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Aristophanes Index


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THE BIRDS by Aristophanes, Part 06

EUELPIDES
Why, there is the francolin.
PITHETAERUS
There is the poachard.
EUELPIDES
Here is the kingfisher. (To EPOPS) What's that bird behind the
king fisher?
EPOPS
That's the barber.
EUELPIDES
What? a bird a barber?
PITHETAERUS
Why, Sporgilus is one.
EPOPS
Here comes the owl.
EUELPIDES
And who is it brings an owl to Athens?
EPOPS (pointing to the various species)
Here is the magpie, the turtle-dove, the swallow, the
horned-owl, the buzzard, the pigeon, the falcon, the ring-dove, the
cuckoo, the red-foot, the red-cap, the purple-cap. the kestrel, the
diver, the ousel, the osprey, the woodpecker...
PITHETAERUS
Oh! what a lot of birds!
EUELPIDES
Oh! what a lot of blackbirds!
PITHETAERUS
How they scold, how they come rushing up! What a noise! what a
noise!
EUELPIDES
Can they be bearing us ill-will?
PITHETAERUS
Oh! there! there! they are opening their beaks and staring at us.
EUELPIDES
Why, so they are.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Popopopopopo. Where is he who called me? Where am I to find him?
EPOPS
I have been waiting for you a long while! I never fail in my
word to my friends.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Tititititititi. What good news have you for me?
EPOPS
Something that concerns our common safety, and that is just as
pleasant as it is to the point. Two men, who are subtle reasoners,
have come here to seek me.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Where? How? What are you saying?
EPOPS
I say, two old men have come from the abode of humans to propose a
vast and splendid scheme to us.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Oh! it's a horrible, unheard-of crime! What are you saying?
EPOPS
Never let my words scare you.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
What have you done to me?
EPOPS
I have welcomed two men, who wish to live with us.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And you have dared to do that!
EPOPS
Yes, and I am delighted at having done so.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And are they already with us?
EPOPS
Just as much as I am.
CHORUS (singing)
Ah! ah! we are betrayed; 'tis sacrilege! Our friend, he who picked
up corn-seeds in the same plains as ourselves, has violated our
ancient laws; he has broken the oaths that bind all birds; he has laid
a snare for me, he has handed us over to the attacks of that impious
race which, throughout all time, has never ceased to war against us.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
As for this traitorous bird, we will decide his case later, but
the two old men shall be punished forthwith; we are going to tear them
to pieces.
PITHETAERUS
It's all over with us.
EUELPIDES
You are the sole cause of all our trouble. Why did you bring me
from down yonder?
PITHETAERUS
To have you with me.
EUELPIDES
Say rather to have me melt into tears.
PITHETAERUS
Go on! you are talking nonsense. How will you weep with your
eyes pecked out?
CHORUS (singing)
Io! io! forward to the attack, throw yourselves upon the foe,
spill his blood; take to your wings and surround them on all sides.
Woe to them! let us get to work with our beaks, let us devour them.
Nothing can save them from our wrath, neither the mountain forests,
nor the clouds that float in the sky, nor the foaming deep.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Come, peck, tear to ribbons. Where is the chief of the cohort? Let
him engage the right wing.
(They rush at the two Athenians.)

 

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