Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/155

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
509—532.
139
THE CLOUDS.

Soc. Proceed; why do you keep poking about the door? [Exeunt Socrates and Sirepsiades.]

Cho. Well, go in peace, for the sake of this your valour. May prosperity attend the man, because, being advanced into the vale of years, he imbues his intellect with modern subjects, and cultivates wisdom! [Turning to the audience.]

Spectators,[1] I will freely declare to you the truth, by Bacchus, who nurtured me! So may I conquer,[2] and be accounted skilful, as that, deeming you to be clever spectators, and this to be the cleverest of my comedies,[3] I thought proper to let you first taste that comedy, which gave me the greatest labour. And then I retired from the contest[4] defeated by vulgar fellows, though I did not deserve it. These things, therefore, I object to you, a learned audience, for whose sake I was expending this labour. But not even thus will I ever willingly desert the discerning[5] portion of you. For since what time my Modest Man and my Rake[6] were very highly praised here by an audience, with whom it is a pleasure even to hold converse, and I (for I was still a virgin, and it was not lawful for me as yet to have children) exposed my offspring, and another girl took it up and owned it, and you generously reared and educated it, from this time[7] I have had

  1. "This is a very learned parabasis, and contains much that is worthy of perusal, and much that relates to the history of the old comedy." Kuster. "This address was written after the first edition of the play had been damned." Walsh.
  2. "The poet uses the aor. opt., because he refers to his hopes of victory in a single case, unâ de re, i. e. the present dramatic representation; but in the same sentence he employs the present optative, (νομιζοίμην,) because duration of time is to be expressed,—the continuance of his fame as a poet." Felton.
  3. "Aristophanes declares this play to be the most elaborate of all bis works; but in such expressions we are not always to take him exactly at his word. On all occasions, and without the least hesitation, he lavishes upon himself the most extravagant praises; and this must be considered a feature of the license of comedy." Schlegel.
  4. "ὑπ᾽ ἀνδρ. φορτ. judicibus imperitis pronunciantibtus." Ern.—The author's tact would unquestionably have prevented him from applying so direct a censure to the audience; and we willingly agree in opinion with Dobree and Mitchell, that the sarcasm was aimed at successful rivals. So also Walsh.
  5. See Krüger's Gr. Gr. § 47, 9.
  6. Alluding to his Δαιταλεῖς.
  7. "Ja seitdem ist fest wie ein Fels mein Vertraun auf eure Huld." Droysen.