Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/138

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Strep. Go, I entreat you, dearest of men, go and be taught.

Phid. Why, what shall I learn?

Strep. They say, that among them are both the two causes,—the better cause, whichever that is, and the worse: they say, that the one of these two causes, the worse, prevails, though it speaks on the unjust side. If therefore you learn for me this unjust cause, I would not pay to any one, not even an obolus of these debts, which I owe at present on your account.

Phid. I cannot comply; for I should not dare to look upon the Knights, having lost all my colour.

Strep. Then, by Ceres, you shall not eat any of my goods! neither you, nor your draught-horse, nor your blood-horse;[1] but I will drive you out of my house to the crows.

Phid. My uncle Megacles will not permit me to be without a horse. But I'll go in, and pay no heed to you.[2] [Exit Phidippides.]

Strep. Though fallen, still I will not lie prostrate: but having prayed to the gods, I will go myself to the thinking-shop and get taught. How then, being an old man, and having a bad memory, and dull of comprehension, shall I learn the subtleties of refined disquisitions?—I must go. Why thus do I loiter and not knock at the door? [Knocks at the door.] Boy! little boy!

Dis. (from within). Go to the devil! Who is it that knocked at the door?

    "Nor I, so help me
    Dionysus, our patron, though you bribed me
    With all the racers that Leonoras
    Breeds from his Phasian stud." Cumberland.

  1. A horse bearing the mark of the σαμπί.
  2. Cumberland has justly remarked, "If there is any thing in this scene open to critical reprehension, I conceive it to be, that the speakings of Strepsiades are of a higher cast here than in his succeeding dialogues with Socrates; where the poet (for the sake, no doubt, of contrasting his rusticity with the finesse of the philosopher) has lowered him to the style and sentiment of an arrant clown."—The French critics compare Strepsiades with the "Bourgeois Gentilhomme" of Molière; but the inconsistency of character spoils the parallel. Strepsiades appears in the opening of this play with a strong dash of the bluffness, humour, and shrewdness of John Bull; hut he soon degenerates into the stupidity and absurdity of the Pachter Feldkümmel of German farce.