,” who receives blows, even if he be old.
For is not the old fellow a most mischievous pest, and far the most quarrelsome of the guests in his cups. And yet there were4 present Hippyllus, Antipho, Lycon, Lysistratus, Theophrastus, and Phrynichus.5 Of all these he was by far the most insolent. For forthwith, when he was filled with many good things, he danced, he skipped, he farted, he laughed, like a little ass well fed with parched barley. And he beat me wantonly, crying out, “Boy, boy.” Then Lysistratus, when he saw him, made a simile:—“You are like, my old boy, to a newly-enriched old man,6 and to a constable who has run7 away to a chaff-heap.” But he bawled aloud, and compared him in turn “To a locust which had cast8 the leaves of its cloak,” and to “Sthenelus9 stripped of his trappings.” Edition: current; Page:  They applauded vehemently; except Theophrastus only, and he made mouths, as if, forsooth,1 he were clever. The old fellow asked Theophrastus:—“Tell me, on what do you plume yourself, and pretend to be a pretty fellow, you who play the parasite towards whoever2 happens to be well off?” In such manner did he wantonly insult them in turn, jeering them rudely, and moreover most absurdly telling stories which had nothing to do with the matter. Then, when he was drunk, he comes home beating all, whoever comes3 in his way. And see now! here he comes reeling! But I will get out of the way, before I receive blows. [Enter Philocleon, armed with a torch, and accompanied by a flute-girl.]
Hold up the torch! lend the light!4 Some one of those who follow behind me shall weep. How I will make roast meat of you, you villains, with this here torch, if you will not begone! [Enter Bdelycleon.]
Upon my word you shall give satisfaction to us all for this to-morrow, even if you be very headstrong. For we will come in a body to summon you to trial.
Ho! Whew! to summon me! Your words5 are obsolete. Do you know that I can’t even bear to hear of suits? Bah! bah! [Exit Bdelycleon.] This pleases me.6 Throw away the balloting urns. Won’t you go away? Where’s7 the Heliast? Out of the way! [To the flute-girl.] Come up hither, my little golden cock-chafer, having taken hold of this rope with your hand. Keep tight hold! but take care, for the rope is rotten. Yet certainly, however, Edition: current; Page:  it bears rubbing. You see how cleverly I stole you away, when now about to practise on the guests. Wherefore repay the favour to this my tail. But you will not repay it, or set about it, I well know; but will deceive it, and grin greatly at it; for you have done it already to many others.1 But if now you will be no ill woman,2 when my son dies, I will redeem you and keep you as my concubine, my little pig. But now I am not master of my own property, for I am young, and am very strictly watched. For my little son watches me, and he is morose, and a cummin-splitting cress-scraper3 besides. On this account, therefore, he fears for me, lest I should be corrupted; for he has no father but me. And see, here he is himself too! He seems to be running towards you and me. But stand with these torches as soon as possible, that I may wantonly mock4 him, as he once did me before my initiation. [Re-enter Bdelycleon.]
You there, you fellow, you dullard and whore-master! you desire and seem to love a handsome5 coffin. By Apollo, you certainly shall not get off with impunity for doing this!
How you would like to eat a vinegar suit!
Is it not shameful that you6 should mock me, after having stolen the flute-girl from the guests?
What flute-girl? Why do you utter these absurdities, as though you had fallen from the tomb?7
(pointing to the flute-girl). By Jove! this, I ween is your Dardanis.
No; but in the market-place a torch8 is burning in honour of the gods.
Is this a torch?
Yes, certainly, a torch. Don’t you see it spotted?
But what is this black part in the middle of it?
The pitch, I suppose, is coming out of it as it burns.
But is not this thing behind a rump?
Nay, this is a branch which projects from the torch.
What do you say? What branch? [To the flute-girl.] Will you not come hither? [Takes the girl by the hand and proceeds to lead her away.]
Ah! ah! what are you going to do?
To take and lead this woman away, having deprived you of her, and thinking you to be old,1 and able to do nothing.
Now hear me: when I was a state ambassador at Olympia, Ephudion contended bravely with Ascondas, though he was now an old man. Then the elder struck and prostrated the younger with his fist. Wherefore, take care, lest you get a pair of black eyes.
(retiring with the flute-girl). By Jove, you have thoroughly learned Olympia. [Enter a baking-woman, attended by her witness.]
(to her witness). Come, stand by me, I entreat you by the gods, for here is the fellow who ruined me, striking me with his torch, and knocked out afterwards ten loaves at an obol a-piece, and four which I had given into the bargain. [Re-enter Bdelycleon.]
Do you see what you have done? We must have troubles and law-suits again, on account of your drunken folly.2
By no means; for witty stories will make it up; so that I know that I shall make peace with this woman.
By the two goddesses, you certainly shall not mock with impunity Myrtia, daughter of Ancylion and Sostrate, after having destroyed my wares3 in this way.
Hear me, woman; I wish to tell you a pleasing story.
By Jove, not to me,4 my good sir.
An audacious and drunken bitch barked at Æsop as he was going home from dinner at evening. And then he said, “O bitch, bitch, if, by Jove, you were to purchase some wheat from some quarter in return for your abusive tongue, you would appear to me to be wise.”
What, do you laugh at me? I summon you, whoever you are, before the Market-clerks, for injury1 done to my wares, having this Chærephon as my witness.
Nay, by Jove, hear, if I appear to say any thing to the purpose. “Once upon a time Lasus2 and Simonides brought rival plays upon the stage. Then Lasus said, ‘I am little concerned.’ ”
What, really, you fellow?
See! here’s another coming to summon you, as it seems. Certainly, indeed, he has his witness with him. [Enter a plaintiff, attended by his witness.]
Ah me, miserable! I summon you, old man, for outrage.
Nay, rather, I will make peace with him willingly; for I confess that I struck and pelted him.7 But come hither Edition: current; Page:  first. Do you commit it to me, what damages it behoves me to pay for the matter, and henceforth to be your friend; or will you mention the sum?
Do you mention it; for I am not desirous of1 law-suits or troubles.
“A man of Sybaris fell from a chariot, and, as it happened, had his head broken very2 violently; for he happened to be not well skilled in horsemanship. And then a friend who stood by said to him, ‘Let3 every man practise the craft which each is acquainted with.’ ” Thus do you also run away to the house of Pittalus.4
This, too, is on a par with the rest of your conduct.
But, however, do you relate what he answered.
Hear, fly not. “At Sybaris, a woman once upon a time broke a pitcher—.”
I call you to bear witness to this.
“The pitcher, therefore, having a person with it, called witnesses. And then the woman of Sybaris said, ‘If, by Proserpine, you had abandoned this bringing of witness, and immediately purchased a bandage, you would have had more5 sense.’ ”
Go on insulting, until the Archon6 call on the suit. [Exit plaintiff with his witness.]
By Ceres, you certainly shall not stay here7 any longer. [Seizes him.] But I, having taken you upon my shoulders—
What are you doing?
What am I doing? I am carrying you from hence within; otherwise witnesses will soon fail those who will summon you.
“The Delphians once accused Æsop”—
“I am little concerned.”
“Accused him of having stolen a bowl belonging to the god; but he told them that, ‘Once upon a time the beetle’ ”.—
Ah me! how I will destroy you together with your beetles! [Exit Bdelycleon carrying Philocleon off the stage.]
I deem the old man happy for his good fortune, because1 he has so far ceased from his sober ways, and mode of life; and now having learned different things instead, assuredly he will experience something great towards luxury and ease. But perhaps he will not be willing, for it is difficult to renounce one’s nature, which one has always had. And yet many have experienced this: by siding with the opinions of others, they have changed their habits. But the son2 of Philocleon will go off, having met with much praise from me, and from those who are wise, on account of his love for his father,3 and his wisdom. For I have associated with no one so amiable; nor have I been so passionately in love with any one’s ways, or been so delighted with them. For in what argument with reply was he not superior,4 wishing to adorn his parent with grander things? [Enter Xanthias.]
By Bacchus, some deity has introduced perplexing Edition: current; Page:  troubles into our house:1 for the old man, after that he had been drinking for a long time, and heard the flute, being overjoyed at the circumstance, ceases2 not during the night to dance those old-fashioned dances with which Thespis used to contend for the prize. And he says he will show the tragedians of the present day to be old dotards,3 being about to dance a match with them in a short while.
(from within). Who sits at the doors of the vestibule?
This mischief now is spreading.4
(from within). Let these bars be unfastened, [enter Philocleon,] for now is the beginning of the dance—
Rather, perhaps, the beginning of madness.
Which5 twists the side forcibly. How my nostril groans, and my vertebra sounds!
Drink hellebore. [Philocleon commences to dance.]
Phrynichus cowers6 like a cock—
You will hit me by and by.
Kicking out his leg sky-high. The rump gapes.
Look to yourself.
For now the socket turns loosely in my joints. [Enter Bdelycleon.]
Not well, by Jove! certainly not; but a mad affair.
Come now, let me make a proclamation, and invite my antagonists. “If any tragedian professes to dance well, let him come in here, to dance a match with me.” Speaks any one, or none? [Enter a boy dressed like a crab.]
That one only.
Who is the wretch?
The middle son of Carcinus.
Well, this one shall be swallowed down; for I will kill him with a knuckle-dance;7 for he is good for nothing at rhythm. [Enter a second boy dressed like a crab.]
But, wretched man, here comes another tragedian of the family of Carcinus, his brother.
Then, by Jove, I have bought fish.1
Nay, by Jove, nothing else but crabs; for here approaches another again of the sons of Carcinus. [Enter a third boy dressed like a crab.]
What is this which approaches? a shrimp, or a spider?
This is the pinna-guard2 of the race, the youngest that makes tragedy.
O Carcinus! happy in your possession of fine children What a multitude of wrens has fallen down! But I must go down3 against them, wretch! Mix brine-pickle for these, if I conquer.
Come now, let us all make a little room for them, that in quiet before us they may whirl themselves about. [Philocleon and the sons of Carcinus dance.] Come, O celebrated offspring of your marine sire, skip along the sand and the shore of the barren sea, ye brothers of shrimps. Whirl round the foot swiftly, and let every one fling up his heels in the manner of Phrynichus, so that the spectators, having seen your legs aloft,4 may cry out “O!” Whirl round, advance in a circle, and punch yourself in the belly, fling your leg sky-high, let gyrations be made; for the king himself who rules the sea, your father, approaches, delighted with his own children, the noble trio.5 [Carcinus enters and ioins the dance.]
But quickly lead us out of doors, if at all you like to dance; for no one has ever done this before—dismissed a chorus of comedians dancing.6 [Exeunt omnes.]
