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THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes, Part 19

Come, Agoracritus, come, my best friend; see the service you
have done me by freshening me up on your stove.
Ah! if you but remembered what you were formerly and what you did,
you would for a certainty believe me to be a god.
But what did I do? and how was I then?
Firstly, so soon as ever an orator declared in the Assembly,
"Demos, I love you ardently; it is I alone who dream of you and
watch over your interests"; at such an exordium you would look like
a cock flapping his wings or a bull tossing his horns.
What, I?
Then, after he had fooled you to the hilt, he would go.
What! they would treat me so, and I never saw it?
You knew only how to open and close your ears like a sunshade.
Was I then so stupid and such a dotard?
Worse than that; if one of two orators proposed to equip a fleet
for war and the other suggested the use of the same sum for paying out
to the citizens, it was the latter who always carried the day. Well!
you droop your head! Why do you turn away your face?
I am blushing at my past errors.
Think no more of them; it's not you who are to blame, but those
who cheated you in this sorry fashion. But, come, if some impudent
lawyer dared to say, "Dicasts, you shall have no wheat unless you
convict this accused man!" what would you do? Tell me.
I would have him removed from the bar, I would bind Hyperbolus
about his neck like a stone and would fling him into the Barathrum.
Well spoken! but what other measures do you wish to take?
First, as soon as ever a fleet returns to the harbour, I shall pay
up the rowers in full.
That will soothe many a worn and chafed bottom.
Further, the hoplite enrolled for military service shall not get
transferred to another service through favour, but shall stick to that
given him at the outset.
This will strike the buckler of Cleonymus full in the centre.
None shall ascend the rostrum, unless his chin is bearded.
What then will become of Clisthenes and of Strato?
I wish only to refer to those youths who loll about the perfume
shops, babbling at random, "What a clever fellow is Phaeax! How
cleverly he escaped death! how concise and convincing is his style!
what phrases! how clear and to the point! how well he knows how to
quell an interruption!
I thought you were the lover of those fairies.
The gods forefend it! and I will force all such fellows to go
hunting instead of proposing decrees.
In that case, accept this folding-stool, and, to carry it, this
well-grown, big-balled slave lad. Besides, you may put him to any
other purpose you please.
Oh! I am happy indeed to find myself as I was of old!
Aye, you will deem yourself happy, when I have handed you the
truce of thirty years. Truce! step forward!
(Enter Truce, in the form of a beautiful young girl, magnificently
Great gods! how charming she is! Can I do with her as I wish?
where did you discover her, pray?
That Paphlagonian had kept her locked up in his house, so that you
might not enjoy her. As for myself, I give her to you; take her with
you into the country.
And what punishment will you inflict upon this Paphlagonian, the
cause of all my troubles?
It will not be over-terrible. I condemn him to follow my old
trade, posted near the gates, he must sell sausages of asses' and
dogs' meat: perpetually drunk, he will exchange foul language with
prostitutes and will drink nothing but the dirty water from the baths.
Well conceived! he is indeed fit to wrangle with harlots and
bathmen; as for you, in return for so many blessings, I invite you
to take the place at the Prytaneum which this rogue once occupied. Put
on his frog-green mantle and follow me. As for the other, let them
take him away; let him go sell his sausages in full view of the
foreigners, whom he used formerly to insult so wantonly.



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