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The Birds   


Return to your ranks and lay down your courage beside your wrath
as the hoplites do. Then let us ask these men who they are, whence
they come, and with what intent. Here, Epops, answer me.
EPOPS
Are you calling me? What do you want of me?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Who are they? From what country?
EPOPS
Strangers, who have come from Greece, the land of the wise.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And what fate has led them hither to the land of the birds?
EPOPS
Their love for you and their wish to share your kind of life; to
dwell and remain with you always.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Indeed, and what are their plans?
EPOPS
They are wonderful, incredible, unheard of.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Why, do they think to see some advantage that determines them to
settle here? Are they hoping with our help to triumph over their
foes or to be useful to their friends?
EPOPS
They speak of benefits so great it is impossible either to
describe or conceive them; all shall be yours, all that we see here,
there, above and below us; this they vouch for.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Are they mad?
EPOPS
They are the sanest people in the world.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Clever men?
EPOPS
The slyest of foxes, cleverness its very self, men of the world,
cunning, the cream of knowing folk.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Tell them to speak and speak quickly; why, as I listen to you, I
am beside myself with delight.
EPOPS (to two attendants)
Here, you there, take all these weapons and hang them up inside
dose to the fire, near the figure of the god who presides there and
under his protection; (to PITHETAERUS) as for you, address the
birds, tell them why I have gathered them together.
PITHETAERUS
Not I, by Apollo, unless they agree with me as the little ape of
an armourer agreed with his wife, not to bite me, nor pull me by the
balls, nor shove things into my...
EUELPIDES (bending over and pointing his finger at his anus)
Do you mean this?
PITHETAERUS
No, I mean my eyes.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Agreed.
PITHETAERUS
Swear it.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
I swear it and, if I keep my promise, let judges and spectators
give me the victory unanimously.
PITHETAERUS
It is a bargain.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And if I break my word, may I succeed by one vote only.
EPOPS (as HERALD)
Hearken, ye people! Hoplites, pick up your weapons and return to

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