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The Clouds   


STREPSIADES
That depends: if anything is owed me, my memory is excellent,
but if I owe, alas! I have none whatever.
SOCRATES
Have you a natural gift for speaking?
STREPSIADES
For speaking, no; for cheating, yes.
SOCRATES
How will you be able to learn then?
STREPSIADES
Very easily, have no fear.
SOCRATES
Thus, when I throw forth some philosophical thought anent things
celestial., you will seize it in its very flight?
STREPSIADES
Then I am to snap up wisdom much as a dog snaps up a morsel?
SOCRATES (aside)
Oh! the ignoramus! the barbarian! (to STREPSIADES) I greatly fear,
old man, it will be necessary for me to have recourse to blows. Now,
let me hear what you do when you are beaten.
STREPSIADES
I receive the blow, then wait a moment, take my witnesses and
finally summon my assailant at law.
SOCRATES
Come, take off your cloak.
STREPSIADES
Have I robbed you of anything?
SOCRATES
No. but the usual thing is to enter the school without your cloak.
STREPSIADES
But I have not come here to look for stolen goods.
SOCRATES
Off with it, fool!
STREPSIADES (He obeys.)
Tell me, if I prove thoroughly attentive and learn with zeal,
which O; your disciples shall I resemble, do you think?
SOCRATES
You will be the image of Chaerephon.
STREPSIADES
Ah! unhappy me! Shall I then be only half alive?
SOCRATES
A truce to this chatter! follow me and no more of it.
STREPSIADES
First give me a honey-cake, for to descend down there sets me
all a-tremble; it looks like the cave of Trophonius.
SOCRATES
But get in with you! What reason have you for thus dallying at the
door?
(They go into the Thoughtery.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Good luck! you have courage; may you succeed, you, who, though
already so advanced in years, wish to instruct your mind with new
studies and practise it in wisdom! (The CHORUS turns and faces the
Audience.)
Spectators! By Bacchus, whose servant I am, I will
frankly tell you the truth. May I secure both victory and renown as
certainly as I hold you for adept critics and as I regard this
comedy as my best. I wished to give you the first view of a work,
which had cost me much trouble, but which I withdrew, unjustly
beaten by unskilful rivals. It is you, oh, enlightened public, for
whom I have prepared my piece, that I reproach with this. Nevertheless
I shall never willingly cease to seek the approval of the
discerning. I have not forgotten the day, when men, whom one is
happy to have for an audience, received my Virtuous Young Man and my
Paederast with so much favour in this very place. Then as yet

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