“Aristoph. Εἰρήνη. In the thirteenth1 year of the war. Pac. 990, τρυχόμεθ’ ἤδη τϱία καὶ δέκ’ ἔτη. Schol. Pac. 353, ιγ’ γἀρ ἔτη εῖχο[Editor: illegible word] πολεμοῦντες. Consequently not before the spring of the archon Astyphilus.” Clinton, Fast. Hellen., p. 69. “The Peace of Aristophanes, according to a recently discovered notice of the Scholiast, was brought out in the archonship of Alcæus, at the Great Dionysia, that is, in the March of the year 421. This piece obtained the second prize, the Κόλακ[Editor: illegible word]ς of Eupolis the first, and the Φράτοϱες of Leucon the third.” Droysen. The plot is this:—Trygæus, a rustic patriot, deeply indignant at the continuance of the Peloponnesian war, resolves to ascend to heaven for the purpose of remonstrating with Jupiter on the evils which he has been inflicting on the Grecian cities. He accomplishes his aërial voyage on the back of a gigantic dung-beetle, which he has fed and trained for this excursion; but finds that the gods have emigrated from their usual place of residence, and that their place in heaven is occupied by the demon of War, who is occupied in pounding the Greek states in a huge mortar. His benevolent enterprise is not, however, destined to be fruitless; for having learned from Mercury that the goddess Peace has been shut up in a dungeon, he contrives, by the help of all the Greek nations, to extricate her from her imprisonment, and descends with her in triumphal state to earth.—The play concludes with the restoration of the goddess to her ancient honours, the festivities of the rural population, and the nuptials of Trygæus, who is but poorly rewarded for his adventurous flight by receiving the hand of a nymph of somewhat equivocal reputation. Droysen2 surmises that there were two editions put forth by the poet, of which the present copy is the second.Edition: current; Page: 
[Scene—the interior of a farm-yard; two servants are seen busily engaged near a large pig-sty.]
Bring, bring as quickly as possible, a cake for the beetle.
Give him another cake, made of ass’s dung.
Well! there’s another!3 Why, where is the one you brought just now? Has he not devoured it?
Yes, by Jupiter, he snatched it away and bolted it whole, having rolled it round with his feet. Come, beat up for him, then, as quickly as possible, many thick4 ones.
Give him another, another made of the dung of a boy-catamite; for he says he likes it beaten up.
Very well.—From one thing, sirs, methinks I am free; for no one can say that I eat while I knead.
Ha! Bring another, and another, and another; and still beat up others.
No, by Apollo, will I not! for I am no longer able to bear the filth. Therefore I will seize and take away the filth itself.1 [Exit.]
Aye, by Jupiter, to the deuce, and yourself into the bargain. [Re-enter 2nd Servant.]
(to the spectators). If any of you knows, let him tell me whence I can purchase an unperforated nose; for it appears no task is more wretched than to knead and offer a beetle to eat.2 For a pig or a dog readily3 falls to, according as one evacuates; but this fellow bears himself haughtily through pride, and does not deign to eat, unless I serve up a kneaded ball to him, as if he were a lady, having beaten it up the whole day. But I will see if he has ceased from eating, having opened a little4 of the door in this way, that he may not see me. [Goes to the pig-sty and peeps in.] Fall to! May you never leave off eating till5 you burst unawares. How the abominable creature stoops down and keeps eating like a wrestler,6 laying his grinders to it; and that too turning round his snout and two paws somehow in this way,7 like those who twist the thick ropes for merchant vessels. The creature is abominable, and stinking, and gluttonous; and I know not of what deity in the world it is the attack.8 For, indeed, it does not appear to me to belong to Venus, nor, assuredly, to the Graces.
Why, whose is it?
It must be that this is the portent of Jupiter Edition: current; Page:  descending in thunder. Therefore some one of the spectators, some stripling wise in his own conceit, will now say, “What’s the matter? For what purpose the beetle?” And then some Ionian, who sits beside him, says, “I fancy1 this hints2 at Cleon; since he3 shamelessly eats excrement.”—But I will go in and give the beetle to drink. [Exit.]
(coming forward). And I will tell the argument to the boys, and to the youths, and to the men, and to the oldest men, and furthermore to those who think themselves ever so much more than men.4 My master is mad after a new fashion; not as you are mad, but in another very novel way. For, looking up to heaven throughout the day, he thus with open mouth reviles Jupiter, and says, “O Jupiter, what in the world are you intending to do? Lay aside the besom! Do not sweep away Greece!”
(behind the scene). Ho! ho!
Be silent! for methinks I hear his voice.
(behind the scene). O Jupiter, what in the world do you wish5 to do to our people? You will gut our cities without being aware of it.
This, this is the very6 mischief of which I spoke; for you hear the proof of his madness. But you shall hear what he said at first, when the phrensy7 began. For here he said to himself, “Would8 that I could proceed direct to the mansion of Jupiter!” Then be used to construct slender little ladders, and clamber up upon these towards heaven; till he fell down and broke his head.9 And yesterday, after Edition: current; Page:  this, he rushed out some whither and brought in a very large Etnæan1 beetle; and then forced me to groom it; and he himself pats it like a colt, and says, “O my little Pegasus!2 my noble winged creature! see that you take me on your back and fly straight to the mansion of Jupiter.”—But I will peep in thus3 and see what he is doing. [Opens the door of the farm-yard and peeps in.] Ah, unhappy man! come hither, hither, O neighbours! for my master is rising aloft into the air upon his beetle, as on horseback.4 [The door of the farm-yard opens, and Trygæus is seen mounted on a huge dungbeetle.]
Softly, softly, gently, O beetle! Do not go very violently immediately at first, trusting to your strength, before you shall have sweated and made supple the nerves of your joints with the rush of your wings. And do not breathe upon me offensively, I beseech you. But if you will do so, remain here in my house.
O lord and master! how crazed you are!
Whither, pray, are you pursuing vanities5 to no purpose?
I am flying in behalf of all the Greeks, having contrived a novel and daring exploit.
Why do you fly? Why to no purpose are you mad?6
It behoves you to use words of good omen, and not to mutter any thing bad, but to raise a shout; and command the people to be silent, and to wall up with new bricks the privies and sewers,7 and to shut up their backsides.
It is not possible that I can keep silence,8 if you do not tell me whither you are intending to fly.
What else than to Jove, into heaven?
With what intent.
To ask him what he designs to do respecting all the Greeks.
But if he should not tell you?
I will indict him for betraying1 Greece to the Medes.
Never, by Bacchus, while I live!
There is no2 other way.
Alas! alas! alas! [Runs to the farm-house.] O damsels, your father is secretly taking his departure for heaven, having left you deserted! But entreat your father, O unhappy girls! [Enter daughters of Trygæus.]
O father, father! has a true report come to our abodes, that with the birds thou wilt go bootlessly to the crows,3 having deserted me? Is aught of these reports true? Tell me, O father, if at all you love me.
You may suppose so, my daughters; but the truth is,4 I am grieved at you, when you ask me for bread, calling me papa, and there is not even a bit of money in the house at all. But if I come back again, having prospered well, you shall have in due season a large roll and first-sauce to it.5
Why, what means of performing your journey will you have? for a ship cannot6 convey you this road.
A winged colt will convey me. I shall not go by sea.7
But what is your purpose, dear little papa,8 that you have saddled a beetle and are riding to the gods?
He has been found in the fables of Æsop, to have been the only winged creature that has made his way to the gods.
O father, father, you tell us an incredible story,9 that a stinking animal made his way to the gods.
Once, in olden time,1 he went there out of animosity against the eagle, rolling out its eggs, and revenging himself in turn.
Therefore you ought to have saddled2 a winged Pegasus, in order that you might have appeared to the gods more majestic.
Nay, my dear, I should have needed double rations. But now, whatever3 provisions I eat myself, with these shall I feed this beast.
But how, if it should fall into the watery depths4 of the sea? How will it, a winged creature, be able to escape?
I had a rudder on purpose, which I’ll make use of; and a Naxos-built Cantharus shall be the vessel?5
But what harbour will receive you as you are carried along?
There is, you know, in the Piræeus, the harbour of Cantharus.6
This shall be my care. But fare you well! [Exeunt daughters.] Edition: current; Page:  And do you, on whose behalf I endure my labours, not fizzle or evacuate for three days! for if, when he is high in air, he shall smell it, he will fling me head downwards and deceive my hopes.1 But come, my Pegasus, proceed with joy, having roused the clash of your bit with gold-studded bridle,2 with ears pricked up! [Begins his journey.] What are you about? What are you about? Whither are you turning aside your nostrils towards the jakes? Cast yourself boldly from the earth; and then, stretching out your rapid wings, proceed straight to the courts of Jove, keeping your nose away from sir-reverences, and from all ephemeral food.3 [Looks down.] You fellow! what are you doing, you there, evacuating in the Præeus near the harlots? You’ll ruin me; you’ll ruin me! Will you not bury it, and heap much earth4 upon it, and plant creeping-thyme over it, and pour unguents upon it? For if I suffer aught by having fallen from hence, for my death the city of the Chians5 will incur a fine of five talents on account of your backside. Ah me! how I fear, and no longer speak in jest! O Machinist,6 pay attention to me! Already some wind7 is whirling about my navel; and if you won’t take care, I shall feast8 the beetle. [Here the scene9 changes to the mansions of the gods in Olympus.] But methinks I’m near the gods; and now I see the mansion of Jove. [Dismounts and knocks at the door.] Who is at Jove’s10 door? Will you not open?
(from within). Whence has the odour of a mortal struck me? [Opens the door and comes out.] O king Hercules, what is this plague?11
O you impure and audacious and shameless wretch! and impure, and altogether impure, and most impure! how did you come up hither, O you most impure of the impure? What is your name? Will you not tell?
Of what country are you by birth? Tell me.
Who is your father?
Mine? Most impure.
By the Earth, you shall certainly die, if you will not tell me what is your name.
Trygæus, an Athmonian,2 a skilful vine-dresser, no sycophant, or lover of law-suits.
But on what account have you come?
To bring you some meats—see, here they are! [Gives him the meat.]
Poor fellow,3 how did you come?
Do you see, you niggard,4 that I no longer appear to you to be most impure? Go now, call Jupiter to me.
Ho! ho! ho! because you are not likely to approach the gods! for they vanished yesterday, having emigrated.
Whither on earth?
On earth, quoth’a!5
Very far remote, absolutely under the very vault of heaven.
How then, pray, were you left here alone?
I am taking care of the rest of the utensils of the gods, the little pots, and small trenchers, and little jars.
On what account did the gods emigrate?
Because they are angry with the Greeks. Therefore they have located War here, where they were themselves, Edition: current; Page:  having delivered you up to him, to do absolutely what he pleases; while they themselves have removed their residence as high up as possible, that they might not any longer see you fighting, or hear any thing when you supplicate them.1
But on what account did they do this to us? Tell me.
Because you chose to be at war, when they were oftentimes for making peace. And if the Lacedæmonians at any time gained a small advantage, they used2 to talk as follows: “By Castor and Pollux, now shall the little Athenian suffer punishment!” If, on the other hand, the Athenians obtained any success, and the Lacedæmonians came to treat about a peace,3 you used to say forthwith, “By Minerva! by Jove! we are deceived; we must not accede to them. They will come again too, if we retain Pylos.”
