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turning to the audience
Come, I must explain the matter to the spectators. [55] But first a few words of preamble: expect nothing very high-flown from us, nor any jests stolen from Megara; we have no slaves, who throw baskets of nuts to the spectators, [60] nor any Heracles to be robbed of his dinner, nor does Euripides get loaded with contumely; and despite the happy chance that gave Cleon his fame we shall not go out of our way to belabour him again. Our little subject is not wanting in sense; [65] it is well within your capacity and at the same time cleverer than many vulgar comedies. —We have a master of great renown, who is now sleeping up there on the other story. He has bidden us keep guard over his father, [70] whom he has locked in, so that he may not go out. This father has a curious complaint; not one of you could hit upon or guess it, if I did not tell you. —Well then, try! I hear Amynias, the son of Pronapus, over there, saying, [75] "He is addicted to gambling." He's wrong!

By Zeus, he is imputing his own malady to others.

Yet love is indeed the principal part of his disease. Ah! here Sosias is telling Dercylus," [80] He loves drinking."

Wrong again! the love of wine is a good man's failing.

"Well then," says Nicostratus of the Scambonian deme, "he either loves sacrifices or else strangers."

God no! he is not fond of strangers, Nicostratus, for he who says "Philoxenus" means a pederast.

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Megara (Greece) (1)

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