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The Birds   


through the whole universe, it is called 'pole.' If you build and
fortify it, you will turn your pole into a city. In this way you
will reign over mankind as you do over the grasshoppers and you will
cause the gods to die of rabid hunger
EPOPS
How so?
PITHETAERUS
The air is between earth and heaven. When we want to go to Delphi,
we ask the Boeotians for leave of passage; in the same way, when men
sacrifice to the gods, unless the latter pay you tribute, you exercise
the right of every nation towards strangers and don't allow the
smoke of the sacrifices to pass through your city and territory.
EPOPS
By earth! by snares! by network! by cages! I never heard of
anything more cleverly conceived; and, if the other birds approve, I
am going to build the city along with you.
PITHETAERUS
Who will explain the matter to them?
EPOPS
You must yourself. Before I came they were quite ignorant, but
since have lived with them I have taught them to speak.
PITHETAERUS
But how can they be gathered together?
EPOPS
Easily. I will hasten down to the thicket to waken my dear
Procne and as soon as they hear our voices, they will come to us hot
wing.
PITHETAERUS
My dear bird, lose no time, please! Fly at once into the thicket
and awaken Procne.
(EPOPS rushes into the thicket.)
EPOPS (from within; singing)
Chase off drowsy sleep, dear companion. Let the sacred hymn gush
from thy divine throat in melodious strains; roll forth in soft
cadence your refreshing melodies to bewail the fate of Itys, which has
been the cause of so many tears to us both. Your pure notes rise
through the thick leaves of the yew-tree right up to the throne of
Zeus, where Phoebus listens to you, Phoebus with his golden hair.
And his ivory lyre responds to your plaintive accents; he gathers
the choir of the gods and from their immortal lips pours forth a
sacred chant of blessed voices.
(The flute is played behind the scene, imitating the song of the
nightingale.)

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

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