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The Wasps   


We shall call up the full strength of our oak-tough courage to
your aid. That is what we will do.
PHILOCLEON
I trust myself to you and risk the danger. If misfortune overtakes
me, take away my body, bathe it with your tears and bury it beneath
the bar of the tribunal.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Nothing will happen to you, rest assured. Come, friend, have
courage and let yourself slide down while you invoke your country's
gods.
PHILOCLEON
Oh! mighty Lycus! noble hero and my neighbour, thou, like
myself, takest pleasure in the tears and the groans of the accused. If
thou art come to live near the tribunal, 'tis with the express
design of hearing them incessantly; thou alone of all the heroes
hast wished to remain among those who weep. Have pity on me and save
him, who lives close to thee; I swear I will never make water,
never, nor ever let a fart, against the railing of thy statue.
(He slides down as quietly as possible; nevertheless BDELYCLEON
wakes up.)

BDELYCLEON (to XANTHIAS)
Ho, there! ho! get up!
XANTHIAS (waking up)
What's the matter?
BDELYCLEON
I thought I heard talking close to me. Is the old man at it again,
escaping through some loophole?
XANTHIAS
No, by Zeus! no, but he is letting himself down by a rope.
BDELYCLEON
Ha, rascal! what are you doing there? You shall not descend. (To
XANTHIAS)
Mount quick to the other window, strike him with the
boughs that hang over the entrance; perhaps he will turn back when
he feels himself being thrashed.
PHILOCLEON (to the audience)
To the rescue! all you, who are going to have lawsuits this
year-Smicythion, Tisiades, Chremon and Pheredipnus. It's now or never,
before they force me to return, that you must help.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Why do we delay to let loose that fury, that is so terrible,
when our nests are attacked?
CHORUS (singing)
I feel my angry sting is stiffening, that sharp sting, with
which we punish our enemies. Come, children, cast your cloaks to the
winds, run, shout, tell Cleon what is happening, that he may march
against this foe of our city, who deserves death, since he proposes to
prevent the trial of lawsuits.
(The Boys run off, taking the CHORUS' mantles with them.)
BDELYCLEON (rushing out of the house with the two slaves and seizing
his father)
Friends, listen to the truth, instead of bawling.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
By Zeus! we will shout to heaven.
BDELYCLEON
And I shall not let him go.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Why, this is intolerable, 'tis manifest tyranny.
CHORUS (singing)
Oh! citizens, oh! Theorus, the enemy of the gods! and all you
flatterers, who rule us! come to our aid.
XANTHIAS
By Heracles! they have stings. Do you see them, master?
BDELYCLEON
It was with these weapons that they killed Philippus the son of
Gorgias when he was put on trial.

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