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Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/146

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130
292—323.
THE CLOUDS.

inclined to fart in reply to the thundering, so much do I tremble at them and am alarmed. And whether it be lawful, or be not lawful, I have a desire just now to ease myself.

Soc. Don't scoff,[1] nor do what these poor-devil-poets do, but use words of good omen, for a great swarm of goddesses is in motion with their songs.

Cho. Ye rain-bringing virgins, let us come to the fruitful land of Pallas, to view the much-loved country of Cecrops abounding in brave men; where is reverence for sacred rites not to be divulged; where the house that receives the initiated is thrown open in holy mystic rites; and gifts to the celestial gods; and high-roofed temples, and statues; and most sacred processions in honour of the blessed gods; and well-crowned sacrifices to the gods, and feasts, at all seasons; and with the approach of spring the Bacchic festivity, and the rousings of melodious Choruses, and the loud-sounding music of flutes.

Strep. Tell me, O Socrates, I beseech you by Jupiter, who are these that have uttered this grand song? Are they some heroines?

Soc. By no means; but heavenly Clouds, great divinities to idle men;[2] who supply us with thought, and argument, and intelligence, and humbug, and circumlocution, and ability to hoax, and comprehension.

Strep. On this account therefore my soul, having heard their voice, flutters, and already seeks to discourse subtilely, and to quibble about smoke, and having pricked a maxim[3] with a little notion, to refute the opposite argument. So that now I eagerly desire, if by any means it be possible, to see them palpably.

Soc. Look, then, hither, towards Mount Parnes;[4] for now I behold them descending gently.

  1. See note on Ran. 299.
  2. "i. e. the sophists, among whom Socrates is made to reckon himself: they being idle persons, and taking no part in state affairs." Schütz.
  3. Strepsiades would treat opinions (γνώμας) as he would a suspicious-looking haggis, and pricking them—not with a pin, but with a little notion (γνωμιδίῳ) of his own, discover what was in them. Cf. Liddell's Lex. voc. νύσσω.
  4. "Now called Casha; lying to the south of Attica." Dindorf.