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Aristophanes Index


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THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes, Part 12

CLEON
Tremble, knave; I will convict you of having stolen thirty
thousand drachmae.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
For a rascal of your kidney, you shout rarely! Well! I am ready to
die if I do not prove that you have accepted more than forty minae
from the Mitylenaeans.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
This indeed may be termed talking. Oh, benefactor of the human
race, proceed and you will be the most illustrious of the Greeks.
You alone shall have sway in Athens, the allies will obey you, and,
trident in hand, you will go about shaking and overturning
everything to enrich yourself. But, stick to your man, let him not go;
with lungs like yours you will soon have him finished.
CLEON
No, my brave friends, no, you are running too fast; I have done
a sufficiently brilliant deed to shut the mouth of all enemies, so
long as one of the bucklers of Pylos remains.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Of the bucklers! Hold! I stop you there and I hold you fast. For
if it be true that you love the people, you would not allow these to
be hung up with their rings; but it's with an intent you have done
this. Demos, take knowledge of his guilty purpose; in this way you
no longer can punish him at your pleasure. Note the swarm of young
tanners, who really surround him, and close to them the sellers of
honey and cheese; all these are at one with him. Very well! you have
but to frown, to speak of ostracism and they will rush at night to
these bucklers, take them down and seize our granaries.
DEMOS
Great gods! what! the bucklers retain their rings! Scoundrel!
ah! to long have you had me for your dupe, cheated and plaved with me!
CLEON
But, dear sir, never you believe all he tells you. Oh! never
will you find a more devoted friend than me; unaided, I have known how
to put down the conspiracies; nothing that is hatching in the city
escapes me, and I hasten to proclaim it loudly.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
You are like the fishers for eels; in still waters they catch
nothing, but if they thoroughly stir up the slime, their fishing is
good; in the same way it's only in troublous times that you line
your pockets. But come, tell me, you, who sell so many skins, have you
ever made him a present of a pair of soles for his slippers? and you
pretend to love him!
DEMOS
No, he has never given me any.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
That alone shows up the man; but I, I have bought you this pair of
shoes; accept them.
(He gives DEMOS the shoes; DEMOS puts them on.)
DEMOS
None ever, to my knowledge, has merited so much from the people;
you are the most zealous of all men for our country and for my toes.
CLEON
Can a wretched pair of slippers make you forget all that you owe
me? Is it not I who curbed the pederasts by erasing Gryttus' name from
the lists of citizens?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Ah! noble Inspector of Arses, let me congratulate you. Moreover,
if you set yourself against this form of lewdness, this pederasty,
it was for sheer jealousy, knowing it to be the school for orators.
But you see this poor Demos without a cloak and that at his age too!
so little do you care for him, that in mid-winter you have not given
him a garment with sleeves. Here, Demos, here is one, take it!
(He gives DEMOS a cloak; DEMOS puts it on.)
DEMOS
This even Themistocles never thought of; the Piraeus was no
doubt a happy idea, but I think this tunic is quite as fine an
invention.
CLEON
Must you have recourse to such jackanapes' tricks to supplant me?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
No, it's your own tricks that I am borrowing, just as a drunken
guest, when he has to take a crap, seizes some other man's shoes.
CLEON
Oh! you shall not outdo me in flattery! I am going to hand Demos
this garment; all that remains to you, you rogue, is to go and hang
yourself.
DEMOS (as CLEON throws a cloak around his shoulders)
Faugh! may the plague seize you! You stink of leather horribly.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Why, it's to smother you that he has thrown this cloak around
you on top of the other; and it is not the first plot he has planned
against you. Do you remember the time when silphium was so cheap?
DEMOS
Aye, to be sure I do!
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Very well! it was Cleon who had caused the price to fall so low,
that all might eat it, and the jurymen in the Courts were almost
asphyxiated from farting in each others' faces.
DEMOS
Hah! why, indeed, a Dungtownite told me the same thing.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Were you not yourself in those days quite red in the gills with
farting?
DEMOS
Why, it was a trick worthy of Pyrrhandrus!
CLEON
With what other idle trash will you seek to ruin me, you wretch!
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Oh! I shall be more brazen than you, for it's the goddess who
has commanded me.

 

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