Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/144

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128
245—266.
THE CLOUDS.

pays nothing; and I will swear by the gods, I will pay down to you whatever reward you exact of me.

Soc. By what gods will you swear? for, in the first place, gods are not a current coin with us.

Strep. By what do you swear? By iron money,[1] as in Byzantium?

Soc. Do you wish to know clearly celestial matters, what they rightly are?

Strep. Yes, by Jupiter, if it be possible!

Soc. And to hold converse with the Clouds, our divinities?

Strep. By all means.

Soc. (with great solemnity). Seat yourself, then, upon the sacred couch. [2]

Strep. Well, I am seated!

Soc. Take, then, this chaplet.

Strep. For what purpose a chaplet?—Ah me! Socrates, see that you do not sacrifice me like Athamas![3]

Soc. No; we do all these to those who get initiated.

Strep. Then, what shall I gain, pray?

Soc. You shall become in oratory a tricky knave, a thorough[4] rattle, a subtle speaker.—But keep quiet.

Strep. By Jupiter, you will not deceive me; for if I am besprinkled, I shall become fine flour.

Soc. It becomes the old man to speak words of good omen, and to hearken to my prayer.—O sovereign King, immeasurable Air, who keepest the earth suspended, and thou bright Æther, and ye august goddesses, the Clouds sending thunder and lightning, arise, appear in the air, O mistresses, to your deep thinker.

  1. See Böckh's Publ. Econ. Athen. book iv. chap. 19.
  2. "So setz' dich nieder auf das heilige Denksopha." Droysen.
  3. "Respicit ad Sophoclis Athamantem, qui in dramate cognomine introductus fuerat coronatus a poëtâ, quum debuerat immolari, ex responso Apollinis, quia Phrixum filium, instigatus ab ejus novercâ, voluerat occidere." Berg.
  4. "Dum autem hæc dicit, comminuit super Strepsiadis capite lapides friabiles, aut eum farinâ conspergit, ut victimæ solebant molâ conspergi; nam et iste tanquam victima coronatus erat," Berg.

    "Ita Berglerus e Scholiastâ. Sed aliter hæc acceperunt veteres magistri. Glossa καταπαττόμενος ὑπό σου ταῖς πληγαῖς διὰ τὰ μαθήματα, παιπάλη γενήσομαι. Ita me pugnis comminues ut facile pollen fiam." Brunck.