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The Birds   


Well, and why not? I don't know how to dig.
PITHETAERUS
But, by Zeus! there are honest ways of gaining a living at your
age without all this infamous trickery.
INFORMER
My friend, I am asking you for wings, not for words.
PITHETAERUS
It's just my words that gives you wings.
INFORMER
And how can you give a man wings with your words?
PITHETAERUS
They all start this way.
INFORMER
How?
PITHETAERUS
Have you not often heard the father say to young men in the
barbers' shops, "It's astonishing how Diitrephes' advice has made my
son fly to horse-riding."-"Mine," says another, "has flown towards
tragic poetry on the wings of his imagination."
INFORMER
So that words give wings?
PITHETAERUS
Undoubtedly; words give wings to the mind and make a man soar to
heaven. Thus I hope that my wise words will give you wings to fly to
some less degrading trade.
INFORMER
But I do not want to.
PITHETAERUS
What do you reckon on doing then?
INFORMER
I won't belie my breeding; from generation to generation we have
lived by informing. Quick, therefore, give me quickly some light,
swift hawk or kestrel wings, so that I may summon the islanders,
sustain the accusation here, and haste back there again on flying
pinions.
PITHETAERUS
I see. In this way the stranger will be condemned even before he
appears.
INFORMER
That's just it.
PITHETAERUS
And while he is on his way here by sea, you will be flying to
the islands to despoil him of his property.
INFORMER
You've hit it, precisely; I must whirl hither and thither like a
perfect humming-top.
PITHETAERUS
I catch the idea. Wait, I've got some fine Corcyraean wings. How
do you like them?
INFORMER
Oh! woe is me! Why, it's a whip!
PITHETAERUS
No, no; these are the wings, I tell you, that make the top spin.
INFORMER (as PITHETAERUS lashes him)
Oh! oh! oh!
PITHETAERUS
Take your flight, clear off, you miserable cur, or you will soon
see what comes of quibbling and lying. (The INFORMER flees. To his
slaves)
Come, let us gather up our wings and withdraw.
(The baskets are taken away.)
CHORUS (singing)
In my ethereal flights I have seen many things new and strange and
wondrous beyond belief. There is a tree called Cleonymus belonging
to an unknown species; it has no heart, is good for nothing and is

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