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Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/156

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140
533—552.
THE CLOUDS.

sure pledges of your good-will towards me. Now, therefore, like that well-known Electra,[1] has this comedy come seeking, if haply it meet with an audience so clever, for it will recognise, if it should see, the lock of its brother. But see how modest she is by nature, who, in the first place, has come, having stitched to her no leathern phallus hanging down, red at the top, and thick, to set the boys a laughing; nor yet jeered the bald-headed,[2] nor danced the cordax; nor[3] does the old man who speaks the verses beat the person near him with his staff, keeping out of sight wretched ribaldry; nor has she rushed in with torches, nor does she shout ἰοὺ ἰού;[4] but has come relying on herself and her verses.[5] And I, although so excellent a poet, do not give myself airs, nor do I seek to deceive you by twice and thrice bringing forward the same pieces; but I am always[6] clever at introducing new fashions, not at all resembling each other, and all of them clever: who struck Cleon in the belly when at the height of his power, and could not bear to attack him afterwards when he was down. But these scribblers, when once Hyperbolus has given them a handle, keep ever trampling on this wretched man and his mother. Eupolis, indeed, first of all craftily in-

  1. The allusion is to the means employed by Æschylus in his Chöephoræ to bring about Electra's recognition of her brother Orestes. Æschylus had represented her as assured of her brother's arrival by having found a lock of hair at Agamemnon's tomb resembling her own. Euripides in his Electra sneers at this contrivance as improbable, and requiring a supernatural amount of cleverness and discernment. Aristophanes promises that his Muse shall be equally clever, and shall recognise their good-will if they only give this play the applause awarded to his Daitaleis. For the demonstrative, see Krüger, Gr. Gr. § 51, 7, obs. 7. For the matter, see Schlegel, Dram. Lit. pp. 122, 128.
  2. "Aristophanes was bald-headed." Droysen.
  3. "Nor does the aged gentleman, who
    Spouts the witty lines to you,
    Strike his friend with cudgel of oak,
    To conceal a stupid joke. Walsh.
  4. Exclamations, with which this very play opens.
  5. The Scholiast has very justly found fault with these boasts of our poet; and proved, from his own works, that he has been guilty of all the offences against decency and good taste which he reprehends so freely in others. The justifications attempted by Schütz and Süvern are lame in the extreme.
  6. Liddell's Lex. voc. σοφίζομαι.