The Clouds


Writers: Aristophanes




Servant of Strepsiades

Disciples of Socrates


Chorus of Clouds

Just Cause

Unjust Cause





Scene: The interior of a sleeping-apartment: Strepsiades, Phidippides, and two servants are in their beds; a small house is seen at a distance. Time: midnight.


 Strepsiades (sitting up in his bed). Ah me! Ah me! O
 King Jupiter, of what a terrible length the nights are!
 Will it never be day? And yet long since I heard the
 cock. My domestics are snoring; but they would not have
 done so heretofore! May you perish then, O war! For many
 reasons; because I may not even punish my domestics.
 Neither does this excellent youth awake through the
 night; but takes his ease, wrapped up in five blankets.
 Well, if it is the fashion, let us snore wrapped up.

 [Lies down, and then almost immediately starts up

 But I am not able, miserable man, to sleep, being
 tormented by my expenses, and my stud of horses, and my
 debts, through this son of mine. He with his long hair,
 is riding horses and driving curricles, and dreaming of
 horses; while I am driven to distraction, as I see the
 moon bringing on the twentieths;  for the interest is
 running on. Boy! Light a lamp, and bring forth my
 tablets, that I may take them and read to how many I am
 indebted, and calculate the interest.

  [Enter boy with a light and tablets.]

 Come, let me see; what do I owe? Twelve minae  to
 Pasias. Why twelve minae to Pasias? Why did I borrow
 them? When I bought the blood-horse. Ah me, unhappy!
 Would that it had had its eye knocked out with a stone

 Phidippides (talking in his sleep). You are acting
 unfairly, Philo! Drive on your own course.

 Strep. This is the bane that has destroyed me; for even
 in his sleep he dreams about horsemanship.

 Phid. How many courses will the war-chariots run?

 Strep. Many courses do you drive me, your father. But
 what debt came upon me after Pasias? Three minae to
 Amynias for a little chariot and pair of wheels.

 Phid. Lead the horse home, after having given him a good

 Strep. O foolish youth, you have rolled me out of my
 possessions; since I have been cast in suits, and others
 say that they will have surety given them for the

 Phid. (awakening) Pray, father, why are you peevish, and
 toss about the whole night?

 Strep. A bailiff out of the bedclothes is biting

 Phid. Suffer me, good sir, to sleep a little.

 Strep. Then, do you sleep on; but know that all these
 debts will turn on your head.

 [Phidippides falls asleep again.]

 Alas! Would that the match-maker had perished miserably,
 who induced me to marry your mother. For a country life
 used to be most agreeable to me, dirty, untrimmed,
 reclining at random, abounding in bees, and sheep, and
 oil-cake. Then I, a rustic, married a niece of Megacles,
 the son of Megacles, from the city, haughty, luxurious,
 and Coesyrafied. When I married her, I lay with her
 redolent of new wine, of the cheese-crate, and abundance
 of wool; but she, on the contrary, of ointment, saffron,
 wanton-kisses, extravagance, gluttony, and of Colias and
 Genetyllis.  I will not indeed say that she was idle;
 but she wove. And I used to show her this cloak by way
 of a pretext and say "Wife, you weave at a great

 Servant re-enters.

 Servant. We have no oil in the lamp.

 Strep. Ah me! Why did you light the thirsty lamp? Come
 hither that you may weep!

 Ser. For what, pray, shall I weep?

 Strep. Because you put in one of the thick wicks.

 [Servant runs out]

 After this, when this son was born to us, to me,
 forsooth, and to my excellent wife, we squabbled then
 about the name: for she was for adding hippos  to the
 name, Xanthippus, or Charippus, or Callipides; but I was
 for giving him the name of his grandfather, Phidonides.
 For a time therefore we disputed; and then at length we
 agreed, and called him Phidippides. She used to take
 this son and fondle him, saying, "When you, being grown
 up, shall drive your chariot to the city, like Megacles,
 with a xystis." But I used to say, "Nay, rather, when
 dressed in a leathern jerkin, you shall drive goats from
 Phelleus, like your father." He paid no attention to my
 words, but poured a horse-fever over my property. Now,
 therefore, by meditating the whole night, I have
 discovered one path for my course extraordinarily
 excellent; to which if I persuade this youth I shall be
 saved. But first I wish to awake him. How then can I
 awake him in the most agreeable manner? How?
 Phidippides, my little Phidippides?

 Phid. What, father?

 Strep. Kiss me, and give me your right hand!

 Phid. There. What's the matter?

 Strep. Tell me, do you love me?

 Phid. Yes, by this Equestrian Neptune.

 Strep. Nay, do not by any means mention this Equestrian
 to me, for this god is the author of my misfortunes.
 But, if you really love me from your heart, my son, obey

 Phid. In what then, pray, shall I obey you?

 Strep. Reform your habits as quickly as possible, and go
 and learn what I advise.

 Phid. Tell me now, what do you prescribe?

 Strep. And will you obey me at all?

 Phid. By Bacchus,  I will obey you.

 Strep. Look this way then! Do you see this little door
 and little house?

 Phid. I see it. What then, pray, is this, father?

 Strep. This is a thinking-shop of wise spirits. There
 dwell men who in speaking of the heavens persuade people
 that it is an oven, and that it encompasses us, and that
 we are the embers. These men teach, if one give them
 money, to conquer in speaking, right or wrong.

 Phid. Who are they?

 Strep. I do not know the name accurately. They are
 minute philosophers, noble and excellent.

 Phid. Bah! They are rogues; I know them. You mean the
 quacks, the pale-faced wretches, the bare-footed
 fellows, of whose numbers are the miserable Socrates and

 Strep. Hold! Hold! Be silent! Do not say anything
 foolish. But, if you have any concern for your father's
 patrimony, become one of them, having given up your

 Phid. I would not, by Bacchus, even if you were to give
 me the pheasants which Leogoras  rears!

 Strep. Go, I entreat you, dearest of men, go and be

 Phid. Why, what shall I learn?

 Strep. They say that among them are both the two
 causes---the better cause, whichever that is, and the
 worse: they say that the one of these two causes, the
 worse, prevails, though it speaks on the unjust side.
 If, therefore you learn for me this unjust cause, I
 would not pay any one, not even an obolus of these
 debts, which I owe at present on your account.

 Phid. I can not comply; for I should not dare to look
 upon the knights, having lost all my colour.

 Strep. Then, by Ceres,  you shall not eat any of my
 good! Neither you, nor your blood-horse; but I will
 drive you out of my house to the crows.

 Phid. My uncle Megacles will not permit me to be without
 a horse. But I'll go in, and pay no heed to you.

 [Exit Phidippides.]

 Strep. Though fallen, still I will not lie prostrate:
 but having prayed to the gods, I will go myself to the
 thinking-shop and get taught. How, then, being an old
 man, shall I learn the subtleties of refined
 disquisitions? I must go. Why thus do I loiter and not
 knock at the door?

 [Knocks at the door.]

 Boy! Little boy!

 Disciple (from within). Go to the devil! Who it is that
 knocked at the door?

 Strep. Strepsiades, the son of Phidon, of Cicynna.

 Dis. You are a stupid fellow, by Jove! who have kicked
 against the door so very carelessly, and have caused the
 miscarriage of an idea which I had conceived.

 Strep. Pardon me; for I dwell afar in the country. But
 tell me the thing which has been made to miscarry.

 Dis. It is not lawful to mention it, except to

 Strep. Tell it, then, to me without fear; for I here am
 come as a disciple to the thinking-shop.

 Dis. I will tell you; but you must regard these as
 mysteries. Socrates lately asked Chaerephon  about a
 flea, how many of its own feet it jumped; for after
 having bit the eyebrow of Chaerephon, it leaped away
 onto the head of Socrates.

 Strep. How then did he measure this?

 Dis. Most cleverly. He melted some wax; and then took
 the flea and dipped its feet in the wax; and then a pair
 of Persian slippers stuck to it when cooled. Having
 gently loosened these, he measured back the distance.

 Strep. O King Jupiter! What subtlety of thought!

 Dis. What then would you say if you heard another
 contrivance of Socrates?

 Strep. Of what kind? Tell me, I beseech you!

 Dis. Chaerephon the Sphettian asked him whether he
 thought gnats buzzed through the mouth or the breech.

 Strep. What, then, did he say about the gnat?

 Dis. He said the intestine of the gnat was narrow and
 that the wind went forcibly through it, being slender,
 straight to the breech; and then that the rump, being
 hollow where it is adjacent to the narrow part,
 resounded through the violence of the wind.

 Strep. The rump of the gnats then is a trumpet! Oh,
 thrice happy he for his sharp-sightedness! Surely a
 defendant might easily get acquitted who understands the
 intestine of the gnat.

 Dis. But he was lately deprived of a great idea by a

 Strep. In what way? Tell me.

 Dis. As he was investigating the courses of the moon and
 her revolutions, then as he was gaping upward a lizard
 in the darkness dropped upon him from the roof.

 Strep. I am amused at a lizard's having dropped on

 Dis. Yesterday evening there was no supper for us.

 Strep. Well. What then did he contrive for provisions?

 Dis. He sprinkled fine ashes on the table, and bent a
 little spit, and then took it as a pair of compasses and
 filched a cloak from the Palaestra.

 Strep. Why then do we admire Thales?  Open open quickly
 the thinking-shop, and show to me Socrates as quickly as
 possible. For I desire to be a disciple. Come, open the

 [The door of the thinking-shop opens and the pupils of
 Socrates are seen all with their heads fixed on the
 ground, while Socrates himself is seen suspended in the
 air in a basket.]

 O Hercules, from what country are these wild beasts?

 Dis. What do you wonder at? To what do they seem to you
 to be like?

 Strep. To the Spartans who were taken at Pylos.  But why
 in the world do these look upon the ground?

 Dis. They are in search of the things below the earth.

 Strep. Then they are searching for roots. Do not, then,
 trouble yourselves about this; for I know where there
 are large and fine ones. Why, what are these doing, who
 are bent down so much?

