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Aristophanes Index


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THE BIRDS by Aristophanes, Part 05

PITHETAERUS
Oh! by Zeus! what a throat that little bird possesses. He has
filled the whole thicket with honey-sweet melody!
EUELPIDES
Hush!
PITHETAERUS
What's the matter?
EUELPIDES
Be still!
PITHETAERUS
What for?
EUELPIDES
Epops is going to sing again.
EPOPS (in the thicket, singing)
Epopopoi popoi popopopoi popoi, here, here, quick, quick, quick,
my comrades in the air; all you who pillage the fertile lands of the
husbandmen, the numberless tribes who gather and devour the barley
seeds, the swift flying race that sings so sweetly. And you whose
gentle twitter resounds through the fields with the little cry of
tiotictiotiotiotiotiotio; and you who hop about the branches of the
ivy in the gardens; the mountain birds, who feed on the wild
olive-berries or the arbutus, hurry to come at my call, trioto,
trioto, totobrix; you also, who snap up the sharp-stinging gnats in
the marshy vales, and you who dwell in the fine plain of Marathon, all
damp with dew, and you, the francolin with speckled wings; you too,
the halcyons, who flit over the swelling waves of the sea, come hither
to hear the tidings; let all the tribes of long-necked birds
assemble here; know that a clever old man has come to us, bringing
an entirely new idea and proposing great reforms. Let all come to
the debate here, here, here, here. Torotorotorotorotix, kikkabau,
kikkabau, torotorotorolililix.
PITHETAERUS
Can you see any bird?
EUELPIDES
By Phoebus, no! and yet I am straining my eyesight to scan the
sky.
PITHETAERUS
It was hardly worth Epops' while to go and bury himself in the
thicket like a hatching plover.
A BIRD (entering)
Torotix, torotix.
PITHETAERUS
Wait, friend, there's a bird.
EUELPIDES
By Zeus, it is a bird, but what kind? Isn't it a peacock?
PITHETAERUS (as EPOPS comes out of the thicket)
Epops will tell us. What is this bird?
EPOPS
It's not one of those you are used to seeing; it's a bird from the
marshes.
EUELPIDES
Oh! oh! but he is very handsome with his wings as crimson as
flame.
EPOPS
Undoubtedly; indeed he is called flamingo.
EUELPIDES (excitedly)
Hi! I say! You!
PITHETAERUS
What are you shouting for?
EUELPIDES
Why, here's another bird.
PITHETAERUS
Aye, indeed; this one's a foreign bird too. (To EPOPS) What is
this bird from beyond the mountains with a look as solemn as it is
stupid?
EPOPS
He is called the Mede.
EUELPIDES
The Mede! But, by Heracles, how, if a Mede, has he flown here
without a camel?
PITHETAERUS
Here's another bird with a crest.
(From here on, the numerous birds that make up the CHORUS keep
rushing in.)
EUELPIDES
Ah! that's curious. I say, Epops, you are not the only one of your
kind then?
EPOPS
This bird is the son of Philocles, who is the son of Epops; so
that, you see, I am his grandfather; just as one might say,
Hipponicus, the son of Callias, who is the son of Hipponicus.
EUELPIDES
Then this bird is Callias! Why, what a lot of his feathers he
has lost!
EPOPS
That's because he is honest; so the informers set upon him and the
women too pluck out his feathers.
EUELPIDES
By Posidon, do you see that many-coloured bird? What is his name?
EPOPS
This one? That's the glutton.
EUELPIDES
Is there another glutton besides Cleonymus? But why, if he is
Cleonymus, has he not thrown away his crest? But what is the meaning
of all these crests? Have these birds come to contend for the double
stadium prize?
EPOPS
They are like the Carians, who cling to the crests of their
mountains for greater safety.
PITHETAERUS
Oh, Posidon! look what awful swarms of birds are gathering here!
EUELPIDES
By Phoebus! what a cloud! The entrance to the stage is no longer
visible, so closely do they fly together.
PITHETAERUS
Here is the partridge.

 

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