At any rate, the character of the speeches is that of our country.
On account of which, I know not if henceforth you will ever see Peace any more.
Whither, then, is she gone?4
War has cast her into a deep cave.
Into what sort of cave?
(pointing). Into this nether one. And, besides, you see how many stones he has heaped above her, in order that you may never get her.
Tell me, what, pray, is he preparing to do to us?
I know not, save this one thing; that in the evening he brought in a mortar very large in5 size.
What, pray, will he do with this mortar?
He purposes to pound your cities in it. But I will go; for in my opinion, he is about to come forth. At any rate, he is making a disturbance within. [Exit Mercury.]
Ah me, miserable! Come, let me fly from him, for Edition: current; Page:  I myself also heard the sound of his warlike1 mortar. [Hides himself.]
(coming out of the house with a huge mortar). O mortals, mortals, much-enduring mortals, how very soon shall you suffer pain2 in your jaws!
(peeping out). O king Apollo, what a huge3 mortar! How4 great is the horror even of the aspect of War! Is this he whom we fly from, the terrible, he with shield of tough bull’s hide, he there with the legs?5
O Prasiæ!6 thrice wretched, and five times, and many tens of times, how you shall perish this day!
(to the spectators). Sirs, this affair is nothing to us as yet; for this misfortune belongs to Lacedæmon.
O Megara! Megara! how you7 shall immediately be pounded, being made mincemeat of all together. [Throws garlic into the mortar.]
Bless me! Deary me! how great and bitter are the misfortunes he has cast among the Megarians!
O Sicily!8 how you, too, shall be destroyed! [Throws in cheese.]
What a city will be destroyed, unhappy thing!
Come, let me also pour in this Attic honey. [Pours in honey.]
Ho you! I advise you to use some other honey. This costs four obols: be sparing of the Attic.
Boy! my boy Tumult! [Enter Tumult out of the house.]
Why do you call me?
You shall howl long. Do you stand idle? There’s1 a cuff for you! [Boxes his ears.]
Ah me, miserable! Oh master!
Has he put some of the garlic in his fist?
Will you run and bring a pestle?
But, my good sir, we have not got one. It was but yesterday that we migrated.
Will you not therefore quickly run for one from the Athenians?
I will, by Jupiter; otherwise I shall suffer for it. [Exit Tumult.]
Come now, O miserable little men, what shall we do? You see our danger, how great it is! For if he shall come with the pestle, he2 will sit down, and stir up the cities with it. But may be perish, O Bacchus, and not come with it!
Ho you! [Re-enter Tumult.]
What is the matter?
Do you not bring it?
No: for whatd’yecall’em, the pestle of the Athenians, is destroyed, the leather-seller who disturbed Greece.3
Will you not therefore quickly go for another from Lacedæmen?
Aye, aye, master!7
Return,1 then, quickly. [Exit Tumult.]
Sirs, what will become of us? Now there is great danger. But if any one of you happen to be initiated in the Samothracian2 mysteries, now is a fair occasion to pray that the feet of the messenger may be put out of joint. [Re-enter Tumult.]
Alas, me miserable! alas! and again alas!
What is the matter? Do you bring nothing again?
Yes; for the pestle of the Lacedæmonians also is destroyed.
How, you villain?
They lent it to others against the Thrace-ward countries, and then lost it.
Well done, well done, O Castor and Pollux! Mayhap all may be well. Take heart, mortals!
Take and carry back these vessels; but I will go within and make a pestle for myself. [Exeunt War and Tumult.]
(coming forward). There3 now has come the very song of Datis, which he sang once upon a time at noonday with his hands in his pockets, “How I am pleased, and rejoiced,4 and delighted!” There is now, O men of Greece, a favourable opportunity for us, while we are free from troubles and battles, to draw out peace, beloved by all, before any other pestle again prevent us. Come, O ye husbandmen, and merchants, and artificers, and labourers, and foreign residents, and strangers, and islanders,5 come hither, ye people all, as quickly as possible, with shovels, and crow-bars, and ropes! for now it is permitted us to snatch a bowl of good fortune.6 [Enter Chorus.]
Come hither, every one,7 with ready zeal, straight to deliverance. O all ye Greeks, let us assist, now if ever,8 Edition: current; Page:  being free from battle-arrays and deep-dyed miseries! for this day has shone forth a hater of Lamachus.1 Wherefore, point out to us whatever we ought to do, and be our director of works; for it is not possible2 that I should think fit to give out to-day, till with crow-bars and engines we haul up to light the greatest of all goddesses, and the most friendly to the vine.
Will you not be silent, lest, overjoyed at the circumstance, you rekindle war3 from within with your bawling?
But we rejoice at having heard such a proclamation; for it was not to come with provisions for three days.4
By no means doth there now exist a person who shall take her away, if once she come into my hands.7 Huzza! huzza!
Sirs, you will utterly destroy me, if you do not cease from your shouting! for he will run out and disturb all these things with his feet.
Then let him confound, and trample on, and disturb all things! for to-day we cannot cease from rejoicing. [They begin to dance.]
What plague is this? What ails you, sirs? By Edition: current; Page:  the gods, by no means mar a most glorious undertaking, through your dances.1
Nay, I do not wish to dance; but through joy my legs dance of their own accord, without my moving.
Do not dance any more now; but cease, cease dancing!
Lo! see! now I have ceased.
You say so indeed, but you do not yet cease.
Nay, but permit me to dance this one measure, and no more.
Dance this then, and dance2 nothing else beside.
We would not dance, if we should serve you at all by abstaining.
But see, you have not yet ceased!
By Jove, we will cease forthwith after we have tossed this here right leg.
I concede this to you, so that you do not annoy me any more.
But it is necessary3 that I also toss the left, for I am pleased and rejoice, and trump and laugh more at my escape from the shield, than if I had divested myself of my old age.
Do not rejoice at all now, for you don’t know clearly as yet. But when we shall have got her, then rejoice, and shout, and laugh; for then at length it will be permitted you to sail away, to stay at home, to wench, to sleep, to go as a spectator to the public festivals, to feast, to play at the Cottabus, to live like a Sybarite, to shout huzza! huzza!
Would4 it might be granted me some time to behold this day! For I have endured many troubles, and straw-beds, which fell to the lot of Phormio.5 And no longer would you find me a severe or peevish judge, nor harsh, I ween, in disposition, Edition: current; Page:  as formerly;1 but you would see me gentle, and far more youthful, if I were freed from troubles. For long time enough have we been wasted, and quite worn out with wandering into the Lyceum,2 and out of the Lyceum with spear and with shield. But come, tell us by doing what shall we gratify you most; for some good fortune has chosen you as our plenipotentiary.
Come now, let me see whither we shall drag away the stones. [Enter Mercury.]
O impure and audacious man! what are you purposing to do?
Nothing bad;3 but just what Cillicon did.
You are undone, you wretch.
No doubt,4 if I draw the lot; for you, being Mercury, will, I well know, do something with the lot.
You are undone, you are utterly undone.
On what day?
But I have purchased nothing as yet, neither meal nor cheese, as if about to perish.5
And yet you are utterly undone.
How then did I not perceive it, when I received so great a blessing?6
Do you know that Jupiter denounced death against him, whoever should be discovered digging her out?
Is there an absolute necessity now that I should die?
Be well assured that there is.
Lend me then three drachmæ for a little pig; for I must be initiated before I die.
O Jupiter, the lightener and thunderer!
Do not, master, by the gods, inform against us, I beseech you!
I cannot hold my peace.
Yea, by the meats,1 which I zealously brought you.
Nay, my good sir, I shall be destroyed by Jupiter, if I shall not shrilly proclaim2 these things, and shout aloud.
Do not then shout aloud, I beseech you, my dear little Mercury! Tell me,3 what ails you, sirs? You stand confounded. O wretches! do not be silent; otherwise he will shout aloud.
By no means,4 master Mercury, by no means; nay, by no means, if you remember having devoured with satisfaction a little pig from my hands; do not consider this a trifling circumstance in this transaction.5
Do you not hear, O king and master, how they flatter you?
* * * * so that6 we do not obtain her. But gratify us, O you most benevolent and most bountiful of gods! if at all you abominate the crests and eyebrows of Pisander.7 And we will always glorify you, O master, with sacred sacrifices and magnificent processions for ever.
Come, I beseech you, pity their cry, since they even honour you more than before.
For they are now more thievish than before.1
And I will tell you of a terrible and important thing which is being plotted against all the gods.
Come now, tell it; for you may perchance prevail upon me.
For the moon and the roguish sun have been plotting against you now for a long time, and betraying Greece to the barbarians.
But wherefore do they do this?2
Because, by Jupiter, we sacrifice to you, while the barbarians3 sacrifice to them. On this account naturally they would wish you all to perish utterly, in order that they alone of the gods might receive the sacred offerings.
It is on this account, then, they have been this long time filching underhand from the days,4 and nibbling at the cycle of the seasons through their chariot-driving.
Yes, by Jupiter! Therefore, O dear Mercury, zealously join us in obtaining her, and help to draw her out, and we will celebrate in honour of you the great Panathenaic festival, and all the other festivals of the gods, the mysteries of Ceres, the festival of Jove, the festival of Adonis in honour of5 Mercury; and other cities having ceased from miseries, will sacrifice every where to Mercury as the averter of evil:6 and you will obtain many other blessings besides. But first I give you this as a7 present, that you may be able to make libations. [Presents Mercury with a beautiful golden cup.]
Ah me! how compassionate I always am towards golden cups! Henceforth, sirs, the task is yours.1 But go in and drag away the stones with your shovels as quickly as possible.
This we will do: but do you, O wisest of the gods, stand by and dictate to us in a workmanlike manner, what we ought to do. For the rest, you will find us not slothful to follow your directions.
Come now, do you quickly hold2 your goblet under, that we may set about our work, after having prayed to the gods. The libation is being made! the libation! Use no illomened words! use no ill-omened words! [Makes a libation.] While we pour the libation, let us pray that the present day may be the beginning3 to the Greeks of many blessings, and whosoever zealously takes hold of the ropes with us, that this man may never take a shield.
No, by Jupiter! but may spend his life in peace, with his mistress, and poking the coals.4
But whosoever wishes that there should rather be war, we pray that he may never cease, O king Bacchus, to draw out arrows from his elbows!
And if any spear-maker, or retailer of shields, wishes for battles, in order that he may have a better sale, may he be taken by robbers, and eat barley only.
And if7 any one, wishing to be general, does not assist, or any slave ready to desert, may he be scourged and twisted on the wheel, while ours be blessings! Huzza! Pæan, huzza!
Take away the “beating,”8 and only say “huzza!”
Huzza! huzza! then, huzza only do I say.
To Mercury,1 to the Graces, the Hours, Venus, and Desire. [Here he pours out a libation.]
But not to Mars?
Nor to Enyalius?
