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THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes, Part 03

DEMOSTHENES
It says here how he must end.
NICIAS
And how?
DEMOSTHENES
How? the oracle announces clearly that a dealer in oakum must
first govern the city.
NICIAS
That's one tradesman. And after him, who?
DEMOSTHENES
After him, a sheep-dealer.
NICIAS
Two tradesmen, eh? And what is this one's fate?
DEMOSTHENES
To reign until a filthier scoundrel than he arises; then he
perishes and in his place the leather-seller appears, the Paphlagonian
robber, the bawler, who roars like a torrent.
NICIAS
And the leather-seller must destroy the sheep-seller?
DEMOSTHENES
Yes.
NICIAS
Oh woe is me! Where can another seller be found, is there ever a
one left?
DEMOSTHENES
There is yet one, who plies a first-rate trade.
NICIAS
Tell me, pray, what is that?
DEMOSTHENES
You really want to know?
NICIAS
Yes.
DEMOSTHENES
Well then! it's a sausage-seller who must overthrow him.
NICIAS
A sausage-seller! Ah! by Posidon! what a fine trade! But where can
this man be found?
DEMOSTHENES
Let's seek him. But look! there he is, going towards the
market-place; 'tis the gods, the gods who send him! (Calling out) This
way, this way, oh; lucky sausage-seller, come forward, dear friend,
our saviour, the saviour of our city.
(Enter AGORACRITUS, a seller of sausages, carrying a basket of his
wares.)
SAUSAGE-SELLER
What is it? Why do you call me?
DEMOSTHENES
Come here, come and learn about your good luck, you who are
Fortune's favourite!
NICIAS
Come! Relieve him of his basket-tray and tell him the oracle of
the god; I will go and look after the Paphlagonian.
(He goes into the house.)
DEMOSTHENES
First put down all your gear, then worship the earth and the gods.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Done. What is the matter?
DEMOSTHENES
Happiness, riches, power; to-day you have nothing, to-morrow you
will have all, oh! chief of happy Athens.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Why not leave me to wash my tripe and to sell my sausages
instead of making game of me?
DEMOSTHENES
Oh! the fool! Your tripe! Do you see these tiers of people?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Yes.
DEMOSTHENES
You shall be master to them all, governor of the market, of the
harbours, of the Pnyx; you shall trample the Senate under foot, be
able to cashier the generals, load them with fetters, throw them
into gaol, and you will fornicate in the Prytaneum.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
What! I?
DEMOSTHENES
You, without a doubt. But you do not yet see all the glory
awaiting you. Stand on your basket and look at all the islands that
surround Athens.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I see them. What then?
DEMOSTHENES
Look at the storehouses and the shipping.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Yes, I am looking.
DEMOSTHENES
Exists there a mortal more blest than you? Furthermore, turn
your right eye towards Caria and your left toward Carthage!
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Then it's a blessing to be cock-eyed!
DEMOSTHENES
No, but you are the one who is going to trade away all this.
According to the oracle you must become the greatest of men.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Just tell me how a sausage-seller can become a great man.
DEMOSTHENES
That is precisely why you will be great, because you are a sad
rascal without shame, no better than a common market rogue.

 

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