From The Clouds:

STREPSIADES
Rightly! Oh! what impudence! to me, who brought you up! when you could hardly lisp, I guessed what you wanted. If you said broo, broo, well, I brought you your milk; if you asked for mam mam, I gave you bread; and you had no sooner said, caca, than I took you outside and held you out. And just now, when you were strangling me, I shouted, I bellowed that I was about to crap; and you, you scoundrel, had not the heart to take me outside, so that, though almost choking, I was compelled to do my crapping right there.
CHORUS (singing)
Young men, your hearts must be panting with impatience. What is Phidippides going to say? If, after such conduct, he proves he has done well, I would not give an obolus for the hide of old men.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Come, you, who know how to brandish and hurl the keen shafts of the new science, find a way to convince us, give your language an appearance of truth.
PHIDIPPIDES
How pleasant it is to know these clever new inventions and to be able to defy the established laws! When I thought only about horses, I was not able to string three words together without a mistake, but now that the master has altered and improved me and that I live in this world of subtle thought, of reasoning and of meditation, I count on being able to prove satisfactorily that I have done well to thrash my father.
STREPSIADES
Mount your horse! By Zeus! I would rather defray the keep of a four-in-hand team than be battered with blows.
PHIDIPPIDES
I revert to what I was saying when you interrupted me. And first, answer me, did you beat me in my childhood?
STREPSIADES
Why, assuredly, for your good and in your own best interest.
PHIDIPPIDES
Tell me, is it not right, that in turn I should beat you for your good, since it is for a man's own best interest to be beaten? What! must your body be free of blows, and not mine? am I not free-born too? the children are to weep and the fathers go free? You will tell me, that according to the law, it is the lot of children to be beaten. But I reply that the old men are children twice over and that it is far more fitting to chastise them than the young, for there is less excuse for their faults.
STREPSIADES
But the law nowhere admits that fathers should be treated thus.
PHIDIPPIDES
Was not the legislator who carried this law a man like you and me? In those days be got men to believe him; then why should not I too have the right to establish for the future a new law, allowing children to beat their fathers in turn? We make you a present of all the blows which were received before his law, and admit that you thrashed us with impunity. But look how the cocks and other animals fight with their fathers; and yet what difference is there betwixt them and ourselves, unless it be that they do not propose decrees?
STREPSIADES
But if you imitate the cocks in all things, why don't you scratch up the dunghill, why don't you sleep on a perch?
PHIDIPPIDES
That has no bearing on the case, good sir; Socrates would find no connection, I assure you.
STREPSIADES
Then do not beat at all, for otherwise you have only yourself to blame afterwards.
PHIDIPPIDES
What for?
STREPSIADES
I have the right to chastise you, and you to chastise your son, if you have one.
PHIDIPPIDES
And if I have not, I shall have cried in vain, and you will die laughing in my face.
STREPSIADES
What say you, all here present? It seems to me that he is right, and I am of opinion that they should be accorded their right. If we think wrongly, it is but just we should be beaten. PHIDIPPIDES Again, consider this other point.
STREPSIADES
It will be the death of me.
PHIDIPPIDES
But you will certainly feel no more anger because of the blows I have given you.
STREPSIADES
Come, show me what profit I shall gain from it.
PHIDIPPIDES
I shall beat my mother just as I have you.
STREPSIADES
What do you say? what's that you say? Hah! this is far worse still.
PHIDIPPIDES
And what if I prove to you by our school reasoning, that one ought to beat one's mother?
STREPSIADES
Ah! if you do that, then you will only have to throw yourself, along with Socrates and his reasoning, into the Barathrum. Oh! Clouds! all our troubles emanate from you, from you, to whom I entrusted myself, body and soul.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
No, you alone are the cause, because you have pursued the path of evil.
STREPSIADES
Why did you not say so then, instead of egging on a poor ignorant old man?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
We always act thus, when we see a man conceive a passion for what is evil; we strike him with some terrible disgrace, so that he may learn to fear the gods.
STREPSIADES
Alas! oh Clouds! that's hard indeed, but it's just! I ought not to have cheated my creditors....But come, my dear son, come with me to take vengeance on this wretched Chaerephon and on Socrates, who have deceived us both.
PHIDIPPIDES
I shall do nothing against our masters.
STREPSIADES
Oh show some reverence for ancestral Zeus!
PHIDIPPIDES
Mark him and his ancestral Zeus! What a fool you are! Does any such being as Zeus exist?
STREPSIADES
Why, assuredly.
PHIDIPPIDES
No, a thousand times no! The ruler of the world is the Whirlwind, that has unseated Zeus.
STREPSIADES
He has not dethroned him. I believed it, because of this whirligig here. Unhappy wretch that I am! I have taken a piece of clay to be a god.
PHIDIPPIDES
Very well! Keep your stupid nonsense for your own consumption.
(He goes back into STREPSIADES' house.)
STREPSIADES
Oh! what madness! I had lost my reason when I threw over the gods through Socrates' seductive phrases. (Addressing the statue of Hermes) Oh! good Hermes, do not destroy me in your wrath. Forgive me; their babbling had driven me crazy. Be my counselor. Shall I pursue them at law or shall I....? Order and I obey.-You are right, no law-suit; but up! let us burn down the home of those praters. Here, Xanthias, here! take a ladder, come forth and arm yourself with an axe; now mount upon the Thoughtery, demolish the roof, if you love your master, and may the house fall in upon them. Ho! bring me a blazing torch! There is more than one of them, arch-impostors as they are, on whom I am determined to have vengeance.
A DISCIPLE (from within)
Oh! oh!
STREPSIADES
Come, torch, do your duty! Burst into full flame!
DISCIPLE
What are you up to?
STREPSIADES
What am I up to? Why, I am entering upon a subtle argument with the beams of the house.
SECOND DISCIPLE (from within)
Hullo! hullo who is burning down our house?
STREPSIADES
The man whose cloak you have appropriated.
SECOND DISCIPLE
You are killing us!
STREPSIADES
That is just exactly what I hope, unless my axe plays me false, or I fall and break my neck.
SOCRATES (appearing at the window)
Hi! you fellow on the roof, what are you doing up there?
STREPSIADES (mocking SOCRATES' manner)
I am traversing the air and contemplating the sun.
SOCRATES
Ah! ah! woe is upon me! I am suffocating!
SECOND DISCIPLE
And I, alas, shall be burnt up!
STREPSIADES
Ah! you insulted the gods! You studied the face of the moon! Chase them, strike and beat them down! Forward! they have richly deserved their fate-above all, by reason of their blasphemies.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
So let the Chorus file off the stage. Its part is played.

THE END

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