Now2 strain to the utmost, each of you, and haul away with the ropes. [They all lay hold of the ropes.]
Heave, ho, again!
Heave, ho! heave, ho!
Now, heave, ho!
But come, do you two also pull.
Am I not, then, pulling, and hanging on to the rope,5 and setting to work, and labouring earnestly?
How then does the work not proceed? [Lamachus in full array sets himself in the way.]
O Lamachus, you do wrong in sitting in the way. We have no need, my man, of your bugbear.6 [Now the Argives set themselves in the way.]
Neither have these Argives been pulling at all for a long time, but been laughing at those worn out with labour; and that too when they have been receiving barley-meal as their pay from both sides.7
But the Lacedæmonians, my good sir, are pulling like men.
Do you know that? Only as many of them as are fastened to the stocks are zealous; but the blacksmith does not suffer them.1
Sirs, we are doing nothing. But we must all lay hold again with one accord. [They take hold again.]
Heave, ho, again!
In the name of Jupiter!
We are moving it a little.4
Is it not, then, shameful that some should strain at the work, and that others should pull against them? Ye shall receive blows, ye Argives!
How malevolent are some amongst us!
Do you, therefore, who long for peace, pull away manfully.
We do; but there are some who hinder us.5
You Megarians, will you not pack off to the deuce?1 for the goddess hates you, remembering you; for you were the first who anointed her with garlic.2 And I bid you Athenians to cease holding on in that quarter where3 you are now pulling;—for you do nothing else but try causes. But if you desire to pull her out, retire a little nearer to the sea.4
Come, sirs, now let us husbandmen take hold alone by ourselves. [Chorus alone at the rope.]
Of a truth the work proceeds much better with you, O men.
He says that the work proceeds; but be zealous, every man of you!
Of a truth the husbandmen are accomplishing the task by their pulling,5 and no one else.
Come now, come every one of you! And in truth now it’s nearly accomplished. Let us not relax then,6 but exert ourselves more manfully. There now we have it!7 Now—heave, ho! heave, ho! every one of you! Heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! heave, ho! every one of you! [Peace, Opora, and Theoria are drawn up out of the cave.]
O mistress, producer of the grape! with what word shall I address you?8 Whence can I get a ten-thousand-firkin Edition: current; Page:  expression, by which to address you? for I have it not of my own. Hail, O Opora! and1 you also, O Theoria! How fair a face you have, O Theoria! What fragrance you exhale! How sweet to my heart!2—very sweet—as it were of exemption from service and perfumes!
Is it then like3 the smell of a soldier’s knapsack?
I abominate that most odious wicker-work of a hostile man. For its savour is of4 a belch of onions and crudities; but hers of autumn, of entertainments, of Dionysian festivals, of flutes, of comedians, of strains of Sophocles, of thrushes, of versicles of Euripides —
You shall suffer then for telling lies against her; for she does not take pleasure in a composer of judicial speeches.
Of ivy, of the straining-cloth, of bleating little sheep, of the bosoms of women running about to the fields, of tipsy female slaves,5 of upturned pitchers, and of many other blessings.
Come now, see how the cities converse with each other, having been reconciled, and laugh with joy! and that too, after they have been every one marvellously beaten black and blue, and attached to cupping-glasses.6
Oh, unfortunate man! Don’t you see, at any rate, yonder crest-maker tearing his hair? And he who makes the mattocks farted just now at yonder sword-cutler.
And don’t you see how the sickle-maker is rejoicing, and how he insulted the spear-maker?
Come now, make proclamation that the husbandmen depart.
Oyez! Oyez! let the husbandmen depart1 as quickly as possible to the fields with their implements of husbandry, but without spear and sword and javelin; since all things here are now full of ancient peace. But go every one of you to your work in the field, having sung the Pæan.
O day, longed for by the just and2 by husbandmen! having seen you with delight, I wish to greet my vines; and I3 have a desire to salute my fig-trees after a very long time, which I planted when I was younger.
Now therefore, O men, let us first make our prayers to the goddess, who has taken away from us the crests and Gorgons; and then see that we hurry away4 home to our farms, having purchased some excellent dried fish for the country.
O Neptune, how goodly their array appears! and dense and grim,5 like a barley-cake and a complete banquet!
Yes, by Jove; for the mallet6 is brightly prepared;7 and their three-pronged forks glitter in the sun. Upon my word the space between the vines would do well to escape from them. So that now I myself also am eager to go into the fields, and to break up with the mattock my little farm after a length of time.—But, sirs, having remembered the olden mode of life which she formerly gave us, and those cakes of preserved fruits, and the figs, and the myrtles, and the sweet new wine, and the violet-bed beside the well, and the olives which we long for,—in return for these things, now greet this goddess!
Hail, hail, O dearest goddess! How welcome have Edition: current; Page:  you1 come to us! For I was overcome with longing for you,2 wishing prodigiously to return to the country; for you were the greatest gain to us, O you much-desired goddess! For you alone aided us.3 * * * * to all of us, as many as passed an agricultural life. For formerly we experienced many sweet, and inexpensive, and dearly-loved pleasures in your time; for you have been barley-groats4 and a safe-guard to the husbandmen; so that the little vines, and the young fig-trees, and all the other plants, shall smile upon you, having received you with joy.—But wherever has she been absent from us this long time? Inform us of this, O most benevolent of gods.
Most sapient5 husbandmen, now hear my words, if you wish to hear how she was lost.6 Phidias first began the calamity, having been unfortunate;7 and then Pericles, fearing lest he should share his fortune, dreading your disposition and right stubborn temper, before he suffered any calamity, with his own hands set the city in a flame, having thrown in a slight spark of a Megarian decree, and blew up so great a war, that all the Greeks, both8 here and there, shed tears by reason of the smoke. And as soon as the vine once crackled9 in the flames perforce, and wine-cask, being struck, angrily kicked against wine-cask, no longer was there any one to put a stop10 to these things, and this goddess disappeared.
Now, by Apollo, I had not learned these matters from any one; nor had I heard how Phidias was connected with her.1
Nor I, till now. On this account then she is fair of feature, because she is a connexion of his.2 Certainly many things escape our observation.
And then, when the cities which you ruled over perceived that you were incensed against each other, and showing your teeth, through dread of the tribute, they contrived all stratagems against you, and gained over the chief men of the Lacedæmonians with money. And they, since they were sordidly greedy of gain,3 and treacherous under the mask of hospitality, shamefully rejected this goddess and took up war. And then, their gain was ruin to the husbandmen; for the triremes from this country again, taking vengeance in turn, used to devour the fig-trees of innocent men.
Nay, rather, with justice; since of a truth also4 they cut down my raven-gray fig-tree, which I planted and reared.
Yes, by Jove, good sir, certainly with justice; since they also threw a stone in and destroyed my corn-chest holding six medimni.5
And then also, when the labouring population flocked together into the city from the fields, they did not6 perceive that they were sold in the same way as the towns-people; but since they were without grape-stones, and loved the dried figs, they looked to the orators; and they, well knowing that the poor were weak and in want of victuals, drove away this goddess with two-pronged clamours,7 though she oftentimes Edition: current; Page:  showed herself through love to this country; and they used to harass1 the rich and wealthy of our allies, attaching to each the imputation that he favoured Brasidas.2 And then you used to worry him like little dogs; for3 the city, pale, and sitting in terror, used gladly to devour these, whatever calumnies any one threw to her. But they, the foreigners seeing the blows with which they were beaten,4 stopped up with gold the mouths of those who did this, so as to make them rich, while Greece used5 to be impoverished without your perceiving it. Now the tanner was the person who did this.
Stop, stop, master Hermes, say not so; but suffer that man to rest in the grave, where he is. For that man is no longer ours, but yours. Whatever things, therefore, you say of him, even if he was a villain when he was living, and a babbler, and a common informer, and a mischief-maker, and a disturber, with every one of these now you revile your own people. But [turning to the goddess] tell me, O mistress, why you are silent.
Nay, she will not tell it in the presence6 of the audience; for she is very angry at them, on account of the things which she suffered.
At least, let her tell a little to you alone.7
Tell me, O dearest goddess, how you are minded towards them. Come, O you of all women most hating war! [Here Peace whispers something in his ear.] Well!—I hear—Do Edition: current; Page:  you charge them with this? I understand.1 Hear ye, on what account she blames you. She says, that though she came of her own accord, after the affair at Pylos, with a chest full of truces for the city, she was thrice rejected by vote in the Assembly.
We erred in this; but pardon us; for our minds2 at that time were wrapped up in the hides.
Come now, hear what she just now asked me:—Who here was most disaffected towards her; and who was friendly, and zealously exerted himself that there should be no battles.
Cleonymus was by far the most well-disposed towards her.
What sort of person then does Cleonymus appear to you to be in warlike matters?
Hear now further what she just now asked me:—Who at present is master of the Bema5 in the Pnyx.
Hyperbolus is now in possession of this post. [The goddess turns away her head in disgust.] Hollo, you! what are you doing? Whither are you turning your head?
She turns away from the people, in indignation that it has chosen for itself a wicked patron.6
She asks, how then will this be profitable to the state?
We shall become more prudent in counsel.
In what way?
Because he is a lamp-maker.3 Formerly, indeed, we groped through the public business in the dark;4 but now we shall deliberate on all matters by lamp-light. [The goddess makes very impatient gestures.]
Oh, oh! what things she bade me inquire of you!
What are they?
Very many, and the matters of old date, which aforetime she left behind. And first she inquired how Sophocles is doing.
He is prosperous; but a strange circumstance has befallen him.
From being Sophocles he has become Simonides.5
Because, old and decrepit as he is, for the sake of gain he would make a voyage even in a mat.6
What then? is the wise Cratinus alive?
He died what time the Spartans made their invasion.
What ailed him?
What? Having swooned away;7 for he could not Edition: current; Page:  bear to see a cask full of wine broken in pieces. And how many other evils do you think have taken place in the city? Wherefore, O mistress, we will never let you go.
Come now, take this Opora on these terms1 as your own wife; and then live with her in the country and beget for yourself clusters of grapes. [Here Mercury delivers Opora to him.]
O dearest! come hither and let me kiss you! O master Mercury, do you think I should be injured, if I embraced Opora after so long an interval?
No, if2 you were to drink a potion prepared with pennyroyal. But take this Theoria, and lead her away as quickly as possible to the Senate, to which she formerly belonged. [Commits Theoria to his care.]
O Senate, happy in Theoria! what soup for three days3 you will gulp down! and what boiled tripe and meats you will devour! But, my dear Mercury, fare thee well!
And you, too, O mortal, go, and joy be with you! and be mindful of me!
O beetle, let us fly away home, home!
He is not here, my friend.
Why, whither is he gone?
He has gone under the chariot of Jupiter, and bears the lightning.
Whence, then, will the unhappy creature get food here?
He shall feed upon the ambrosia of Ganymede.4
How, then, shall I get down?
Never fear—admirably—this way, beside the goddess herself.
