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Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/191

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1406—1429.
175
THE CLOUDS.

Strep. Ride then, by Jupiter; since it is better for me to keep a team of four horses,[1] than to be killed with beating.

Phid. I will pass over to that part of my discourse where you interrupted me; and first I will ask you this: Did you beat me when I was a boy?

Strep. I did, through good will and concern for you.

Phid. Pray tell me, is it not just that I also should be well inclined towards you in the same way, and beat you, since this[2] is to be well inclined—to give a beating? For why ought your body to be exempt from blows, and mine not? And yet I too was born free. The boys[3] weep, and do you not think it right that a father should weep? You will say that it is ordained by law that this should be the lot of boys. But I would reply, that old men are boys twice over, and that it is the more reasonable that the old should weep than the young, inasmuch as it is less just that they should err.

Strep. It is no where ordained by law that a father should suffer this.

Phid. Was it not then[4] a man like you and me, who first proposed this law, and by speaking persuaded the ancients? Why then is it less lawful for me also in turn to propose henceforth a new law for the sons, that they should beat their fathers in turn? But as many blows[5] as we received before the law was made, we remit; and we concede to them our having been well thrashed without return. Observe the cocks and these other animals, how they punish their fathers; and yet, in what do they differ from us, except that they do not write decrees?

  1. See Süvern, Clouds, p. 43.
  2. See note vs. 380, and on Thesm. 520.
  3. A parody on vs. 691 of the Alcestis of Euripides. Cf. Hec. 1225, and Arist. Thesm. 124. Lys. 763. Ach. 553.
  4. "Was not the author of this law,
    Like you and me, a man, sir?
    And did he not persuade and draw
    The rest to adopt his plan, sir?
    Then have not I, too, I would learn,
    A right to be the author
    Of a new law, that in return
    The son should beat the father?" Walsh.
  5. "Was Hiebe wir vorweg empfahn, eh' dies Gesetz gegeben,
    Quittiren wir und schenken 's euch als Schulden, die verjährten." Droysen.