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The Clouds   


STREPSIADES (coming out again)
Another four, three, two days, then the eve, then the day, the
fatal day of payment! I tremble, I quake, I shudder, for it's the
day of the old moon and the new. Then all my creditors take the
oath, pay their deposits, I swear my downfall and my ruin. As for
me, I beseech them to be reasonable, to be just, "My friend, do not
demand this sum, wait a little for this other and give me time for
this third one." Then they will pretend that at this rate they will
never be repaid, will accuse me of bad faith and will threaten me with
the law. Well then, let them sue me! I care nothing for that, if
only Phidippides has learnt to speak fluently. I am going to find out;
I'll knock at the door of the school. (He knocks.).... Ho! slave,
slave!
SOCRATES (coming out)
Welcome! Strepsiades!
STREPSIADES
Welcome! Socrates! But first take this sack (offers him a sack
of flour)
; it is right to reward the master with some present. And
my son, whom you took off lately, has he learnt this famous reasoning?
Tell me.
SOCRATES
He has learnt it.
STREPSIADES
Wonderful! Oh! divine Knavery!
SOCRATES
You will win just as many causes as you choose.
STREPSIADES
Even if I have borrowed before witnesses?
SOCRATES
So much the better, even if there are a thousand of them!
STREPSIADES (bursting into song)
Then I am going to shout with all my might. "Woe to the usurers,
woe to their capital and their interest and their compound interest!
You shall play me no more bad turns. My son is being taught there, his
tongue is being sharpened into a double-edged weapon; he is my
defender, the saviour of my house, the ruin of my foes! His poor
father was crushed down with misfortune and he delivers him." Go and
call him to me quickly. Oh! my child! my dear little one! run
forward to your father's voice!
SOCRATES (singing)
Lo, the man himself!
STREPSIADES (singing)
Oh, my friend, my dearest friend!
SOCRATES (singing)
Take your son, and get you gone.
STREPSIADES (as PHIDIPPIDES appears)
Oh, my son! oh! oh! what a pleasure to see your pallor! You are
ready first to deny and then to contradict; it's as clear as noon.
What a child of your country you are! How your lips quiver with the
famous, "What have you to say now?" How well you know, I am certain,
to put on the look of a victim, when it is you who are making both
victims and dupes! And what a truly Attic glance! Come, it's for you
to save me, seeing it is you who have ruined me.
PHIDIPPIDES
What is it you fear then?
STREPSIADES
The day of the old and the new.
PHIDIPPIDES
Is there then a day of the old and the new?
STREPSIADES
The day on which they threaten to pay deposit against me.
PHIDIPPIDES
Then so much the worse for those who have deposited! for it's
not possible for one day to be two.

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