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The Wasps   


Much, and I appoint my colleagues jurymen.
BDELYCLEON
And I also. (To the slaves) Release him.
PHILOCLEON
And bring me a sword; If I am worsted in this debate, I shall fall
on the blade.
BDELYCLEON
Tell me whether you will accept the verdict of the Court.
PHILOCLEON
May I never drink my Heliast's pay in honour of the Good Genius,
it if I do not.
CHORUS (singing)
Now it is necessary for you, who are of our school, to say
something novel, that you may not seem...
BDELYCLEON (interrupting)
And I must note down everything he says, so as to remember it;
someone bring me a tablet, quick.
CHORUS (singing)
....to side with this youth in his opinions. You see how serious
the question has become; if he should prevail, which the gods forfend,
it will be all over for us.
PHILOCLEON
But what will you say of it, if he should triumph in the debate?
CHORUS (singing)
That old men are no longer good for anything; we shall be
perpetually laughed at in the streets, shall be called thallophores,
mere brief-bags.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
You are to be the champion of all our rights and sovereignty.
Come, take courage! Bring into action all the resources of your wit.
PHILOCLEON
At the outset I will prove to you that there exists no king
whose might is greater than ours. Is there a pleasure, a blessing
comparable with that of a juryman? Is there a being who lives more
in the midst of delights, who is more feared, aged though he be?
From the moment I leave my bed, men of power, the most illustrious
in the city, await me at the bar of the tribunal; the moment I am seen
from the greatest distance, they come forward to offer me a gentle
handy-that has pilfered the public funds; they entreat me, bowing
right low and with a piteous voice, "Oh, father," they say, "pity
me, I adjure you by the profit you were able to make in the public
service or in the army, when dealing with the victuals." Why, the
man who speaks thus would not know of my existence, had I not let
him off on some former occasion.
BDELYCLEON
Let us note this first point, the supplicants.
PHILOCLEON
These entreaties have appeased my wrath, and I enter-firmly
resolved to do nothing that I have promised. Nevertheless I listen
to the accused. Oh! what tricks to secure acquittal! Ah! there is no
form of flattery that is not addressed to the Heliast! Some groan over
their poverty and exaggerate it. Others tell us anecdotes or some
comic story from Aesop. Others, again, cut jokes; they fancy I shall
be appeased if I won If we are not even then won over, why, then
they drag forward their young children by the hand, both boys and
girls, who prostrate themselves and whine with one accord, and then
the father, trembling as if before a god, beseeches me not to
condemn him out of pity for them, "If you love the voice of the
lamb, have pity on my sons"; and because I am fond of little sows, I
must yield to his daughter's prayers. Then we relax the heat of our
wrath a little for him. Is not this great power indeed, which allows
even wealth to be disdained?
BDELYCLEON
A second point to note, the disdain of wealth. And now recall to

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