 Dis. These are groping about in darkness under Tartarus.

 Strep. Why then does their rump look toward heaven?

 Dis. It is getting taught astronomy alone by itself.

 [Turning to the pupils.]

 But go in, lest he meet with us.

 Strep. Not yet, not yet; but let them remain, that I may
 communicate to them a little matter of my own.

 Dis. It is not permitted to them to remain without in
 the open air for a very long time.

 [The pupils retire.]

 Strep. (discovering a variety of mathematical
 instruments) Why, what is this, in the name of heaven?
 Tell me.

 Dis. This is Astronomy.

 Strep. But what is this?

 Dis. Geometry.

 Strep. What then is the use of this?

 Dis. To measure out the land.

 Strep. What belongs to an allotment?

 Dis. No, but the whole earth.

 Strep. You tell me a clever notion; for the contrivance
 is democratic and useful.

 Dis. (pointing to a map) See, here's a map of the whole
 earth. Do you see? This is Athens.

 Strep. What say you? I don't believe you; for I do not
 see the Dicasts  sitting.

 Dis. Be assured that this is truly the Attic territory.

 Strep. Why, where are my fellow-tribesmen of Cicynna?

 Dis. Here they are. And Euboea here, as you see, is
 stretched out a long way by the side of it to a great

 Strep. I know that; for it was stretched by us and
 Pericles.  But where is Lacedaemon?

 Dis. Where is it? Here it is.

 Strep. How near it is to us! Pay great attention to
 this, to remove it very far from us.

 Dis. By Jupiter, it is not possible.

 Strep. Then you will weep for it.

 [Looking up and discovering Socrates.]

 Come, who is this man who is in the basket?

 Dis. Himself.

 Strep. Who's "Himself"?

 Dis. Socrates.

 Strep. O Socrates! Come, you sir, call upon him loudly
 for me.

 Dis. Nay, rather, call him yourself; for I have no

 [Exit Disciple.]

 Strep. Socrates! My little Socrates!

 Socrates. Why callest thou me, thou creature of a day?

 Strep. First tell me, I beseech you, what are you doing.

 Soc. I am walking in the air, and speculating about the

 Strep. And so you look down upon the gods from your
 basket, and not from the earth?

 Soc. For I should not have rightly discovered things
 celestial if I had not suspended the intellect, and
 mixed the thought in a subtle form with its kindred air.
 But if, being on the ground, I speculated from below on
 things above, I should never have discovered them. For
 the earth forcibly attracts to itself the meditative
 moisture. Water-cresses also suffer the very same thing.

 Strep. What do you say? Does meditation attract the
 moisture to the water-cresses? Come then, my little
 Socrates, descend to me, that you may teach me those
 things, for the sake of which I have come.

 [Socrates lowers himself and gets out of the basket.]

 Soc. And for what did you come?

 Strep. Wishing to learn to speak; for by reason of
 usury, and most ill-natured creditors, I am pillaged and
 plundered, and have my goods seized for debt.

 Soc. How did you get in debt without observing it?

 Strep. A horse-disease consumed me---terrible at eating.
 But teach me the other one of your two causes, that
 which pays nothing; and I will swear by the gods, I will
 pay down to you whatever reward you exact of me.

 Soc. By what gods will you swear? For, in the first
 place, gods are not a current coin with us.

 Strep. By what do you swear? By iron money, as in

 Soc. Do you wish to know clearly celestial matters, what
 they rightly are?

 Strep. Yes, by Jupiter, if it be possible!

 Soc. And to hold converse with the Clouds, our

 Strep. By all means.

 Soc. (with great solemnity). Seat yourself, then, upon
 the sacred couch.

 Strep. Well, I am seated!

 Soc. Take, then, this chaplet.

 Strep. For what purpose a chaplet? Ah me! Socrates, see
 that you do not sacrifice me like Athamas!

 Strep. No; we do all these to those who get initiated.

 Strep. Then what shall I gain, pray?

 Soc. You shall become in oratory a tricky knave, a
 thorough rattle, a subtle speaker. But keep quiet.

 Strep. By Jupiter! You will not deceive me; for if I am
 besprinkled, I shall become fine flour.

 Soc. It becomes the old man to speak words of good omen,
 and to hearken to my prayer. O sovereign King,
 immeasurable Air, who keepest the earth suspended, and
 through bright Aether, and ye august goddesses, the
 Clouds, sending thunder and lightning, arise, appear in
 the air, O mistresses, to your deep thinker!

 Strep. Not yet, not yet, till I wrap this around me lest
 I be wet through. To think of my having come from home
 without even a cap, unlucky man!

 Soc. Come then, ye highly honoured Clouds, for a display
 to this man. Whether ye are sitting upon the sacred
 snow-covered summits of Olympus, or in the gardens of
 Father Ocean form a sacred dance with the Nymphs, or
 draw in golden pitchers the streams of the waters of the
 Nile, or inhabit the Maeotic lake, or the snowy rock of
 Mimas, hearken to our prayer, and receive the sacrifice,
 and be propitious to the sacred rites.

 [The following song is heard at a distance, accompanied
 by loud claps of thunder.]

 Chorus. Eternal Clouds! Let us arise to view with our
 dewy, clear-bright nature, from loud-sounding Father
 Ocean to the wood-crowned summits of the lofty
 mountains, in order that we may behold clearly the
 far-seen watch-towers, and the fruits, and the
 fostering, sacred earth, and the rushing sounds of the
 divine rivers, and the roaring, loud-sounding sea; for
 the unwearied eye of Aether sparkles with glittering
 rays. Come, let us shake off the watery cloud from our
 immortal forms and survey the earth with far-seeing eye.

 Soc. O ye greatly venerable Clouds, ye have clearly
 heard me when I called.

 [Turning to Strepsiades.]

 Did you hear the voice, and the thunder which bellowed
 at the same time, feared as a god?

 Strep. I too worship you, O ye highly honoured, and am
 inclined to reply to the thundering, so much do I
 tremble at them and am alarmed. And whether it be
 lawful, or be not lawful, I have a desire just now to
 ease myself.

 Soc. Don't scoff, nor do what these poor-devil-poets do,
 but use words of good omen, for a great swarm of
 goddesses is in motion with their songs.

 Cho. Ye rain-bringing virgins, let us come to the
 fruitful land of Pallas,  to view the much-loved country
 of Cecrops,  abounding in brave men; where is reverence
 for sacred rites not to be divulged;  where the house
 that receives the initiated is thrown open in holy
 mystic rites; and gifts to the celestial gods; and
 high-roofed temples, and statues; and most sacred
 processions in honour of the blessed gods; and
 well-crowned sacrifices to the gods, and feasts, at all
 seasons; and with the approach of spring the Bacchic
 festivity, and the rousings of melodious choruses, and
 the loud-sounding music of flutes.

 Strep. Tell me, O Socrates, I beseech you, by Jupiter,
 who are these that have uttered this grand song? Are
 they some heroines?

 Soc. By no means; but heavenly Clouds, great divinities
 to idle men; who supply us with thought and argument,
 and intelligence and humbug, and circumlocution, and
 ability to hoax, and comprehension.

 Strep. On this account therefore my soul, having heard
 their voice, flutters, and already seeks to discourse
 subtilely, and to quibble about smoke, and having
 pricked a maxim with a little notion, to refute the
 opposite argument. So that now I eagerly desire, if by
 any means it be possible, to see them palpably.

 Soc. Look, then, hither, toward Mount Parnes;  for now I
 behold them descending gently.

 Strep. Pray where? Show me.

 Soc. See! There they come in great numbers through the
 hollows and thickets; there, obliquely.

 Strep. What's the matter? For I can't see them.

 Soc. By the entrance.

 [Enter Chorus]

 Strep. Now at length with difficulty I just see them.

 Soc. Now at length you assuredly see them, unless you
 have your eyes running pumpkins.

 Strep. Yes, by Jupiter! O highly honoured Clouds, for
 now they cover all things.

 Soc. Did you not, however, know, nor yet consider, these
 to be goddesses?

 Strep. No, by Jupiter! But I thought them to be mist,
 and dew, and smoke.

 Soc. For you do not know, by Jupiter! that these feed
 very many sophists, Thurian soothsayers, practisers of
 medicine, lazy-long-haired-onyx-ring-wearers,
 song-twisters for the cyclic dances, and meteorological
 quacks. They feed idle people who do nothing, because
 such men celebrate them in verse.

 Strep. For this reason, then, they introduced into their
 verses "the dreadful impetuosity of the moist,
 whirling-bright clouds"; and the "curls of
 hundred-headed Typho"; and the "hard-blowing tempests";
 and then "aerial, moist"; "crooked-clawed birds,
 floating in air"; and "the showers of rain from dewy
 Clouds". And then, in return for these, they swallow
 "slices of great, fine mullets, and bird's-flesh of

 Soc. Is it not just, however, that they should have
 their reward, on account of these?

 Strep. Tell me, pray, if they are really clouds, what
 ails them, that they resemble mortal women? For they are
 not such.

 Soc. Pray, of what nature are they?

 Strep. I do not clearly know: at  any rate they resemble
 spread-out fleeces, and not women, by Jupiter! Not a
 bit; for these have noses.

 Soc. Answer, then, whatever I ask you.

 Strep. Then say quickly what you wish.

 Soc. Have you ever, when you; looked up, seen a cloud
 like to a centaur, or a panther, or a wolf, or a bull?

 Strep. By Jupiter, have I! But what of that?

 Soc. They become all things, whatever they please. And
 then if they see a person with long hair, a wild one of
 these hairy fellows, like the son of Xenophantes, in
 derision of his folly, they liken themselves to

 Strep. Why, what, if they should see Simon,  a plunderer
 of the public property, what do they do?

 Soc. They suddenly become wolves, showing up his

 Strep. For this reason, then, for this reason, when they
 yesterday saw Cleonymus the recreant, on this account
 they became stags, because they saw this most cowardly

 Soc. And now too, because they saw Clisthenes, you
 observe, on this account they became women.

