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The Birds   


as tall as it is cowardly. In springtime it shoots forth calumnies
instead of buds and in autumn it strews the ground with bucklers in
place of leaves.
Far away in the regions of darkness, where no ray of light ever
enters, there is a country, where men sit at the table of the heroes
and dwell with them always-except in the evening. Should any mortal
meet the hero Orestes at night, he would soon be stripped and
covered with blows from head to foot.
(PROMETHEUS enters, masked to conceal his identity.)
PROMETHEUS
Ah! by the gods! if only Zeus does not espy me! Where is
Pithetaerus?
PITHETAERUS
Ha! what is this? A masked man!
PROMETHEUS
Can you see any god behind me?
PITHETAERUS
No, none. But who are you, pray?
PROMETHEUS
What's the time, please?
PITHETAERUS
The time? Why, it's past noon. Who are you?
PROMETHEUS
Is it the fall of day? Is it no later than that?
PITHETAERUS
This is getting dull!
PROMETHEUS
What is Zeus doing? Is he dispersing the clouds or gathering them?
PITHETAERUS
Watch out for yourself!
PROMETHEUS
Come, I will raise my mask.
PITHETAERUS
Ah! my dear Prometheus!
PROMETHEUS
Sh! Sh! speak lower!
PITHETAERUS
Why, what's the matter, Prometheus?
PROMETHEUS
Sh! sh! Don't call me by my name; you will be my ruin, if Zeus
should see me here. But, if you want me to tell you how things are
going in heaven, take this umbrella and shield me, so that the gods
don't see me.
PITHETAERUS
I can recognize Prometheus in this cunning trick. Come, quick
then, and fear nothing; speak on.
PROMETHEUS
Then listen.
PITHETAERUS
I am listening, proceed!
PROMETHEUS
Zeus is done for.
PITHETAERUS
Ah! and since when, pray?
PROMETHEUS
Since you founded this city in the air. There is not a man who now
sacrifices to the gods, the smoke of the victims no longer reaches us.
Not the smallest offering comes! We fast as though it were the
festivall of Demeter. The barbarian gods, who are dying of hunger, are
bawling like Illyrians and threaten to make an armed descent upon
Zeus, if he does not open markets where joints of the victims are
sold.
PITHETAERUS
What! there are other gods besides you, barbarian gods who dwell

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