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The Clouds   


Bacchus, the god of revel and joy.
LEADER OF SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
As we were preparing to come here, we were hailed by the Moon
and were charged to wish joy and happiness both to the Athenians and
to their allies; further, she said that she was enraged and that you
treated her very shamefully, her, who does not pay you in words alone,
but who renders you all real benefits. Firstly, thanks to her, you
save at least a drachma each month for lights, for each, as he is
leaving home at night, says, "Slave, buy no torches, for the moonlight
is beautiful,"-not to name a thousand other benefits. Nevertheless you
do not reckon the days correctly and your calendar is naught but
confusion. Consequently the gods load her with threats each time
they get home and are disappointed of their meal, because the festival
has not been kept in the regular order of time. When you should be
sacrificing, you are putting to the torture or administering
justice. And often, we others, the gods, are fasting in token of
mourning for the death of Memnon or Sarpedon, while you are devoting
yourselves to joyous libations. It is for this, that last year, when
the lot would have invested Hyperbolus with the duty of Amphictyon, we
took his crown from him, to teach him that time must be divided
according to the phases of the moon.
SOCRATES (coming out)
By Respiration, the Breath of Life! By Chaos! By the Air! I have
never seen a man so gross, so inept, so stupid, so forgetful. All
the little quibbles, which I teach him, he forgets even before he
has learnt them. Yet I will not give it up, I will make him come out
here into the open air. Where are you, Strepsiades? Come, bring your
couch out here.
STREPSIADES (from within)
But the bugs will not allow me to bring it.
SOCRATES
Have done with such nonsense! place it there and pay attention.
STREPSIADES (coming out, with the bed)
Well, here I am.
SOCRATES
Good! Which science of all those you have never been taught, do
you wish to learn first? The measures, the rhythms or the verses?
STREPSIADES
Why, the measures; the flour dealer cheated me out of two
choenixes the other day.
SOCRATES
It's not about that I ask you, but which, according to you, is the
best measure, the trimeter or the tetrameter?
STREPSIADES
The one I prefer is the semisextarius.
SOCRATES
You talk nonsense, my good fellow.
STREPSIADES
I will wager your tetrameter is the semisextarius.
SOCRATES
Plague seize the dunce and the fool! Come, perchance you will
learn the rhythms quicker.
STREPSIADES
Will the rhythms supply me with food?
SOCRATES
First they will help you to be pleasant in company, then to know
what is meant by enhoplian rhythm and what by the dactylic.
STREPSIADES
Of the dactyl? I know that quite well.
SOCRATES
What is it then, other than this finger here?
STREPSIADES
Formerly, when a child, I used this one.
SOCRATES

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