 Strep. Hail therefore, O mistresses! And now, if ever ye
 did to any other, to me also utter a voice reaching to
 heaven, O all-powerful queens.

 Cho. Hail, O ancient veteran, hunter after learned
 speeches! And thou, O priest of most subtle trifles!
 Tell us what you require? For we would not hearken to
 any other of the recent meteorological sophists, except
 to Prodicus;  to him, on account of his wisdom and
 intelligence; and to you, because you walk proudly in
 the streets, and cast your eyes askance, and endure many
 hardships with bare feet, and in reliance upon us
 lookest supercilious.

 Strep. O Earth, what a voice! How holy and dignified and

 Soc. For, in fact, these alone are goddesses; and all
 the rest is nonsense.

 Strep. But come, by the Earth, is not Jupiter, the
 Olympian, a god?

 Soc. What Jupiter? Do not trifle. There is no Jupiter.

 Strep. What do you say? Who rains then? For first of all
 explain this to me.

 Soc. These to be sure. I will teach you it by powerful
 evidence. Come, where have you ever seen him raining at
 any time without Clouds? And yet he ought to rain in
 fine weather, and these be absent.

 Strep. By Apollo, of a truth you have rightly confirmed
 this by your present argument. And yet, before this, I
 really thought that Jupiter caused the rain. But tell me
 who is it that thunders. This makes me tremble.

 Soc. These, as they roll, thunder.

 Strep. In what way? you all-daring man!

 Soc. When they are full of much water, and are compelled
 to be borne along, being necessarily precipitated when
 full of rain, then they fall heavily upon each other and
 burst and clap.

 Strep. Who is it that compels them to borne along? Is it
 not Jupiter?

 Soc. By no means, but aethereal Vortex.

 Strep. Vortex? It had escaped my notice that Jupiter did
 not exist, and that Vortex now reigned in his stead. But
 you have taught me nothing as yet concerning the clap
 and the thunder.

 Soc. Have you not heard me, that I said that the Clouds,
 when full of moisture, dash against each other and clap
 by reason of their density?

 Strep. Come, how am I to believe this?

 Soc. I'll teach you from your own case. Were you ever,
 after being stuffed with broth at the Panathenaic
 festival,  then disturbed in your belly, and did a
 tumult suddenly rumble through it?

 Strep. Yes, by Apollo! And immediately the little broth
 plays the mischief with me, and is disturbed and rumbles
 like thunder, and grumbles dreadfully: at first gently
 pappax, pappax; and then it adds papa-pappax; and
 finally, it thunders downright papapappax, as they do.

 Soc. Consider, therefore, how you have trumpeted from a
 little belly so small; and how is it not probable that
 this air, being boundless, should thunder so loudly?

 Strep. For this reason, therefore, the two names also
 Trump and Thunder, are similar to each other. But teach
 me this, whence comes the thunderbolt blazing with fire,
 and burns us to ashes when it smites us, and singes
 those who survive. For indeed Jupiter evidently hurls
 this at the perjured.

 Soc. Why, how then, you foolish person, and savouring of
 the dark ages and antediluvian, if his manner is to
 smite the perjured, does he not blast Simon, and
 Cleonymus, and Theorus? And yet they are very perjured.
 But he smites his own temple, and Sunium the promontory
 of Athens, and the tall oaks. Wherefore, for indeed an
 oak does not commit perjury.

 Strep. I do not know; but you seem to speak well. For
 what, pray, is the thunderbolt?

 Soc. When a dry wind, having been raised aloft, is
 inclosed in these Clouds, it inflates them within, like
 a bladder; and then, of necessity, having burst them, it
 rushes out with vehemence by reason of its density,
 setting fire to itself through its rushing and

 Strep. By Jupiter, of a truth I once experienced this
 exactly at the Diasian  festival! I was roasting a
 haggis for my kinsfolk, and through neglect I did not
 cut it open; but it became inflated and then suddenly
 bursting, befouled my eyes and burned my face.

 Cho. O mortal, who hast desired great wisdom from us!
 How happy will you become among the Athenians and among
 the Greeks, if you be possessed of a good memory, and be
 a deep thinker, and endurance of labour be implanted in
 your soul, and you be not wearied either by standing or
 walking, nor be exceedingly vexed at shivering with
 cold, nor long to break your fast, and you refrain from
 wine, and gymnastics, and the other follies, and
 consider this the highest excellence, as is proper a
 clever man should, to conquer by action and counsel, and
 by battling with your tongue.

 Strep. As far as regards a sturdy spirit, and care that
 makes one's bed uneasy, and a frugal spirit and
 hard-living and savory-eating belly, be of good courage
 and don't trouble yourself; I would offer myself to
 hammer on, for that matter.

 Soc. Will you not, pray, now believe in no god, except
 what we believe in---this Chaos, and the Clouds, and the
 Tongue---these three?

 Strep. Absolutely I would not even converse with the
 others, not even if I met them; nor would I sacrifice to
 them, nor make libations,  nor offer frankincense.

 Cho. Tell us then boldly, what we must do for you? For
 you shall not fail in getting it, if you honour and
 admire us, and seek to become clever.

 Strep. O mistresses, I request of you then this very
 small favour, that I be the best of the Greeks in
 speaking by a hundred stadia.

 Cho. Well, you shall have this from us, so that
 hence-forward from this time no one shall get more
 opinions passed in the public assemblies than you.

 Strep. Grant me not to deliver important opinions; for I
 do not desire these, but only to pervert the right for
 my own advantage, and to evade my creditors.

 Cho. Then you shall obtain what you desire; for you do
 not covet great things. But commit yourself without fear
 to our ministers.

 Strep. I will do so in reliance upon you, for necessity
 oppresses me, on account of the blood-horses, and the
 marriage that ruined me. Now, therefore, let them use me
 as they please. I give up this body to them to be
 beaten, to be hungered, to be troubled with thirst, to
 be squalid, to shiver with cold, to flay into a leathern
 bottle, if I shall escape clear from my debts, and
 appear to men to be bold, glib of tongue, audacious,
 impudent, shameless, a fabricator of falsehoods,
 inventive of words, a practiced knave in lawsuits, a
 law-tablet, a thorough rattle, a fox, a sharper, a
 slippery knave, a dissembler, a slippery fellow, an
 impostor, a gallows-bird, a blackguard, a twister, a
 troublesome fellow, a licker-up of hashes. If they call
 me this, when they meet me, let them do to me absolutely
 what they please. And if they like, by Ceres, let them
 serve up a sausage out of me to the deep thinkers.

 Cho. This man has a spirit not void of courage, but
 prompt. Know, that if you learn these matters from me,
 you will possess among mortals a glory as high as

 Strep. What shall I experience?

 Cho. You shall pass with me the most enviable of mortal
 lives the whole time.

 Strep. Shall I then ever see this?

 Cho. Yea, so that many be always seated at your gates,
 wishing to communicate with you and come to a conference
 with you, to consult with you as to actions and
 affidavits of many talents, as is worthy of your

 [To Socrates.]

 But attempt to teach the old man by degrees whatever you
 purpose, and scrutinize his intellect, and make trial of
 his mind.

 Soc. Come now, tell me your own turn of mind; in order
 that, when I know of what sort it is, I may now, after
 this, apply to you new engines.

 Strep. What? By the gods, do you purpose to besiege me?

 Soc. No; I wish to briefly learn from you if you are
 possessed of a good memory.

 Strep. In two ways, by Jove! If anything be owing to me,
 I have a very good memory; but if I owe unhappy man, I
 am very forgetful.

 Soc. Is the power of speaking, pray, implanted in your

 Strep. Speaking is not in me, but cheating is.

 Soc. How, then, will you be able to learn?

 Strep. Excellently, of course.

 Soc. Come, then, take care that, whenever I propound any
 clever dogma about abstruse matters, you catch it up

 Strep. What then? Am I to feed upon wisdom like a dog?

 Soc. This man is ignorant and brutish---I fear, old man,
 lest you will need blows. Come, let me see; what do you
 do if any one beat you?

 Strep. I take the beating; and then, when I have waited
 a little while, I call witnesses to prove it; then
 again, after a short interval, I go to law.

 Soc. Come, then, lay down your cloak.

 Strep. Have I done any wrong?

 Soc. No; but it is the rule to enter naked.

 Strep. But I do not enter to search for stolen goods.

 Soc. Lay it down. Why do you talk nonsense?

 Strep. Now tell me this, pray. If I be diligent and
 learn zealously, to which of your disciples shall I
 become like?

 Soc. You will no way differ from Chaerephon in

 Strep. Ah me, unhappy! I shall become half-dead.

 Soc. Don't chatter; but quickly follow me hither with

 Strep. Then give me first into my hands a honeyed cake;
 for I am afraid of descending within, as if into the
 cave of Trophonius.

 Soc. Proceed; why do you keep poking about the door?

 [Exeunt Socrates and Strepsiades]

 Cho. Well, go in peace, for the sake of this your
 valour. May prosperity attend the man, because, being
 advanced into the vale of years, he imbues his intellect
 with modern subjects, and cultivates wisdom!

 [Turning to the audience.]

