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The Knights   


tree, squeezing them to find which are still green or more or less
ripe; and, when you find a simple and timid one, you force him to come
from the Chersonese, then you seize him by the middle, throttle him by
the neck, while you twist his shoulder back; he falls and you devour
him. Besides, you know very well how to select from among the citizens
those who are as meek as lambs, rich, without guile and loathers of
lawsuits.
CLEON
Eh! what! Knights, are you helping them? But, if I am beaten, it
is in your cause, for I was going to propose to erect a statue in
the city in memory of your bravery.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Oh! the impostor! the dull varlet! See! he treats us like old
dotards and crawls at our feet to deceive us; but the cunning
wherein his power lies shall this time recoil on himself; he trips
up himself by resorting to such artifices.
CLEON
Oh citizens! oh people! see how these brutes are bursting my
belly.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
What shouts! but it's this very bawling that incessantly upsets
the city!
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I can shout too-and so loud that you will flee with fear.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
If you shout louder than he does I will strike up the triumphal
hymn; if you surpass him in impudence the cake is ours.
CLEON
I denounce this fellow; he has had tasty stews exported from
Athens for the Spartan fleet.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
And I denounce him; he runs into the Prytaneum with an empty belly
and comes out with it full.
DEMOSTHENES
And by Zeus! he carries off bread, meat, and fish, which is
forbidden. Pericles himself never had this right.
(A screaming match now ensues, each line more raucous than the
last. The rapidity of the dialogue likewise increases.)

CLEON
You are travelling the right road to get killed.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I'll bawl three times as loud as you.
CLEON
I will deafen you with my yells.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
And I you with my bellowing.
CLEON
I shall calumniate you, if you become a Strategus.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Dog, I will lay your back open with the lash.
CLEON
I will make you drop your arrogance,
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I will baffle your machinations.
CLEON
Dare to look me in the face!
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I too was brought up in the market-place.
CLEON
I will cut you to shreds if you whisper a word.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
If you open your mouth, I'll shut it with shit.
CLEON
I admit I'm a thief; that's more than you do.

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