The Birds - Aristophanes - ebook
Opis

The Birds is a comedy by the Ancient Greek playwright AristophanesAristophanes was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. 

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ISBN: 9788893454537
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Table of contents

The birds

The birds

Dramatis Personae
EUELPIDES
PITHETAERUS
TROCHILUS, Servant to Epops
Epops (the Hoopoe)
A BIRD
A HERALD
A PRIEST
A POET
AN ORACLE-MONGER
METON, a Geometrician
AN INSPECTOR
A DEALER IN DECREES
IRIS
A PARRICIDE
CINESIAS, a Dithyrambic Poet
AN INFORMER
PROMETHEUS
POSIDON
TRIBALLUS
HERACLES
SLAVES OF PITHETAERUS
MESSENGERS
CHORUS OF BIRDS
Scene
A wild and desolate region; only thickets, rocks, and a single tree are seen. EUELPIDES and PITHETAERUS enter, each with a bird in his hand.
EUELPIDES to his jay
Do you think I should walk straight for yon tree?
PITHETAERUS to his crow
Cursed beast, what are you croaking to me?...to retrace my steps?
EUELPIDES
Why, you wretch, we are wandering at random, we are exerting ourselves only to return to the same spot; we're wasting our time.
PITHETAERUS
To think that I should trust to this crow, which has made me cover more than a thousand furlongs!
EUELPIDES
And that I, in obedience to this jay, should have worn my toes down to the nails!
PITHETAERUS
If only I knew where we were....
EUELPIDES
Could you find your country again from here?
PITHETAERUS
No, I feel quite sure I could not, any more than could Execestides find his.
EUELPIDES
Alas!
PITHETAERUS
Aye, aye, my friend, it's surely the road of "alases" we are following.
EUELPIDES
That Philocrates, the bird-seller, played us a scurvy trick, when he pretended these two guides could help us to find Tereus, the Epops, who is a bird, without being born of one. He has indeed sold us this jay, a true son of Tharrhelides, for an obolus, and this crow for three, but what can they do? Why, nothing whatever but bite and scratch!
To his jay
What's the matter with you then, that you keep opening your beak? Do you want us to fling ourselves headlong down these rocks? There is no road that way.
PITHETAERUS
Not even the vestige of a trail in any direction
EUELPIDES
And what does the crow say about the road to follow?
PITHETAERUS
By Zeus, it no longer croaks the same thing it did.
EUELPIDES
And which way does it tell us to go now?
PITHETAERUS
It says that, by dint of gnawing, it will devour my fingers.
EUELPIDES
What misfortune is ours! we strain every nerve to get to the crows, do everything we can to that end, and we cannot find our way! Yes, spectators, our madness is quite different from that of Sacas. He is not a citizen, and would fain be one at any cost; we, on the contrary, born of an honourable tribe and family and living in the midst of our fellow-citizens, we have fled from our country as hard as ever we could go. It's not that we hate it; we recognize it to be great and rich, likewise that everyone has the right to ruin himself paying taxes; but the crickets only chirrup among the fig-trees for a month or two, whereas the Athenians spend their whole lives in chanting forth judgments from their law-courts. That is why we started off with a basket, a stew-pot and some myrtle boughs! and have come to seek a quiet country in which to settle. We are going to Tereus, the Epops, to learn from him, whether, in his aerial flights, he has noticed some town of this kind.
PITHETAERUS
Here! look!
EUELPIDES
What's the matter?
PITHETAERUS
Why, the crow has been directing me to something up there for some time now.
EUELPIDES
And the jay is also opening it beak and craning its neck to show me I know not what. Clearly, there are some birds about here. We shall soon know, if we kick up a noise to start them.
PITHETAERUS
Do you know what to do? Knock your leg against this rock.
EUELPIDES
And you your head to double the noise.
PITHETAERUS
Well then use a stone instead; take one and hammer with it.
EUELPIDES
Good idea!
He does so.
Ho there, within! Slave! slave!
PITHETAERUS
What's that, friend! You say, "slave," to summon Epops? It would be much better to shout, "Epops, Epops!
EUELPIDES
Well then, Epops! Must I knock again? Epops!
TROCHILUS rushing out of a thicket
Who's there? Who calls my master?
PITHETAERUS in terror
Apollo the Deliverer! what an enormous beak!
He defecates. In the confusion both the jay and the crow fly away.
TROCHILUS equally frightened
Good god! they are bird-catchers.
EUELPIDES reassuring himself
But is it so terrible? Wouldn't it be better to explain things?
TROCHILUS also reassuring himself
You're done for.
EUELPIDES
But we are not men.
TROCHILUS
What are you, then?
EUELPIDES defecating also
I am the Fearling, an African bird.
TROCHILUS
You talk nonsense.
EUELPIDES
Well, then, just ask it of my feet.
TROCHILUS
And this other one, what bird is it?
To PITHETAERUS
Speak up
PITHETAERUS weakly
I? I am a Crapple, from the land of the pheasants.
EUELPIDES
But you yourself, in the name of the gods! what animal are you?
TROCHILUS
Why, I am a slave-bird.
EUELPIDES
Why, have you been conquered by a cock?
TROCHILUS
No, but when my master was turned into a hoopoe, he begged me to become a bird also, to follow and to serve him.
EUELPIDES
Does a bird need a servant, then?
TROCHILUS
That's no doubt because he was once a man. At times he wants to eat a dish of sardines from Phalerum; I seize my dish and fly to fetch him some. Again he wants some pea-soup; I seize a ladle and a pot and run to get it.
EUELPIDES
This is, then, truly a running-bird. Come, Trochilus, do us the kindness to call your master.
TROCHILUS
Why, he has just fallen asleep after a feed of myrtle-berries and a few grubs.
EUELPIDES
Never mind; wake him up.
TROCHILUS
I an; certain he will be angry. However, I will wake him to please you.
He goes back into the thicket.
PITHETAERUS as soon as TROCHILUS is out of sight
You cursed brute! why, I am almost dead with terror!
EUELPIDES