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Clouds   By: (446? BC - 385? BC)

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By Aristophanes

Trans. William James Hickie

All Greek from the original edition has been transliterated into Roman characters.


Strepsiades Phidippides Servant of Strepsiades Disciples of Socrates Socrates Chorus of Clouds Just Cause Unjust Cause Pasias Amynias Witness Chaerephon

Scene: The interior of a sleeping apartment: Strepsiades, Phidippides, and two servants are in their beds; a small house is seen at a distance. Time: midnight.

Strepsiades (sitting up in his bed). Ah me! Ah me! O King Jupiter, of what a terrible length the nights are! Will it never be day? And yet long since I heard the cock. My domestics are snoring; but they would not have done so heretofore! May you perish then, O war! For many reasons; because I may not even punish my domestics. Neither does this excellent youth awake through the night; but takes his ease, wrapped up in five blankets. Well, if it is the fashion, let us snore wrapped up.

[Lies down, and then almost immediately starts up again.]

But I am not able, miserable man, to sleep, being tormented by my expenses, and my stud of horses, and my debts, through this son of mine. He with his long hair, is riding horses and driving curricles, and dreaming of horses; while I am driven to distraction, as I see the moon bringing on the twentieths; for the interest is running on. Boy! Light a lamp, and bring forth my tablets, that I may take them and read to how many I am indebted, and calculate the interest.

[Enter boy with a light and tablets.]

Come, let me see; what do I owe? Twelve minae to Pasias. Why twelve minae to Pasias? Why did I borrow them? When I bought the blood horse. Ah me, unhappy! Would that it had had its eye knocked out with a stone first!

Phidippides (talking in his sleep). You are acting unfairly, Philo! Drive on your own course.

Strep. This is the bane that has destroyed me; for even in his sleep he dreams about horsemanship.

Phid. How many courses will the war chariots run?

Strep. Many courses do you drive me, your father. But what debt came upon me after Pasias? Three minae to Amynias for a little chariot and pair of wheels.

Phid. Lead the horse home, after having given him a good rolling.

Strep. O foolish youth, you have rolled me out of my possessions; since I have been cast in suits, and others say that they will have surety given them for the interest.

Phid. (awakening) Pray, father, why are you peevish, and toss about the whole night?

Strep. A bailiff out of the bedclothes is biting me.

Phid. Suffer me, good sir, to sleep a little.

Strep. Then, do you sleep on; but know that all these debts will turn on your head.

[Phidippides falls asleep again.]

Alas! Would that the match maker had perished miserably, who induced me to marry your mother. For a country life used to be most agreeable to me, dirty, untrimmed, reclining at random, abounding in bees, and sheep, and oil cake. Then I, a rustic, married a niece of Megacles, the son of Megacles, from the city, haughty, luxurious, and Coesyrafied. When I married her, I lay with her redolent of new wine, of the cheese crate, and abundance of wool; but she, on the contrary, of ointment, saffron, wanton kisses, extravagance, gluttony, and of Colias and Genetyllis. I will not indeed say that she was idle; but she wove. And I used to show her this cloak by way of a pretext and say "Wife, you weave at a great rate."

Servant re enters.

Servant. We have no oil in the lamp... Continue reading book >>

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