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Demosthenes
[85] No, not that, but a bumper of good unmixed wine in honor of the Good Genius; perchance we may stumble on a happy thought.

Nicias
Look at him! “Unmixed wine!” Your mind is on drink intent? Can a man strike out a brilliant thought when drunk?

Demosthenes
Without question. Go, ninny, blow yourself out with water; [90] do you dare to accuse wine of clouding the reason? Quote me more marvellous effects than those of wine. Look! when a man drinks, he is rich, everything he touches succeeds, he gains lawsuits, is happy and helps his friends. [95] Come, bring hither quick a flagon of wine, that I may soak my brain and get an ingenious idea.

Nicias
My God! What can your drinking do to help us?

Demosthenes
Much. But bring it to me, while I take my seat. Once drunk, I shall strew [100] little ideas, little phrases, little reasonings everywhere.

Nicias enters the house and returns almost immediately with a bottle.

Nicias
It is lucky I was not caught in the house stealing the wine.

Demosthenes
Tell me, what is the Paphlagonian doing now?

Nicias
The wretch has just gobbled up some confiscated cakes; he is drunk and lies at full-length snoring on his hides.

Demosthenes
[105] Very well, come along, pour me out wine and plenty of it.

Nicias
Take it and offer a libation to your Good Genius.

Demosthenes
to himself
Inhale, ah, inhale the spirit of the genius of Pramnium.

He drinks. Inspiredly
Ah! Good Genius, thine the plan, not mine!

Nicias
Tell me, what is it?

Demosthenes
[110] Run indoors quick and steal the oracles of the Paphlagonian, while he is asleep.

Nicias
Bless me! I fear this Good Genius will be but a very Bad Genius for me.

He goes into the house

Demosthenes
And I'll set the flagon near me, that I may moisten my wit to invent some brilliant notion.

Nicias enters the house and returns at once.

Nicias
[115] How loudly the Paphlagonian farts and snores! I was able to seize the sacred oracle, which he was guarding with the greatest care, without his seeing me.

Demosthenes
Oh! clever fellow! Hand it here, that I may read. Come, pour me out some drink, bestir yourself! Let me see what there is in it. [120] Oh! prophecy! Some drink! some drink! Quick!

Nicias
Well! what says the oracle?

Demosthenes
Pour again.

Nicias
Is “pour again” in the oracle?

Demosthenes
Oh, Bacis!

Nicias
But what is in it?

Demosthenes
Quick! some drink!

Nicias
Bacis is very dry!

Demosthenes
[125] Oh! miserable Paphlagonian! This then is why you have so long taken such precautions; your horoscope gave you qualms of terror.

Nicias
What does it say?

Demosthenes
It says here how he must end.

Nicias
And how?

Demosthenes
How? the oracle announces clearly that a dealer in oakum [130] must first govern the city.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 389
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