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Aristophanes Index


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PLUTUS by Aristophanes, Part 14


INFORMER (before he sees CARIO)
Alas! alas! I am a lost man. Ah! thrice, four, five, twelve times,
or rather ten thousand times unhappy fate! Why, why must fortune
deal me such rough blows?
CARIO
Oh, Apollo, my tutelary! oh! ye favourable gods! what has
overtaken this man?
INFORMER (to CARIO)
Ah! am I not deserving of pity? I have lost everything; this
cursed god has stripped me bare. Ah! if there be justice in heaven, he
shall be struck blind again,
JUST MAN
I think I know what's the matter. If this man is unfortunate, it's
because he's of little account and small honesty; and indeed he
looks it too.
CARIO
Then, by Zeus! his plight is but just.
INFORMER
He promised that if he recovered his sight, he would enrich us all
unaided; whereas he has ruined more than one.
CARIO
But whom has he thus ill-used?
INFORMER
Me.
CARIO
You were doubtless a villainous thief then.
INFORMER
No, it is rather you yourselves who were such wretches; I am
certain you have got my money.
CARIO
Ha! by Demeter! an informer! What impudence! He's ravenously
hungry, that's certain.
INFORMER
You shall follow me this very instant to the market-place, where
the torture of the wheel shall force the confession of your misdeeds
from you.
CARIO (with a threatening gesture)
Watch out, now!
JUST MAN
By Zeus the Deliverer, what gratitude all Greeks owe to Plutus, if
he destroys these vile informers!
INFORMER
You are laughing at me. Well, then I denounce you as their
accomplice. Where did you steal that new cloak from? Yesterday I saw
you with one utterly worn out.
JUST MAN
I fear you not, thanks to this ring, for which I paid Eudemus a
drachma.
CARIO
Ah! there's no ring to preserve you from the informer's bite.
INFORMER
The insolent wretches! But, my fine jokers, you have not told me
what you are up to here. Nothing good, I'm sure of that.
CARIO
Nothing of any good for you, be sure of that.
INFORMER
By Zeus! it's at my expense that you are about to dine.
CARIO
You and your witness, I hope you both burst...
JUST MAN
With an empty belly.
INFORMER
You deny it? I reckon, you villains, that there is much salt
fish and roast meat in this house. (He sniffs elaborately.)
CARIO
Can you smell anything, rascal?
JUST MAN
The cold, perhaps.
INFORMER
Can such outrages be home, oh, Zeus! Ye gods! how cruel it is to
see me treated thus, when I am such an honest fellow and such a good
citizen!
JUST MAN
You an honest man! you a good citizen!
INFORMER
A better one than any.
JUST MAN
Ah! well then, answer my questions.
INFORMER
Concerning what?
JUST MAN
Are you a husbandman?
INFORMER
D'ye take me for a fool?
JUST MAN
A merchant?
INFORMER
I assume the title, when it serves me.
JUST MAN
Do you ply any trade?
INFORMER
No, most assuredly not!
JUST MAN
Then how do you live, if you do nothing?
INFORMER
I superintend public and private business.
JUST MAN
You do? And by what right, pray?
INFORMER
Because it pleases me to do so.
JUST MAN
Like a thief you sneak yourself in where you have no business. You
are hated by all and you claim to be an honest man.

 

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