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Aristophanes Index


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THE WASPS by Aristophanes, Part 03

XANTHIAS
Apollo the Saviour, what a prophecy!
PHILOCLEON
Ah! I beseech you, if you do not want my death, let me go.
XANTHIAS
No, Philocleon, no never, by Posidon!
PHILOCLEON
Well then, I shall gnaw through the net with my teeth.
XANTHIAS
But you have no teeth.
PHILOCLEON
Oh! you rascal, how can I kill you? How? Give me a sword, quick,
or a conviction tablet.
BDELYCLEON
Our friend is planning some great crime.
PHILOCLEON
No, by Zeus! but I want to go and sell my ass and its panniers,
for it's the first of the month.
BDELYCLEON
Could I not sell it just as well?
PHILOCLEON
Not as well as I could.
BDELYCLEON
No, but better.
PHILOCLEON
Bring out the ass anyway.
XANTHIAS
What a clever excuse he has found now! What cunning to get you
to let him go out!
BDELYCLEON
Yes, but I have not swallowed the hook; I scented the trick. I
will go in and fetch the ass, so that the old man may not point his
weapons that way again. (He goes in, returning immediately with the
ass.) Stupid old ass, are you weeping because you are going to be
sold? Come, go a bit quicker. Why, what are you moaning and groaning
for? You might be carrying another ODYSSEUS.
XANTHIAS
Why, certainly, so he is! someone has crept beneath his belly.
BDELYCLEON
Who, who? Let's see. Why it's he! What does this mean? Who are
you? Come, speak!
PHILOCLEON
I am Noman.
BDELYCLEON
Noman? Of what country?
PHILOCLEON
Of Ithaca, son of Apodrasippides.
BDELYCLEON
Ha! Mister Noman, you will not laugh presently. Pull him out
quick. Ah! the wretch, where has he crept to? Does he not resemble a
she-ass to the life?
PHILOCLEON
If you do not leave me in peace, I shall sue.
BDELYCLEON
And what will the suit be about?
PHILOCLEON
The shade of an ass.
BDELYCLEON
You are a poor man of very little wit, but thoroughly brazen.
PHILOCLEON
A poor man! Ah! by Zeus! you know not now what I am worth; but you
will know when you disembowel the old Heliast's money-bag.
BDELYCLEON
Come, get back indoors, both you and your ass.
PHILOCLEON
Oh! my brethren of the tribunal! oh! Cleon! to the rescue!
BDELYCLEON
Go and bawl in there under lock and key. And you there, pile
plenty of stones against the door, thrust the bolt home into the
staple, and to keep this beam in its place roll that great mortar
against it. Quick's the word.
XANTHIAS
Oh! my god! whence did this brick fall on me?
BDELYCLEON
Perhaps a rat loosened it.
XANTHIAS
A rat? it's surely our gutter-judge, who has crept beneath the
tiles of the roof.
BDELYCLEON
Ah! woe to us! there he is, he has turned into a sparrow; he
will be flying off. Where is the net? where? Shoo! shoo! get back! Ah!
by Zeus! I would rather have to guard Scione than such a father.
XANTHIAS
And now that we have driven him in thoroughly and he can no longer
escape without our knowledge, can we not have a few winks of sleep, no
matter how few?
BDELYCLEON
Why, wretch! the other jurymen will be here almost directly to
summon my father!
XANTHIAS
Why, it's scarcely dawn yet!
BDELYCLEON
Ah, they must have risen late to-day. Generally it is the middle
of the night when they come to fetch him. They arrive here, carrying
lanterns in their hands and singing the charming old verses of
Phrynichus' Sidonian Women; it's their way of calling him.
XANTHIAS
Well, if need be, we will chase them off with stones.

 

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