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THE CLOUDS by Aristophanes, Part 18

STREPSIADES
And why did he also name the last day of the old?
PHIDIPPIDES
So, my dear sir, that the debtors, being there the day before,
might free themselves by mutual agreement, or that else, if not, the
creditor might begin his action on the morning of the new moon.
STREPSIADES
Why then do the magistrates have the deposits paid on the last
of the month and not the next day?
PHIDIPPIDES
I think they do as the gluttons do, who are the first to pounce
upon the dishes. Being eager to carry off these deposits, they have
them paid in a day too soon.
STREPSIADES
Splendid! (to the audience) Ah! you poor brutes, who serve for
food to us clever folk! You are only down here to swell the number,
true blockheads, sheep for shearing, heap of empty pots! Hence I
will sing a song of victory for my son and myself. "Oh! happy,
Strepsiades! what cleverness is thine! and what a son thou hast here!"
Thus my friends and my neighbours will say, jealous at seeing me
gain all my suits. But come in, I wish to regale you first.
(They both go in. A moment later a creditor arrives, with his
witness.)
PASIAS (to the WITNESS)
A man should never lend a single obolus. It would be better to put
on a brazen face at the outset than to get entangled in such
matters. I want to see my money again and I bring you here to-day to
attest the loan. I am going to make a foe of a neighbour; but, as long
as I live, I do not wish my country to have to blush for me. Come, I
am going to summon Strepsiades....
STREPSIADES (coming out of his house)
Who is this?
PASIAS
....for the old day and the new.
STREPSIADES (to the WITNESS)
I call you to witness, that he has named two days. What do you
want of me?
PASIAS
I claim of you the twelve minae, which you borrowed from me to buy
the dapple-grey horse.
STREPSIADES
A horse! do you hear him? I, who detest horses, as is well known.
PASIAS
I call Zeus to witness, that you swore by the gods to return
them to me.
STREPSIADES
Because at that time, by Zeus! Phidippides did not yet know the
irrefutable argument.
PASIAS
Would you deny the debt on that account?
STREPSIADES
If not, what use is his science to me?
PASIAS
Will you dare to swear by the gods that you owe me nothing?
STREPSIADES
By which gods?
PASIAS
By Zeus, Hermes and Posidon!
STREPSIADES
Why, I would give three obols for the pleasure of swearing by
them.
PASIAS
Woe upon you, impudent knave!
STREPSIADES
Oh! what a fine wine-skin you would make if flayed!
PASIAS
Heaven! he jeers at me!
STREPSIADES
It would hold six gallons easily.
PASIAS
By great Zeus! by all the gods! you shall not scoff at me with
impunity,
STREPSIADES
Ah! how you amuse me with your gods! how ridiculous it seems to
a sage to hear Zeus invoked.
PASIAS
Your blasphemies will one day meet their reward. But, come, will
you repay me my money, yes or no? Answer me, that I may go.
STREPSIADES
Wait a moment, I am going to give you a distinct answer. (He
goes indoors and returns immediately with a kneading-trough.)
PASIAS (to the WITNESS)
What do you think he will do? Do you think he will pay?
STREPSIADES
Where is the man who demands money? Tell me, what is this?
PASIAS
Him? Why, he is your kneading-trough.
STREPSIADES
And you dare to demand money of me, when you are so ignorant? I
will not return an obolus to anyone who says him instead of her for
a kneading-trough.
PASIAS
You will not repay?
STREPSIADES
Not if I know it. Come, an end to this, pack off as quick as you
can.
PASIAS
I go, but, may I die, if it be not to pay my deposit for a
summons.
(Exit)

 

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Aristophanes Index

 

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