By Hermes! but indeed you shall. (He sings.) "I shall travel
through thine ethereal empire like a winged bird, who cleaveth space
with his long neck..."
Stop! Way enough!
"...as I soar over the seas, carried by the breath of the
By Zeus! I'll cut your breath short.
(He picks up a pair of wings and begins trying to stop CINESIAS'
mouth with them.)
CINESIAS (running away)
"...now rushing along the tracks of Notus, now nearing Boreas
across the infinite wastes of the ether." Ah! old man, that's a pretty
and clever idea truly!
What! are you not delighted to be cleaving the air?
To treat a dithyrambic poet, for whom the tribes dispute with each
other, in this style!
Will you stay with us and form a chorus of winged birds as slender
as Leotrophides for the Cecropid tribe?
You are making game of me, that's clear; but know that I shall
never leave you in peace if I do not have wings wherewith to
traverse the air.
(CINESIAS departs and an INFORMER arrives.)
What are these birds with downy feathers, who look so pitiable
to me? Tell me, oh swallow with the long dappled wings.
Oh! it's a regular invasion that threatens us. Here comes
another one, humming along.
Swallow with the long dappled wings, once more I summon you.
It's his cloak I believe he's addressing; it stands in great
need of the swallows' return.
Where is he who gives out wings to all comers?
Here I am, but you must tell me for what purpose you want them.
Ask no questions. I want wings, and wings I must have.
Do you want to fly straight to Pellene?
I? Why, I am an accuser of the islands, an informer...
A fine trade, truly!
...a hatcher of lawsuits. Hence I have great need of wings to
prowl round the cities and drag them before justice.
Would you do this better if you had wings?
No, but I should no longer fear the pirates; I should return
with the cranes, loaded with a supply of lawsuits by way of ballast.
So it seems, despite all your youthful vigour, you make it your
trade to denounce strangers?