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The Wasps   

We shall all make you smart to-morrow for your youthful pranks. We
shall come in a body to summon you to justice.
PHILOCLEON (singing)
Ho! ho! summon me? what old women's babble! Know that I can no
longer bear to hear even the name of suits. Ha! ha! ha! this is what
pleases me, "Down with the urns!" Get out of here! Down with the
dicasts! away with them, away with them!
(Dropping into speech; to the flute-girl)
Mount up there, my little gilded cock-chafer; take hold of this
rope's end in your hand. Hold it tight, but have a care; the rope's
a bit old and worn. But even though it's worn, it still has its
virtues. Do you see how opportunely I got you away from the
solicitations of those fellators, who wanted you to make love to
them in their own odd way? You therefore owe me this return to gratify
me. But will you pay the debt? Oh! I know well you will not even
try; you will play with me, you will laugh heartily at me as you
have done at many another man. And yet, if you would not be a
naughty girl, I would redeem you, when my son is dead, and you
should be my concubine, my little one. At present I am not my own
master; I am very young and am watched very closely. My dear son never
lets me out of his sight; he's an unbearable creature, who would
quarter a thread and skin a flint; he is afraid I should get lost, for
I am his only father. But here he comes running towards us. But be
quick, don't stir, hold these torches. I am going to play him a
young man's trick, the same as he played me before I was initiated
into the mysteries.
Oh! oh! you debauched old dotard! you are amorous, it seems, of
pretty baggages; but, by Apollo, it shall not be with impunity!
Ah! you would be very glad to eat a lawsuit in vinegar, you would.
Only a rascal would steal the flute-girl away from the other
What flute-girl? Are you distraught, as if you had just returned
from Pluto?
By Zeus! But here is the Dardanian wench in person.
Nonsense. This is a torch that I have lit in the public square
in honour of the gods.
Is this a torch?
A torch? Certainly. Do you not see it is of several different
And what is that black part in the middle?
That's the pitch running out while it burns.
And there, on the other side, surely that is a girl's bottom?
No. That's just a small bit of the torch, that projects.
What do you mean? what bit? Hi! you woman! come here!
Oh! What do you want to do?
To take her away from you and lead her off. You are too much
worn out and can do nothing.
(He takes the girl into the house.)

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