Servant of Strepsiades
Disciples of Socrates
Chorus of Clouds
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:
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. 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,