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Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/159

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623—647.
143
THE CLOUDS.

Sarpedon, you are pouring libations and laughing. For which reason Hyperbolus, having obtained by lot this year to be Hieromnemon, was afterwards deprived by us gods of his[1] crown: for thus he will know better that he ought to spend the days of his life according to the Moon. [Enter Socrates.]

Soc. By Respiration, and Chaos, and Air, I have not seen any man so boorish, nor so impracticable, nor so stupid, nor so forgetful; who, while learning some little petty quibbles, forgets them before he has learnt them. Nevertheless I will certainly call him out here to the light.[2] Where is Strepsiades? come forth with your couch.

Strep. (from within). The bugs do not permit me to bring it forth.

Soc. Make haste and lay it down; and give me your attention. [Enter Strepsiades.]

Strep. Very well.

Soc. Come now; what do you now wish to learn first of those things in none of which you have ever been instructed? Tell me. About measures, or rhythms, or verses?

Strep. I should prefer to learn about measures; for it is but lately I was cheated out of two chœnices by a meal-huckster.

Soc. I do not ask you this, but which you account the most beautiful measure; the trimeter or the tetrameter?

Strep. I think nothing superior to the semisextarius.[3]

Soc. You talk nonsense, man.

Strep. Make a wager then with me,[4] if the semisextarius be not a tetrameter.

Soc. Go to the devil! how boorish you are and dull of learning! Perhaps you may be able to learn about rhythms.

  1. For this anacoluthon, cf. Aves, 535, 1456. Lys. 560. Equit 392. Horn. Il. Α. 478.
  2. "Said satirically of the school of Socrates, as if it were a den of wild beasts." Ernesti. "i. e. because the φροντιστήριον was dark and gloomy. Hence Strepsiades compares it to the cave of Trophonius." Schütz.
  3. "The Attic medimnus was divided into 48 chœnices. The ἑκτεὺς, sextarius, or modius, was the sixth part of a medimnus, and contained 8. chœnices; therefore the ἡμιεκτέον, or semisextarius, = 4 chœnices." Brunck.
  4. Cf. Ach. 772, 1115, 791. Hom. Il. ψ. 485.