Page:Comedies of Aristophanes (Hickie 1853) vol1.djvu/140

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124
159—183.
THE CLOUDS.

Strep. What, then, did he say about the gnat?

Dis. He said the intestine of the gnat was narrow, and that the wind went forcibly through it, being slender, straight to the breech; and then that the rump, being hollow where it is adjacent to the narrow part, resounded through the violence of the wind.

Strep. The rump of gnats then is a trumpet! O thrice happy he for his sharp-sightedness![1] Surely a defendant might easily get acquitted, who understands the intestine of the gnat.

Dis. But he was lately deprived of a great idea by a lizard.

Strep. In what way? Tell me.

Dis. As he was investigating the courses of the moon, and her revolutions, then as he was gaping upwards, a lizard in the darkness dunged upon him from the roof.

Strep. I am amused at a lizard's having dunged on Socrates.

Dis. Yesterday evening there was no supper for us.

Strep. Well. What then did he contrive for provisions?

Dis. He sprinkled fine ashes on the table, and bent a little spit, and then took it as a pair of compasses and filched a cloak from the Palæstra.[2]

Strep. Why then do we admire that Thales?[3] Open, open quickly the thinking-shop, and show to me Socrates as quickly as possible. For I desire to be a disciple. Come, open the door.—[The door of the Thinking-shop opens, and the pupils of Socrates are seen all with their heads fixed on the ground, while Socrates himself is seen suspended in the air in a

  1. The word is comic, says Passow, as if one should say, Darmsichtigkeit for Scharfsichtigkeit, innersight instead of insight.

    "O zwei und dreimal seliger Därmenforscher du!" Droysen.

  2. The commentators and critics have laboured in vain to discover sense or coherence in this speech. The explanation of Süvern is ingenious. But Wieland has probably hit the truth, in supposing that the Disciple talks intentional nonsense, for the mere pleasure of mystifying the absurd Strepsiades. The translation given in the text is that recommended by Hermann, Dobree, Dindorf, and Fritzsche. See Krüger, Gr. Gr. § 57, 3, obs. 1.
  3. "Plautus, cap. ii. 2, 24: 'Eugepæ! Thalem talento non emam Milesium: nam ad hujus sapientiam ille nimis nugator fuit.' Contra Av. 1010, ille, qui se simulat admirari sapientiam Metonis, dicit: ἄνθρωπος Θαλῆς." Berg. On the demonstrative, see Krüger, Gr. Gr. § 51, 7, obs. 7.