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The Knights   


His rival. For many a long year have I loved you, have I wished to
do you honour, I and a crowd of other men of means. But this rascal
here has prevented us. You resemble those young men who do not know
where to choose their lovers; you repulse honest folks; to earn your
favours, one has to be a lamp-seller, a cobbler, a tanner or a
currier.
CLEON
I am the benefactor of the people.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
In what way, please?
CLEON
In what way? I supplanted the Generals at Pylos, I hurried thither
and I brought back the Laconian captives.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
And I, whilst simply loitering, cleared off with a pot from a
shop, which another fellow had been boiling.
CLEON
Demos, convene the assembly at once to decide which of us two
loves you best and most merits your favour.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Yes, yes, provided it be not at the Pnyx.
DEMOS
I could not sit elsewhere; it is at the Pnyx that you must
appear before me.
(He sits down on a stone in the Orchestra,)
SAUSAGE-SELLER
Ah! great gods! I am undone! At home this old fellow is the most
sensible of men, but the instant he is seated on those cursed stone
seats, he is there with mouth agape as if he were hanging up figs by
their stems to dry.
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Come, loose all sail. Be bold, skilful in attack and entangle
him in arguments which admit of no reply. It is difficult to beat him,
for he is full of craft and pulls himself out of the worst corners.
Collect all your forces to come forth from this fight covered with
glory.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
But take care! Let him not assume the attack, get ready your
grapples and advance with your vessel to board him!
CLEON
Oh! guardian goddess of our city! oh! Athene if it be true that
next to Lysicles, Cynna and Salabaccho none have done so much good for
the Athenian people as I, suffer me to continue to be fed at the
Prytaneum without working; but if I hate you, if I am not ready to
fight in your defence alone and against all, may I perish, be sawn
to bits alive and my skin cut up into thongs.
SAUSAGE-SELLER
And I, Demos, if it be not true, that I love and cherish you,
may I be cooked in a stew; and if that is not saying enough, may I
be grated on this table with some cheese and then hashed, may a hook
be passed through my balls and let me be dragged thus to the
Ceramicus!
CLEON
Is it possible, Demos, to love you more than I do? And firstly, as
long as you have governed with my consent, have I not filled your
treasury, putting pressure on some, torturing others or begging of
them, indifferent to the opinion of private individuals, and solely
anxious to please you?
SAUSAGE-SELLER
There is nothing so wonderful in all that, Demos; I will do as
much; I will thieve the bread of others to serve up to you. No, he has
neither love for you nor kindly feeling; his only care is to warm
himself with your wood, and I will prove it. You, who, sword in
hand, saved Attica from the Median yoke at Marathon; you, whose

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