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Aristophanes, Clouds (ed. William James Hickie), line 221 (search)
red 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 Byzantium?
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 divinities?
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.