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Cleon
Then listen and be attentive!

[1015] “Son of Erechtheus, understand the meaning of the words, which the sacred tripods set resounding in the sanctuary of Apollo. Preserve the sacred dog with the jagged teeth, that barks and howls in your defence; he will ensure you a salary and, if he fails, will perish as the victim of [1020] the swarms of jays that hunt him down with their screams.”

Demos
By Demeter! I do not understand a word of it. What connection is there between Erechtheus, the jays and the dog?

Cleon
I am the dog, since I bark in your defence. Well! Phoebus commands you to keep and cherish your dog.

Sausage-Seller
[1025] That is not what the god says; this dog seems to me to gnaw at the oracles as others gnaw at doorposts. Here is exactly what Apollo says of the dog.

Demos
Let us hear, but I must first pick up a stone; an oracle which speaks of a dog might bite my tool.

Sausage-Seller
[1030] “Son of Erechtheus, beware of this Cerberus that enslaves free men; he fawns upon you with his tail when you are dining, but he is lying in wait to devour your dishes should you turn your head an instant; at night he sneaks into the kitchen and, true dog that he is, licks up with one lap of his tongue both your dishes and ... the islands.”

Demos
[1035] By god, Glanis, you speak better than your brother.

Cleon
Condescend again to hear me and then judge:

“A woman in sacred Athens will be delivered of a lion, who shall fight for the people against clouds of gnats with the same ferocity as if he were defending his whelps; care ye for him, [1040] erect wooden walls around him and towers of brass.”

Do you understand that?

Demos
Not the least bit in the world.

Cleon
The god tells you here to look after me, for I am your lion.

Demos
How! You have become a lion and I never knew a thing about it?

Sausage-Seller
[1045] There is only one thing which he purposely keeps from you; he does not say what this wall of wood and brass is in which Apollo warns you to keep and guard him.

Demos
What does the god mean, then?

Sausage-Seller
He advises you to fit him into a five-holed wooden collar.

Demos
[1050] Hah! I think that oracle is about to be fulfilled.

Cleon
Do not believe it; these are but jealous crows, that caw against me; but never cease to cherish your good hawk; never forget that he brought you those Lacedaemonian fish, loaded with chains.

Sausage-Seller
Ah! if the Paphlagonian ran any risk that day, it was because he was drunk. [1055] Oh, too credulous son of Cecrops, do you accept that as a glorious exploit? A woman would carry a heavy burden if only a man had put it on her shoulders. But to fight! Go to! he would empty his bowels before he would ever fight.

Cleon
Note this Pylos in front of Pylos, of which the oracle speaks, “Pylos is before Pylos.”

Demos
How “in front of Pylos”? What does he mean by that?

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    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, Copula
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