And that they often do sell fish which is dead stinking is proved by what Antiphanes says in his Adulterers, as follows—
There's not on earth a more unlucky beastAnd in his Friend of the Thebans he say—
Than a poor fish, for whom 'tis not enough
To die when caught, that they may find at once
A grave in human stomachs; but what's worse,
They fall into the hands of odious fishmongers,
And rot and lie upon their stalls for days;
And if they meet with some blind purchaser,
He scarce can carry them when dead away;
But throws them out of doors, and thinks that he
Has through his nose had taste enough of them.
Is it not quite a shame, that if a manAnd that they sell their fish very dear we are told by Alexis in his Pylæan Women—
Has fresh-caught fish to sell, he will not speak
To any customer without a frown
Upon his face, and language insolent
And if his fish are stale, he jokes and laughs-
While his behaviour should the contrary be;
The first might laugh, the latter should be shamed.
Yes, by Minerva, I do marvel at
The tribe of fishmongers, that they are not
All wealthy men, such royal gains they make.
For sitting in the market they do think it
A trifling thing to tithe our properties;
But would take all at one fell swoop away.