Alas! alas! dear little girls, your father is deserting you
secretly to go to heaven. Ah! poor orphans, entreat him, beseech him.
(The little daughters of TRYGAEUS come out.)
LITTLE DAUGHTER (singing)
Father! father! what is this I hear? Is it true? What! you would
leave me, you would vanish into the sky, you would go to the crows?
Impossible! Answer, father, if you love me.
Yes, I am going. You hurt me too sorely, my daughters, when you
ask me for bread, calling me your daddy, and there is not the ghost of
an obolus in the house; if I succeed and come back, you will have a
barley loaf every morning-and a punch in the eye for sauce!
But how will you make the journey? There's no ship that will
take you there.
No, but this winged steed will.
But what an idea, papa, to harness a beetle, to fly to the gods
We see from Aesop's fables that they alone can fly to the abode of
Father, father, that's a tale nobody can believe! that such a
smelly creature can have gone to the gods.
It went to have vengeance on the eagle and break its eggs.
Why not saddle Pegasus? you would have a more tragic appearance in
the eyes of the gods.
Eh! don't you see, little fool, that then twice the food would
be wanted? Whereas my beetle devours again as filth what I have
And if it fell into the watery depths of the sea, could it
escape with its wings?
TRYGAEUS (exposing himself)
I am fitted with a rudder in case of need, and my Naxos beetle
will serve me as a boat.
And what harbour will you put in at?
Why is there not the harbour of Cantharus at the Piraeus?
Take care not to knock against anything and so fall off into
space; once a cripple, you would be a fit subject for Euripides, who
would put you into a tragedy.
TRYGAEUS (as the Machine hoists him higher)
I'll see to it. Good-bye! (To the Athenians) You, for love of whom
I brave these dangers, do ye neither fart nor crap for the space of
three days, for, if, while cleaving the air, my steed should scent
anything, he would fling me head foremost from the summit of my hopes.
Now come, my Pegasus, get a-going with up-pricked ears and make
your golden bridle resound gaily. Eh! what are you doing? What are you
up to? Do you turn your nose towards the cesspools? Come, pluck up a
spirit; rush upwards from the earth, stretch out your speedy wings and
make straight for the palace of Zeus; for once give up foraging in
your daily food.-Hi! you down there, what are you after now? Oh! my
god! it's a man taking a crap in the Piraeus, close to the
whorehouses. But is it my death you seek then, my death? Will you
not bury that right away and pile a great heap of earth upon it and