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Lucius having thus said, that precept about the swallow seemed to be most unaccountable, it being a harmless and kind animal; and therefore it seemed strange that that should be forbid the house, as well as the hooked-clawed animals, which are ravenous, wild, and bloody. Nor did Lucius himself approve that only interpretation of the ancients, who say, this symbol aims directly at backbiters and tale-bearing whisperers. For the swallow whispers not at all; it chatters indeed, and is noisy, but not more than a pie, a partridge, or a hen. What then, said Sylla, is it upon the old fabulous account of killing her son, that they deny the swallow entertainment, by that means showing their dislike to those passions which (as the story goes) made Tereus and Procne and Philomel act and suffer such wicked and abominable things? And even to this day they call the birds Daulides. And Gorgias the sophister, when a swallow muted upon him, looked upon her and said, Philomel, this was not well done. Or perhaps this is all groundless; for the nightingale, though concerned in the same tragedy, we willingly receive.
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