 Spectators, I will freely declare to you the truth, by
 Bacchus, who nurtured me! So may I conquer, and be
 accounted skillful, as that, deeming you to be clever
 spectators, and this to be the cleverest of my comedies,
 I thought proper to let you first taste that comedy,
 which gave me the greatest labour. And then I retired
 from the contest defeated by vulgar fellows, though I
 did not deserve it. These things, therefore, I object to
 you, a learned audience, for whose sake I was expending
 this labour. But not even thus will I ever willingly
 desert the discerning portion of you. For since what
 time my Modest Man and my Rake  were very highly praised
 here by an audience, with whom it is a pleasure even to
 hold converse, and I (for I was still a virgin, and it
 was not lawful for me as yet to have children) exposed
 my offspring, and another girl took it up, and owned it,
 and you generously reared and educated it, from this
 time I have had sure pledges of your good will toward
 me. Now, therefore, like that well-known Electra, has
 this comedy come seeking, if haply it meet with an
 audience so clever, for it will recognize, if it should
 see, the lock of its brother.  But see how modest she is
 by nature, who, in the first place, has come, having
 stitched to her no leathern phallus hanging down, red at
 the top, and thick, to set the boys a laughing;  nor yet
 jeered the bald-headed, nor danced the cordax;  nor does
 the old man who speaks the verses beat the person near
 him with his staff, keeping out of sight wretched
 ribaldry; nor has she rushed in with torches, nor does
 she shout iou, iou;  but has come relying on herself and
 her verses. And I, although so excellent a poet, do not
 give myself airs, nor do I seek to deceive you by twice
 and thrice bringing forward the same pieces; but I am
 always clever at introducing new fashions, not at all
 resembling each other, and all of them clever; who
 struck Cleon  in the belly when at the height of his
 power, and could not bear to attack him afterward when
 he was down. But these scribblers, when once Hyperbolus
 has given them a handle, keep ever trampling on this
 wretched man and his mother. Eupolis,  indeed, first of
 all craftily introduced his Maricas, having basely, base
 fellow, spoiled by altering my play of the Knights,
 having added to it, for the sake of the cordax, a
 drunken old woman, whom Phrynichus long ago poetized,
 whom the whale was for devouring. Then again Hermippus
 made verses on Hyperbolus; and now all others press hard
 upon Hyperbolus, imitating my simile of the eels.
 Whoever, therefore, laughs at these, let him not take
 pleasure in my attempts; but if you are delighted with
 me and my inventions, in times to come you will seem to
 be wise.

  I first invoke, to join our choral band, the mighty
 Jupiter, ruling on high, the monarch of gods; and the
 potent master of the trident, the fierce upheaver of
 earth and briny sea; and our father of great renown,
 most august Aether, life-supporter of all; and the
 horse-guider, who fills the plain of the earth with
 exceeding bright beams, a mighty deity among gods and

  Most clever spectators, come, give us your attention;
 for having been injured, we blame you to your faces. For
 though we benefit the state most of all the gods, to us
 alone of the deities you do not offer sacrifice nor yet
 pour libations, who watch over you. For if there should
 be any expedition without prudence, then we either
 thunder or drizzle small rain.  And then, when you were
 for choosing as your general the Paphlagonian tanner,
 hateful to the gods, we contracted our brows and were
 enraged; and thunder burst through the lightning; and
 the Moon forsook her usual paths; and the Sun
 immediately drew in his wick to himself, and declared he
 would not give you light, if Cleon should be your
 general. Nevertheless you chose him. For they say that
 ill counsel is in this city; that the gods, however,
 turn all these your mismanagements to a prosperous
 issue. And how this also shall be advantageous, we will
 easily teach you. If you should convict the cormorant
 Cleon of bribery and embezzlement, and then make fast
 his neck in the stocks, the affair will turn out for the
 state to the ancient form again, if you have mismanaged
 in any way, and to a prosperous issue.

 Hear me again, King Phoebus, Delian Apollo, who
 inhabitest the high-peaked Cynthian rock!  And thou,
 blessed goddess, who inhabitest the all-golden house of
 Ephesus,  in which Lydian damsels greatly reverence
 thee;  and thou, our national goddess, swayer of the
 aegis, Minerva,  guardian of the city! And thou, reveler
 Bacchus, who, inhabiting the Parnassian rock, sparklest
 with torches, conspicuous among the Delphic Bacchanals!

 When we had got ready to set out hither, the Moon met
 us, and commanded us first to greet the Athenians and
 their allies;  and then declared that she was angry, for
 that she had suffered dreadful things, though she
 benefits you all, not in words, but openly. In the first
 place, not less than a drachma every month for torches;
 so that also all, when they went out of an evening, were
 wont to say, "Boy, don't buy a torch, for the moonlight
 is beautiful." And she says she confers other benefits
 on you, but that you do not observe the days at all
 correctly, but confuse them up and down; so that she
 says the gods are constantly threatening her, when they
 are defrauded of their dinner, and depart home, not
 having met with the regular feast according to the
 number of the days. And then, when you ought to be
 sacrificing, you are inflicting tortures and litigating.
 And often, while we gods are observing a fast, when we
 mourn for Memnon or Sarpedon,  you are pouring libations
 and laughing. For which reason Hyperbolus, having
 obtained the lot this year to be Hieromnemon,  was
 afterward deprived by us gods of his crown; for thus he
 will know better that he ought to spend the days of his
 life according to the Moon.

 [Enter Socrates]

 Soc. By Respiration, and Chaos, and Air, I have not seen
 any man so boorish, nor so impracticable, nor so stupid,
 nor so forgetful; who, while learning some little petty
 quibbles, forgets them before he has learned them.
 Nevertheless I will certainly call him out here to the
 light. Where is Strepsiades? Come forth with your couch.

 Strep. (from within). The bugs do not permit me to bring
 it forth.

 Soc. Make haste and lay it down; and give me your

 [Enter Strepsiades]

 Strep. Very well.

 Soc. Come now; what do you now wish to learn first of
 those things in none of which you have ever been
 instructed? Tell me. About measures, or rhythms, or

 Strep. I should prefer to learn about measures; for it
 is but lately I was cheated out of two choenices  by a

 Soc. I do not ask you this, but which you account the
 most beautiful measure; the trimetre or the tetrameter?

 Strep. Make a wager then with me, if the semisextarius
 be not a tetrameter.

 Soc. Go to the devil! How boorish you are and dull of
 learning. Perhaps you may be able to learn about

 Strep. But what good will rhythms do me for a living?

 Soc. In the first place, to be clever at an
 entertainment, understanding what rhythm is for the
 war-dance, and what, again, according to the dactyle.

 Strep. According to the dactyle? By Jove, but I know it!

 Soc. Tell me, pray.

 Strep. What else but this finger? Formerly, indeed, when
 I was yet a boy, this here!

 Soc. You are boorish and stupid.

 Strep. For I do not desire, you wretch, to learn any of
 these things.

 Soc. What then?

 Strep. That, that, the most unjust cause.

 Soc. But you must learn other things before these;
 namely, what quadrupeds are properly masculine.

 Strep. I know the males, if I am not mad-krios, tragos,
 tauros, kuon, alektryon.

 Soc. Do you see what you are doing? You are calling both
 the female and the male alektryon in the same way.

 Strep. How, pray? Come, tell me.

 Soc. How? The one with you is alektryon, and the other
 is alektryon also.

 Strep. Yea, by Neptune! How now ought I to call them?

 Soc. The one alektryaina and the other alektor.

 Strep. Alektryaina? Capital, by the Air! So that, in
 return for this lesson alone, I will fill your kardopos
 full of barley-meal on all sides.

 Soc. See! See! There again is another blunder! You make
 kardopos, which is feminine, to be masculine.

 Strep. In what way do I make kardopos masculine?

 Soc. Most assuredly; just as if you were to say

 Strep. Good sir, Cleonymus had no kneading-trough, but
 kneaded his bread in a round mortar. How ought I to call
 it henceforth?

 Soc. How? Call it kardope, as you call Sostrate.

 Strep. Kardope in the feminine?

 Soc. For so you speak it rightly.

 Strep. But that would make it kardope, Kleonyme.

 Soc. You must learn one thing more about names, what are
 masculine and what of them are feminine.

 Strep. I know what are female.

 Soc. Tell me, pray.

 Strep. Lysilla, Philinna, Clitagora, Demetria.

 Soc. What names are masculine?

 Strep. Thousands; Philoxenus, Melesias, Amynias.

 Soc. But, you wretch! These are not masculine.

 Strep. Are they not males with you?

 Soc. By no means; for how would you call Amynias, if you
 met him?

 Strep. How would I call? Thus: "Come hither, come hither

 Soc. Do you see? You call Amynias a woman.

 Strep. Is it not then with justice, who does not serve
 in the army? But why should I learn these things, that
 we all know?

 Soc. It is no use, by Jupiter! Having reclined yourself
 down here---

 Strep. What must I do?

 Soc. Think out some of your own affairs.

 Strep. Not here, pray, I beseech you; but, if I must,
 suffer me to excogitate these very things on the ground.

 Soc. There is no other way.

 [Exit Socrates.]

 Strep. Unfortunate man that I am! What a penalty shall I
 this day pay to the bugs!

 Cho. Now meditate and examine closely; and roll yourself
 about in every way, having wrapped yourself up; and
 quickly, when you fall into a difficulty, spring to
 another mental contrivance. But let delightful sleep be
 absent from your eyes.

 Strep. Attatai! Attatai!

 Cho. What ails you? Why are you distressed?

 Strep. Wretched man, I am perishing! The Corinthians,
 coming out from the bed, are biting me, and devouring my
 sides, and drinking up my life-blood, and tearing away
 my flesh, and digging through my vitals, and will
 annihilate me.

 Cho. Do not now be very grievously distressed.

 Strep. Why, how, when my money is gone, my complexion
 gone, my life gone, and my slipper gone? And furthermore
 in addition to these evils, with singing the
 night-watches, I am almost gone myself.

 [Re-enter Socrates]

 Soc. Ho you! What are you about? Are you not meditating?

 Strep. I? Yea, by Neptune!

 Soc. And what, pray, have you thought?

 Strep. Whether any bit of me will be left by the bugs.

 Soc. You will perish most wretchedly.

 Strep. But, my good friend, I have already perished.

 Soc. You must not give in, but must wrap yourself up;
 for you have to discover a device for abstracting, and a
 means of cheating.

 [Walks up and down while Strepsiades wraps himself up in
 the blankets.]

 Strep. Ah me! Would, pray, some one would throw over me
 a swindling contrivance from the sheep-skins.

 Soc. Come now; I will first see this fellow, what he is
 about. Ho you! Are you asleep?

 Strep. No, by Apollo, I am not!

 Soc. Have you got anything?

 Strep. No; by Jupiter, certainly not!

 Soc. Nothing at all?

 Strep. Nothing, except what I have in my right hand.

 Soc. Will you not quickly cover yourself up and think of

 Strep. About what? For do you tell me this, O Socrates!