Come, girls, follow quickly along with me! for very many persons are longing for you, and waiting for you with eagerness. [Exeunt Mercury, Trygæus, Peace, Opora, and Theoria.]
Well, go, and joy be with you! but let us in the mean Edition: current; Page:  time hand over these dresses1 and give them to the attendants to take care of; since numerous thieves are very much in the habit of loitering near the scenes and pillaging. But do you guard these manfully, and let us, on the other hand, declare to the spectators2 what style of argument we have,3 and what is in our thoughts.
It were indeed proper that the beadles should beat him, if any comic poet praised himself, having come forward to the audience5 in his anapæsts. If, however, it is fit, O daughter of Jupiter, to honour a person who has been the most skilful and most celebrated comic poet of all men, our poet says he is worthy of great praise. For, in the first place, he alone of men made his rivals cease always scoffing at the rags and warring with the lice; and he first drove off with contempt the baking Herculeses, and those Herculeses hungering, and running away, and cheating, and intentionally suffering themselves to be beaten; and he dismissed the slaves whom they were always bringing forward weeping, and that too for this purpose, that a fellow-slave, jeering at his stripes, might then ask,6 “O unhappy wretch, what have you suffered in your hide? Has the lash invaded your sides with a great army, and laid waste your back?” Having removed such rubbish, and stuff, and low buffooneries, he made our profession dignified, and elevated it, having raised it with dignified Edition: current; Page:  words and thoughts, and no vulgar jests; not satirizing private men or women, but with the spirit of Hercules he assailed the greatest monsters, having passed through the dreadful stench of hides and muddy-minded threats. And first of all I battle with the jagged-toothed monster himself, from whose eyes the most dreadful rays of Cynna flashed, and about his head a hundred heads of flatterers—the devil take them! were licking round about; and he had the voice of a torrent bringing forth destruction, the stench of a sea-calf, the unwashed testicles of a lamia, and the rump of a camel. At the sight of such a monster, I did not greatly fear; but, fighting in defence of you and the other islands, I always withstood him. On which account now it is reasonable that you should repay me the favour, and be mindful of it. For aforetime, when I succeeded according to my wish, I did not tamper with the boys, going about the Palæstra; but took up my baggage and immediately retired, having caused little pain and much pleasure, and in all things having performed my duty. Wherefore it is fitting that both men and boys be on my side. And we exhort the bald to be zealous for the victory. For if I gain the prize,1 every one will say, both at table and at drinking parties, “Bear to the bald man; give some of the sweetmeats to the bald man, and do not take away from the most noble of poets, who has a shining forehead.”2 O Muse! do you, having banished wars, dance with me your lover, celebrating the nuptials of the gods, and the banquets of men, and the feasts of the blessed; for from the first these themes have been your care. But if Carcinus3 should come and beseech you to dance Edition: current; Page:  with his sons, neither comply, nor go as their assistant, but consider them all to be domesticated quails, long-necked dancers of dwarfish stature, fragments of goats’ dung, inventers of machinery.1 For their father declared that a weasel had strangled at eve the drama which he possessed beyond his hopes.2 Such popular melodies of the beautiful-haired Graces it becomes the wise poet to sing, when the vernal swallow sits and twitters with her voice,3 and Morsimus has no chorus, nor yet Melanthius,4 whom I heard uttering a most bitter voice, when his brother and himself had a tragic5 chorus, both of them lickerish-toothed Gorgons, greedy after roaches, harpies, scaring old women, polluted, with arm-pits smelling like a he-goat, the plague of fish; on whom having spit copiously and plentifully, O goddess Muse, keep the festival with me! [Here the scene changes to the front of Trygæus’ house.]
(to the audience). How difficult it is,6 then, to go straight to the gods! Of a truth I am altogether tired in my legs. From above you were small to look at.7 Of a truth, Edition: current; Page:  from heaven you appeared to me to be very ill-disposed; but from here you appear very much more ill-disposed. [A servant comes out of the house.]
O master, are you come?
Aye, as I’ve been told.
How have you fared?
I had a pain in my legs with having traversed so long a journey.
Come then, tell me—
Did you see any other man wandering in the air except yourself?
No; except, possibly, two or three souls of dithyrambic poets.1
What were they doing?
They were collecting, as they flew, certain2 beginnings of odes of men that float aloft in air.
Is it not true, then, in the air, what people say, how that we become stars, when one dies?3
And who is now a star there?4
Who are those erratic stars that run about burning?7
These are certain of the rich stars, that1 are returning from supper with lanterns, and in their lanterns fire. But take and lead in this lady [pointing to Opora] as quickly as possible, and wash out the bathing-tub, and heat some water, and spread for me and her a nuptial couch. And when you have done this, come back again hither; and I in the mean time will deliver over this one to the senate.
Whence did you get these?
Whence? from heaven.2
I would no longer give three obols for the gods,3 it they keep prostitutes like us mortals.
Not so; but4 there also some get their living by these means.
Come then, let us go. Tell me, shall I give any thing to her to eat?
Nothing: for she will not be willing to eat either bread or cake, having been always accustomed among the gods above to lick up ambrosia.
Then we must get ready something for her to lick5 here also. [Exeunt servant and Opora.]
What, then, will you say,8 when you see me a spruce bridegroom?
You will be enviable, old man, being a youth over again, and anointed with perfumes.
I think so. What, then, will you say, when I am with her and lay hold of her breasts?
You will appear more happy than the pirouettes of Carcinus.
Shall I not, therefore, justly be so, who mounted upon a riding-beetle, and saved the Greeks, so that all of them, living in the country, can enjoy themselves and sleep securely? [Enter servant.]
The girl has bathed, and all her body is fair: the cheese-cake is baked, the sesame-cake is being kneaded, and the other things every one. But one thing is wanting.
Come then, let us quickly deliver over this Theoria to the senate here!
What do you say? Is this Theoria, whom we once kissed on the road to Brauron, when rather tipsy?
Be well assured it is; and she was caught too with difficulty.
O master, how great1 is the quintennial debauchery which she affords!
Well! who of you is just? who in the world is? who will take and guard her for the senate? [To the servant.] Hollo, you! what are you sketching out?
Confound it! I am pre-occupying a tent for my2 four quarters for the Isthmian games.
(to the audience). Do you not yet tell me who is to take care of her? [Takes Theoria by the hand.] Come hither you! for I will myself lead and deposit you in the midst.
(pointing to the audience). That man yonder nods.
Who? Ariphrades, beseeching you to lead her to him.
But, my good sir, he will fall upon her and lap her up like broth. [To Theoria.] Come now, first lay down your clothes upon the ground? [Theoria undresses herself, and is shown to the audience.] Senate, and Prytanes, behold Theoria! Observe what blessings I shall take and hand over to you! so that, having set her on high, you may immediately celebrate the Apaturian festival. But see this kitchen, how Edition: current; Page:  beautiful it is! On this account also it is blackened1 with smoke; for here, before the war, were formerly the senate’s gridirons. In the next place, having her, we shall be at liberty immediately to celebrate very beautiful games on the morrow; to wrestle on the ground, to box with hand and foot, to aim strokes obliquely, to drop head foremost on the knees; and, as in the Pancratium, having anointed ourselves, to strike and punch vigorously with both fist and foot. And on the third day after this, you shall hold a chariot-race, where horseman shall ride past horseman, and chariots, overturned upon each other, shall struggle, puffing and blowing; while other charioteers, having fallen near the goal, shall lie with broken heads. But, O ye Prytanes, receive Theoria! See how readily the Prytanis received her! But you would not have been so ready, if you had to bring forward something gratis; but I should have found you alleging a holiday.2
Verily he is a good man towards all the citizens, whoever is such as you.
When you gather in the vintage, you will know still more what sort of a person I am.
Even now it is evident,3 for you have been a preserver to all men.
You will say so, when you drink a bowl4 of new wine.
And, with the exception of the gods, we will ever consider you the first.
I, Trygæus, the Athmonian, am deserving5 of much at your hands, for having relieved the people and the agricultural population from dreadful miseries, and for having put a stop to Hyperbolus.
Come now, what must we do next?
What else but consecrate her with pots of pulse?6
With pots of pulse, like a complaining little figure of Mercury?
What think you, then? Do you wish the sacrifice to be made with a fatted ox?
With an ox? by no means, lest we should have to render assistance somewhither.1
Or with a swine, fat and large?
Lest there be a swinishness, such2 as Theagenes’.
With what then, pray, of the other victims, does it seem fit to you?
With a sheep.
With a sheep?
Yes, by Jupiter.
But this word is Ionic.3
Certainly, on purpose; in order that, if any one says4 in the Assembly that we ought to go to war, the audience through fear may cry out in the Ionic fashion “Oi”—
Upon my word you say well.
And may be in other respects gentle; so that we shall be lambs in disposition towards each other, and far milder towards our allies.
Come then, take and bring the sheep as quickly as possible! and I will furnish an altar on which to sacrifice. [Exeunt Trygæus and servant.]
How all things proceed according to our wish, as many as God wills,5 and Fortune directs; and one of these concurs opportunely with the other! [Re-enter Trygæus bearing the altar.]
How evident is this! for the altar is now at the door.6
Hasten1 then, while the veering blast of war rapidly ceases, by the influence of heaven. For now is Fortune manifestly changing to prosperity.
The basket is ready, containing coarse barley, and a garland and a knife; and see here is fire too! and nothing detains us but the sheep.
Will you not therefore hasten? For if Chæris2 see you, he will approach uninvited, playing on his flute; and then I well know that you will doubtless have to give him something for his blowing and toiling. [Enter servants with the sheep and the holy water.]
Come now, do you take the basket and the holy water and quickly go round the altar to the right.
Very well. Command3 something else: I have gone round it.
Come now, I will take and dip this torch4 in water. Do you shake it rapidly; and do you hand me some5 of the coarse barley; and do you yourself wash your hands in the holy water, when you have handed this to me; and throw some of the barley to the spectators. [The servants throw barley amongst the spectators.]
Have you already given it?
Yes, by Mercury! so that of these spectators, as many as there are, there is no one who has not got barley.6
The women have not got any.
But their husbands will give them some in the evening.
Well, let us offer our prayers. Who is here? Where in the world are the many pious people?1
Come, let me give some to these here; for there are many pious people.
Do you consider these pious?
(sprinkling the audience with holy water). Why, are they not; who, while we pour so much water on them, go and stand in the same place?
Come, let us pray as quickly as possible, now let us pray. Most august goddess queen, venerable Peace, mistress of choral dances, mistress of nuptials, receive our sacrifice!2
Receive it, pray, O highly-honoured goddess, by Jupiter! and do not do what the lewd women do. For they open the house-door a little3 and peep out; and if any one direct his attention to them, they retire; and then, if he go away, they peep out again. Now do not thou do any of these things to us.
