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An Informer enters, followed by a witness.

Informer
before he sees Cario
[850] Alas! alas! I am a lost man. Ah! thrice, four, five, twelve times, or rather ten thousand times unhappy fate! Why, why must fortune deal me such rough blows?

Cario
Oh, Apollo, my tutelary! oh! ye favourable gods! [855] what has overtaken this man?

Informer
To Cario
Ah! am I not deserving of pity? I have lost everything; this cursed god has stripped me bare. Ah! if there be justice in heaven, he shall be struck blind again.

Just Man
[860] I think I know what's the matter. If this man is unfortunate, it's because he's of little account and small honesty; and indeed he looks it too.

Cario
Then, by Zeus! his plight is but just.

Informer
[865] He promised that if he recovered his sight, he would enrich us all unaided; whereas he has ruined more than one.

Cario
But whom has he thus ill-used?

Informer
Me.

Cario
You were doubtless a villainous thief then.

Informer
[870] No, it is rather you yourselves who were such wretches; I am certain you have got my money.

Cario
Ha! by Demeter! an informer! What impudence! He's ravenously hungry, that's certain.

Informer
You shall follow me this very instant to the market-place, [875] where the torture of the wheel shall force the confession of your misdeeds from you.

Cario
with a threatening gesture
Watch out, now!

Just Man
By Zeus the Deliverer, what gratitude all Greeks owe to Plutus, if he destroys these vile informers!

Informer
[880] You are laughing at me. Well, then I denounce you as their accomplice. Where did you steal that new cloak from? Yesterday I saw you with one utterly worn out.

Just Man
I fear you not, thanks to this ring, for which I paid Eudemus a drachma.

Cario
[885] †Ah! there's no ring to preserve you from the informer's bite.†

Informer
The insolent wretches! But, my fine jokers, you have not told me what you are up to here. Nothing good, I'm sure of that.

Just Man
Nothing of any good for you, be sure of that.

Informer
[890] By Zeus! it's at my expense that you are about to dine.

Cario
You and your witness, I hope you both burst with an empty belly.

Informer
You deny it? I reckon, you villains, that there is much salt fish and roast meat in this house. [895] He sniffs elaborately.

Cario
Can you smell anything, rascal?

Just Man
The cold, perhaps, with that ragged cloak around you.

Informer
Can such outrages be borne, oh, Zeus! Ye gods! how cruel it is [900] to see me treated thus, when I am such an honest fellow and such a good citizen!

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1320
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