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Informer
My friend, I am asking you for wings, not for words.

Pisthetaerus
It's just my words that gives you wings.

Informer
And how can you give a man wings with your words?

Pisthetaerus
They all start this way.

Informer
How?

Pisthetaerus
Have you not often heard [1440] 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 [1445] flown towards tragic poetry on the wings of his imagination.”

Informer
So that words give wings?

Pisthetaerus
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 [1450] to fly to some less degrading trade.

Informer
But I do not want to.

Pisthetaerus
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, [1455] so that I may summon the islanders, sustain the accusation here, and haste back there again on flying pinions.

Pisthetaerus
I see. In this way the stranger will be condemned even before he appears.

Informer
That's just it.

Pisthetaerus
And while he is on his way here by sea, you will be flying to the islands [1460] to despoil him of his property.

Informer
You've hit it, precisely; I must whirl hither and thither like a perfect humming-top.

Pisthetaerus
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!

Pisthetaerus
No, no; these are the wings, [1465] I tell you, that make the top spin.

Informer
As Pisthetaerus lashes him.
Oh! oh! oh!

Pisthetaerus
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.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 911-1085
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1384
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 576
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