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The Knights   


SAUSAGE-SELLER
By our Hermes of the market-place, if caught in the act, why, I
perjure myself before those who saw me.
CLEON
These are my own special tricks. I will denounce you to the
Prytanes as the owner of sacred tripe, that has not paid tithe.
CHORUS (singing)
Oh! you scoundrel! you impudent bawler! everything is filled
with your daring, all Attica, the Assembly, the Treasury, the decrees,
the tribunals. As a furious torrent you have overthrown our city; your
outcries have deafened Athens and, posted upon a high rock, you have
lain in wait for the tribute moneys as the fisherman does for the
tunny-fish.
CLEON (somewhat less loudly)
I know your tricks; it's an old plot resoled.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
If you know naught of soling, I understand nothing of sausages;
you, who cut bad leather on the slant to make it look stout and
deceive the country yokels. They had not worn it a day before it had
stretched some two spans.
DEMOSTHENES
That's the very trick he played on me; both my neighbours and my
friends laughed heartily at me, and before I reached Pergasae I was
swimming in my shoes.
CHORUS (singing)
Have you not always shown that blatant impudence, which is the
sole strength of our orators? You push it so far, that you, the head
of the State, dare to milk the purses of the opulent aliens and, at
sight of you, the son of Hippodamus melts into tears. But here is
another man who gives me pleasure, for he is a much greater rascal
than you; he will overthrow you; 'tis easy to see, that he will beat
you in roguery, in brazenness and in clever turns. Come, you, who have
been brought up among the class which to-day gives us all our great
men, show us that a liberal education is mere tomfoolery.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Just hear what sort of fellow that fine citizen is.
CLEON
Will you not let me speak?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Assuredly not, for I too am an awful rascal.
DEMOSTHENES
If he does not give in at that, tell him your parents were awful
rascals too.
CLEON
Once more, will you let me speak?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
No, by Zeus!
CLEON
Yes, by Zeus, you shall!
SAUSAGE-SELLER
No, by Posidon! We will fight first to see who shall speak first.
CLEON
I will die sooner.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I will not let you....
DEMOSTHENES
Let him, in the name of the gods, let him die.
CLEON
What makes you so bold as to dare to speak to my face?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Because I know both how to speak and how to cook.
CLEON
Hah! the fine speaker! Truly, if some business matter fell your
way, you would know thoroughly well how to attack it, to carve it up

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