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The Birds   


If on the other hand they recognize that you are God, the
principle of life, that. you are Earth, Saturn, Posidon, they shall be
loaded with benefits.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Name me one of these then.
PITHETAERUS
Firstly, the locusts shall not eat up their vine-blossoms; a
legion of owls and kestrels will devour them. Moreover, the gnats
and the gallbugs shall no longer ravage the figs; a flock of
thrushes shall swallow the whole host down to the very last.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And how shall we give wealth to mankind? This is their strongest
passion.
PITHETAERUS
When they consult the omens, you will point them to the richest
mines, you will reveal the paying ventures to the diviner, and not
another shipwreck will happen or sailor perish.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
No more shall perish? How is that?
PITHETAERUS
When the auguries are examined before starting on a voyage, some
bird will not fail to say, "Don't start! there will be a storm," or
else, "Go! you will make a most profitable venture."
EUELPIDES
I shall buy a trading-vessel and go to sea, I will not stay with
you.
PITHETAERUS
You will discover treasures to them, which were buried in former
times, for you know them. Do not all men say, "None knows where my
treasure lies, unless perchance it be some bird."
EUELPIDES
I shall sell my boat and buy a spade to unearth the vessels.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
And how are we to give them health, which belongs to the gods?
PITHETAERUS
If they are happy, is not that the chief thing towards health? The
miserable man is never well.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Old Age also dwells in Olympus. How will they get at it? Must they
die in early youth?
PITHETAERUS
Why, the birds, by Zeus, will add three hundred years to their
life.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
From whom will they take them?
PITHETAERUS
From whom? Why, from themselves. Don't you know the cawing crow
lives five times as long as a man?
EUELPIDES
Ah! ah! these are far better kings for us than Zeus!
PITHETAERUS (solemnly)
Far better, are they not? And firstly, we shall not have to
build them temples of hewn stone, closed with gates of gold; they will
dwell amongst the bushes and in the thickets of green oak; the most
venerated of birds will have no other temple than the foliage of the
olive tree; we shall not go to Delphi or to Ammon to sacrifice; but
standing erect in the midst of arbutus and wild olives and holding
forth our hands filled with wheat and barley, we shall pray them to
admit us to a share of the blessings they enjoy and shall at once
obtain them for a few grains of wheat.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Old man, whom I detested, you are now to me the dearest of all;
never shall I, if I can help it, fail to follow your advice.
CHORUS (singing)

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