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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Songs of the Reapers
By Theocritus (fl. Third Century B.C.)
From the Tenth Idyl: Translation of Andrew Lang

BATTUS—Ye Muses Pierian, sing ye with me the slender maiden; for whatsoever ye do but touch, ye goddesses, ye make wholly fair.  1
  They all call thee a gipsy, gracious Bombyca, and lean, and sunburnt; ’tis only I that call thee honey-pale.  2
  Yea, and the violet is swart, and swart the lettered hyacinth, but yet these flowers are chosen the first in garlands.  3
  The goat runs after cytisus, the wolf pursues the goat, the crane follows the plow, but I am wild for love of thee.  4
  Would it were mine, all the wealth whereof once Crœsus was lord, as men tell! Then images of us twain, all in gold, should be dedicated to Aphrodite,—thou with thy flute, and a rose, yea, or an apple, and I in fair attire, and new shoon of Amyclæ on both my feet.  5
  Ah, gracious Bombyca, thy feet are fashioned like carven ivory; thy voice is drowsy sweet; and thy ways, I cannot tell of them!…  6
  Demeter, rich in fruit, and rich in grain, may this corn be easy to win, and fruitful exceedingly!  7
  Bind, ye bandsters, the sheaves, lest the wayfarer should cry, “Men of straw were the workers here, ay, and their hire was wasted!”  8
  See that the cut stubble faces the North wind, or the West: ’tis thus the grain waxes richest.  9
  They that thresh corn should shun the noonday sleep; at noon the chaff parts easiest from the straw.  10
  As for the reapers, let them begin when the crested lark is waking, and cease when he sleeps, but take holiday in the heat.  11
  Lads, the frog has a jolly life; he is not cumbered about a butler to his drink, for he has liquor by him unstinted!  12
  Boil the lentils better, thou miserly steward; take heed lest thou chop thy fingers, when thou’rt splitting cumin-seed.  13

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