 Soc. Do you, yourself, first find out and state what you

 Strep. You have heard a thousand times what I wish.
 About the interest; so that I may pay no one.

 Soc. Come then, wrap yourself up, and having given your
 mind play with subtilty, revolve your affairs by little
 and little, rightly distinguishing and examining.

 Strep. Ah me, unhappy man!

 Soc. Keep quiet; and if you be puzzled in any one of
 your conceptions, leave it and go; and then set your
 mind in motion again, and lock it up.

 Strep. (in great glee). O dearest little Socrates!

 Soc. What, old man?

 Strep. I have got a device for cheating them of the

 Soc. Exhibit it.

 Strep. Now tell me this, pray; if I were to purchase a
 Thessalian witch, and draw down the moon by night,  and
 then shut it up, as if it were a mirror, in a round
 crest-case, and then carefully keep it---

 Soc. What good, pray, would this do you?

 Strep. What? If the moon were to rise no longer
 anywhere, I should not pay the interest.

 Soc. Why so, pray?

 Strep. Because the money is lent out by the month.

 Soc. Capital! But I will again propose to you another
 clever question. If a suit of five talents should be
 entered against you, tell me how you would obliterate

 Strep. How? How? I do not know but I must seek.

 Soc. Do not then always revolve your thoughts about
 yourself; but slack away your mind into the air, like a
 cock-chafer  tied with a thread by the foot.

 Strep. I have found a very clever method of getting rid
 of my suit, so that you yourself would acknowledge it.

 Soc. Of what description?

 Strep. Have you ever seen this stone in the chemist's
 shops, the beautiful and transparent one, from which
 they kindle fire?

 Soc. Do you mean the burning-glass?

 Strep. I do. Come what would you say, pray, if I were to
 take this, when the clerk was entering the suit, and
 were to stand at a distance, in the direction of the
 sun, thus, and melt out the letters of my suit?

 Soc. Cleverly done, by the Graces!

 Strep. Oh! How I am delighted, that a suit of five
 talents has been cancelled!

 Soc. Come now, quickly seize upon this.

 Strep. What?

 Soc. How, when engaged in a lawsuit, you could overturn
 the suit, when you were about to be cast, because you
 had no witnesses.

 Strep. Most readily and easily.

 Soc. Tell me, pray.

 Strep. Well now, I'll tell you. If, while one suit was
 still pending, before mine was called on, I were to run
 away and hang myself.

 Soc. You talk nonsense.

 Strep. By the gods, would I! For no one will bring
 action against me when I am dead.

 Soc. You talk nonsense. Begone; I can't teach you any

 Strep. Why so? Yea, by the gods, O Socrates!

 Soc. You straightaway forget whatever you learn. For
 what now was the first thing you were taught? Tell me.

 Strep. Come, let me see: nay, what was the first? What
 was the fist? Nay, what was the thing in which we knead
 our flour? Ah me! What was it?

 Soc. Will you not pack off to the devil, you most
 forgetful and most stupid old man?

 Strep. Ah me, what then, pray will become of me,
 wretched man? For I shall be utterly undone, if I do not
 learn to ply the tongue. Come, O ye Clouds, give me some
 good advice.

 Cho. We, old man, advise you, if you have a son grown
 up, to send him to learn in your stead.

 Strep. Well, I have a fine, handsome son, but he is not
 willing to learn. What must I do?

 Cho. But do you permit him?

 Strep. Yes, for he is robust in body, and in good
 health, and is come of the high-plumed dames of Coesyra.
 I will go for him, and if he be not willing, I will
 certainly drive him from my house.

 [To Socrates.]

 Go in and wait for me a short time.


 Cho. Do you perceive that you are soon to obtain the
 greatest benefits through us alone of the gods? For this
 man is ready to do everything that you bid him. But you,
 while the man is astounded and evidently elated, having
 perceived it, will quickly fleece him to the best of
 your power.

 [Exit Socrates]

 For matters of this sort are somehow accustomed to turn
 the other way.

 [Enter Strepsiades and Phidippides]

 Strep. By Mist, you certainly shall not stay here any
 longer! But go and gnaw the columns of Megacles.

 Phid. My good sir, what is the matter with you, O
 father? You are not in your senses, by Olympian Jupiter!

 Strep. See, see, "Olympian Jupiter!" What folly! To
 think of your believing in Jupiter, as old as you are!

 Phid. Why, pray, did you laugh at this?

 Strep. Reflecting that you are a child, and have
 antiquated notions. Yet, however, approach, that you may
 know more; and I will tell you a thing, by learning
 which you will be a man. But see that you do not teach
 this to any one.

 Phid. Well, what is it?

 Strep. You swore now by Jupiter.

 Phid. I did.

 Strep. Seest thou, then, how good a thing is learning?
 There is no Jupiter, O Phidippides!

 Phid. Who then?

 Strep. Vortex reigns, having expelled Jupiter.

 Phid. Bah! Why do you talk foolishly?

 Strep. Be assured that it is so.

 Phid. Who says this?

 Strep. Socrates the Melian, and Chaerephon, who knows
 the footmarks of fleas.

 Phid. Have you arrived at such a pitch of frenzy that
 you believe madmen?

 Strep. Speak words of good omen, and say nothing bad of
 clever men and wise; of whom, through frugality, none
 ever shaved or anointed himself, or went to a bath to
 wash himself; while you squander my property in bathing,
 as if I were already dead. But go as quickly as possible
 and learn instead of me.

 Phid. What good could any one learn from them?

 Strep. What, really? Whatever wisdom there is among men.
 And you will know yourself, how ignorant and stupid you
 are. But wait for me here a short time.

 [Runs off]

 Phid. Ah me! What shall I do, my father being crazed?
 Shall I bring him into court and convict him of lunacy,
 or shall I give information of his madness to the

 [Re-enter Strepsiades with a cock under one arm and a
 hen under the other]

 Strep. Come, let me see; what do you consider this to
 be? Tell me.

 Phid. Alectryon.

 Strep. Right. And what this?

 Phid. Alectryon.

 Strep. Both the same? You are very ridiculous. Do not do
 so, then, for the future; but call this alektryaina, and
 this one alektor.

 Phid. Alektryaina! Did you learn these clever things by
 going in just now to the Titans?

 Strep. And many others too; but whatever I learned on
 each occasion I used to forget immediately, through
 length of years.

 Phid. Is it for this reason, pray, that you have also
 lost your cloak?

 Strep. I have not lost it; but have studied it away.

 Phid. What have you made of your slippers, you foolish

 Strep. I have expended them, like Pericles, for needful
 purposes.  Come, move, let us go. And then if you obey
 your father, go wrong if you like. I also know that I
 formerly obeyed you, a lisping child of six years old,
 and bought you a go-cart at the Diasia, with the first
 obolus I received from the Heliaea.

 Phid. You will assuredly some time at length be grieved
 at this.

 Strep. It is well done of you that you obeyed. Come
 hither, come hither O Socrates! Come forth, for I bring
 to you this son of mine, having persuaded him against
 his will.

 [Enter Socrates]

 Soc. For he is still childish, and not used to the
 baskets here.

 Phid. You would yourself be used to them if you were

 Strep. A mischief take you! Do you abuse your teacher?

 Soc. "Were hanged" quoth 'a! How sillily he pronounced
 it, and with lips wide apart! How can this youth ever
 learn an acquittal from a trial or a legal summons, or
 persuasive refutation? And yet Hyperbolus learned this
 at the cost of a talent.

 Strep. Never mind; teach him. He is clever by nature.
 Indeed, from his earliest years, when he was a little
 fellow only so big, he was wont to form houses and carve
 ships within-doors, and make little wagons of leather,
 and make frogs out of pomegranate-rinds, you can't think
 how cleverly. But see that he learns those two causes;
 the better, whatever it may be; and the worse, which, by
 maintaining what is unjust, overturns the better. If not
 both, at any rate the unjust one by all means.

 Soc. He shall learn it himself from the two causes in

 [Exit Socrates]

 Strep. I will take my departure. Remember this now, that
 he is to be able to reply to all just arguments.

 [Exit Strepsiades and enter Just Cause and Unjust Cause]

 Just Cause. Come hither! Show yourself to the
 spectators, although being audacious.

 Unjust Cause. Go whither you please; for I shall far
 rather do for you, if I speak before a crowd.

 Just. You destroy me? Who are you?

 Unj. A cause.

 Just. Ay, the worse.

 Unj. But I conquer you, who say that you are better than

 Just. By doing what clever trick?

 Unj. By discovering new contrivances.

 Just. For these innovations flourish by the favour of
 these silly persons.

 Unj. No; but wise persons.

 Just I will destroy you miserably.

 Unj. Tell me, by doing what?

 Just By speaking what is just.

 Unj. But I will overturn them by contradicting them; for
 I deny that justice even exists at all.

 Just Do you deny that it exists?

 Unj. For come, where is it?

 Just With the gods.

 Unj. How, then, if justice exists, has Jupiter not
 perished, who bound his own father?

 Just Bah! This profanity now is spreading! Give me a

 Unj. You are a dotard and absurd.

 Just You are debauched and shameless.

 Unj. You have spoken roses of me.

 Just And a dirty lickspittle.

 Unj. You crown me with lilies.

 Just And a parricide.

 Unj. You don't know that you are sprinkling me with

 Just Certainly not so formerly, but with lead.

 Unj. But now this is an ornament to me.

 Just You are very impudent.

 Unj. And you are antiquated.

 Just And through you, no one of our youths is willing to
 go to school; and you will be found out some time or
 other by the Athenians, what sort of doctrines you teach
 the simple-minded.

 Unj. You are shamefully squalid.

 Just And you are prosperous. And yet formerly you were a
 beggar saying that you were the Mysian Telephus,  and
 gnawing the maxims of Pandeletus out of your little

 Unj. Oh, the wisdom---

 Just Oh, the madness---

 Unj. Which you have mentioned.

 Just And of your city, which supports you who ruin her

 Unj. You shan't teach this youth, you old dotard.

