Monday, March 12, 2007

The Clouds by Aristophanes

The Clouds is so amusing:

STUDENT: All right. Chaerephon of Sphettus once asked Socrates whether, in his opinion, a gnat buzzed through its mouth or through its anal sphincter.

STREPSIADES: What did Socrates say about the gnat?

STUDENT: He said that the gnat’s intestinal tract
was narrow—therefore air passing through it,
because of the constriction, was pushed with force
towards the rear. So then that orifice,
being a hollow space beside a narrow tube,
transmits the noise caused by the force of air.

STREPSIADES: So a gnat’s arse hole is a giant trumpet!
O triply blessed man who could do this,
anatomize the anus of a gnat!
A man who knows a gnat’s guts inside out
would have no trouble winning law suits.

STUDENT: Just recently he lost a great idea—
a lizard stole it!

STREPSIADES: How’d that happen? Tell me.

STUDENT: He was studying movements of the moon—
its trajectory and revolutions.
One night, as he was gazing up, open mouthed,
staring skyward, a lizard on the roof
relieved itself on him.

STREPSIADES: A lizard crapped on Socrates! That’s good!

Whenever one thinks of ancient literature they think of boring, slow, or hard to understand stuff. This shit is too hilarious.

There is some irony in the later stuff as well.

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