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The Clouds   


(A slave enters witk a lamp.)
SLAVE
There is no more oil in the lamp.
STREPSIADES
Why then did you light such a thirsty lamp? Come here, I am
going to beat you.
SLAVE
What for?
STREPSIADES
Because you have put in too thick a wick....Later, when we had
this boy, what was to be his name? It was the cause of much
quarrelling with my loving wife. She insisted on having some reference
to a horse in his name, that he should be called Xanthippus, Charippus
or Callippides. I wanted to name him Phidonides after his grandfather.
We disputed long, and finally agreed to style him Phidippides....She
used to fondle and coax him, saying, "Oh! what a joy it will be to
me when you have grown up, to see you, like my father, Megacles,
clothed in purple and standing up straight in your chariot driving
your steeds toward the town." And I would say to him, "When, like your
father, you will go, dressed in a skin, to fetch back your goats
from Phelleus." Alas! he never listened to me and his madness for
horses has shattered my fortune. (He gets out of bed.) But by dint
of thinking the livelong night, I have discovered a road to salvation,
both miraculous and divine. If he will but follow it, I shall be out
of my trouble! First, however, he must be awakened, but it must be
done as gently as possible. How shall I manage it? Phidippides! my
little Phidippides!
PHIDIPPIDES (awaking again)
What is it, father?
STREPSIADES
Kiss me and give me your hand.
PHIDIPPIDES (getting up and doing as his father requests)
There! What's it all about?
STREPSIADES
Tell me! do you love me?
PHIDIPPIDES
By Posidon, the equestrian Posidon! yes, I swear I do.
STREPSIADES
Oh, do not, I pray you, invoke this god of horses; he is the one
who is the cause of all my cares. But if you really love me, and
with your whole heart, my boy, believe me.
PHIDIPPIDES
Believe you? about what?
STREPSIADES
Alter your habits forthwith and go and learn what I tell you.
PHIDIPPIDES
Say on, what are your orders?
STREPSIADES
Will you obey me ever so little?
PHIDIPPIDES
By Bacchus, I will obey you.
STREPSIADES
Very well then! Look this way. Do you see that little door and
that little house?
PHIDIPPIDES
Yes, father. But what are you driving at?
STREPSIADES
That is the Thoughtery of wise souls. There they prove that we are
coals enclosed on all sides under a vast snuffer, which is the sky. If
well paid, these men also teach one how to gain law-suits, whether
they be just or not.
PHIDIPPIDES
What do they call themselves?
STREPSIADES

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