Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/157

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553—586.
141
THE CLOUDS.

troduced his Maricas, having basely, base fellow, spoiled by altering my play of the Knights, having added to it, for the sake of the cordax, a drunken old woman, whom Phrynichus long ago poetized, whom the whale was for devouring. Then again Hermippus made verses on Hyperbolus; and now all others press hard upon Hyperbolus, imitating my simile of the eels.[1] Whoever, therefore, laughs at these, let him not take pleasure in my attempts; but if you are delighted with me and my inventions, in times to come you will seem to be wise.[2]

I first invoke,[3] to join our choral band, the mighty Jupiter, ruling on high, the monarch of gods; and the potent master of the trident, the fierce upheaver of earth and briny sea; and our father of great renown, most august Æther, life-supporter of all; and the horse-guider, who fills the plain of the earth with exceeding bright beams, a mighty deity among gods and mortals.

Most clever spectators, come, give us your attention; for having been injured, we blame you to your faces. For though we benefit the state most of all the gods, to us alone of deities you do not offer sacrifice nor yet pour libations, who watch over you. For if there should be any expedition with no prudence, then we either thunder or drizzle small rain. And then, when you were for choosing as your general the Paphlagonian tanner, hateful to the gods, we contracted our brows and were enraged; and thunder[4] burst through the lightning, and the moon forsook her usual paths; and the sun immediately drew in his wick to himself, and declared he would not give you light, if Cleon should be your ge-

  1. "Aristophanes refers to that very elegant passage of the Equites, vs. 864, which has often been imitated, according to our author, by other poets." Kuster.
  2. "You'll be thought, and not without reason,
    Men of sense—till next year's season." Walsh.

    Who adds the following note: "That is to say, till the exhibition of fresh comedies in the next February and March, when your 'sense' and judgment will be tested anew by having to decide upon their merits."

  3. "Dich, der du hoch in Himmel's Höh'n
    Waltest der Götter, Herrscher Zeus,
    Ruf' Ich zuerst zum Festreihn." Droysen.
  4. A quotation from the Teucer of Sophocles.