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The Wasps   


carrying off the kettledrum, rushed right into the midst of the
Heliasts. As Cybele could do nothing with her rites, his son took
him to Aegina and forcibly made him lie one night in the temple of
Asclepius, the God of Healing, but before daylight there he was to
be seen at the gate of the tribunal. Since then we let him go out no
more, but he escaped us by the drains or by the skylight, so we
stuffed up every opening with old rags and made all secure; then he
drove short sticks into the wall and sprang from rung to rung like a
magpie. Now we have stretched-nets all around the court and we keep
watch and ward. The old man's name is Philocleon, it's the best name
he could have, and the son is called Edelycleon, for he is a man
very fit to cure an insolent fellow of his boasting.
BDELYCLEON (from the roof)
Xanthias! Sosias! Are you asleep?
XANTHIAS
Alas!
SOSIAS
What is the matter?
XANTHIAS
Why, Bdelycleon is getting up.
BDELYCLEON
Will neither of you come here? My father has got into the
stove-chamber and is ferreting about like a rat in his hole. Take care
he does not escape through the bath drain. You there, put all your
weight against the door.
XANTHIAS
Yes, master.
BDELYCLEON
By Zeus! what is that noise in the chimney? Hullo! who are you?
PHILOCLEON (poking his head out of the chimney)
I am the smoke going up.
BDELYCLEON
Smoke? smoke of what wood?
PHILOCLEON
Of fig-wood.
BDELYCLEON
Ah! that's the most acrid of all. But you shall not get out. Where
is the chimney cover? Come down again. Now, up with another cross-bar.
Now look out for some fresh dodge. But am I not the most unfortunate
of men? Henceforward I shall only be called the son of Capnius.
XANTHIAS
He is pushing the door.
BDELYCLEON
Throw your weight upon it, come, put heart into the work. I will
come and help you. Watch both lock and bolt. Take care he does not
gnaw through the peg.
PHILOCLEON (from within)
What are you doing, you wretches? Let me go out; it is
imperative that I go and judge, or Dracontides will be acquitted.
XANTHIAS
Would you mind that?
PHILOCLEON
Once at Delphi, the god, whom I was consulting, foretold, that
if an accused man escaped me, I should die of consumption.
XANTHIAS
Apollo the Saviour, what a prophecy!
PHILOCLEON
Ah! I beseech you, if you do not want my death, let me go.
XANTHIAS
No, Philocleon, no never, by Posidon!
PHILOCLEON
Well then, I shall gnaw through the net with my teeth.
XANTHIAS
But you have no teeth.

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