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The Birds   


Why do you shake your fist at heaven? Do you want to fight? Why,
be on my side, I will make you a king and will feed you on bird's milk
and honey.
HERACLES
Your further condition seems fair to me. I cede you the young
damsel.
POSIDON
But I, I vote against this opinion.
PITHETAERUS
Then it all depends on the Triballus. (To the TRIBALLUS) What do
you say?
TRIBALLUS
Givum bird pretty gel bigum queen.
HERACLES
He says give her.
POSIDON
Why no, he does not say anything of the sort, or else, like the
swallows he does not know how to walk.
PITHETAERUS
Exactly so. Does he not say she must be given to the swallows?
POSIDON (resignedly)
All right, you two arrange the matter; make peace, since you
wish it so; I'll hold my tongue.
HERACLES
We are of a mind to grant you all that you ask. But come up
there with us to receive Basileia and the celestial bounty.
PITHETAERUS
Here are birds already dressed, and very suitable for a nuptial
feast.
HERACLES
You go and, if you like, I will stay here to roast them.
PITHETAERUS
You to roast them? you are too much the glutton; come along with
us.
HERACLES
Ah! how well I would have treated myself!
PITHETAERUS
Let some one bring me a beautiful and magnificent tunic for the
wedding.
(The tunic is brought. PITHETAERUS and the three gods depart.)
CHORUS (singing)
At Phanae, near the Clepsydra, there dwells a people who have
neither faith nor law, the Englottogastors, who reap, sow, pluck the
vines and the figs with their tongues; they belong to a barbaric race,
and among them the Philippi and the Gorgiases are to be found; 'tis
these Englottogastorian Philippi who introduced the custom all over
Attica of cutting out the tongue separately at sacrifices.
(A MESSENGER enters.)
MESSENGER (in tragic style)
Oh, you, whose unbounded happiness I cannot express in words,
thrice happy race of airy birds, receive your king in your fortunate
dwellings. More brilliant than the brightest star that illumes the
earth, he is approaching his glittering golden palace; the sun
itself does not shine with more dazzling glory. He is entering with
his bride at his side, whose beauty no human tongue can express; in
his hand he brandishes the lightning, the winged shaft of Zeus;
perfumes of unspeakable sweetness pervade the ethereal realms. 'Tis
a glorious spectacle to see the clouds of incense wafting in light
whirlwinds before the breath of the zephyr! But here he is himself.
Divine Muse! let thy sacred lips begin with songs of happy omen.
(PITHETAERUS enters, with a crown on his head; he is accompanied
by BASILEIA.)

CHORUS (singing)
Fall back! to the right! to the left! advance! Fly around this

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