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The Birds   


And how do you think to escape them?
EUELPIDES
I don't know at all.
PITHETAERUS
Come, I will tell you. We must stop and fight them. Let us arm
ourselves with these stew-pots.
EUELPIDES
Why with the stew-pots?
PITHETAERUS
The owl will not attack us then.
EUELPIDES
But do you see all those hooked claws?
PITHETAERUS
Take the spit and pierce the foe on your side.
EUELPIDES
And how about my eyes?
PITHETAERUS
Protect them with this dish or this vinegar-pot.
EUELPIDES
Oh! what cleverness! what inventive genius! You are a great
general, even greater than Nicias, where stratagem is concerned.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Forward, forward, charge with your beaks! Come, no delay. Tear,
pluck, strike, flay them, and first of all smash the stew-pot.
EPOPS (stepping in front of the CHORUS)
Oh, most cruel of all animals, why tear these two men to pieces,
why kill them? What have they done to you? They belong to the same
tribe, to the same family as my wife.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Are wolves to be spared? Are they not our most mortal foes? So let
us punish them.
EPOPS
If they are your foes by nature, they are your friends in heart,
and they come here to give you useful advice.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Advice or a useful word from their lips, from them, the enemies of
my forebears?
EPOPS
The wise can often profit by the lessons of a foe, for caution
is the mother of safety. It is just such a thing as one will not learn
from a friend and which an enemy compels you to know. To begin with,
it's the foe and not the friend that taught cities to build high
walls, to equip long vessels of war; and it's this knowledge that
protects our children, our slaves and our wealth.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Well then, I agree, let us first hear them, for that is best;
one can even learn something in an enemy's school.
PITHETAERUS (to EUELPIDES)
Their wrath seems to cool. Draw back a little.
EPOPS
It's only justice, and you will thank me later.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Never have we opposed your advice up to now.
PITHETAERUS
They are in a more peaceful mood,-put down your stew-pot and
your two dishes; spit in hand, doing duty for a spear, let us mount
guard inside the camp close to the pot and watch in our arsenal
closely; for we must not fly.
EUELPIDES
You are right. But where shall we be buried, if we die?
PITHETAERUS
In the Ceramicus; for, to get a public funeral, we shall tell
the Strategi that we fell at Orneae, fighting the country's foes.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS

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