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The Clouds   


STREPSIADES
Unless you start trotting, I shall catch you and stick this in
your arse, you sorry packhorse! (AMYNIAS runs off.) Ah! you start,
do you? I was about to drive you pretty fast, I tell you-you and
your wheels and your chariot!
(He enters his house.)
CHORUS (singing)
Whither does the passion of evil lead! here is a perverse old man,
who wants to cheat his creditors; but some mishap, which will speedily
punish this rogue for his shameful schemings, cannot fail to
overtake him from to-day. For a long time he has been burning to
have his son know how to fight against all justice and right and to
gain even the most iniquitous causes against his adversaries every
one. I think this wish is going to be fulfilled. But mayhap, mayhap,
will he soon wish his son were dumb rather!
STREPSIADES (rushing out With PHIDIPPIDES after him)
Oh! oh! neighbours, kinsmen, fellow-citizens, help! help! to the
rescue, I am being beaten! Oh! my head! oh! my jaw! Scoundrel! Do
you beat your own father?
PHIDIPPIDES (calmly)
Yes, father, I do.
STREPSIADES
See! he admits he is beating me.
PHIDIPPIDES
Of course I do.
STREPSIADES
You villain, you parricide, you gallows-bird!
PHIDIPPIDES
Go on, repeat your epithets, call me a thousand other names, if it
please you. The more you curse, the greater my amusement!
STREPSIADES
Oh! you ditch-arsed cynic!
PHIDIPPIDES
How fragrant the perfume breathed forth in your words.
STREPSIADES
Do you beat your own father?
PHIDIPPIDES
Yes, by Zeus! and I am going to show you that I do right in
beating you.
STREPSIADES
Oh, wretch! can it be right to beat a father?
PHIDIPPIDES
I will prove it to you, and you shall own yourself vanquished.
STREPSIADES
Own myself vanquished on a point like this?
PHIDIPPIDES
It's the easiest thing in the world. Choose whichever of the two
reasonings you like.
STREPSIADES
Of which reasonings?
PHIDIPPIDES
The Stronger and the Weaker.
STREPSIADES
Miserable fellow! Why, I am the one who had you taught how to
refute what is right. and now you would persuade me it is right a
son should beat his father.
PHIDIPPIDES
I think I shall convince you so thoroughly that, when you have
heard me, you will not have a word to say.
STREPSIADES
Well, I am curious to hear what you have to say.
CHORUS (singing)
Consider well, old man, how you can best triumph over him. His
brazenness shows me that he thinks himself sure of his case; he has

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