 Just Yes, if he is to be saved, and not merely to
 practise loquacity.

 Unj. (to Phidippides) Come hither, and leave him to

 Just You shall howl, if you lay your hand on him.

 Cho. Cease from contention and railing. But show to us,
 you, what you used to teach the men of former times, and
 you, the new system of education; in order that, having
 heard you disputing, he may decide and go to the school
 of one or the other.

 Just. I am willing to do so.

 Unj. I also am willing.

 Cho. Come now, which of the two shall speak first?

 Unj. I will give him the precedence; and then, from
 these things which he adduces, I will shoot him dead
 with new words and thoughts. And at last, if he mutter,
 he shall be destroyed, being stung in his whole face and
 his two eyes by my maxims, as if by bees.

 Cho. Now the two, relying on very dexterous arguments
 and thoughts, and sententious maxims, will show which of
 them shall appear superior in argument. For now the
 whole crisis of wisdom is here laid before them; about
 which my friends have a very great contest. But do you,
 who adorned our elders with many virtuous manners, utter
 the voice in which you rejoice, and declare your nature.

 Just. I will, therefore, describe the ancient system of
 education, how it was ordered, when I flourished in the
 advocacy of justice, and temperance was the fashion. In
 the first place it was incumbent that no one should hear
 the voice of a boy uttering a syllable; and next, that
 those from the same quarter of the town should march in
 good order through the streets to the school of the
 harp-master, naked, and in a body, even if it were to
 snow as thick as meal. Then again, their master would
 teach them, not sitting cross-legged, to learn by rote a
 song, either "pallada persepolin deinan"  or "teleporon
 ti boama"  raising to a higher pitch the harmony which
 our fathers transmitted to us. But if any of them were
 to play the buffoon, or to turn any quavers, like these
 difficult turns the present artists make after the
 manner of Phrynis, he used to be thrashed, being beaten
 with many blows, as banishing the Muses. And it behooved
 the boys, while sitting in the school of the
 Gymnastic-master, to cover the thigh, so that they might
 exhibit nothing indecent to those outside; then again,
 after rising from the ground, to sweep the sand
 together, and to take care not to leave an impression of
 the person for their lovers. And no boy used in those
 days to anoint himself below the navel; so that their
 bodies wore the appearance of blooming health. Nor used
 he to go to his lover, having made up his voice in an
 effeminate tone, prostituting himself with his eyes. Nor
 used it to be allowed when one was dining to take the
 head of the radish, or to snatch from their seniors dill
 or parsley, or to eat fish, or to giggle, or to keep the
 legs crossed.

 Unj. Aye, antiquated and dipolia-like  and full of
 grasshoppers, and of Cecydes, and of the Buphonian

 Just Yet certainly these are those principles by which
 my system of education nurtured the men who fought at
 Marathon. But you teach the men of the present day, so
 that I am choked, when at the Panathenaia a fellow,
 holding his shield before his person, neglects
 Tritogenia,  when they ought to dance. Wherefore, O
 youth, choose with confidence, me, the better cause, and
 you will learn to hate the Agora, and to refrain from
 baths, and to be ashamed of what is disgraceful, and to
 be enraged if any one jeer you, and to rise up from
 seats before your seniors when they approach, and not to
 behave ill toward your parents, and to do nothing else
 that is base, because you are to form in your mind an
 image of Modesty: and not to dart into the house of a
 dancing-woman, lest, while gaping after these things,
 being struck with an apple by a wanton, you should be
 damaged in your reputation: and not to contradict your
 father in anything; nor by calling him Iapetus, to
 reproach him with the ills of age, by which you were
 reared in your infancy.

 Unj. If you shall believe him in this, O youth, by
 Bacchus, you will be like the sons of Hippocrates, and
 they will call you a booby.

 Just. Yet certainly shall you spend your time in the
 gymnastic schools, sleek and blooming; not chattering in
 the market-place rude jests, like the youths of the
 present day; nor dragged into court for a petty suit,
 greedy, pettifogging, knavish; but you shall descend to
 the Academy  and run races beneath the sacred olives
 along with some modest compeer, crowned with white
 reeds, redolent of yew, and careless ease, of
 leaf-shedding white poplar, rejoicing in the season of
 spring, when the plane-tree whispers to the elm. If you
 do these things which I say, and apply your mind to
 these, you will ever have a stout chest, a clear
 complexion, broad shoulders, a little tongue, large
 hips, little lewdness. But if you practise what the
 youths of the present day do, you will have in the first
 place, a pallid complexion, small shoulders, a narrow
 chest, a large tongue, little hips, great lewdness, a
 long psephism;  and this deceiver will persuade you to
 consider everything that is base to be honourable, and
 what is honourable to be base; and in addition to this,
 he will fill you with the lewdness of Antimachus.

 Cho. O thou that practisest most renowned high-towering
 wisdom! How sweetly does a modest grace attend your
 words! Happy, therefore, were they who lived in those
 days, in the times of former men! In reply, then, to
 these, O thou that hast a dainty-seeming Muse, it
 behooveth thee to say something new; since the man has
 gained renown. And it appears you have need of powerful
 arguments against him, if you are to conquer the man and
 not incur laughter.

 Unj. And yet I was choking in my heart, and was longing
 to confound all these with contrary maxims. For I have
 been called among the deep thinkers the "worse cause" on
 this very account, that I first contrived how to speak
 against both law and justice; and this art is worth more
 than ten thousand staters, that one should choose the
 worse cause, and nevertheless be victorious. But mark
 how I will confute the system of education on which he
 relies, who says, in the first place, that he will not
 permit you to be washed with warm water. And yet, on
 what principle do you blame the warm baths?

 Just. Because it is most vile, and makes a man cowardly.

 Unj. Stop! For immediately I seize and hold you by the
 waist without escape. Come, tell me, which of the sons
 of Jupiter do you deem to have been the bravest in soul,
 and to have undergone most labours?

 Just. I consider no man superior to Hercules.

 Unj. Where, pray, did you ever see cold Herculean baths?
 And yet, who was more valiant than he?

 Just. These are the very things which make the bath full
 of youths always chattering all day long, but the
 palaestras empty.

 Unj. You next find fault with their living in the
 market-place; but I commend it. For if it had been bad,
 Homer would never have been for representing Nestor  as
 an orator; nor all the other wise men. I will return,
 then, from thence to the tongue, which this fellow says
 our youths ought not to exercise, while I maintain they
 should. And again, he says they ought to be modest: two
 very great evils. For tell me to whom you have ever seen
 any good accrue through modesty and confute me by your

 Just. To many. Peleus,  at any rate, received his sword
 on account of it.

 Unj. A sword? Marry, he got a pretty piece of luck, the
 poor wretch! While Hyperbolus, he of the lamps, got more
 than many talents by his villainy, but by Jupiter, no

 Just. And Peleus married Thetis, too, through his

 Unj. And then she went off and left him; for he was not
 lustful, nor an agreeable bedfellow to spend the night
 with. Now a woman delights in being wantonly treated.
 But you are an old dotard. For (to Phidippides)
 consider, O youth, all that attaches to modesty, and of
 how many pleasures you are about to be deprived---of
 women, of games at cottabus, of dainties, of
 drinking-bouts, of giggling. And yet, what is life worth
 to you if you be deprived of these enjoyments? Well, I
 will pass from thence to the necessities of our nature.
 You have gone astray, you have fallen in love, you have
 been guilty of some adultery, and then have been caught.
 You are undone, for you are unable to speak. But if you
 associate with me, indulge your inclination, dance,
 laugh, and think nothing disgraceful. For if you should
 happen to be detected as an adulterer, you will make
 this reply to him, "that you have done him no injury":
 and then refer him to Jupiter, how even he is overcome
 by love and women. And yet, how could you, who are a
 mortal, have greater power than a god?

 Just. But what if he should suffer the radish through
 obeying you, and be depillated with hot ashes?  What
 argument will he be able to state, to prove that he is
 not a blackguard?

 Unj. And if he be a blackguard, what harm will he

 Just. Nay, what could he ever suffer still greater than

 Unj. What then will you say if you be conquered by me in

 Just. I will be silent: what else can I do?

 Unj. Come, now, tell me; from what class do the
 advocates come?

 Just. From the blackguards.

 Unj. I believe you. What then? From what class do
 tragedians come?

 Just. From the blackguards.

 Unj. You say well. But from what class do the public
 orators come?

 Just. From the blackguards.

 Unj. Then have you perceived that you say nothing to the
 purpose? And look which class among the audience is the
 more numerous.

 Just. Well now, I'm looking.

 Unj. What, then, do you see?

 Just. By the gods, the blackguards to be far more
 numerous. This fellow, at any rate, I know; and him
 yonder; and this fellow with the long hair.

 Unj. What, then, will you say?

 Just. We are conquered. Ye blackguards, by the gods,
 receive my cloak, for I desert to you.

 [Exeunt the Two Causes, and re-enter Socrates and

 Soc. What then? whether do you wish to take and lead
 away this your son, or shall I teach him to speak?

 Strep. Teach him, and chastise him: and remember that
 you train him properly; on the one side able for petty
 suits; but train his other jaw able for the more
 important causes.

 Soc. Make yourself easy; you shall receive him back a
 clever sophist.

 Strep. Nay, rather, pale and wretched.

 [Exeunt Socrates, Strepsiades, and Phidippides.]

 Cho. Go ye, then: but I think that you will repent of
 these proceedings. We wish to speak about the judges,
 what they will gain, if at all they justly assist this
 Chorus. For in the first place, if you wish to plough up
 your fields in spring, we will rain for you first; but
 for the others afterward. And then we will protect the
 fruits, and the vines, so that neither drought afflict
 them, nor excessive wet weather. But if any mortal
 dishonour us who are goddesses, let him consider what
 evils he will suffer at our hands, obtaining neither
 wine nor anything else from his farm. For when his
 olives and vines sprout, they shall be cut down; with
 such slings will we smite them. And if we see him making
 brick, we will rain; and we will smash the tiles of his
 roof with round hailstones. And if he himself, or any
 one of his kindred or friends, at any time marry, we
 will rain the whole night; so he will probably wish
 rather to have been even in Egypt than to have judged

 [Enter Strepsiades with a meal-sack on his shoulder.]

