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The Clouds   


STREPSIADES
What?
PHIDIPPIDES
Why, undoubtedly, unless a woman can be both old and young at
the same time.
STREPSIADES
But so runs the law.
PHIDIPPIDES
I think the meaning of the law is quite misunderstood.
STREPSIADES
What does it mean?
PHIDIPPIDES
Old Solon loved the people.
STREPSIADES
What has that to do with the old day and the new?
PHIDIPPIDES
He has fixed two days for the summons, the last day of the old
moon and the first day of the new; but the deposits must only be
paid on the first day of the new moon.
STREPSIADES
And why did he also name the last day of the old?
PHIDIPPIDES
So, my dear sir, that the debtors, being there the day before,
might free themselves by mutual agreement, or that else, if not, the
creditor might begin his action on the morning of the new moon.
STREPSIADES
Why then do the magistrates have the deposits paid on the last
of the month and not the next day?
PHIDIPPIDES
I think they do as the gluttons do, who are the first to pounce
upon the dishes. Being eager to carry off these deposits, they have
them paid in a day too soon.
STREPSIADES
Splendid! (to the audience) Ah! you poor brutes, who serve for
food to us clever folk! You are only down here to swell the number,
true blockheads, sheep for shearing, heap of empty pots! Hence I
will sing a song of victory for my son and myself. "Oh! happy,
Strepsiades! what cleverness is thine! and what a son thou hast here!"
Thus my friends and my neighbours will say, jealous at seeing me
gain all my suits. But come in, I wish to regale you first.
(They both go in. A moment later a creditor arrives, with his
witness.)

PASIAS (to the WITNESS)
A man should never lend a single obolus. It would be better to put
on a brazen face at the outset than to get entangled in such
matters. I want to see my money again and I bring you here to-day to
attest the loan. I am going to make a foe of a neighbour; but, as long
as I live, I do not wish my country to have to blush for me. Come, I
am going to summon Strepsiades....
STREPSIADES (coming out of his house)
Who is this?
PASIAS
....for the old day and the new.
STREPSIADES (to the WITNESS)
I call you to witness, that he has named two days. What do you
want of me?
PASIAS
I claim of you the twelve minae, which you borrowed from me to buy
the dapple-grey horse.
STREPSIADES
A horse! do you hear him? I, who detest horses, as is well known.
PASIAS
I call Zeus to witness, that you swore by the gods to return
them to me.

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