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The Birds   


above Olympus?
PROMETHEUS
If there were no barbarian gods, who would be the patron of
Execestides?
PITHETAERUS
And what is the name of these gods?
PROMETHEUS
Their name? Why, the Triballi.
PITHETAERUS
Ah, indeed! 'tis from that no doubt that we derive the word
'tribulation.'
PROMETHEUS
Most likely. But one thing I can tell you for certain, namely,
that Zeus and the celestial Triballi are going to send deputies here
to sue for peace. Now don't you treat with them, unless Zeus
restores the sceptre to the birds and gives you Basileia in marriage.
PITHETAERUS
Who is this Basileia?
PROMETHEUS
A very fine young damsel, who makes the lightning for Zeus; all
things come from her, wisdom, good laws, virtue, the fleet, calumnies,
the public paymaster and the triobolus.
PITHETAERUS
Ah! then she is a sort of general manageress to the god.
PROMETHEUS
Yes, precisely. If he gives you her for your wife, yours will be
the almighty power. That is what I have come to tell you; for you know
my constant and habitual goodwill towards men.
PITHETAERUS
Oh, yes! it's thanks to you that we roast our meat.
PROMETHEUS
I hate the gods, as you know.
PITHETAERUS
Aye, by Zeus, you have always detested them.
PROMETHEUS
Towards them I am a veritable Timon; but I must return in all
haste, so give me the umbrella; if Zeus should see me from up there,
he would think I was escorting one of the Canephori.
PITHETAERUS
Wait, take this stool as well.
(PROMETHEUS leaves. PITHETAERUS goes into the thicket.)
CHORUS (singing)
Near by the land of the Sciapodes there is a marsh, from the
borders whereof the unwashed Socrates evokes the souls of men.
Pisander came one day to see his soul, which he had left there when
still alive. He offered a little victim, a camel, slit his throat and,
following the example of Odysseus, stepped one pace backwards. Then
that bat of a Chaerephon came up from hell to drink the camel's blood.
(POSIDON enters, accompanied by HERACLES and TRIBALLUS.)
POSIDON
This is the city of Nephelococcygia, to which we come as
ambassadors. (To TRIBALLUS) Hi! what are you up to? you are throwing
your cloak over the left shoulder. Come, fling it quick over the
right! And why, pray, does it draggle in this fashion? Have you ulcers
to hide like Laespodias? Oh! democracy! whither, oh! whither are you
leading us? Is it possible that the gods have chosen such an envoy?
You are undisturbed? Ugh! you cursed savage! you are by far the most
barbarous of all the gods.-Tell me, Heracles, what are we going to do?
HERACLES
I have already told you that I want to strangle the fellow who
dared to wall us out.
POSIDON
But, my friend, we are envoys of peace.
HERACLES

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