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The Knights   


name by reaping another's harvest; and now he has tied up the ears
he gathered over there, he lets them dry and seeks to sell them.
CLEON
I do not fear you as long as there is a Senate and a people
which stands like a fool, gaping in the air.
CHORUS (singing)
What unparalleled impudence! 'Tis ever the same brazen front. If I
don't hate you, why, I'm ready to take the place of the one blanket
Cratinus wets; I'll offer to play a tragedy by Morsimus. Oh! you
cheat! who turn all into money, who flutter from one extortion to
another; may you disgorge as quickly as you have crammed yourself!
Then only would I sing, "Let us drink, let us drink to this happy
event!" Then even the son of Ulius, the old wheat-fairy, would empty
his cup with transports of joy, crying, "Io, Paean! Io, Bacchus!"
CLEON
By Posidon! You! would you beat me in impudence! If you succeed,
may I no longer have my share of the victims offered to Zeus on the
city altar.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
And I, I swear by the blows that have so oft rained upon my
shoulders since infancy, and by the knives that have cut me, that I
will show more effrontery than you; as sure as I have rounded this
fine stomach by feeding on the pieces of bread that had cleansed other
folk's greasy fingers.
CLEON
On pieces of bread, like a dog! Ah! wretch! you have the nature of
a dog and you dare to fight a dog-headed ape?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I have many another trick in my sack, memories of my childhood's
days. I used to linger around the cooks and say to them, "Look,
friends, don't you see a swallow? It's the herald of springtime."
And while they stood, their noses in the air, I made off with a
piece of meat.
CHORUS
Oh! most clever man! How well thought out! You did as the eaters
of artichokes, you gathered them before the return of the swallows."
SAUSAGE-SELLER
They could make nothing of it; or, if they suspected a trick, I
hid the meat in my crotch and denied the thing by all the gods-so that
an orator, seeing me at the game, cried, "This child will get on; he
has the mettle that makes a statesman."
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
He argued rightly; to steal, perjure yourself and make your arse
receptive are three essentials for climbing high.
CLEON
I will stop your insolence, or rather the insolence of both of
you. I will throw myself upon you like a terrible hurricane ravaging
both land and sea at the will of its fury.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Then I will gather up my sausages and entrust myself to the kindly
waves of fortune so as to make you all the more enraged.
DEMOSTHENES
And I will watch in the bilges in case the boat should make water.
CLEON
No, by Demeter! I swear, it will not be with impunity that you
have thieved so many talents from the Athenians.
DEMOSTHENES (to the SAUSAGE-SELLER)
Oh! oh! reef your sail a bit! Here is a Northeaster blowing
calumniously.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
I know that you got ten talents out of Potidaea.
CLEON
Wait! I will give you one; but keep it dark!
DEMOSTHENES (aside)

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