No, by Jupiter! but show yourself entire, in a manner befitting a noble person, to us your lovers, who have been pining away for you now these thirteen4 years. And do away with battles and tumults, so that we may call you Lysimacha.5 And put a stop6 to our over-nice suspicions, with which we babble against each other; and blend us Greeks again as before7 with the balsam of friendship, and temper our minds Edition: current; Page:  with a milder fellow-feeling; and grant that our market be filled with multifarious good things; with garlic, early cucumbers, apples, pomegranates, and little cloaks for slaves; and that we may see people bringing from the Bœotians geese, ducks, wood-pigeons, and sand-pipers;1 and that baskets of Copaic eels come; and that we, collected in crowds around them, buying fish, may jostle with Morychus, and Teleas, and Glaucetes, and many other gourmands; and then that Melanthius may come too late to the market, and that they may be sold, and that he may utter lamentations, and then sing a monody from his Medea,2 “I am undone, I am undone, having been bereft of my eel embedded in beet;” and that the people may rejoice at it. O highly honoured goddess, grant these things to our prayers!
Take the knife; and then see that you slay the sheep in a cook-like way.
But it is not lawful.
Why so? Why, pray?3
Peace, I ween, does not take pleasure in slaughter, nor is her altar stained with blood. But take it within and sacrifice it and take out4 the thigh-bones and bring them out hither; and thus the sheep is preserved for the Choregus. [Exit servant carrying back the sheep.]
You, indeed, must remain without and quickly place here billets5 of wood, and all things suitable in addition to these. [Trygæus arranges the wood upon the altar.]
Do I not, therefore, seem to you to arrange the faggots like a soothsayer?
Certainly. For what has escaped you, as many as it becomes a wise man to think of? And what is it you have not in your thoughts, as many as it becomes a man approved for a wise mind and inventive daring?
In sooth the billets overpower Stilbides1 when lighted. I will also bring the table; and there will be no need of a boy. [Exit Trygæus into the house.]
Who then would not praise such a man, who, having endured many things, saved the sacred city? [Re-enter Trygæus with the table and the servant with the thigh-bones.] Wherefore you will never cease2 to be enviable to all.
This has been done.3 Take and place the thighs on the fire; but I will go for the entrails and the cakes. [Exit servant.]
This shall be my care; but you ought4 to have been here. [Re-enter servant.]
Well! I am here. Do I appear to you to have delayed?
Now roast them well! for see, here comes some one crowned with laurel! Who in the world then is he?
What5 an impostor he appears! He is some prophet.
No, by Jupiter! but Hierocles.
This, I presume, is the soothsayer from Oreus.6 What in the world then will he say?
It is plain that he will make some opposition to the truce.
Not so; but he has come after the savoury smell.
Then let us pretend not1 to see him.
You say well. [Enter Hierocles with a sacerdotal garland on his head.]
What sacrifice in the world is this here, and to what one of the gods?
(to the servant). Roast on in silence, and—hands off the loin!2
Will you not tell me to whom you are sacrificing?
The tail is doing bravely.
Bravely, to be sure, O dear mistress Peace!
Come then, begin the sacrifice, and then give me the first offerings!3
It is better to roast them first.
But these here are already roasted.
You make yourself very busy, whoever you are. [To the servant.] Cut it up. Where is the table? Bring the libation.
The tongue is used to be cut out.4
We recollect. But do you know what you are to do?5
Yes, if you tell me.
Do not talk at all with us; for we are offering sacrifice to Peace.
O miserable mortals and foolish6—.
On your own head be it!
who through your folly, not understanding the will of the gods, have made a treaty, men with fierce-eyed apes—
Why do you laugh?
I like your fierce-eyed apes.
And you simple doves have trusted to foxes’ cubs, whose souls are crafty, whose minds are crafty.
Would, that,1 O impostor, your lungs were as hot as this roast meat!
For if the goddess Nymphs have not deceived Bacis, nor Bacis mortals, nor again the Nymphs Bacis himself—
May you perish utterly, if you don’t have done Bacizing!2
It was not destined as yet to unbind the chains of Peace,3 but this first—
(to the servant). These here must be sprinkled with salt.
For not yet is this4 agreeable to the blessed gods, to cease from strife, till the wolf marry the sheep.
Why,5 how, you wretch, can a wolf ever marry a sheep?
While the beetle stinks most offensively as it flies, and the noisy bitch brings forth in haste blind young, for so long it is not yet proper that peace be made.6
But what ought we to do? not to leave off fighting? or to determine by lot which of us shall weep most, when it is in our power, having made peace1 by common consent, to rule over Greece?
You will never make the crab to walk straight.2
You will never again henceforth dine in the Prytaneum, nor in future compose any prophecy after the accomplishment of the event.3
You can never make the rough hedgehog smooth.
Will you ever cease cheating the Athenians?
According to what oracle have you burned thighs to the gods?
According to that very fine oracle, to be sure, which4 Homer composed: “Thus they, having driven away the hostile cloud of war, accepted Peace, and consecrated her with a sacrifice. But after the thighs were burnt down, and they had tasted the entrails, they made libations with cups; and I led the way: but no one gave a shining goblet to the soothsayer.”
I have no concern in these, for Sibylla did not utter them.
But in truth the wise Homer,5 by Jupiter, has cleverly said, “Bound by no social tie, lawless, hearthless is he, who loves fearful civil war.”
Take care now, lest by some means a kite, having deceived your minds by stratagem, should seize—
(to the servant). Do you,6 however, be on your guard Edition: current; Page:  against this, for this oracle is formidable to the entrails. Now pour in the libation, and bring hither some of the entrails.
But if you think proper, I also will serve myself.
Now pour in for me also, and give me a share of the entrails!
“But not yet is this acceptable to the blessed gods; but this first,” that we should make a libation, and that you should depart.—O mistress Peace, abide for life with us!
Bring me the tongue!
And do you take away your own tongue!
Remove quickly this also, together with your1 libation!
Will no one bestow some of the entrails upon me?
“It is not possible for us to bestow them, until the wolf shall marry the sheep.”
Yea, by your knees?
You supplicate in vain, my friend; “for you cannot2 make the rough hedgehog smooth.” Come now hither, O spectators, and feed upon the entrails with us.
And what shall I do?
Eat your Sibylla.
By the Earth, you certainly shall not devour these alone; but I will snatch them from you; for they lie as common property.
Smite, smite the Bacis!
I take you all to witness.
And I, that you are a gourmand and an impostor. Strike him, laying on the impostor3 with the stick.
Nay, do you do that! and I will strip him of the sheep-skins which he4 has fraudulently taken. Will you not lay down the sheep-skins, you priest? Do you hear? What a raven this is that has come from Oreus! Will you not quickly fly away to Elymnium?5 [Exeunt Trygæus, servant, and soothsayer.]
I am delighted,1 I am delighted, at being rid of helmet, and cheese and onions; for I find no pleasure in battles, but to continue drinking beside the fire with my dear companions,2 having kindled whatever is the dryest of the firewood which has been sawn up in summer, and roasting some chick-pease, and putting on the fire the esculent acorn,3 and at the same time kissing my Thracian maid while my wife is washing herself. For there is not any thing4 more agreeable than for the seed to be already sown, and the god to rain upon it, and some neighbour to say, “Tell me, O Comarchides,5 what shall we do at this time of day? I’ve a mind to drink, since the god acts so favourably.6 Come, wife, roast three chœnixes of kidney-beans, and mix some wheat with them, and bring out some figs, and let Syra7 call Manes from the field: for it is in no wise possible to strip off the vine-leaves to-day, or to grub round the roots, since the ground is wet. And let some one bring forth from my house the thrush and the two spinks. And there were also within some beestings and four pieces of hare, if the weasel did not carry off some of them in the evening. At any rate it was making some noise or other within, and was making a disturbance. Of which bring us three pieces, boy, and give8 one to my father: and beg some fruit-bearing myrtles9 from Æschinades; and at the Edition: current; Page:  same time, on the same road, let some one call Charinades, that he may drink with us, since the god benefits and aids our crops.” But when the grasshopper sings its sweet note, I take pleasure in examining the Lemnian1 vines, if they are already ripe, for their shoot2 bears early; and in seeing the wild fig swell: and then, when it is ripe, I eat it, and taste it,3 and at the same time exclaim, “O friendly Seasons!”4 and I bruise and mix some5 thyme; and then I become fat at this time of the summer: rather than in6 looking upon a Taxiarch detested by the gods, with three crests, and a red cloak of a very bright colour, which he says is the Sardian dye; but if any where there be occasion for him to fight with his red cloak on, then he himself is dipped in a Cyzicene7 dye; and then he runs away the first, shaking his crests like a yellow griffin,8 while I stand watching the nets. But when they are at home, they do intolerable things; enrolling some of us, and striking off others at their caprice9 two or three times. The expedition, we will suppose, takes place to-morrow; but this man has not purchased any provisions; for he did not know he was to march out with the army; and then, standing by the statue of Pandion, he sees his own name in the list for service; and, nonplussed at his misfortune, runs off looking sour. These things do these recreants before gods and men to us husbandmen, but to the people of the city in a Edition: current; Page:  less degree. For which acts, please god, they shall some time render an account to me. For in truth they have greatly injured me, being1 lions at home, but foxes in battle. [Enter Trygæus and servants.]
Ho! ho! What a number has come to the wedding-dinner! Stop! wipe the tables with this crest; for there is no use at all for it any longer. Then bring in the cakes of fine meal, and the thrushes, and many dishes of hare, and the rolls. [Enter sickle-maker.]
Where, where is Trygæus?
I am boiling thrushes.
O dearest Trygæus! how2 numerous are the blessings you have conferred on us by having made peace! For heretofore no one used3 to purchase a sickle, not even for a small coin, while now I sell them for fifty drachmæ;4 and this man here sells his casks into the country at three drachmæ apiece. But, O Trygæus, take of the sickles, and of these, what you please, gratis; and accept these gifts. For out of our sales and profits5 we bring you these presents for your marriage.
Come then, deposit these gifts with me, and go in to dinner as quickly as possible; for see, here’s this retailer of arms approaching in high dudgeon! [Sickle-maker goes into Trygæus’ house.]
(running in). Alas, O Trygæus, how utterly you have ruined me!
What is the matter, unhappy man? Surely you are not ill of a crest?6
You have destroyed my trade and means of life, and this man’s, and yonder spear-maker’s.
What shall I pay you then for these two crests?
What do you offer yourself?
What do I offer? I am ashamed to mention it. But still, because the point of the helmet takes a great deal of labour, I would give three chœnixes of dried figs for them, in order that I may wipe my table with this here.
Go in, then, and bring the dried figs; for it is better, my friend, than to get nothing. [Enter breastplate-maker and trumpet-maker.]
Take them away, take them away, with a mischief, from my house! The crests are losing their hairs and are good for nothing. I would not purchase them, not even for a single dried fig. [Exit crest-maker.]
What then, wretched man, shall I make of this hollow breastplate worth ten minæ, which has been most beautifully put together!
