THE CLOUDS by Aristophanes, Part 22
He has not dethroned him. I believed it, because of this whirligig
here. Unhappy wretch that I am! I have taken a piece of clay to be a
Very well! Keep your stupid nonsense for your own consumption.
(He goes back into STREPSIADES' house.)
Oh! what madness! I had lost my reason when I threw over the
gods through Socrates' seductive phrases. (Addressing the statue of
Hermes) Oh! good Hermes, do not destroy me in your wrath. Forgive
me; their babbling had driven me crazy. Be my counselor. Shall I
pursue them at law or shall I....? Order and I obey.-You are right, no
law-suit; but up! let us burn down the home of those praters. Here,
Xanthias, here! take a ladder, come forth and arm yourself with an
axe; now mount upon the Thoughtery, demolish the roof, if you love
your master, and may the house fall in upon them. Ho! bring me a
blazing torch! There is more than one of them, arch-impostors as
they are, on whom I am determined to have vengeance.
A DISCIPLE (from within)
Come, torch, do your duty! Burst into full flame!
What are you up to?
What am I up to? Why, I am entering upon a subtle argument with
the beams of the house.
SECOND DISCIPLE (from within)
Hullo! hullo who is burning down our house?
The man whose cloak you have appropriated.
You are killing us!
That is just exactly what I hope, unless my axe plays me false, or
I fall and break my neck.
SOCRATES (appearing at the window)
Hi! you fellow on the roof, what are you doing up there?
STREPSIADES (mocking SOCRATES' manner)
I am traversing the air and contemplating the sun.
Ah! ah! woe is upon me! I am suffocating!
And I, alas, shall be burnt up!
Ah! you insulted the gods! You studied the face of the moon! Chase
them, strike and beat them down! Forward! they have richly deserved
their fate-above all, by reason of their blasphemies.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
So let the CHORUS file off the stage. Its part is played.