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The Wasps   


rule alone.
BDELYCLEON
Hold! A truce to all blows and brawling! Had we not better
confer together and come to some understanding?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Confer with you, the people's foe! with you, a royalist....
CHORUS (singing)
....and accomplice of Brasidas, you with your woollen-fringed coat
and your long beard?
BDELYCLEON
Ah! it would be better to separate altogether from my father
than to steer my boat daily through such stormy seas!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Oh! you have but reached the parsley and the rue, to use the
common saying. What you are suffering is nothing! but welcome the hour
when the advocate shall adduce all these same arguments against you
and shall summon your accomplices to give witness.
BDELYCLEON
In the name of the gods! withdraw or we shall fight you the
whole day long.
CHORUS (singing)
No, not as long as I retain an atom of breath. Ha! your desire
is to tyrannize over us!
BDELYCLEON
Everything is now tyranny with us, no matter what is concerned,
whether it be large or small. Tyranny! I have not heard the word
mentioned once in fifty years, and now it is more common than
salt-fish, the word is even current on the market. If you are buying
gurnards and don't want anchovies, the huckster next door, who is
selling the latter, at once exclaims, "That is a man whose kitchen
savours of tyranny!" If you ask for onions to season your fish, the
green-stuff woman winks one eye and asks, "Ha, you ask for onions! are
you seeking to tyrannize, or do you think that Athens must pay you
your seasonings as a tribute?"
XANTHIAS
Yesterday I went to see a whore about noon and told her to get
on top; she flew into a rage, pretending I wanted to restore the
tyranny of Hippias.
BDELYCLEON
That's the talk that pleases the people! As for myself, I want
my father to lead a joyous life like Morychus instead of going away
before dawn basely to calumniate and condemn; and for this I am
accused of conspiracy and tyrannical practice!
PHILOCLEON
And quite right too, by Zeus! The most exquisite dishes do not
make up to me for the life of which you deprive me. I scorn your red
mullet and your eels, and would far rather eat a nice little
lawsuitlet cooked in the pot.
BDELYCLEON
That's because you have got used to seeking your pleasure in it;
but if you will agree to keep silence and hear me, I think I could
persuade you that you deceive yourself altogether.
PHILOCLEON
I deceive myself, when I am judging?
BDELYCLEON
You do not see that you are the laughing-stock of these men,
whom you are ready to worship. You are their slave and do not know it.
PHILOCLEON
I a slave, I, who lord it over all?
BDELYCLEON
Not at all, you think you are ruling when you are only obeying.
Tell me, father, what do you get out of the tribute paid by so many
Greek towns.
PHILOCLEON

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