This article shall not1 cause you loss; but give this to me at cost price; for it is very convenient to use for a closestoo!—
Cease to insult me on account of my wares!
In this way, when I have put three stones2 beside it. Is it not handy?
But how in the world will you wipe, you great stupid?
Thus, putting my hand through the oar-hole, and thus —
With both hands at a time, pray?
Aye, by Jove! lest I be detected filching an oar-hole of the ship.
Then will you sit and ease yourself over a vessel worth ten minæ?
Aye, by Jove, you rogue! for do you suppose I would sell my rump for a thousand drachmæ?
Come now, bring out the money!
But, my good sir, it presses my bottom. Take it away! I won’t buy it. [Exit breastplate-maker.]
What then shall I make of this trumpet, which I formerly purchased for sixty drachmæ?
Pour in some lead into this hollow part, and then insert a pretty long stick above, and it will become a pendent cottabus for you.
Ah me! you are laughing at me.
Well, I will recommend another plan. Pour in the lead, as I said, and add a balance suspended on this side by small cords, and it will be for you to weigh figs to your servants in the fields. [Enter helmet-maker.]
O implacable Fortune, how you destroyed me, when1 I gave a mina for these! And now what shall I do? for who will purchase them?
Go and sell them to the Egyptians; for they are convenient for measuring their purgative draughts.2 [Enter spear-maker.]
Alas, helmet-maker, how miserably are we circumstanced!3
This man has not suffered any evil.
But what is there any longer for which any one will make use of helmets?
If a person learn to make handles of this sort, he will sell them far better than at present. [Pulls him by the ears.]
Let us depart, O spear-maker!
By no means, for I will purchase these spears from him.4
How much, then, do you offer?
If they were sawn in two, I would take them for vine-props, at a hundred the drachma.5
We are insulted. Let us retire, my friend, out of the way. [Exeunt trumpet-maker, helmet-maker, and spear-maker.]
Aye, by Jupiter, for already the boys of the supernumerary guests6 are coming out hither to make water; in order that, methinks, they may give a prelude7 of what they Edition: current; Page:  have to sing. [Enter son of Lamachus.] But whatever you intend to sing, boy, stand beside me, and first make a prelude1 here in this place.
“Now again let us begin from warlike men”2—
Leave off singing of warlike men; especially, O thrice unlucky boy, when there is peace. You are ignorant and abominable.
“But they, when now they were near, advancing against each other, dashed together their ox-hide shields and bossy bucklers.”3
“Bucklers?” Will you not cease mentioning a buckler to us?
“Then at the same time arose the wailing and the triumphant shout of men.”
“The wailing of men?” You shall repent, by Bacchus, of singing of wailings, especially such as have bosses!
What then, pray, shall I sing? for do you tell me in what songs you take pleasure.
“Thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen,” and such songs as this. “They set out breakfast, and whatever is most agreeable to eat.”
“Thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen, and unharnessed the sweating necks of their horses when they were sated of war.”
Good; “They were sated of the war, and then they ate.” Sing these, these!4 how they ate, when they were sated.
“Then they armed themselves,5 after they had ceased—”
With delight, I dare say.
“And poured forth from the towers, and an inextinguishable clamour arose.”
May you perish most miserably, boy, together with Edition: current; Page:  your battles! for you sing of nothing but war. Whose son in the world are you?1
Yes, you, by Jupiter.
The son of Lamachus.
Bah! Upon my word, I was wondering, as I listened to you, if you were not the son of some strife-desiring man who will2 come to a bad end in battle. Begone, and go and sing to the spearmen! [Exit son of Lamachus.] Where is the son of Cleonymus? [Enter son of Cleonymus.] Sing me something, before you go into the house! for I well know that you will not sing of battles; for you are the son of a discreet father.
“Some one of the Saians exults in my shield, which I left unwillingly in the thicket, my blameless armour.”3
Tell me, you imp, are you singing against your own father?
“But I saved my life.”
And disgraced your parents.—But let us go in; for I well know for a certainty that, being the son of that father, you will never forget these, as many as you sung just now about the shield. [Exit son of Cleonymus.] Now it will be your remaining task who remain here,4 to eat up all these, and to devour them, and not to ply empty jaws. But fall upon them manfully, and grind them with both your jaws; for there is no use, you rogues, in white teeth, unless they also chew something.
This shall be our care; but you also do well in admonishing us.
Come ye, who before were starving, fall upon the hare’s flesh! for it is not permitted every day to fall in with cheese-cakes wandering unprotected. Wherefore bite away! or I declare you will quickly repent.
It behoves every one1 to use words of good omen, and to bring out the bride hither, and to carry torches; and that all the people join in rejoicing, and dance in honour of her. And now we ought to carry back all the implements to the fields, after having danced and poured libations, and driven away Hyperbolus, and prayed to the gods to give wealth to the Greeks, and that we may all alike produce abundant barley and abundant wine, and figs to eat; and that our wives may bear us children, and that we may recover again, as before, all the blessings as many as we lost, and that glittering iron cease! [Enter Opora dressed as a bride, and escorted by numerous attendants bearing torches.]
Come, wife, to the country; and see that, pretty2 as you are, you lie with me prettily!
O thrice happy! How justly now you enjoy your blessings! O Hymen, Hymenæus! O Hymen, Hymenæus! What shall we do to her? What shall we do to her? We will take a crop of her: we will take a crop of her. Come, sirs, let us3 who are appointed take up and carry the bridegroom! O Hymen, Hymenæus! O Hymen, Hymenæus!
At any rate you shall dwell happily, not having troubles, but gathering figs. O Hymen, Hymenæus! O Hymen, Hymenæus!
His fig great and thick, and hers sweet.
You will say so, when you eat it, and drink abundant wine. O Hymen, Hymenæus! O Hymen, Hymenæus!
Farewell,4 farewell, sirs! and if you follow along with me, you shall eat cheese-cakes. [Exeunt omnes.]
For the date of this Comedy, see Clinton’s Fast. Hellen p. 75, ed. 2nd.
“Aristoph. Ὄϱνιθες. Arg. Avium ii., ἐδιδάχθη ἐπὶ Χαβϱίου ἄρχοντος εἰς ἄστυ διὰ Καλλιστϱάτου, ὃς ἦν δεύτερος τοῖς Ὄϱνισι· πρῶτος Ἀμειψίας Κωμασταῖς· τρίτος Φρύνιχος Μονοτρόπῳ. Arg. Av. iii., ἐπὶ Χαβϱίου τὸ δρᾶμα καθῆκεν εἰς ἄστυ διὰ Καλλίου (l. Καλλιστϱάτου). [Elaphebolion, or March, bc 414.] Schol. Av. 998, καθεῖται δὲ καὶ ὁ Μονότροπος ἐπὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ χωρίου.”
This Comedy is a burlesque upon the national Mythology of that
The plot is this. Euelpides and Pisthetairus, two old Athenians, disgusted with the litigiousness, wrangling, and sycophancy of their countrymen, resolve upon quitting Attica. Having heard of the fame of Epops, sometime called Tereus, (τὸν Τηρέα ἔποπα γενόμενον, Arg.,) and now King of the Birds, they determine, under the direction of a raven and a jackdaw, to seek from him and his subject birds a city free from all care and strife. After some scrambling, their guides intimate to them that they are arrived at the residence of Epops. They knock, and Trochilus appears, in great alarm, as he takes them for fowlers. Epops, he informs them, is now asleep, vs. 82,
εὕδει καταϕαγὼν μύϱτα καὶ σέρϕους τινάς.
After some time his Majesty awakes, and, upon their urging their suit, makes them the offer of several cities. These they refuse, and Epops descants on the happiness of living among the Birds. Pisthetairus proposes a scheme to enhance it. Upon this Epops summons the Nightingale to call the Birds to council. They take fright, and are about to tear the two old worthies to pieces, imagining Edition: current; Page:  that their king has betrayed them. Epops explains his relationship, dwells upon their praise, and thus saves their lives. Following the advice of Pisthetairus, they build out the gods, and name their new city Nephelococcygia, or “Cloud-cuckoo-town.” Arrivals from Athens, “with all their trumpery,” are not wanting. But as by this city in mid-air the gods above are deprived of their accustomed offerings, at the suggestion of Prometheus, who in private informs Pisthetairus of their famished state, the latter considers it a good opportunity for recovering the former dominion of the Birds, particularly as the Triballian gods, who dwell “extrà anni solisque vias,” are on the point of attacking Jove, in order to compel him to “open the ports.” An embassy arrives, consisting of Hercules, Neptune, and a certain Triballian god. After some disputes, it is agreed that the Birds are to be reinstated in their ancient rights, and that Pisthetairus is to have Basileia as his wife. The Comedy concludes with the Epithalamium. See Schlegel, Dram. Lit. p. 166.
Frere remarks upon this Comedy, that “its success must have been a subject of more than usual anxiety both to the poet himself, and to the Choregus, and all the higher orders of the community. We may conceive it to have been intended as a sedative to the minds of the commonalty, excited, as they were at the time, almost to madness by the suspicion of a conspiracy against the religion and laws of the country; a suspicion originating in a profane outrage secretly perpetrated, to a great extent, in mere insolence and wantonness, by some young men of family. In the opinion, however, of the Athenian people, the offence was viewed in a very serious light, as the result of an extensive secret combination, preparatory to other attempts still more criminal and dangerous. In this state of things, and while the popular fury and jealousy upon religious subjects was at its height, the poet ventured to produce this play; in which it will be seen, that the burlesque of the national Mythology is carried higher and continued longer than in any of his other existing plays. The first prize was assigned to a play, the title of which, “The Comastæ,” or “Drunken Rioters,” seems to imply that its chief interest must have been derived from direct allusions to the outrage above mentioned, and to the individuals suspected to have been engaged in it.”Edition: current; Page: 
(to his jackdaw). Do you bid me go2 straight, where the tree appears?
Split you!3 but this croaks back again.
Why, you knave, are we wandering up and down? We shall perish with running up and down the road to no purpose.
To think of my having rambled, unhappy man, more than a thousand stadia out of the way, in obedience to a raven!4
To think of my having worn off my toe-nails, ill-fated man, in obedience to a jackdaw!
But I don’t even know any longer where in the world we are.
Could you find out your country any where from hence?5
By Jove,6 not even Execestides could find it out from hence.
Do you, my friend, go this way.1
Verily he of the Bird-market2 has treated us shamefully, the poulterer Philocrates,3 being mad, who said that these would point out to us Tereus the Epops, who became a bird, from being—a bird;4 and sold this jackdaw, the son of Tharrelides,5 for an obol, and this other for three. But these two, it appears, know nothing else but bitting.6 [Addresses his jackdaw]. And now, why are you gaping? Will you lead us on some where down the rocks?7 for there is no road here.
Nor is there, by Jove, a path any where here.
Does the raven say any thing about the way?
By Jove! she does not croak now the same as before.
What, pray, does she say about the way?
What else but say she will gnaw off my fingers with biting!
