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Demosthenes
To the rescue, oh, Knights. Now is the time. Simon, Panaetius, get you to the right wing; they are coming on; hold tight and return to the charge. [245] I can see the dust of their horses' hoofs; they are galloping to our aid. Courage! Attack him, put him to flight.

The Chorus of Knights enters at top speed.

Leader of the Chorus
Strike, strike the villain, who has spread confusion amongst the ranks of the Knights, this public robber, this yawning gulf of plunder, this devouring Charybdis, this villain, this villain, this villain! I cannot say the word too often, [250] for he is a villain a thousand times a day. Come, strike, drive, hurl him over and crush him to pieces; hate him as we hate him; stun him with your blows and your shouts. And beware lest he escape you; he knows the way Eucrates took straight to a bran sack for concealment.

Cleon
[255] Oh! veteran Heliasts, brotherhood of the three obols, whom I fostered by bawling at random, help me; I am being beaten to death by rebels.

Leader of the Chorus
And justly too; you devour the public funds that all should share in; you treat the treasury officials like the fruit of the fig tree, squeezing them to find [260] which are still green or more or less ripe; and, when you find a simple and timid one, you force him to come from the Chersonese, then you seize him by the middle, throttle him by the neck, while you twist his shoulder back; he falls and you devour him. Besides, you know very well how to select from among the citizens those who are as meek as lambs, [265] rich, without guile and loathers of lawsuits.

Cleon
Eh! what! Knights, are you helping them? But, if I am beaten, it is in your cause, for I was going to propose to erect a statue in the city in memory of your bravery.

Leader of the Chorus
Oh! the impostor! the dull varlet! See! he treats us [270] like old dotards and crawls at our feet to deceive us; but the cunning wherein his power lies shall this time recoil on himself; he trips up himself by resorting to such artifices.

Cleon
Oh citizens! oh people! see how these brutes are bursting my belly.

Leader of the Chorus
What shouts! but it's this very bawling that incessantly upsets the city!

Sausage-Seller
[275] I can shout too—and so loud that you will flee with fear.

Leader of the Chorus
If you shout louder than he does I will strike up the triumphal hymn; if you surpass him in impudence the cake is ours.

Cleon
I denounce this fellow; he has had tasty stews exported from Athens for the Spartan fleet.

Sausage-Seller
[280] And I denounce him; he runs into the Prytaneum with an empty belly and comes out with it full.

Demosthenes
And by Zeus! he carries off bread, meat, and fish, which is forbidden. Pericles himself never had this right.

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