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Aristophanes Index


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THE BIRDS by Aristophanes, Part 03

EPOPS
Are you twitting me about my feathers? I have been a man,
strangers.
EUELPIDES
It's not you we are jeering at.
EPOPS
At what, then?
EUELPIDES
Why, it's your beak that looks so ridiculous to us.
EPOPS
This is how Sophocles outrages me in his tragedies. Know, I once
was Tereus.
EUELPIDES
You were Tereus, and what are you now? a bird or a peacock?
EPOPS
I am a bird.
EUELPIDES
Then where are your feathers? I don't see any.
EPOPS
They have fallen off.
EUELPIDES
Through illness?
EPOPS
No. All birds moult their feathers, you know, every winter, and
others grow in their place. But tell me, who are you?
EUELPIDES
We? We are mortals.
EPOPS
From what country?
EUELPIDES
From the land of the beautful galleys.
EPOPS
Are you dicasts?
EUELPIDES
No, if anything, we are anti-dicasts.
EPOPS
Is that kind of seed sown among you?
EUELPIDES
You have to look hard to find even a little in our fields.
EPOPS
What brings you here?
EUELPIDES
We wish to pay you a visit.
EPOPS
What for?
EUELPIDES
Because you formerly were a man, like we are, formerly you had
debts, as we have, formerly you did not want to pay them, like
ourselves; furthermore, being turned into a bird, you have when flying
seen all lands and seas. Thus you have all human knowledge as well
as that of birds. And hence we have come to you to beg you to direct
us to some cosy town, in which one can repose as if on thick
coverlets.
EPOPS
And are you looking for a greater city than Athens?
EUELPIDES
No, not a greater, but one more pleasant to live in.
EPOPS
Then you are looking for an aristocratic country.
EUELPIDES
I? Not at all! I hold the son of Scellias in horror.
EPOPS
But, after all, what sort of city would please you best?
EUELPIDES
A place where the following would be the most important
business: transacted.-Some friend would come knocking at the door
quite early in the morning saying, "By Olympian Zeus, be at my house
early. as soon as you have bathed, and bring your children too. I am
giving a feast, so don't fail, or else don't cross my threshold when I
am in distress."
EPOPS
Ah! that's what may be called being fond of hardships! (To
PITHETAERUS) And what say you?
PITHETAERUS
My tastes are similar.
EPOPS
And they are?
PITHETAERUS
I want a town where the father of a handsome lad will stop in
the street and say to me reproachfully as if I had failed him, "Ah! Is
this well done, Stilbonides? You met my son coming from the bath after
the gymnasium and you neither spoke to him, nor kissed him, nor took
him with you, nor ever once felt his balls. Would anyone call you an
old friend of mine?"
EPOPS
Ah! wag, I see you are fond of suffering. But there is a city of
delights such as you want. It's on the Red Sea.
EUELPIDES
Oh, no. Not a sea-port, where some fine morning the Salaminian
galley can appear, bringing a process-server along. Have you no
Greek town you can propose to us?
EPOPS
Why not choose Lepreum in Elis for your settlement?
EUELPIDES
By Zeus! I could not look at Lepreum without disgust, because of
Melanthius.
EPOPS
Then, again, there is the Opuntian Locris, where you could live.

 

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