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Aristophanes' CLOUDS Complete

A Literal Translation, with Notes.

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STREPSIADES.[470] Great gods! will these nights never end? will daylight never come? I heard the cock crow long ago and my slaves are snoring still! Ah! 'twas not so formerly. Curses on the War! has it not done me ills enough? Now I may not even chastise my own slaves.[471] Again there's this brave lad, who never wakes the whole long night, but, wrapped in his five coverlets, farts away to his heart's content. Come! let me nestle in well and snore too, if it be possible ... oh! misery, 'tis vain to think of sleep with all these expenses, this stable, these debts, which are devouring me, thanks to this fine cavalier, who only knows how to look after his long locks, to show himself off in his chariot and to dream of horses! And I, I am nearly dead, when I see the moon bringing the third decade in her train[472] and my liability falling due.... Slave! light the lamp and bring me my tablets. Who are all my creditors? Let me see and reckon up the interest. What is it I owe? ... Twelve minae to Pasias.... What! twelve minae to Pasias? ... Why did I borrow these? Ah! I know! 'Twas to buy that thoroughbred, which cost me so dear.[473] How I should have prized the stone that had blinded him!

[470] He is in one bed and his son is in another; slaves are sleeping near them. It is night-time.

[471] The punishment most frequently inflicted upon slaves in the towns was to send them into the country to work in the fields, but at the period when the 'Clouds' was presented, 424 B.C., the invasions of the Peloponnesians forbade the pursuit of agriculture. Moreover, there existed the fear, that if the slaves were punished too harshly, they might go over to the enemy.

[472] Among the Greeks, each month was divided into three decades. The last of the month was called [Greek: ene kai nea], the day of the old and the new or the day of the new moon, and on that day interest, which it was customary to pay monthly, became due.

[473] Literally, the horse marked with the [Greek: koppa] ([Symbol: Letter 'koppa']), a letter of the older Greek alphabet, afterwards disused, which distinguished the thoroughbreds.

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