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ing at the outlandish divinity, and teaching him how to carry himself a little decently. They find Pisthetærus busy in giving orders about a dish of wild fowl (i.e. of birds which had been guilty of high misdemeanours, and condemned to die by the publick) which are dressing for his dinner. Hercules, who before was for wringing off the head of this audacious mortal without farther conference, finds himself insensibly relent, as he snuffs the savoury steam. He salutes Pisthetarus, who receives them very coldly, and is more attentive to his kitchen than to their compliment; Neptune opens his commission; owns that his nation (the gods) are not the better for this war, and on reasonable terms would be glad of a peace. Pisthetærus, according to the advice of Prometheus, proposes (as if to try them) the first condition, namely, that of Jupiter's restoring to the birds their ancient power; and, if this should be agreed to, he says, that he hopes to entertain my lords the ambassadors at dinner. Hercules, pleased with this last compliment, so agreeable to his appetite, comes readily into all he asks; but is severely reproved by Neptune for his gluttony. Pisthetærus argues the point, and shews how much it would be for the mutual interests of both nations; and Neptune is hungry enough to be glad of some reasonable pretence to give the thing up. The Triballian god is asked his opinion for form: he mutters somewhat, which nobody understands, and so it passes for his consent. Here they are going in to dinner, and all is well; when Pisthetærus bethinks himself of the match with Basilea. This makes Neptune fly out again: he
will not hear of it; he will return home instantly; but Hercules cannot think of leaving a good meal so; he is ready to acquiesce in any conditions. His colleague attempts to shew him that he is giving up his patrimony for a dinner; and what will become of him after Jupiter's death, if the birds are to have everything during his life-time. Pisthetærus clearly proves to Hercules that this is a mere imposition; that by the laws of Solon a bastard has no inheritance; that if Jove died without legitimate issue, his brothers would succeed to his estate, and that Neptune speaks only out of interest. Now the Triballian god is again to determine the matter; they interpret his jargon as favourable to them; so Neptune is forced to give up the point, and Pisthetarus goes with him and the barbarian to heaven to fetch his bride, while Hercules stays behind to take care that the roast meat is not spoiled.
Act 5. Scene the first and last.
A messenger returns with the news of the approach of Pisthetærus and his bride; and accordingly they appear in the air in a splendid machine, he with Jove's thunderbolt in his hand, and by his side Basilèa magnificently adorned: the birds break out into loud songs of exultation as they descend, and conclude the drama with their Hymenæal.
The end of the Plan of the Aves.
NOTES ON THE AVES.
103. The birds of the drama had only the head, wings, and beak of the fowl which they represented.
115. Why is Tereus said to have been in debt?
126. This is the Aristocrates, who afterwards was one of the four hundred, mentioned by Thucydides, L. 8. 89, and by Lysias in his oration against Eratosthenes.
v. 31. Acestor, called Sacas, a tragick poet, pretended to be a citizen of Athens.
151. Melanthius, the poet, had a leprosy.
180. Ioλos. This word was used at this time for the whole heavens. Xaos, the void space of air. (v.
223. Αυλει τις. These words are not in the drama, but are a Παρεπιγραφη, a direction written on the side to signify, that an air is played on the flute, in imitation of the nightingale.
276. The second Tyro of Sophocles. Philocles called Halmion, the son of Philopeithes, and a sister of Eschylus, wrote comedy. Philocles, the tragick poet, was the son of Astydamus, the son of Morsimus, the son of the former Philocles. Another of the same name and profession, his contemporary.
285. Callias, his luxury and poverty noted. Palmerius here gives a genealogy of the family.
293. Schol. The Alavλos was to run twice the length of the Stadium; the Aoλixos, seven times.
298. Here the twenty-four persons, who form the comick chorus, are all enumerated, as they enter under the form of as many birds. They are, as follow: a partridge, a godwit, a guinea-hen, a male and female halcyon, an owl, a woodpecker, a turtle, a tit-lark, a pigeon, a hawk, a stock-dove, a cuckow, a dive-dapper, and ten more, of which I know not the English names; an Ελεᾶs, an Ὑποθυμις, a Νερτος, an Ερυθροπους, a Κεβληπυρις, ἃ Φηνη, an Αμπελις, a Πορφυρις, a Δρύοψ, and Kepxvys. There are also several mute personages, perched here and there to adorn the scene; a flamingo, a Median bird, (perhaps a kind of pheasant), though it appears that this bird, under the name of Paσiavikos from v. 68, was known at that time, a hoopee, a Κατωφαγάς.
437. Schol. The Andromache and the Phænissæ of Euripides were not acted till after the Aves.
471. Silly fable of Esop. 485. The cock, called the Persian bird.
494. The festival was on the tenth day after the child's birth, at which time they named it. See v. 924.
501. The custom of rolling on the ground, when they first saw a kite in the spring-time. In Egypt, and in Phoenicia, they began their harvest as soon as the cuckow is heard.
510. The figure of a bird was placed on the top of royal sceptres (Schol. on v. 1354.) the Scholiasts say, an eagle. The statues of Minerva were with an owl,
those of Jupiter with an eagle, of Apollo with a hawk on their heads, &c.
519. In sacrifices they first laid the inwards of the victim upon the hands of the deity, and then eat them. 521. The Nemesis of Cratinus was written long after this play.
653. The fable of Archilochus, attributed, like all other such fables, to Æsop.
670. Progne (for it was she, not Philomel, according to our poet, who was transformed to a nightingale) was represented by some famous Avλnτpis of those times, who accompanied the chorus with her flute.
716. Χλαινα, a winter garment. Ληδος or Ληδαριον, one for the summer.
750. Phrynichus, the tragick poet, was said to borrow his musick from the nightingale.
760. They used artificial spurs for fighting-cocks, as now, called IIληктра. (Schol. on v. 1365.)
780. Hence I should imagine that these spectacles were exhibited in the forenoon. There was a place in the theatre assigned to the senate, called To BovλevTIKOV, and another to the youth under age, named Εφηβικον.
800. The myrmidons of Eschylus. 808. The eagle and arrow from Eschylus, who calls it a Lybian fable.
843. Schol. The Palamedes of Euripides was acted a little before this, which joined to Ælian's testimony, Var. Hist. Lib. 2. 8, proves the falseness of that story concerning the application of some lines in that drama to the death of Socrates, which did not happen till sixteen years after. This passage in the Scholiast