I do not know exactly, but they are deep thinkers and most
Bah! the wretches! I know them; you mean those quacks with pale
faces, those barefoot fellows, such as that miserable Socrates and
Silence! say nothing foolish! If you desire your father not to die
of hunger, join their company and let your horses go.
No, by Bacchus! even though you gave me the pheasants that
Oh! my beloved son, I beseech you, go and follow their teachings.
And what is it I should learn?
It seems they have two courses of reasoning, the true and the
false, and that, thanks to the false, the worst law-suits can be
gained. If then you learn this science, which is false, I shall not
have to pay an obolus of all the debts I have contracted on your
No, I will not do it. I should no longer dare to look at our gallant
horsemen, when I had so ruined my tan.
Well then, by Demeter! I will no longer support you, neither
you, nor your team, nor your saddle-horse. Go and hang yourself, I
turn you out of house and home.
My uncle Megacles will not leave me without horses; I shall go
to him and laugh at your anger.
(He departs. STREPSIADES goes over to SOCRATES' house.)
One rebuff shall not dishearten me. With the help of the gods I
will enter the Thoughtery and learn myself. (He hesitates.) But at
my age, memory has gone and the mind is slow to grasp things. How
can all these fine distinctions, these subtleties be learned?
(Making up his mind) Bah! why should I dally thus instead of rapping
at the door? Slave, slave!
(He knocks and calls.)
A DISCIPLE (from within)
A plague on you! Who are you?
Strepsiades, the son of Phido, of the deme of Cicynna.
DISCIPLE (coming out of the door)
You are nothing but an ignorant and illiterate fellow to let fly
at the door with such kicks. You have brought on a miscarriage-of an
Pardon me, please; for I live far away from here in the country.
But tell me, what was the idea that miscarried?
I may not tell it to any but a disciple.
Then tell me without fear, for I have come to study among you.
Very well then, but reflect, that these are mysteries. Lately, a
flea bit Chaerephon on the brow and then from there sprang on to the
head of Socrates. Socrates asked Chaerephon, "How many times the
length of its legs does a flea jump?"
And how ever did he go about measuring it?