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The Birds   


Get out!
ORACLE-MONGER
Wretched man, insult not sacred things. For there is an oracle
of Bacis, which exactly applies to Nephelococcygia.
PITHETAERUS
Why did you not reveal it to me before I founded my city?
ORACLE-MONGER
The divine spirit was against it.
PITHETAERUS
Well, I suppose there's nothing to do but hear the terms of the
oracle.
ORACLE-MONGER
"But when the wolves and the white crows shall dwell together
between Corinth and Sicyon..."
PITHETAERUS
But how do the Corinthians concern me?
ORACLE-MONGER
It is the regions of the air that Bacis indicates in this
manner. "They must first sacrifice a white-fleeced goat to Pandora,
and give the prophet who first reveals my words a good cloak and new
sandals."
PITHETAERUS
Does it say sandals there?
ORACLE-MONGER
Look at the book. "And besides this a goblet of wine and a good
share of the entrails of the entrails of the victim."
PITHETAERUS
Of the entrails-does it say that?
ORACLE-MONGER
Look at the book. "If you do as I command, divine youth, you shall
be an eagle among the clouds; if not, you shall be neither
turtle-dove, nor eagle, nor woodpecker."
PITHETAERUS
Does it say all that?
ORACLE-MONGER
Look at the book.
PITHETAERUS
This oracle in no sort of way resembles the one Apollo dictated to
me: "If an impostor comes without invitation to annoy you during the
sacrifice and to demand a share of the victim, apply a stout stick
to his ribs."
ORACLE-MONGER
You are drivelling.
PITHETAERUS
Look at the book. "And don't spare him, were he an eagle from
out of the clouds, were it Lampon himself or the great Diopithes."
ORACLE-MONGER
Does it say that?
PITHETAERUS
Look at the book and go and hang yourself.
ORACLE-MONGER
Oh! unfortunate wretch that I am.
(He departs.)
PITHETAERUS
Away with you, and take your prophecies elsewhere.
(Enter METON, With surveying instruments.)
METON
I have come to you...
PITHETAERUS (interrupting)
Yet another pest! What have you come to do? What's your plan?
What's the purpose of your journey? Why these splendid buskins?
METON
I want to survey the plains of the air for you and to parcel
them into lots.

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