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Aristophanes Index


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PLUTUS by Aristophanes, Part 08

BLEPSIDEMUS
Then hurry up.
CHREMYLUS
That's just what I am doing.

(They are just leaving when POVERTY comes running in;

she is a picture of squalor and the two men recoil in horror.)


POVERTY
Unwise, perverse, unholy men! What are you daring to do, you
pitiful, wretched mortals? Whither are you flying? Stop! I command it!
BLEPSIDEMUS
Oh! great gods!
POVERTY
My arm shall destroy you, you infamous beings! Such an attempt
is not to be borne; neither man nor god has ever dared the like. You
shall die!
CHREMYLUS
And who are you? Oh! what a ghastly pallor!
BLEPSIDEMUS
Perhaps it's some Erinys, some Fury, from the theatre; there's a
kind of wild tragic look in her eyes.
CHREMYLUS
But she has no torch.
BLEPSIDEMUS
Let's knock her down!
POVERTY
Who do you think I am?
CHREMYLUS
Some wine-shop keeper or egg-woman. Otherwise you would not have
shrieked so loud at us, who have done nothing to you.
POVERTY
Indeed? And have you not done me the most deadly injury by seeking
to banish me from every country?
CHREMYLUS
Why, have you not got the Barathrum left? But who are you?
Answer me quickly!
POVERTY
I am one that will punish you this very day for having wanted to
make me disappear from here.
BLEPSIDEMUS
Might it be the tavern-keeper in my neighbourhood, who is always
cheating me in measure?
POVERTY
I am Poverty, who have lived with you for so many years.
BLEPSIDEMUS
Oh! great Apollo! oh, ye gods! whither shall I fly?
(He starts to run away.)
CHREMYLUS
Here! what are you doing! You coward! Are going to leave me here?
BLEPSIDEMUS (still running)
Not I.
CHREMYLUS
Stop then! Are two men to run away from one woman?
BLEPSIDEMUS
But, you wretch, it's Poverty, the most fearful monster that
ever drew breath.
CHREMYLUS
Stay where you are, I beg of you.
BLEPSIDEMUS
No no! a thousand times, no!
CHREMYLUS
Could we do anything worse than leave the god in the lurch and fly
before this woman without so much as ever offering to fight?
BLEPSIDEMUS
But what weapons have we? Are we in a condition to show fight?
Where is the breastplate, the buckler, that this wretch has not
pawned?
CHREMYLUS
Be at ease. Plutus will readily triumph over her threats unaided.
POVERTY
Dare you reply, you scoundrels, you who are caught red-handed at
the most horrible crime?
CHREMYLUS
As for you, you cursed jade, you pursue me with your abuse, though
I have never done you the slightest harm.
POVERTY
Do you think it is doing me no harm to restore Plutus to the use
of his eyes?
CHREMYLUS
Is this doing you harm, that we shower blessings on all men?
POVERTY
And what do you think will ensure their happiness?
CHREMYLUS
Ah! first of all we shall drive you out of Greece.
POVERTY
Drive me out? Could you do mankind a greater harm?
CHREMYLUS
Yes-if I gave up my intention to deliver them from you.
POVERTY
Well, let us discuss this point first. I propose to show that I am
the sole cause of all your blessings, and that your safety depends
on me alone. If I don't succeed, then do what you like to me.
CHREMYLUS
How dare you talk like this, you impudent hussy?
POVERTY
Agree to hear me and I think it will be very easy for me to
prove that you are entirely on the wrong road, when you want to make
the just men wealthy.

 

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