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The Clouds   


find an ingenious alternative.
STREPSIADES
An alternative! ah! I only wish one would come to me from within
these coverlets!
(Another interval of silence ensues.)
SOCRATES
Wait! let us see what our fellow is doing! Ho! are you asleep?
STREPSIADES
No, by Apollo!
SOCRATES
Have you got hold of anything?
STREPSIADES
No, nothing whatever.
SOCRATES
Nothing at all?
STREPSIADES
No, nothing except my tool, which I've got in my hand.
SOCRATES
Aren't you going to cover your head immediately and ponder?
STREPSIADES
On what? Come, Socrates, tell me.
SOCRATES
Think first what you want, and then tell me.
STREPSIADES
But I have told you a thousand times what I want. Not to pay any
of my creditors.
SOCRATES
Come, wrap yourself up; concentrate your mind, which wanders to
lightly; study every detail, scheme and examine thoroughly.
STREPSIADES
Alas! Alas!
SOCRATES
Keep still, and if any notion troubles you, put it quickly
aside, then resume it and think over it again.
STREPSIADES
My dear little Socrates!
SOCRATES
What is it, old greybeard?
STREPSIADES
I have a scheme for not paying my debts.
SOCRATES
Let us hear it.
STREPSIADES
Tell me, if I purchased a Thessalian witch, I could make the
moon descend during the night and shut it, like a mirror, into a round
box and there keep it carefully....
SOCRATES
How would you gain by that?
STREPSIADES
How? why, if the moon did not rise, I would have no interest to
pay.
SOCRATES
Why so?
STREPSIADES
Because money is lent by the month.
SOCRATES
Good! but I am going to propose another trick to you. If you
were condemned to pay five talents, how would you manage to quash that
verdict? Tell me.
STREPSIADES
How? how? I don't know, I must think.
SOCRATES
Do you always shut your thoughts within yourself? Let your ideas
fly in the air, like a may-bug, tied by the foot with a thread.

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