Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristophanes
Pages of Plutus



Previous | Next
                  

Plutus   


POVERTY
Your slaves! And by what means will these slaves be got?
CHREMYLUS
We will buy them.
POVERTY
But first say, who will sell them, if everyone is rich?
CHREMYLUS
Some greedy dealer from Thessaly-the land which supplies so many.
POVERTY
But if your system is applied, there won't be a single
slave-dealer left. What rich man would risk his life to devote himself
to this traffic? You will have to toil, to dig and submit yourself
to all kinds of hard labour; so that your life would be more
wretched even than it is now.
CHREMYLUS
May this prediction fall upon yourself!
POVERTY
You will not be able to sleep in a bed, for no more will ever be
manufactured; nor on carpets, for who would weave them, if he had
gold? When you bring a young bride to your dwelling, you will have
no essences wherewith to perfume her, nor rich embroidered cloaks dyed
with dazzling colours in which to clothe her. And yet what is the
use of being rich, if you are to be deprived of all these
enjoyments? On the other hand, you have all that you need in
abundance, thanks to me; to the artisan I am like a severe mistress,
who forces him by need and poverty to seek the means of earning his
livelihood.
CHREMYLUS
And what good thing can you give us, unless it be burns in the
bath, and swarms of brats and old women who cry with hunger, and
clouds uncountable of lice, gnats and flies, which hover about the
wretch's head, trouble him, awake him and say, "You will be hungry,
but get up!" Besides, to possess a rag in place of a mantle, a
pallet of rushes swarming with bugs, that do not let you close your
eyes, for a bed; a rotten piece of matting for a coverlet; a big stone
for a pillow, on which to lay your head; to eat mallow roots instead
of bread, and leaves of withered radish instead of cake; to have
nothing but the cover of a broken jug for a stool, the stave of a
cask, and broken at that, for a kneading-trough, that is the life
you make for us! Are these the mighty benefits with which you
pretend to load mankind?
POVERTY
It's not my life that you describe,; you are attacking the
existence beggars lead.
CHREMYLUS
Is Beggary not Poverty's sister?
POVERTY
Thrasybulus and Dionysius are one and the same according to you.
No, my life is not like that and never will be. The beggar, whom you
have depicted to us, never possesses anything. The poor man lives
thriftily and attentive to his work: he has not got too much, but he
does not lack what he really needs.
CHREMYLUS
Oh! what a happy life, by Demeter! to live sparingly, to toil
incessantly and not to leave enough to pay for a tomb!
POVERTY
That's it! jest, jeer, and never talk seriously! But what you
don't know is this, that men with me are worth more, both in mind
and body, than with Plutus. With him they are gouty, big-bellied,
heavy of limb and scandalously stout; with me they are thin,
wasp-waisted, and terrible to the foe.
CHREMYLUS
No doubt it's by starving them that you give them that waspish
waist.

Previous | Next
Site Search