Is it not strange then, pray, that we, who wish to go to the crows,1 and are ready prepared, should yet not be able to find the way? [To the spectators.] For, my friends who are present at our tale, we are ill of a disease the opposite to Sacas;2 for he, though he is no citizen, forces his way in, while we, honoured in tribe and birth, citizens with citizens, have flown away from our country with both feet,3 without any one scaring us away; not hating that city itself, so as not to consider it to be naturally great and wealthy, and common to all to spend their property in litigation in.4 For the Cicadæ, indeed, sing one month or two upon the branches, while the Athenians are always singing during their whole life upon lawsuits.5 For this reason we are journeying on this path, and wandering with basket, and pot, and myrtle-branches, in search of a place free from trouble, where we may settle and live. Now our journey is to Tereus6 the Epops, wishing to learn from him, if any where, where he has flown, he has seen such a city.
What’s the matter?
My raven has been this long while pointing upwards.
And see, this jackdaw gapes upward! as if showing me something. It must be that there are birds there. But we shall soon know, if we make a noise.
Come—do you know what you are to do? strike the rock with your leg.1
And you with your head, that the sound may be double.2
Do you then take and knock with a stone.
Certainly, if you think fit. [Knocking.] Boy! boy!
Hollo you! what are you saying? Do you call the Epops “Boy?” Ought you not have cried “Epops” instead of “Boy?”3
Epops! will you make me to knock again and again? Epops!
(from within). Who are these? Who is he that calls my master? [Trochilus comes out dressed as a bird, with a long beak.]
(Both parties start at the sight of each other.) Apollo, averter of ill! What a mouth!4 [The jackdaw and raven fly away.]
Ah me, miserable! these are bird-catchers.
Is there any thing so dreadful5 in our appearance, and not any thing handsomer to say of us?
You two shall be put to death.
Nay, we are not men.
I am a fearling,1 a Libyan bird.
You talk nonsense.
(with corresponding gesture). Well now, ask what lies at my feet.2
What bird is this here? will you not say?
But you, what beast in the world are you, in God’s name?
I am a slave-bird.
Have you been vanquished by any cock?5
No; but when my master became an Epops, then he besought me to become a bird, so that he may have an attendant and servant.
Why, does a bird also want a servant?
Yes, he, because, I fancy, he was once a man in former time, now and then longs to eat Phaleric anchovies.6 I take the dish and run to fetch the anchovies. Does7 he feel a desire for pea-soup; is there need of a ladle and pot; I run to fetch a ladle.
This here is the “running” bird. Do you know then, Trochilus, what you are to do? Call your master for us.
Nay, just now, by Jove, he is sleeping, after a meal of myrtle-berries and sundry ants.
Nevertheless, awake him.
I know for certain that he will be angry; but for your sakes I will rouse him. [Exit Trochilus.]
(looking after him). May you perish miserably, because you have so tormented me with fright.8
Ah me, unfortunate! even my jackdaw has gone under the influence of fright.
O you most cowardly beast, through fear have you let the jackdaw go?
Tell me, have you not let your raven go in your fall?
Not I, by Jupiter!
Why, where is it?
It has flown away.
Then you didn’t let it go! My good sir, how brave you are!
(from within). Open the wood,1 that I may at length go forth. [Enter Epops with a tremendous beak and crest.]
O Hercules! what in the world is this beast? What a plumage! What a fashion of triple crests!
Who are they that seek me?
The twelve gods2—seem to have ruined you.
Are you mocking me, seeing my plumage? Don’t do so, for I was a man, O strangers!
We are not laughing at you.
At what then?
Your beak appears to us ridiculous.3
In such a manner, however, does Sophocles4 in his tragedies outrage me, Tereus.
Why, are you Tereus? whether are you a bird or a peacock?1
I am a bird.
Why, where then are your feathers?
They have fallen off.
From some disease?
No; but during the winter all the birds moult; and then again we put2 forth others. But tell me, who are ye?
From what country by race!
From that country, whence come the beautiful triremes.3
Are you Heliasts?
Nay, but of the opposite bent,—Antiheliasts.4
Why, is this seed5 sown there?
You might perhaps get a little out of the fields it you searched.
But desirous of what matter, pray, have you come6 hither?
Wishing to advise with you.
Because, in the first place,7 you were once a man, Edition: current; Page:  as we; and once owed money, as we; and once took pleasure in not paying it, as we. In the second place, again, having taken in exchange the nature of birds, you have flown over both land and sea round about, and know all things, as many as man, as many as bird can know. On this account, therefore, we have1 come hither to you as suppliants, if you would point out to us any city of good wool, soft as a blanket to lie down in.
Then, do you seek a greater city than Athens?2
In no wise a greater, but one more suited3 to us.
You are evidently seeking to have an aristocratic government.
I? By no means: I even abominate the son of Scellias.4
What sort of a city then would you like best to inhabit?
Where the most important affairs were of the following sort: where some one of my friends came to my door early in the morning and spoke as follows: “By the Olympian Jove, take care that you are with me early, both you and your children,5 after they have washed, for I am about to give a marriage-feast,6 and by no means act otherwise; else, do not come near me then when I am faring ill.”7
I too am fond of such things.
Where some father of a blooming boy meeting me shall complain of me as follows, as though he had been injured:—“It was a pretty act of yours, my Stilbonides, when you found my son returning from the gymnasium after bathing, and did not kiss him, or address him, or salute him, or shake his hand, though you are my paternal friend.”1
Ah me! by no means by the sea-side, where the Salaminian galley5 will come in sight early in the morning bringing a summoner. But are you able to point out to us some Grecian city?
Why do you not go and colonize the Elean6 Lepreum?
Well, there are others, the Opuntian9 Locrians, where it is fit to dwell.
Nay, I would not become Opuntius for a talent of gold.1 But of what sort, pray, is this life amongst the birds? for you know it accurately.
Not an unpleasant one to pass; where, in the first place, we must live without a purse.
You have removed much of life’s base metal.
And we feed in gardens upon the white sesame, and myrtle berries, and poppies, and mint.2
Then you live the life of bridegrooms.3
Hah! hah! Verily I see a mighty plan among the race of birds, and power, which might exist, if you would obey me.4
In what shall we obey you?
In what shall you obey me? In the first place, do not fly about every where with open mouth; for this act is undignified. For example, if any one there among us should inquire about the flutterers,5 “What sort of a bird is this?” Teleas will say as follows: “A man-bird,6 unstable, fluttering, Edition: current; Page:  inconsistent, never at any time abiding in the same place.”
By Bacchus, you rightly find fault with this. What then can we do?
Found one city.1
But what sort of a city could we birds found?
What, really? O you who have uttered a most stupid expression! look down.
Well now,2 I am looking.
Now look upwards!
I am looking.
Turn your neck round.
By Jove, I shall come finely off,3 if I shall get my neck twisted.
Did you see any thing?
Aye, the clouds and the heavens.
Is not this4 then, I ween, the pole of the birds?
Pole? In what way?
Just5 as if one were to say “place.”6 And because this turns round, and passes through all things, for Edition: current; Page:  this reason it is now called “pole.” If you found this and once fortify it, it shall be called “Polis” from this “pole.”1 So that you shall rule over men like locusts, but the gods, on the other hand, you shall destroy with a Melian famine.2
Your atmosphere, I ween, is placed midway between earth and heaven.3 Then, like as we, if we wish to go to Pytho, ask of the Bœotians a passage, so, when men sacrifice to the gods, unless the gods bring in tribute to you, you shall not grant a passage to the odour of the thighs through your foreign city and the atmosphere.
Who then will state the matter to them?
You; for I, through living a long time amongst them, have taught them the faculty of speech, who were heretofore barbarians.6
How then would you summon them together?
Easily: for when I have gone immediately into the thicket here, and then wakened my nightingale,7 we will summon them. And if they hear our cry, they will run at full speed.
O dearest of birds, then do not tarry, but, I entreat you, come, enter into the thicket as quickly as possible, and waken up your nightingale. [Exit Epops into the thicket.]
(singing from behind the scene). Come,1 my mate, cease from slumber, and pour forth strains of sacred hymns, which thou chantest with thy divine mouth, trilling with the liquid notes of thy tawny throat mine and thy much-wept Itys.2 Clear goes the sound through the thick-leaved yewtree to the seat of Jove, where the golden-haired Phœbus, as he hears, playing an accompaniment to thy elegies on his lyre inlaid with ivory, institutes a choir of the gods; and at the same time an harmonious divine chant of the blessed gods proceeds through their immortal mouths. [A solo on the flute, supposed to be the nightingale’s call, is now heard.]
O king Jove! the voice of the bird! How it has filled with sweetness the whole3 thicket!
What is the matter?
Will you not be silent?
The Epops is again2 preparing to sing.
(singing from behind the scenes). Epopopopopopopopopopoi! io! io! come, come, come, come, come, hither, each of my fellow-birds,3 as many as feed upon the well-sown lands of the husbandmen, countless tribes of barley-eaters, and swift-flying flocks of rooks, sending forth a gentle voice, and as many as in the furrows incessantly twitter around the clods so lightly with blithesome voice!4 tio, tio, tio, tio, tio, tio, tio, tio! and as many of you as have5 your pasture in gardens on the boughs of the ivy, and you throughout the mountains, and you that eat wild olive berries, and you that eat the fruit of the arbutus, fly quickly to my voice! trioto, trioto, totobrix! and you that in the marshy glens snap up the sharp-stinging gnats,6 and as many as occupy the dewy places of the earth, and the lovely meads of Marathon, and the motley-feathered bird, the attagen,7 the attagen! and you whose tribes flit over the marine billow of the sea along with the halcyons, come hither, to learn the news! for here we are convening all the tribes8 of long-necked birds. For a keen old fellow has come, of a new-fangled turn, and an undertaker of new-fangled measures. Nay, come all of you to the conference, hither, Edition: current; Page:  hither, hither, hither! Torotorotorotorotix! Ciccabau, ciccabau! Torotorotorotorolililix!
Do you see any bird?
By Apollo, not I; and yet I gape with open mouth, looking up to heaven.
To no purpose then, as it appears, did the Epops go into the thicket1 and hatch, in imitation of the lapwing. [Enter the Phœnicopterus.]
My good sir, nay, see here’s a bird coming now!2
By Jove, a bird assuredly. What sort in the world is it? Surely it is not a peacock?
He himself will tell us. [Addressing the Epops, who now enters again.] What sort of a bird is this here?
It is not one of these common birds which you are constantly seeing, but a water-fowl.3
Bless me! beautiful and flaming!
Like enough, for its name is flamingo.4
Hollo you! You I call!5 [Enter a second bird.]
Why do you call?
See here’s another bird!
His name is the Mede.
Mede? O king Hercules! Then how, if it be a Mede, has it flown hither without a camel?1 [Enter a third bird.]
See here, again, is some other bird, possessed of a crest!2
What in the world is this prodigy? [Turning to the Epops.] Then you are3 not the only Epops, but this also is another?