 Strep. The fifth, the fourth, the third, after this the
 second; and then, of all the days I most fear, and
 dread, and abominate, immediately after this there is
 the Old and New. For every one to whom I happen to be
 indebted, swears, and says he will ruin and destroy me,
 having made his deposits against me; though I only ask
 what is moderate and just-"My good sir, one part don't
 take just now; the other part put off I pray; and the
 other part remit"; they say that thus they will never
 get back their money, but abuse me, as I am unjust, and
 say they will go to law with me. Now therefore let them
 go to law, for it little concerns me, if Phidippides has
 learned to speak well. I shall soon know by knocking at
 the thinking-shop.

 [Knocks at the door.]

 Boy, I say! Boy, boy!

 [Enter Socrates]

 Soc. Good morning, Strepsiades.

 Strep. The same to you. But first accept this present;
 for one ought to compliment the teacher with a fee. And
 tell me about my son, if he has learned that cause,
 which you just now brought forward.

 Soc. He has learned it.

 Strep. Well done, O Fraud, all-powerful queen!

 Soc. So that you can get clear off from whatever suit
 you please.

 Strep. Even if witnesses were present when I borrowed
 the money?

 Soc. Yea, much more! Even if a thousand be present.

 Strep. Then I will shout with a very loud shout: Ho!
 Weep, you petty-usurers, both you and your principals,
 and your compound interests! For you can no longer do me
 any harm, because such a son is being reared for me in
 this house, shining with a double-edged tongue, for my
 guardian, the preserver of my house, a mischief to my
 enemies, ending the sadness of the great woes of his
 father. Him do thou run and summon from within to me.

 [Socrates goes into the house.]

 O child! O son! Come forth from the house! Hear your

 [Re-enter Socrates leading in Phidippides]

 Soc. Lo, here is the man!

 Strep. O my dear, my dear!

 Soc. Take your son and depart.

 [Exit Socrates.]

 Strep. Oh, oh, my child! Huzza! Huzza! How I am
 delighted at the first sight of your complexion! Now,
 indeed, you are, in the first place, negative and
 disputatious to look at, and this fashion native to the
 place plainly appears, the "what do you say?" and the
 seeming to be injured when, I well know, you are
 injuring and inflicting a wrong; and in your countenance
 there is the Attic look. Now, therefore, see that you
 save me, since you have also ruined me.

 Phid. What, pray, do you fear?

 Strep. The Old and New.

 Phid. Why, is any day old and new?

 Strep. Yes; on which they say that they will make their
 deposits against me.

 Phid. Then those that have made them will lose them; for
 it is not possible that two days can be one day.

 Strep. Can not it?

 Phid. Certainly not; unless the same woman can be both
 old and young at the same time.

 Strep. And yet it is the law.

 Phid. For they do not, I think, rightly understand what
 the law means.

 Strep. And what does it mean?

 Phid. The ancient Solon  was by nature the commons'

 Strep. This surely is nothing whatever to the Old and

 Phid. He therefore made the summons for two days, for
 the Old and New, that the deposits might be made on the
 first of the month.

 Strep. Why, pray, did he add the old day?

 Phid. In order, my good sir, that the defendants, being
 present a day before, might compromise the matter of
 their own accord; but if not, that they might be worried
 on the morning of the new moon.

 Strep. Why, then, do the magistrates not receive the
 deposits on the new moon, but on the Old and New?

 Phid. They seem to me to do what the forestallers do: in
 order that they may appreciate the deposits as soon as
 possible, on this account they have the first pick by
 one day.

 Strep. (turning to the audience) Bravo! Ye wretches, why
 do you sit senseless, the gain of us wise men, being
 blocks, ciphers, mere sheep, jars heaped together,
 wherefore I must sing an encomium upon myself and this
 my son, on account of our good fortune. "O happy
 Strepsiades! How wise you are yourself, and how
 excellent is the son whom you are rearing!" My friends
 and fellow-tribesmen will say of me, envying me, when
 you prove victorious in arguing causes. But first I wish
 to lead you in and entertain you.

 [Exeunt Strepsiades and Phidippides.]

 Pasias (entering with his summons-witness) Then, ought a
 man to throw away any part of his own property? Never!
 But it were better then at once to put away blushes,
 rather than now to have trouble; since I am now dragging
 you to be a witness, for the sake of my own money; and
 further, in addition to this, I shall become an enemy to
 my fellow-tribesman. But never, while I live, will I
 disgrace my country, but will summon Strepsiades.

 Strep. (from within) Who's there?

 Pas. For the Old and New.

 Strep. I call you to witness, that he has named it for
 two days. For what matter do you summon me?

 Pas. For the twelve minae, which you received when you
 were buying the dapple-gray horse.

 Strep. A horse? Do you not hear? I, whom you all know to
 hate horsemanship!

 Pas. And, by Jupiter! You swore by the gods too, that
 you would repay it.

 Strep. Ay, by Jove! For then my Phidippides did not yet
 know the irrefragable argument.

 Pas. And do you now intend, on this account, to deny the

 Strep. Why, what good should I get else from his

 Pas. And will you be willing to deny these upon oath of
 the gods?

 Strep. What gods?

 Pas. Jupiter, Mercury, and Neptune.

 Strep. Yes, by Jupiter! And would pay down, too, a
 three-obol piece besides to swear.

 Pas. Then may you perish some day for your impudence!

 Strep. This man would be the better for it if he were
 cleansed by rubbing with salt.

 Pas. Ah me, how you deride me!

 Strep. He will contain six choae.

  Pas. By great Jupiter and the gods, you certainly shall
 not do this to me with impunity!

 Strep. I like your gods amazingly; and Jupiter, sworn
 by, is ridiculous to the knowing ones.

  Pas. You will assuredly suffer punishment, some time or
 other, for this. But answer and dismiss me, whether you
 are going to repay me my money or not.

 Strep. Keep quiet now, for I will presently answer you

 [Runs into the house.]

 Pas. (to his summons-witness). What do you think he will

 Witness. I think he will pay you.

 [Re-enter Strepsiades with a kneading-trough]

 Strep. Where is this man who asks me for his money? Tell
 me what is this?

 Pas. What is this? A kardopos.

 Strep. And do you then ask me for your money, being such
 an ignorant person? I would not pay, not even an obolus,
 to any one who called the kardope kardopos.

 Pas. Then won't you pay me?

 Strep. Not, as far as I know. Will you not then pack off
 as fast as possible from my door?

 Pas. I will depart; and be assured of this, that I will
 make deposit against you, or may I live no longer!

 Strep. Then you will lose it besides, in addition to
 your twelve minae. And yet I do not wish you to suffer
 this, because you named the kardopos foolishly.

 [Exeunt Pasias and Witness, and enter Amynias]

 Amynias. Ah me! Ah me!

 Strep. Ha! Whoever is this, who is lamenting? Surely it
 was not one of Carcinus' deities  that spoke.

 Amyn. But why do you wish to know this, who I am?-A
 miserable man.

 Strep. Then follow your own path.

 Amyn. O harsh fortune! O Fates, breaking the wheels of
 my horses! O Pallas, how you have destroyed me!

 Strep. What evil, pray, has Tlepolemus  ever done you?

 Amyn. Do not jeer me, my friend; but order your son to
 pay me the money which he received; especially as I have
 been unfortunate.

 Strep. What money is this?

 Amyn. That which he borrowed.

 Strep. Then you were really unlucky, as I think.

 Amyn. By the gods, I fell while driving my horses.

 Strep. Why, pray, do you talk nonsense, as if you had
 fallen from an ass?

 Amyn. Do I talk nonsense if I wish to recover my money?

 Strep. You can't be in your senses yourself.

 Amyn. Why, pray?

 Strep. You appear to me to have had your brains shaken
 as it were.

 Amyn. And you appear to me, by Hermes, to be going to be
 summoned, if you will not pay me the money?

 Strep. Tell me now, whether you think that Jupiter
 always rains fresh rain on each occasion, or that the
 sun draws from below the same water back again?

 Amyn. I know not which; nor do I care.

 Strep. How then is it just that you should recover your
 money, if you know nothing of meteorological matters?

 Amyn. Well, if you are in want, pay me the interest of
 my money.

 Strep. What sort of animal is this interest?

 Amyn. Most assuredly the money is always becoming more
 and more every month and every day as the time slips

 Strep. You say well. What then? Is it possible that you
 consider the sea to be greater now than formerly?

 Amyn. No, by Jupiter, but equal; for it is not fitting
 that it should be greater.

 Strep. And how then, you wretch does this become no way
 greater, though the rivers flow into it, while you seek
 to increase your money? Will you not take yourself off
 from my house? Bring me the goad.

 [Enter Servant with a goad.]

  Amyn. I call you to witness these things.

 Strep. (beating him). Go! Why do you delay? Won't you
 march, Mr. Blood-horse?

 Amyn. Is not this an insult, pray?

 Strep. Will you move quickly?

  [Pricks him behind with the goad.]

 I'll lay on you, goading you behind, you outrigger? Do
 you fly?

 [Amynias runs off.]

 I thought I should stir you, together with your wheels
 and your two-horse chariots.

 [Exit Strepsiades.]

 Cho. What a thing it is to love evil courses! For this
 old man, having loved them, wishes to withhold the money
 that he borrowed. And he will certainly meet with
 something today, which will perhaps cause this sophist
 to suddenly receive some misfortune, in return for the
 knaveries he has begun. For I think that he will
 presently find what has been long boiling up, that his
 son is skilful to speak opinions opposed to justice, so
 as to overcome all with whomsoever he holds converse,
 even if he advance most villainous doctrines; and
 perhaps, perhaps his father will wish that he were even

 Strep. (running out of the house pursued by his son)
 Hollo! Hollo! O neighbours, and kinsfolk, and
 fellow-tribesmen, defend me, by all means, who am being
 beaten! Ah me, unhappy man, for my head and jaw! Wretch!
 Do you beat your father?

