THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes, Part 10
Ah! ah! here comes the Paphlagonian! One would say it was a
hurricane lashing the sea and rolling the waves before it in its fury.
He looks as if he wanted to swallow me up alive! Ye gods! what an
CLEON (as he rushes in)
To my aid, my beloved lies! I am going to destroy you, or my
name is lost.
Oh! how he diverts me with his threats His bluster makes me laugh!
And I dance the mothon for joy, and sing at the top of my voice,
Ah! by Demeter! if I do not kill and devour you, may I die!
If you do not devour me? and I, if I do not drink your blood to
the last drop, and then burst with indigestion.
I, I will strangle you, I swear it by the front seat which Pylos
By the front seat! Ah! Ah! might I see you fall into the
By heaven! I will put you to the torture.
What a lively wit! Come, what's the best to give you to eat?
What do you prefer? A purse?
I will tear out your insides with my nails.
And I will cut off your victuals at the Prytaneum.
I will haul you before Demos, who will mete out justice to you.
And I too will drag you before him and belch forth more
calumnies than you. Why, poor fool, he does not believe you, whereas I
play with him at will.
Is then Demos your property, your contemptible creature?
It's because I know the dishes that please him.
And these are little mouthfuls, which you serve to him like a
clever NURSE. You chew the pieces and place some in small quantities
in his mouth, while you swallow three parts yourself.
Thanks to my skill, I know exactly how to enlarge or contract this
My arse is just as clever.
Well, my friend, you tricked me at the Senate, but take care!
Let us go before Demos.
That's easily done; come, let's do it right away.
Oh, Demos! Come, I adjure you to help me, my father I
SAUSAGE-SELLER (more loudly)
Come, oh, my dear little Demos; come and see how I am insulted.
DEMOS (coming out of his house followed by DEMOSTHENES)
What a hubhub! To the Devil with you, bawlers! Alas! my olive
branch, which they have torn down! Ah! it's you, Paphlagonian. And
who, pray, has been maltreating you?
You are the cause of this man and these young people having
covered me with blows.
Because you love me passionately, Demos.
DEMOS (to the SAUSAGE-SELLER)
And you, who are you?
His rival. For many a long year have I loved you, have I wished to
do you honour, I and a crowd of other men of means. But this rascal
here has prevented us. You resemble those young men who do not know
where to choose their lovers; you repulse honest folks; to earn your
favours, one has to be a lamp-seller, a cobbler, a tanner or a
I am the benefactor of the people.
In what way, please?
In what way? I supplanted the Generals at Pylos, I hurried thither
and I brought back the Laconian captives.
And I, whilst simply loitering, cleared off with a pot from a
shop, which another fellow had been boiling.
Demos, convene the assembly at once to decide which of us two
loves you best and most merits your favour.
Yes, yes, provided it be not at the Pnyx.
I could not sit elsewhere; it is at the Pnyx that you must
appear before me.
(He sits down on a stone in the Orchestra,)