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Cleon
By Poseidon! You! would you beat me in impudence! [410] If you succeed, may I no longer have my share of the victims offered to Zeus on the city altar.

Sausage-Seller
And I, I swear by the blows that have so oft rained upon my shoulders since infancy, and by the knives that have cut me, that I will show more effrontery than you; as sure as I have rounded this fine stomach by feeding on the pieces of bread that had cleansed other folk's greasy fingers.

Cleon
[415] On pieces of bread, like a dog! Ah! wretch! you have the nature of a dog and you dare to fight a dog-headed ape?

Sausage-Seller
I have many another trick in my sack, memories of my childhood's days. I used to linger around the cooks and say to them, “Look, friends don't you see a swallow? It's the herald of springtime.” [420] And while they stood, their noses in the air, I made off with a piece of meat.

Leader of the Chorus
Oh! most clever man! How well thought out! You did as the eaters of artichokes, you gathered them before the return of the swallows.

Sausage-Seller
They could make nothing of it; or, if they suspected a trick, I hid the meat in my crotch and denied the thing by all the gods; [425] so that an orator, seeing me at the game, cried, “This child will get on; he has the mettle that makes a statesman.”

Leader of the Chorus
He argued rightly; to steal, perjure yourself and make your arse receptive are three essentials for climbing high.

Cleon
I will stop your insolence, or rather the insolence of both of you. [430] I will throw myself upon you like a terrible hurricane ravaging both land and sea at the will of its fury.

Sausage-Seller
Then I will gather up my sausages and entrust myself to the kindly waves of fortune so as to make you all the more enraged.

Demosthenes
And I will watch in the bilges in case the boat should make water.

Cleon
[435] No, by Demeter! I swear, it will not be with impunity that you have thieved so many talents from the Athenians.

Demosthenes
to the Sausage-Seller
Oh! oh! reef your sail a bit! Here is a Northeaster blowing calumniously.

Sausage-Seller
I know that you got ten talents out of Potidaea.

Cleon
Wait! I will give you one; but keep it dark!

Leader of the Chorus
aside
[440] Hah! that will please him mightily;

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 584
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