 Phid. Yes, father.

 Strep. You see him owning that he beats me.

 Phid. Certainly.

 Strep. O wretch, and parricide, and house-breaker!

 Phid. Say the same things of me again, and more. Do you
 know that I take pleasure in being much abused?

 Strep. You blackguard!

 Phid. Sprinkle me with roses in abundance.

 Strep. Do you beat your father?

 Phid. And will prove too, by Jupiter! that I beat you
 with justice.

 Strep. O thou most rascally! Why, how can it be just to
 beat a father?

 Phid. I will demonstrate it, and will overcome you in

 Strep. Will you overcome me in this?

 Phid. Yea, by much and easily. But choose which of the
 two Causes you wish to speak.

 Strep. Of what two Causes?

 Phid. The better, or the worse?

 Strep. Marry, I did get you taught to speak against
 justice, by Jupiter, my friend, if you are going to
 persuade me of this, that it is just and honourable for
 a father to be beaten by his sons!

 Phid. I think I shall certainly persuade you; so that,
 when you have heard, not even you yourself will say
 anything against it.

 Strep. Well, now, I am willing to hear what you have to

 Cho. It is your business, old man, to consider in what
 way you shall conquer the man; for if he were not
 relying upon something, he would not be so licentious.
 But he is emboldened by something; the boldness of the
 man is evident. Now you ought to tell to the Chorus from
 what the contention first arose. And this you must do by
 all means.

 Strep. Well, now, I will tell you from what we first
 began to rail at one another. After we had feasted, as
 you know, I first bade him take a lyre, and sing a song
 of Simonides, "The Shearing of the Ram."  But he
 immediately said it was old-fashioned to play on the
 lyre and sing while drinking, like a woman grinding
 parched barley.

 Phid. For ought you not then immediately to be beaten
 and trampled on, bidding me sing, just as if you were
 entertaining cicadae?

 Strep. He expressed, however, such opinions then too
 within, as he does now; and he asserted that Simonides
 was a bad poet. I bore it at first, with difficulty
 indeed, yet nevertheless I bore it. And then I bade him
 at least take a myrtle-wreath and recite to me some
 portion of Aeschylus; and then he immediately said,
 "Shall I consider Aeschylus the first among the poets,
 full of empty sound, unpolished, bombastic, using rugged
 words?" And hereupon you can't think how my heart
 panted. But, nevertheless, I restrained my passion, and
 said, "At least recite some passage of the more modern
 poets, of whatever kind these clever things be." And he
 immediately sang a passage of Euripides, how a brother,
 O averter of ill! Debauched his uterine sister. And I
 bore it no longer, but immediately assailed him with
 many abusive reproaches. And then, after that, as was
 natural, we hurled word upon word. Then he springs upon
 me; and then he was wounding me, and beating me, and
 throttling me.

 Phid. Were you not therefore justly beaten, who do not
 praise Euripides, the wisest of poets?

 Strep. He the wisest! Oh, what shall I call you? But I
 shall be beaten again.

 Phid. Yes, by Jupiter, with justice?

 Strep. Why, how with justice? Who, O shameless fellow,
 reared you, understanding all your wishes, when you
 lisped what you meant? If you said bryn, I,
 understanding it, used to give you to drink. And when
 you asked for mamman, I used to come to you with bread.
 And you used no sooner to say caccan, than I used to
 take and carry you out of doors, and hold you before me.
 But you now, throttling me who was bawling and crying
 out because I wanted to ease myself, had not the heart
 to carry me forth out of doors, you wretch; but I did it
 there while I was being throttled.

 Cho. I fancy the hearts of the youths are panting to
 hear what he will say. For if, after having done such
 things, he shall persuade him by speaking, I would not
 take the hide of the old folks, even at the price of a
 chick-pea. It is thy business, thou author and upheaver
 of new words, to seek some means of persuasion, so that
 you shall seem to speak justly.

 Phid. How pleasant it is to be acquainted with new and
 clever things, and to be able to despise the established
 laws! For I, when I applied my mind to horsemanship
 alone, used not to be able to utter three words before I
 made a mistake; but now, since he himself has made me
 cease from these pursuits, and I am acquainted with
 subtle thoughts, and arguments, and speculations, I
 think I shall demonstrate that it is just to chastise
 one's father.

 Strep. Ride, then, by Jupiter! Since it is better for me
 to keep a team of four horses than to be killed with a

 Phid. I will pass over to that part of my discourse
 where you interrupted me; and first I will ask you this:
 Did you beat me when I was a boy?

 Strep. I did, through good-will and concern for you.

 Phid. Pray tell me, is it not just that I also should be
 well inclined toward you in the same way, and beat you,
 since this is to be well inclined-to give a beating? For
 why ought your body to be exempt from blows and mine
 not? And yet I too was born free. The boys weep, and do
 you not think it is right that a father should weep? You
 will say that it is ordained by law that this should be
 the lot of boys. But I would reply, that old men are
 boys twice over, and that it is the more reasonable that
 the old should weep than the young, inasmuch as it is
 less just that they should err.

 Strep. It is nowhere ordained by law that a father
 should suffer this.

 Phid. Was it not then a man like you and me, who first
 proposed this law, and by speaking persuaded the
 ancients? Why then is it less lawful for me also in turn
 to propose henceforth a new law for the sons, that they
 should beat their fathers in turn? But as many blows as
 we received before the law was made, we remit: and we
 concede to them our having been thrashed without return.
 Observe the cocks and these other animals, how they
 punish their fathers; and yet, in what do they differ
 from us, except that they do not write decrees?

 Strep. Why then, since you imitate the cocks in all
 things, do you not both eat dung and sleep on a perch?

 Phid. It is not the same thing, my friend; nor would it
 appear so to Socrates.

 Strep. Therefore do not beat me; otherwise you will one
 day blame yourself.

 Phid. Why, how?

 Strep. Since I am justly entitled to chastise you; and
 you to chastise your son, if you should have one.

 Phid. But if I should not have one, I shall have wept
 for nothing, and you will die laughing at me.

 Strep. To me, indeed, O comrades, he seems to speak
 justly; and I think we ought to concede to them what is
 fitting. For it is proper that we should weep, if we do
 not act justly.

 Phid. Consider still another maxim.

 Strep. No; for I shall perish if I do.

 Phid. And yet perhaps you will not be vexed at suffering
 what you now suffer.

 Strep. How, pray? For inform me what good you will do me
 by this.

 Phid. I will beat my mother, just as I have you.

 Strep. What do you say? What do you say? This other,
 again, is a greater wickedness.

 Phid. But what if, having the worst Cause, I shall
 conquer you in arguing, proving that it is right to beat
 one's mother?

 Strep. Most assuredly, if you do this, nothing will
 hinder you from casting yourself and your Worse Cause
 into the pit along with Socrates. These evils have I
 suffered through you, O Clouds! Having intrusted all my
 affairs to you.

 Cho. Nay, rather, you are yourself  the cause of these
 things, having turned yourself to wicked courses.

 Strep. Why, pray, did you not tell me this, then, but
 excited with hopes a rustic and aged man?

 Cho. We always do this to him whom we perceive to be a
 lover of wicked courses, until we precipitate him into
 misfortune, so that he may learn to fear the gods.

 Strep. Ah me! it is severe, O Clouds! But it is just;
 for I ought not to have withheld the money which I
 borrowed. Now, therefore, come with me, my dearest son,
 that you may destroy the blackguard Chaerephon and
 Socrates, who deceived you and me.

 Phid. I will not injure my teachers.

 Strep. Yes, yes, reverence Paternal Jove.

 Phid. "Paternal Jove" quoth'a! How antiquated you are!
 Why, is there any Jove?

 Strep. There is.

 Phid. There is not, no; for Vortex reigns having
 expelled Jupiter.

 Strep. He has not expelled him; but I fancied this, on
 account of this Vortex here. Ah me, unhappy man! When I
 even took you who are of earthenware for a god.

 Phid. Here rave and babble to yourself.

 [Exit Phidippides]

 Strep. Ah me, what madness! How mad, then, I was when I
 ejected the gods on account of Socrates! But O dear
 Hermes, by no means be wroth with me, nor destroy me;
 but pardon me, since I have gone crazy through prating.
 And become my adviser, whether I shall bring an action
 and prosecute them, or whatever you think. You advise me
 rightly, not permitting me to get up a lawsuit, but as
 soon as possible to set fire to the house of the prating
 fellows. Come hither, come hither, Xanthias! Come forth
 with a ladder and with a mattock and then mount upon the
 thinking-shop and dig down the roof, if you love your
 master, until you tumble the house upon them.

 [Xanthias mounts upon the roof]

 But let some one bring me a lighted torch and I'll make
 some of them this day suffer punishment, even if they be
 ever so much impostors.

 1st Dis. (from within) Hollo! Hollo!

 Strep. It is your business, O torch, to send forth
 abundant flame.

 [Mounts upon the roof]

 1st Dis. What are you doing, fellow?

 Strep. What am I doing? Why, what else, than chopping
 logic with the beams of your house?

 [Sets the house on fire]

 2nd Dis. (from within) You will destroy us! You will
 destroy us!

 Strep. For I also wish this very thing; unless my
 mattock deceive my hopes, or I should somehow fall first
 and break my neck.

 Soc. (from within). Hollo you! What are you doing, pray,
 you fellow on the roof?

 Strep. I am walking on air, and speculating about the

 Soc. Ah me, unhappy! I shall be suffocated, wretched

 Chaer. And I, miserable man, shall be burnt to death!

 Strep. For what has come into your heads that you acted
 insolently toward the gods, and pried into the seat of
 the moon? Chase, pelt, smite them, for many reasons, but
 especially because you know that they offended against
 the gods!

 [The thinking shop is burned down]

 Cho. Lead the way out; for we have sufficiently acted as
 chorus for today.

 [Exeunt omnes]