Ὅσα δὴ δέδηγμαι τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ καρδίαν, ἥσθην δὲ βαιά, πάνυ δὲ βαιά, τέτταρα· ἃ δ᾿ ὠδυνήθην, ψαμμακοσιογάργαρα. φέρ᾿ ἴδω, τί δ᾿ ἥσθην ἄξιον χαιρηδόνος; 5ἐγᾦδ᾿ ἐφ᾿ ᾧ γε τὸ κέαρ εὐφράνθην ἰδών, τοῖς πέντε ταλάντοις οἷς Κλέων ἐξήμεσεν. ταῦθ᾿ ὡς ἐγανώθην· καὶ φιλῶ τοὺς ἱππέας διὰ τοῦτο τοὔργον· ἄξιον γὰρ Ἑλλάδι. ἀλλ᾿ ὠδυνήθην ἕτερον αὖ τραγῳδικόν, 10ὅτε δὴ ᾿κεχήνη προσδοκῶν τὸν Αἰσχύλον, ὁ δ᾿ ἀνεῖπεν· “εἴσαγ᾿, ὦ Θέογνι, τὸν χορόν”. πῶς τοῦτ᾿ ἔσεισέ μου δοκεῖς τὴν καρδίαν;
How often I’ve been bitten to my very heart! My delights? Scant, quite scant—just four! My pains? Heaps by the umpteen million loads! Let’s see, what delight have I had worthy of delectation? I know—it’s something my heart rejoiced to see: those five talents Cleon had to disgorge. That made me sparkle! I love the Knights for that deed, 2 “a worthy thing for Greece”! 3 But then I had another pain, quite tragic: when I was waiting open-mouthed for Aeschylus, the announcer cried, “Theognis, bring your chorus on!” 4 How do you think that made my heart quake?
- 1The hero’s name (which we do not hear until line 406) suggests that he has “just” advice for the city; cf. 497–501.
- 2The nature of this incident, variously explained by ancient commentators, is obscure. Since we hear of no trial, Cleon may have “disgorged” the money by the settlement procedure called probole. Some think that the incident was not historical but happened in a comedy, but this is unlikely, since the Knights seem to have played no role in comedy before Knights in 424; cf. 377 ff., Knights 507 ff.
- 3Quoting Euripides, Telephus (fr. 720), where the preceding words were “he would perish wretchedly.”
- 4The comic poets called this “frigid” tragic poet “Snow,” cf. 138-40.