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Epops
Take your advice? In what way?

Pisthetaerus
In what way? Well, firstly, [165] do not fly in all directions with open beak; it is not dignified. Among us, when we see a thoughtless man, we ask, “What sort of bird is this?” and Teleas answers, “It's a man who has no brain, a bird that has lost his head, a creature [170] you cannot catch, for it never remains in any one place.”

Epops
By Zeus himself! your jest hits the mark. What then is to be done?

Pisthetaerus
Found a city.

Epops
We birds? But what sort of city should we build?

Pisthetaerus
Oh, really, really! you talk like such a fool! [175] Look down.

Epops
I am looking.

Pisthetaerus
Now look up.

Epops
I am looking.

Pisthetaerus
Turn your head round.

Epops
Ah! it will be pleasant for me if I end in twisting my neck off!

Pisthetaerus
What have you seen?

Epops
The clouds and the sky.

Pisthetaerus
Very well! is not this the pole of the birds then?

Epops
[180] How their pole?

Pisthetaerus
Or, if you like it, their place. And since it turns and passes through the whole universe, it is called ‘pole.’ If you build and fortify it, you will turn your pole into a city. [185] In this way you will reign over mankind as you do over the grasshoppers and you will cause the gods to die of rabid hunger.

Epops
How so?

Pisthetaerus
The air is between earth and heaven. When we want to go to Delphi, we ask the Boeotians for leave of passage; [190] in the same way, when men sacrifice to the gods, unless the latter pay you tribute, you exercise the right of every nation towards strangers and don't allow the smoke of the sacrifices to pass through your city and territory.

Epops
By earth! by snares! by network! by cages! [195] I never heard of anything more cleverly conceived; and, if the other birds approve, I am going to build the city along with you.

Pisthetaerus
Who will explain the matter to them?

Epops
You must yourself. Before I came they were quite ignorant, [200] but since I have lived with them I have taught them to speak.

Pisthetaerus
But how can they be gathered together?

Epops
Easily. I will hasten down to the thicket to waken my dear Procne [205] and as soon as they hear our voices, they will come to us hot wing.

Pisthetaerus
My dear bird, lose no time, please! Fly at once into the thicket and awaken Procne.

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Delphi (Greece) (1)

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 31
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, PARTICLES
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.6.1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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